Kristen Iversen is the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Memphis and is also Editor-in-Chief of The Pinch, an award-winning literary journal of prose, poetry, art and photography. She is also on the faculty of the MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of New Orleans, held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Her first book, Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, won the Colorado Book Award and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction and led to extensive work with A & E Biography and The History Channel. Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction was the first textbook to cover the major subgenres of creative nonfiction. Kristen’s forthcoming memoir, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats, chronicles her experiences with Rocky Flats, a highly controversial government facility that secretly produced nuclear weapons during the Cold War and–unbeknownst to residents–resulted in radioactive contamination of local communities.
Neil White has been a newspaper editor, magazine publisher, advertising executive and federal prisoner. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he operates a small publishing company, writes plays and essays, and teaches memoir writing. Neil was co-director of the 2010 Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference and the 2009 and director of the 2007 Creative Nonfiction Workshop (also in Oxford) with Lee Gutkind.
His memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts (Morrow/HarperCollins), about the year he lived with the last victims of leprosy in the continental United States, was released in June of 2009. The book was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “Brisk, ironic, perceptive . . . White’s introspective memoir puts a magnifying glass to a flawed life, revealing that all of life is to be savored and respected.” Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler added, “At once surreal and grittily naturalistic, funny and poignant, White’s tale is fascinating and full of universal resonance.” Neil won the Southeastern Outstanding Author Award in nonfiction from the Southeastern Library Association (SELA). Former SELA Outstanding Author winners include Eudora Welty, Ernest Gaines, Willie Morris, Rick Bragg, Ann Patchett, Sue Monk Kidd and Pat Conroy.
Bob Cowser, Jr. was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in rural west Tennessee, where his parents worked as college English teachers. He graduated summa cum laude from Loyola-New Orleans i
n 1992 with majors in English and Print Journalism, then earned a Master’s in English at Marquette University in 1994 and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Nebraska in 1998.
An academy of American Poets prizewinner and Pushcart Prize nominee, Cowser’s work has appeared widely in American literary magazines, including the Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, American Literary Review, Sycamore Review, Brevity, Sonora Review and Creative Nonfiction. He is Professor of English at St. Lawrence University, where he teaches courses in nonfiction writing and later American literature, and an adjunct member of the faculty of Ashland University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts program. He also serves as associate editor of RIVER TEETH: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.
Bob’s first book, DREAM SEASON, published in 2004 by the Atlantic Monthly Press, was a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” and “Paperback Row” selection and was listed among the Chronicle of Higher Education’s best-ever college sports books. It garnered further praise in Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and on NPR’s “Only a Game.” His second book, SCOREKEEPING, a collection of coming-of-age essays, was published in October 2006 by the University of South Carolina Press. His third book GREEN FIELDS, about the 1979 murder of one of his grade school classmates and the execution of her killer in 2000, the first execution in Tennessee in 40 years, was published as part of the Engaged Writers Series at the University of New Orleans Press in November 2010. It was named was named “Best Memoir” by the Adirondack Center for Writers at their literary awards ceremony in Blue Mountain Lake, NY on June 12.
Kory Wells grew up on the stories of her southern Appalachian family and the wonder of the Space Age. Equally influenced by each, her career has spun into an unexpected but happy tangle of software development, creative writing, and public speaking. The intersection of Kory’s dual careers occurs in her essay “Really Good for a Girl” which leads the anthology She’s Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology and Other Nerdy Stuff. Ladies Home Journal picked Geek as one of its December 2006 “Books We Love” and singled out Kory’s writing that will “resonate with any woman, geek or not.”
Kory is a mentor at Writer’s Loft creative writing program at Middle Tennessee State University, where she provides one-on-one guidance to students in this is unique low-residency creative writing program.
Kory’s first poetry collection, Heaven Was the Moon, was published by March Street Press in fall 2009. She often performs her poetry with her daughter Kelsey, a roots music multi-instrumentalist. The duo’s fusion of words and music has been called “bluegrass rap” and “hillbilly cool.” Kory’s short stories, essays, and poetry have appeare
d in Southern Women’s Review, Now & Then, Ruminate, Rock & Sling, Pindeldyboz, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology, Birmingham Arts Journal, Kudzu, and other publications. She is currently seeking a publisher for her first novel, which was a finalist in the William Faulkner competition.
A software developer for many years, Kory is now a product director for a software company, a job which, her husband often reminds her, pays considerably better than poetry. Kory’s lived most of her life in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where she now resides with her husband, two children, and a stubborn but sweet Basset hound, Max. She owns a fantasy baseball team, always wears sensible shoes, and has a penchant for bracelets and dangly earrings.
John D. Mason, Esq.
John Mason is a literary/art and entertainment attorney and a literary agent with The Intellectual Property Group, PLLC. He represents author Bob Cowser, one of our workshop leaders.
John lectures 10-20 times a year on legal issues for artists and writers and will bring a world of expertise and information to our workshop participants. Plans are in the works for John and Bob to do a presentation on Sunday morning, and for John to host a pitch fest on Saturday. See WORKSHOP SCHEDULE for details.
Candice earned her MFA at the University of Memphis, taught writing and served as creative nonfiction editor for The Pinch, the University’s award-winning literary journal. She currently writes regular features for Memphis Parent and is finishing her memoir about teenage pregnancy in a small Southern town deep in the heart of the Bible belt.
Candice was a volunteer during the 2010 Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference and was helpful in the initial stages of planning for the 2011 Memphis Workshop. We’re thrilled to have her on board as Moderator for Bob and John’s presentation on Sunday morning.