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Jeff Albers (Ph.D., Fiction)

Jeff Albers grew up in Southern California and earned a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from California State University, Fullerton. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, where he also served as prose editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. He has written humor pieces for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, music reviews for L.A. Record, and his fiction has been featured in The Weekly Rumpus.
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Selena Anderson (Ph.D., Fiction)

Selena Anderson completed her MFA at Columbia University where she won the Transatlantic/Henfield Prize. She has held fellowships at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Carson McCullers Center, and the MacDowell Colony. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review Online, NANO Fiction, and elsewhere. She is at work on a collection of stories.
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Eleanor Mary Boudreau (M.F.A., Poetry)

If Eleanor Mary Boudreau has achieved any notoriety prior to the age of 30, it is as a disembodied voice. She spent most of the past four years working as a reporter for the NPR member-station in Memphis, WKNO-FM. Her job was to tell the truth, and write adequate transition sentences. It proved difficult. She’s also worked as a dry-cleaner, canvasser, and horseback-riding instructor. She’s been published in the Denver Quarterly and was a semi-finalist for the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She holds degrees from  Harvard College and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Like many poets, growing up she found that having an imagination gave people the impression she was a space cadet. She’s very happy to have landed in a Houston.
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Rhianna Brandt (M.F.A., Poetry)

Rhianna Brandt received a B.A. in English in 2008 from Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her research interests include John Milton and Tori Amos, and though she has yet to fit them both into the same paper, she knows it can be done.
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Melanie Brkich (M.F.A., Poetry)

Melanie Brkich grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, relocating with her family at the tender age of thirteen to Florida, where she would stay and eventually earn her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. She spent two consecutive summers interning in D.C., but after dabbling in poetry workshops as she minored in English and French, Melanie realized she actually enjoyed creative writing a lot more than nut graphs. She caught the travel bug during a semester abroad in France and ended up returning after graduation to teach high-school English in Burgundy for a year. Having recently returned to the States, she is looking forward to becoming acquainted with Texas. Melanie’s interests include languages, cooking, rock climbing, photography, and of course, reading. She brings with her to Houston her huntress of a cat, Kenna.
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Erika Jo Brown (Ph.D., Poetry)

Erika Jo Brown is from New York. Her debut poetry collection, I'm Your Huckleberry, is forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press in November 2014. Her chapbook, What a Lark!, was published by Further Adventures Press in 2011. She was educated at Cornell University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Most recently, she taught at Savannah State University and co-curated the Seersucker Shots reading series. She loves feminism, botany, wordplay, and her shih tzu, Franklin.

student ImageWill Burns (Ph.D., Fiction)

Will Burns got his B.A. at the University of Arkansas and his MFA at The New School in NYC. He is a part-time chess instructor and used to be a cashier. His car broke down on the way to Houston. It was too bad. He likes cats.

student ImageKay Cosgrove (Ph.D., Poetry)

Kay Cosgrove received a BA from Fairfield University and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her manuscript, Marco, Polo, has been a finalist for the 2015 Field Poetry Prize and the 2015 Larry Levis Intro Prize in Poetry from Four Way Books. She is the winner of the Writers Under 30 Contest from The Westchester Review, a finalist for the New South Writing Contest, and a semi-finalist for the DISQUIET International Literary Prize. Her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Conduit, and EPOCH magazine, among other journals.

student ImageSam Dinger (M.F.A., Fiction)

Sam Dinger’s name is Samuel Joseph Dinger, but he’s always gone by Sam. He, however, doesn’t mind if you call him Samuel. It sounds kind of fun to him. He’s good at a few things and bad at a lot of others. Some of the good things include cooking and listening to people. Some of the bad things include having a vivid imagination, scoring well on the ACT, following tedious procedures—like how you have to copy that paragraph in cursive on the GRE instructions form before taking the test—and thinking quickly. Some things that he loves whether he’s good at them or not are believing in God, fly fishing, telling stories, recording his grandmother’s stories with his phone when she’s not looking, hunting, asking clarifying questions, traveling, finding out that people are not as hard to approach as he had thought, crying at the most beautiful things, and laughing. He graduated this past December with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and minors in French and English from John Brown University in his hometown. He was born in Dallas but didn’t live there long. He and his family, whom he’s afraid to leave, have lived in Lubbock, TX, Indianola, MS, and (mostly and most recently) Siloam Springs, AR. That’s his sister, Caroline, with him in the picture.

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Ashleigh Eisinger (Ph.D., Fiction)

Ahsleigh Eisinger is a third year student in the University of Houston's Literature and Creative Writing Program. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Georgia College and State University and was recently a panel participant in their Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner Conference. Ashleigh is in her third year of teaching the freshman composition series and acts as an Assistant Editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston with her boyfriend, Paul, and puppy, Maeby.

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Rachel Fairbank (M.F.A., Non-fiction)

Rachel Fairbank is the youngest of seven children and grew up on a small farm in upstate New York. When she was sixteen she started working at a genetics lab, where she spent seven years screening for genes involved in mesodermal cell fate specification in the nematode C. elegans. Although she enjoyed her work as a geneticist, she entered college as a music major with a concentration in jazz guitar only to switch back to biology during her junior year. After graduating from Cornell University with a BS in biology, she entered the Ph.D. program in developmental biology at Baylor College of Medicine, during which time she started developing her skills as a writer. In addition, Rachel has been a swimmer, a ballet dancer, a runner, and can often be found at her local boxing gym.
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JP Gritton (Ph.D., Fiction)

JP Gritton is from Colorado. His fiction has appeared in Black Warrior Review and Harpur Palate. He has spent time as a carpenter, a journalist, and an advocate for the homeless.
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Carlos Hernandez (M.F.A., Non-fiction)

Born and raised in Houston, Carlos Hernandez is a local church musician, WITS writer-in-residence, and Nonfiction MFA candidate in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, where he also serves as Digital Editor for Gulf Coast. Carlos is an Inprint and Cynthia Woods Mitchell fellow.

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Chris Hutchinson (Ph.D., Poetry)

Chris Hutchinson was born in Montreal, grew up in Vancouver, and has since pursued various livelihoods and made his home in such places as Toronto, Dawson City, Edmonton, Kelowna, and New York City. In 2009 he earned his MFA from Arizona State University. During his studies he was the International Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and he taught creative writing in local elementary schools for ASU’s Young Writers Program. He is the author of three books of poetry, all published in Canada, most recently, A Brief History of the Short-lived (Nightwood Editions, 2012).

student ImageDana Kroos (Ph.D. Fiction)

Dana Kroos received an MFA in fiction writing from New Mexico State University and an MFA in visual art from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is frequently influenced by her travels and she has been fortunate to receive numerous grants and scholarships for international study and research including a Rotary Exchange Fellowship to Durban, South Africa in 1994; a Purdue University Travel Grant to Edinburgh, Scotland in 2002; a New Mexico State University Scholarship for Study Abroad to Cusco, Peru in 2008 and a Fulbright Fellowship for research in Newfoundland, Canada in 2011. Her fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Superstition Review, The Lindenwood Review, The Florida Review and elsewhere.

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Shane Lake (Ph.D., Poetry)

Shane Lake’s was born and raised in Mattapoisett, MA. He left the Bay State for Pennsylvania, where he was a student in the creative writing program at Susquehanna University. In 2012 he received an MFA in poetry from Arizona State.

student ImageJ.S.A. (Jennifer) Lowe (Ph.D., Poetry)

J.S.A. Lowe’s poems have appeared in AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, and Salamander. Her chapbook DOE was published by Particle Series Books, and she has translations in the MLA anthology Nineteenth-Century French Women Poets. She studied at Mount Holyoke College, the University of Cambridge, and Boston University; her MFA is from Arizona State University, where she was an associate editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. She is online editor for Gulf Coast.

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Michelle Mariano (Ph.D., Fiction)

Originally from New York, where she worked as a production editor for Random House, Michelle Mariano holds an AB in creative writing from Bryn Mawr College with minors in photography and Africana studies and an MFA in creative writing from New Mexico State University. At NMSU, she managed development and events for La Sociedad Para Las Artes, the arts and literary program affiliated with the university, and taught undergraduate courses in English, creative writing, and film studies. She then relocated to Washington, DC, to direct the humanities and social sciences program of Heldref Publications, a scholarly journals publisher. Michelle is currently Director of Programs at the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the arts as integral to human health and well-being.

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Meghan L. Martin (Ph.D., Poetry)

Meghan L. Martin comes to Houston from Brooklyn, New York. She has taught writing in the Bronx (NY), Vancouver (BC), Tempe (AZ), and on the world wide web. She is a Teresa A. Wilhoit Fellow and her poems can be found in The Adirondack Review, The Bitter Oleander, Cream City Review, DIAGRAM, The DMQ Review, Event Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Hunger Mountain, PRISM International, Ryga, and an anthology called Paradigm.
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Zachary Martin (Ph.D., Fiction)

Zachary Martin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. His fiction, non-fiction, and humor have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Louisville Review, Washington Square, The Southeast ReviewMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Bygone Bureau, and elsewhere. He is an instructor at the Gotham Writers' Workshops.
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David Tomas Martinez (Ph.D., Poetry)

David Tomas Martinez’s work has been published or is forth coming in Poetry Magazine, Oxford American, Forklift; Ohio, Poetry International, Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, Poetry Daily, Split This Rock, RHINO, Ampersand Review, Caldera Review, Verse Junkies, California Journal of Poetics, Toe Good, and others. DTM has been featured or written about in Poets & Writers, Publishers Weekly, NPR's All Things Considered, NBC Latino, Buzzfeed, Houstonia Magazine, Houston Art & Culture, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Bull City Press, and Border Voices. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Houston's Creative Writing program, with an emphasis in Poetry. Martinez is also the Reviews and Interviews Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and a Breadloaf and CantoMundo Fellow. His debut collection of poetry, Hustle, was released in 2014 by Sarabande Books, which won honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize.
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Sarah McClung (Ph.D., Fiction)

Sarah McClung recently finished her MFA at the University of Alabama. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked and lived in Spain, Scotland, Uganda, and Japan. Prior to coming to Houston, she wrote cultural reviews for Plaza de Armas and worked in domestic as well as international publishing.
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Jeni McFarland (M.F.A., Fiction)

Jeni McFarland is a Michigander living in Houston, TX, with her husband. She received her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston in 2011, and she served as fiction editor for the inaugural issue of Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine. Her work has appeared in Spry, which has nominated her for the storySouth Million Writers Award, as well as in Forge, Glass Mountain, and on

student ImageDavid Messmer (M.F.A., Fiction)

David Messmer moved from Colorado to Houston thirteen years ago. He completed an M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2009) at Rice University, where he studied 19th and 20th Century American Literature with a focus on African American Literature. David still teaches at Rice in the Program for Writing and Communication. He and his wife, Norie, live on campus as resident associates at one of the residential colleges. Despite living at Rice, he still plans to root for the Cougars whenever they square off against the Owls – “It’ll be nice to be on the winning side for once.”

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Jon Meyer (M.F.A., Fiction)

Raised in coastal South Texas, where he most notably worked on oil rigs and fished for trout, Jon Meyer relocated to Boston in 2005, earning his B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in 2009. Since then, he’s kept busy as a bookseller, tutor, remainder buyer, musician, freelance editor, and unreasonably proud cat owner. His fiction and essays, which attempt to mine humor from disillusionment, have appeared in The Emerson Review, Hyena, and Gauge. His writing about music and movies has been featured in The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Compass, BLAST, and online at Aside from writing, Jon enjoys frying chicken, eating fried chicken, and keeping pertinent Simpsons references at the ready. Joining Jon for his triumphant return to Texas is Paul (the cat), who plans spend his languid days staring plaintively out the window at Houston wildlife.

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Luisa Muradyan (Ph.D., Poetry)

Luisa Muradyan was born in Odessa, Ukraine and moved to the heart of the United States (Kansas) as a child. Her childhood heroes included Leo Tolstoy, Peter O’Toole, Han Solo, the cast of the Godfather, and Charles Barkley. She went on to study history at the University of Kansas and Columbia University. She eventually landed in San Marcos, Texas to pursue her love of poetry, George Strait cover bands, and pie baking. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, PANK, Mudlark, and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She comes to Houston after having spent several years teaching English at Kansas State University where she met her fiancé Tyler. She is thrilled to get to know her classmates and to begin the next chapter of her life in Houston.
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Christopher Brean Murray (Ph.D., Poetry)

Christopher Brean Murray grew up in New Jersey. His poems have appeared in jubilat, CutBank, Puerto del Sol, Hoboeye, Correspondence, Fou, and elsewhere. He is the online poetry editor of Gulf Coast and holds degrees from the University of Montana, the University of Michigan, and North Carolina State University. He is in his second year of the PhD program in literature and creative writing.
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Michele Nereim (Ph.D., Fiction)

A born and bred Floridian, yes, Michele Nereim has had to contend with the occasional alligator in her backyard. Their capture is cause for the neighbors to gather, everyone coming out to watch the poor, old dinosaurs get hauled away by animal control. It’s sad knowing they’ll be euthanized, but there are the tiny dogs to think of. Michele earned her MFA at FSU. She taught English and Composition for six years, pole dance for one. She spent the past year selling wine and cigars in The Villages, the U.S.’s largest retirement city, which recently gained international notoriety for a public “sex on the square” incident. Michele was visiting the University of Houston at the time and can in no way be tied to the event. She’s excited to return to a university community, where there’s considerably less pressure to drink and party and where she can pursue her love of words.
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Brenden Oliva (Ph.D., Fiction)

Brenden Oliva was born and bred in Podunk, Northern Utah. He’s completed degrees in Anthropology, Human Biology, and English from the University of Utah, and most recently an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Montana. When not operating in the literary world, Brenden builds and breaks antique Harley Davidsons, first-generation Camaros, and sometimes Jeeps.

student ImageGeorgia Pearle (Ph.D., Poetry)

Born and raised in the Gulf South, Georgia Pearle is an alumna of Smith College and holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, from Lesley University. She has been the recipient of the Ann Babcock Poetry Prize, the Gertrude Posner Spencer Prize for Nonfiction Prose, and the Gulf Coast Ethnic and Heritage Jazz Festival Poetry Prize, and she was runner-up for the 2014 Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets and Writers. She is a current Count Coordinator for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and a doctoral fellow in Creative Writing and Literature, Poetry, at the University of Houston. She lives in Galveston, Texas, with her two children.

student ImageBrennan Peel (M.F.A., Poetry)

Brennan Peel did his undergraduate in American Studies at Southwestern University in Georgetown. After graduating he moved to Manhattan and worked as a temp pushing a cart full of boxes of Kleenexes between cubicles in law offices. He came back to Texas and soon started newspapering. He’s worked as a newspaper reporter for a few years, covering government and business and occasionally sports, murder-suicides and cattle auctions. He moved to Houston from Abilene, TX.

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Adrienne Perry (Ph.D., Fiction)

Adrienne Perry grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the daughter of a rolling stone from Southern California and a mother whose family homesteaded outside of Gillette, Wyoming. Adrienne earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College, serves as the current Editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and is a Kimbilio Fellow. Adrienne is currently at work on a novel and a collection of short stories. An excerpt of her story “Red Desert” was translated by Jean Guiloineau and appears in the French literary journal Siècle 21. An excerpt of her novel is forthcoming from Tidal Basin Review. 
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Dino Enrique Piacentini (M.F.A., Fiction)

Dino Enrique Piacentini comes to Houston via San Francisco, where he worked for a variety of visual arts organizations, including the Galería de la Raza, Mexican Museum, Asian Art Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Before turning to fiction, he wrote travel articles, grant proposals, art reviews, and audio tour scripts. His work has been published in The Massachusetts Review and Confrontation, among other places.

student ImageMartin Rock (Ph.D., Poetry)

Martin Rock is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Dear Mark, an epistolary response to the work of Mark Rothko (Brooklyn Arts Press). His poems have appeared widely in publications such as Black Warrior Review, Conduit, Third Coast, Salamander and Best New Poets 2012. He has worked as a cheesemonger, web-designer, and editor, and lived for four years in Japan where he taught both young and old the idiosyncrasies of the English language. His website is

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Henk Rossouw (Ph.D., Poetry)

Henk Rossouw grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. His poems have appeared in The Boston Review, The Massachusetts Review, Transom, and The Paris Review. In 2009 he gave a reading in Times Square as one of the winners of the Poetry Society of America's Bright Lights Big Verse contest. While a 2005-2006 Sauvé Scholar at McGill University, Henk published a personal essay in The Threepenny Review, and a short story in Tin House. He graduated in 2011 from the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, he is a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. He teaches creative writing classes for Inprint Houston and for Putney Student Travel at Amherst College and in Prague.
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Allie Rowbottom (Ph.D., Non-fiction)

Allie Rowbottom holds an MFA in creative writing from the California Institute of the Arts. She is a fourth year PhD candidate in creative non-fiction writing and literature at UH where she also teaches. In her free time Allie teaches yoga, shops at Value Village, plays with Butter and Flaubert the French bulldogs, as well as Jon the person and Ham the horse.
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Matthew Salesses (Ph.D., Fiction)

Matthew Salesses was adopted from Korea at age two. He has written for NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode blog, Salon, The Rumpus, Glimmer Train, and often for The Good Men Project, where he is the Fiction Editor and a Contributing Writer. His books include a novel, I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying; and an essay collection, Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity. His latest novel, The Hundred-Year Flood, is forthcoming from Little A/New Harvest in 2015. He teaches fiction at Inprint, Writespace, and Grub Street.
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Nathan Stabenfeldt (M.F.A., Poetry)

Nathan Stabenfeldt grew up in southern Indiana nestled between cornfields and manufacturing plants, making for a childhood that was utterly Midwestern. He graduated magna cum laude from Belmont University in the heart of Nashville, TN, where he discovered an affinity for coffee, Nietzsche, and film. Other interests include bicycling, rock ‘n’ roll drumming, and befriending other people’s dogs. His publication credits include the DMQ Review. Nathan is beyond thrilled to be calling Houston home as he joins a vibrant writing community in the Fall of 2014.
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Martha Stallman (Ph.D., Fiction)

Martha Stallman’s work has appeared in The Joyce Studies Annual, The James Joyce Quarterly, and Playboy. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas.
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Yerra Sugarman (Ph.D., Poetry)

Yerra Sugarman is the author of two poetry collections: Forms of Gone and The Bag of Broken Glass, both published by The Sheep Meadow Press. She was awarded a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, a Canada Council Grant for Creative Writers, the 2005 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Poetry Award, a “Discovery”/The Nation Poetry Prize, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial Award and its Cecil Hemley Memorial Award, and a Chicago Literary Award. Her poems, translations, and critical articles have been published widely.
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Andrea Syzdek (M.F.A., Poetry)

Andrea Syzdek is from Houston, Texas. She is working on her MFA in Poetry and is an Assistant Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast.

student ImageDaniel Wallace (Ph.D., Fiction)

Daniel Wallace is a former reporter for the Arizona Republic and recent MFA graduate of Columbia University. He has written for The Villager, Downtown Express, Phoenix New Times, and the Petoskey News Review in northern Michigan. He was an adjunct instructor and Hertog Research Fellow at Columbia.

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Dylan Walsh (Ph.D., Fiction)

Dylan Walsh earned a BA in Literature from New England College in 1999, and a Master's in English and creative writing from the University of New Hampshire in 2006.

student ImageAshley Wurzbacher (Ph.D., Fiction)

Ashley Wurzbacher is a fourth-year PhD student in fiction and holds a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies from the University of Houston. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington.