News & Celebrations
To celebrate and support the work of former Writer to Writer participants, we have invited mentors and mentees to share their postmentorship news with us. Many have gone on to start interesting projects or have published writing they worked on during their time in the program.
Mentor Jeffery Hess is the author of three novels and a story collection. His latest novel, No Salvation (Down & Out Books, May 2019), depicts racial strife aboard a Navy ship in 1972, which has myriad parallels to current social conditions.
Mentee Sophia Kouidou-Giles has published articles in Voices, Persimmon Tree, Assay, The Raven’s Perch, The Blue Nib, and The Time Collection, and she released of her memoir Επιστροφή Στη Θεσσαλονίκη/Return to Thessaloniki by Tyrfi Press in Greece and in the Greek language in May 2019. She Writes Press will publish the English-language version of her memoir in Fall 2021. Her website is here.
Mentor Michael Meyerhofer’s fifth book-length poetry collection, Ragged Eden, was published by Glass Lyre Press (March 2019).
Mentee Julie Zigoris has secured an agent for her first novel, Trees and Other Teachers. She is represented by Jennie Kendrick of Red Fox Literary.
Mentee Michael Allyn Well’s poem, "In Praise of Green Blades," was featured in the Spring 2019 edition of Remington Review.
Former Writer to Writer director, mentor, and fiction author Diane Zinna’s new novel The All-Night Sun was just released by Random House. You can also check out her interview with A Mighty Blaze on Facebook Live.
Mentee Lucy Griffith's debut collection We Make a Tiny Herd won the Wrangler Award for Poetry at the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Lucy will go to Oklahoma City in October 2021 to receive a bronze statue of horse and rider. Robert Duval will be receiving one for Lifetime Achievement. Her website is www.lucygriffithwriter.com.
Mentee Romana Iorga’s poems “Amnesia” and “Count Your Blessings” have appeared in Volume Six of The American Journal of Poetry. The poems “Compromise, Death as a New Language” and “Salt Marsh” were recently published by Watershed Review. “Why I Like Hot Showers" appeared in Volume 2 of Ponder Review.
Mentee Andrew Miller’s essay, “Eulogy for an Elm Tree”, was recently published in the summer issue of The Meadow. His mentor, Kathryn Aalto, read an early draft of the piece, which inspired her to take on Miller as her mentee. His work has also been published in Maine Homes, Exit 7, Northern Woodlands, Down East, Northern New England Review, Somewhere Down East, and Arkansas Review.
Mentor Hélène Cardona's collection Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry) won the 2020 Independent Press Award in Poetry. Her recent book Birnam Wood (Salmon Poetry, 2018), a translation of her father José Manuel Cardona's anthology El Bosque de Birnam, won the 2018 Best Book Award, 2019 Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in Poetry, a Julie Suk Honor, the Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Book, and she was a Finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Award and 2019 International Poetry Book Award. Birnam Wood was also named Best Translation in the Washington Independent Review of Books and is a World Literature Today Notable Translation of 2018. Hélène was recently awarded the 2019 Naji Naaman Literary Prize, and her poems were published in Pratik A Magazine of Contemporary Writing Vol XV, No. 4 (2019), and in Plume (2020), where she also introduced her mentee Laura Braverman's poem in the same issue. Her translations of Franco-Syrian poet Maram Al-Masri were published in Poetry International 25/26 (2019), Agenda Poetry (2020), The Blue Nib Review, Live Encounters, and, along with her father's translations, in MANOA Journal (2020). Hélène also reviewed Andrés Neuman's new novel Fracture in the Summer 2020 issue of World Literature Today. Her website is here.
Mentee Lynn Pattison’s chapbook, Matryoshka Houses (Kelsay Books), came out in June, 2020.
Mentor R.L. Maizes’s debut novel, Other People’s Pets (Celadon Books, Macmillan) was released on July 14, 2020. It has already received wonderful prepublication reviews in The Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly. More information can be found on Maizes’s website.
Mentor Meg Eden recently published her poetry collection, Drowning in the Floating World, which centers around the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, as well as the Fukushima powerplant disaster. More information can be found on her website.
Mentee Viggy Hampton signed with agent Emmy Nordstrom Higdon of The Rights Factory for her debut horror novel, A Cold Night For Alligators.
Fiction mentor John Elizabeth Stintzi has published their two debuts: the novel Vanishing Monuments (Arsenal Pulp Press, May 2020) and the poetry collection Junebat (House of Anansi, April 2020). Learn more at their website.
Mentee Trish Hopkinson's fourth chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in November 2019 as an e-chapbook. Additionally, her microchapbook, Reconstructed Happiness, was published by Origami Poems and is available for free download here.
Mentor Hélène Cardona has published Birnam Wood (Salmon Poetry, 2018), a new translation of her father José Manuel Cardona's anthology El Bosque De Birnam. Published as a tribute by the government of Ibiza, Spain, excerpts from this collection are featured in Mediterranean Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, and The London Magazine. Birnam Wood has recently been reviewed in The Iowa Source, Levure Littéraire, California Quarterly, Galway Western Writers’ Centre, and The Ofi Press Magazine. Poems from Hélène's collections Dreaming My Animal Selves and Life in Suspension were translated into Arabic by Mohammad Helmi Rishah and published in Nizwa, issue 89.
Mentee Chelsea Catherine has published her first book of fiction, Blindsided (Texas Review Press, 2018),winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize.
Mentor Pamela Erens has an essay in the Fall 2018 issue of Virginia Quarterly Reviewon the novels that singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (who started out as a poet and novelist) published in the 1960s and how they shed light on his later musical career. She will also be living and teaching creative writing at Middlebury College for its January term.
Mentee Hadley Moore’s story collection Not Dead Yet and Other Stories recently won Autumn House Press’s fiction contest and is forthcoming in September 2019.
Mentee Cynthia Huijgens’s short story “The Things We Do For Love” appears in The Circle: A Brussels Anthology, published November 2018 by Harvard Square Edition. Additionally, Huijgens’s first creative nonfiction publication, My Grandmother’s Memoir: Reflections on Four Generations and the Recipes That Brought Them to the Table, is now available in paperback and ebook. Huijgens creatively reimagines an actual interview her youngest son conducted years earlier with his now deceased great-grandmother, crafting a story about family that bridges several generations and blends her own vivid childhood recollections with her grandmother's humorous narrative until one voice becomes inseparable from the other.
Mentee Jennifer O'Grady's play Domestic Service received its world premiere from White Mouse Theatre Productions at Florida State University in November 2018. Her play Emily's Room will receive its world premiere from Rover Dramawerks in Plano, Texas in March 2019.
Mentor Alex DiFrancesco will have a double publication this spring with their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press, Feb. 15, 2019) and their second novel All City (Seven Stories Press, June 28, 2019).
Mentee R.L. Maizes's essay "Not My Birthday" aired on NPR's Hanukkah Lights Special, and her humor piece "10 Perfect Writer Gifts We Just Made Up" appeared in Electric Literature. Another humor piece, "13 Reasons You Really Didn't See Coming for Why Your Short Story Was Rejected," appeared in the Brevity Blog.
Mentor Sandy Coomer has created Rockvale Writers' Colony in College Grove, TN, to provide a safe, comfortable, and inspiring environment where writers can settle in as “writers in residence” to work on a writing project. Also offering workshops, she anticipates the colony opening officially later this year. You can subscribe for updates on the Rockvale Writers' Colony website.
Mentee Aaron Caycedo-Kimura was the poet featured in the June 2018 issue of Hartford Courant, which included thirteen of his poems and a video recording of "The Hardest Part of Some Night."
Mentor Xu Xi has published her thirteenth title, Insignificance (Signal 8 Press, July 2018). The South China Morning Post describes Insignificance as "a witty, emotionally complex set of short stories where Hong Kong plays a lead role and death and loss are never far away."
Mentee Sheree Shatsky's flash fiction "Bacon's Revenge" is available online at KYSO Flash.
"I Have Invented Nothing," the selected poems of Jean-Pierre Rosnay, have been translated by mentor J. Kates and published by Black Widow Press.
Mentee Margaret Grant's short story, "Arrieta 410," was published by Kenyon Review Online (July/August 2018).
Mentor Allen Braden's poem "Your Cheating Heart" won third place for the Mick Imlah Poetry Prize and was published in one of the December 2017 issues of The Times Literary Supplement.
Mentee Jennifer Savran Kelly has won a 2018 grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for her novel-in-progress Endpapers.
Mentee Nettie Reynolds is part of this year's National One-Minute Play Festival, and her two plays "Wild Monk Parakeets" and "The Last Procedure" will be featured in the Austin, TX show.
This May, mentee Tiffany Palumbo won the 2018 Kelly Jo Feinberg contest with her piece, "Eating My Way to Tolerance," a nonfiction essay about overcoming prejudice through community and food. The annual award is given to the submission that best exemplifies voice, compassion, impact, humor, humility, and honesty. This was Tiffany's first submission since her fall 2017 mentorship with Roxane Gay.
Mentee Jennifer O'Grady's play Charlotte's Letters won first place in the Henley Rose Playwrights Competition for Women and had a staged reading in Knoxville, TN, in May 2018. Her play Persephone won Heartland Theatre Company's 10-Minute Play Contest, receiving its world premiere there in June 2018, and her play Ellery has been selected by The Bechdel Group for its Spring 2019 Reading Series in New York. Additionally, Jennifer was the featured poet on the May 20 edition of Poetry Daily with a poem from her second poetry book, Exclusions & Limitations (MadHat Press, 2018).
Mentee Amanda Niehaus’s debut novel, The Breeding Season, explores the evolutionary basis of suicidal reproduction within the context of a marriage between a scientist, Elise, and a writer, Dan. The book is represented by Gaby Naher and will be published by Jane Palfreyman at Allen & Unwin in 2019.
Mentee Catherine R. Cryan's poem "Pupa I, Sphingidae: Into the Ground" appears in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of The Comstock Review.
Mentee Preeti Parikh’s poems “Garment” and “The Misery of Parenthood” were recently published in Mom Egg Review 16 – MOTHERS WORK MOTHERS PLAY and Literary Mama (April 2018) respectively. In the summer of 2018, she enrolled in the low-residency MFA program at The Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
Mentee Judith Sara Gelt’s memoir Reckless Steps Toward Sanity is coming out in the beginning of March (University of New Mexico Press). Her piece “Reflections of an Insecure Mother” was also recently published in Nashville Review.
Mentor Joe Milazzo's novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie was reissued by Civil Coping Mechanisms in February of 2018. His second collection of poetry (and third book overall), Of All Places In This Place Of All Places, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil.
Mentee Ellen Birkett Morris will be presenting "Paths to Publishing" at the Antioch Writers Workshop on July 14, 2018. More information is available on their summer program page.
Mentee Aaron Caycedo-Kimura's poem "Detainment" will be published in the 2018 Spring/Summer issue of Poet Lore.
Mentor Seth Tucker is proud to announce that the Longleaf Writers Conference (formerly Seaside WC) is taking mentoring to the next level with new scholarships and fellowships this year. LWC devotes over half of their budget each year to these financial aid offerings, and past fellows and scholars have published books soon after working with their faculty. This year they have Beth Anne Fennelly, Matt Bondurant, Jill McCorkle, Tom Franklin, Jeninne Capot Crucet, Vandana Khanna, and many more special guests, editors, and agents joining them on the beach from May 13–21.
Special fellowship categories include the Poet/Writer of Color Scholarship for open genre writer currently publishing but without a book; the Baker Veteran Scholarship, also open genre for any veteran currently publishing but without a book; and the CNF, Poetry, and Fiction Fellowships for writers with at least one published book. Deadline is mid-March!
Mentee Naomi Ulsted’s short story “Birdsong” is now available online at Forge.
Mentor Renee E. D'Aoust was an NEH Summer Scholar at the 2017 “City, Nature: Urban Environmental Humanities” Summer Institute sponsored by the University of Washington and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In other news, recent book reviews have been published by Fourth Genre and Los Angeles Review of Books.
Mentor Zeke Jarvis's book Lifelong Learning will be published by About Editions in mid-March of 2018.
Mentee R.L. Maizes has sold her collection of stories We Love Anderson Cooper and a novel to Celadon Books/Macmillan. The story collection will be published in Spring 2019.
Mentee Allison Coffelt will publish her first book, Maps are Lines We Draw: A Road Trip through Haiti, with Lanternfish Press on March 20, 2018. This lyrical nonfiction work follows a Haitian doctor’s road trip and explores the constructed line between our sense of "here" and "there," weaving together the personal and political, underscoring the connected history of Haiti and the United States.
Mentee Andrew Miller’s creative nonfiction essay, “Harlow at the Dump,” will appear in the April issue of Front Porch Review. It follows an elderly man who, though crippled with arthritis and reliant on a walker, is still determined to do it all by himself as he navigates disposal stations at the town dump.
Mentee Andrew Miller’s essay “The Long Way to Town,” has been accepted by Typehouse Literary Magazine, a print and online journal based in Portland, Oregon. The essay will be published in the May 2018 issue. The essay describes Miller’s visit with his friend Bill Petry, the second owner of a 1917 Model T Ford that he purchased in 1960 when he was 15 years old.
Mentee Naomi Ulsted has been awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship in the drama category for her screenplay The Thin Line. Ulsted recently published her essay “Bugs” in Mud Season Review (Nonfiction, September 2017) and then was interviewed for their November 2017 issue.
Mentee Irene Hoge Smith has published three essays over the course of winter 2017–2018: “Goodnight Irene” in the final anthology of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, “Outed” in The New Directions Journal, and “The Dress” in District Lines. She is currently shopping her recently completed book, Snaggletooth’s Daughter: A Memoir, about her lost-and-found mother, the late southern California poet francEyE.
Mentee Seema Yasmin’s debut nonfiction book, tentatively titled Science, Scandal and the Fight to End AIDS, will be published in May by Johns Hopkins University Press. Falling into the categories of both popular science and biography, it is a history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic told through the life of Dutch doctor Joep Lange, who was killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Mentor Brendan Walsh’s latest poetry chapbook is now available from Sutra Press: Buddha vs. Bonobo is about the innate spirituality of our great ape ancestors, among other things.
Mentor Hélène Cardona’s poetry collection Life in Suspension was awarded the 2017 Best Book Award in Poetry and the 2017 International Book Award. Birnam Wood, her translation of her father José Manuel Cardona’s collection El Bosque de Birnam (Consell Insular d’Eivissa), is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in March 2018. Hélène has also recently published a number of her poetry translations in journals: these include the poems of Maram Al-Masri from her works The Abduction and Liberty Walks Naked in National Translation Monthly, Anomaly (fka Drunken Boat) 25, Exchanges Literary Journal,and Anastamos,and also poems by José Manuel Cardona from his book Birnam Wood in The American Journal of Poetry and National Translation Monthly.
Mentee Judith Sara Gelt signed a contract with University of New Mexico Press for her memoir, Reckless Steps to Sanity. It will be released in Spring 2019.
Mentee Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, Everything Here Is Beautiful, will be published by Viking Penguin on January 16, 2018. Named a Top 10 Debut of 2018 by the American Booksellers Association, it has also been featured as a Top 2018 Pick by Poets & Writers, Huffington Post, BookRiot, Chicago Review of Books, Marie Claire, Real Simple, ELLE, ElectricLit, Cosmopolitan, and Bustle, among others.
Mentee Renee Simms’s short story collection Meet Behind Mars will be published on March 12, 2018 by Wayne State University Press.
Mentee Kristine Jepsen’s essay “Gut Instinct,” awarded the Diana Woods Memorial Award for nonfiction at Lunch Ticket, is essentially the backstory to her memoir, which brought her to Writer to Writer.
Mentee Chelsea Catherine recently won the Clay Reynolds Novella Contest for her novella Blindsided, which will be published in the fall of 2018 by Texas Review Press. The novella follows the lives of two women and their involvement in an upcoming election for the Key West city mayor.
Mentee Laura Joyce has recently published her nonfiction book Luminol Theory(Punctum Press, August 2017). One of the most striking forensic tools used in forensic narratives is the chemical luminol, so named because it glows an eerie greenish-blue when it comes into contact with the tiniest drops of human blood. Luminol Theory investigates the possibility of using this tool of the state in subversive or radical ways.
Mentor Eileen Cronin is finishing a novel titled Darlings of Paradise about how two women in a huge Catholic family transcend their rivalries to take on their secret struggles with abortion and sexual abuse. Producers have also approached her to write the screenplay for a film based on her memoir Mermaid, which will be a Philomena story with a disabled woman's reproductive rights at stake. Occasionally, she contributes to Truthdig, a magazine dedicated to reporting on current issues that are insufficiently covered by mainstream media.
Mentor Amy Wallen’s essay “The Chair” on the subject of mentoring immigrant kids has been published by PEN Center USA, and her new memoir When We Were Ghouls: A Memoir of Ghost Stories will be published on March 1, 2018.
Mentor Lisa C. Taylor’s collection of short stories, Impossibly Small Spaces, will be published in Summer 2018 by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press. She is also the new fiction editor of Wordpeace, an online journal that reopened for submissions in October.
Mentor Ken Waldman’s second volume of Trump poems, Trump Sonnets, Volume 2: 33 Commentaries, 33 Dreamswill be published on January 1, 2018 by Ridgeway Press. Trump Sonnets, Volume 1 was published in March.
Mentee Seema Yasmin, a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, had four poems in Bateau and Breakwater Review in October 2017. Her collection of short stories was chosen as a semifinalist in YesYes Books' fiction competition—in December, she will find out if the collection will be chosen for publication. Seema is also working on a full-length book of poetry.
Mentee Michael Wells’ poem "Obsession" was published in the first edition of Ordinary Madness (August 2017). Find it on page 24.
Mentor Claude Clayton Smith was one of seven Wisconsin writers paired with Wisconsin artists for the Art En Route project, the results of which are wrapped around Madison buses and exhibited at the University of Wisconsin. His micro-chapbooks Love Notes (March 2017) and Six Sonnets (August 2017) are available from Origami Poems. His poem, “Under the Skin,” will appear in Leaving My Shadow: A Tribute to Anna Akhmatova, a forthcoming anthology. His essay “Advice from an Old Writer” is currently featured in 1888 Center’s Why We Write series (September 2017). Claude was also one of seven writers selected for the D.C. area Purple Line project to write a narrative for the stations under construction. You can also listen to Claude reading his short stories “Silver Spoons” (June 2017) and “R & R” (Medical Literary Messenger, Summer 2017) on the Second Hand Stories podcast.
Mentor Laura Valeri, managing and founding editor of the literary journal Wraparound South, has just signed a contract with Stephen F. Austin University Press for her new story collection The Dead Still Here.
Mentor Zach Powers has published his first book of fiction, Gravity Changes (BOA Editions Ltd., May 2017), winner of the BOA Short Fiction Prize and recommended in The Washington Post’s 2017 Summer Book List (Short-Story Collections).
Mentee Manisha Sharma has been accepted for a month-long residency in November 2017 at the Vermont Studio Center, funded by a merit award and word-study scholarship. Poems are published or forthcoming in the following publications: Puerto Del Sol ("Notes from the Field," forthcoming 2017), The Aerogram ("A Mother's Confession to Her Daughter", "Bhaiya, Bhaiya" and "Names") and TAB: The journal of poetics & poetry ("When God is the Groom") in the January 2017 print issue. Manisha is currently teaching English at the New River Community College in Virginia.
Mentee Amna Ahmad was awarded an NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction.
Mentor Kelly Luce has recently published the short stories "Stop Hitting Yourself" (The Sun, September 2017) and "Two Swords Counterpoint," a collaboration with composer Russell Podgorsek, who wrote an accompanying piece of music for it (The Arkansas International). She recently talked to Front Porch about ritual, writing about Japan, her weird lemon carcass habit, and the letter opener that inspired her novel's murder weapon. The paperback and UK editions of her novel Pull Me Under are now available.
Mentor Katie Rose Guest Pryal started Blue Crow Publishing with a novelist/bookmaker friend Lauren Faulkenberry about a year ago, and this fall they are publishing their first books—three novels and two essay collections.
Mentor Sandy Coomer’s new poetry chapbook Rivers Within Us is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press.
Mentee Cynthia Huijgens participated in Simon Fraser University's The Writer’s Studio Online, where she workshopped her entire novel over the past year and is now beginning the query process. An excerpt of her novel The Novice Collector will be published in the October issue of Emerge 2017, and she will be reading at the upcoming Vancouver Writer's Festival and would love to see AWP members there.
Mentee Yesenia Flores Diaz was mentored by Jaquira Díaz in the Spring 2017 Writer to Writer program. Since then, she has received the Writer of Color Scholarship to attend the 2017 Muse and the Marketplace Conference and attended Summer Camp at the Barn: A Week of Creative Mentorship on a generous scholarship from the Highlights Foundation. To learn more about Yesenia, visit her webpage.