Alumni Showcase

In this section of the website, you’ll find Life of a Writer,  which lists the latest publications, awards and events of Spalding MFA in Writing alumni.

Here is a sampling of the awards that the distinguished alumni of the program have won:


Winner, Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

Novels and story collections published by Random House, St. Martin’s Press, Algonquin, Macadam/Cage, University of Georgia Press, Toby Press, The Feminist Press, and dozens more

Short stories published in Glimmer Train, StoryQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, Provincetown Arts, Carve, Superstition Review, Los Angeles Review, Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Baltimore Review, The Louisville Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, New Stories from the South, The Austin Review, Quiddity, Alligator Juniper, and hundreds more

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012
BookSense Top Ten pick
Distinguished story, Best American Short Stories 2015
Winner, James Jones First Novel Fellowship
Winner, William Faulkner/William Wisdom Short Story Competition
Winner, Alabama Library Association’s Author Award
Winner, Montana Prize for Fiction
Winner, Crab Orchard Review Jack Dyer Fiction Prize
Winner, Deerbird Novella Prize
Winner, Still Fiction Award
Winner, Tennessee Williams Scholar award from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference
Winner, Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing
Winner, Southern Book Critics Circle Award
Winner, David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction
Winner, 2015 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Novella category
Winner, Golden Crown Literary Award
Winner, Margaret Walker Short Story Award
Winner, Inkwell Magazine fiction contest
Winner, Alabama Writers Conclave short story competition
Winner, Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning Next Great Writers contest
Winner, Grey Sparrow Press Flash Fiction Competition
Winner, Literary LEO Short Fiction Contest
Literature Fellow, Alabama State Council on the Arts
John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at the Thurber House
Writer-in-Residence: Bush Creek Foundation for the Arts
Writer-in-Residence: Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts
Writer-in-Residence: New York Mills Cultural Center


Kentucky Poet Laureate 2013-14

Full-length poetry collections published by University of Georgia Press, University Press of Kentucky, Milkweed Editions, University of North Texas Press, Nightboat Books, Tebot Bach, Timberline Press, Steel Toe Books, WordFarm, Fleur-de-Lis Press, and many more

Chapbooks published by Back Pages Books, Finishing Line Press, Accents Publishing, Yellow Flag Press, RockSaw Press, and many more

Fellowships at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, Rivendell Colony, and more.

Poems published in Poetry, The North American Review, Ploughshares, Boulevard, The Kenyon Review, New Letters, Poetry Daily, The Sun, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, River Styx, Callaloo, PMSpoemmemoirstory, Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Louisville Review, Shenandoah, Raritan, Southwest Review, Briar Cliff Review, The Found Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Minnetonka Review, RATTLE, Naugatuck River Review, Poetry Quarterly, Modern Haiku, Seattle Review, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, decomP, Cicada Magazine for Teens, and many others

Anthologized in Best American Poetry, American Life in Poetry, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Poetry Speaks Who I Am, She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey through Poems, Best of the Net, and many others

Poems featured on The Writers Almanac , Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and National Public Radio
Poetry collection featured in O, The Oprah Magazine Online
Winner, Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry
Winner, St. Louis Regional Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship
Winner, Lillian Smith Book Award
Winner, Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship
Winner, Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Poetry
Winner, Ivan Nikolov National Poetry Book Award
Winner, AWP Intro Journals award
Winner, Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award
Winner, Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry
Winner, Quercus Review Poetry Series Award
Winner, Allbook Reviews Editors Choice Award
Winner, The Ledge Poetry Competition
Winner, New Letters Readers’ Choice Award
Winner, New Millennium Writings Poetry Prize
Winner, Kudzu Poetry Prize
Winner, Mary Jean Irion Poetry Prize, from the Chautauqua Institute
Winner, U.S. Poets in Mexico MFA Candidate Award
Winner, Peter K. Hixson Memorial Award for Creative Writing in Poetry
Best of the Net 2011
Board Member, Cave Canem
Advisory Board Member, UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry
Featured Author, The Southern Festival of Books
National Park Service Artist in Residence

Creative Nonfiction

Memoirs published by HarperCollins, Riverhead, Alaska Northwest Books, Wordpool Press, and others

Narrative nonfiction published by University of Nebraska Press, Crickhollow Books, Da Capo Press, Ember Press, Epicenter Press, University of Alaska Press, and others

Essay collections published by University of Alabama Press, Fire Ant Books, Transaction Pub, and others

Essays published in The New York Times; New York Times Magazine; The Missouri Review; Creative Nonfiction; Quiddity; Oxford American; The Sun; O, the Oprah Magazine; Vogue; Salon; Best Food Writing 2014; Morning Edition;; Saveur; The Christian Science Monitor; ORION; Best Travel Writing 2008; The Harvard Review; The Writers Chronicle; The Writer; The Potomac Review; the Georgetown Review; Los Angeles Times; The Tampa Review; Alaska Airlines Magazine; the Chicken Soup for the Soul series; and many more

Amazon Bestseller
Heartland Indie Bestseller
Winner, Orlando Prize for Creative Nonfiction, A Room of Her Own Foundation
Winner, Frank McCourt Creative Nonfiction Prize
Winner, Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing
Winner, Winning Writers’ Sports Fiction and Essay Contest
Best American Essays Notable Essay
Winner, Best Nonfiction Beach Read, Beach Book Festival
Winner, Great Lakes Great Reads award
Winner, Theresa A. White Literary Award
Winner, Best Feature, Indiana Chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists
Best Book of the Year: Guide to Outdoor Literature
Best of the Best University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, by Annual Conference of the American Library Association
Writer in Residence, Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference
Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Book List
Featured author: Alaska Literary Council Conference
Keynote Speaker: Pioneers of Alaska convention
Winner, The Moth StorySLAM
Writer-in-Residence, Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference
Writer in Residence, Museum of the American Military Family
Winner, Outstanding Educator Award, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Writing for Children & Young Adults

Books published by Scholastic, Candlewick, Simon and Schuster/Atheneum, Simon Pulse, St. Martin’s Griffin, Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, Lee and Low Books, Delacorte Press, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, Filter Press, and more

Winner, E. B. White Honor Book Award
Winner, Nautilus Award
Winner, Christopher Award
Winner, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award
Winner, Katherine Paterson Prize in Young Adult and Children’s Writing
Winner, Al Smith Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council
Winner, Parents’ Choice Gold Award
Winner, Young Hoosier Book Award
Winner, Nebraska Golden Sower Award
Winner, Lambda Literary Award, LGBT Young Adult category
Winner, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award
Winner, Oregon Spirit Award
Winner, Connecticut Nutmeg Award
Winner, Connecticut Nutmeg Award, teen division
Winner, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, New York Public Library
Winner, Young Adult Manuscript Contest, SCBWI Midsouth Conference
Selection, Kids’ Indie Next List
Alternate selection, Children’s Book of the Month Club
Amazon Best Book of August
Scholastic Book Fair selection
Bank Street College Best Book of the Year list
NC Battle of the Books List
ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults
ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers
Publishers Weekly “Flying Start”
Highly Commended Title, Charlotte Zolotow Award
Featured Title for young readers in READ! Singapore
Los Angeles Public Library Best Teen Books of 2012 list
Peace Corps Writer Award


Productions at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater (Minneapolis), A Red Orchid Theatre (Chicago), Echo Theatre Company (Los Angeles), SkyPilot Theatre (Los Angeles), IndyFringe Theater (Indianapolis), Auburn University (Alabama), Children’s Theatre Center (Minneapolis), Left Coast Theatre (San Francisco), Albert L. Jeffers Theatre (University of Texas-Pan American), TheatreWorks of Silicon Valley (Palo Alto), Theatre Three (New York), TipMyCup (at Roy Arias Theater in New York), FringeNYC (New York), Greensboro College (Greensboro, N.C.), Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), The Playhouse Theatre (Tasmania), and many more

Winner, Edgerton New American Play Award
Winner, Nord Playwriting Fellowship at the Cleveland Public Theatre
Winner, Southeastern Theatre Conference’s New Play Award
Winner, Mark Gilbert New Play Award
Winner, Atlanta Emerging Artist Award
Board member, Arizona Arts Commission
Finalist, Ebell of Los Angeles Playwright Prize
Finalist, Arthur Stone Playwriting Award
Winner, Audience Favorite, Northern Writes New Play Festival
Winner, Arts and Letters Prize in Drama from Georgia College and State University
Winner, Best Play, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle
Winner, Best Script, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle
“Best of the Fringe” selection, New York International Fringe Festival
Selection, FringeNYC Encore Series
Selection, Midtown International Theatre Festival (New York)
Selection, Minnesota Fringe Festival
Selection, New York International Fringe Festival at Kraine Theatre
Selection, Tapas: The Eighth Annual New Short Play Festival
Selection, Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase
Selection, North Park Playwright Festival, San Diego
Selection, Spring Playwrights Festival at Theatre Nova, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Selection, VHSL One-Act Play Competition, William Byrd Players, Virginia
Selection, Raucous Caucus Political Theater Festival
Selection, The Secret Theater’s Long Island City One-Act Play Festival
Selection, Pulp Friction 10-Minute Play Festival
Selection, Ten-Tucky Festival
Short play published in Poems & Plays
Producer, The Puzzle staged readings festival
Productions in high schools across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Senegal
Production at the Council for Prejudice Reduction Annual Fall Conference, Stony Brook University, NY
Staged reading, Writer’s Guild of America headquarters, Los Angeles


Full-length feature filmscripts sold to Disney and Universal
Full-length feature filmscript produced and distributed in wide release by TriStar and PBS Wonderworks
Television episodes aired on Disney Channel
Short films produced with Breakwall Pictures, JonPonFilms, Intermission Productions, and more
Staff writer for Canadian Broadcasting Company
Writer for feature film project, Sony/Columbia Pictures
Writer/producer for YTV, Canada
Series producer for Marvel Animation
Chair, Department of Film and Television, Miami Dade College
Black List
Blood List
Hit List
Grand Prize Winner, Spotlight Screenplay Competition
Winner, Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest
Winner, Best Screenplay, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival
Winner, Directors Guild Award
Winner, Crystal Dove Seal for Best Comedy, from the Dove Foundation
Winner, CEBA Award of Distinction
Winner, Write Movies International Screenwriting Competition
Winner, 2015 Creative Worlds Award, Action-Adventure category
Winner, PRAXIS Screenwriting Competition
Winner, Spec Scriptacular Competition
Winner, Best Comedy, Script Exposure Screenwriting Competition
Winner, 50 Kisses International Film Competition
Winner, Jury Award for Narrative Feature, New Orleans Film Festival
Winner, Best of the Fest, River’s Edge International Film Festival
Winner, Best Narrative Feature, Weyauwega International Film Festival
Winner, Audience Favorite, Knoxville Film Festival
Winner, People’s Shortee Prize, Taos Shortz Film Festival
Official Selection, Sundance Screenwriters Intensive
Official selection: New York International Film Festival
Official Selection: Portland Film Festival
Official Selection: Somewhat North of Boston Film Festival
Official Selection: Riverside International Film Festival
Official Selection: Cine Los Angeles Film Festival
Official Selection: Human Rights Film Festival at Arizona State University
Official Selection: Uranium Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro