JOHN LEE CLARK ($1,962) was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His chapbook of poems is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). His poems have appeared in many publications, including The Hollins Critic, Poetry, and The Seneca Review. He is married to the deaf cartoonist Adrean Clark, and they run a small press, Clerc Scar, dedicated to the literature of the signing community. They live with their three sons in Maplewood.
PALLAVI SHARMA DIXIT ($2,301) earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, where she was awarded the Harvey Swados Prize in Fiction. In 2010, she was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation, and in 2007 she was a recipient of the Loft’s Mentor Series Award. Most recently, her work has appeared in Fiction on a Stick: New Stories by Minnesota Writers and Her Mother’s Ashes 3: Stories from South Asian Women in Canada and the United States.
JACQUELINE WHITE ($1,962) is a Minneapolis writer who has also worked as a waitress and as an activist striving to create respectful schools for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Her op-eds have been published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and distributed through the Progressive Media Project. Other credits include stints as a senior editor at The Utne Reader and as editor of the Search Institute magazine Assets. She has taught writing at a jail, a drop-in center for homeless youth, and at the Loft Literary Center. She earned a BA in English cum laude from Yale and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Antioch University-Los Angeles. She is currently at work on a memoir, for which she received a 2008 Minnesota State Arts Board grant. Visit www.mytransgenderhusband.com.
($3,000) is a poet and folk songwriter from Northern California. After a few years of touring and rambling, he is currently working toward an M.F.A. in poetry at the University of Minnesota. Brian has released several musical albums, including Fond Memories of Sound, with Garagista records, and his song lyrics have appeared in American Songwriter Magazine. He was also the recipient of the 2009 Gesell Award for Poetry and a finalist for the 2010 Loft Mentor Series. Most recently, he received the inaugural Book Arts Fellowship from the University of Minnesota, and will be releasing an artist book with Deer Let Loose Press in 2010.
($2,500) writer, spiritual director, chaplain and mother has spent many years engaged with her community, accompanying members as they face transition and loss. Her poetry, reflections and essays have been used in ministry settings. Her commitment has been centered in parishes, shelters, hospice, hospital and long-term care facilities in Latin America and in the States. She engages common human experience, the written word and theological reflection in dialogue to seek understanding. She wrestles with questions about how one can seek to live a life of integrity in a world where structures often forget the most vulnerable in society. She attempts to give image and form to those areas of our world that remain hidden. Facing her own limitations and brokenness, she wrestles with redefining what it means to seek wholeness. She has published in Vision, Maryknoll In-Touch, Chaplaincy Today. She is working on a spiritual memoir.
($2,000) Margie Newman's publications include Jewish Currents, Outlook and Dislocate. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota. She was a winner of the Loft Shabo Award and the Loft Mentorship Series, and has received a University of Minnesota Travel Study Fellowship and a grant from the Howard Brin Jewish Arts Endowment. She is currently at work on a memoir. She lives in St. Paul with her husband David Unowsky and son Owen.
($2,000) has worked as an interpreter and community organizer, and as a writing instructor at the University of Minnesota, the College of St. Catherine, and the Loft. He received a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, was a Loft Mentor Series winner in poetry, and has been nominated for a Puschcart Prize. His poems have appeared in Puerto del Sol, Bombay Gin, Water~Stone, Xcp: Streetnotes, Northwest Review, mnartists.org, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, author Laura Flynn, and children Samantha and Niko.
($3,500) Eric Vrooman’s short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Minnesota Monthly, The Cream City Review, Passages North, Monkeybicycle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He has taught creative writing at Macalester College, Tulane University, Gustavus Adolphus College, and The Loft Literary Center.
($2,775) published her debut book, Elvis & Olive, a middle-grade novel, with Scholastic Press. The book was named a 2008 Junior Library Book selection and a Washington Post Book of the Week. The sequel, Elvis & Olive: Super Detectives will be on store shelves in July of 2010. In March of 2009, Stephanie created Life is Life, an online serial story in words and pictures. A groundbreaking storytelling experiment, Life is Life has drawn online readers from over 50 countries. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Stephanie Watson grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and now lives across the wide Mississippi in St. Paul. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches at the Loft Literary Center and runs a web copywriting agency called PlumLines.
HEATHER BOUWMAN ($2,800)
PAULA CISEWSKI ($3,000). Paula Cisewski’s poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in failbetter.com, Handsome, The Laurel Review, The Barn Owl Review, and Taiga. She teaches writing and humanities courses at Globe University and hosts the Imaginary Press Reading Series. Her first poetry collection, Upon Arrival, was published by Black Ocean in 2006.
SHERRIE FERNANDEZ-WILLIAMS ($3,000). Sherrie holds an MFA in Writing from Hamline University. She is a 2008 Loft Mentor Series Winner in creative nonfiction, a Givens Black Writers Collaborative Retreat participant, a SASE creative nonfiction mentor series participant, and a winner of the Jones’ Commission Award for new playwrights through the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, MN.
Excerpts of her memoir have been accepted for publication in 13th Moon, r-c-v-r-y, Summit Avenue Review, Subtle Tea, Segue, and Branches. Sherrie resides in St. Paul, MN with her nine-year old twins Kinsey and Kirby. Among her passions is teaching personal storytelling for the purpose of self-discovery and healing.
MICHELLE MATTHEES ($1,500). Michelle Matthees' poems have appeared in The Bellingham Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bloomsbury Review, ¶, and numerous other journals. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA program and is a recipient of grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, The Jerome Foundation, The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and AWP. She currently lives a stone’s throw away from Lake Superior.
SCOTT MUSKIN ($2,450). Scott Muskin has been writing all his life. His novel “The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama’s Boy and Scholar” won the 2007 Parthenon Prize and will be published by Hooded Friar Press in January 2008. His story collection, “I’m with You Always,” was a finalist for the 2005 Flannery O’Connor Award. He has published short stories in the literary journals Beloit Fiction Journal, Clackamas Literary Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and Red Rock Review, and also in the general interest magazine Minnesota Monthly.
ETHAN RUTHERFORD ($3,000). Ethan Rutherford was born in Seattle. His work has appeared in Esopus, The New York Tyrant, Faultline, VERB: An Audioquarterly, American Short Fiction, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and in the anthology Fiction On A Stick: New Stories by Minnesota Writers. His fiction has received special mention in the Pushcart Prize anthology series and been nominated for inclusion in the Best New American Voices anthology. He lives in Minneapolis.
ELISABETH WORKMAN ($2,000). Elisabeth Workman was born outside of Philadelphia in 1976. Through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, she has served as an artist-in-residence, conducting poetry workshops in schools throughout rural Pennsylvania. More recently, she taught poetry and rhetoric to international students in the Middle East. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in fourW, Absent, Alice Blue Review, The Black Economy, and West Wind Review, among others. Her chapbooks, a city a cloud (2006) and Opolis (2007)--collaborations with visual and graphic artists, published through the Dusie Kollectiv (Switzerland)--were featured at the Walker Art Center's Multiples Mall in February 2009.
DHANA-MARIE BRANTON is a Minneapolis-based creative nonfiction writer. She will return to the New York State Writers Institute to study with Phillip Lopate. A native Chicagoan, Dhana-Marie is also an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in Chicago and New York City.
CHARLES CONLEY is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA in Creative Writing program. He lives in Minneapolis and will use the SASE/Jerome grant to complete his short story collection.
ELISSA ELLIOTT received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and her master’s in education from UCLA. Her first novel will be published by Bantam Books in the Fall of 2008. Her work has appeared in The Baltimore Review, and her book reviews have been printed in Books & Culture and Paste Magazine and Elle. She is a former winner of the Loft Mentor Series and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first screenplay is scheduled to begin filming in the Summer of 2008. She’s been a finalist for the McKnight Screenwriters Fellowship and a semi-finalist for the Nicholl Screenwriters Fellowship. She lives in Rochester with her husband.
LAURA FLYNN was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is the author of Swallow the Ocean––a memoir of growing up in the face of her mother’s catastrophic mental illness–– published by Counterpoint Press in February 2008. She received her BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, where she served as the inaugural fellow in the Scribe for Human Rights Project, jointly sponsored by the Human Rights and the Creative Writing Programs at the University of Minnesota. She has been an activist and human rights advocate all her adult life. She lived in Haiti from 1994-2000 and remains deeply involved in the struggle for democracy and human dignity in that country. She is the editor of Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Common Courage Press, 2000. She currently teaches editing at the University of Minnesota, and lives in Minneapolis with her husband, poet Mike Rollin.
JOHN MEDEIROS is a writer living in Minneapolis. His work has appeared in Water~Stone, Gulf Coast; Willow Springs; Gents, Badboys and Barbarians: An Anthology of New Gay Male Poetry; Evergreen Chronicles; Christopher Street; Chiron Review; and Writers Against War. He is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board grant; Gulf Coast's First Place Nonfiction Award; and the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Fellowship for Emerging Artists. He is a recent graduate of Hamline University, where his memoir Self, Divided was awarded the Outstanding Creative Nonfiction Thesis of the Year, and his work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minnesota.
RACHEL MORITZ received her MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her poetry chapbook, The Winchester Monologues, won the 2005 New Michigan Press Competition. Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Five Fingers Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Indiana Review and other journals. She edits WinteRed Press, a publisher of poetry chaplets and broadsides. She will use her SASE/Jerome grant to pursue a mentorship with an established poet and to work on her poetry manuscript.
MATT RASMUSSEN received a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in creative writing from Emerson College. He is a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Papua New Guinea ’99-‘01) and participant in the Loft Mentor Series (’06-’07). His poetry has been recently published or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Cimmaron Review, Passages North, Dislocate, New York Quarterly, LIT, and What Light: This Week’s Poem at mnartists.org. He currently lives in Robbinsdale and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College and Rasmussen College. His chapbook, Fingergun, is available from Kitchen Press.
KELLY BARNHILL ($4,000) is a writer and mom, living in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in The Rake, The Heartlands Today, In The Fray, The Flow, Thin Coyote, and will be appearing later this year in The Sun. She has been a kosher meat slicer, a church janitor, a middle school teacher, a park ranger, a coffee jerk, and a certified wildland firefighter.
STEPHANIE BOOKER ($1,500) of North Minneapolis is an editor of the African American newspaper Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and holds an MFA from Hamline University of St. Paul. Her creative work has been published most recently in the online GLBT journal Blithe House Quarterly, the collection 60 Seconds to Shine: 221 One-minute Monologues For Women (Monologue Audition Series, Volume 2) edited by John Capecci and Irene Ziegler Aston (Smith & Kraus Inc., 2006), and the upcoming anthology Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories edited by Shonia L. Brown (Nghosi Books, 2007). Stephani has read her prose and poetry at various Twin Cities-area venues including Patrick's Cabaret and Intermedia Arts.
KIRSTEN (PAURUS) DIERKING ($2,600) received a bachelor's degree in international affairs and history from the University of Colorado, and a master's degree in creative writing from Hamline University. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals including Great River Review, Water~Stone, and The Comstock Review. She is the recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a Career Initiative Grant from The Loft. She lives with her husband in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
JOHN JODZIO ($2,900) lives in Minneapolis. Recent fiction has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Concern, Opium.com, Pindeldyboz, Yankee Pot Roast and Bullfight Review. He also has stories in Opium #2 and The Quarterly #31 and has story in Opium Print #3 that won the Opium Fiction Prize. He is a former winner of The Loft Mentor Series and was recently nominated for the Best New American Voices series.
BAKER LAWLEY ($2,000), a native of Alabama, focuses much of his fiction on the South, making use of the cultural and geographical perspective provided by working at a distance in Minnesota. His current project is a novel, tentatively titled Haints, focusing on a small town's reaction when their annual Civil War battle reenactment goes terribly wrong one year. An earlier version of the manuscript was chosen as a semifinalist in the Words and Music Literary Competition in 2004. Baker's short fiction has appeared in The Southeast Review and Oyster Boy Review. He graduated from the M.F.A. program at the University of Alabama in 2003, and currently teaches in the English department at Gustavus Adolphus College. He lives in south Minneapolis with his wife and hound dogs.
BRANDON LUSSIER ($2,000)