Permanent Faculty

Brian Clements is the MFA Coordinator and Professor of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Writing.  He is author or editor of over a dozen books of and about poetry, including the anthology An Introduction to the Prose Poem, And How to End It (Quale Press), and Disappointed Psalms (Meritage Press).  He is Founding Editor of the small press Firewheel Editions and of Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics. Prof. Clements also has worked professionally in technical communications, corporate communications, grant-writing, and non-profit administration.

Oscar de los Santos is Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process.  Professor de los Santos is the author of Hard Boiled Egg (Fine Tooth Press, 2004) and Infinite Wonderlands (Fine Tooth Press, 2006.) 

Edward Hagan is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. His teaching grows out of his primary scholarly focuses on Irish Studies and on war literature. He teaches all levels of writing courses. His latest book is Goodbye Yeats and O’Neill: Farce in Contemporary Irish and Irish-American Narratives (Editions Rodopi, 2010).

Shouhua Qi is Professor in the Department of English. Qi has published extensively both in the United States and in China.  He is the author of When the Purple Mountain Burns (San Francisco: The Long River Press; Shanghai People's Press; Hong Kong Joint Press; 2005), a novel about the rape of Nanjing (1937-38). His screenplay, based on the novel, has been optioned for production. Qi's other works include Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China (Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 2008), and Red Guard Fantasies and Other Stories (Long River Press, 2007).  Currently Qi is working on a novel about an American-Korean War POW in China, tentatively titled Twin-Sun River.  A play he wrote based on the novel was staged by Shanghai Theater Academy in spring 2009.

Patrick Ryan is current Chair of the Writing Department. He joined the Department in Fall 2007. Before that, he taught college writing in Minnesota and Malaysia, Vermont and Texas, where he directed the East Texas Writing Project for four years. He writes about Elizabethan drama and rhetoric. He and his wife enjoy watching plays, attending concerts, and walking the family dogs. Write him at ryanp@wcsu.edu.


 Joe Ahearn is a successful professional writer with more than 20 years experience in writing for Fortune 100 companies.  Mr. Ahearn has written hundreds of technical and commercial publications, and produced a wide range of marketing materials.  More recently, he has been heavily involved with web-based communications, producing a wide variety of commercial websites. In addition to his professional work,  Mr. Ahearn has published poetry, translations, and essays in leading magazines and journals around the country, including his most recent book of poetry, Five Fictions (Sulphur River Review Press, 2003).

Holly Azevedo has been a writer, editor, instructor and manager for nearly thirty years.  Much of her career was as a project manager for a major information technology corporation, where she wrote and managed the development of communications and technical publications. She has designed and delivered courses to writers, and to technology developers and users. Her non-corporate publications include articles on collectibles and the arts. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University. Her current work is in creative nonfiction, with special interests in history and culture.

Sandra Rodriguez Barron is the author of two novels published by HarperCollins: The Heiress of Water, winner of the 2007 International Latino Book Award for Debut Fiction, and Stay With Me. She is the recipient of a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Fellowship, a Greater Hartford Arts Council grant, a National Association of Latino Arts and Culture grant, and an artist fellowship grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.

Louisa Burns-Bisogno is an “O’Neill Playwright” and a winner at the National Playwrights Conference. She is an award-winning screenwriter, director, author, and international media consultant with over 100 on-screen credits. Her movies have been produced on cable TV and on all the major U.S. networks, as well as distributed internationally.  Among these are:My Body, My Child with Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon; Bridge to Silence, with Marlee Matlin; Mary Silliman’s War,  and Nobody's Child, which netted an Emmy for Marlo Thomas. Louisa has trained professional writers in dramatic series techniques in Moscow, Dublin, and more recently in Rome where she is Head-Writer on a TV series in development. She has written story and scripts for popular American daytime series such as The Young and the Restless, One Life to Live and As the World Turns. She has had numerous plays produced including Angels and Infidels which she also directed. Seven of Louisa’s plays were selected by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for staged readings. She has produced and directed many of her students’ plays in this prestigious venue.

Jane K. Cleland is the author of the multiple award-winning Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries (St. Martin’s Minotaur and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine) and Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot (Writer’s Digest Books), which Louise Penny called “Brilliant! A gold mine of information.” Jane is a featured speaker at major writing conferences, the chair of the Black Orchid Novella Award, and a former president of Mystery Writers of America/New York Chapter. She’s a member of the full time faculty at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York. www.janecleland.com

Matt Debenham is the author of The Book of Right and Wrong (OSU Press, 2010), winner of the 2010 Ohio State University Press Prize for fiction. His work has appeared in such publications as The Pinch, Roanoke Review, Battered Suitcase, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others. He has been the recipient of a Fiction Fellowship from the CT Council on Culture and Tourism, and was Peter Taylor Scholar at the 2007 Sewanee Writers' Conference. He is at work on a novel.

Laura B. Hayden is the author of Staying Alive: A Love Story, a memoir of loss and recovery. The book has been recommended by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals. Laura writes for technorati.com and opentohope.org. She blogs at  www.mommyofthebride.blogspot.com.

David Holub is founding editor of Kugelmass: A Journal of Literary Humor. His writing has appeared, in print or online, in The Paris Review, McSweeney's, The Rumpus, Orion, AGNI, the Christian Science Monitor, American Book Review, PANK and Hobart, among others. He has an MFA in  Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State. He has taught writing at the University of Hartford and Western Connecticut State University since 2008 and has nearly 15 years experience in journalism and graphic design. He is currently the Design Editor at the Durango (CO) Herald.

Gwen Jones is a graduate of the WCSU MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Mercer County College, in West Windsor, NJ. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Kelsey Review, and The Connecticut River Review, and she is the author of the HarperCollins Avon FRENCH KISS series, Wanted: Wife, Kiss Me, Captain, and The Laws of Seduction. To see more, visit her at www.gwenjoneswrites.com, www.facebook.com/gwenjoneswrites, or Twitter @gwenjones25.

Kateri Kosek graduated from the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University in the genre of creative nonfiction. Her poetry and personal essays, which lean toward environmentally-conscious, place-oriented writing inspired by the natural world, have appeared in Orion, Creative Nonfiction, Terrain.org, South Dakota Review, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals. She reports for the Winsted Journal and writes a birding column for the Poughkeepsie Journal, and has taught English and writing at Marist College and Northwestern Connecticut Community College, among others. Last summer she was the recipient of a writing residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska. 

Sarah Darer Littman  is an award-winning author of books for young people. Her first novel, Confessions of a Closet Catholic, won the 2006 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers. Her novel Life, After was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book and won 1st prize for YA fiction in the CT Press Club annual awards. She is also the author of Purge, named one of Bank Street College of Education’s 2010 Best Books of the Year and Want to go Private? a 2012 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a Bank Street College Best Book for 2012. Her YA novel Backlash will be published by Scholastic in April 2015. Sarah also writes middle grade series fiction for Simon and Schuster’s Simon Spotlight line. In addition to writing for young people, Sarah is an award-winning political columnist forCTNewsJunkie.com, and teaches creative writing with WritopiaLab. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, the SCBWI and Pen Center USA. Visit her online at http://sarahdarerlittman.com, and on twitter @sarahdarerlitt (author) and @realsaramerica (columnist)

Nick Mamatas is the author of the novels Move Under Ground (Night Shade, 2004), Under My Roof (Soft Skull, 2007), Sensation (PM Press, 2001), The Damned Highway (with Brian Keene, Dark Horse 2011), Bullettime (CZP, 2012), and the forthcoming The Last Weekend (PS Publications, 2013) and Love is the Law (Dark Horse, 2013). Nick co-edited the magazine Clarkesworld and has co-edited several anthologies, including most recently the Bram Stoker Award-winning Haunted Legends (Tor Books, 2010) with Ellen Datlow, and The Future is Japanese with Masumi Washington (Haikasoru, 2012). He has published over eighty short stories in literary journals including subTERRAIN, New Haven Review, and Mississippi Review (online), genre publications such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Weird Tales, Tor.com, Lovecraft Unbound, and Long Island Noir, and slick magazines including Razor and Spex. Nick's reportage and essays have appeared in The Smart Set, Village Voice, The Writer, Poets & Writers, Fine Books and Collections, The New Humanist, In These Times, H+ and many other venues. His non-fiction books include the writing guide Starve Better and the gag title Insults Every Man Should Know.

Sonja Mongar, a Montana-born journalist, editor, photographer and memoirist,is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagez, where she teaches creative writing, film studies and journalism. She participated in the Sea Grant'ss Science & Journalism project, which was created to train science majors as science journalists. She holds an MA from UCF and an MFA from UNO in creative nonfiction. Her twenty-year writing career includes print journalism, editing and radio broadcasting, marketing, advertising and public relations.  Independent projects that blur the lines between culture, canon, genre, language and generation have resulted in the production of four volumes of bilingual literary and arts journals—pastiche and Manchas… as well as a project involving student writers,  Colorn Colorado: Voces del Mar, featuring coastal and marine themed stories of West Puerto Rico’s past.  Mongar experiments with multimodal life writing using cyber-hypertext as narrative space. She has published Tomfoolery, a trauma narrative of her brother’s murder and Love in a Field of Wheat, based on her great-grandmother’s 1907 diary. Other works in progress include a full-length memoir and a film documentary. Mongar plays harmonica in the fusin jbara band, Mijo de la Palma, and co-produces free art, poetry and music events for the community.

E. K. Mortenson’s poetry has appeared in print and online in such venues as The Found Poetry Project, Pisgah Review, RATTLE, Six Sentences, Connecticut Review, Broken Bridge Review, and Connecticut River Review.  He is the author of the chapbook Dreamer or the Dream (Last Automat Press, 2010)  and his full-length manuscript, What Wakes Us, is scheduled to appear in 2011-2012 from Cervena Barva Press.  He was the 2008 recipient of the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize.   Mortenson is a member of the National Book Critics’ Circle and his book reviews have appeared in RATTLE, Connecticut River Review, Rain Taxi, Gently Read Lit, and The Centrifugal Eye.

Josh Pahigian is the author of several baseball books, including 101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out and The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip. Josh has also written for ESPN.com and other periodicals. Josh's first novel, Strangers on the Beach, is a thriller set in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Publisher's Weekly named the book one of its "Fall 2012 Indie Sleeper Picks." Josh is also the faculty adviser of The Nor'easter News.

Dan Pope is the author of In the Cherry Tree (Picador, 2003.) His stories have been published in numerous magazines including, Crazyhorse, Postroad, and Iowa Review.Pope is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where he attended on a Truman Capote Fellowship. He is a winner of the Glenn Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts awarded him a grant in fiction.

David Rich wrote the feature film Renegades, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Philips.  He worked on other film scripts, for which he received a multitude of pats on the back in lieu of credit.  Rich wrote television episodes for MacGyver, Legend and StarGate - SG1 and he has written three plays. He sat on the other side of the desk as Vice President of Development for George Englund Productions, based at Warner Brothers. Rich's first novel Caravan of Thieves received advance praise from Kirkus Review and Publisher's Weekly. www.davidrichbooks.com

John Roche has been an award-winning newspaper journalist for twenty years. In addition to stints as an actor and stand-up comedian, he has taught journalism, media studies, English composition and writing at several colleges in the tri-state region, and was recognized as Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year in 2008 by Marist College. He writes fiction in addition to teaching and his work as a journalist.

Onnesha Roychoudhuri is an editor, journalist, and fiction writer. Her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The Nation, Boston Review, The American Prospect, Salon, Mother Jones, n+1, McSweeney's, Opium, and Wag's Review. Most recently, she worked as an editor for the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, helping to fund, edit, and place investigative journalism in a range of outlets, from Harper's and GQ to Orion and the Oxford American. She has also contributed to a number of books, including Women’s Lives (McGraw-Hill, May 2006), Send Yourself Roses (Springboard Press, February 2008), 109 Forgotten American Heroes (DK Press, October 2009), How to Rule the World (Klutz, January 2011), Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives (McSweeney’s, March 2011), and Junk-box Jewelry (Zest Books, June 2012).

Ron Samul is publisher of the international e-zine Miranda Literary Magazine.  He writes for Inquiring News in Hartford, Connecticut, reviews books for Library Journal, and is founder of Northeast Boxing News.  A professional tutor and creative writing mentor, Samul also instructs students in new media and electronic publishing, and manages electronic media for a collection of creative, journalistic and educational websites.  He has been a standing literary judge for the IMPAC Connecticut State University Young Writers Competition, and a judge for the Langston Hughes Poetry Contest for the city of Norwich, Connecticut.  Winner of the Connecticut AWP award in Fiction in 2006, his primary creative outlets are fiction writing and electronic publishing.  Samul holds an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing from WCSU and lives in New London, Connecticut.

Lisa L. Siedlarz is a writing mentor in the WCSU MFA program. Her poetry has appeared in The MacGuffin, Calyx, Rattle, War, Literature & the Arts, Louisiana Literature, Main Street Rag, The Patterson Review, Big Bridge, Kritya, Poems & Plays, and many others. Her work is included in the anthologies, Warsaw Tales, and Battle Runes: Writings on War. Ms. Siedlarz facilitated a 16 week writing workshop with Vietnam veterans and edited a collection of their work called A Season of Now. She runs a bi-monthly creative writing workshop with veterans at the New Haven Vet Center. She is the author of, I Dream My Brother Plays Baseball (Clemson University Digital Press 2009) and What We Sign Up For (Pecan Grove Press 2011).

Don J. Snyder was a fellow at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and received a James Michener Fellowship for his first novel. He has had ten novels and nonfiction books published by Little Brown, Random House, Doubleday, Alfred A. Knopf, and Simon & Schuster. His essays have appeared as cover stories for Harper's and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He wrote the 2003 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, "Fallen Angel" that starred Gary Sinise and Joely Richardson Redgrave, and the original screenplay to "The Lost Soldier," a true story about the first American soldier ever to be imprisoned for murder without firing his weapon. He has also written an original screenplay based on his memoir, Of Time and Memory, published by Alfred A. Knopf. He is presently writing a TV series for a producer in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and an original screenplay with his former West Conn. student, Rudolph Okonkwo, about the life and death of the Nigerian poet, Ken Saro Wiwa.

Paul Steinmetz is Director of WCSU University Relations and an adjunct faculty member of the Writing, Linguistics and Creative Writing department. He was editor of The News-Times, the daily newspaper that covers the region, for 10 years. He writes a blog, WCSU in the Age of Reason, for Hearst Connecticut Newspapers and lectures and provides written commentary on the news and public relations industries. He is a contributing editor for Tribuna Newspaper and wrote a chapter in the PRNews Media Training Guidebook. Paul holds an M.B.A. from WCSU and a B.A. in journalism from San Francisco State University.

Tim Weed’s debut novel, Will Poole's Island (Namelos 2014), was named one of the Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, LITnIMAGE, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies. Tim’s short fiction and essays have won Writer's Digest Popular Fiction and Solas Best Travel Writing awards, and have appeared or are forthcoming in national magazines including Saranac Review, Bloom, Talking Points Memo, The Morning News, Cross Country Skier, Backcountry, Empirical, and Writer’s Chronicle, and his essay on Cuba garnered a 2012 Best Travel Writing Award from Traveler's Tales. His writing interests include short fiction, literary-historical fiction, travel writing, writing about adventure, nature, and the outdoors, and novels for young adult and middle grade readers. His blog, Storycraft, is dedicated to the writing craft: http://weedlit.blogspot.com  In addition to WCSU, Tim teaches at Grub Street in Boston and serves as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions in Cuba, Spain, and Patagonia.

Anne Witkavitch is a communications expert, transition specialist, published author and sought after speaker. Her award-winning anthology, Press Pause Moments: Essays about Life Transitions by Women Writers, is a collection of stories about change, adversity and celebration. The book received a 2011 Clarion award. Anne is a contributing writer and blogger for MariaShriver.com, TravelingMom.com, CreatedbyChicks.com and her blog, The Eclectic Writer; her work has also appeared in Connecticut Muse, Miranda Literary Magazine, and the Journal of Employee Communications. She has ghost written numerous articles and edited technical guidebooks and nonfiction books. She also served as managing editor of several Thin Threads special editions and the 2010 anthology. Anne's work appears in the anthology Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing. As principal of Anne W Associates, Anne consults with clients on strategic communications and change management. She also teaches managerial and professional writing at Western Connecticut State University and received her M.F.A. in Professional Writing from that school in 2007. She is a former corporate communications executive for GE and The Hartford.

Karen Romano Young is a science writer, children's author and illustrator. She has been involved with books and writing for as long as she can remember. The author of more than twenty books, including novels, nonfiction, and graphic novels, Karen has taken her work to the top of the world -- the Arctic Ocean -- and the bottom of the ocean -- in a submarine. Recent work includes writing and drawing aboard an icebreaker, creating Humanimal Doodles -- a science comic, and the children's book Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles

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