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Visiting Writers

Each year, our program enjoys visits from celebrated writers. In July 2019, we are honored to be hosting:


Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award; they also wrote [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez’s work has been featured widely, appearing on platforms such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, “Homie”, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020. Find more at


Tessa Fontaine is the author of The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, a New York Times Editor’s pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers choice, an Amazon Editors’ Best of the Month featured debut, Amazon Best Books of 2018, and more.

Tessa spent the 2013 season performing with the last American traveling circus sideshow, the World of Wonders. Tessa won the 2016 AWP Intro Award in Nonfiction, and has writing in Glamour, The Believer, LitHub, Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School, Seneca Review, DIAGRAM, [PANK], and Brevity. Raised outside San Francisco, Tessa got her MFA from the University of Alabama and is currently a doctoral student in creative writing at the University of Utah. She’s received awards and fellowships from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Taft Nicholson Center, Writing by Writers, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and taught for the New York Times summer journeys as well as founding a Salt Lake City Writers in the Schools program. She currently lives in South Carolina with her fella and pup.




Stacey Rose hails from Elizabeth, NJ and Charlotte, NC respectively. She is a proud mom, daughter, and sibling. She earned a BA in theatre at UNC Charlotte and is an alum of the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.  Stacey has presented work at:  The Fire This Time Festival, The Brooklyn Generator, The Bushwick Starr Reading Series, The Amoralists Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, National Black Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, and The Lark’s Playwrights Week. She was a finalist for the 2018  Princess Grace Fellowship, was a 2015-16 Dramatist Guild Fellow, a 2017-18 Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow, a 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, and is a 2018-2021 Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. She is a 2018 – 19 member of The Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and The Civilians R&D Group. In January 2019, Stacey was the inaugural recipient of Barrington Stage Company’s Burman New Play Award with her play AMERICA v. 2.1 THE SAD DEMISE & EVENTUAL EXTINCTION OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO. The play will receive a world premiere production at Barrington Stage Company in June 2019. Stacey’s play LEGACY LAND will world premiere at KC Reps New Works Festival in February 2020. Stacey’s work celebrates and explores Blackness, Black identity, Black history, body politics, and the dilemma of life as the “other.”



Originally from Northern California, Rebecca Sonnenshine is a Los Angeles-based writer and producer. She received her B.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and won a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1999. She went on to produce two independent feature films: BUNNY, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination, and REVERSION, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance film festival. Her feature film writing credits include HAPPILY EVEN AFTER, AMERICAN ZOMBIE, THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY, and THE KEEPING HOURS, starring Lee Pace and Carrie Coon, which won the Audience Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival. She also wrote the film WITHIN, directed by Hanelle Culpepper, which aired on the Lifetime Network. For television, she has written for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on the CW, OUTCAST on Cinemax, and THE CROSSING for ABC. She is currently a Co- Executive Producer and writer on the Amazon series THE BOYS (airing summer 2019)




Lisa Van Orman Hadley graduated from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. She received the Larry Levis post-graduate fellowship, a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, and a Millay Colony fellowship to work on Irreversible Things. Her stories have most recently appeared in EpochNew England Review, and The Collagist.

Lisa’s novel in stories, Irreversible Things, is the winner of the 2019 Howling Bird Press Fiction Prize and will be published this fall.

Past Visiting Writers