Faculty & Staff

Program Faculty

Kathleen Aguero
José Angel Araguz
Jedediah Berry
Venise Berry
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Nicole Terez Dutton
Amy Hoffman
Randall Horton
Steven Huff
Brendan Kiely
Robert Lopez
Laura Williams McCaffrey
Josh Neufeld
Anne-Marie Oomen
Iain Haley Pollock
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Sandra Scofield
Sterling Watson
David Yoo



Terrance Hayes
Randall Kenan
Helen Elaine Lee
Dennis Lehane
Grace Lin
M.L. Liebler
Dzvinia Orlowsky
Michael Steinberg
Renee Watson


Consulting Writers

Jacqueline Woodson


Director and Staff

Meg Kearney

Quintin Collins
Assistant Director



Kathleen Aguero — Poetry 
Kathleen Aguero
© Debi Milligan

Kathleen Aguero has published five collections of poetry: Daughter Of, The Real Weather, Thirsty Day, Investigations, a collection of poems inspired by Nancy Drew, and After That (Tiger Bark Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Poetry magazine, Massachusetts Review, and the Cincinnati Review. She is also co-editor of three collections of multicultural literature: A Gift of Tongues, An Ear to the Ground, and Daily Fare. Her creative nonfiction essay, “Marriage Koan,” appears in the anthology Why I’m Still Married. Recipient of a Massachusetts Fellowship in Poetry and a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Kathi also was awarded a writing grant from the Elgin/Cox Trust. She has taught at the Writers’ Center at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York, the NY State Young Writers' Program at Skidmore, as well as in the Poets in the Schools Programs of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In 2004, she held the position of Visiting Research Associate at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching in the Solstice MFA program, Kathi teaches for “Changing Lives Through Literature,” an alternative sentencing program based on the power of books to change lives through reading and group discussion. She is a consulting editor in poetry for Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. Visit

Read Kathi Aguero's interview by Tiara Marchando.

José Angel Araguz —Poetry, Creative Nonfiction
Jos Angel Araguz
© Ani Schreiber

José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of seven chapbooks as well as the collections Everything We Think We Hear, Small Fires, Until We Are Level Again, and, most recently, An Empty Pot’s Darkness. His poems, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Prairie Schooner, New South, Poetry International, and The Bind. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence and composes erasure poems on the Instagram account @poetryamano. He also reads for the journal Right Hand Pointing and serves as a co-editor of Airlie Press. With an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati, José is an Assistant Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston where he also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Salamander Magazine.

Venise Berry — Fiction 
Venise Berry
© Natalia Salzaar

Venise Berry is the author of three national bestselling novels: So Good, An African American Love Story; All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale —recipient of a 2001 Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association— and Colored Sugar Water. Her fourth Novel, Sansara, is expected in 2014.  She is currently at work on a memoir, Driven, and a spiritual anthology series, What do you believe?. In 2003, she received the Creative Contribution to Literature Award from the Zora Neale Hurston Society; and in 2001, she was recognized with an Iowa Author Award from the Public Library Foundation in Des Moines. She has co-authored two nonfiction resource books with S. Torriano Berry, an associate professor in Film at Howard University: The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema and The 50 Most Influential Black Films. Her book Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues, a co-edited, nonfiction project, won the Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1997. She is an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.


Laure-Anne Bosselaar — Poetry 
© Star Black

Laure-Anne Bosselaar grew up in Belgium, where she worked for Belgian and Luxembourg Radio and Television. Her first poetry collection in English, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award, the National Poetry Series, the Ohio State University Prize, and the Nicholas Roerich Prize. Her second book of poems, Small Gods of Grief, won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was an ALA Notable Book in 2008. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she co-directed the Aspen Writers’ Conference from 1989 to 1992. Her other honors and awards include a Fellowship at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference; Writer-in-Residence positions at Hamilton College and at the Vermont Studio Center; a Pushcart Prize; and the McEver Chair In Poetry at Georgia Tech. Garrison Keillor chose four of her poems to read on the Writers' Almanac. She is the editor of the anthologies Never Before: Poems About First Experiences; Outsiders: Poems About Rebels, Exiles, and Renegades; and Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City, and co-editor of Night Out: Poems About Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars. A translator of French and Flemish poetry, she and her late husband, the poet Kurt Brown, published a book of translations from Flemish poet Herman de Coninck:The Plural of Happiness. Laure-Anne has taught at Emerson College,Sarah Lawrence College, U.C. Santa Barbara, and at writers’ conferences across the country. Visit

Read Laure-Anne Bosselaar's Interview by Tiara Marchando

Nicole Terez Dutton — Poetry
© Diana L.B. Dutton

Nicole Terez Dutton's work has appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, 32 Poems, Indiana Review and  Salt Hill Journal. Nicole earned an MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her collection of poems, If One Of Us Should Fall, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts where she serves as the city’s inaugural poet laureate, and she teaches at Grub Street and is the Poetry Editor of The Baffler Magazine.

Amy Hoffman — Creative Nonfiction, Fiction  
Amy Hoffman
© Roberta Stone

A writer and community activist, Amy Hoffman is editor-in-chief of Women's Review of Books. Her third memoir, Lies About My Family, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2013. Her second memoir, An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in fall 2007. It was short-listed for the New York Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her first memoir, Hospital Time, about taking care of friends with AIDS in the late 1980s, was short-listed for the American Library Association Gay Book Award and the Judy Grahn Award, and was a New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age selection. Amy's essays, interviews, and book reviews have been published in the Ocean State Review, Prairie Schooner, the Gay and Lesbian Review, and the Journal of Lesbian Studies. A former development director for Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Women's Lunch Place, a daytime shelter for homeless women, she has also been an editor at Gay Community News, South End Press, and the Unitarian Universalist World magazine. She received her MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has taught at UMass Amherst and Emerson College. Visit

Randall Horton — Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
© Rachel Eliza

Poet, fiction writer, and creative nonfiction writer Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. His latest poetry collection, Pitch Dark Anarchy, was selected by Beltway Poetry Quarterly as a Best Book of 2013. His essays have appeared in Black Renaissance Noire, the International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, and A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry & Race. His Hook: A Memoir was released from Augury Books in fall 2015. With an MFA from Chicago State University and a PhD from SUNY Albany, Randall is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven.

Steven Huff — Fiction, Poetry
Steven Huff© Joe Flaherty

Steven Huff is the author of a collection of stories, A Pig in Paris (2008), and two collections of poems, The Water We Came From (2003) and More Daring Escapes, published by Red Hen Press in 2008. His chapbook Proof was named Editor’s Choice in the 2004 Two Rivers Review Chapbook Competition. Steve’s poems and stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Kestrel, The Chatauqua Literary Review, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and other journals and publications. Garrison Keillor has also read his poetry on “The Writer’s Almanac” public radio program. His non-fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review. A Pushcart Prize winner in fiction, Steve was creator and host of a weekly radio feature in Western New York, “Fiction in Shorts,” which aired on public radio stations WXXI-FM and WJSL-FM from 2002 through 2008. The former executive director of BOA Editions, Ltd., he also directed adult education and programs at the Writers & Books community literary center in Rochester, New York, and taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the founder of Tiger Bark Press, which recently published After That by Kathleen Aguero and I've Come This Far to Say Hello: Poems 

Selected and New by Kurt Brown.

Read Steven Huff's Interview by Jiao Fu

Brendan Kiely - Writing for Young People
Brendan Kiely© Gary Joseph Cohen

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of Tradition, All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His work has been published in more than ten languages, and has received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His work was twice selected for the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults (2015, 2017), and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best (2016) and a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2014. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in New York City.


Read Brendan Kiely's Interview by Vanessa Aarons

Robert Lopez — Fiction, Creative Nonfiction (On Sabbatical in 2020) 
Robert Lopez

© Nola Lopez

Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River —named one of 25 important books of the decade by HTML Giant— and two story collections, Asunder and Good People, which was published by Bellevue Literary Press in January, 2016. A new novel, All Back Full, was published by Dzanc Books in 2017. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in dozens of publications, including Bomb, The Threepenny Review, The Mississippi Review, New England Review, and the Norton Anthology of Sudden Fiction – Latino. He has taught at The New School, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University, and was a fellow in fiction for the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as visiting writer at the Vermont Studio Center. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and edits No News Today, a running anthology of newsworthy nonfiction.


Read Robert Lopez' Interview with Hareem Shafi.

Laura Williams McCaffrey — Fiction; Writing for Young People
Laura Williams McCaffrey
© Colin McCaffrey

Laura Williams McCaffrey was born and raised in Vermont. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University, then returned to Vermont and eventually became a school librarian, answering to the names “Ms. Librarian,” “Library Lady,” and sometimes simply “Ms. Library.” A passionate advocate for the arts in education, she now teaches writing and literature at Pacem School, an alternative school and homeschooling center. She also mentors teens in creative writing, in addition to regularly contributing educational materials for children and teens to both Harper Collins and Algonquin’s young readers divisions. Laura's speculative fiction short stories have been published in Solstice Literary Magazine,Soundings Review,Cicada, and YA Review Network. Her short story "Into the Vast," published by YA Review Network, won SCBWI's 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction. Marked, her third young-adult speculative fiction novel, was published by Clarion Books in spring 2016. Marked is a dystopic fantasy as well as a mixed-format novel that includes comics story lines integrated into prose text. Laura is the author of two other young-adult speculative fiction novels: Water Shaper (2006), selected for the 2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list; and Alia Waking (2003), named an International Reading Association Notable Book. Alia Waking was also a nominee for the annual Teens’ Top Ten Books list and for Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award. Laura is currently at work on on a fourth speculative fiction young-adult novel, a story inspired by her research of WW I nurses, as well as a speculative fiction young-adult mystery.


Read Laura Williams McCaffrey's Interview by Tiara Marchando

Josh Neufeld — Graphic Narratives
© self portrait

Josh Neufeld is a cartoonist known for his nonfiction narratives of political and social upheaval, told through the voices of witnesses. His works of comics journalism have been published by Al Jazeera America, The Boston Globe, Medium, Fusion, Cartoon Movement, and The Atavist, among others. As a comics artist, he has collaborated with such acclaimed writers as Brooke Gladstone, Harvey Pekar, and Nick Flynn. Josh is the writer/artist of the New York Times-bestselling nonfiction graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge (Pantheon). In addition, he is the illustrator of the New York Times-bestselling graphic nonfiction book The Influencing Machine (W.W. Norton). He was awarded a 2004 Xeric Foundation grant for his first book, A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe). In 2014, Josh was an Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist, where he mentored eight Associate Artist cartoonists. In 2012, he was awarded the Knight-Wallace Fellowship in Journalism at the University of Michigan — the first long-form cartoonist ever admitted to the program. As part of the U.S. Department of State's Speaker and Specialist program, Josh has traveled abroad as a “cultural ambassador,” giving presentations and conducting workshops in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. He has taught comics workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and has served as a thesis advisor for students at the Center for Cartoon Studies and Hunter College. His illustrations have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. His books have been translated into numerous languages. Josh lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the writer Sari Wilson, and their daughter. To learn more, visit

Anne-Marie Oomen — Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Anne-Marie Oomen
© Dianne Dupuis

Anne-Marie Oomen is author of three memoirs: Love, Sex and 4-H; Pulling Down the Barn; and House of Fields, (the latter two both Michigan Notable Books); as well as An American Map: Essays (Wayne State University Press);and a full-length collection of poetry, Uncoded Woman (Milkweed Editions).She is also represented in New Poems of the Third Coast: Contemporary Michigan Poetry. She edited Looking Over My Shoulder: Reflections on the Twentieth Century, an anthology of seniors' essays funded by the Michigan Humanities Council. She has written seven plays, including the award-winning Northern Belles (inspired by oral histories of women farmers), and most recently, Secrets of Luuce Talk Tavern, 2012 winner of the CTAM contest. She adapted the meditations of Gwen Frostic for "Chaotic Harmony," a choreopoem. She is founding editor of Dunes Review and former president of Michigan Writers, Inc. Anne-Marie serves as instructor at the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts and the Interlochen College of Creative Arts in Michigan, and appears at conferences throughout the country. She and her husband, David Early, built their home near Empire, Michigan. Visit

Read Anne-Marie Oomen's Interview by Carrie Margolis.

Iain Haley Pollock — Poetry 
© Rachel Eliza Griffiths

 Iain Haley Pollock lives in Mount Kisco, NY, and and teaches English at Rye Country Day School. He is the author of two poetry collections, Ghost, Like a Place (Alice James Books, 2018), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and Spit Back a Boy, winner of the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Individual poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Baffler, Boston Review, Callaloo, and The New York Times Magazine. Iain received his undergraduate degree at Haverford College and his MFA in Creative Writing at Syracuse University, where he won the Joyce Carol Oates Award. He held a Cave Canem Fellowship from 2006-2009. He was the Solstice MFA Program’s first Cave Canem Partner Poet and joined the MFA faculty in summer 2012.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich - Writing for Young People

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is author of 8th Grade Superzero (Scholastic), a Notable Book for a Global Society and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. She is a co-author of the NAACP Image Award-nominated Two Naomis, and its sequel, Naomis Too (Balzer and Bray/HarperCollins). Her nonfiction work includes Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow (Discovery/MacMillan), and the picture book biography Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins (Seagrass/Quarto). Olugbemisola is also the editor of The Hero Next Door, a 2019 middle grade anthology from We Need Diverse Books. A member of The Brown Bookshelf and We Need Diverse Books, Olugbemisola lives with her family in New York City. Find her on Twitter @olugbemisola and Instagram @olugbemisolarhudayperkovich.


Read Olugbemisola's interview by Vanessa Aarons

Sandra Scofield — Fiction, Creative Nonfiction 
© Scofield Sandra

Author of seven novels, Sandra Scofield won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Fiction Award in 1997 and was a 1991 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Her titles include A Chance to See Egypt, Plain Seeing, Walking Dunes, Beyond Deserving —a 1991 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction —and others. She has also published a memoir about her Texas childhood, Occasions of Sin, and a popular craft book for writers titled The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer. Recent work has appeared in The Examined Life: A Literary Journal of the University of Iowa College of Medicine; Callaloo (a special issue of Texas writers); Narrative (winning the 2012 annual prize for "Story of the Week;" and the spring 2014 Story contest), and Llano Estacado: Island in the Sky (Texas Tech University Press). Her papers are archived in The Sowell Family Literary Collection at Texas Tech. Texas Tech published the book Mysteries of Love and Grief in fall 2015. An experienced teacher (grades one through graduate school) with a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Curriculum and Instruction, Sandra has served on the faculty of Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) and Seattle Pacific University, and has been a visiting writer at Macalaster College, the University of Arkansas, Miami University (Oxford, OH), and Old Dominion University. Through the National Book Foundation, she has twice served as writer-in-residence on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. She has taught in private and public elementary and secondary schools, and has extensive experience as an educational planner, having worked with the Northwest Educational Laboratory, the Montana Department of Public Instruction, and school districts in Oregon and Alaska. Sandra has been on the faculty of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 1992. Born and raised in Texas, Sandra presently divides her time between Montana and Oregon. She is an avid landscape painter and traveler.

Sterling Watson — Fiction 
Sterling Watson
 © John M. Clark

Sterling Watson is the author of seven novels, including Suitcase City (Akashic, 2015); Fighting in the Shade; Sweet Dream Baby; Deadly Sweet; Blind Tongues; The Calling; and Weep No More, My Brother. Sterling is the recipient of three Florida Fine Arts Council Awards for Fiction Writing. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such publications as Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, Gulfstream Magazine, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and The Southern Review. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He is the Peter Meinke Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida; for eleven years he co-directed the Writers In Paradise Conference with Dennis Lehane. He was the recipient of both the John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award and the Lloyd W. Chapin Award for Excellence in Scholarship and the Arts for the 2006-2007 academic year. Before Eckerd College, he taught at the University of Florida and in the Prison School of the Florida State Penitentiary.

David Yoo — Creative Nonfiction; Writing for Young People
David Yoo
© Jessica Jackson

David Yoo is the author of the novels Girls for Breakfast (Delacorte), which was named a NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before (Hyperion), a Chicago Best of the Best selection, along with a middle grade novel, The Detention Club, (Balzer and Bray). His first collection of essays, The Choke Artist (Grand Central) was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. David wrote a regular column in Koream Journal. He teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and resides in Massachusetts. Visit

Read David Yoo's interview by Hareem Shafi.


Terrance Hayes — Poetry
Terrance Hayes
© Ric Francis

Terrance Hayes most recent poetry collection is How to Be Drawn, long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry. In 2010, his book Lighthead, won the National Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Hurston-Wright Award. His first book, Muscular Music, won both a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, Hip Logic, was a National Poetry Series selection, and a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Wind In a Box, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist, was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. Terrance’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a profile on the PBS Newshour with Jim Leher, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poems have appeared in seven editions of the Best American Poetry anthology and two editions of the Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology. He was also guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014, the preeminent annual anthology of contemporary American poetry. He is a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his wife, the poet Yona Harvey, and their children.

Randall Kenan — Creative Nonfiction, Fiction 
Randall Kenan

© Jill Krementz

In researching his nonfiction book, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, Randall Kenan spent eight years traversing the United States, gathering more than 200 interviews that represent the wide range of experiences in black American life today. In Walking on Water, which was nominated for the Southern Book Award, Randall brings to his interviews, travels, and comments the deep heart, keen curiosity, and inquisitive imagination that make him one of America’s finest writers and commentators. A Visitation of Spirits was Randall’s first novel, published in 1989. His collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (1992), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was among The New York Times Notable Books of the year. He is also the author of a young-adult biography of James Baldwin and wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff’s book of photographs, A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta. His most recent book is a work of nonfiction, The Fire This Time (2007), and he wrote the biographical essay in the forthcoming A New Historical Guide to James Baldwin, in addition to editing Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin (2010). Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award, Randall received the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy in 1997. He was a member of the editorial staff at Alfred A. Knopf publishers in the mid 1980s. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, Vassar College, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Memphis. He now teaches in the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Read Randall Kenan's Interview with Tiara Marchando

Helen Elaine Lee — Fiction 
Helen Elaine Lee
© Photo courtesy of MIT

Helen Elaine Lee is a novelist and short-story writer. Her first novel, The Serpent's Gift, was published by Atheneum and her second novel, Water Marked, was published by Scribner. She recently finished Life Without, a novel about the lives of ten people who are incarcerated in two neighboring U.S. prisons, and The Hard Loss, a novel about a DNA exoneree’s first week of freedom after 24 years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit. Stories from Life Without have appeared in Callaloo, Prairie Schooner, Hanging Loose, Best African American Fiction 2009 (Bantam Books), and Helen is a member of the Board of Directors of PEN New England, and she serves on its Freedom to Write Committee and volunteers with its Prison Creative Writing Program. She has written about the experience of teaching creative writing in prison in a New York Times Book Review essay, “Visible Men.” Her short story, “Lesser Crimes” will be published in the spring of 2015 in the Boston Review. She is Writer-in-Residence with the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and Professor of Fiction Writing in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing department.


Dennis Lehane — Fiction
© Diana Lucas Leavengood

Dennis Lehane is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including: The Given Day, Shutter Island, and Mystic River — winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel, the Barry Award for Best Novel, and the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction — in addition to the popular Patrick Kenzie series of Boston detective novels: A Drink Before the War; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; and Moonlight Mile. His tenth novel, Live By Night, was published in October, 2012. Three of Dennis’ novels have been adapted for film: the Academy Award-winning Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood; Gone Baby Gone, directed by Ben Affleck; and Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorcese. His short story collection,Coronado, features the story “Until Gwen,” the basis of his play “Coronado,” which premiered in New York City in December 2005. “Until Gwen was also selected for The Best American Short Stories 2005, The Best American Mystery Short Stories 2005, and New Stories from the South 2005. Writer-in-Residence at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Dennis is the co-director of the Writers in Paradise Conference, was a staff writer for HBO’s The Wire, and is a writer/producer on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. He has taught fiction and literature at the Harvard Extension School, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and Tufts University.


Grace Lin — Writing for Children & Young Adults
Grace Lin
© Alexandre Ferron

Grace Lin, a New York Times bestselling author/ illustrator, won the Newbery Honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the Theodor Geisel Honor for Ling and Ting. Her most recent novel, When the Sea Turned to Silver, was a National Book Award Finalist. Grace is also a commentator for New England Public Radio, a reviewer for the New York Times, a video essayist for PBS NewsHour, and the speaker of the popular TEDx talk, “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.” In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House where Grace herself was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. An Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee for the U.S., Grace says her books are about the Asian-American experience because she believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.” Visit

Read Grace Lin's Interview by Jiao Fu

Dzvinia Orlowsky — Poetry 
Dzvinia Orlowsky
© Max Hoffman

Pushcart-Prize winner Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of six poetry collections including Bad Harvest (2018) recently named a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in poetry, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones, co-winner of the 2010 Sheila Motton Book Award, and Silvertone (2013) for which she was named Ohio Poetry Day Association’s 2014 Co-Poet of the Year. Her first collection, A Handful of Bees, was reprinted in 2008 as part of the Carnegie Mellon University Classic Contemporary Series. Dzvinia’s poetry and translations have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Agni, Field, Guernica, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Antioch Review, International Poetry Review, Los Angeles Review; A Map of Hope: An International Literary Anthology; From Three Worlds: New Writing from Ukraine; and A Hundred Years of Youth: A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Ukrainian Poetry, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her translation from Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko’s novella, The Enchanted Desna, was published by House Between Water in 2006, and in 2014, Jeff Friedman's and her co-translation of Memorials by Polish Poet Mieczyslaw Jastrun was published by Dialogos. In 2016, she and Friedman were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship in support of continuing their translation work of Jastrun’s poems. A founding editor of Four Way Books (1993-2001), she is also a contributing editor to Agni and contributing poetry editor to Solstice Literary Magazine. She has taught poetry at the Mount Holyoke Writers’ Conference, The Boston Center for Adult Education, Emerson College, Gemini Ink, the Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference, the Stonecoast MFA Program, Writers in Paradise, and the Solstice Summer Writers’ Conference at Pine Manor College. In 2012 she accepted a one-year appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Providence College and currently conducts poetry and prose poetry workshops as Guest Lecturer at the college. Dzvinia is a recipient and co-recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Grant as well as a Council’s Professional Development Grant, and most recently, New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Samuel Washington Allen Prize for her poem sequence titled “The (Dis)enchanted Desna.” She is Founding Director of Night Riffs: A Solstice Magazine Reading and Music Series. She lives in Massachusetts.

Read Dzvinia Orlowsky's interview by Carrie Margolis.

Michael Steinberg — Creative Nonfiction
Michael Steinberg
© Carole S. Berk

A native New Yorker, Michael Steinberg is a memoirist, personal essayist, and founding editor of the literary journal, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. In 2003, ForeWord Magazine chose Still Pitching as the Independent Press Memoir of the Year. Other works include Peninsula: Essays and Memoirs from Michigan, a finalist for both the 2000 Great Lakes Book Sellers award and the ForeWord Magazine/Independent Press Anthology of the Year; The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction (a co-edited anthology with Robert Root, now in its sixth edition); Those Who Do, Can: Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching (also with Robert Root); a co-edited textbook, The Writer's Way; and I’m Almost Famous, a co-authored stage play. His personal essays and memoirs have appeared in many literary journals and have been cited several times in Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing. Steinberg taught writing and literature at Michigan State University for more than thirty years; and from 1990-94, he co-directed the Michigan State University Overseas Writing Program. From 1985-1993, he was the co-founder/director of the Traverse Bay Reading and Writing Workshops for Teachers. Over the past several years, he has been a guest writer at several universities, as well as at national and international writing conferences—including the Paris Writers' Workshops; the California State University Fine Arts Festival; the Geneva (Switzerland) Writers' Conference; the Prague Summer Writing Program; the NYU Summer Writing Intensive; the Chautauqua Writer's Conference; the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference in Homer, Alaska; and, most recently, the Nonfiction Now International Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. He’s also judged the PEN New England and the AWP Award Series book prizes, among others. Steinberg’s latest book is Living in Michigan, Dreaming Manhattan: Selected Essays and Memoirs, 1990-2015, a finalist for the 2018 Michigan Notable Books award. He’s currently working on a collection of personal essay/memoirs and a source book of essays and interviews on/about the art and craft of literary nonfiction.


Renée Watson — Writing for Young People 
© NAACP 2012

Renée Watson is a New York Times Bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. The middle-grade novel Betty Before X she wrote with Ilyasah Shabazz. Renée’s newest work, Watch Us Rise, is co-written with Ellen Hagan. Her children's picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. She has given readings and lectures at many renown places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Embassy in Japan. The New York Times calls Renée’s writing, “charming and evocative.” Her poetry and fiction often centers around the lived experiences of black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Her books include young adult novels, Piecing Me Together and This Side of Home, which were both nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Her picture book, Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received several honors including an NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. Her one woman show, Roses are Red Women are Blue, debuted at the Lincoln Center at a showcase for emerging artists. One of Renée’s passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma and discuss social issues. Her picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Renée has worked as a writer in residence for over twenty years teaching creative writing and theater in public schools and community centers through out the nation. Her articles on teaching and arts education have been published in Rethinking Schools and Oregon English Journal. She is on the Council of Writers for the National Writing Project and is a team member of We Need Diverse Books. She currently teaches courses on writing for children for the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. Renée has also worked as a consultant within the non-profit sector, specifically around teaching for social justice and the role of art in social justice, providing professional development workshops and leadership trainings to artists, staff, executives, and board of directors. Some of her clients include Carnegie Hall, DreamYard, Lincoln Center, RAW Art Works, and Writers in the Schools-Portland. In the summer of 2016 Renée launched I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and created during the last twenty years of his life. Her hope is to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers. Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently lives in New York City. For more information about Renée visit

Consulting Writers

M.L. Liebler — Consulting Writer
M.L. Liebler
© Photos by Alex Lumelsky

M. L. Liebler is an acclaimed poet, university professor, literary arts activist, arts organizer and an award winning educator. He was awarded the 2010 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, bestowed by the literary magazine Poets and Writers to honor authors who "have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community." He is author of thirteen books, including the award-winning Written In Rain: New & Selected Poems 1985-2000; The Moon In a Box (which includes a CD of his performance poetry); Greatest Hits 1984-2005; a bilingual edition (in Russian and English) of The Fragrant Benediction of Life, and Wide Awake in Someone Else's Dream (Wayne State University Press), featuring poems written in and about Russia, Israel, Germany, Alaska, and Detroit. His recent working class literary anthology, Working Words: Punching the Clock & Kicking Out the Jams (Coffee House Press), was selected as a Michigan Library Notable Book for 2011. On behalf of the U.S. State Department, he has read, performed, and taught poetry in such countries as China, Russia, Israel, Germany, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Britain, Wales, and elsewhere, including almost every state in the USA. In 2005, he was named the first Poet Laureate of his home town, St. Clair Shores, Michigan. He has taught English, Creative Writing, Labor Studies, and American Studies at Wayne State University since 1980. He is the founding director of both The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. He was recently selected at Best Detroit Poet by The Detroit Free Press and Detroit’s Metro Time, and he is the nation’s first-ever Artist in Residence for a Public Library, the Chelsea District Library (2008-2009). M.L. is available to consult with MFA students and prospective students who are interested in pursuing a third-semester, applied-track internship.


Jacqueline Woodson — Consulting Writer
©Marty Umans

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of a number of books for children and young adults, including the 2014 National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming, Each Kindness, Beneath a Meth Moon; Peace, Locomotion; the Newbery Honor books After Tupac & D Foster, Show Way, and Feathers; Miracle’s Boys, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (made into a six-part television miniseries, directed by, among others, Spike Lee); Hush, a Finalist for the National Book Award and the American Library Association (ALA) “Best Book For Young Adults”; Locomotion, also a National Book Award finalist, a Horn Book Award Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and If You Come Softly, named a Best Book for Young Adults by the ALA. Her picture book The Other Side has won many awards, including the Texas Blue Bonnet Award and a Child Magazine Best Book Award; it was also named an ALA Notable Book. She also adapted Locomotion as a play, and the stage version premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in October, 2010. Jacqueline has received several additional honors, including two Jane Addams Peace Awards, three Lambda Literary Awards, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, a Granta Best Writer Under Forty Award, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 1994, and a number of ALA Best Book Awards. A former drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City, Jacqueline has taught fiction at the Vermont College MFA in Creative Writing Program; The City College, City University of New York; Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program; the National Book Foundation Summer Writing Camp; and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She resides with her family in Brooklyn, New York.


Director and Staff

Meg Kearney — Director 
Meg Kearney
© Angela Krajick

Meg Kearney is Founding Director of the Solstice Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College. For eleven years prior to joining Pine Manor, she was Associate Director of the National Book Foundation (sponsor of the National Book Awards) in New York City. She also taught poetry at the New School University. Meg’s most recent collection of poems for adults, Home By Now (Four Way Books, 2009), was winner of the 2010 PEN New England LL Winship Award; it was also a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. The title poem of Home By Now was included in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems: American Places anthology (Viking Penguin 2011). Meg’s first collection of poetry, An Unkindness of Ravens, was published by BOA Editions Ltd. in 2001, and is still in print. She is author of a trilogy of verse novels for teens: The Secret of Me (Persea Books 2005); The Girl in the Mirror (Persea Books 2012); and the forthcoming When You Never Said Goodbye (Persea Books 2017). Meg’s first picture book, Trouper (the Three-Legged Dog), was published by Scholastic in fall 2013, and is illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Winner of the Kentucky Bluegrass Award and the Missouri Show Me Readers Award, it was selected as one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People of 2014; one of the most “Diverse and Impressive Picture Books of 2013” by the International Reading Association; and one of the season's best picture books by the Christian Science Monitor and Bank Street College of Education. Meg’s poetry has been featured on Poetry Daily and Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac,” and has been featured in myriad anthologies. Her nonfiction essay, “Hello, Mother, Goodbye,” appears The Movable Nest: A Mother/Daughter Companion (Helicon Nine Press in fall 2007). She is the recipient of several awards, including an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts; a New York Times Fellowship; and the Alice M. Sellers Academy of American Poets Award. She was also a three-time fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. A native New Yorker, Meg lives in New Hampshire with her husband; their hound dog Winston; and two cats, Hopkins and Magpie.


Quintin Collins — Assistant Director

Quintin Collins is a poet, writer, and editor. In his professional career before becoming the Solstice MFA Program's Assistant Director, he spent more than five years in the digital marketing field, where he applied his expertise to managing and developing teams of writers and executing editorial content strategy for clients of various industries, most notably higher education. During that time, he earned an MFA in Creative Writing for Poetry from the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. Quintin attributes his success in publication to the many educators he has had on his path to his current role. As a result of their guidance, he has had work appear in periodicals like Transition magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine, Homology Lit, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Poems 2 Go, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere, as well as a forthcoming anthology that highlights poems of black joy. He also earned a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2019. While Quintin's current projects include one manuscript out for submission and another in progress, his highest goal as a writer will always be to foster community and create space for all voices, particularly those from underserved communities—a task he is excited to further achieve as Solstice's Assistant Director. 

Check out his publications.