Creative Writing

MFA Student Profiles

Amanda L. Ake
creative nonfiction

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
BA: English/Comparative Literature, Oglethorpe University 

Amanda is a third-year creative nonfiction candidate and serves as the web and social media graduate fellow for WHQR, Wilmington’s NPR-affiliate station. Much of her writing focusses on her escape from fundamentalist religion and she is currently working on a book about classical music, the historical concept of talent, and the violin she sold before moving to Wilmington. She lives walking distance to Flytrap Brewing and is a fairly decent beer-drinking buddy.

Meghann Blackman

Hometown: Erwin, TN
BS: Elementary Education, East Tennessee State University

Meghann is a first-year candidate in fiction. She grew up and later taught elementary school in the foothills of the Appalachians, a culture from which she draws inspiration. Recurring themes in her writing explore the intricacies of family, morality in the absence of religion, and the fragility of humanity in the face of grief. When not herding her children and dogs, she enjoys knitting and embroidering. 

Maggie Boyd Hare
creative nonfiction

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Maggie Boyd Hare is a first-year candidate in creative non-fiction. She was shortlisted for the 2021 Five South poetry prize and their work has appeared in The Axe Factory, Mazing Magazine, and OVS Magazine. She is thrilled to be here. (pronouns: she/they)

Jana Carver

Hometown: Greensboro, NC
BA: English/Literary Studies BFA: Creative Writing, Certificate in Publishing, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Jana is a first-year MFA fiction candidate and graduate assistant in the Office of International Students and Scholars. Her writing focuses on coming-of-age narratives, the queer experience, and family. Jana is passionate about education, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Autism community. In her free time, she enjoys reading children’s fantasy books, drawing, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and belting it out to original Broadway cast albums. She is also obsessed with her cat, Freya, and her dog, Winston.

Miriam Cone

Hometown: St. Pete Beach, FL
BA: English, minors in Creative Writing and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Trinity University

Miriam is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction. Born and raised primarily in Florida, she also spent time living and learning in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Her latest writing explores queerness, estrangement, and inheritance. When not writing or working, Miriam enjoys cooking, cross stitching, and spending time with her two cats.

Claudia Crook
creative nonfiction

Hometown: Nashville, TN
BA: Media Studies, minor in French, Pomona College

Claudia is a second-year MFA candidate in creative nonfiction, and is an assistant editor at the online travel literary magazine Off Assignment. Before taking up writing, she worked as an actor, a college admissions reader, fine dining Maître D', and secret shopper. Her work has been featured most notably in conjunction with the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship, and she has worked for the editorial departments at The Paris Review and Harper's Magazine. She is an avid home cook and has recently taken up birding.

Evan Dekens

BA: Montclair State University: English with minors in Film and Creative Writing

Evan is first-year fiction candidate and a teaching assistant. His criticism and book reviews have appeared in The Humanities Review and Film Matters. His concentration is Fiction but he also writes poetry, criticism, and Non-Fiction. Before entering UNCW's MFA program he worked closely with the Educational Opportunity Fund and The American Federation of Teachers as an instructor and a student liaison.

Yazmin Flores

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
BA: English Creative Writing, minor in Spanish, Auburn University

Yazmin is a first-year MFA candidate and graduate assistant. Her work has appeared in The Write Launch and The Sucarnochee Review. Before starting at UNCW, she spent half a year working in a grocery store deli and taking inspiration from her daily interactions with human eccentricity. When writer’s block hits, baking is her number one source of encouragement to keep going.

Dave Gentry
creative nonfiction

Hometown: Madison, VA
BS: Washington and Lee University
MA: Framingham State University

Dave is a second-year creative nonfiction candidate whose writing has been shaped by Central Virginia, Central America, and the everlasting spoof of parenthood. He never has to look very far for inspiration, drawing on anyone's experiences and sometimes walls. Central themes in his writing explore the wildly different shoes we walk in and the filaments that connect.

Jarred Johnson

Hometown: Somerset, KY
BA: English and German, Western Kentucky University  

Jarred is a first-year fiction candidate and teaching assistant who writes about rural places changing under globalization and the information age. He is dedicated to a just economic transition post-coal for his home in Appalachia. Before starting his MFA he worked for the German government for four years. His Wilmington bucket list includes learning to surf and starting a band.

Courtney Justus

Hometown: Houston, Texas
BA in English, minor in Creative Writing from Trinity University

Courtney Justus is a fiction candidate in the MFA program. Her experience growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina consistently informs her work in all three genres. After returning to the United States, she first ventured into the nonprofit world working for Gemini Ink, then MAM Literacy Advance and now WHQR Public Media, where she currently serves as the Development Fellow. She is also a member of UNCW’s MFA Reading Crew. Her work appears in SOFTBLOW, Press Pause Press, Tipton Poetry Journal, High Noon and elsewhere.

James King

Hometown: Danville, NH
BA: English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, Minor in Linguistics, Dartmouth College

James is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry and a lifelong resident of the Granite State. James has held an eclectic mix of jobs-- including amusement park operator, radio DJ, and map archivist-- before turning back to his love of poetry. Much of James' writing focuses on relationships and liminal spaces and is greatly influenced by word-of-mouth, travel, and music. His work has appeared in The Foundationalist, Humana Obscura, High Shelf Press, and TILDE. He enjoys science fiction movies and is an amateur bassist. 

Grant Kinsey

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
BFA: English- Creative Writing, Elon University

Grant is a first-year MFA poetry candidate at UNCW.  He previously worked as Poetry Editor for Elon University's Colonnades Literary & Art Journal.  In his spare time he watches too many movies and too much basketball.

Abby Logue

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
BA: English, minor in Studio Art, Wofford College

Abby is a second-year MFA poetry candidate and teaching assistant. She has spent the last four years of her undergraduate studies researching and exploring relationships, reality, and resilience. Abby spent time living and learning in New Zealand, Western Europe, and Vietnam. Her travels, familial life, and interest in the alignment of visual and linguistics are the foremost influence in her poetry.

Jules Miller

Hometown: Greensboro, NC
BFA: Creative Writing, minor in English, Certificates in Professional Writing and Publishing, UNCW

Jules is a first-year MFA poetry candidate and teaching assistant. He spent his time during his BFA understanding the delights of every genre, and he blends them in his off-kilter nonfiction poetry about trans identity, nature, family, and myth. His poems have appeared in UNCW’s literary magazine, Atlantis, and will be published as a part of the Gilbert Chappell Distinguished Poets’ Program within the next year. A creative in many aspects, he sews, sings, draws, and enjoys a variety of artistic mediums, all of which help him explore the different facets of the creative process. However, one of his favorite forms of writing is collaborative, and he runs and writes campaigns for tabletop roleplaying games with like-minded storytellers.

Vasilios Moschouris

Hometown: Franklin, NC
BFA: Creative Writing, Certificate in Publishing, UNCW
BA: French, UNCW

Vasilios is a first-year fiction candidate at UNCW. During his undergraduate career he worked as the copy editor and then Editor-in-Chief of UNCW’s Atlantis magazine, as a production assistant for the staff of Lookout Books, and as a writing tutor for the University Learning Center. His writing, which has appeared in Press Pause Press and on (mac)ro(mic).org, often explores the place and power of thought and emotion in the face of nature. When he’s not writing, he’s likely fantasizing about the tattoos he probably isn’t going to end up getting and memorizing the lyrics to French pop songs.

Sarah Mina Osman

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
BA: Creative Writing/Business, University of New Mexico 

Sarah Mina Osman is a first year fiction candidate who hails from Los Angeles. Her experiences of being Egyptian and Cajun have greatly influenced her work, which often focuses on racial identity, religion, and culture. Her travel adventures to Australia, Egypt, Russia, and other countries has also served as an influence. In addition to writing fiction, she is also an essayist, a film critic, and a travel writer. She was a 2018 VONA fellow and her work was recently featured in the anthology, Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences During the Trump Era. When she’s not writing, she can be found belly dancing, traveling, or reading people’s palms. She has a deep appreciation for sloths and tacos. 

Camille Pass is a writer, a goof, and a self aware sentimentalist. Her creative nonfiction writing has been described by colleagues as “funny/sad” and she feels this is an accurate representation of how she sees the world. Born in Los Angeles, Camille Pass graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, where she obtained her BA in Creative Writing. Post graduation she moved to Portland, Oregon where she taught creative writing for the past three years for an after school arts program. 

Candice Rankin
creative nonfiction 

Hometown: Newburgh, IN 
BFA: Creative Writing at Maharishi University 

Candice was born in Southern Indiana, attended four different high schools, and has lived in 18 states. Along the way she graduated from Circle in the Square, AADA, and The Groundlings.

Candice writes about the pain of dysfunctional childhood, sexuality, and staring at inner demons while interjecting inappropriate humor along the way. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published in Wingless Dreamer, Typehouse, and various literary magazines. 

She is best known for drinking champagne and being undefeated at shot-gunning Pabst Blue Ribbon. 

Luca Rhatigan

Hometown: Asheville, NC
BA: English, Dickinson College

Luca is a second-year fiction candidate from Asheville, North Carolina. Her writing interests include queerness, gender, sci-fi/fantasy, and imagination as a tool for radical change. She enjoys contra dancing and writing in multiple genres.

Lukas Sarnow is a non-binary whose and interdisciplinary artist in the fields of theatre, non-fiction, fiction, film and visual arts. They have been shown in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York, Brooklyn and Poughkeepsie in numerous galleries and performance spaces. The emotional uncanny and inherent contradictions are thematics that intrigue Lukas. They like to create and expose complex characters, particularly queer characters, to showcase the complex reality of being a person in society. Particularly, Lukas likes to focus on the cracks in between sources, for when one zooms in on empty spaces originality and truth shines. Their first feature film "The Last Day of Retrograde" will be hitting the 2022 festival circuit. Keep an eye out! 

Loren Spurlock
creative nonfiction

Hometown: Maumee, OH
BFA: Creative Writing from UNCW, minor in Philosophy

Loren is a first-year MFA candidate in creative nonfiction. Her writing is often essay-style and reimagines concepts of value-formation, skepticism, and personal responsibility, aimed at the betterment of humanity. She hopes that her writing will aid in defense against indoctrination, flawed reasoning, oppression via ignorance, and the trend toward violence in conflict resolution.

Sarah J. Stephens

Hometown: Amelia, OH
BA: Communications, College of Mount St. Joseph
MA: English, Northern Kentucky University

Sarah is a third-year MFA candidate in poetry and the teaching assistant and editor of UNCW’s Chautauqua Literary Magazine. Before joining UNCW's program, she spent several years working on her poetry manuscript, and teaching Composition as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University. Her chapbook, Where all the Birds are Dancing, released on September 12th, 2020, is published by Finishing Line Press. Sarah is deeply influenced by the natural world and the beautiful landscapes of Cincinnati and Wilmington. It is her desire to write with the honesty, bravery, and humanity of other female poets such as Joy Harjo, Meg Day, Deborah Digges, and Maggie Nelson.

Felicia Rosemary Urso is a first-year creative nonfiction candidate. They are an alumni of the Tyrant Books writing workshop Mors Tua Vita Mea and an anticipated 2022 artist-in-residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Before being accepted into UNCW’s MFA program, they worked as a sex educator and a bartender in New York City and on Fishers Island, NY. Their writing has appeared in XRAY Literary Journal, Witch Craft, Hobart, and Expat Press, among others. 

Steven Vineis

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
BFA: Creative Writing, UNC Wilmington

Steven is a third-year MFA fiction writer. His work has appeared in Portals, GSU Review, Between the Lines, and Briarpatch, among others.

Morissa M. Young

Hometown: Horicon, WI 
BA: Creative Writing, minor in Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 

Morissa is a first-year MFA candidate and an incoming graduate assistant in UNCW’s Publishing Lab. Her work is informed by subjects including liminality, heritage, Victorian floriography, and her upbringing in rural Wisconsin. Before attending UNCW, she held internships with Dzanc Books and McIntosh & Otis, a literary agency, and she served as the managing editor of Furrow Magazine in Milwaukee, WI. She is a lover of nature and enjoys trees, the sea, and walking barefooted in the grass.