Office: Marston 236
Education: PhD, University of Utah; MFA, Bowling Green State University
Scott Cairns is a librettist, memoirist, translator, and author of nine poetry collections. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, etc., and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. He is a regular blogger for the religion section of Huffington Post, and contributes to a podcast, Flesh Becomes Word, for Ancient Faith Radio. His most recent books are Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015), Idiot Psalms (2014), Short Trip to the Edge (spiritual memoir, 2007 & 2016), Endless Life (translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 2007 & 2014), and a book-length essay, The End of Suffering (2009) now in its third printing. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014. His new projects include Descent to the Heart, a verse adaptation of selections from the writings of Saint Isaak of Syria. His spiritual memoir was released in a Greek edition, Μικρό Ταξίδι στι Μεθόριο, in 2014, and a new Romanian edition, Scurta Calatorie Pâna la Capat, was published in 2018. He is an emeritus Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English at University of Missouri, and is founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece. His Anaphora: New Poems will be published in 2019.
Office: Marston 245
Education: MAIS, University of Washington
Puget Sound native Dena Jones received a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) from the University of Washington. Her poetry has appeared in Tahoma West, UW Literary and Visual Arts magazines. Additionally, she worked as an editorial assistant for Tiger Oak Media, Inc. She has written articles for Seattle Magazine, Seattle Bride, and Northwest Home + Garden. Most recently, she worked as an academic advisor and writing instructor for the University of Washington Math Science Upward Bound program. Jones, along with Program Director Scott Cairns, manages SPU’s MFA program.
Office: Marston 229
Education: BA, Sociology
Marcet Crockett has had an interest in English and creative writing ever since her childhood, which she spent moving between Scotland, Rwanda, and the U.S. She transferred to SPU from the University of St. Andrews and received a degree in Sociology. In addition to her job at the MFA program, she works as a research assistant for Aaron Mahnke's Lore podcast.
Susanne Paola Antonetta
First-Year Creative Nonfiction Mentor
Education: MFA, University of Virginia
Susanne Paola Antonetta’s Make Me a Mother, ranked a Top Ten Book of the Year by Image Journal, was published by W.W. Norton. A digital chapbook, Curious Atoms: A History with Physics, was published by Essay Press in May 2016. She is also author of Body Toxic, A Mind Apart, the novella Stolen Moments, and four books of poetry. She is a blogger with the Huffington Post. Awards for her poetry and prose include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science Book of the Year, a Lenore Marshall Award finalist, an Oprah Bookshelf pick, a Pushcart prize, and others. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Orion, The New Republic, and many anthologies. Her work has been translated intoKorean, Dutch, and Italian and distributed internationally. She lives in Bellingham, Washington and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bellingham Review.
Second-Year Fiction Mentor
Education: MA, University of London
Robert Clark is the author of five books of nonfiction and five novels, most recently the nonfiction book Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces and the forthcoming novel Two-Hearted River. His other novels include Lives of the Artists, Love Among the Ruins, Mr. White's Confession (Edgar Award for best novel of the year), and In the Deep Midwinter. He is also the author of a spiritual memoir, My Grandfather's House: A Genealogy of Doubt and Faith, River of the West, and the essay collection Bayham Street. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and his books have been TLS and The New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Washington State Book Award as well as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Awards and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Mr. White’s Confession and Love Among the Ruins are in development as films. His new memoir/cultural history of Victorian writers, artists, and critics, My Victorians: Lost in the Nineteenth Century, will be published in 2019.
First-Year Poetry Mentor
Education: PhD, Boston College
Robert Cording is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross, where he taught for 38 years and was professor of English and the Barrett professor of creative writing. He has published eight collections of poems: Life-list (Ohio State University Press/Journal award, 1987); What Binds Us To This World (Copper Beech Press, 1991); Heavy Grace, (Alice James, 1996); Against Consolation (CavanKerry, 2002); Common Life, (CavanKerry, 2006); Walking With Ruskin(CavanKerry, 2010), A Word in My Mouth: Selected Spiritual Poems (Wipf and Stock, 2013), and, most recently, Only So Far (CavanKerry Press, 2015). He has received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry and two poetry grants from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. His poems have appeared in numerous publications such as The Nation, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, New England Review, Orion, and The New Yorker. His ninth poetry collection, Without My Asking, will be published by CavanKerry Press in 2019.
First-Year Fiction Mentor
Education: MFA, University of Michigan
Beginning with the August 2019 residency, our new first-year fiction mentor will be Chigozie Obioma. Chigozie is the author of The Fishermen, which was a finalist for the Man Booker prize 2015, and a winner of four other awards, including an NAACP Image award, the FT/Oppenheimer prize for fiction, and several nominations. The novel, which is being translated in 26 languages, is also being adapted into a stage play. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy's 100 Influential People of 2015. He is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and remains active in Nigeria where he runs various projects. His second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities, was published in January 2019, and is already receiving extraordinary critical praise.
First-Year Fiction Mentor
Education: MFA, University of Oregon
Gina Ochsner is the acclaimed author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. Her novel entitled The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight received the Grub Street Book Prize in 2011, and was long listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her most recent novel is titled The Hidden Letters of Velta B. Ochsner has been awarded a John L. Simon Guggenheim grant and a grant from the National Endowment of Arts. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmer Train, and Kenyon Review.
Jeanne Murray Walker
Second-Year Poetry Mentor
Education: PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Jeanne Murray Walker has written eight books of poetry, including a new and selected version: Helping the Morning (Word Farm Press, 2014). Her poems appear regularly in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Christian Century, The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, and Image. They’ve won major awards and are widely anthologized. Her plays have been performed to acclaim in cities across the U.S. and in London. The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer's, a memoir, was published in 2013 and in 2015 she co-edited with Luci Shaw a collection of essays, Ambition, which brings under one cover a dozen vivid arguments for and against personal ambition. In 2019 Paraclete Press will publish a series of sonnets documenting her pilgrimage after her mother’s death: Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking. Jeanne is Professor Emeritus at The University of Delaware and a Poetry Mentor in the SPU MFA Program. She also tutors writing at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle County, Delaware.
Lauren F. Winner
Second-Year Creative Nonfiction Mentor
Education: PhD, Columbia University
Lauren F. Winner is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including Wearing God, Still, Girl Meets God (which was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program, the first book with faith as a central theme to be thus selected), A Word to Live By, and Mudhouse Sabbath. In October 2018, Yale University Press will publish her study, The Dangers of Christian Practice: On Wayward Gifts, Characteristic Damage, and Sin. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Christian Century, Image, and Christianity Today. Her research has been supported by numerous institutions, including Monticello, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University, and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. She has appeared on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and has served as a commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” An Episcopal priest, Lauren is vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg, North Carolina, and she teaches at Duke Divinity School.
First-Year Young Adult Fiction Mentor
Education: MFA, Seattle Pacific University
Bryan Bliss is the author of No Parking at the End Times, Meet Me Here, and We’ll Fly Away, which was longlisted for the National Book Award. He holds master’s degrees in theology and creative writing. You can find his works in Image, the Good Letters blog, and various other places online and in print. He lives in Saint Paul, MN with his wife and two children.
Second-Year Young Adult Fiction Mentor
Education: BA, San Francisco State University
Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of seven novels for young adults, most recently Gem & Dixie. She's a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, the Guardian, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library and Los Angeles Public Library, and have been translated into many languages.
Our program is pleased to supplement the instruction at each of our residencies with an array of visiting writers. Each of them is both an accomplished writer and a talented and effective teacher, and each provides both a craft talk in one or more genres and a reading from original works.
March 2019 Residency:
Jacqueline Osherow in Poetry
David McGlynn in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction
August 2019 Residency:
Jericho Brown in Poetry