A Weekend in the Bighorn Mountains

Neltje, a friend of the Creative Writing Program, has generously offered use of her cabins along Crazy Woman Creek in the Bighorn Mountains to MFA students. Last weekend, Brad Watson and six graduate students drove up from Laramie to spend the weekend enjoying the outdoors.

IMG_0794The road to “Big Crazy,” the biggest of Neltje’s cabins, and the only one with running water and electricity.

IMG_0795Kat Williams, apparently ecstatic to be on the porch of Big Crazy.

IMG_0785Ammon Medina and Alec Osthoff look down onto the valley from the porch of Big Crazy.

IMG_0788The view descending from the mountains on a very primitive two-track.

IMG_0800“Mini Crazy,” the primitive cabin closest to Big Crazy, which sits just beside Crazy Woman Creek. It’s heated by a wood stove, which we had to feed through the night, as it dipped into single digits outside.

IMG_0805Liz Kulze, Kat Williams, Carly Fraysier, Alec Osthoff, and Ammon Medina hike a trail up to “White Lightning,” another of Neltje’s primitive cabins.

IMG_0808Beautiful rock formations along the trail that Neltje has appropriately named the “good rocks.”

Winter is Here!


In the last few days we’ve gotten almost eight inches of snow and temperatures have dropped into single digits. The town is beautiful under a fresh snowfall and, when the clouds thin and the sky shows, the snow is tinted blue. Our new, warm-weather arrivals have been learning how to drive in the snow without fishtailing, the virtues of mukluks, and how to downhill sled on inverted recycling bin lids.

Photo: Liz Kulze

New School Year

The University of Wyoming MFA program welcomes it’s new first year students for the 2014-2015 academic year-  Maria Anderson (fiction), Khalym Khari Burke-Thomas (poetry), Dominick Duhamel (fiction), Carly Fraysier (nonfiction), Chido Muchemwa (nonfiction), Ryan Oberhelman (fiction), Jeff Tatay (poetry), Randall Tyrone (poetry), Jess White (nonfiction), and Trey Williams (fiction)! Welcome and may the new atmosphere invigorate your writing!

Medicine Bow Peak.

Medicine Bow Peak.

Medicine Bow.

Medicine Bow.

Grand Tetons.

Grand Tetons.

Some News!

Sofi Thanhauser, Kelly Hatton, and Joey Rubin — all first-year MFA students — have received Cheney international travel grants. Sofi will go to Tamil Nandu to research textile production.  Kelly will return to Paraguay, where she served in the Peace Corps, to continue work on her fiction and nonfiction projects centered on sustainable farming communities.  Joey will attend the British Centre for the Translation of Literature Summer School at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. Congratulations, all! Well deserved and such fantastics achievements for the MFA program.


Also, this week  fiction writer, John Brandon, will visit UW.

John Brandon is the author of three novels, Arkansas, Citrus County, and A Million Heavens, all with McSweeney’s. His shorter work has appeared in Oxford American, The Believer, ESPN the Magazine, GQ, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The New York Times Magazine, and numerous university journals. During the season, he writes about college football for Grantland.com.

There will be a Q&A with him on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Carriage House and a public reading at 7:30 p.m. at Second Story Books. Hope to see everyone there!


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!

Wyo Arts Council Features MFA Students

The Wyoming Arts Council is an invaluable resource to the state, offering grants, programming, and other means of support for working artists. Featured in their Winter Newsletter  are UW MFA students Rebecca Estee and Kali Fajardo-Anstine for their work at the Wyoming Girls School. As part of their MFA Project, these two have made monthly visits to Sheridan, Wyoming to teach creative writing.

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Be sure to check out the full newsletter for other wonderful happenings around the state. You can do so here. 

ZZ Packer Reading

The UW Creative Writing MFA was pleased to host ZZ Packer for a quick visit last week. ZZ was a joy and gave an excellent reading in addition to her consulations with fiction students.

Here are some photos from the event:

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ZZ’s collection ‘Drinking Coffee Elsewhere’

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ZZ reads to a packed house at the Albany County Public Library

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ZZ did a quick Q&A after the reading

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After the reading we showed ZZ a good time at the infamous Buckhorn Bar in downtown Laramie

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Overall a great visit and reading! Wyoming misses ZZ Packer already.

MFA Reading Series Continues…


The MFA Student Reading Series is back. Join us for an evening of literary entertainment on Friday, January 25th at 7pm in Night Heron Books, located at 107 Ivinson Street. Enjoy work by Irina Zhorov (nonfiction), Jason Burge (fiction),Kristen Gunther (poetry), & Estella Soto (fiction).  Musical stylings will be provided by MFA students Daniel Freije and Caleb Johnson. Eat some cookies, drink coffee and bask in the literary amazingness. As always it is FREE.



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.