Jacqueline Giessler and Charlie Garza receive 2022 Nelson Awards

Jacqueline Giessler and Charlie Garza have received the David and Sylvia Nelson Award, which supports creative writing students performing unpaid summer internships that further their writing education.

Jacqueline is a rising senior double majoring in Creative Writing and Literature and Economics. Jacqueline is a talented writer who investigates social issues in her work, particularly themes of women’s empowerment, through an entertaining blend of realism and the magical. Jacqueline will intern this summer as a media and outreach coordinator with the Poetry Lab, based in Alpena, Michigan, and founded by two UM alums.

Charlie is a rising junior majoring in Creative Writing and Literature. Charlie’s short stories use the fantasy and speculative fiction genres to explore both large scale societal issues and intimate questions about life and mortality. Charlie will intern this summer with nonprofit publisher Dzanc Books as an editorial assistant.

Kaleb Brown hired as staff writer at USA Today

2021 RC creative writing alum Kaleb Brown will begin work May 9th as a.staff writer for USA Today’s Reviewed.co (which is described as “a team of product experts (geeks, in truth) that put in the hard work of testing products so you don’t have to.”

From Detroit, Kaleb worked as a news intern in the summer of 2020 at the Detroit Free Press, and has published articles in Medium, “usually about pop culture.” He has published poetry and fiction in the U-M Library’s annual Cafe Shapiro collection, and published an article about Pinball Pete’s in the March 2018 Ann Arbor Observer. With Andrew Warrick, Kaleb received the RC’s Emerging Writer Award in Spring 2021.

 Kaleb is also featured in Bring Your Words: A Writers’ Community Anthology, which features essays, poems, and short stories by ten U-M writers, including Kathryn Orwig (RC 2017) and Abby O’Meara (RC 2022). It’s published by the Ann Arbor District Library’s Fifth Avenue Press and is available for purchase. The library plans a book event on May 22nd.

Several RC students win Winter 2022 Hopwoods!

Several current RC students (and LSA students majoring in RC Creative Writing or having taken an RC writing class or tutorial) won Winter 2022 Hopwood awards! Congratulations!

Screenplay: Jessica Curney

Undergraduate Nonfiction: Patience Young, Jingqi Zhu (finalist)

Undergraduate Poetry: Olivia Evans, Fez Fessenden, Jenna Good, Elizabeth Wolfe

Undergraduate Fiction: Vivian Chiao, Andrew Nakamura, Jena Vallina, Madelyn Agne (finalist)

Keith Taylor Award for Excellence in Poetry: Olivia Evans

Marjorie Rapaport Award in Poetry: Olivia Evans

Peter Phillip Pratt Award in Fiction: Vivian Chiao

Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship: Vivian Chiao, Roshni Veeramachaneni, Wroxanna Work, Evangeline Yeh

Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize for Dramatic Writing: Jessica Curney

Leonard and Eileen Newman Writing Prize for Fiction: Vivian Chiao, Jena Vallina

Helen J. Daniels Prize: Patience Young

The Jeffrey L. Weisberg Memorial Award: Jenna Good

Robert F. Haugh Prize: Vivian Chiao

Sofia Spencer to publish flash fiction in Coastal Shelf literary magazine

RC alumna Sofia Spencer (Creative Writing, History, 2021) will publish a flash fiction piece in Coastal Shelf, a quarterly literary magazine. Sofia says she wrote the piece while in Laura Thomas’s Narration class. Sofia was recently published (December 2020) in Exeter Publishing’s From the Soil: A Hometown Anthology (“Michigan: A Hateful Love Letter”), and is working on a collection of short stories.

Sofia is currently in the Royal Holloway graduate program at the University of London. While at U-M, Sofia won a Hopwood Award, in 2019, for “Bombshells and Blood: Three Stories.”

Laura Thomas and Lily Buday stories nominated for Pushcart Prize

Laura Thomas (1988) and Lily Buday (2018) have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Laura is nominated for “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” which appeared in Fallbetter’s September issue.

Lily is nominated for “Saint Ophelia’s School for Drowned Girls,” which appeared in The Chauttauqua Journal. “Saint Ophelia” was first written for Laura’s Advanced Narration class; it also won a Hopwood, one of three for Lily.

Lily is an MFA student at the University of Arkansas, where she is also publicity and outreach director at The Arkansas International.

Poets and Writers calls Carmen Bugan’s recent book “essential”

1996 RC creative writing alum Carmen Bugan‘s recent book, Poetry and the Language of Oppression: Essays on Politics and Poetics (2021) was listed as one of the “essential books for creative writers” on the Poets & Writers website. The brief accompanying review notes that “through five probing chapters . . . Bugan incorporates pieces from her life and writing as well as the work of other writers . . . to consider how poetry acts as a healing language in times of public duress.”

Carmen is giving a poetry workshop on Saturday, November 20, through the Geneva Writers Group: “The Language of Recovery: Poems of Hope and Healing.” Click here for more information and to register. 

A recent lecture by Carmen on poetic inspiration, given in support of the release of Poetry and the Language and Oppression, is available on YouTube. 

And in April, Shearsman Books will publish Time Being, a collection of Carmen’s poems about the pandemic.

RC alum Ian Ross Singleton’s new book

2004 RC creative writing alum Ian Ross Singleton’s novel, Two Big Differences, will be published by MGraphics out of Boston in October 2021, with illustrations by William Ford. Excerpts of Ian’s novel are available in the fifth RC Alumni Journal (a PDF of the issue is viewable here, and also on the RCWriters website, under the journals tab).

Ian is a writer and translator of the wonderful English and Russian languages. He is a Professor of Writing at Baruch College and Fordham University and an alternate delegate in his union, the Professional Staff Congress. His short stories, translations, reviews, and essays have appeared in journals such as: Saint Ann’s Review; Cafe Review; New Madrid; Midwestern Gothic; Fiddleblack; Asymptote; Ploughshares; The Los Angeles Review of Books and Fiction Writers Review. His short-story collection manuscript Grow Me Up was a finalist for the 2020 Tartts Fiction Award. He judged the 2017 Hopwood Award contest at U-M. Ian has taught Creative Writing and Literature for New York Writers Workshop, San Francisco State University, Cogswell Polytechnical College, the Prison University Project, and the PEN Prison Writing Program.

RC alum Jon Michael Darga featured in Writer’s Digest

RC writing alum Jon Michael Darga (2014) is one of 21 literary agents profiled in Writer’s Digest’s annual “Literary Agent Roundup,” in the September-October 2021 issue. The article should be viewable on-line later this Fall. Jon works for Aevitas Creative Management in New York, and details his fiction and non-fiction interests, as an agent, talks about recent sales, and gives submission guidelines and tips for writers.

Last March, Jon and fellow RC 2014 writing grad Allison Epstein talked about “Paths to Publication” with RC creative writing head Laura Thomas. A video of the talk is viewable below, and available on the RC’s YouTube page.

RC senior Jade Wurst a 2021 Honors Summer Fellow

RC Senior Jade Wurst was one of 19 Summer Fellows chosen by the U-M Honors Program last summer. The Program “offers the unique opportunity for students to spend a summer in Ann Arbor focusing on thesis work.” A description of Jade’s work on the Honors website says: “As the culmination of her studies in Creative Writing and Literature, her thesis will consist of a poetry collection that approaches sight critically. Of particular importance are power dynamics manifested in sight, relationships between the visual and notions of reality. and ways in which self and exterior are constructed. This collection will draw from Critical and Cultural Studies as well as reflections on sight in varied disciplines. Sight as a line of inquiry came to her attention when she realized how dependent her writing was on it. More specifically, she has come to recognize the photographic quality of her earlier poetry, seeking now to explore and subvert these dynamics. She hopes this project will challenge her as a writer and open new avenues of inquiry.”

RC alum Carmen Bugan contributes to podcast about the power of words

RC creative writing alum Carmen Bugan (RC 1996) recently contributed to an Oxford University Press podcast about the power of words, arguing against the uses of rage in dealing with social justice.

Carmen also recently reviewed Eilean Ni Chuilleanain’s Collected Poems on Harvard Review Online.

Carmen’s new book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, was recently published by Oxford University Press. The press release notes that the book “offers an autobiographical practicing poet’s perspective on writing about Cold War government surveillance and political oppression;  discusses the process of ‘writing oneself free’ by adopting a second language, and makes the case for the necessity of individual, personal testimony in literature; and contributes an understanding of the language of oppression, and the concepts of freedom and liberty of the individual in a conflict-riven society.”

Carmen was born in Romania and emigrated to the United States in 1989. After U-M she earned an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University, and a MA and PhD (English Literature) from Oxford University, UK. Her poetry collections include Crossing the Carpathians (2004), The House of Straw (2014), Releasing the Porcelain Birds (2016) and Lilies from America: New and Selected Poems (2019). She has also published a memoir, Burying the Typewriter (2012), and Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile (2013).  She teaches at the Gotham Writers Workshop in NYC and lives in Long Island.

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