Stacy Mattingly publishes essay in Off Assignment

StacyMattingly--photo to LitHub sent 072420

Stacy Mattingly (Fiction ’11) published a moving essay about a bit of family history in Off Assignment.  The essay, called “To the Spy I’m Named For,” is part of the excellent “Letter to a Stranger” column.  Read it here!

Off Assignment had this to say about the piece:

R was a spy, a diplomat from Mississippi, a CIA man in South America. What is the legacy of his name, of his shrouded past? Writing about her namesake, author @stacemattingly lifts the veil on the mysterious generational impulses that guide our paths, taking us from the American South to Sarajevo to snowy Boston to tell us a family story that delicately navigates the line between the memorable and the unknowable. 

Stacy also contributed a “Behind the Essay” interview, which you can find here or linked in her bio below the essay.

Congratulations, Stacy!

Stacy Mattingly is a writer living in Boston. She launched the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2012 and later helped lead the first Narrative Witness exchange (Caracas-Sarajevo) for the International Writing Program. She has recently completed a first novel set in the present-day Balkans.

Current poets celebrate National Poetry Month with on-campus readings

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We’re so pleased to share news from one of our current poets, Sean Beckett. A talented spoken word artist, Sean brought his love of poetry to students as a teacher at Boston Arts Academy last fall. This spring, he organized an outdoor reading series on Marsh Plaza for both his BU classmates and the Boston community.

Sean says: This spring for National Poetry Month, the 2020-2021 BU MFA Poetry students (AKA The Covid Cohort) have been doing a series of informal outdoor readings. Affectionately dubbed “Poetry on Marsh Plaza,” (P.O.M.P.) for short, this has been a wonderful opportunity to hear fresh poetry, connect with fellow students, and give the gift of poetry to the broader Boston community. We have shared both favorite poems and our own works, some thousands of years old and some written in the last month! Several spontaneous readers have joined us– everyone fScreen Shot 2021-04-26 at 5.07.55 PMrom a BU faculty emeritus who recited a Frost poem to an undergraduate who performed “Invictus” from memory. One of the greatest treats has been hearing the thesis-poems-in-progress of current MFA students Ari Kaplan and Natalie Bavar read aloud, as well as some of their earlier work.   Thanks to the generosity of the Creative Writing Program, we’ve had a wonderful sound set-up ideal for the outdoor fun.

If you are interested in popping over for a reading on campus, or having us bring one to you somewhere in Boston, let us know!

Thank you, Sean!

Jason Barry published in 32 Poems


Jason Barry (Poetry 2019) has published a poem called “Fishing” in the latest issue of 32 Poems!

Jason says, “Fishing” was written in memory of Dr. Kim Bridgford – the poet and director of Poetry by the Sea, an annual writers conference held in Madison, Connecticut. I was awarded a scholarship to attend the inaugural conference in 2015, and it was the first time I shared my poems with peers in a formal workshop. I am forever grateful to Kim for her generosity, encouragement, and dedication to the art of poetry.

Read more about Kim Bridgford here.

Thank you, Jason, and congratulations!

Jason Barry’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, Raintown Review, and elsewhere. He earned his MFA at Boston University and currently teaches at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University.

Caroline Woods’ second novel to be published by Knopf Doubleday


We’re proud to share that Caroline Woods (Fiction ’08) has signed with Knopf Doubleday to publish her second novel, The Lunar Housewife, in 2022! The novel is inspired by the CIA’s manipulation of arts and letters during the Cold War and follows a journalist who faces a mix of censorship, surveillance, and gaslighting when she pens a subversively feminist novel and forms an unlikely friendship with Ernest Hemingway.

Hearty congratulations, Caroline!

Caroline Woods is the author of the novel Fräulein M. (Gallery Books).  She currently teaches creative writing for GrubStreet Online, and she has previously taught at Loyola University Chicago, BU, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music.  Her short fiction has been published in Slice Magazine (which nominated her for a Pushcart Prize), LEMON, and 236, BU Creative Writing’s Literary Journal. She has also written for Literary Hub, The Scene, and other publications.


Chloe Martinez publishes chapbook with Backbone Press

Chloe pic 2019We’re so excited to announce that Chloe Martinez (Poetry ’07) has published a chapbook!  The book, Corner Shrinewas the winner of the of the Backbone Press Chapbook Contest.

Chloe says, These poems have come out of many years of travel and study in India, and they engage with questions of identity and belonging. They were written over a long period, some going back to my time at BU and some much more recent (but all, always, bettered by my time with my BU teachers!). It has been strange to have this book come out during a pandemic, but it’s also been a gift, when I haven’t traveled in nearly a year, to revisit India and the experience of travel via these poems. I hope it can give readers a change of scene, too.

Read more about Corner Shrine (including a blurb from Robert Pinsky!) here.
Congratulations, Chloe!

Chloe Martinez is a poet and scholar of South Asian religions. Her chapbook, Corner Shrine (Backbone Press, 2020), was selected by Geffrey Davis as the winner of the 2019 Backbone Press Chapbook Competition, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Shenandoah, The Common and elsewhere. She teaches at Claremont McKenna College. See more at

Kate McGunagle published in Five Points


Kate McGunagle’s (Fiction 2015) story “Girls” appeared in the December issue of Five Points!

“Girls” examines sexual awakening and its paradoxes in the small western town.

Congratulations, Kate!

Kate McGunagle is a 2015 graduate of BU’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and holds a B.A. from Princeton University. This is her debut publication.

Stephanie Mullings published in Open Ceilings

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We’re excited to announce that Stephanie Mullings (Fiction ’19) published a short story in Open Ceilingsa literary journal housed at UC Davis!  Stephanie wrote the story for Leslie Epstein’s fiction workshop at BU.

Stephanie says: “Teammates” is the fraught coming of age experience. It’s the delicateness of navigating the terms of your identity, or friendships, or love. I wanted to speak to this, and also aimed for my writing to address these experiences within the context of the Black community.

Thank you, Stephanie, and congratulations on your story!  We wish you the best at USC.

Stephanie Mullings is a Chicago native and graduate of Boston University’s Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program. She is a recipient of the Roy Cowden Memorial Fellowship, awarded for short fiction at the University of Michigan. Presently, Stephanie is a Creative Writing and Literature doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California.

Ani Gjika on Louise Gluck as teacher


Ani Gjika (Poetry ’11) has written a gorgeous essay on Nobel-Prize-winning poet Louise Glück for World Literature Today, and we’re delighted to share it here.

From the essay:
…in poems, and at work as a teacher, [Louise] was a master at swerving, surprising you with the unexpected way she looked at things. But it was not the kind of surprise that comes from acrobatic, linguistic tricks. She’s a master at swerving because arriving at truth is never linear.

Thank you, Ani, and congrats!

Ani Gjika (@Ani_Gjika) is an Albanian-born writer, author, and translator of eight books and chapbooks of poetry. Her translation of Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space (New Directions / Bloodaxe Books, 2018) was a PEN Award finalist and shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. The recipient of an NEA grant, English PEN, the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, and Pauline Scheer Fellowship from GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator Program, Gjika teaches writing at Framingham State University. Her translation of the eponymous poem of Negative Space appeared in the digital edition of the November 2014 issue of WLT, along with the poems “History Class” and “According to Index.”

Omer Friedlander signs two-book deal with Random House

PMDealReport_301521We’re so thrilled for recent alum Omer Friedlander (Fiction ’19), who recently sold his book of short stories and novel to Random House!  It’s been so exciting to read Omer’s work in literary journals over the past couple years, and now we can’t wait to find it on shelves.  His story collection is called The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land and his novel is The Glass Golem.

Below, Omer shares with us the story of talking with editors while on a trip with his family:

The book-deal talks with editors coincided with a weekend trip I took to a small village in the Galilee. My twin brother and I celebrated our twenty-sixth birthday there – a small, very remote village with no phone signal, internet or electricity. It was very beautiful – plenty of limestone and groves of olive trees – but probably the worst place to go to on this weekend when I had to talk on the phone to several editors.

My father and I drove around to look for a place with reception and finally we found a hookah bar by a gas station off the highway, overlooking a barn. I ended up making all my calls to editors from the parking lot of the hookah bar, with teenagers revving their motorcycle engines in the background. Despite the stress of the hookah bar scenario, it was a great experience and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of Random House and to be working with the wonderful Robin Desser.

Hearty congratulations, Omer!  We are so inspired by your hard work, and glad you found that hookah bar parking lot to talk with editors!

Read more about Omer Friedlander here.

Omer Friedlander wins Sonora Review Contest, judged by Rebecca Makkai

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Even more good news from Omer Friedlander (Fiction ’19), who recently won the Sonora Review fiction contest for his story “Scheherazade and Radio Station 97.2 FM”!  

Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, had this to say about Omer’s writing:

“Scheherezade and Radio Station 97.2 FM has magic and chance and surprise at every corner — but most importantly, it has corners. This is a story where things change, and then change again, and then change again, and not in ways anyone could see coming. I found it captivating and different, and I’d follow this writer anywhere.”

Hearty congratulations, Omer!  We’re excited for you.

Omer Friedlander grew up in Tel-Aviv. He has a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and an MFA from Boston University where he was the Saul Bellow Fellow in Fiction. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in literary magazines in the US, UK, Canada, France, Israel and Singapore, including The Common, The Ilanot Review, The Mays Anthology, Paris Lit Up, and others. His writing has been supported by the Bread Loaf Work-Study Scholarship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Tin House Summer and Winter Workshops, and Wellspring House Residency. He was awarded first place in the Shmuel Traum Literary Translation Prize and the Baltimore Review winter contest, and was recently a finalist for the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award.