2020 Distinguished Visiting Artists
Benjamin Busch served 16 years as an infantry and reconnaissance officer in the US Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. His memoir Dust to Dust ranges from a boyhood of fort building and exploration in rural New York to deployment during the worst of the war in Iraq. He is also an actor, director and photographer, who portrayed Officer Anthony Colicchio in The Wire and is the writer/director of the film BRIGHT. He has been a contributor to Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, NPR’s All Things Considered and The Daily Beast. He has also appeared as a guest commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and two daughters
Peter Lenkov is an Emmy Award-nominated writer and producer. His notable work includes the television series La Femme Nikita, Hawaii Five-0, 24 and CSI: NY and films such as R.I.P.D., Demolition Man and Son in Law. As a comic book author, he wrote R.I.P.D. and Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, which was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative. In 2011, his television series Hawaii Five-0 was awarded Best New Drama at the People's Choice Awards. Lenkov's second comic series Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained was also recently put into development at Universal with Robert Zemeckis attached to direct. He is also the executive producer of Magnum PI and MacGyver, currently airing on CBS.
Joe Pernice is an American musician and writer best known for his work as a member of Scud Mountain Boys and the Pernice Brothers. He has recorded 17 albums, published two works of fiction and one book of poetry. He has also written for television. Since 1999 he has co-owned and operated Ashmont Records, a record company headquartered in Dorchester, MA. He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Kathy Valentine has been a working musician and songwriter for over 40 years, most notably as a member of the Go-Go’s. Kathy co-wrote the Go-Go’s hit songs "Vacation" and “Head Over Heels.” The band has sustained its career with touring, a Broadway musical and film documentary.
In Spring 2020, Valentine released a widely acclaimed memoir, published by the University of Texas Press, with an accompanying soundtrack.
In addition to her on-going musical and writing pursuits, Kathy has found opportunities as a keynote speaker, spokesperson, actress, producer, and college student. In 2017, she created the “She Factory,” an event series to raise money for women-centered non-profits.
She resides in her hometown of Austin, Texas, with her teenaged daughter she says is her “greatest pride and joy.”
Sandra Beasley is the author of Made to Explode (forthcoming 2021); Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir. She also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Mary Miller is the author of two collections of short stories, Big World and Always Happy Hour, as well as the novels The Last Days of California and Biloxi. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review, the Oxford American, Norton's Seagull Book of Stories, The Best of McSweeney’s Quarterly, and American Short Fiction, among others. She is a former James A. Michener Fellow in Fiction at the University of Texas and John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.
David Phillip Mullins
David Philip Mullins is the author of The Brightest Place in the World, a novel, and Greetings from Below, a collection of stories. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. He is an associate professor at Creighton University.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Oceanic, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Other awards for her writing include fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mississippi Arts Council, and The MacDowell Colony. Her writing appears in Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, ESPN, and Tin House. Her book of illustrated nature essays is forthcoming with Milkweed. She serves as poetry faculty for the Writing Workshops in Greece and is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.
Dustin Parsons is the author of Exploded View: Essays on Fatherhood, with Diagrams (University of Georgia Press, 2018). His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines such as The Georgia Review, Brevity, Hotel Amerika, Pleiades, and many more. He teaches at the University of Mississippi and lives in Oxford, MS.
Elizabeth Wetmore is the author of the debut novel VALENTINE, is forthcoming in April 2020 from Harper Books. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is also the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. In addition, she was a Rona Jaffe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf and a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Her short stories have appeared in the Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals. Before devoting herself to writing, Elizabeth variously tended bar, waited tables, taught English composition, drove a cab, edited psychology dissertations, and painted silos and cooling towers at a petrochemical plant. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son, but she dreams of being bicoastal (Lake Michigan and Lake Travis).