Solstice MFA News


Welcome to the latest edition of the Solstice MFA Program newsletter, Write This Moment! Here are the latest happenings from our writing community, as well as some opportunities for writers of all genres.


Apply to Start This Summer!

The summer 2020 residency, which kicks off our fall semester, is set for July 10–19. If you'd like to start the program this summer, apply by April 30.

If you'd like to apply for any of our fellowships, the deadline is April 15. Fellowships include:

  • The Kurt Brown Fellowship for Diverse Voices (requires a short essay)
  • The Monica Hand Fellowship for Nontraditional Students
  • The Francis L. Toner Fellowship for Veterans
  • The Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction
  • The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent
We also have Writers Helping Writers Need-Based Scholarships. See our financial aid information for more details on all of these options.

#AWP20 in San Antonio

IMPORTANT UPDATE: After some deliberation, we will no longer be attending the AWP 2020 Conference and will have to cancel our offsite reading and onsite reception. For all who are still attending, we wish you safe travels.

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Graduate Elizabeth Mercurio will read on Wednesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at The Studio@620, 620 1st Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701.


Graduate Jenifer DeBellis will read on Monday, March 16, from 7:00–8:30 p.m., as the feature poet of the Central Michigan University Wellspring Literary Series, 111 East Broadway, Mount Pleasant, MI.

New Hampshire

Graduate Joanne Carota will read from her novel, THE DOCKS, on Wednesday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at Salem Woods in Salem, NH. THE DOCKS will be available for sale.


Student Ellen Austin-Li read on Feb. 11 as a contributor to the anthology Riparian: Poetry, Short Prose, and Photographs Inspired by the Ohio River at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also read on Feb. 22 for V-Day: Raise the Vibration, a collective of readings to raise awareness about gender-based violence, at Women Writing for a Change in Cincinnati. 

We took a trip out to the Walden Woods Project. If you look close, you can see Wachusett Mountain in the background! From left: Solstice Dir. Meg Kearney, Solstice alum and Walden Woods Project Education Assistant/Communications Coordinator Sarah Walker, Solstice Asst. Dir. Quintin Collins, and Solstice student and intern Megan Leduke! (Photo by Whitney Retallic)


Faculty member Kathleen Aguero’s poem “Croagh Patrick” has been published in Appreciation of Light: The West of Ireland, a book of photographs by Glen McClure. Her poem “Labyrinth: A Ramage” appears in the March 2020 issue of MoleculeLitMag.

Graduate Jane Cawthorne's novel Patterson House, which was her creative thesis at Solstice, will be published by Inanna Publications in 2021. That same year, she plans to publish an anthology of women writers who have had a concussion/traumatic brain injury and would write about the impact of it on their lives, a project she's worked on with Elaine Morin.

Graduate Jenifer DeBellis will publish Pink Panther Magazine, Volume 11, Number 1 on March 8 with editorial board graduates Andrea Davies, Jennifer Gentile, and Lisa J. Sullivan. This issue’s featured poet interview and poetry exhibition celebrates writer-in-residence Dzvinia Orlowsky. Additionally, Jenifer's poem “Hungry”—commissioned by Oakland University’s Bridging the Gaps: Guitars for Social Justice project (composed by Joo Won Park, performed by Bianca Pokrzywa, and narrated by Elena Hensel)—has been selected by the Society of Composers, Inc for inclusion in the 2020 CSI Composer CD Series.

Graduate Lisa Friedlander's essay "Slip Knots" has been accepted for the March issue of Wild Roof Journal.

Graduate Dustin Grinnell published a short story “A Case of Aphantasia” with the Online Journal of Community and Person-Centered Dermatology. It was also accepted for publication with Ars Medica.

Writer-in-residence Grace Lin published the novel Mulan: Before the Sword with Disney Press.

Image by Disney Press

Graduate Elizabeth Mercurio’s poem “More Angel than Bird” has been accepted by Martin Lake Journal for publication.

Graduate Andy Smart's collection of essays, currently titled The More You Hate Me, has been contracted for publication by Unsolicited Press.

Graduate Martin Smith published The Fab 5: The Scrapbook of a Revolution, which he co-wrote with Hannah Harshe, with Arcadia Publishing.

Image by Arcadia Press

Graduate Teresa Sutton's memoir piece "Long Beach Island, NJ" has been published in the Santa Ana River Review's Winter 2020 edition. Her poem "Homefront" was accepted by Sheila-Na-Gig Online for publication in its Spring Issue. Two of her other poems, "Burning Times" and "Last Night I Read That Darkness Can Be Undone," have been accepted by The 2River View's Spring 2020 edition.

Graduate Emily Van Duyne’s poem “Elizabeth Gets The Pox, Smashes Every Mirror In The Palace” was accepted for publication in The Rumpus. Her essay about doing research in the Ted Hughes archive is forthcoming in Literary Hub at the end of this month. Another essay on teaching about rape culture on a campus being sued for sexual assault, entitled “A (Rape) Culture of Respect,” appeared in Entropy Magazine in February.

On Feb. 21, faculty member Kathi Aguero and assistant director Quintin Collins read with Cindy Veach atthe Lily Poetry Salon, which graduate Eileen Cleary organizes. Other Solstice community members inattendance included graduate Faye Snider, writer-in-residence Dzvinia Orlowsky, and advisory boardmember Lee Hope. (Photo by Eileen Cleary)


Faculty member Brendan Kiely has been invited to speak at the Slice Conference in Brooklyn at St. Francis College on Sept. 12 and 13.

Student Terese Schlachter has earned the title "Writer-in-Residence" at the SoCo Arts Lab in Tracy's Landing, Maryland. She'll be writing a monthly blog that features fellow artists and conducting an initial writing/producing workshop in April. Check out her first blog.


Assistant director Quintin Collins was a finalist for the 2020 Alice James Award for his manuscript The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, which is his Solstice creative thesis.

Faculty member Iain Haley Pollock's second poetry collection, Ghost, Like a Place, was a finalist for the Phillip H. McMath Book Award from the University of Central Arkansas.

Writer-in-residence Dzvinia Orlowsky received a Pushcart Prize nomination. Additionally, her book Bad Harvest is reviewed by graduate Elizabeth Mercurio in the current Winter issue (issue 3) of Lily Poetry Review, Editor-in-Chief, graduate Eileen Cleary

Graduate Emily Van Duyne won a Fulbright Fellowship. Read her interview with WHYY where she talks about receiving the award email, connections to Sylvia Plath, and more.

Praise for faculty member Sterling Watson's novel The Committee appears in the New York Journal of Books and the Tampa Bay Times.

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Great River Review is now open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Submissions are free. Submit your work via Submittable.  

Green Linden Press welcomes poetry chapbook manuscripts to be considered for publication in fall 2020. It accepts manuscripts of 12–40 pages, as well as simultaneous submissions, works in translation, and co-authored manuscripts. The reading fee is $12 and helps support the press's green mission to give a portion of its proceeds to reforestation efforts; for $20, you also get any chapbook or broadside from its store. Submit your work via Submittable through March 21. provides tools to support a writer’s career at every stage, from beginner to professional. Its features include the ability to search and list writing retreats, residencies, graduate writing programs, events, jobs, and classes; build a personal profile for networking and applications; and connect with other writers and build writing groups. It also lists writing programs, classes, retreats, services, and residencies to help guide other writers. Check out the Solstice page!

The Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Workshop is a three-week intensive course in Los Angeles on the foundations of print and digital publishing. Workshop fellows work with 50+ leading industry professionals from all over the country, gaining a comprehensive overview of how the publishing industry works and where it is heading. Scholarships are available, and the deadline is March 16. Workshop applications are open through March 30.

Lynx House Press seeks unpublished full-length poetry collections for its Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. The winner receives $2,000 and publication. Entries must be at least 48 pages in length. The entry fee is $28, and it comes with a copy of a book from the press's back catalog. Submissions are open through June 1, and you can enter via Submittable.

The Massachusetts Review editors, along with guest editors Tacey Atsitty, Laura Furlan, and Toni Jensen, welcome submissions for a special issue of new Native-authored works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction for a special issue responding to the 400th anniversary of the Plymouth landing. Send submissions as Word or PDF files to Please put the genre and title in the subject line (e.g. "FICTION: Title"). The deadline is March 31.

The Missouri Review announced its 13th annual Miller Audio Competition. $4000 in prizes will be awarded to audio projects in the categories of poetry, prose, audio documentary, and humor. More than slick production, the contest is looking for good, exciting, and compelling writing in all four categories. The winner in each category receives $1,000 along with publication on the website and promotion on the publication's social media platforms. Runners-up in each category will also have their work published on the website in summer 2020. The contest offers pay-by-donation entry fees at $16, $25, or $30. Additionally, The Missouri Review offers Access for Artists Fellowships for those artists who face prohibitive financial burden. Access for Artists fellows receive a waived entry fee along with editorial feedback on their audio projects regardless of whether they place in the contest. Submit your work via Submittable through March 15.

New Limestone Review seeks submissions in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art on a rolling basis for monthly issues of its online literary review. All pieces published online are eligible for inclusion in the journal's biannual print publications. General submissions are $4. Submit your work via Submittable.

The Odyssey Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror Writers runs June 1-July 10 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The event combines advanced lectures, in-depth feedback, and individual guidance. Guest lecturers include top writers, editors, and agents. Applications, which must include a 4,000-word writing sample, close April 1.

Post, a queer-run, independent literary journal featuring works by queer artists and writers, is currently accepting submissions of up to five poems. It seeks poetry focused on queer identity, relationships, experiences, and politics. Not just your love poems: submit your experiments, your musings, your polished worry stones, and your secrets shaped into song. The deadline for submission is March 15. Submit your work online.

Roland Merullo, a founding faculty member of the Solstice MFA Program, directs and instructs at a writer's conference in Italy for fiction and nonfiction writers. Two slots are left for this fabulous conference that runs for six nights and seven days (May 28th to June 3rd) and is housed in a gorgeous Italian farmhouse just outside Orvieto, Italy. The Conference includes two, two-hour workshops daily, plus one-on-one meetings, three spectacular meals daily, a pool, a wine-tasting, optional yoga and meditation sessions, and elegant accommodations. The other instructor is Robert Braile, former Boston Globe book critic and environmental journalist, who has taught at Dartmouth and Andover Academy, among other places. Details can be found on Roland's website.

The Southampton Writers Conference, which runs July 8-19, has scholarships available for participants. These options include general scholarships (partial), funding for first-generation applicants (full), a scholarship for local applicants (full), and one for a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation (full). Funding is available for only non-credit participants and requires a letter of recommendation and a statement of purpose that is 500 words max. The scholarship deadline is March 15, and the final workshop deadline is April 15.


As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.


Quintin Collins
Solstice MFA Assistant Director