Ocean State
Summer Writing Conference
Featured Speakers and Participants
Karen Brennan is the author of five books, most recently a poetry collection, The Real Enough World (Wesleyan University Press, 2006) and stories, The Garden in Which I Walk (FC2, 2004). Her memoir Being With Rachel was published by WW Norton in 2002 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the publisher. Her fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies from Norton, University of  Georgia Press, Graywolf, Michigan and Longman.  She is a Professor of English at the University of Utah where she teaches in the graduate creative writing program and has served as  faculty at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers since 1992.

J. D. McClatchy is the author of five collections of poems including Hazmat (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002) which was nominated for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize; Ten Commandments (1998), and his selected poems, Division Spoils, which appeared in England in 2003. He has also published two collections of essays: Twenty Questions (1998) and White Paper (1989). He has edited many other books, and written ten opera libretti that have been produced at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Los Angeles Opera, and many other companies. His honors include an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a New York Public Literary Lions award, and the 2000 Connecticut Governors Arts Award. He served as an Academy of American Poets Chancellor from 1996 until 2003. He teaches at Yale University and lives in Stonington, CT.

Lisa Gardner is The New York Times bestselling author of the suspense novels, The Killing Hour, The Survivors Club, The Next Accident, The Other Daughter, The Third Victim, The Perfect Husband, Alone, Gone and Hide. She Lives in New England with her husband, Anthony.  www.lisagardner.com
Dinaw Mengestu was born in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in 1978. A graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University's MFA program in fiction, and the recipient of a 2006 fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Mengestu's work has appeared in several publications, including Harper's Magazine and Rolling Stone. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears (2006), published by Riverhead, is his first novel.
Talvikki Ansel is the author of My Shining Archipelago (Winner of the Yale Younger Poets Series) and Jetty & Other Poems (Zoo Press, 2003). She has been a recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship.
  Malaga Baldi has worked as an independent literary agent for over twenty years. She enjoys representing biography, cultural history, memoir, literary criticism and literary fiction. As much as she enjoys reading fiction and searching for the great American novel, nonfiction is the bread and butter of her list. Baldi notes that lesbian and gay fiction and nonfiction are a major component of her list. Creative nonfiction -- a combination of intelligent memoir and interdisciplinary studies fascinate her.
Annette Blair is the National bestselling author of Bewitching Romantic Comedies set in Salem, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. She began her career writing Amish, Regency, and Victorian Historicals but hit her stride, and the bestseller lists, with contemporary comedy. Blair recently left her twenty-one year position as the Development Director and Journalism Advisor at Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island to become a full-time writer. Her latest, THE SCOT, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, is her 12th novel.
Liz Boardman is a reporter for the South County Independent in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Since 1994 she has been working as a freelance writer for magazines and writing romantic comedy novels. Her book, Amelia’s Meltdown, was a 1998 Golden Heart finalist and won the 1997 "Love and Laughter" contest.
Mary Cappello, author of Night Bloom and Awkward: A Detour, is a widely published writer of literary nonfiction and an English professor at URI. She is the recipient of the Lange-Taylor Prize from Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies; a Fulbright to teach at the Gorky Literary Institute, Moscow; and the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative for her essay, “Can Creative Writing Be Taught?” www.awkwardness.org
Betty J. Cotter is studying for an MFA in fiction writing at Vermont College. Her first novel, Roberta’s Woods, will be published by Five Star Publishing in March 2008, and she also wrote four pictorial histories for Arcadia Publishing. She was the R.I. State Council on the Arts fiction fellow in 2006. She has worked in newspapers for 25 years and has been managing editor of Independent Newspapers in Wakefield since 1997.
Peter Covino is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island. He is the author of the poetry collection, Cut Off the Ears of Winter (New Issues 2005), a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Thom Gunn Award. He is a founding editor of Barrow Street and just completed a translation project of Italian poets for an anthology on Contemporary European Poets (Graywolf, 2008).
Amity Gaige is the author of the acclaimed novel, O My Darling, for which she was chosen by the National Book Foundation for its “5 under 35” recognition. She teaches at the University of Rhode Island’s Feinstein Providence Campus and at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Her second novel, The Folded World, is due out this spring.
James Patrick Gorham is a third year PhD student of 19th century American literature at the University of Rhode Island, where he is also currently serving as Graduate Publicity Liaison for the English department. His current research interests are focused on intersections of literature, history, science, and aesthetics, and he is currently working on a dissertation on electricity and the lightning rod as a metaphor for the animated body in the period ranging from Benjamin Franklin to Walt Whitman. He is also an occasional writer of poetry, short stories, and songs, and is currently working on completing a novel, tentatively titled Chasing Brabinger.
Christina Gombar's provocative essays on life as a Wall Street woman have appeared in numerous literary journals as well as in Working Woman, The London Review of Books, Scholastic, and The Providence Journal. A prize-winning memoir on 9-11 has been internationally anthologized. Her creative nonfiction has been recognized by a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A
URI grad, she returned to the Ocean State after twenty years in New York. The author of Great Women Writers, 1900-1950, she holds an M.A. from the City University of New York. Her career spans twenty years in journalism and finance, and she has appeared on the cable comedy show, America's Talking, as well as on The Food Network.
Melissa Hotchkiss is a founding editor of the poetry journal Barrow Street and ran the Barrow Street Reading Series in New York City's West Village from 1994 until 2002. Her poetry books include Storm Damage (2002) from Tupelo Press, and her recently completed manuscript Waterline.

Kathryn Kulpa is the author of Pleasant Drugs (Mid-List Press, 2005), winner of the Mid-List Press First Series Award in short fiction. Her work has been published in print magazines, including Florida Review, Seventeen, Hayden's Ferry Review and Asimov's Science Fiction, and in online journals such as Pif, Flashquake and The Pedestal Magazine. She lives in Massachusetts and teaches at the University of Rhode Island.

Robert Leuci is an adjunct professor in the URI English department. He has written seven crime novels, translated into four languages and most recently published a memoir with Harper Collins, All The Centurions. He has also written a television play for the Arts And Entertainment network show 100 Centre Street and has done a radio play for German radio, Brooklyn Roofs. In 1999 he received the South County Center For the Arts literary prize. He lives in Saunderstown.

Linda Lotridge Levin has a new book coming out next fall called Making of FDR: The Story of Stephen T. Early, the First Modern Press Secetary (Prometheus Books). She is a professor and Chair of the Journalism Department at the URI. Her teaching specialities are media law, history of American journalism, advanced reporting and media criticism. She has spent the last decade writing about First Amendment issues, in particular the area of access to public information, and is the author of several books and monographs and a number of newspaper and magazine articles. She has been a fellow of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the American Press Institute and the Annenberg Washington Program. In 1999 she was given the Yankee Quill Award by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors and the New England Society of Professional Journalists and was inducted into the Academy of New England Journalists.
Jody Lisberger, PhD, MFA (fiction) has a story collection, In the Mercy of Water, forthcoming from Fleur-de-Lis Press. Her stories have appeared in Fugue, Michigan Quarterly Review, Thema, Confrontation, and The Louisville Review. She won third place in the 2003 American Literary Review Fiction Contest and was a finalist in the 2004 Quarterly West Fiction Contest.  Jody is a faculty member in the brief residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.  She has taught fiction, creative nonfiction, literature, and feminist theory to university students and adults for more than twenty-five years at the University of Rhode Island, Brown, Harvard, Tufts, Holy Cross, and Boston University. She currently also holds a lectureship at URI in Women's Studies, where she teaches courses that include postcolonial literature, issues of race, class, and sexuality, and women writers. 
Celest Martin has taught English and Writing at the University of Rhode Island for 28 years. Her current interests are rhetorical studies, creative nonfiction, and the intersection of rthetoric and disability studies. She has published in rhetoric and composition studies and in creative nonfiction, with works in circulation in both fields.
Rachel May is the Writer-in-Residence at The Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island and teaches at URI and Providence College. Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in Fugue, Harpur Palate, Night Train, Georgetown Review, and Pacific Review. She worked for several years as Contributing Editor and Writer for Long Island newspapers and magazines and graduated from The University of Montana’s MFA Program.
Kendall Moore joined the URI faculty in 2003. Over the past decade, she has worked as a field producer with ABC News/Discovery Health, the Discovery Channel; producer and national project coordinator with PBS, P.O.V.; and, medical reporter for Reuters. Recently she spent a year on a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. There she taught nonfiction/fiction writing and television production in addition to producing educational television programs on the AIDS epidemic. She manages a non-profit media organization, Communipod Media, designed to create access to the media for traditionally underrepresented groups. She earned an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research.
James Morrison is the author of a memoir, Broken Fever (St. Martin’s Press), and a novel, The Lost Girl (Parlor Press), as well as several nonfiction books on film. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Raritan, and many other magazines and quarterlies, and have been cited for distinguished achievement in both Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. He lives in Southern California and teaches film, literature, and creative writing at Claremont McKenna College.
Martha Elena Rojas is an assistant professor in the Department of English at University of Rhode Island where she teaches Early American and U.S. Literature and Culture. Her research interests include maritime literature, the problem of compromise in early America, pan-American cultural and political movements, and tales of rogues, tricksters, and go-betweens. She is currently working on a manuscript titled, Diplomatic Letters: Custom, Improvisation & Foreign Affairs in the Early American Republic.  
Brett Rutherford has run his own small press, The Poet's Press, since 1971, and is the author of a dozen books of poetry, and two horror novels (Piper, Zebra 1985 and The Lost Children, Zebra 1988). His biographical play about H.P. Lovecraft, Night Guants, has been performed in Providence, aired on radio in Boston, and staged in Heidelberg, Germany; his verse play, Carlota, Empress of Mexico, will have a workshop production in Providence this June. He is completing his Masters Degree in English at URI this fall.

Robin Beth Schaer's work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Rattapallax, Barrow Street, and Greensboro Review, among others. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the 2006 Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books. She works at the Academy of American Poets.

Kate Schapira lives, writes and teaches in Rhode Island. She is the author of a chapbook, Phoenix Memory, published by horse less press, and her work has recently appeared in Word for/Word, Ecopoetics, The Diagram, Shampoo and Coconut, among other places. She curates the Publicly Complex reading series in Providence.
Ravi Shankar, founding editor of the international journal of the arts Drunken Boat and poet-in-residence at Central Connecticut State, has published a book of poems, Instrumentality (Cherry Grove), named a finalist for the 2005 Connecticut Book Awards. He has appeared as a commentator on NPR, written poems, reviews and essays for such publications as The Paris Review, Fulcrum and Poets & Writers. Along with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, he is currently editing an anthology of contemporary South Asian, Middle Eastern and East Asian poetry, due out with W.W. Norton & Co. in Spring 2008.
Julius Olusola Sokenu is professor of English at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT and adjunct professor of English at Rhode Island College. He is a recipient of a Walker Foundation fellowship, Bosselaar Family Foundation fellowship, and a Rhode Island Foundation New Works grant. His poems have appeared in Nimrod: International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Haydens Ferry Review, Savannah Review, and Zone Magazine.

Nicki Toler is a working writer whose essays and non-fiction pieces have appeared in a variety of publications over the last 15 years. Her “Just a Thought” column runs in East Greenwich Magazine each month, and her fiction and non-fiction work were featured in the 2007 Rhode Island Writers’ Circle Anthology.  She is a Web editor at the University of Rhode Island.

Jerry Williams is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. Carnegie Mellon University Press published his first collection of poems, Casino of the Sun, in 2003. His poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in such magazines as American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Pleiades, Hayden's Ferry Review, Under the Sun, and many others.
Jean Walton is author of Fair Sex, Savage Dreams: Race, Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference (Duke UP, 2001) and many articles on modernism, psychoanalysis, and the body. About to conclude a four-year term as Chair of the English Department at URI, she looks forward to returning to the classroom on a full time basis to teach courses in gay and lesbian literature, film, modernism, and critical theory.



This page last updated:3/15/2007 by: Michelle Caraccia
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