MFA in Creative Writing Winter Residency Announces Visiting Writers and Guest Speakers

Winter residency set to take place Dec. 27 through Jan. 6 in Roscommon

ALMA — The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Alma College will offer public readings and presentations by six guests at its 2022 winter residency.

David Mura, S. Kirk Walsh, Peter A. Wright, Jonathan W. Thurston-Torres, Izzy, and Dawn Daniels will speak on topics including writing, publishing, spoken word poetry and storytelling, in a series of addresses. Mura and Walsh will also perform readings of their work that will be open to the public. The winter residency is scheduled for Dec. 27, 2021, through Jan. 6, 2022, at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon.

Mura is a memoirist, poet, fiction writer, essayist and literary critic, who will give lectures for MFA students at 2 p.m. on Dec. 28 and 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 29. He will give a public reading at 7 p.m. on Dec. 29. Mura’s newest book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity and Narrative Craft in Writing. He is the author of two memoirs, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won the Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book, and Where the Body Meets Memory.

Walsh is a novelist, an editor, and a teacher, who will give a lecture at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 31 and a public reading at 7 p.m. on Jan. 1. Walsh’s debut novel, The Elephant of Belfast, inspired by true events that took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during World War II, was published by Counterpoint Press in April. Now in its fourth printing, the novel has generated praise from The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, and others, as well as being selected for several top reading lists.

Wright, an acquisitions editor/editor at Running Wild Press, will take part in a panel discussion at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3 and give an informal talk at 11 a.m. on Jan. 4. Two of the books Wright has edited earned starred Kirkus Reviews and one was named July Book of the Month. A published author of both fiction and creative nonfiction, Wright’s writing can be found at various online and print publications. His novella, Thirty Seconds to Kill, was published in 2019.

Thurston-Torres, an editor for Thurston Howl Publications, Sinister Stoat Press, and Fenris Publishing, will take part in a panel discussion at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3. They are a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. They have been an active advocate for HIV rights in Michigan, giving a TEDx Talk on the subject, writing a journalistic expose called “Blood Criminals,” and recently submitting a chapbook query for HIV poems.

Izzy is the editor-in-chief and founder of Weasel Press and an editor for Thurston Howl Publications, who will take part in a panel discussion at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3. His work has earned him numerous Leo Literary Awards and the Oxfurred Comma Inclusivity Award. He also works with the adult publishing industry, delving into magazine work and recently writing and releasing his own erotic horror collection, Carnage.

Daniels will lead a workshop, “The Art of the Spoken Word: Developing the Writer’s Voice for Presentation,” at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 2. Daniels has 25 years professional experience as a freelance vocalist, spoken word artist/storyteller, and theater arts instructor. Her Master of Divinity seminary studies at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana, were focused on the ministry of writing and theopoetics. She is the founder and proprietor of Ballyhoo Books in Alma.

To find out more information about the public readings or the MFA program at Alma College, contact program director Sophfronia Scott at or (989) 463-7394.

Story published on December 13, 2021