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[Chestnut Hill, MA, July 2016] On Saturday, July 16, 2016, 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: young adult writers Lindsey Applegarth and Jenn Strattman; poets Lisa Sullivan and wren thompson-wynn; and creative nonfiction writers Billy Still and Gail George.

Dean of the College, Dr. Diane Mello-Goldner welcomed the crowd of more than 100 fellow writers and their friends and family members, and made a few remarks about the MFA Program and Pine Manor College’s shared mission of inclusivity and personal attention. Program Director Meg Kearney then gave a short speech, providing a brief history of the Solstice Program as it celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Then class speaker wren thompson-wynn spoke on behalf of her fellow graduates. Commencement Speaker Susan Orlean — the bestselling author of eight books, including The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film, Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, and the 2011 New York Times bestseller, Rin Tin: The Life and the Legend—delivered an inspirational speech, followed by presentations of each graduate by MFA faculty members. A reception for graduates and their guests took place afterward.

During their graduating residency, our six students each gave a reading, and:

Young adult and children’s writer Lindsey Applegarth, a resident of Wichita Falls, Texas, completed her creative thesis, One, and delivered a lecture on “Dare to Diversify?”

Young adult and children’s writer Jenn Strattman, a resident of Cambridge, New York, completed her creative thesis, Dwellers Gone Hungry, Mothers Gone Mad: YA Linked Narratives, and delivered a lecture on “Bricks, Mortar, And Stone: Constructing The Unified Story Collection.”

Poet Lisa Sullivan, a resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts, completed her creative thesis, Rust, and delivered a lecture on “Unmasking ‘Masked Enjambment.’”

Poet wren thompson-wynn, a resident of Monroe, Washington, completed her creative thesis, A Woman Like Me, and delivered a lecture on “Reader Proximity, Perspective, And Pronouns—Oh My!”

Creative nonfiction writer Billy Still, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, completed his creative thesis, The Jawbone of a Carnivore/Praying the Pathway to Peace, and delivered a lecture on “Embracing The Question: Resisting The Answer.”

Creative nonfiction writer Gail George, a resident of Urbandale, Iowa, completed her creative thesis, Exploring the Wild Divine, and delivered a lecture on “Braiding: Using & Understanding Complexity in Essays & Fiction.”

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.

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