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Panel | Future of MFA

With Laleh Khadivi, Miah Jeffra, Nona Caspers and Stephanie L Young
San Francisco State University and Mills College

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About this session

In this session, we explore the ripples of COVID-19 on MFA programs, innovations in graduate level studies, what students should look for today while selecting a program, and more.

Laleh Khadivi

Laleh Khadivi was born in Esfahan, Iran. Her debut novel, The Age of Orphans, received the Whiting Award for Fiction, the Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers Award and an Emory Fiction Fellowship. Her debut documentary film 900 WOMEN aired on A&E and premiered at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. She has worked as director, producer and cinematographer of documentary films since 1999. Her fiction and non-fiction can be found in The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, VQR, The Sun and other publications. She is the recipient of a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a 2016 Pushcart Prize for her story Wanderlust. She lives in Northern California.

Miah Jeffra

Miah is the author of The First Church of What’s Happening (Nomadic 2017), The Fabulous Ekphrastic Fantastic! (Sibling Rivalry 2020), The Violence Almanac (Black Lawrence 2021), and co-editor, with Arisa White and Monique Mero, of the anthology Home is Where You Queer Your Heart (Foglifter 2020). Miah is also the founding editor of queer literary collaborative, Foglifter Press.

Nona Caspers

Nona Caspers' new book The Fifth Woman, a Novel in Stories (Sarabande Books, 2018), was selected by Stacy D’erasmo for the Mary McCarthy award. The story, "Frontiers" was originally published in Cimarron Review and was selected by Best American Short Stories as a "Distinguished Story of 2016." Caspers’ other books of fiction include Heavier Than Air (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), awarded the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction and listed as a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, and Little Book of Days (Spuyten Duyvil, 2009). In 2013 she co-edited with Joell Hallowell a book of oral histories, Lawfully Wedded Wives: Rethinking Marriage in the 21st Century. Her work has been supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant, Barbara Deming Memorial Grant and Award, a LAMBDA Literary Award nomination, and the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award. Stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews, including Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Cimmaron Review, Black Warrior, Ontario Review, and The Sun. She is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University and lives in San Francisco.

Stephanie L Young

Stephanie Young is the Director of Creative Writing and Graduate Programs at Mills College. She is also a poet and scholar whose writing engages feminist theory, digital and new media, and the Bay Area’s literary past and present. Her books of poetry and cross-genre writing include Pet Sounds, It's No Good Everything's Bad, Ursula or University, Picture Palace, and Telling the Future Off. Young's writing on feminist collectives has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture, the exhibit Reading Room: The Feminist Art of Self Help, and elsewhere. She edited the anthology Bay Poetics and with Juliana Spahr, co-edited the collection A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism. Young is currently at work on a book with Spahr and Claire Grossman on the history of foundation funding for literature and changing demographics of contemporary literary production. She is a current member of the Krupskaya publishing collective.

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