Student & Alum Success!

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This March will not end…so here’s what our people have been doing in this very long spring…because not even a vast global pandemic can stop our people from succeeding! (And thanks, as ever, to Yennie Cheung for tracking this goodness.)

May & June

A.E. Santana‘s short story “Neighborly” was published in Fright Girl Summer.

AM Larks‘s short story “The Isle of Tutti Frutti” was published in Charge.

Bill Ratner recited an original poem in the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s first episode of Virtual Fringe Cabaret.

Carol Damgen participated in an online reading of Steel Magnolias on May 8 for Riverside’s BellaJohn Theatricals.

Carol Park was interviewed in The Independent, speaking on her book Memoir of a Cashier.

Charli Englehorn‘s essay “An Open Letter to My White Would-Be Allies” was published in The Manifest-Station. She was also a guest speaker (via Zoom) at North East School of the Arts on May 14.

Cynthia Alessandra Briano read at Cobra Milk‘s online event benefitting Black Trans Protesters Emergency Fund on June 25.

Darlene Kriesel‘s poem “I Raised Her” was published in Cultural Weekly.

David Olsen‘s short story “Ghost Tree” was published in the summer issue of Catamaran. He participated in a reading celebrating the issue’s launch on June 6.

Dorothy Rice‘s essay “Words, and Black Lives, Matter” was published on Brevity‘s blog.

Francesca Lia Block participated in a video interview with Sera Gamble. An appreciation of her books was also featured in Book Riot.

Guy Nicollucci revealed the poster for his upcoming movie Cheer Squad Secrets.

Heather Scott Partington conducted interviews for Alta with various writers: Kimi Eisele, Katie M. Flynn, Tod Goldberg, Edan Lepucki, Peter Orner, Rishi Reddi, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Matthew Zapruder. Print and video interviews can be found on her bio page for the site:

Jalysa Conway has been named a co-producer on the Fox television show 9-1-1: Lone Star.

Jeff Meyers‘s web series The Crooked Tower is now up in full on Filmaka’s YouTube page. The cast includes alum Xach Fromson as Lord Alabaster.

Kathryn McGee was interviewed on Open Book about hosting her horror book club at the Last Bookstore during quarantine.

Leslie Gonzalez‘s article “Sending Cam Girls Gifts in the Age of Coronavirus” was published in OK Whatever.

Lisa Quigley‘s debut novella, Hell’s Bells, was published by Unnerving on May 28. Her and Mackenzie Kiera‘s podcast, Ladies of the Fright, also received its second consecutive nomination for Best Nonfiction Podcast in the This Is Horror Awards. This Is Horror interviewed the duo together and Lisa individually for a subscription-only live podcast.

Liska Jacobs‘s first novel, Catalina, was featured in Lit Up‘s roundup of crime and mystery books set in Southern California.

Lon Varnadore published his novel Junker Blues: Mars in June.

Luke Yankee‘s play Marilyn, Mom & Me won the Sponsor’s Choice Award in Southwest Theatre Productions‘ Rising Artists playwriting competition. Luke presented a virtual staged reading of the play on May 14 with donations benefitting the Actors Fund, and he conducted a webinar on directing for theater, which was hosted by 3D Theatricals.

Mag Gabbert‘s poem “Constellation” was published in Waxwing, and “Bathtub” was published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review #51. Her review of Dorothea Lasky’s Animal was published in Charge.

Maggie Downs‘s debut memoir Braver Than You Think was published by Counterpoint on May 12. The book was covered by The Evening Standard, Book Riot, Shelf Awareness (where it received a starred review), Popsugar, The Rumpus (written by current student Amy Reardon), Lit Up, Kelp (written by alum David Olsen), Dandelion Chandelier, BookPage, and the Vernon Area Public Library’s vlog. She participated in interviews and webinars with Drinks with Tony, BookTime, Lit Up, Personal Space, Deviate with Rolf Potts, and Literary Hub (interviewed by alum Heather Scott Partington). She also read for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and spoke at virtual events with Let’s Talk Books, Writers Blok, Book Soup, Book Party Chat, and The Mercantile Library. Maggie also won an arts grant from the California Desert Arts Council, which published her essay “So Sad Today: Conversations With a 5-Year-Old During a Pandemic.” Another essay, “Stinkface and schooling in the time of quarantine,” was published in The OC Register.

Matthew Ellis reviewed The Perfect Father by John Glatt for Publishers Weekly.

Matthew Johnson rereleased his short story “Planeswalker” as a standalone publication.

Monty Mickelson was interviewed by Literary Arts about his work at Writers in the Schools.

Natashia Deón‘s essay “I Accept Help More Readily” was published in The New York Times as part of a series on motherhood. She was also interviewed for Shoutout LA and the podcast The Way We Live Now. She also participated in virtual readings through the California African American Museum’s Children’s Reading Hour and The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading sponsored by BookSwell.

Pam Munter‘s one-act play Rosalie’s Reprise was published in Canyon Voices.

Rob Bowman received an arts grant from the California Desert Arts Council, which also published his essay “What We Sow.”

Ryan Ritchie‘s essay “The Time I’ve Always Wanted” was published in The Good Men Project.

Sarah Sheppeck‘s essay “Yes, All” was published in Writers Resist.

Sofia Arellano‘s essay “Don’t Touch My Weenie: Being the Chronic Creep Who Needs Emotional Support during the Epidemic” (Under the name Xochi Rosebuds) was published in Kelp.

Travis Hedge Coke‘s poems “Young Lady on a Bus” and “The Purple Manner” were published in Beestung; the former was subsequently chosen as Verse Daily‘s Web Weekly Feature. He also contributed to HL Hix’s poetry theory book Counterclaims. For Comic Watch, Travis co-wrote the article ” The Sounds of Silence: CBLDF and Systemic Toxicity in Comics” and spoke on the site’s panel “Gender & Sexuality in the X-Men


Andrew Navarro‘s poems “Men” and “Can being Mexican be contained in a poem?” were published in the anthology Puro Chicanx Writers of The 21st Century, released at AWP in San Antonio by Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts.

Annette Fuller served as guest co-host of the podcast The Omni Show.

Art Hanlon‘s essay “Vanishing Point” was published in Please See Me.

Cooper Gillespie‘s spoken word poem “Women’s Day” was published in Writers Resist. Her poem “For Hugging My Friend Susan” was published in Kelp.

Cynthia Alessandra Briano was the featured poet at the Redondo Poets’ online Poetry Night held on Zoom on March 31.

Darlene Kriesel curated the event “Speaking of Rivers” at the Boca de Oro Literary Arts Festival in Santa Ana, CA on March 7.

David Olsen gave a craft lecture on opening paragraphs to creative writing students at the North East School of the Arts in San Antonio on March 5.

Dorothy Rice‘s essay “My First Edible” was published in Hobart.

Eli Ryder‘s story “Hunting Ground” was published in the anthology Horror USA—Texas: An Anthology of Horror from the Lone Star State.

Heather Scott Partington‘s interview with author Vanessa Hua was published by Alta, which also recorded and published her live interview with Bonnie Tsui.

Jenny Hayes reviewed Weather by Jenny Offill for the Seattle Review of Books.

Kaia Gallagher‘s essay “Vanaema’s Gifts” was published in Still Point Arts Quarterly. Her essay “The Columbine Faultline” was published in Wordpeace.

Kit-Bacon Gressitt‘s nonfiction story “Regina and the Racist” was published in Hard Crackers.

Lisa Quigley revealed the cover of her upcoming novella, Hell’s Bells.

Liska Jacobs interviewed author Katie Orphan for the launch of Katie’s book, Read Me, Los Angeles, at Skylight Books on March 11.

Mag Gabbert received a poetry fellowship for Idyllwild Arts Writers Week in Idyllwild, CA.

Maggie Downs announced that her upcoming memoir, Braver Than You Think, will be made available as an audiobook through Brilliance Publishing.

Pam Munter‘s essay “Doris and Me” was published in memoryhouse, and her essay “Finding Old Friends” was published in Talking Soup. Her short story “Gerry’s Interview” was published in Blue Lake Review.

Rachel Zarrow‘s essay “The Best Part of ‘Little Women’ Is That It Contains No Bad Men” was published in Electric Literature.

Ruth Nolan hosted and read at an event for her anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California at the Beatnik Café in Joshua Tree on March 1.

Ryan Ritchie‘s essay “Being a New Teacher at 40” was published by The Good Men Project.

Tiffany Hawk‘s interview with Joshua Wong and Jason Y. Ng was published in World Literature Today.

Tom Provost participated in two panels at AWP in San Antonio. “Adaptation: Transform Your Novel into a Marketable Screenplay” took place on March 5, and “Screenwriting: The 8 Traits of Killer Characters” occurred on March 7.

Travis Hedge Coke moderated the panel “Singing Still: A Tribute to LeAnne Howe” at AWP on March 7.

Wendy Maxon‘s flash fiction story “In Transit” was published in City. River. Tree.


A.M. Larks‘s flash fiction piece “In Person” was published in Five on the Fifth.

Amy Reardon‘s interview with Brandon Taylor was published in The Adroit Journal.

Art Hanlon‘s short story “The English Roadster” was published in Kelp.

Bill Ratner read his poetry at the Askew Poetry Reading Series in Pasadena, CA on February 8 and at the Claremont United Church of Christ in Claremont, CA on February 23 for the local library’s Fourth Sundays program.

Billy Minshall was interviewed on the Make That Paper podcast.

Clarinda Ross attended the National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Grand Lake, CO, where her play #Gunsense was read.

Cynthia Alessandra Briano read as the featured poet at Poetry Apocalypse at Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro on February 16. She also facilitated a storytelling workshop as part of the series “Imagining Home: The Stories Photos Tell” at the Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino on February 22.

Daniel J. Collins had his flash fiction story “The Sky Wept” published in City. River. Tree. This is his first publication.

Emmet Browne‘s flash fiction story “Dancing Bluebird” was published in City. River. Tree. His short story “Un-Replicable” was published in Altered Reality. These are respectively Emmet’s first acceptance and first publication.

Francesca Lia Block is featured in the new book Read Me, Los Angeles by Katie Orphan.

George D. Morgan‘s play Rocket Girl, adapted from his book, debuted at the Powerhouse Performing Arts Center in New Canaan, CT on February 21.

Grace Jasmine‘s short play, The Carnival, was staged at Laughing Pig Theater’s 24-Hour Theatre Event at the East Valley Overnight Theatre in Mesa, Arizona on February 29.

Guy Nicolucci‘s script My Ex Best Friend was approved for production for Lifetime.

Heather Scott Partington‘s interview with Ander Monson appeared in Alta. She also interviewed Mary Kubica for Goodreads.

Jaime Parker Stickle‘s short story “Alone Time” was named a finalist in Adelaide‘s short fiction contest. She also launched the new podcast called Make That Paper as well as a new reading series called Okay You Guys…, which debuted with a reading on February 16 in Hollywood that featured, among others, Cooper Gillespie, Lindsay Jamieson, and Diana Love.

Jay Paul Deratany‘s film Foster Boy played at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival in Los Angeles, where it won the festival’s Special Ja’Net Award. It also played at the Sedona International Film Festival in Sedona, AZ, where it won the award for Best Drama, and at the Santa Fe Film Festival. Jay and the film were also featured in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Executive producer Shaquille O’Neal’s op-ed about the movie was also published in Variety.

Lee Cohn‘s movie Bachelor Lions is now available on Amazon Prime.

Lisa Quigley and Mackenzie Kiera were featured in the four-part Women in Horror Month Roundtable hosted by author Gwendolyn Kiste.

Liska Jacobs read from her novel The Worst Kind of Want at Stories Books & Café in Los Angeles on February 11. She also interviewed author Lydia Fitzpatrick at a book signing at Mysterious Galaxies in San Diego on February 6. Liska was also featured in the new book Read Me, Los Angeles by Katie Orphan.

Mag Gabbert‘s poems “Rhinoceros” and “Bee” were published in Hobart. Her poem “Gum” was also published in The Cortland Review.

Maggie Downs‘s upcoming memoir, Braver Than You Think, was reviewed in Kirkus and featured in Publishers Weekly‘s article “Psychic Explorations: New Travel Books 2020.”

Max Gee‘s screenplay Hydrangea was read and published in two parts by The Script Department.

Natashia Deón read and spoke as the featured writer at Chapman University’s Write to Read event on February 17. She was also featured in an interview on Andrea Guevara’s website.

Pam Munter‘s short story “Everything That Mattered” was named a finalist in Adelaide‘s short fiction contest. She also signed a deal with Adelaide Books to publish her next book, Fading Fame: Women of a Certain Age in Hollywood, a collection of stories and short plays.

Trai Cartwright produced the short film Sundown Road, which premiered at the Simply Indie Festival on February 21.

Travis Hedge Coke‘s story “1743 Mulberry” was published by Wild Musette.

Wendy Maxon co-led and co-designed a four-day program for the Webb Schools’ “Unbounded Days” initiative. The program “It’s Alive: A Journey into Contemporary Horror” included, among other things, discussions with guest experts such as professor Stephen Graham Jones and professor/alum Mickey Birnbaum.

By | 2020-07-26T17:00:03-07:00 July 26th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Student & Alum Success!

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