Program News

Please Welcome Our New Faculty

Please join us in wishing the beloved Gina Ochsner great success (and writing time!) as she steps away from the program for a hiatus. She has been a blessing to every one of us and a blessing to work with.

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.


We also are saying farewell to our dear Jeanne Murray Walker as she steps away from the program. As a lifelong writer and teacher, we will miss her presence and mentorship.

Beginning with the August 2019 residency, our new second-year poetry mentor will be Karen An-hwei Lee. Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo, 2008), and In Medias Res (Sarabande, 2004), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her first novel, Sonata in K, was published in 2017. A book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora (Cambria, 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series, and she is the translator of Doubled Radiance: Poetry & Prose of Li Qingzhao (Singing Bone Press, 2018), the first volume in English to collect Li’s work in both genres.

Lee’s work appears in journals such as The American Poet, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Journal of Feminist Studies & Religion, Iowa Review, and IMAGE: Art, Faith, & Mystery, and she was recognized by the Prairie Schooner/ Glenna Luschei Award. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship, Lee currently serves in the administration at Point Loma Nazarene University in Southern California.

Our Summer 2019 Residency Guests

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition (2019). His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.


Brown will lead a Craft Seminar lecture about poetry as well as share his work with our students and faculty at a reading.


Bret Lott is the New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen books and professor of English at the College of Charleston. He is Crazyhorse magazine's nonfiction editor and leads a study abroad program every summer to Spoleto, Italy. His work has also appeared in, among other places, The Yale Review, The New York Times, The Georgia Review and in dozens of anthologies.
Lott was appointed to the National Council of the Arts by President George W. Bush and served a six-year term. He was a Fulbright Senior American Scholar in 2006 and writer-in-residence at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel. He was invited by Laura Bush to speak at the White House as part of the White House Symposium on “Classic American Stories” in 2004.


Lott will lead two Craft Seminar lectures about fiction and creative nonfiction as well as read his work to our students and faculty.


Bruce Beasley is the author of eight collections of poems, most recently All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, September 2017), Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012). The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems was published by The University of Washington Press, in 2007. His previous collection, Lord Brain, an extended meditation on neuroscience, cosmology, theology, and language, won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award and was published in 2005. Beasley won the Colorado Prize for Poetry in 1996 for Summer Mystagogia, selected by Charles Wright, and the 1994 Ohio State University Press/Journal Award for The Creation. Wesleyan University Press published his books Spirituals (1988) and Signs and Abominations (2000).


Beasley will lead three Art & Faith lectures discussing the relationship between arts and religion. He will be focusing on Emily Dickinson's poetry.

Our Home-Place: Camp Casey, Whidbey Island

Our Summer 2019 residency will take place at our beloved Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. We hope to make this venue our full-time residency home for the foreseeable future, strengthening our ties with Seattle Pacific University and establishing a stronger identity as an MFA program committed to offering our students an intensive retreat and a centering home-place where they can work more intimately with their cohort and their mentors.


2019 Summer Residency:

Thursday, August 8th – Sunday, August 18th