News Archives

Kyle Mellen, a recent graduate of the MFA program, was named a finalist in the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award for his manuscript of short stories. Past winner of this award include our own Frank Soos and David Crouse, as well as Andrew Porter, who is one of this years' Midnight Sun Visiting Writers.  Congrats, Kyle!

Zack Medlin, MFA/MA candidate in poetry, published "Four AM Joke," in The Carolina Quarterly.

Christopher Lee Miles, MFA candidate in poetry, published "Baling Hay" in Atlantic Review, "Bracing for Threnodies" and "Set the Atoms Humming and Arrange the Humming" in War Literature and the Arts, "The Drainage" in Broadside Press, "Alerting the Gods" in The Cortland Review and "What it Means to Pick Rock & Bale Hay" in Eclipse: A Literary Journal.

David Crouse, MFA faculty member, published his short story, "The Sleeping Mother," in Issue #5 of the Literarian, The Center for Fiction.

UAF MFA grad Tom Moran had his play "Duo" produced by Las Vegas's Insurgo Theatre as part of an evening of short plays, entitled "Superhero Diaries II." The play series ran from April 29 to May 4. "Duo," about a stodgy superhero coping with a demanding new sidekick, has also been produced by Stone Soup Theatre in Seattle and has had staged readings in Fairbanks and Valdez. In December Moran also had a short Christmas play, "Surprise Gifts," produced by the NativeAliens Theatre Collective in New York City.

Gerri Brightwell, MFA faculty member, published pieces of fiction, "At Rest," in volume 4.4 of The Dirty Napkin, "Beset," in Bound Off: Literary Podcast, "Nothing to be Ashamed of," in Word Riot, "The House of Hexworthy," in Barnaby Snopes, and "A Long and Distinguished Career," in volume 3 of Camera Obscura Journal of Literature and Photography.  A nonfiction piece, "Translation," has also appeared in the summer 2011 issue of Blip Magazine. Gerri was also invited to contribute to the May 2011 blog 49writers  on writing and literature.

Michael Edson, new English Department faculty member, will publish “‘A Closet or a Secret Field’: Horace, Protestant Devotion, and British Retirement Poetry,” in the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Ryan Ragan, MFA candidate in poetry, published "After," in Booth: The Journal, and "Moving Forward for No Apparant Reason," in Apple Valley Review, who also nominated him for Best New Poets and Best of the Web 2011.  His poems have also recently appeared in Cutbank and Spillway.

UAF Named to Top MFA List

According to the Huffington Post, "There aren't many places better than scenic Alaska for aspiring poets and writers to get some serious reading and writing done." We agree!

Midnight Sun Visiting Writer Featured in the UAF Sun Star

Our recent Visiting Writer for the Midnight Sun reading series was recently featured in the UAF Sun Star.. "Life on the Edge: Travel Writer Pushes Limits in Exploration and Storytelling."




CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the UAF English Department Writing Contests 2010-2011!

Farthest North Fiction Contest - Judge:  Professor Jo-Ann Mapson,  UAA
1st Place—$100 Award  “Dream-Work”  Lisa Balvanz (UAF)
2nd Place  “The Beach”  Maarit Hamilton (UAF)
3rd Place  “Cows”  Teal Cambier (UAF)

Northern Lights Essay Contest - Judge:  Professor Sherry Simpson, UAA
1st Place—$100 Award  “Critiquing the New Writer and Literary Critic: A Self-Analysis”  CODY KLINGMAN (UAF)
2nd Place  “Desert Ghosts”  JOHN MESSICK (UAF)
Harold McCracken Award for Outstanding Writing About Alaska and the North Country -  
Judge:  Peggy Shumaker, Alaska State Writer Laureate (2010-2012) 

1st Place—$50 Award  “The Beach”  MAARIT HAMILTON (UAF)
2nd Place  “The Glutton”  RYAN RAGAN (UAF)
3rd Place  “Beneficial Cow Moose Hunts and Unproductive Calf Hunts”  JOHN SCOTT (UAF)

Harold McCracken Endowment Poetry Award - Judge:  Anne Caston, Professor, UAA
1st Place—$100 Award  “Self-Portrait in August” - TAYA KITAYSKY (UAF)                                           
2nd Place  “Aurora Over Mecca” - ZACHARY MEDLIN (UAF)                                           
3rd Place  “Unnamed Woman – State Hospital, Michigan”- AARON BAUER (UAF)

Minnie E. Wells Award in Literary Criticism - Judge:  Professor Suzanne Forster, UAA
1st Place—$200 Award  “Ruth Snyder and Machinal: Different for a Reason” - NICHOLE FEEMSTER (UAF)
2nd Place  “’Thou art an Elm, my husband, I a Vine:’ Adriana’s Subversion of the Patriarchy in Comedy of Errors - CODY KLINGMAN (UAF) 
3rd Place  “Wild Mixed Metaphors: Imagery in the Prologue to Act IV of Henry V” - TAYA KITAYSKY (UAF)

E.L. Bartlett Prize for Literary Criticism - Judge:  Professor Daniel T. Kline, UAA
1st Place—$100 Award  “The ‘Structure of his Character’: Subversive Racial Treatment in Pudd’nhead Wilson” - AARON BAUER (UAF)
2nd Place  “Supplementing Shakespeare: King Lear and The Dresser” - MICHAEL WELSH (UAF)
3rd Place  “Australians Can’t Have British Marriages: Social and National Identity in Jane Austen’s
Pride and Prejudice and Catherine Helen Spence’s Clara Morison” - JOHN FLETCHER (UAF)
Honorable Mention  “The Olive in Ancient Greek Literature: Preliterate Crete and the Homeric Epics” - CODY KLINGMAN (UAF)

Archie Shiels Freshman Writing Contest - Judge:  Professor Sara Minton, UAS
1st Place—$100 Award  “Patience” - STEFAN G. WEINGARTH (UAF)
2nd Place  “The Inner Beauty Of An Ugly Piece” - DEANNA HOWARD (UAF)
3rd Place  “The Ekphrasis from Memory Lane” - KERSHARRA JONES-DAVIS (UAF)

Albert H. Dickey Memorial Scholarship Freshman Writing Contest - Judge: Assistant Professor Sarah Stanley, UAF

1st Place--$1000 Scholarship - Lee Ann Atencio (UAF)

Congratulations to recent graduate, James Harris, whose anthology, Of A Monstrous Child, will be released this February at AWP.







Congratulations to Lance Twitchell, who has received a $6000 grant from the Cook Inlet Tribal Council. The Grant will help Lance and his crew with with their staged reading of his play Raven Speak at the Festival of Original Theatre in Toronto, February 4-6, 2011. The Festival focuses on post-colonial and multicultural works. In Raven Speak a trickster spirit invades the stage of a Gold Rush Follies performance. The play explores what happens when people are forgotten in history.

A local staged reading will take place at 5:30 pm, Sunday, December 12th, in the UAF Salisbury Theater.




Professor Peggy Shumaker Named Alaska Poet Laureate 

The English Department is pleased to announce that Professor Emeritus Peggy Shumaker has been named Alaska Poet Laureate.  Professor Shumaker taught in the English Department for many years and has remained a vital presence in the Fairbanks writing community and beyond.

Professor Shumaker is author of numerous collections of poetry, including the recent Gnawed Bones (Red Hen Press, 2010), as well as the memoir Just Breathe Normally (University of Nebraska, 2007). She has served as chair of the English Department and president of the board of directors of the Associated Writing Programs.

As Alaska Poet Laureate her projects will involve travel, teaching, readings, workshops, and visits to smaller communities around Alaska.  “I’ll work to make Alaskan writers visible to Alaska and the rest of the world,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to listening to writers and readers in towns and villages throughout Alaska.”

Congratulations to Ashley Cowger!

Autumn House Press is publishing Ashley Cowger's short story collection, Peter Never Came. Ashley is also the editor and cofounder (with her husband Damien) of the online journal, MFA/MFYou (

"I never imagined I would get a book published so quickly after earning my MFA, and I know I owe it all to my instructors and fellow grad students at UAF. The feedback I received at UAF not only helped me to improve the individual stories that are included in my book, but helped me to become a better writer overall." - Ashley Cowger MFA Fiction graduate, 2009

Learn More about Ashley and her writing at

Assistant Professor Daryl Farmer's Bicycling beyond the Divide is available from University of Nebraska Press, 2008. On a journey begun twenty years earlier, Daryl Farmer, a twenty-year-old two-time college dropout, did what lost men have so often done in this country: he headed west. Twenty years later and seventy pounds heavier, with the yellowing journals from that transformative five-thousand-mile bicycle trek in his pack, Farmer set out to retrace his path.

Bicycling beyond the Divide did what all great books do: it told me about me. In its tale of a journey made by two different men—both of them Daryl Farmer—this book offers us not only moving vistas and meaningful people, but also hope, that rarest of literary commodities these days. I didn't want this to end.”—Bret Lott, author of Jewel


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