Sarah Bloom is a poet and a teacher at University of Arkansas at Monticello, where she teaches undergraduate composition, literature, and creative writing classes and directs the MFA in Creative Writing program. She took her MFA from George Mason University in 1995, studying under the direction of Carolyn Forché, who directed her thesis: The Book of Saints. Her work has appeared in Phoebe, So to Speak, Main Street Rag, Pyrokinection, Columbia College Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Mud Season Review, Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters, White Ash Literary Magazine, Louisiana Literary Review, and others. She lives with her wife Paula in rural southeast Arkansas with two cats, seven chickens, and a multitude of sparrows, wrens, tufted titmice, dark-eyed juncos, doves, and jays.
Two-time O. Henry Award winner Steve Heller is best known for his novel, The Automotive History of Lucky Kellerman, a selection of both Book-of-the-Month Club and QPB, and recipient of the Friends of American Writers Award. Joseph Heller (no relation) described Lucky Kellerman as “a work of remarkable charm and striking originality.” Steve’s other books have also drawn praise: Kansas Quarterly called Steve’s collection of short stories, The Man Who Drank a Thousand Beers, “a Hawaiian Winesburg, Ohio.” Novelist Brent Spencer described Steve’s second novel, Father’s Mechanical Universe as “a touching, elegiac book that races with 120-octane insight.” Editor and essayist Judith Kitchen said this about Steve’s most recent book, a collection of narrative essays called What We Choose to Remember: “Knowing that his story cannot be the story, Steve Heller casts a wide narrative net to probe the places where past and future collide. Under his careful scrutiny, these ‘crosscurrents of memory and imagination’ provide a scaffolding on which to build a ‘knowable’ truth.”
Steve is a former President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), as well as the longtime chair of two graduate creative writing programs: the Creative Writing Concentration of the MA in English at Kansas State University and, most recently, the MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. Steve helped found three university-affiliated literary journals: Hawai‘i Review, Mid-American Review, and Lunch Ticket. Retired from full-time teaching, he now lives with his wife Sheyene and son Tru in Lawrence, Kansas, and teaches part time in the online MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas Monticello. He is currently working on a series of novels related to the Hawaiian island of Lāna‘i called The Ghost Killer Trilogy.
“Alumni Reminisce About MFA Chair Steve Heller’s Mentorship as He Retires,”
Common Thread: Antioch University News, June 8, 2019, by Arielle Silver.
“O. Henry Winner Steve Heller Next in Authors Series,” interview with Marshall Smith in Idyllwild Town Crier, July 6, 2012. Online version:
“Steve Heller, Interviewed by Derek Alger,” PIF Magazine, February 24, 2005.
Mary Meriam studied poetry at Columbia University (MFA) and Bennington College (BA). She works as an editor and publisher of lesbian poetry and art, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas - Monticello. Her most recent poetry collection is Pools of June (Exot Books, 2022). Her poems have appeared in Literary Matters, Poetry, Post Road, Prelude, Rattle, Subtropics, and The Poetry Review.
Literary Matters: https://www.literarymatters.org/author/mary-meriam/
Cultural Daily: https://culturaldaily.com/mary-meriam-three-poems/
Dr. Terry Nugent is a former non-traditional student turned enthusiastic educator with a strong focus on critical pedagogy and literacy acquisition. Alongside his courses in First Year Writing, Professional Writing, Literacy Pedagogy, and Children's and Young Adult Literature, Dr. Nugent's research interests include examining the connections between a culture's economic and ideological circumstances and children's and young adult literature. He is committed to helping students develop strong writing skills and literacy practices while also exploring the ways in which cultural and economic contexts shape literature.
Dr. Nugent values creating spaces for students to ask challenging questions and think critically about how they can effect change in their communities. He trusts his students to engage in difficult and rewarding work, leading to the invention of new understandings in all of his courses. Dr. Nugent is dedicated to promoting a transformative approach to education that encourages students to explore their own identities and relationships while challenging them to think critically about the world around them.
Outside of teaching, Dr. Nugent is active in his community, serving on the board for the Monticello Branch Library and being involved in his church. He enjoys spending time with his kids, four dogs, one feisty cat, and riding his trusted mower given he’s not allowed to get a motorcycle.
Dr. Craig Truitt Olsen is an associate professor of English and director of the writing center at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He holds an MA in English: Creative Writing from Ball State University and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing from Bowling Green State University. His first book, an edited collection he co-edited with Dr. Jason Cash from SUNY Delhi called World of Final Fantasy VII: Essays on the Game and Its Legacy, was published by McFarland in early 2023. He is an active scholar with the Popular/American Culture Association, and enjoys writing fiction, flash non-fiction, and pulp science-fiction/fantasy. His areas of expertise are: classical rhetoric, visual rhetoric, multimodal rhetoric, gaming literacy, graphic narratives, flash (non)fiction, digital spaces, writing center pedagogy, and the importance of creativity.
Mark Spencer is the author of 12 books, including the novels An Untimely Frost, Ghost Walking, The Masked Demon, The Weary Motel, and Love and Reruns in Adams County; the nonfiction novel A Haunted Love Story: the Ghosts of the Allen House; and the short-story collections Wedlock and Trespassers. He is the recipient of the Faulkner Society Faulkner Award for the Novel, the Omaha Prize for the Novel, the Bradshaw Book Award, the St. Andrew’s Press Short Fiction Award, and four Special Mentions in Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Some of his work has been published in French and German translations. His book A Haunted Love Story has been the basis for episodes of five TV shows: My Ghost Story, A Haunting, Paranormal Witness, Ghost Brothers, and Ghost Hunters.