Summer Community of Writers | Bios | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

MFA in Creative Writing Program presents

Summer Community of Writers

Katherine Ayres

Katherine Ayres is the author of eleven books and three short chapbooks. Ayres lives in Pittsburgh where she writes and teaches writing to graduate students in Chatham University's MFA Program. She also lives in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where she writes, gardens, bikes, kayaks and watches for bears. She has been honored as a Champion of Literacy, as outstanding Writer for Children by the Pennsylvania School Library Association. Her picture book, Up, Down, and Around was chosen as the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child, and as the Kansas Reads to Preschool selection.

Dinty W. Moore

Dinty W. Moore is author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as the memoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Iron Horse Literary Review, and The Normal School among numerous other venues. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published three collections of poetry with the University of Pittsburgh Press, most recently Poetry in America. Among the previous collections, Eve’s Striptease was named one of Library Journal’s Top 20 Best Poetry Books of 1998, and Sleeping Preacher won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and the Great Lakes College’s Association Award for New Writing. Her poems were awarded a 2009 NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize and appear in numerous anthologies. In addition to teaching poetry workshops, she established the Writer in the Community course at Penn State University, where she is a professor of English and women’s studies.

Pam Houston

Pam Houston’s most recent book is Contents May Have Shifted, published in 2012, by W.W. Norton. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, the novel, Sight Hound, and a collection of essays called A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, and The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She is professor of English at UC Davis, directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program and at writer’s conferences around the country and the world. She lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Dave Housley

Dave Housley is the author of the story collections If I Knew the Way, I Would Take You Home (forthcoming from Dzanc Books), Commercial Fiction (Outpost 19, 2013), and Ryan Seacrest is Famous (Impetus Press, 2008). His work has appeared in Hobart, Mid-American Review, Quarterly West, Wigleaf, and some other online and print magazines. He is one of the founding editors of Barrelhouse magazine, and a co-founder of the Conversations and Connections writer’s conference, which is held in Philadelphia in the Fall and DC in the Spring.

Rachel Mennies

Rachel Mennies is the author of The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (Texas Tech University Press, 2014), winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry, and the chapbook No Silence in the Fields (Blue Hour Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Indiana Review, DIAGRAM, Black Warrior Review, and other literary journals, and have been reprinted at Poetry Daily. She teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University and has served as the reviews editor at AGNI.

Katy Ryan

Katy Ryan is an associate professor of English at West Virginia University. In 2004, she founded the Appalachian Prison Book Project, a community organization that sends free books to women and men imprisoned in six states. She has edited a collection of creative and critical writings on the death penalty, Demands of the Dead: Executions, Storytelling, and Activism (Univ. of Iowa, 2012). Her essays appear in American Literature, African American Literature, Studies in the Novel, Philosophy and Literature, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, and the collection Political and Protest Theatre After 9/11: Patriotic Dissent.

Sarah Shotland

Sarah Shotland is the Program Coordinator for Words Without Walls at Chatham University, and a member of the Literary Arts faculty at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts. Her plays have been produced in Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, Spain and China. Her newest play, Cereus Moonlight, opens at Florida’s MiR Theater in January, and will play at Chicago’s RhinoFest in February. Her novel, A List Before Drowning, is forthcoming from White Gorilla Press. She is currently co-editing Make Mine Words with Sheryl St. Germain, a collection of literary texts to be used in alternative teaching spaces, which will be published by Trinity University Press in 2014. She earned her MFA from Chatham University.

Sheila Squillante

Sheila Squillante is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared widely in print and online venues like The Rumpus, Brevity, Quarterly West, Phoebe, Glamour Magazine and elsewhere. She is the author of four chapbooks of poetry and a full-length collection due out with Tiny Hardcore Press in 2014. She currently serves as associate editor at PANK Magazine and editor-in-chief of The Fourth River, Chatham University’s journal of nature and place-based writing. In 2013, she joined Chatham’s faculty as associate director of the low-residency MFA program and assistant professor of English.