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For more information or to talk with MFA faculty, e-mail

Karen Babine

Karen Babine’s first book, Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for memoir/creative nonfiction was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Her work has appeared widely, from Slag Glass City to River Teeth to North American Review, Sweet, Brevity, and beyond. “Deadwood” won the Martin O. Lewis Award from Weber: The Contemporary West and “An Island Triptych” was listed as a Notable in the 2014 Best American Essays. She is also the founder and editor of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, whose goal is to publish the best nonfiction scholarship and pedagogy across disciplines. Her newest book, All the Wild Hungers, a short collection of micro-essays about cooking for her mother through her diagnosis and treatment of a rare uterine cancer and the development of an obsession for finding cast iron pots in thrift stores. All the Wild Hungers is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2018.


Stephan Eirik Clark, director of the MFA program, is the author of Sweetness #9 (Little, Brown & Company 2014) and the short story collection Vladimir’s Mustache (Russian Life Books 2012), a finalist for the 2013 Minnesota Book Award. Clark’s short stories have been widely published, including in such journals as Ninth Letter, Cincinnati Review, Salt HillWitness, and LA Weekly. His essays have been recognized as notable in Best American Essays 2009 and 2010. While living in Los Angeles, Clark had a professional manager for his screenwriting, which has been twice optioned. His screenplays have been honored in contests sponsored by Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope film studios, the Monterey County Film Commission, and USC Film School.

Born in West Germany to a Norwegian mother and a Texan father, Clark split much of his childhood between England and the United States, and has lived in five states and five countries, including Ukraine, where he served a Fulbright Fellowship, and Russia. Clark has taught writing at UC Davis, USC, Reed College, and Kharkov National University, the second-oldest university in Ukraine. He holds an M.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. A former print and radio journalist and one-time member of USC Film School’s filmic writing division, he currently lives in St. Paul. His website is


Cass Dalglish is a fiction writer and prose poet who has written television news and documentaries as a broadcast journalist. Her published books include the novels Nin (Spinsters Ink) and Sweetgrass (finalist for a Minnesota Book Award), and a book-length prose poem Humming the Blues (Calyx Books). Humming the Blues is a jazz interpretation of the Sumerian cuneiform signs in Enheduanna’s Song to Inanna (Ancient Iraq, 2350 BCE). She was an invited speaker during the post museum session of the conference: Inanna — Live at the British Museum, London 2007, and selected for the McKnight/Walker/ “Five Minutes of Fame” for her animation of her interpretation of the Song to Inanna. A recipient of The Loft Literary Center Minnesota Writers’ Career Initiative Grant, she received the 2011 Distinguished Teaching and Learning Award For Excellence in Mentoring and Advising from Augsburg University. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a PhD in writing with a concentration in ancient women’s writing from The Union Institute.  On the web:



Jack El-Hai, a former teaching mentor in the program, continues to maintain a presence in our summer residencies. A writer of literary journalism and creative nonfiction, his books include The Nazi and the Psychiatrist (Public Affairs), Turbulent Air: A History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press), and The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (Wiley). The Lobotomist is currently in production as a TV series pilot for HBO and was previously adapted as a PBS American Experience television documentary. Jack’s newest project, The Nazi And The Psychiatrist is slated for publication by PublicAffairs Books and has recently been optioned for stage and screen by Mythology Entertainment. The book explores the complex relationship between American psychiatrist Dr. Douglas M. Kelley and Nazi war criminal and Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering. It has been licensed for Italian translation to the venerable Rizzoli publishing company. It was previously licensed for French translation to the publisher Les Arenes.  In English, the book will be available in September 2013. Jack’s essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic,WiredScientific American MindThe History Channel MagazineAmerican Heritage, and The Saturday Evening Post. Winner of a Minnesota Book Award and a McKnight Artist Fellowship, he is a past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and an undergraduate degree in English from Carleton College.

Heid-E-Erdrich-lowresHEID E. ERDRICH

Heid E. Erdrich is author of four poetry collections, most recently Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. She is Ojibwe from the Turtle Mountain Band in North Dakota. A long-time college professor, Heid is now an independent scholar and a frequent visiting writer at educational and cultural institutions across the country. In Minnesota, Heid often works with galleries to present exhibits focused on Native American visual art  and she directs Wiigwaas Press an Ojibwe language publisher. A recipient of awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Archibald Bush Foundation and elsewhere, Heid has four times been nominated for the Minnesota Book Award which she won in 2009 for her book National Monuments. She is a 2012-13 Minnesota State Arts Board grant recipient. She is graduate of Dartmouth College  and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and holds a Ph.D. from the Union Institute.   Her poetry films were featured in Studio Presents: Indigenous Short Film Showcase, 2013, sponsored by the Augsburg Native American Film Series.  Read/Watch/Listen to MPR News on Heid – Pre-Occupied.


Marya Hornbacher is an award-winning essayist, journalist, novelist, poet, and the New York Times bestselling author of five books. Her writing appears regularly in literary and journalistic publications around the world, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Smithsonian Magazine, Crazyhorse, AGNI, Gulf Coast, The Normal School, Fourth Genre, DIAGRAM, and many others. Her sixth book, a work of long-form journalism, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in late 2019, and her seventh, a collection of essays, will appear the following year. She is the recipient of the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, the Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, and the Fountain House Humanitarian Award for her activism. She is a 2018 Logan Nonfiction Fellow with the Carey Institute for Global Good, and teaches in the MFA programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Augsburg University.

Carson Kreitzer

Carson Kreitzer

Carson Kreitzer’s Lasso of Truth is enjoying a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere this year, with productions at Marin Theatre Company, Synchronicity in Atlanta, and Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City. She is a member of the Workhaus Collective, an alumna of New Dramatists, and a Core Member and current Board Member of the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.  She and composer Matt Gould are currently under commission from Yale Rep and New Dramatists for their new musical LEMPICKA. She is writing a new play for the Guthrie Theatre, supported by a grant from the Toulmin Foundation, and is the current Dowling Annaghmakerrig Fellow. Carson is the past recipient of two Jerome Fellowships and support from the NEA and NYSCA. She  was the first Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center. won two McKnight Advancement Grants and was recently named a McKnight winner — for the third time. Her collection SELF DEFENSE and other plays is available from No Passport Press.   Carson will be a playwriting mentor in the spring, 2016.


Sarah MyersSarah Myers

Sarah Myers’s solo play I Do Today will be featured this fall (2016) in Chicago as part of Greenhouse Theater Center’s Solo Celebration, and her script The Realm was produced this past spring by The Other Theatre Company, also in Chicago. Her other work has been produced and developed at the Wild Project, FronteraFest, the Off Center, the Blue Theater, the David Mark Cohen New Works Festival, the Women & Theater Conference, and Indiana Repertory Theater, among others. Published plays include The Realm (Bonderman National Youth Playwriting Award), God of the Gaps (Pushcart Prize nominee), and In and Out. Sarah is a former company member of Austin-based theatre collective Rude Mechanicals and an ongoing collaborator with Sod House Theater, a company that creates adaptations and new works with communities throughout Minnesota.

Lindsay Starck

Lindsay starck

Lindsay Starck, Associate Director of the MFA program, was born in Wisconsin and raised in the Milwaukee Public Library. She earned her B.A. in Literature from Yale, her M.F.A in Fiction from Notre Dame, and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, she served first as Fiction Editor and then as Editor-in-Chief of The Carolina Quarterly. Her first novel, Noah’s Wife, was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in January 2016. Her short fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review and Ploughshares.


Cary Waterman is a poet and creative nonfiction writer. Her published books include The Salamander Migration (University of Pittsburgh Press), When I Looked Back You Were Gone (finalist for the Minnesota Book Award), and Book of Fire (Nodin Press). Her work appears in many anthologies including A Geography of Poets, Poets Against the War and The Logan House Anthology of 21st Century American Poetry. She has won awards from the Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She has had residencies and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland and the MacDowell Colony. For many years she was Poet-in-Residence with the Minnesota Writers in the Schools program. She has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Denver and a master’s degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Publishing Faculty

JAMES CihlarJames Cihlar

James Cihlar has worked as a Managing Editor, Poetry Editor, and Director of Marketing and Sales at such presses as Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press, and New Rivers Press, and he has worked as a freelance copyeditor for Etruscan Press. He is the author of the poetry books Rancho Nostalgia, Undoing, A Conversation with My Imaginary Daughter, and Metaphysical Bailout. His writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and Lambda Literary Review. He has won the Bloom Chapbook Prize, and he has received two Artist Initiative Grants in Poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board. His website is