Community News & Updates March 2023


Sarah C. Baldwin (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) attended a book party at Salmagundi Club in New York City on January 31 to mark the U.S. publication of The Hard Route Out: One Woman’s Escape from North Korea, by Jihyun Park and Seh-lynn Chai, which Sarah translated.

Kathy Briccetti (Creative Nonfiction, W’07) is happy to share that her novel manuscript, “Whether They Be,” is a semi-finalist in the 2022 Simon & Schuster Books Like Us contest as well as a 2022 San Francisco Writers’ Conference Finalist. It was also a 2021 semi-finalist in the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Maybe someday it will be a book! 

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) has work featured in The Fiddlehead’s monthly “Reading Recommendations.” The Fiddlehead is Canada’s oldest literary magazine while J is pleased not to be Stonecoast’s oldest literary graduate.

Julie C. Day (Popular Fiction, S’12) and Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) are excited to announce they’ll be co-hosting a virtual launch party on March 19th! This March, Reckoning Press launches its special bodily autonomy issue Our Beautiful Reward, edited by Catherine Rockwood. To celebrate Our Beautiful Reward‘s print release, Julie, the publisher and editor-in-chief of  Essential Dreams Press, and Carina, the director of the Storied Imaginarium, will co-host the launch and reading. The event will feature short readings, shared writing inspirations, and giveaways. Prizes include a set of all Reckoning magazine issues, copies of Our Beautiful Reward, and copies of Essential Dream Press’ latest anthology Dreams for a Broken World, plus Reckoning pins and t-shirts. Join us for readings from eight fierce, furious, and compelling works. All who RSVP will have their name entered into the drawings! (Note: You must be present at the virtual event to win.)  

teri elam‘s (Poetry, S’19)  poem “A Dolly Parton Kinda Love” was featured on Chattanooga’s NPR station in a celebration of the release of  the Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology.

Jaq Evans‘s (Popular Fiction, S’20) debut novel, What Grows in the Dark, will be published by Mira Books / HarperCollins in Spring 2024. A contemporary horror novel pitched as The Babadook meets The Blair Witch Project, the book began during Jaq’s final year at Stonecoast and owes a ton to the people and vibes of the program!

Jess Flarity (Popular Fiction, S’18) will be presenting on the ethical implications of the AI-image generating software Midjourney at this year’s NeMLA the last weekend of March. Also, Jess is very honored to have received a Dissertation Year Fellowship from the University of New Hampshire for his work on masculinity and science fiction in the 20th century.

Cameron Gibson (Popular Fiction, W’18) and Jess Flarity (Popular Fiction, S’18) collaborated in a presentation on ChatGPT in the Classroom for Plymouth State University’s OpenLab. You can watch them nerd out on language software here.

Clifford Royal Johns (Popular Fiction, W’18) sold five humorous short essays about woodworking to Popular Woodworking Magazine to be published over the next year or so.

Boston College featured an article on Tom MacDonald (Fiction, W’09) about his writing.

Ellen Meeropol (Fiction, W’06) teams up with historian Barbara Blumenthal to talk about the challenges of writing fiction based on history, especially recent and local history. The two presenters will discuss the different kinds of truths discovered through research and through storytelling, using examples from Ellen’s recent novel, The Lost Women of Azalea Court. Details and zoom link available here.

Laura Navarre (Popular Fiction, W’11) published her fifteenth novel with her spicy poly dark witch academy/dragon shifter why-choose romance Gemini Kings for Ascendant Press (Angela James, editor) on February 20th. This sequel to Gemini Queen debuted on multiple Amazon category bestseller lists. The series releases in audiobook this spring. 

Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) has two winter articles out in Maine Magazine: a firsthand account of her February sled packing adventure to Baxter State Park in search of winter’s gifts, and a profile of a new inclusive ski touring organization. Her piece on the Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s efforts to engage communities in conversation over climate change resilience was published in Decor Maine. Also, Jenny is thrilled to be teaching a slate of creative writing classes in 2023, including two that drop students into the rich creative space of the outdoors—Writing and Renewal in Maine’s North Woods in August, and her favorite, a 100 Mile Wilderness section hike that focuses on writing and yoga, in September. This fall, she’s teaching Writing the Creative Magazine Feature, a 5-day course on freelance writing presented in collaboration with Maine Media Workshops. (More information is available at

Renee Olander (Poetry, W’05) will serve as a performance judge for the 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Finals Competition sponsored by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Virginia Public Media (VPM); the program will tape and air on VPM March 10, 2023. In addition, her Guest Columnist editorial “Withdrawal from RGGI would put Hampton Roads at risk” appeared in The Virginian Pilot and The Daily Press January 24, 2023.

Marisca Pichette (Popular Fiction, S’21) is pleased to share that her poem “One generation after the last flower” has been published in the March/April 2023 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her speculative poetry collection, Rivers in Your Skin, Sirens in Your Hair, is just one month away from publication and has received wonderful reviews from authors Ai Jiang, Vanessa Jae, Avra Margariti, and Sienna Tristen! She is looking forward to attending the 44th International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts as an invited creative from March 15-18.

Patricia Smith (Poetry, S’08 and former faculty) was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is also now a chancellor in the Academy of American Poets, and, in February, was appointed a full-time professor in the Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Her new book, Unshuttered, a volume of poems accompanied by 19th-century photos of African-Americans, was released on February 15th. 

Annie Wenstrup (Poetry, S’22) is attending AWP in Seattle and hopes to see other Stonecoasters there. She’ll be on the “Northern Imaginings” panel on Thursday, March 9th, 3:20-4:45 p.m. (room 430), and on the “Redefining Power: Indigenizing the Hybrid Form” panel on Friday, March 10th, 3:20-4:45 p.m. (room 335). She’s reading with the Storyknife Writers March 9th, 5:00 p.m., at Vermillion followed by a reading with the Indigenous Nations Poets on March 9th, 7:00 p.m., at Elliott Bay Book Company.


Faith Adiele (Creative Nonfiction) was featured in Detour Magazine’s inaugural episode of “Publisher’s Studio,” a podcast hosted at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism: “New DETOUR podcast goes behind scenes for Black travelers.”  Detour’s staff also highlighted her memoir, Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Forest Nun, as one of “Four classic Black travel books to take with you on your next trip.” In addition, this February, three of Faith’s Sleep Stories were highlighted on the Calm app’s “Celebrating Black Creators” and her fourth story, featuring artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, dropped on February 28.

Tom Coash‘s (Scriptwriting) play Flat Meat Society will be included in The Best 10-Minute Plays of 2023, to be published by Smith & Kraus in October 2023.

David Anthony Durham (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) has a new blog post up at Wild Cards World. It’s about the process of changing a fictional character’s details to adapt to the needs—or limitations—of television production. He’s pleased to announce that an audiobook version of his middle-grade novel The Shadow Prince is in the works from Recorded Books.

In January, John Florio (Popular Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Faculty | Fiction/Popular Fiction, S’07) and Ouisie Shapiro released their latest YA book, DOOMED: Sacco, Vanzetti, and the End of the American Dream. This starred review in School Library Journal calls it “a masterpiece,” and this review in BookTrib calls it “essential historical nonfiction for young adults.” (Note that BookTrib also interviewed John and Ouisie—and included a shout-out to Stonecoast!) John and Ouisie’s next YA nonfiction book, MARKED MAN: Frank Serpico and the Price of Being an Honest Cop, is scheduled for release in March 2024. John is currently both working on his next novel and studying the role of communism in 1950s American literature as part of his doctoral studies with the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Alex Jennings’ (Popular Fiction) debut novel, The Ballad of Perilous Graves, is a finalist for the Ray Bradbury Award for Speculative Fiction. This award is given annually at the LA Times Book Festival in April, and he’s among some fantastic company. The book has also been shortlisted for the IAFA’S Crawford Award, and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s Compton Crook Prize.

Dr. Raina J. León (Poetry) has been busy hanging out with her mom, Dr. Norma D. Thomas … as co-hosts on the podcast Generational Archives, where they talk about one family member (or the journey to do ancestral research) and share methods, techniques, tips for interviewing your elders, researching archives, and learning from the past to be assured in your present purpose. They claim and reframe what it is to be generational. #ItsGenerational Raina is also steady at work on a new project, Esperimento, two small artist residency spaces in Italy (with an apartment in Como and one in Lucca) for BIPOC creatives, healers, educators, and activists. The spaces will be open by July. Check in with her at if you are interested in learning more about creating art, dedicating yourself to finding the perfect nap time and duration, and eating into your full and glorious fleshiness in Italy. 

Elizabeth Searle (Fiction, Popular Fiction, Scriptwriting) and I’ll Show You Mine, the film she co-wrote, were featured on Women in Film and Video/New England, which summarizes the film’s screenings at multiple 2022 film festivals. Watch for upcoming 2023 news on I’ll Show You Mine here


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