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[Chestnut Hill, MA, January 2014] On Saturday, January 10, 2015, the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College awarded the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree to six students: poet Jenifer Ann DeBellis, young adult and children’s writer Joyce Bryson McPherson, and fiction writers Marilyn Marquez de Mercado, Kimberly A. Suhr, Matthew Tilden, and Charles H. Tucker.

Dean Dr. Diane Mello-Goldner welcomed the crowd, and Commencement Speaker Amy Bloom— a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the author of short story collections, picture books, and novels, including the recent New York Times Bestseller, Lucky Us—delivered an inspirational speech, followed by presentations of each graduate by MFA faculty members. A reception for graduates and their guests took place afterward.

  • Poet and Pedagogy Track graduate Jenifer Ann DeBellis, a resident of Dryden, Michigan, completed her creative thesis, Rain in Your Pocket, and delivered a lecture on “Equipping Students to Join the Literary Conversation.”
  • Children’s and young adult writer and Pedagogy Track graduate Joyce Bryson McPherson, a resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, completed her creative thesis, The Pandora Device, and delivered a lecture on “Narrative Voice: A Collaborative Learning Model.”
  • Fiction writer Marilyn Marquez de Mercado, a resident of Agawam, Massachusetts, completed her creative thesis, Book of Watchers, and delivered a lecture on “The Use of Myth and Archetype in Fiction.”
  • Fiction writer Kimberly A. Suhr, a resident of Wales, Wisconsin, completed her creative thesis, Nothing to Lose & Other Stories, and delivered a lecture on “Flannery O’Connor’s Dark-Hearted Legacy: Violence and the Fiction Writer.”
  • Fiction writer Matthew Tilden, a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, created his creative thesis, Killer at Heart, and delivered a lecture on “Many Hands: Development of Characters by Multiple Writers.”
  • Fiction writer Charles H. Tucker, a resident of Jackson, Mississippi, completed his creative thesis, Three Stories of the South & Thorn: A Novella, and delivered a lecture on “The Power of Story: How and Why the Sharing of Stories Builds Community and Can Bring Peace to Troubled Lands.”


About Solstice & Pine Manor College

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 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.

Contact: Tanya Whiton, Associate Director, (617) 731-7697



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