Working in Wyoming

As a culmination of the community workshops facilitated by Mark Nowak and the University of Wyoming MFA program, a public reading and celebration was held last Thursday at the Gryphon Theather. It was a night filled with Kool Moe Dee, Monty Python, Laramie community members, and former MFA students. The evening closed with a documentary of what it means to work in Wyoming. Here are some images from the night:


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Congratulations, Caleb Johnson!

Second-year fiction student, Caleb Johnson, has been awarded a residency at Jentel, located in the Lower Piney Creek Valley with spectacular views of the Big Horn Mountains.
From Caleb:
“I’ll be at Jentel mid-May to mid-June. It’s a luxury to be offered space and time, support, to work, especially when you’re headed into the post-MFA world. I feel real blessed for this time I’ll have at Jentel. While there, I plan on revising a novel, reading a whole lot and taking runs along the base of the Big Horns. I’m also excited to meet the other artists who will be there while I am.”
Congratulations, Caleb. What a wonderful opportunity!

ZZ Packer Visits UW

The University of Wyoming MFA program is pleased to host ZZ Packer this January as a Spring 2013 Visiting Writer. Packer will consult with fiction students and read manuscripts. She will also give a public reading at the Albany County Public Library on January, 31st from 7:00pm – 8:00pm. The reading will be followed by a book signing, sponsored by Second Story Books.

ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer is the author of the short story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. She was selected as one of The New Yorker magazine’s “20 under 40” luminary fiction writers in June 2010. She has been awarded many fellowships and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University.


The UW MFA program is excited and honred to have ZZ Packer visiting us.


Congrats, Chelsea

Chelsea Biondolillo’s piece, “Bird by Desert-light,” an essay about hummingbirds, deserts, and getting laid off, will be published in the Spring 2013 print issue of Phoebe. As well as on their website (at some point):

This essay originally was selected as a runner-up in both Phoebe‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition judged by Mary Roach, and Cream City Review‘s 2012 annual nonfiction competition.


Congratulations, Brock!

Congratulations to second-year poetry candidate, Brock Michael Jones, who was named a finalist in the Iowa Review’s Jeff Sharlet Memorial Prize for Veterans. The contest is for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel. It is hosted by The Iowa Review and made possible by a gift from the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–69), a Vietnam veteran and antiwar writer and activist. The contest is open to veterans and active duty personnel writing in any genre and about any subject matter.

We couldn’t be more proud of Brock. What wonderful, wonderful news! 




How I Spent My Summer Vacation – MFA Style

The summer between our first and second year here at UW is an awesome time for writing. With the finical support of MFA funding and various grants, many of us used this time to travel and gather research for our theses.

This is how Chelsea Biondolillo, 2nd year nonfiction student, spent her summer:
First, I went to NYC where I visited a public high school with a marine stewardship focus. While there, I observed a 10th grade aquaculture class that was managing an oyster nursery and later I dove in the New York harbor with a scuba class of 10-12th graders that included rescue, scientific, and divemaster dive drills. This trip was made possible by Philosophy and Social Justice department funding.

Next, I went to Nebraska to learn more about the tall grass prairie and the issues around its conservation from experts in several fields. I worked with a small group of researchers who are studying an endangered carrion beetle and was able to meet with one of the nation’s most prolific ornithological authors. This trip was made possible by MFA department funding. 

In July I was selected for a year long science writing workshop sponsored by Creative Nonfiction magazine, the Consortium of Science, Policy, and Outcomes and the National Science Foundation. More info here (though they don’t have the new communicators posted yet, I’m one of them for 2012): The process was competitive and I am really excited to be a part of it. 

What a wonderful couple months, Chelsea. Congrats on all you accomplished! Thanks for the glimpse into your summer.


Great things have been happening here at UW. It’s only the first week of school, but we have a number of shout-outs to make.

  • Congratulations to Chelsea Biondolillo, a second-year nonfiction student. The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) has accepted Chelsea’s proposed panel ‘The Art and Craft of Short-form Nonfiction’ for inclusion in AWP’s 2013 Conference & Bookfair in Boston. AWP received a record 1,300 event proposals this year and offers its conference attendees a full, diverse, and high-quality selection of events at the 2013 conference.  The 2013 conference and bookfair will be held in Boston, MA at the Hynes Convention Center & Sheraton Boston Hotel on March 6-9.

Wonderful, wonderful news, Chelsea! For more information about Chelsea’s panel, click here.

  • Lam Pham, first-year fiction student, has two new stories,”Water Witching,” and, “Credos,” up now at Storyglossia. Do it! Read them. You won’t be disappointed.

Congratulations, Lam!

  • Joey Rubin, first-year fiction student, has a new nonfiction piece up at The Argentina Independent. You can read Joey’s piece on the writer César Aira here.

Awesome, Joey! Way to be multi-genre talented.


the one and only Lindsay Beamish has won the Iron Horse Literary Review’s Discovered Voices award in Non-fiction.  this multi-talented writer/actress/dancer from los angeles made the following public statement regarding the good news:

“I won something… I’ve never won anything before. My voice is having a small celebratory gathering with itself. My voice is relieved it got discovered.”

job well done, beamish. we’re proud of you!