This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Student Success

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It’s the time of year when graduate schools in creative writing begin to take new applications for their spring classes, which means it’s the time of year when people get nervous about whether or not going to graduate school in creative writing is worth it. Since our founding in 2008, we’ve operated under the guiding philosophy that if our writers aren’t publishing and producing, if they aren’t living a life in the arts, if we aren’t helping them get where they want to be, what’s the point?

Fortunately, the point gets made every day by the wonderful writers who walk through our doors and then go off to productive and creative writing and artistic lives. Below is a sampling of just some of the success stories from 2017. We missed a few, surely, which says something…

Alexandra Neumeister‘s first published story, “Hidden Depths,” was published in the horror anthology CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN’.

Andy Blumenthal‘s story “Breaking News: He Fakes His Orgasms” was printed in WRITERS RESIST.

Anna Hozian‘s web comedy series OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN premiered at DePaul University in Chicago and online. Her script ANCHOR BABY was acquired by producer Dale Johnson, while her drama SOMEDAY, OHIO placed fourth in ScreenCraft’s Feature Script Contest. New Threads Theater Company staged Anna’s ten-minute play “The Sacrifices We Make” in Riverside in March. She also conducted an interview with Mary Ann Thebus for the book ACTING FOR THE STAGE.

Anna Weinstein served as series editor for the PERFORM book series—WRITING FOR THE SCREEN, ACTING FOR THE STAGE, and DIRECTING FOR THE SCREEN—which included conducting 30+ interviews with luminaries including Ellen Burstyn, Michael Apted, and Mary Harron. FILM INTERNATIONAL also published several of her interviews with female filmmakers.

Annie Connole‘s poem “Inaugural Bird Omens” was published by WRITERS RESIST.

Art Hanlon‘s essay “The Brilliant Present” ran as a Story of the Week in NARRATIVE.

Ashley Mag Gabbert had nearly a dozen poems published in journals such as NEW PLAINS REVIEW, SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW, PHOEBE, CLEAVER, CARVE, and GUESTHOUSE. Her poetry and nonfiction were also featured in White Stag Publishing’s #GHOSTMOTEL anthology. Her poetry manuscript BLOW (formerly I COULD GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW) was named a semifinalist in poetry contests with Grayson Books, Sundress Press, Agape Editions, and C&R Press. She also receive the Herlin Scholarship for Creative Writing and the Hazlewood Memorial Graduate Fellowship. She has also begun teaching at Writing Workshops Dallas.

Carol Damgen was named the Vice Chair of the National Playwriting Program for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival-Region 8.

Carol Park‘s debut nonfiction book, MEMOIR OF A CASHIER, was released by the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at UCR and was featured in such media outlets as ABC, NBC, CBS, THE LA TIMES, and NPR.

Cat Martin-Darby‘s poem “Bird on It” was published in the SAN DIEGO WRITERS INK 10TH YEAR ANTHOLOGY.

Christine Ma‘s short play DO YOU REMEMBER was staged at a reading by East West Players at SUMMER SHORTS at the Santa Monica Playhouse.

Clarinda Ross‘s play #GUNSENSE OR ILYSM was named a semifinalist in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s ten-minute play contest.


Charles G. Thompson‘s story “Motions of a Vertical Kind” was published by STORGY, while his essay “Fun to Be Fabulous” published was also published in WRITERS RESIST. Several of his stories were also read by actors at the New Short Fiction reading series in North Hollywood. He also launched Pen & Paper Writing Workshops, offering classes in fiction, nonfiction (with Sara Marchant), and screenwriting (with Senta Scarborough).

Chuck Erven interviewed producer Bruce Gilbert for the book WRITING FOR THE SCREEN.

Clarinda Ross’ play LOVE, M. was performed as a staged reading by the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, CA. Her play #gunsense or ILYSM was named a semifinalist in Region 8 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s ten-minute play contest.

Colby Buzzell had two articles published in POPULAR MECHANICS: “The Battle of New York” and “This Is Fleet Week.” His article “The Last Harvest: A Stormy Season on a California Weed Farm” was published by MEN’S JOURNAL, and an excerpt ran in ROLLING STONE under the title “What It’s Like to Work on a Weed Farm.”

Cynthia Romanowski‘s essay “Till Kingdom Come” was published in COAST MAGAZINE, while her essay “Something More” was published by WRITERS RESIST Cynthia also served as a contributing writer to the book DTLA/37: DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES IN THIRTY-SEVEN STORIES.

David Martinez‘s essay “I Still Am” appeared in WRITERS RESIST.

David Zimmerle had an article on SURFER’s website entitled “Another Twist in Trestles Toll Road Saga.” His essay “Ice” was also published in THE SURFER’S JOURNAL.

Dein Sofley‘s prose poem “Love Letter to Chicago” ran in WRITERS RESIST.

Douglas Wood‘s erasure poem “Silk Purse I” is up at WRITERS RESIST while “Silk Purse II” was published by RISE UP REVIEW.

Dorothy Rice‘s nonfiction has appeared in the TIN HOUSE OPEN BAR, MINERVA RISING, and PROXIMITY. A flash fiction piece “Choke Point” was published by JELLYFISH REVIEW, while her story “Tiny Dancer” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by CHROME BABY.

Eileen Shields‘s first speculative fiction story, “Miss May,” was published in GOLD MAN REVIEW. Her essay “Highway to the Danger Zone” was published by PURPLE CLOVER.

Eli Ryder‘s short story “Inventory” was published in DARK MOON DIGEST. His flash fiction piece, “All In The Wrist,” appeared in JAMAIS VU.

Gail Mackenzie-Smith published 28 essays in PURPLE CLOVER, including “She’s Not There,” “Looking for Answers from the Great Beyond,” “Nothing is Given as Freely as Advice” “My Schizophrenic Brother,” and “When Will This Sexist Crap Stop?” She also won the Wise Words Writing Contest with her TV script INVISIBLE.

Gallagher Lawson reviewed Eugene Lim’s novel DEAR CYBORGS for Ploughshares.

George Morgan‘s play SQUEAKY FROMME IS OUT THERE premiered in Riverside and was staged by fellow alum Carol Damgen at New Threads Theater Company. His play THE WIGGLE ROOM was produced at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City. The audio book for his biography ROCKET GIRL was released earlier this year. His essay “Powder Blue” ran in the inaugural issue of TINY TIM LITERARY REVIEW.

Grace Jasmine had two musicals, SYBIL’S CLOSET and F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES, premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this summer. Her essay “The Chemo Show” was published in MEMOIR while another essay, “My Mother’s Stroke,” was published by OPEN THOUGHT VORTEX.

Guy Nicolucci‘s TV movie GIVE ME MY BABY (formerly titled THE STRANGER INSIDE) aired on Lifetime in May. His essays “‘The Apartment’ Is One of the Best Christmas Movies Ever Made,” “Thar She Blows: My Long Voyage with the Great American Novel, Moby Dick,” and “I Can’t Have It” were published by PURPLE CLOVER.

Heather Scott Partington received an Emerging Critic Fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle and contributes to the NBCC’s Online Committee. Her reviews and interviews have been published this year in venues including THE NEW YORK TIMES, NEWSDAY, THE LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, THE STAR TRIBUNE, and LAS VEGAS WEEKLY.

Jacqueline Luckett contributed to A LITERARY COCKTAIL PARTY, a book created for Independent Bookstore Day.

Jalysa Conway wrote the GREY’S ANATOMY episode entitled “Danger Zone,” which premiered on October 26 and landed her an interview with PEOPLE. She also won the Writers Guild Foundation’s pitch competition.

Jason Metz‘s essay “The Invisible” for WRITERS RESIST was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, while another essay entitled “Severance” was published by Hobart.

Jay Deratany’s film “Foster Boy” began filming, with a cast including Matthew Modine and Lou Gossett Jr. for a release in 2018.

Jeff Eyres‘s script CHAPEL PERILOUS was named a finalist at the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival.

Jeff Meyers‘s short stories were accepted into several anthologies and literary journals, including THE BIG BOOK OF BOOTLEG HORROR, VOL. 1; CONFRONTATION; THE CAROLINA QUARTERLY; DARK LANE ANTHOLOGY, VOL. 6; DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION; and CANYON VOICES. His article “Making a Living by Mixing Media: How to Make the Leap From Directing Features to Directing Television” on MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE.

Jennifer McCartin‘s microfiction “Sometime on Tuesday” was published by RUM PUNCH PRESS.

Jessica Holmes‘s treatment for WHITE-HAIRED GOLDENROD (written under the name Cora J. Duffy) was an Official Finalist in the Cannes Screenplay Contest’s Best Treatment/Concept category.

Jim Jennewein wrote an essay called “Eight Principles to Empower Your Writing and Your Life” for the book WRITING FOR THE SCREEN.

JoAnn Chaney published her debut novel WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW with Flatiron Books. The book has been translated into several languages and has received positive reviews from outlets such as THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, THE GUARDIAN, the UK’s DAILY MAIL and BOOK RIOT, which named it one of the “Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017.” She was longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s New Blood Award.

Joelyn Pasternak‘s essay “Raising a Feminist Son” was published in THE RUMPUS.

John Flynn-York had several reviews published in THE RUMPUS, including work by Julio Cortázar, Daša Drndić and John Darnielle. He also reviewed work by Jeff VanderMeer and Garth Risk Hallberg for FICTION ADVOCATE.

John Mattson contributed several lists of underrated films to ROBERT PUPKIN SPEAKS, including movies from 1947 and 1977. He also was hired to lecture at Golden West College.

John Rosenberg published the second edition of his book THE HEALTHY EDIT: CREATIVE EDITING TECHNIQUES FOR PERFECTING YOUR MOVIE with Focal Press.

Julia Watson began publishing her serial novel SHINYQUEST on SATURDAY MORNING SERIAL. Her short film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD was accepted into the Fake Flesh Film Fest, Big Terror Horror Film Fest, and Days of the Dead Film Fest. Julia also served as editor for the book DTLA/37: DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES IN THIRTY-SEVEN STORIES.

Kaia Gallagher‘s first publication, “Just a Hug,” ran in FLASH FICTION MAGAZINE.

Kaitlin Hulsy‘s flash fiction piece “Ramone the Mongoose” also ran in FLASH FICTION MAGAZINE.

Karen Howes‘s musical SENECA FALLS debuted in July in Margaretville, NY.

Kat Kiefer-Newman‘s essay “Studio Time” was published by OPEN: JOURNAL OF ARTS & LETTERS.

Kate Abbott‘s essay “Helping My Son Choose Between the Cub Scouts and His Beliefs about God” was published by LONGREADS.

Katherine MacDonald was named Vice President of both Development and Marketing for Paramount Animation. Her first fiction publication, “Don’t Leave Me Behind,” was published by BLUMHOUSE.

Kathryn McGee, along with fellow alumna Yennie Cheung, published the nonfiction/art book DTLA/37: DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES IN THIRTY-SEVEN STORIES with En Ville Publishing. Kathryn’s short story “The Mark” was published in GAMUT while “Room of Water” was featured in the anthology DEAD BAIT 4. Her haiku “First, the Tongue” was published in the Horror Writers Association’s POETRY SHOWCASE VOLUME IV.

Kendall Brunson‘s short film BOX was accepted by the Loft Film Fest in Tuscon and the Miami Independent Film Festival’s MONTHLY EDITION. Kendall served as writer/producer of another short film, WILLOW GARDEN, which was also accepted by MONTHLY EDITION. It received some rave reviews at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, with mentions in DIABOLIQUE, CINEMA CRAZED, and NIGHTMARISH CONJURINGS. The short was directed by alum Katherine MacDonald and starred fellow alum Jon Levenson.

Kit-Bacon Gressitt wrote an essay called “Can We Talk About Banned Trump Books?” which was one of PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY’s most read articles of the year.

Kristi Rabe‘s essay “Always” was published in THE MANIFEST-STATION.

Larry Handy and his poetry band Totem Maples were nominated for three 2017 Just Plain Folks Music Awards: one for Best Spoken Word Album and two for Best Spoken Word Song.

Lee Cohn began teaching acting at American Musical & Dramatic Academy.

Lia Langworthy‘s essay “Thank You, F-You, Me Too” was published by ANGELS FLIGHT • LITERARY WEST, while her essay “Dear Daughter” was published by WRITERS RESIST, then reprinted in German in BRIEFE AUS AMERIKA. Lia was named an instructor at UCLA Extension.

Lilliana Winkworth co-wrote and co-starred in the production I LOVE YOU, BUT I DON’T LIKE YOU, which ran twice in Chicago. The rough cut pilot of her web series KILL ME was named a finalist for Channel Fluxx’s Pilot Competition.

Lindsey Lewis Smithson had four poems up in TINY TIM LITERARY REVIEW: “Dermoid,” “The Shrine of St. Anthony,” “PPD,” and “Hypochondria.”

Lisa Quigley wrote several articles for DWARF + GIANT, including reviews of WITCH: UNLEASHED, UNTAMED, UNAPOLOGETIC and Michelle Tea’s MODERN TAROT, as well as a write-up on the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES reboot.

Liska Jacobs‘s debut novel CATALINA was published by MCD/FSG Originals with praise from THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS, BOOK PAGE, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, ELLE, and THE LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, among others. She was also dubbed an “author to watch” by BOOKLIST. Her story “Great Things” is up at THE TALKING BOOK, and she also penned nonfiction for CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS, LITERARY HUB, THE LA REVIEW OF BOOKS, and MINOR LITERATURES.

Lon Varnadore published two novels— CRYO: A 4POLLACK NOVEL and BLOOD FOR THE EMPRESS—and two serials entitled JANUS CITY: PART ONE and part four of I.S.S. STARKILLER.

Lucio Rodriguez‘s story “Witch Hollow” was published in CEA Greatest Anthology Written.

Luke Yankee‘s play THE MAN WHO KILLED THE CURE premiered at UC Irvine and became a semifinalist for an award in the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. He also wrote and directed the FAME 35th anniversary reunion event at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, for which he received a Broadway World Award nomination for Best Special Theatrical Event. His TV pilot script, THE LAVENDER MAFIA, was a semifinalist for the Sundance Episodic Story Lab, and he was also nominated for the Otis Gurnsey New Voices in American Theater Award. Luke was also hired as a lecturer at Golden West College and Cal State Fullerton.

Mackenzie Cox‘s story “Becoming Death” was published in volume 4 of INK STAINS: A DARK FICTION LITERATURE ANTHOLOGY. She also wrote two articles in the EUREKA TIMES-STANDARD and contributed several reviews and interviews to DWARF + GIANT and GAMUT.

Maggie Downs‘s essay “The Bad Place” was featured in the anthology BEST WOMEN’S TRAVEL WRITING, VOL. II. She also wrote nonfiction for venues such as THE INDEPENDENT, HEADSPACE, PALM SPRINGS LIFE, MUTHA MAGAZINE, WRITERS RESIST, and LITERARY HUB. She and MFA director Tod Goldberg also began hosting a Palm Springs public radio program called OPEN BOOK.

Maggie Thach Morshed‘s essay “Change in an Unexpected Place” was a finalist in the PARKS & POINTS 2016 essay contest.

Marion Ruybalid‘s essay “Assignments” was published by PANK. The essay “My Birthplace Became a Reality” was published in CHICAGO NOW as part of its “30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days” project with Portraits of Adoption.

Massiel Ladron De Guevara’s chapbook Wild Horse was named a finalist by two different presses: Five Oaks Press and Paper Nautilus. New poems also appeared in Two Hawks Quarterly, Solstice Literally Magazine, Border Senses, and

Matt Thompson‘s short play THE 146 POINT FLAME is now available through Dramatic Publishing.

Matthew Johnson published his novel ASCENSION this year. His play LAZARUS RISING also opened in Fontana, CA.

Max Gee‘s screenplay GOLEM, INC., placed in the quarter finals of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. Max was also hired to lecture in screenwriting at Bornemouth University in the UK.

Megan Eccles launched the Instagram blog Literature and Lipstick.

Megan Mowry‘s essay “My Generation of Jaded Romantics” was published by THE CREATIVE TRUTH.

Melissa Henderson had an essay called “The Bill Johnson Mixtape: A (Belated) Requiem For An American Badass” published by THE CAULDRON.

Michele Lombardo‘s short story “The Literary Journal Editor” was published in CRACK THE SPINE. Her story “Benched” was also published in PHILADELPHIA STORIES.

Michelle Castillo‘s poems and poetry installation were displayed at the multi-disciplinary art event JOSHUA TREENIAL at the BoxoHOUSE in Joshua Tree, CA.

Mickey Birnbaum had his latest play, NIGHT DUST JOURNEY, read at Boston Court’s New Play Reading Festival in Pasadena. Mickey leads UCRPD’s new MFA in Playwriting, which started this fall.

Natalie Ferrigno wrote several pieces for DWARF + GIANT, including an interview with Francesca Lia Block and an overview of her work, as well as a review of Anne Rice’s PRICE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS.

Natashia Deón received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s 2017 First Novelist Award for her book GRACE. She also launched a new reading series in Southern California called THE TABLE. She also wrote or contributed to articles in LENNY LETTER, the PEN Center website, THE SCOFIELD, and NYLON.

Nicky Loomis had a story called “Pinecone Man” up at CATAPULT and an essay entitled “Lyrical Oblivion: László Krasznahorkai’s ‘The World Goes On’” in the LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS.

Pam Munter had an inspiring year with over 50 essays and short stories published or reprinted. Essays include the Pushcart-nominated “The Hypnotic Danube” in VARNISH, as well as other pieces in THE MANIFEST-STATION, BIOSTORIES, THE RUMPUS, ANOMALY, and MATADOR REVIEW. In fiction, TREEHOUSE ARTS picked up both her first published short story, “Madelyn, Mostly,” and her first-ever attempt at fiction, “Delayed Flight,” which she began as a student at UCRPD. Other stories were published in WRITING IN A WOMAN’S VOICE, ESCAPISM, and SCARLET LEAF REVIEW. For her play LIFE WITHOUT, Pam was nominated for the Desert Star Theater Awards’ Bill Groves Award for Outstanding Original Writing. She also wrote book reviews for DIGGING THROUGH THE FAT and FOURTH & SYCAMORE, which named her a staff book reviewer.

Penne Richards‘s poem “Halo Around the Moon” was published in the anthology TEXAS’S BEST EMERGING POETS.

PJ Feldsine published an audio version of his novel THE BEAUTIFUL DEAD.

Rebecca Renee Marsh‘s essay “#MeToo” was printed in WRITERS RESIST.

Rick Marlatt is now an assistant professor at New Mexico State University.

Ross Helford‘s story “Freshman Health” was printed online by CRAB CREEK REVIEW.

Ruth Nolan was named poetry editor of WRITERS RESIST. Her nonfiction was published this year in KCET ARTBOUND, the California Wilderness Coalition’s website, and Riverside’s PRESS-ENTERPRISE.

Sami Jankins launched her own lit journal, TINY TIM LITERARY REVIEW, this February. She had several articles published by THE MIGHTY, including “How to Support Your Chronically Ill Friend and Their Partner,” “The Importance of Social Media When You’re Stuck at Home Due to Illness” and “My Partner Is Not a Martyr for Getting Married to Someone with a Disability.” THE GOOD MEN PROJECT has also named her Co-Leader for the Good Men Project Invisible Disability Social Justice Group.

Sandy Smith‘s story “Nephew” was published in the Fall 2017 issue of SKY ISLAND JOURNAL.

Sara Marchant‘s novella LET ME GO was published in the RUNNING WILD NOVELLA ANTHOLOGY, and her essay “Proof of Blood” was published in ALL THE CHILDREN IN MY FAMILY SING, an anthology edited by ZZ Packer. She had essays published in DESERT MAGAZINE, ROAR, and EAST JASMINE REVIEW.

Shawnacy Kiker Perez had several poems published by WICKED ALICE and another set published at NICE CAGE.

Tom Mavroudis‘s story “Terror from the 50-Yard Line” came out in the video game horror anthology TERROR IN 16-BITS.

Trai Cartwright is producing the documentary series MANHOOD, which began shooting in September. She also wrote an essay called “Impressing the Development Executive” for the book WRITING FOR THE SCREEN. She now teaches screenwriting at the University of Denver.

Travis Hedge Coke‘s Pushcart-nominated story “The Occasional Dog” was reprinted in YELLOW MEDICINE REVIEW’s 10TH ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE, and he received Hugo longlist nominations for his story “The Job and the Work” (Best Short Fiction) and his COMICS CUBE column, POP MEDICINE (Best Fan Writer). His poetry and nonfiction also appear in the BkMk Press anthology THE WORLD IS ONE PLACE: NATIVE AMERICAN POETS VISIT THE MIDDLE EAST and in TENDING THE FIRE by Christopher Felver. He also directed a short film called LIVE FROM INDIAN AFFAIRS.

Tyrell Johnson wrote articles called “How to Get Your First Novel Published (From Someone Who Did It)” and “Why Postapocalyptic Fiction Is More Relevant Now Than Ever Before” for POPSUGAR in support of his upcoming novel, THE WOLVES OF WINTER, which the site named one of its “22 Best New Books of Winter.”

Yennie Cheung, along with fellow alumna Kathryn McGee, published the nonfiction/art book DTLA/37: DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES IN THIRTY-SEVEN STORIES with En Ville Publishing. Yennie’s flash fiction story “Unpacking” was republished in ANGELS FLIGHT • LITERARY WEST.

By | 2018-01-27T15:22:31-08:00 January 26th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Student Success

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