Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2023 (vol. 12)

Dear Friends,

We’re always pleased to share the many accomplishments of our workshop and scholarship alumni with you.

Here in Key West, we’re busy working on the Elizabeth Bishop House and finalizing faculty for the 2024 workshops. Stay posted for more information from us in the next month or so!

Support local & independent booksellers! Purchase any book highlighted here from Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West and get a 20% discount. Use code “KWLS23” at checkout.

featured achievements

Sarah Cypher‘s debut novel, The Skin and Its Girl, will be released on April 25 from Ballantine Books. Her book tells the story of a young, queer Palestinian-American woman who pieces together her great aunt’s secrets in a family saga confronting questions of sexual identity, exile, and lineage.

“This bold, vivid novel will speak to readers across genders, cultures, and identities. A must-read,” says Diana Abu-Jaber. (Diana Abu-Jaber 2015)

emerging writer awards

Andrea Rinard‘s collection of flash and short stories, Murmurations, is coming out in June from EastOver Press. One of her microfictions, “Our Nest is Empty,” was featured in a special Valentine’s edition of the Short Story Today podcast. (Marianne Russo Award 2020)

workshop fellowship awards

Arida Wright is the 2022 recipient of the Richard Heyman Award for outstanding literary achievement. She also received a grant from the Anne McKee Artists Fund publish her book of poetry, Crossing The Threshold: Voice of a Black Woman. As a workshop fellow, she says: “I did not expect this class to change my life, but it did.” (Tyehimba Jess 2023/ Manuel Gonzales 2018)

Adela Brito‘s short fiction piece “Waiting for Sunday” was published recently in the Sandy River Review, and her poem “Wounded Birds” came out in Cathexis Northwest Press. (Naomi Jackson 2018)

Nuha Faria has recently published two short stories: “Mowgli from Queens” in Oyster River Pages, and “The Doctor’s Wife” in Nat. Brut. Her poem “ninety-nine names for baby girl” was published in Ethel. (Marjan Kamali 2023)

The first chapter of Jenna McClelland‘s prose poetry novella Estuaries was published in La Piccioletta Barca. (Joyce Maynard 2022)

April Sopkin has been awarded a 2023 Elizabeth George Foundation grant to fund the completion of her short story collection. More at (Francine Prose 2020)

Monica Lee Weatherly was invited by the Pat Conroy Literary Center to give a poetry reading and workshop in Beaufort, South Carolina. She read from her new chapbook, It Felt Like Mississippi, and led a generative workshop, “Narrative Poetry & the Oral Tradition of Storytelling.” More at @dr.monicaweatherly (Cornelius Eady 2023)

writers in residence

Rachel Beanland‘s second novel, The House is on Fire, will be released by Simon & Schuster on April 4. The novel is based on the real story of the Richmond Theater fire and has been called “a stunning achievement” by Jeannette Walls and “a propulsive, pulse-pounding read” by Kathleen Grissom. Rachel’s first novel, Florence Adams Swims Forever, won the National Jewish Award for Debut Fiction. (2023)

Jodie Hollander‘s new poetry collection, Nocturne, will be released on June 1 by Oxford University Press. Many of the poems are set in Key West. (2022)

Drew Larimore‘s play Smithtown is streaming through the Studios of Key West. The story consists of a series of four interconnected but distinct monologues featuring Michael Urie, Anna Harada, Colby Lewis, and Constance Shulman. (2022/ 2019/ 2018)

writers’ workshop program

Ayse Papatya Bucak‘s essay “How to Be Half Mixed Everything Both Sort Of” is up at Joyland magazine. She will be the featured writer at Broward College’s Springfest March 21-23. (Marie Myung-Ok Lee 2017)

Maria Anderson‘s short story “Leaving” was published in Ploughshares, edited by Key West alumni Jamel Brinkely. (Marilyn Nelson 2015)

Elaine Alarcon‘s poem “Tulsi” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. (Billy Collins 2019).

Laura Black‘s book Climbing Down the Ladder: A Journey to a Different Kind of Happy was released in January from Cazco Press. (Joyce Maynard 2022/ Krystal Sital 2020/ Lisa Zeidner 2018)

Dustin Brookshire is the co-editor of Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing), which spotlights work by emerging and established poets, including Pultizer Prize finalist Dorianne Laux and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Denise Duhamel. Editor royalties will be donated to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Dustin’s third chapbook, Never Picked First For Playtime is available from Harbor Editions. (Dara Wier 2008)

John Findura‘s poetry chapbook Useful Shrapnel was published in September by Finishing Line Press. (Billy Collins 2017)

Sandy Hiortdahl‘s book of poetry, Hang Five, is coming out in June from bd Studios. (Madison Smartt Bell 2018/ Jennine Capó Crucet 2017)

Denton Loving‘s new book of poetry, Tamp, is coming out in April from Mercer University Press. (Christopher Castellani 2020/ Margaret Atwood 2012)

Priscilla Mainardi‘s short story “Cold Car Shivers” was published in Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine, a narrative medicine journal published by the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. (Joy Castro 2023/ Christopher Castellani 2020)

BettyJoyce Nash‘s short story, “The Forever Project” was recently published in Reckon Review. (Liz Moore 2022/ Claire Messud 2020)

L.J. Sysko‘s debut poetry book, The Daughter of Man, is forthcoming in April from University of Arkansas Press, selected by Patricia Smith, judge of the Miller Williams Poetry Series. A review recently appeared in Publishers Weekly. (Gregory Pardlo 2019)

Amie Whittemore‘s second poetry collection, Star Tent: A Triptychis forthcoming in April from Tolsun Books. This speculative collection examines how human interactions with intergalactic entities and locales shapes our understanding of the human experience. (Jane Hirshfield 2015)

Malcolm Robert Willison has published a chapbook, A House of Her Own, about observing Elizabeth Bishop’s White Street house up to and including its purchase by KWLS. He has convened three Elizabeth Bishop Key West Birthday poetry readings, and helped edit Kay Bierwiler’s “Elizabeth Bishop Key West Tour” brochure about Bishop’s principal addresses in Key West. (Billy Collins 2015)

teacher & librarian scholarships

Esperanza Cintron‘s fourth book of poetry, Boulders, was runner-up for Chestnut Review‘s Poetry Chapbook Contest. Read the interview with her in the magazine. (2018)

Ruby B. Hernandez was a screenwriting semifinalist at the Austin Film Festival and Writers Conference in October. Her pilot episode is a folkloric thriller set deep in the Everglades. She is currently working on a feature-length coming of age horror screenplay. (2018)

Jamie Odeneal‘s short story “Cash Grab” is forthcoming in Moon City Review, a literary anthology published by Missouri State University’s Moon City Press. (2022)

We love hearing from KWLS alumni! Keep us up to date by sending your latest news to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>