Overview

Each residency, the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program welcomes several guest faculty members representing each of our genre concentrations. Learn more about our upcoming special guests, including our Cave Canem Partner Poet and commencement speaker.

Upcoming Guests January 2023

Anjali Enjeti

Anjali Enjeti

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Anjali Enjeti is a former attorney, organizer, and journalist based near Atlanta. She is the author of Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change, which The Washington Post called “a nuanced and much-needed journey into exploring what it means to be American,” and The Parted Earth, a novel that the Star Tribune called “a novel with the gravitas to transform.” Her other writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Catapult, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and elsewhere. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle, she teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Reinhardt University and Antioch University. Find her on Twitter @anjalienjeti.

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

© Carrie Coleman

Jane Friedman has spent nearly 25 years working in the book publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting. She is the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, which was named 2020 Media Outlet of the Year by Digital Book World. Her latest book is The Business Of Being A Writer, which received a starred review from Library Journal. In addition to serving on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, she works with organizations such as The Authors Guild to bring transparency to the business of publishing.

Marcos Gonsalez

Marcos Gonzalez

© Chris Gonzalez

Marcos Gonsalez is a queer Mexican-Puerto Rican essayist, critic, memoirist, and assistant professor of literature whose research specializes on queer and trans Latinx literature aesthetics. Their debut book of autotheory, Pedro's Theory, was published in 2021, and has been reviewed by The New York Times and Kirkus; it was also nominated for a Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize. His essays can be found or are forthcoming at The New InquiryCatapultThe White ReviewBuzzfeedPublic BooksProtean MagazineLiterary HubPloughshares, and elsewhere. Gonsalez is currently under contract with Beacon Press to write a nonfiction book on the radical possibilities of queer/trans Latinx nightlife in places like New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Juan, and Mexico City. The project gravitates around the work and influence of the queer Latinx theorist José Esteban Muñoz and examines the ways his writings helped shape who Gonsalez is as a writer-scholar. Gonsalez lives in New York City.

Lee Hope

Writer-in-Residence

Lee Hope

© Lou Jones

Lee Hope is the author of the novel Horsefever, which made its mark on the Small Press Distribution Bestseller List when it was published in 2016 and went on to be a finalist for the Midwest Book Awards. Lee is also is editor-in-chief of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. Her fiction has received grants from both the Maine and the Pennsylvania Arts Commissions. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, such as WitnessThe North American ReviewEpiphany, and Sou’wester. Her short story “What to Take In Case of Fire” received an honorable mention in American Fiction, Vol. 13 (winner of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards in the anthology category). Founder and former director of a low-residency MFA program in Maine, Lee also helped to found the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. She is currently president of the nonprofit Solstice Institute for Creative Writing and teaches for Changing Lives Through Literature, which brings literature to people on probation.

Jennifer Jean

Jennifer Jean

© Masao Okano

Jennifer Jean’s latest poetry collection VOZ is forthcoming in 2023. Additional collections include The Fool, as well as Object Lesson which is about sex-trafficking and objectification in America. Her teaching resource book is Object Lesson: A Guide to Writing Poetry. She’s a co-editor and co-translator of an anthology in development titled Other Paths for Shahrazad: Contemporary Poetry by Arab Women. Jennifer has received honors, residencies, and fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, DISQUIET/Dzanc Books, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Her Story Is collective, the Academy of American Poets, the Kolkata International Poetry Festival, and the Women’s Federation for World Peace. Her poetry and co-translations have appeared in POETRY, Rattle, The Common, Waxwing, On the Seawall, DMQ, Salamander, Terrain, and elsewhere. Jennifer edits poetry for Talking Writing and translations for Consequence Forum and is the program manager of 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center’s online writing program.

Beth Little

Beth Little

© Perry Smith

Beth Little has two degrees in writing: an MLitt in fiction from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and an MFA in writing for young people from the Solstice MFA, where she subsequently worked for three years as the program’s assistant director. Currently, she teaches humanities at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. Beth’s work has been published in the anthology Somebody’s Child: Stories About Adoption, Eastown Fiction, and the YA Review Network. She was awarded an SCBWI Magazine Merit Honor in 2016. Her most recent piece of short fiction for young adults, “Where Did You Go?”, can be found in the Silence/Power issue of Hunger Mountain (spring 2019).

Jason Lutes

Jason Lutes Headshot

Photo courtesy of Jason Lutes

Jason Lutes graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 1991. He is the author of the graphic novels Jar of Fools, Houdini: The Handcuff King, and Berlin, which Forbes magazine called, “One of the most ambitious, important and fully-realized works of graphic literature yet created.” He currently teaches comics at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.

Crystal Maldonado

Crystal Maldonado

Photo courtesy of Crystal Maldonado

Crystal Maldonado is a young-adult author who writes inclusive stories about fat, brown girls. Her debut novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, is a 2021 New England Book Award winner, a Cosmopolitan Best New Book, and a POPSUGAR Best New YA Novel. Her newest novel, No Filter and Other Lies, explores teenage life in the social media age—and the lies we tell ourselves and others. By day, Crystal works in higher ed marketing, and by night, is a writer whose work has been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant. She has a degree in English and journalism from the University of Connecticut and lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. Follow her everywhere @crystalwrote or visit her website.

Gail Mazur

Commencement Speaker

Gail Mazur Headshot

© Morgan Lacasse

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gail Mazur grew up in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Since the 1960s, she has lived primarily in Cambridge and Provincetown, with periods in New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles. In 1973, she founded the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Harvard Square, which became, with its weekly readings, a center of poetry life, bringing national and international writers to read in a lively informal atmosphere. As an activist with her late husband, the artist Michael Mazur, and others Massachusetts writers and artists, she co-founded, in 1968, Artists Against Racism and the War, and later they were activists for a Nuclear Freeze. Blacksmith House presented benefit readings for, among other issues, the fight for AIDS research. Her first collection, Nightfire, was published in 1978, followed by The Pose of Happiness; The Common; They Can’t Take That Away from Me, a finalist for the National Book Award; Zeppo’s First Wife: New and Selected Poems, winner of The Massachusetts Book Prize and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize; Figures in a Landscape; and Forbidden City. Her poems have been widely anthologized, including in several Pushcart Prize Anthologies, the Best American Poetry, and Robert Pinsky’s Essential Pleasures. A graduate of Smith College, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and the Radcliffe Institute. She was for 20 years Distinguished Senior Writer in Residence in Emerson College’s graduate program and now teaches in Boston University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where she has served for many years on the Writing Committee. Speaking of the Blacksmith House, now under the direction of poet Andrea Cohen, Mazur has said, “To keep things going, to support and validate the work of poets, to make a dent in the isolation writers feel in their working life (as Stanley Kunitz wrote, ‘Art withers without fellowship’), to bring poets from different worlds together, that was what I wanted. The Blacksmith reading series helps provide something like fellowship; it persists in bringing poetry into the world.”

Tanya McKinnon

Tanya McKinnon Headshot

Photo courtesy of McKinnon Literary

Tanya McKinnon is the founder of McKinnon Literary where she represents New York Times bestselling nonfiction and graphic novels, award-winning public intellectuals, and award-winning children's books. She specializes in nonfiction that addresses cultural issues as well as gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. She is most drawn to work that pushes political and cultural boundaries. This can be in categories such as history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, medicine, cultural criticism, memoir, popular culture, journalism, and sheer whimsy. She looks for story-driven fiction that takes us into the lives of complicated and deeply human characters. She has a particular interest in politically progressive work, feminist work, Latinx work, and African-American work.

Dzvinia Orlowsky

Writer-in-Residence

Dzvinia Orlowsky Headshot

Courtesy of Dzvinia Orlowsky

Pushcart Prize poet, translator, a founding editor of Four Way Books, Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of six poetry collections published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, including her most recent, Bad Harvest, a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in Poetry. She is a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Grant, a Sheila Motton Book Award, a co-recipient of a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, and her first collection, A Handful of Bees, was reprinted as part of the Carnegie Mellon University Press Classic Contemporary Series. Dzvinia’s poetry and translations have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including AgniAntioch ReviewFieldGuernicaInternational Poetry ReviewKenyon Review OnlineLos Angeles ReviewPloughsharesThe American Poetry ReviewThe Massachusetts ReviewA Map of Hope: An International Literary AnthologyFrom Three Worlds, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her translation from Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko’s novella The Enchanted Desna was published by House Between Water in 2006. In 2014, Jeff Friedman’s and her co-translation of Memorials by Polish poet Mieczyslaw Jastrun was published by Dialogos. Her poem sequence “The (Dis)enchanted Desna” was a winner of the 2019 New England Poetry Club Samuel Washington Allen Prize, selected by Robert Pinsky. More recently, her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Natalka Billotserkivets’ selected poems, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow, (Lost Horse Press, 2021), was a finalist for the 2022 Griffin International Poetry Prize. It has also been shortlisted for the 2022 Derek Walcott Prize in Poetry as well as the 2022 National Translation Award. A book of her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Halyna Kruk’s poetry is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press in 2024. Dzvinia is a contributing poetry editor to AGNISolstice Literary Magazine, and founder of Night Riffs: A Solstice Magazine Reading & Music Series. She is a Writer-in-Residence at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Nadia Shammas

Nadia Shammas Headshot

Photo courtesy of Nadia Shammas

Nadia Shammas is a Palestinian-American writer originally from Brooklyn, New York, now living in Toronto, Canada. She is best known as the writer and co-creator of Squire, an indie bestselling YA graphic novel. She’s also known for being the writer of Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin and creator of Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments. Nadia has written for a variety of publishers, including Marvel, DC Comics, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Macmillan. Her book Where Black Stars Rise is an adult eldritch horror graphic novel, illustrated and co-created with Marie Enger and released from Tor Nightfire in October 2022. Her short prose work The Center of the Universe was nominated for the BSFA longlist. Nadia’s work often focuses on identity, memory, and decolonizing genre tropes. When not writing, she is trying to win the love of her cats, Lilith and Dash.

Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.

Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. is the chair and Tilikum Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies as well as the Director of the School of Gender, Race, and Nations at Portland State University. He is the author of mosaic novels Sacred Smokes (2018, Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing) and Sacred City (2021), and the editor of The Faster Redder Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones (2015), all from the University of New Mexico Press. He is an Active HWA member whose work has been published in Southwest Review, The Rumpus, Red Earth Review, The Journal of Working-Class Studies, Apex Magazine, Chicago Review, Electric Literature, Indian Country Today, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @TVAyyyy.