Living the Literary Life

Check out what some of our notable alumni have been up to lately!

Jan Beatty (POETRY MFA 1990)

JAN BEATTY (POETRY MFA 1990) is the cohost and producer of "Prosody," a weekly public radio show featuring contemporary writers and poets on NPR-affiliate WESA 90.5 FM. She is also the director of Creative Writing at Carlow University, where she also directs the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshop. Her most recent collection of poetry is The Switching/Yard.

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs (POETRY MFA 2005)

JENNIFER KWON DOBBS (POETRY MFA 2005) is the author of the poetry collection, Paper Pavilion, and her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies. She holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, and is now assistant professor of creative writing at St. Olaf College in Minneapolis.

Jennifer Fickley-Baker (BA 2001) 

JENNIFER FICKLEY-BAKER (BA 2001) is a senior writer for The Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida. In 2004 she graduated with an MA in Mass Communications from the University of Central Florida, and is currently enrolled in UCF’s Text & Technology PhD program.

Dave Griffith (MFA 2001)

DAVE GRIFFITH (MFA 2001) is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America (Soft Skull Press, 2006), a photo-textual collaboration with Pittsburgh artist-designer, Brett Yasko. He is director of Creative Writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Utne ReaderIMAGEThe Normal SchoolTime-Out Chicago, and online at and He blogs at

Terrance Hayes

TERRANCE HAYES is the author of Wind in a Box (Penguin, 2006), Hip Logic (2002), which won National Poetry Series, and Muscular Music (1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He is a professor in the Writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. Listen to him read.

Carolyn Kellogg (FICTION MFA 2008)

CAROLYN KELLOGG (FICTION MFA 2008) is the lead blogger of Jacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times official book blog. You can also read her personal literary blog, Pinky’s Paperhaus.

Nancy Krygowski

NANCY KRYGOWSKI is an adult-literacy instructor at the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and co-director of the Gist Street Reading Series. Her poems have appeared in Prairie SchoonerRiver StyxSouthern Poetry Review5am, and other magazines. She is the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant and awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Heather Killelea McEntarfer (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2006)

HEATHER KILLELEA MCENTARFER (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2006) is the writing coordinator for the office of academic support at Niagara University. She is currently working on her manuscript, High Water Rising: One Community’s Modern-Day Struggle to Maintain Desegregated Schools.

Robyn L. Murphy (FICTION MFA 2007)

ROBYN L MURPHY (FICTION MFA 2007) is an adjunct professor at Albertus Magnus College. Her short fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, The New Orleans Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, and others. She was a finalist for the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Short Story Award, and is presently working on her first novel.

Brett Murphy (NONFICTION BA 2013)

ProPublica reporter BRETT MURPHY  (BA in NF, 2013) has earned the Polk Justice Reporting award for “Words of Conviction,” a two-part report debunking “911 call analysis,” a prosecutorial technique developed by a retired police chief purporting to indicate the guilt of callers reporting the death of someone based on their voice patterns during the call. Despite overwhelming evidence that the concept is baseless junk science, Murphy documented more than 100 cases in 26 states where supposed experts used it against criminal defendants, including one that helped lead a jury to convict a mother of suffocating her son. The Exoneration Project and the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences have volunteered to handle her appeal.

Kristin Naca (POETRY MFA 2003)

KRISTIN NACA (POETRY MFA 2003) teaches Asian American and Latino poetics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of Bird Eating Bird, forthcoming from Harper Perennial in September 2009.

Ellen Placey Wadey

ELLEN PLACEY WADEY is the cohost and producer of "Prosody," a weekly public radio show featuring contemporary writers and poets on NPR-affiliate WESA 90.5 FM. She is also Executive Director of The Guild Complex, a community-based literary organization in Chicago.

Michael Rosenwald (NONFICTION MFA)

MICHAEL ROSENWALD (NONFICTION MFA) is a staff writer at the Washington Post. He is also a magazine writer whose work has been published in the New YorkerEsquirePopular ScienceSmithsonianTin HouseCreative NonfictionMen's Journal and ESPN the Magazine. A former finalist for the National Magazine Award in feature writing, Rosenwald's story "The Flu Hunter" appears in the new anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007, edited by Richard Preston. A story he wrote about the future of his body – which is good despite his accomplished eating habits – was recently anthologized in Best Creative Nonfiction Vol. 1.


REBECCA SKLOOT (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2007) is an award-winning freelance writer, with her work appearing in The New York Times MagazineO: The Oprah MagazineDiscoverColumbia Journalism ReviewPrevention, and many others. Her first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was one of the best-selling books of 2010.

Robert Stevens (FICTION MFA 2008)

ROBERT STEVENS (FICTION MFA 2008) is currently seeking representation for his first novel. In 2009, he was one of 55 fellowship recipients from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He writes under the name Robert Yune and is an occasional contributor to Hot Metal Bridge, the University of Pittsburgh's graduate literary magazine.


KATHLEEN TARR (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2005) is the program coordinator of the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She also teaches creative writing at UAA (undergraduate). Her book-in-progress, Ocean Cape, is work of narrative nonfiction: a blend of memoir, natural history, and biography about a spiritual search, and how that journey connected with the life and thoughts of Thomas Merton. 


JOHN TEMPLE (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2002)   is an associate professor and Journalism Program Chair in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University. He is also the author of Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner's Office (2005) and the forthcoming The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates (November 2009).


ELAINE VITONE (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2006)  is senior editor of Pitt MedHer stories have been published in Ladies' Home Journal, Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, US Airways Magazine, and Pittsburgh magazine, among others.

Judith Vollmer (POETRY MFA 1980)

JUDITH VOLLMER (POETRY MFA 1980) is the Director of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg's Campus Writing Program. She also is also co-editor of 5am, and the author of Level Green (2004), Reactor (2004), The Door Open to the Fire (1998), and Black Butterfly (1997).


SARAH WEXLER (CREATIVE NONFICTION MFA 2007) is a freelance writer with clips in Esquire, Wired, Bon Appetit, New York Magazine, O, Washington Post Magazine, Glamour, InStyle, Marie Claire, and others. She is the author of Awful First Dates and Living Large.

John Zebrowski (FICTION MFA 2007)

JOHN ZEBROWSKI (FICTION MFA 2007) is the staff writer/video and audio producer for the Yale School of Management, where he writes articles for the school's Q magazine; profiles alumni, students, and faculty; and creates, produces, and edits video and audio podcasts for the Web. He has recently finished his first novel, Arsenal Way, and is currently shopping it around. He is in the early stages of his second novel.