The faculty in the Arkansas Writer’s MFA Workshop were busy this summer writing, refilling the creative well, and publishing and presenting at conferences around the world. Here’s a sampling:

Associate Professor Garry Craig Powell traveled to England, Portugal, the Czech Republic (Moravia), Italy and Croatia. Zadar Croatia In Croatia he was doing research on a novel he is currently working on which is set in those countries about a hundred years ago. He was also a fellow at the Hambridge Center for the Arts and Sciences in the mountains of North Georgia during the first two weeks of August.

The photo at right is from Zadar, Croatia, where a key scene from Garry’s novel takes place.

Mark Spitzer, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and recipient of the 2013 College of Fine Arts and Communication Award for Creativity and Research (he was also finalist for the university award as well) recently had his book Crypto-Arkansas accepted for publication by Spuyten Duyvil Books, Brooklyn.  Other recent acceptances/publications include his essay “Gar vs. Sewage: A Tragedy of Waste,” forth coming from The Oklahoma Review (as well as in Big Muddy); “First-World Problems in Third-World Countries:  Trolling for Tropical Gar” in Green Hills Literary Lantern, “Gar Rodeo in the Cajun Swamp” In Animal and “Enter the Next Generation” in Flyaway.  Spitzer’s book review of Charles Bukowski’s The Flash of LIghtning Behind the Mountain was accepted for publication by Oyster Boy Review.  He had some other book reviews published in Terrain: A Journal of Built + Natural Environments.  As a scholar in residence at the City University of Hong Kong, Spitzer recently took part in the 2013 Summer Institute for English Teacher’s Creativity and Discovery in Teaching University Writing Conference, where he taught workshops on puppet pedagogy, gave a poetry reading and took part in the final keynote panel.

John Vanderslice, Associate Professor of Writing, traveled to London in June to give a presentation on historical fiction to the Great Writing conference, the leading creative writing conference in the United Kingdom.  In July he was the featured writer on the blog of the journal Versal, a literary review published out of Amsterdam.  He also published several pieces this summer.  A chapter from his novel Days on Fire appeared in Versal.  His short fiction appeared in Gemini magazine and Whistling Fire.  His memoir essay, “A Minute Inside the Ocean Cafe, July 1980,” appeared in Squalorly.   Meanwhile, a pastiche essay on the subject of marathon running was accepted by 1966, a journal of research-driven creative nonfiction, and will soon appear in that magazine.  His short story “On Cherry Street,” a historical fiction set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts in 1837, was accepted by Pembroke magazine and will appear this fall.

Piazza MichelangeloStephanie Vanderslice, Professor of Writing, completed final revisions on her novel, The Lost Son, finished her book, The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us,  and continued research on her next novel, The Gift, (working title) which deals with September 11, 2001 and The General Slocum Steamboat Tragedy of 1904, the second greatest loss of life in NYC history after 9/11.  This involved a flash visit to the New York Historical Society Archives in August.  Other highlights of the summer included meeting with editors Anthony and Karen Haynes at the Army-Navy Club in London to discuss future book projects, presenting a paper on professional development in creative writing graduate programs at the Great Writing conference in London,  publishing “Creative Writing is Not a Fast Food Nation” with the rest of the creative writing gang of five in Inside Higher Ed, and “The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: Success with the Writing Major” in the Huffington Post.

Stephanie and John Vanderslice, who met in the MFA program at George Mason University, also celebrated their 20th anniversary with a month-long trip to London, Provence and Italy.  The above photo, taken by their son, is overlooking Florence on the Piazza Michelangelo.

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