Gerri Brightwell

Gerri Brightwell was brought up in South Devon, England. After deciding a degree in zoology was not for her, she took up literature and art history, and lived on a narrow boat in Bristol. Since then she has roamed more widely, working in Spain, Thailand, Canada and the United States. She has worked as a cleaner, ice-cream seller, sandwich-maker, pottery sponger, editor, nanny and, most recently, a teacher of writing and literature.

She has master's degrees in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, plus a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota. Her novel, The Dark Lantern, has been published in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Italty, and tells the story of a maid and her mistress in a nineteenth-century household full of secrets. Her first novel, Cold Country, was published by Duckworth in 2003 and is set in Alaska.

Derick Burleson

Derick Burleson's first book, Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-94 won the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review and Poetry, among other journals. He is also a recipient of a 1999 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His second book, Never Night is a hymn to life, a meditation on day and night, on the seasons, on nature and on love.  His third book of poetry, Melt, will be released in October 2011.

Kyle Mellen
Kyle Mellen is Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He holds degrees from Colby College and UAF, where he received his MFA in fiction in 2010. Since then his stories have appeared in journals such as American Literary Review, Epoch, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review Online, LIT, Meridian, Mid-American Review, Salt Hill, and Versal. Winner of the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award, he has also been a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the RopeWalk Press Editor’s Fiction Chapbook Prize. Currently he is at work on a story collection and a novel.
Daryl Farmer

Daryl Farmer was born in Colorado Springs, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  He developed a taste for the open road at an early age, and has spent a life roaming the country, photographing and writing about the land and people he loves.  He has lived in New Mexico, Oregon, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Texas, among other places.  He received a B.A. in physical education from Adams State College(Alamosa, Colorado) and an M.A. and Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Recent work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Laurel Review, Quarter After Eight and Isotope.  His first book Bicycling beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the Westreceived a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer’s Award and was a Colorado Book Award finalist. Before moving to Fairbanks, he taught writing at the University of Nebraska, Georgia Tech. and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Len Kamerling

Leonard Kamerling is Curator of Film at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, and Associate Professor of English at UAF.   Over the last 25 years, he has produced numerous critically acclaimed, international award winning documentary films about Alaska Native cultures and Northern issues.  He received his training at the London Film School,  and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from UAF. He joined the Creative Writing Faculty in 1999 where he specializes in teaching writing for film, theater and television. 

His film, "Heart of the Country," was nominated for the American Film Institute's prestigious Par Lorenze Award. Recently his documentary,  "The Drums of Winter,"  was named to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. 

Throughout his career, Leonard Kamerling has been concerned with issues of cultural representation in film, cross-cultural communication and the role that  film and film writing can play in eliminating stereotypes and in credibly translating one culture to another.

Johnny Payne, a Kentucky native, is a novelist, poet and playwright. His novels include Kentuckiana, Second Chance, the Irish epic Silver Dagger, and most recently, La muerte de Papi, his first novel written in Spanish. Soon will appear from Mouthfeel Press Vassal, a poem cycle retelling the Odyssey. He has been fortunate to have his opera libretti staged, alongside composer William Underwood, in NYC, Chicago and elsewhere.

His eclectic interests have in addition led him into a current graphic novel collaboration with the artist Saprophilus. It is the story of a female soldier who returns from Afghanistan and must overcome traumas by a literal and imaginative journey into the parallel universe of her own psyche. Kilcairn, the tale of a political reformer, intellectual and serial killer in 1800s London has just been completed.

Payne teaches novel writing, playwriting, screenwriting, and sometimes poetry writing. His specialty is Latin American literature. Other favorite courses have included Southern literature, literary theory, translation, Andean studies, and surrealist and avant-garde poetry. The founder of two MFA programs, his most proud accomplishment is having co-founded and directed for a decade the nation’s first and so far only bilingual MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas El Paso. Many writing careers of Latin American and U.S. renown were launched there.

His teaching philosophy can be summed up by the phrases “compassionate rigor” and “planned spontaneity.” He is partial to multimedia and has taught a number of courses online. 

His wife, three dogs and he live at the top of Moose Mountain in a yert and enjoy hiking the woods.

Amber Flora Thomas

Born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia, Sean Hill has an MFA from the University of Houston.  He has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, the Bush Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the University of Wisconsin, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Jerome Foundation, and Stanford University where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry.  Hill's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and other literary journals, and in the anthologies Blues PoemsGathering GroundThe Ringing Ear, and Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.  His first book, Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2008.  In 2009 Hill became an editor at Broadsided Press.  His second collection of poetry is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in early 2014.  He makes his home in Bermidji, Minnesota, but has moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to join the creative writing faculty at UA-Fairbanks as a visiting professor.

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