Chatham University

Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing:

The Essay in the 21st Century

Bios of Visiting Writers

 

Faith Adiele is the author of Meeting Faith, a travel memoir about becoming Thailand's first black Buddhist nun, which received the PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir of 2004. A Publishers Weekly starred review credited it with "a comic's timing, a novelist's keen observations about human idiosyncrasies and an anthropologist's sensitivity to race and culture." She is also lead editor of the international collection, Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (The New Press, 2008), and writer/narrator/subject of the PBS documentary My Journey Home. She is currently serving as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at MIlls College in Oakland, California.

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John Balaban is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose, which have won The Academy of American Poets' Lamont Prize and a National Poetry Series Selection. His poetry has received two nominations for the National Book Award as well as the 1998 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America for his Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems. He has been a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and, in 2008, he was awarded a medal from the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture for his literary translations and for his leadership in digitizing and preserving the ancient text collection at the National Library of Vietnam. Balaban is professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at NC State, where he serves as Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

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Jane Fishman is a former high school English teacher, speechwriter, and public relations specialist. She has owned a Laundromat and a Middle Eastern vegetarian restaurant. After leaving restaurant work, she entered journalism, first as an obituary writer, then a feature writer, then, for the past 20 years as a columnist for the Savannah Morning News. Her collection of essays from the newspaper, Everyone's Gotta Be Somewhere, appeared in 2001. She is a gardener who does not plant in rows, a Northerner at heart who lives in her adopted city, Savannah, and a former resident of Chicago, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and Key West, Florida.

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Barbara Hurd is the author of Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains; Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling Through the Dark (a Library Journal Best Natural History Book of the Year); The Singer's Temple, Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination (a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001); and Objects in This Mirror. She has received an NEA Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, the Sierra Club's National Nature Writing Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. She teaches in Stonecoast low-residency MFA program.

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Robert Isenberg is a writer and stage performer. He has contributed essays to Mental_Floss, MSN.com, Storyscape, The New Yinzer, Conte, and Pittsburgh Love Stories. As a journalist, he has earned a Keystone Award and a golden Quill Award. As a playwright, his scripts have been staged by the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Pittsburgh Pride Theatre Festival, B.U.S. 24-Hour Play Festival, New Plays on Penn, and Duquesne University. Isenberg is also creator of the Pittsburgh Monologue Project. His first book, The Iron Mountain, was published in 2009. An alum of Chatham's MFA program and its first Margaret Whitford Fellow, Isenberg teaches playwriting at Duquesne University.

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Lori Jakiela is the author of a memoir, Miss New York Has Everything (Warner/Hatchette 2006), and three poetry chapbooks including, most recently, The Mill Hunk's Daughter Meets the Queen of Sky (Finishing Line 2011). Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, 5 AM, Pittsburgh Quarterly and elsewhere. A full-length poetry collection, Spot the Terrorist!, and her second memoir, The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious, are forthcoming in 2012. She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Chatham University and at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, where she serves as director of the undergraduate writing program.

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Amanda Leskovac is the 2009 nonfiction prize recipient from the Bellevue Literary Review. Her work has also appeared in Calyx, The Sylvan Echo, and The Chimeara. She lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches composition, literature, and creative writing. An alumna of Chatham's MFA program, she is currently finishing her memoir, Cock-Eyed View, and celebrates her 14th year in a chair this year.

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Phillip Lopate has written three personal essay collections: Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, and Portrait of My Body; two novels, Confessions of Summer and The Rug Merchant; two poetry collections, The Eyes Don't Always Want to Stay Open and The Daily Round; a memoir of his teaching experiences, Being With Children; a collection of movie criticism, Totally Tenderly Tragically; an urbanist meditation, Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan, and a biographical monograph, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer and Filmmaker. In addition, there is a Phillip Lopate reader, Getting Personal: Selected Writings, and he is the editor of the acclaimed anthology The Art of the Personal Essay. He has been a recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim and two NEA grants.

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Dinty W. Moore's memoir Between Panic & Desire was winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. His other books include The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, The Emperor's Virtual Clothes, and the writing guide, The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harper's, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, among numerous venues. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore edits Brevity, the journal of concise literary nonfiction.

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Michele Morano is the author of the essay collection Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain, and her essays have appeared in anthologies and literary journals such as Best American Essays, Fourth Genre, Georgia Review, and Missouri Review. Her work has been honored by the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the American Association of University Women, and the MacDowell Colony, among others. She is associate professor of English at DePaul University, where she directs the graduate program in Writing and Publishing.

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