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

Chatham University

MFA in Creative Writing Program presents
Summer Community of Writers

BK Loren

BK Loren is the award winning author of the novel THEFT, and the essay collection, ANIMAL, MINERAL, RADICAL. Her short fiction and essays have garnered many national awards and have been published in The Best Spiritual Writing Anthologies (2004 and 2012), Parabola, Yoga International, Orion Magazine, and many others. She is from a working class family and has usually worked in jobs that allow space to write as she works. She's been a ranch hand, a cook for a gourmet catering service in NYC, a cook, also, in a cafe run by a reverend healer who cured people's ailments with a pendulum and herbs. She was also an aide on a locked psych ward, a tenured college teacher, and a furniture builder. She was extremely grateful for the chance to go to college (not a given)–and she attended the University of Colorado (Classics/Philosophy), the University of New Mexico (Lit), and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, (Fiction). She feels that her varied experiences in other fields inform her writing as much as her schooling has. The publishing editor of her first book told her I wrote like she was raised by wolves. She tries to live up to that daily. TWITTER FACEBOOK RADIO KRUU, WRITERS' VOICE KBOO, a podcast from Orion Magazine and something completely different than Theft or Animal, Mineral, Radical. Theft has been optioned for film, and BK will be writing the screenplay.

Ira Sukrungruang

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection, and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida.

Julia Kasdorf

Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published three collections in the Pitt Poetry Series, most recently, Poetry in America. She has also published a collection of essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, a biography, Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American, and she has served as co-editor of Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. A professor of English and women's studies at Penn State, she is currently working on a documentary poetry project about the impacts of shale gas drilling in northern and southwestern Pennsylvania.

Dave Housley

Dave Housley's fourth collection of short fiction, Massive Cleansing Fire, was published in 2017 by Outpost 19. His first novel, This Darkness Got to Give, will be published in Summer 2017 by Pandamoon Publishing. His previous books are If I Knew the Way, I Would Take You Home, Commercial Fiction, and Ryan Seacrest is Famous. He is one of the founding editors and all around do-stuff people at Barrelhouse, and one of the co-founders and the current organizer of the Conversations and Connections writer's conference. Sometimes he tweets about the things on his television at @housleydave.

Marissa Landrigan

Marissa Landrigan is the author of the ethical eating memoir, The Vegetarian's Guide to Eating Meat (Greystone, April 2017). Her essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, Guernica, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, The Fourth River, and elsewhere. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown, where she teaches creative, professional, and multimedia writing.

Photo credit Heather Kresge.

Ursula Werner

Ursula Werner is a writer and attorney currently living in Washington D.C. with her family. Born in Germany and raised in South Florida, she spent most of her professional life practicing constitutional law, civil litigation, administrative law, and family law. Throughout her legal career, Ms. Werner continued her creative writing, publishing two books of poetry, In the Silence of the Woodruff (2006) and Rapunzel Revisited (2010). This is her first novel.