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.

Upcoming Guests: January 2024

Holly Day

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© Courtesy of the author

Holly Day has worked as a freelance writer for over 30 years, with over 7,000 published articles, poems, and short stories and 40 books and chapbooks. Her books include the nonfiction works Music Theory for DummiesMusic Composition for DummiesWalking Twin Cities, Stillwater, Minnesota: A Brief History, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, Tattoo FAQ, and History Lover’s Guide to Minneapolis, as well as the poetry books A Book of Beasts, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, Bound in Ice, and Cross-Referencing a Book of Summer. Her writing has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, a 49th Parallel Prize, an Isaac Asimov Award, several dozen Pushcart awards, and a Rhysling Award, and she has received two Midwest Writer’s Grants, a Plainsongs Award, the Sam Ragan Prize for Poetry, and the Dwarf Star Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association. She currently teaches writing workshops at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, WriterHouse in Virginia, and the Richard Hugo House in Washington.

Ella deCastro Baron

a Filipina American woman with long black hair laughing while standing in water

© Rachel Liu

Ella deCastro Baron (she/her**) is a second generation Filipina American born and raised in Coastal Miwok territory (Vallejo, California). She holds an MFA in creative writing, is a VONA alum, and teaches composition and creative writing at San Diego community colleges and U Mass. Through Corporeal Writing, Ella co-facilitates “To Exist is to Flare: Loving Our Chronically Ill Bodies & Minds” and "Where We Come From: Writing Your Ethnoautobiography” and will be a cohort leader in the 2024 Mushroom School. Ella's first book of creative nonfiction is Itchy Brown Girl Seeks Employment, and her writing appears in Nonwhite and Woman(Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the Coronavirus EpidemicAnomalyThe Rumpus, and more. Her next book, Subo and Baon: A Memoir in Bites, is forthcoming. As a woman of color who lives with chronic dis-ease, Ella honors sensations, images, story, dance, and decolonial truth-telling. She produces workshops and kapwa (the native Filipino value of deep interconnection) gatherings that stir love and justice via writing, art, joy, grief-tending, movement, food (yes!)\, and community. She lives and loves on Kumeyaay territory (San Diego) with her husband and interracial family. **Her favorite pronoun is We.

Jonathan Hill

a smiling Vietnamese-American man with a shaved head in front of a wood fence

© Jennifer Hill

Jonathan Hill is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and educator. His work has been published by First Second Books, Oni Press, and The Believer Magazine. His most recent book, Tales from a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy, was published by Walker Books US. Some of his other clients include Microsoft, the Portland Trail Blazers, and Powell's City of Books. Jonathan also serves on the board of directors for Literary Arts. Find him on X and Instagram @oneofthejohns.

James Hoch

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© Catherine Barnett

James Hoch’s earlier books are Miscreants and A Parade of Hands. Last Pawn Shop in New Jersey (finalist for The Paterson Prize) and Radio Static published in spring 2022. His poems have appeared in POETRY, The New Republic, The Washington Post, Slate, Chronicle Review of Higher Education, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other magazines, and have been selected for inclusion in Best American Poetry 2019. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers conferences, St Albans School for Boys, The Frost Place, and Summer Literary Seminars. Currently, he is professor of creative writing at Ramapo College of New Jersey and guest faculty at Sarah Lawrence.

Jessica Kim

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© San Diego Headshots

Jessica Kim writes about Asian American girls finding their way in the world and is author of the critically acclaimed middle-grade novels Stand Up, Yumi Chung and Make a Move, Sunny Park! Before she was an author, Jessica studied education at UC Berkeley and spent ten years teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades in public schools. Like Yumi, Jessica lives with her family in Southern California and can’t get enough Hot Cheetos, stand-up comedy, and Korean barbecue. Visit her website and find her on X, Instagram, Facebook @jesskimwrites.

Beth Little

a smiling Korean American with long black hair woman

© 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).

Robert Lopez

a Puerto Rican man with a white beard, shaved head, and black button-down shirt

© Jenny Pommiss

Robert Lopez is the author of seven books, including the nonfiction book Dispatches From Puerto Nowhere and the novel in stories A Better Class Of People. His other three novels include Part of the World; Kamby Bolongo Mean River, named one of 25 important books of the decade by HTML Giant; and All Back Full. His two story collection are Asunder and Good People. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in dozens of publications, including BombThe Threepenny ReviewVice MagazineNew England Review, The Sun, and the Norton Anthology of Sudden Fiction – Latino. Robert teaches at Stony Brook University.

Carter Meland

a smiling Irish/Norwegian/Anishinaabe man with brunette hair and gray button-down shirt with trees and water in the background

© Paul Udstrand

As a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, a creative writer, and a person of Irish, Norwegian, and Anishinaabe heritage, Carter Meland writes fiction and creative nonfiction that narrates the ruptures in his Native American heritage as a means of raising questions about both personal and national identity. His novel Stories for a Lost Child was a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Awards. It is the story of a teenage girl reckoning with her separation from her Native identity. Meland is currently working on a creative nonfiction book, "Strange Spirits: A Memoir in Monsters," which explores the power of Anishinaabe storytelling as a way to make sense of fractured family identities and our fractured relationship to our living environments. As part of his work, Meland often enters into the narrative perspectives of more-than-human beings, such as trees, bagwajinini (the Anishinaabe name for Bigfoot), and horses.

Jennifer Murvin

Smiling white woman with brunette hair and yellow top on a sandy beach

© Natalie Lee

Jennifer Murvin is the author of the forthcoming chapbook She Says and story collection Real California Living. Her stories, essays, and graphic narratives have appeared in The Southampton ReviewHayden’s Ferry ReviewDIAGRAMThe Florida ReviewCatamaran Literary ReaderCutBankIndiana ReviewPost RoadAmerican Short FictionThe SunMid-American ReviewThe Cincinnati ReviewPhoebe, and other journals. She was the winner of the 2015 American Short(er) Fiction Contest judged by Stuart Dybek and in 2017 was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. Jen is an Assistant Professor of English at Missouri State University, where she teaches graphic narrative, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She serves as recurring faculty for the biannual River Pretty Writers Retreat in the Ozarks. Jen holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University and is the owner of Pagination Bookshop in Springfield, Missouri. Find more at her website.

Amaryah Orenstein

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Courtesy of the agent

Amaryah Orenstein, founder and president of GO Literary, is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. Aiming to give voice to a broad range of perspectives, Amaryah represents a wide array of literary and commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. She actively seeks works that wed beautiful writing with a strong narrative and tackle big issues in engaging, accessible, and even surprising ways. In addition to negotiating contracts, Amaryah works closely with each of her clients throughout every step of the publishing process, from concept development through publication and beyond. She takes a particular interest in the editorial process, offering skilled advice and guidance to help clients bring out the best in their writing. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, worked as an editorial assistant at various academic research foundations, including The Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, she earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the U.S. to pursue graduate work in American History. She received her MA from the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University and her PhD from Brandeis University.

Kelly Sonnack

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© Spotlight Studios 

Kelly Sonnack is a senior literary agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents creators of children's books in all age ranges and categories (picture books, chapter books, middle-grade, young adult, graphic novels, etc.). Novelists Kelly represents include Sharon Cameron, author of The New York Times bestselling and Reese’s Book Club Pick The Light in Hidden Places and Charlie Herman, NYT bestselling author of All Of Us Villains (co-written with Amanda Foody). Some of her graphic novel creators include Michelle Nutter, illustrator of the indie bestselling Allergic and Squished; James Burks, creator of the Bird and Squirrel series and the Agent 9 series; and Sophie Escabasse, creator of the indie bestselling series The Witches of Brooklyn. Kelly also represents picture book writers such as Laurenne Sala, author of Mi Casa is My Name; Alastair Heim, author of the upcoming How The Grinch Lost Christmas! sequel to the original Grinch classic; and Kim Smith, creator of Boxitects. She also has a strong list of illustrator clients including Joy Ang, Kim Smith, Nneka Myers, Marissa Valdez, and Noah Grigni. Kelly serves on the Board of the Association of American Literary Agents where she also co-heads the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.