Spring 2020 Issue
Mel Allen is the fifth editor of Yankee Magazine since its beginning in 1935. His first Yankee byline appeared in 1977. In 1979 he joined its staff as a senior editor in 1979 and he became its editor in 2006. He has edited and written for every section of the magazine, including home, food, and travel; long-form story telling has always been vital to his mission. He has raced a sled dog team, crawled into the dens of black bears, fished with the legendary Ted Williams, profiled astronaut Alan Shepard, and stood beneath a battleship before it was launched. He once helped author Stephen King round up pigs for market. Mel taught fourth grade in Maine for three years and believes that his education as a writer began when he had to hold the attention of 29 children through months of Maine winters. He taught magazine writing for 12 years at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and he now teaches in the MFA Creative Nonfiction program at Bay Path University.
María Luisa Arroyo
María Luisa Arroyo was born in Manati, Puerto Rico. She is a student of languages who speaks and writes English, Spanish, German and Farsi. She received a BA from Colby College, an MA from Tufts University, and an MFA from Pine Manor College. She is the author of Gathering Words/Recogiendo Palabras (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2008). In 2014, Arroyo was named the inaugural poet laureate of Springfield. She has also received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and New England Public Radio’s Arts & Humanities Award. She teaches writing in the Women as Empowered Leaders and Learners program at Bay Path University.
Jodie Baker has been telling stories all her life. What intrigues her most about writing is the way stories can change people, make them think, laugh, or cry. As a nonfiction writer, her goal is to find and capture the beauty in the small moments of everyday life in each story she writes. Jodie holds a BA in Communications from Marist College and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bay Path University.
Wren (Karen) Bellavance-Grace is a writer based in western Massachusetts who daydreams about turning her house into a home for foster kids about to age out of care. She serves as Congregational Consultant for the New England Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association, providing support for small congregations and congregational collaborations. Karen received her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Bay Path University. Her nonfiction essay, If, was nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize.
Sari Botton is a writer, editor, and educator who lives in Kingston, New York. She is the essays editor for Longreads, as well as the editor of the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York and its New York Times bestselling follow-up, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York. She has taught for the non-profit TMI Project and at Catapult and currently is on the MFA faculty at Bay Path University. Her work has appeared in the The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, More, and The Rumpus, among other publications and anthologies.
Indianapolis native Charles Coe is a poet, prose writer, educator, and musician (vocals and didgeridoo) who has lived in the Boston area since 1975. For 18 years, he served a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In 2014, he was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light.” He is the author of three books of poetry, All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents, Picnic on the Moon and Memento Mori. He is an Artist-in-Residence for the city of Boston, has served as Poet-in-Residence at Wheaton College and the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, and is on the faculty of the Salve Regina MFA Program in Newport, Rhode Island.
Jennifer De Leon
Jennifer De Leon is the author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster in May 2020) and the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education. She was the 2015–2016 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library, a 2016–2017 City of Boston Artist-in-Residence, and the second recipient of the We Need Diverse Books grant. Jennifer is an assistant professor of creative writing at Framingham State University and an instructor and board member at GrubStreet. She has been published in dozens of literary journals including Ploughshares, Iowa Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She lives in the Boston area.
Mia Gallagher lives in Ireland. She writes novels, stories and non-fiction, and has devised and written for the stage. Her critically-acclaimed books include novels HellFire (2006), awarded the Irish Tatler Women of the Year Literature Award 2007, and Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (2016), long-listed for the Republic of Consciousness Award 2017. Her award-winning stories have been anthologized widely and published in her collection Shift (2018). Mia is a contributing editor with the Stinging Fly, and a member of Aosdána, an assembly of artists elected by their peers for their outstanding contribution to Irish culture.
Áine Greaney is an Irish-born author who emigrated to America in 1986. She has published five books: Dance Lessons, Writer with a Day Job, The Sheep Breeders Dance, The Big House, and Green Card and Other Essays. Her writing has been featured in publications and broadcasts throughout the U.S., Ireland, the UK, and Canada, including Creative Nonfiction, NPR/WBUR, The Boston Globe Magazine, Numero Cinq, Salon, The Drum, New Hibernia Review, Litro Magazine, Cyphers, Books Ireland. Her essay, “Sanctuary,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her work received a citation in Best American Essays. Her work has been recognized by the National Women’s Book Association for National Reading Group Month, the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, The Fish Anthology, the Rubery International Book Award, the Frank O’Connor Award, the Irish News Short Story Award and Indie Lit 2011. She now lives and writes on Boston’s North Shore.
Shahnaz Habib is the author of the nonfiction book Airplane Mode (forthcoming from Catapult), and the translator of the novel Jasmine Days, for which she and the author Benyamin won the JCB Prize, India’s most valuable prize for literature. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker online, Creative Nonfiction, Agni, Brevity, The Guardian, and Afar. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists’ Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and her work has been cited in the Best American Essays series. Shahnaz teaches writing at The New School and at Bay Path University, and consults for the United Nations. Raised in south India, Shahnaz now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Susan Ito is co-editor of the literary anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption (North Atlantic Books) and is a creative nonfiction editor and contributing columnist for the magazine Literary Mama. Her essays, articles, and stories have won awards and nominations including a Pushcart Prize and have appeared in The Bellevue Literary Review, Hip Mama, Two Worlds Walking, Literary Mama, CHOICE, SheBooks, Santa Barbara Review, Growing Up Asian American, Making More Waves and elsewhere. She is founder of the Asian American Women Writers Workshop and maintains a literary blog, ReadingWritingLiving. Susan is a graduate of the Mills College MFA in creative writing and has taught writing at the University of California at Berkeley, the College of Alameda, the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and in her own private coaching practice and writing retreats.
Karol Jackowski left the Sisters of the Holy Cross and became part of the Sisters for Christian Community, an independent, self-governing sisterhood. Her books include Forever and Ever, Amen: Becoming a Nun in the Sixties; The Silence We Keep: A Nun’s View of the Catholic Priest Scandal; Sister Karol’s Book of Spells and Blessings; Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die; Divine Madness: Why I Still Want to be a Nun; and the cookbooks Let the Good Times Roll and Home on the Range. She has been profiled and reviewed in Rosie, People, The Star Ledger (Newark), ELLE, The Journal News, The New York Post, and The New York Times. She has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Speakeasy, CNN (interviewed by Soledad O’Brian), The Early Show (interviewed by Bryant Gumbel), WPXN-TV, Eyewitness News Sunday Morning, Weekend Today, and ABC-TV/She TV. Karol holds a PhD from NYU and lives in New York City and she teaches in the MFA program in Creative Nonfiction at Bay Path University.
Leanna James Blackwell
Leanna James Blackwell is an award-winning essayist and documentary playwright, a frequent contributor to arts and parenting journals, and a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction’s True Story; Full Grown People; Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers; The Best of Brain, Child; Literary Mama; five80split: A Journal of Arts and Letters; Hidden Manna: The Journal of Faith and Story; in Mount Holyoke College and Amherst College magazines, and in the best-selling literary anthologies A Ghost at Heart’s Edge: Stories and Poems of Adoption and Toddler. She has developed and premiered numerous plays, including New Soul; Grimm Women; Curtain Call; and The Wendy Chronicles. She’s a member of the Northampton Playwrights Lab, the former artistic director and playwright-in-residence of TKO Theatre and the Inner Stage in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the co-founder and director of The Place for Writers at Mills College in Oakland, California. Leanna is the director of the MFA program in Creative Nonfiction and an assistant professor at Bay Path University.
Deborah Kaufman is a documentary filmmaker and writer based in Berkeley, CA. Her award-winning documentaries, made with partner Alan Snitow, include Company Town, Between Two Worlds, Thirst, Secrets of Silicon Valley, and Blacks and Jews. She founded and for 13 years was Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the first and largest independent Jewish film showcase in the world. Her writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Tikkun, The Forward, The J Weekly, Eat Drink Films, and Release Print. She is currently writing a poetry-memoir about growing up in San Francisco in the 60’s.
Yi Shun Lai
California writer and editor Yi Shun Lai was the founding nonfiction editor of the Tahoma Literary Review, where she now edits fiction and is co-publisher. Her forthcoming memoir on her relationship to outdoor sports and representation in the outdoors will be published in August by Homebound Publications. Her debut novel, Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu, was a semi-finalist for the Thurber Prize in American Humor. Her essays have appeared in The Hairpin, The Toast, Bustle, and elsewhere. Yi Shun has an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and has worked as a writing coach, editor, and teacher. She blogs and writes “tiny books,” including Your Country is Beautiful: Notes from an Aid Worker, inspired by her work as a volunteer for ShelterBox, an international disaster-relief organization. Her website is thegooddirt.org.
Dinty W. Moore
Dinty W. Moore is an author, editor and educator specializing in memoir and literary nonfiction. He is the author of numerous books including Between Panic & Desire, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, The Mindful Writer, Crafting the Personal Essay, The Story Cure, Dear Mr. Essay Writer Guy, The Accidental Buddhist, The Truth of the Matter, The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes, Toothpick Men, and Lit from Within: Contemporary Masters on the Art and Craft of Writing. His work has been published in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, Crazyhorse, and Okey-Panky, among numerous other venues. Moore founded Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, 20 years ago, and still serves as its editor-in-chief. He recently retired from his position as a professor and Director of Creative Writing at Ohio University.
Nuala O’Connor (aka Nuala Ní Chonchúir) was born in Dublin, Ireland; she lives in East Galway with her husband and three children. Her short story, “Gooseen” won the UK’s 2018 Short Fiction Prize, was published in Granta, and was shortlisted for Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. In 2019 she won the James Joyce Quarterly competition to write the missing story from Dubliners, ‘Ulysses’. Her fourth novel, Becoming Belle, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 in Ireland, the USA and Canada; it was published in June 2019 in the UK by Little Brown. Nuala is currently writing a bio-fictional novel about Nora Barnacle, wife and muse to James Joyce. She is the editor at the new flash e-zine, Splonk. Her website is www.nualaoconnor.com.
Lisa Romeo is the author of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss (University of Nevada Press, May 2018). Her work has been nominated several times for Best American Essays, and is listed in Notables in Best American Essays 2016 and 2018. Her creative nonfiction is published in literary and popular media, including The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, Brevity, Longreads, Under the Sun, Full Grown People, and many other places. Lisa is currently the thesis director for Bay Path University’s MFA program and she teaches for The Writers Circle in New Jersey, coaches writers privately, and is a freelance book editor. A former equestrian journalist, public relations specialist, and real estate troubleshooter, Lisa completed an MFA degree at Stonecoast (University of Southern Maine), and earned a BS in journalism from Newhouse (Syracuse University). She lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and sons.
Sophfronia Scott grew up in the same Ohio town as Toni Morrison. After graduating from Harvard, she got a job with Time magazine and, in the early 1990s, became that magazine’s youngest cover story writer with the article “Twentysomething.” She served as StyleWatch editor for People magazine and Senior Entertainment editor of TeenPeople. Her first novel, All I Need to Get By (St. Martin’s Press, 2004) earned a nomination for best new author at the African American Literary Awards. Her other books include Unforgiveable Love (William Morrow, 2017); Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul (Simon & Schuster, 2012); Love’s Long Line (Mad Creek Books, 2018); and This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World (Paraclete Press, 2017). Sophfronia’s work has appeared in publications including The Saranac Review, Ruminate, Numéro Cinq, Mid-American Review, Sleet Magazine, More, NewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut with her husband and son.
Suzanne Strempek Shea
Suzanne Strempek Shea writes nonfiction, fiction and journalism, and has authored 11 books. She is writer-in-residence and faculty member at Bay Path University, where she created the MFA program and leads its annual Summer Writing Seminar in Dingle, Ireland. Suzanne is the winner of the 2000 New England Book Award, which recognizes a body of work’s importance to the region. She has a special interest in working with those writing about trauma. Her freelance work has appeared in publications including Yankee, Down East, The Bark, Golf World, The Boston Globe, The Irish Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and ESPN the Magazine.
Abigail Thomas, the daughter of renowned science writer Lewis Thomas (The Lives of a Cell ), is the mother of four children and the grandmother of twelve. Her academic education stopped when, pregnant with her oldest daughter, she was asked to leave Bryn Mawr during her first year. She’s lived most of her life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and was for a time a book editor and for another time a book agent. Her first three books, Getting Over Tom, An Actual Life, and Herb’s Pajamas were fiction. Her memoir, A Three Dog Life, was named one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, and it won the 2006 Inspirational Memoir Award given by Books for A Better Life. She is also author of Safekeeping, a memoir, and Thinking About Memoir.
A founding faculty member in the MFA, Kate Whouley was the recipient of the Bay Path University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2018. She is the author of Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, winner of the New England Book Award in nonfiction, and Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved, a Book Sense Book-of-the-Year finalist. Her contribution to this issue is excerpted from Monday Night Music, a work-in-progress inspired by Kate’s long tenure with the Cape Cod Concert Band. She can be reached through her website at katewhouley.com.
Jane Yolen has written nearly 400 books, including The Devil’s Arithmetic, the Commander Toad series, Twelve Impossible Things to Do Before Breakfast, the History Mystery series, the Young Merlin Trilogy, White Jenna, the Pit Dragon Trilogy, Pirates in Petticoats, and her most recent book, Miriam at the River. In 1988 she won the Caldecott Medal for Owl Moon; The Emperor and the Kite was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1968. She has been named a finalist for a Nebula Award five times and has won that honor twice, earning Best Short Story for Sister Emily’s Lightship in 1997 and Best Novelette for Lost Girls in 1998. Her books have won Golden Kite Awards, the Sydney Taylor Jewish Council Awards, the Christopher Medal, the California Young Reader Medal, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and a National Outdoor Book Award. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 World Fantasy Awards. Jane is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in Hatfield, Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.