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

Chatham University

MFA in Creative Writing Program presents
Summer Community of Writers

Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash is the New York Times best-selling author of A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME and THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY, which are both available from William Morrow/ HarperCollinsPublishers.

A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list in hardcover, paperback, and e-book. The New York Times also named it an Editor's Choice and a Notable Book of 2012. The novel was included on best of 2012 lists by Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Books-a-Million, and many others. A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME won the Southern Independent Bookseller Ailliances' Book Award for Fiction of the Year and the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award from the UK's Crime Writers' Association, and it was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the American Booksellers' Association's Debut Fiction Prize. Wiley's second novel, THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY, was a national bestseller, an Indie Next Pick, a SIBA Okra Pick, an O Magazine Top Ten Title, a LibraryReads February Selection, an Amazon Book of the Month, and a Best Novel Award Winner from the UK's Crime Writers' Association. It has been optioned for film.

Wiley holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has received grants and fellowships from the Asheville Area Arts Council, the Thomas Wolfe Society, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. His stories have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review and The Carolina Quarterly, and his essays on Southern literature have appeared in American Literary Realism, The South Carolina Review, and other publications.

Wiley teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. A native of North Carolina, he and his wife live in Wilmington.

Camille Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Smith Blue, Suck on the Marrow, and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, and co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology. Her honors include an American Book Award, two Northern California Book Awards, a California Book Award silver medal, and a fellowship from the NEA. Dungy is currently a Professor in the English department at Colorado State University.

Kate Miles

Kathryn Miless is the author of Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy (Dutton 2014), All Standing (Simon & Schuster 2013), and Adventures with Ari (Skyhorse (2009). An award-winning science writer, she has published her work in dozens of publications, including Best American Essays, Ecotone, How To Write About Anything, History, Outside Magazine, and Popular Mechanics.

Miles currently serves as writer-in-residence for Green Mountain College, as a faculty member for Chatham University's low-residency MFA program, and as a scholar-in-residence for the Maine Humanities Council.

Tim Parrish

Tim Parrish is the author of three books: Fear and What Follows: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist, a Memoir (University Press of Mississippi); The Jumper, a novel (winner of Texas Review Press's 2012 George Garrett Prize; and Red Stick Men, a story collection (University Press of Mississippi). His work has appeared in dozens of periodicals and in a number of anthologies, including Louisiana in Words, Alive and Awake in the Pelican State, The Best of LSU Fiction, and Rules of Thumb.

He is the recipient of a Gerald A. Freund Grant-in-Aid from the Whiting Foundation, two Connecticut Arts Fellowships, a Walter E. Daken Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a special mention in the Pushcart Prizes. His memoir was First Honorable Mention in the Louisiana Library Literary Awards 2013 and was chosen by an all-university committee as the 2014 First-Year Read for incoming students at Southern Connecticut State University, where he teaches. He was the 2014 Keynote Speaker at the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium.

In a former life he was the front man for the bands The Human Rayz, The Lower Chakras, and The Irascibles. He grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is now a professor in the full-residency MFA and undergraduate creative-writing programs at SCSU in New Haven.

Steven Sherrill

Steven Sherrill has been making trouble with words since 8th grade, when he was suspended from school for two weeks for a story he wrote. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade, ricocheted around for years, eventually earning a Welding Diploma from Mitchell Community College, which circuitously to an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Now, Steven is an Associate Professor of English and Integrative Arts at Penn State University, Altoona, where he teaches, paints, and captains the Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir. He has three novels and a book of poems in the world. He has written several articles on contemporary artists for Modern Painters and for TATE Magazine. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction in 2002. His first novel, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, is translated into 8 languages and was recently released as an audio book by Neil Gaiman Productions. His second novel, Visits From the Drowned Girl, published by Random House (and nominated by them for the Pulitzer Prize), US and Canongate, UK was released in June of 2004. The Locktender’s House, novel #3, was released by Random House in Spring 2008. And in November 2010, CW Books released the poetry collection, Ersatz Anatomy. Most recently, Louisiana State University Press: Yellow Shoe Fiction Series has released the novel JOY, PA.

There are other books in the works, paintings always underway, much musical silliness underway, and seventeen ukuleles in the house, and 750 vintage wooden crutches in his basement.

Much more info can be found at

Lori Jakiela

Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoirs Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette); The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press); and Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe (Atticus Books). She is also the author of a poetry collection, Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point), and several poetry chapbooks. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and more. She's received the 2015 City of Asylum Pittsburgh Prize, a Golden Quill Award from the Western Pennsylvania Press Club, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association, and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize many times. She teaches in the writing programs at Pitt-Greensburg and Chatham University, and co-directs the Writers Festival at Chautauqua Institution. She lives in Trafford with her husband, the author Dave Newman, and their children. She occasionally blogs at and her author website is

Sherrie Flick

Sherrie Flick is author of the novel Reconsidering Happiness (Bison Books), the flash fiction chapbook I Call This Flirting (Flume), and the forthcoming short story collection Whiskey, Etc. (Queen's Ferry Press, 2016). Her work appears in many anthologies and journals, including Flash Fiction Forward, New Sudden Fiction, Ploughshares, and Smokelong. She lives in Pittsburgh where she works as a freelance writer and teaches in Chatham University's MFA and Food Studies programs.

Sheila Squillante

Sheila Squillante is the author of the poetry collection, Beautiful Nerve, to be released by Tiny Hardcore Press in 2015, as well three chapbooks of poetry: In This Dream of My Father (Seven Kitchens, 2014), Women Who Pawn Their Jewelry (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and A Woman Traces the Shoreline (Dancing Girl Press, 2011).She has published work widely in print and online journals like Brevity, The Rumpus, No Tell Motel, Prairie Schooner, MiPoesias, Phoebe, Cream City Review, TYPO, Quarterly West, Literary Mama, South Dakota Review and elsewhere.

She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and her work has been nominated for inclusion in Best American Essays, Dzanc’s Best of the Web and the Pushcart anthology.

She currently works as associate director of the MFA programs in creative writing and assistant professor of English at Chatham University. There, she serves as editor-in-chief of The Fourth River, Chatham’s nationally respected journal of nature and place-based writing. She has strong ties to and great affection for the excellent people of the independent publishing world, which she gets to revel in as associate editor of [PANK].

Rebecca Clever

Over the past two decades, Pittsburgh native Rebecca Clever has served as a reporter, newspaper editor, columnist, promotional and technical writer, and book editor/designer. Her poetry, non-fiction and interviews have been published in various newspapers, literary journals and anthologies. In addition to receiving a Pushcart Prize nomination, she is the first recipient of the Laurie Mansell Reich poetry award, co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and Chatham University, and was a past nominee for the AWP Intro Journals Project. In 2014, Rebecca was awarded a partial scholarship to the Vermont Studio Center. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham in 2011, where she was a finalist for best thesis.

Blast Furnace is an independent literary publisher based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, still often referred to as "the steel city." Established in 2010, the journal's mission is to post, on a quarterly basis, refined poetry by poets of place, with themes deeply rooted in place. A member of the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), Blast Furnace also features poet & artist interviews. In 2015, it published its first eChapbook collection, along with a winning print chapbook for its first annual poetry prize.

Christine Stroud

Christine Stroud lives in Pittsburgh, PA and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. Her chapbook, The Buried Return, was published by Finishing Line Press in March of 2014. She is the Associate Editor at Autumn House Press.

Autumn House Press was launched in 1998 when prominent American publishers, driven by economic concerns, dramatically reduced their poetry lists and important contemporary poets were left struggling to find publishers. Small presses are now publishing some of the most important poetry in America, and are largely nurturing the great American poetic tradition. We want to ensure that this tradition continues. In 2008, Autumn House supplemented our poetry list by initiating a series of fiction titles and in 2010 a series of nonfiction titles. In addition we manage an online imprint, Coal Hill Review, which publishes a variety of poetry and prose.

Hattie Fletcher

Hattie Fletcher has been the managing editor of Creative Nonfiction since 1994. She is co-editor, with Lee Gutkind, of Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know about Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction and True Stories, Well Told … from the first 20 years of Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Creative Nonfiction and In Fact Books are dedicated to publishing true stories, well told. Every issue of Creative Nonfiction is packed with new, long-form essays that blend style with substance; writing that pushes the traditional boundaries of the genre; notes on craft; conversations with writers and editors; and more. Occasional themed issues demonstrate the editors' belief that true stories, well told, can make any topic compelling and relevant. Simply put, CNF strives to demonstrate the depth and versatility of the genre it helped define. In Fact Books is an independent book imprint specializing in high-quality, research-driven narrative nonfiction on a wide variety of topics and real-life experiences. We believe that small publishers have the opportunity to provide a platform for original and underrepresented narratives, and it's our mission to publish stories that create a richer understanding of our world.

Robert Peluso

Robert Peluso has contributed reviews, interviews, and literary features to numerous print, radio and online forums. His short fiction has won the Caliban Book Shop-Pittsburgh Quarterly Review Prize and has been anthologized in The Fourth River web edition. He holds a Ph.D. in American culture studies from Columbia University, where he was also awarded a President’s Fellowship, and is Professor of English at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and co-founder of Braddock Avenue Books.

Melanie Fox

Melanie Fox has lived in almost every region of the U.S., from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the deserts of the Southwest to the mountains of California’s Sequoia National Park, a place that first inspired her journey into nonfiction writing. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies and also earned her notable mention in Best American Essays and an AWP Intro Award. A recovered fiction writer, she now writes narrative nonfiction which focuses on the intricacies of place and landscape, with particular emphasis on the portrayal of animals in science, folklore, and myth. Since joining the Chatham community in 2005, Melanie has taught courses in nature writing, travel writing, the craft of nonfiction, and ecofeminist literature and has directed and served on thesis committees in all genres. She currently makes her home along with her husband, two daughters, and dogs at the confluence of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains in the New River Valley of southwestern Virginia.