Creative Nonfiction Week, 2006
culture + identity
Join us for a celebration of culture and identity at this year's Creative Nonfiction Week, from 15 - 19 October. All events are free and open to the public. Creative Nonfiction Week is co-sponsored by the departments of English, Fiction Writing, and Journalism.
For more information, please contact Sam Weller
by phone: (312) 344-8644
or email: sweller [at] colum.edu.
Monday/ October 16
3 PM Student Reading
With Jess D'Amico, Hunter Clauss, April Newman, Geoff Hyatt, William Brogan, Leslie Bradshaw
Student open mic immediately following
Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan
6:30 PM Bich Nguyen
[Stealing Buddha's Dinner] readings and conversation.
Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan
1 PM Robert Boynton
[The New New Journalism] readings and conversation.
Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash
3 PM Cultural Criticism
With panelists Ann Wiens [art critic, Chicago Magazine] Cheryl Reed [book critic, Sun Times], Kelly Kleiman [dance and theater critic, WBEZ], Chris Jones [theater critic, Chicago Tribune], and Danny Postel [senior editor, openDemocracy].
Moderated by Steve Edwards
Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash
6:30 PM Lorraine Ali
[rock music critic, Newsweek] readings and conversation.
The Hot House, 31 E. Balbo
6:30 PM Michael McColly
[The After-Death Room: Journey into Spiritual Activism] readings and conversation.
Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash
Thursday, October 19
3 PM Creative Nonfiction Pays
Publishers and writers discuss landing freelance assignments. Featuring S.L. Wisenberg [freelance writer and teacher], Sam Jemielity [editor, playboy.com], JC Gabel [editor, Stop Smiling], and Jennifer Olvera [freelance writer].
Moderated by Jotham Burrello
Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash
6:30 PM Jamaica Kincaid
[My Brother, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya] readings and conversation.
Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash
Lorraine Ali was named a senior writer with Newsweek in December 2004. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers music and pop culture trends. She co-authored Newsweek's widely-acclaimed "The New Infidelity" cover and, as an Arab-American, has contributed several insightful pieces on the situation in Iraq. She has covered everything from the Grammy Awards to the growing subculture of Christian rock and has interviewed artists as diverse as rapper Eve and music legend Johnny Cash.
Ali won an Excellence in Journalism Award in 2002 from the National Arab Journalists Association and was listed in Da Capo "Best Music Writing 2001" for her story "West Bank Hard Core" about a group of American-born teenagers in Palestine, who return to their ancestral home, bringing with them hip-hop music and culture.
Prior to joining Newsweek, Ali was a senior critic for Rolling Stone, a music columnist for the Los Angeles Times and Mademoiselle and a regular contributor to GQ. Ali has also written for The New York Times, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Harper's Bazaar and US magazine. She was voted 1997's Music Journalist of the Year. In 1996, she won Best National Feature Story honors at the Music Journalism Awards.
Ali recently flew to Jordan to meet her uncle and other members of her father's family from Iraq. She plans to write essays and a book about her experiences growing up in an Arab-American household, and to address issues of prejudice and stereotypes on a broader scale.
Robert S. Boynton is the director of NYU's Magazine Journalism program. He is author of The New New Journalism (Vintage Books, 2005) and has been an editor at Manhattan, inc. and Harper's. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Lingua Franca, Bookforum, The New York Times Book Review,The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Vil-lage Voice, Rolling Stone and many other publications.
Jamaica Kincaid: In 1983, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Jamaica Kincaid's first book, At the Bottom of the River, a collection of stories that received the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Thulani Davis, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called At the Bottom of the River "a collection of gorgeous, incantatory stories of young life in Antigua."
Ms. Kincaid's second book, Annie John (1985), the story of a girl's coming-of-age in the West Indies, received enormous critical acclaim. People magazine described it as "deceptively simple, some-times magical. . . Kincaid's prose has a music all its own. It is a perfect vehicle for her specifically West Indian, yet subtly univer-sal, observations."
Her first nonfiction book, written about Antigua and titled A Small Place, was published three years later. Michiko Kakutani, in The New York Times, said, "Ms. Kincaid writes with passion and conviction, and she also writes with a musical sense of language, a poet's understanding of how politics and history, private and public events, overlap and blur."
Her fourth book, Lucy, was published in 1990. In the Los Angeles Times, Richard Eder called it "vivid, true and necessary." In a review that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Carol Anshaw described Ms. Kincaid's writing as "a graceful, complex narrative that is at the same time about sexual awakening, the construction of identity out of the scraps at hand, the elaborate misunderstand-ings that can arise from different cultural assumptions and the essentially harrowing nature of love."
Michael McColly: Traveling through Asia, Africa, and America and into his own sexual history, Michael McColly takes readers into the psycho-spiritual and cultural landscapes of the AIDS pandemic. From activists and traditional healers in South Africa, to sex workers and doctors in India, to Buddhist monks in Thailand, to African American clergy and prisoners in Chicago, his blend of reportage, personal memoir and ethnography reflects on the remarkable stories of those living and working inside the AIDS pandemic.
Michael McColly teaches creative writing at Northwestern University in Chicago. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Sun, Ascent, In These Times, and other publications. He is the author of The After-Death Room: Journey into Spiritual Activism (Soft Skull Press), a memoir that chronicles his travels as an HIV+ journalist through parts of Asia, Africa and America reporting on the work and lives of activists, doctors, and clergy working in HIV/AIDS care and prevention. He also teaches yoga, specializing in workshops for writers and people living with HIV.
Bich Minh Nguyen is the author of the memoir Stealing Buddha's Dinner (Viking/Penguin), which won the 2005 PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center, and a novel, Short Girls. Nguyen is co-editor of three anthologies: 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years (Penguin Academic); I & Eye: Contemporary Creative Nonfiction (Pearson Longman); and The Contemporary American Short Story (Pearson Longman). Her work has also appeared in Gourmet magazine; the Chicago Tribune; Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing up in America; Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops; and Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose.
Nguyen has taught a variety of creative writing and literature courses at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At Purdue, she teaches an advanced creative nonfiction workshop, Asian American literature and undergraduate fiction and poetry courses.
Kathie Bergquist, with Robert McDonald, is co-author of A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago (Lake Claremont Press). For the past five years she has also been the City Editor for the Not For Tourist's Guide to Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Girlfriends magazine, The Advocate, OUT, Curve, and Publishers Weekly. She is a freelance contributor and restaurant reviewer for the Chicago Reader. Bergquist holds a BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College, where she is currently pursuing her MFA.
Leslie Adelina Bradshaw originally hails from Garland, Texas, and is in her senior year at Columbia as a Playwrighting major with a Creative Nonfiction minor. As one of the few playwrighting majors at the College, Ms. Bradshaw has had success with her work performed at Columbia's Story Week and at the 24-Hour New Plays Festival. A recipient of the prestigious Liberace Scholarship, Ms. Bradshaw plans to continue her education at the graduate level. She hopes to use her art to bring to the forefront of society global issues as well as bringing recognition to her culture and the Latino movement throughout the American stage and society.
Bill Brogan is a veteran Chicago Police Officer, and a student in Columbia College's Fiction Writing program. Bill is currently assigned as a Homicide Detective on the City's South Side, and is chronicling his adventures for future publication. He has been published in both online and print versions of The Tap magazine, and favors Dunkin Donuts over Krispy Kreme.
Jotham Burrello teaches in the fiction writing department. He was the founding editor of the CNF journal Sport Literate. His production company, erpmedia.net, recently produced instructional DVDs on the submission and revision processes featuring Janet Burroway, C. Michael Curtis, and Robert Olen Butler among others. He's at work on his second novel.
Jess D'Amico is a journalism senior with a fiction minor. She hopes some one will hire her to write quirky pieces for their magazine after graduation so she can use their copier to produce her upcoming zine. She lives in Boystown with her cat Igby and her fish Bocephus.
Jim DeRogatis was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the year the Beatles arrived in America, and began voicing his opinions about rock 'n' roll shortly thereafter. He is the pop music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times and the author of several books: Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips; Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic; Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the '90s and Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Together with his wife, Carmel Carrillo, he edited Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics, and in partnership with Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, he co-hosts "Sound Opinions, "the world's only rock 'n' roll," which airs on Chicago Public Radio and is syndicated nationally via American Public Media. He lives on the North Side of Chicago, entirely too close to Wrigley Field.
Steve Edwards is the host of Chicago Public Radio's award-winning daily magazine program Eight Forty-Eight, where he covers everything from politics to pop culture. Chicago magazine has called Eight Forty-Eight Chicago's Best Public Affairs Program and New City voted it Chicago's Best Morning Radio Program. Steve's reports and interviews have earned numerous Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club, as well as awards from the Illinois Associated Press, UPI, the Chicago Bar Association, and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. Prior to hosting Eight Forty-Eight, Steve was the Assistant News Director of WDCB-FM, where he earned the 1998 PRNDI national award for hosting the Best Daily News Magazine Program. Steve also has worked as a re-porter and producer with Bloomberg News in New York, as a news an-chor at WTTT-AM in western Massachusetts, and news director of his college radio station, WAMH-FM in Amherst, MA. Steve's journalism career began in high school, where he covered the 1988 presidential campaign trail for his high school radio and TV station. Later, he interned on the staff of NPR's "All Things Considered" in Washington, DC. Steve earned a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College. He lives with his wife and two sons in Chicago.
Geoff Hyatt is a Fiction Writing MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Dark But Shining magazine, and his verse recently appeared in American Open Mike Vol. 2: The New Ameri-can Voice.
Sam Jemielity recently returned to Playboy.com as a senior editor. Previously, he worked as an editor at AOL.com, Playboy.com and New City Weekly. His freelance articles have been published in People, Playboy, FHM, ESPN the Magazine, Wired, Chicago and other outlets.
Chris Jones, theater critic, has reviewed theater, comedy, improv and other forms of live entertainment for the Chicago Tribune for more than a decade. Along with being the paper's chief voice on local and national theatrical production, he also writes the Tribune's weekly theater column. Jones served for many years as Midwestern theater critic for Variety and Daily Variety, publishing several hundred theater reviews with a particular emphasis on pre-Broadway tryouts. Although a Midwest resident for 22 years, he has covered theater in numerous cities throughout the United States, including time as Variety's Broadway critic. His arts criticism also has appeared in theLos Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, American Theatre magazine and numerous other newspapers and magazines. For much of the 1980s he contributed film re-views, interviews and reports for WCBE-FM in Columbus, Ohio and also served as the long-time film critic for Columbus Alive newspaper. He also has reviewed film and theater for WFMT radio in Chicago and has contributed chapters to several books. His numerous guest TV appearances include "E! The True Hollywood Story" and "Nightline" with Ted Koppel. A native of Manchester, England, Jones holds a doctorate in theater from the Ohio State University.
Kelly Kleiman's freelance work on the arts, travel, feminism and philan-thropy appears regularly in dailies including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor; in magazines such as Chicago and Dance; in the alternative press including In These Times maga-zine and the Chicago Reader; and on Chicago Public Radio. She is also editor and publisher of The Nonprofiteer (nonprofiteer.typepad.com), a blog focused on issues affecting the nonprofit community. Her fiction has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council, The Writer's Voice (New York) and Writer's Digest and been published in Paris Transcontinental and Iowa City magazines, among others. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.
David Lazar, before coming to Columbia, was a professor for seventeen years at Ohio University, where he established the creative nonfiction program, one of only five Ph.D. nonfiction programs in the country. His books include The Body of Brooklyn (Iowa), Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher (ed., Mississippi), Michael Powell: Interviews (ed., Mississippi), and forthcoming are a book of film noir prose poems: Powder Town (Pecan Grove), and an anthology, Truth in Nonfiction (ed., Iowa). He is founding editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. His essays have been cited four times as Notable Essays of the Year by Best American Essays, and his prose poems and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals.
April Newman is a MFA Creative Writing candidate at Columbia College and was the 2006-2007 Graduate Opportunity Award recipient. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in English. Her professional life has included: teaching, photographing, store managing, waitressing and parking lot attending. She lives in Chicago with her puppy, Kona.
Jennifer Olvera is a full-time freelance writer who started furniture trade magazine Talcott's HomeStyle with a Chicago publishing company at the age of 24 and went on to freelance for online entertainment sites, such as www.metromix.com. A seasoned dining critic and entertainment and style writer, she's since written for Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Zagat, Gayot.com and Expecia.com. She's covered everything from open-heart surgery to fencing, futures and options to kooky cocktail libations. During the course of her career, she's spoken to (somewhat-obtuse) star chefs like Tyler Florence as well as (surprisingly approachable) literary icons like Ray Bradbury--all the while penning pieces about scenic byways for Mobil Travel Guides, researching the World's Columbian Exposition for Where Magazine and luxuriating in spa treatments for Citysearch.com. When she's not working--and all the while that she is--Jennifer rough-houses with her super-active two-year-old son, Hayden, a miracle baby born at just two pounds, three ounces.
Danny Postel is Senior Editor of openDemocracy an online global magazine of politics & culture. He is also Contributing Editor to Dedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; a member of the editorial board of The Common Review, the magazine of the Great Books Foundation; and Editor-at-Large of Stop Smiling: A Magazine for High-Minded Lowlifes. A former staff writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education and former editor at Britannica.com, the late online magazine of Encyclopedia Britannica, in 2004 he taught Advanced Magazine Article Writing in the Journalism Department at Columbia College. His reviews, essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in The Washington Post Book World, The Chicago Tribune, The Nation, In These Times, The American Prospect, Salmagundi, Critical Inquiry, Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Exquisite Corpse, New City, the San Antonio Current, and La Raza Newspaper. A member of the Committee for Academic and Intellectual Freedom of the International Society for Iranian Studies, he is the author of the book Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism, published in October, 2006 by Prickly Paradigm Press.
Teresa Puente joined the journalism faculty at Columbia College Chicago in the fall of 2006. As an accomplished journalist with more than 15 years of experience, she has written for a news weekly, column service, magazines and daily newspapers. Her work has been published in na-tionally recognized publications such as USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and Hispanic magazine. Puente worked as a staff reporter at the Chicago Tribune from 1995 to 2002, where she covered many beats, including immigration, urban affairs, suburban news and general assignment. She also is the recipient of the Studs Terkel Award for her coverage of Chicago's diverse communities. In the fall of 2002, Puente moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, with a fellowship from the Inter-American Press Association. She completed an in-depth project on the Mexican widows whose husbands perished in a truck smuggling tragedy in Texas. Also in 2002, with a grant from the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, she completed a project on Latino families in the Chicago suburbs and linked some of them to their homelands in Mexico and Gua-temala. In 2004, she started working on a writing and photography project on the religious devotion to the virgins and saints across Mexico. This project is called "My Pilgrimage in Mexico." From Mexico, she wrote about culture, immigration and travel for a variety of U.S. publications, both in English and Spanish. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including the La Estrella (of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram), the Philadelphia Daily News and the LatinaVoz. She also has a M.F.A. in crea-tive writing from Columbia College and an excerpt of her novel has appeared in Hair Trigger. She is currently writing a collection of short stories called Go Back to Where You Came From.
Cheryl L. Reed, 40, joined the Chicago Sun-Times in 2003 first as a general assignment reporter and then covering investigations. On June 4, she became the paper's book editor. Reed is the author of the 2004 literary journalism book, Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns, which involved more than four years of reporting and 300 interviews with nuns across the country. Reed previously worked as a reporter at the Dayton Daily News, the Newport News Daily Press and Florida Today. Prior to joining the Sun-Times, Reed was a visiting professor of journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Her freelance articles and book reviews have appeared in Mother Jones, U.S. News & World Report, the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Salon, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and others. Her investigative reporting has won many awards, including the Harvard University Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Reed is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism where she received her dual bachelor's degrees in newswriting and photojournalism. She earned her master's degree from Ohio State University where she was a 1996 Kiplinger Fellow. Reed is the recipient of a number of writing grants, including the Alicia Patterson. She has been a resident at a number of writing colonies, including Ragdale, the Vermont Studio, New York Mills, Hedgebrook and Norcroft.
John Schultz is the originator of the Story Workshop? Approach to the Teaching of Writing and Professor Emeritus of the Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing Department. His numerous publications include The Tongues of Men (stories and novellas),No One Was Killed,The Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Writing From Start to Finish, and the Teacher's Manual for Writing From Start to Finish. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and collections, including Big Table, Evergreen Review, Georgia Review, Chicago Reader, College English, and the UMKC Law Review. He is also the founder and president of f Magazine, a literary anthology that publishes excerpts from novels-in-progress, stories, essays, and poetry. Schultz is the co-producer of the instructional videos The Living Voice Moves and Story From First Impulse to Final Draft. He is also founder and president of the Story Workshop Institute, and a Principal Story Workshop Master Teacher.
Bryan Smith is a senior editor and the primary feature writer at Chicago Magazine. A 1989 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism, he has previously worked as a feature writer for The Oregonian and the Chicago Sun-Times. Along the way, he has written several original features for Reader's Digest and for magazines including Men's Journal and Florida Magazine. His work has been published in two book anthologies: Best Newspaper Writing 2000 and Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul. During his career, Mr. Smith has won numerous national writing honors, and was the Sun-Times nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing three times. Most recently, he was awarded the gold medal for excellence in feature writing from the National City and Regional Maga-zine Association and was a finalist for Writer of the Year from the same group.
David Trinidad's last two books, Plasticville (2000) and Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse (2003), were published by Turtle Point Press. His other books include Answer Song (High Risk Books/Serpent's Tail, 1994) and Hand Over Heart: Poems 1981-1988 (Amethyst Press). With Denise Du-hamel and Maureen Seaton, he edited Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry (forthcoming from Soft Skull Press). Trinidad teaches poetry at Columbia College Chicago, where he co-edits the journal Court Green. His next book of poetry, The Late Show, is forthcom-ing from Turtle Point Press in 2007.
Joyce Wagner is the second oldest of six children born in Chicago, Illinois. She is a freelance writer whose features have appeared in several regional newspapers and magazines, including New Hampshire Magazine, The Valley News, Martha's Vineyard Times, Martha's Vineyard Magazine, The Cardigan, Vineyard Style Magazine, Cape Cod Life, and many other publications. Ms. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Arts in speech and performing arts from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She also studied fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago. Random Overthoughts, a collection of humor columns from (among others) The Concord Monitor, is her first book. Ms. Wagner is a former resident of Martha's Vineyard who now lives on Cardigan Mountain with her music teacher husband and two retired racehounds.
Sam Weller is the author of The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury, (2005) the only authorized biography of the legendary American writer and visionary. The book quickly landed on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list and was a New York Times "Editor's Choice." The Nation hailed it as "excellent, " and The Atlanta Constitution-Journal called the book "one of this summer's best biographies." Sam is the former Midwest Correspondent for Publishers Weekly magazine. He is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune Magazine, a frequent literary critic for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, and has written for the National Public Radio Program, "All Things Considered." He is a contribut-ing writer for the Chicago Public Radio program, "848." During his tenure as managing editor of Gravity, the publication was given Newsweek magazine's Robert Sibley award for best college magazine. As a staff writer for the Chicago alternative weekly, Newcity, Sam was the recipient of the Peter Lisagor Award for arts criticism. He is the author of Secret Chicago: The Unique Guidebook to Chicago's Hidden Sites, Sounds & Tastes (ECW Press) and his short fiction has appeared in Spec-Lit. Sam is a full-time professor in the Fiction Department at Columbia College. He lives in Chicago with his wife, his baby girl, and two dogs. His online home is www.bradburychronicles.com
Ann Wiens is an artist, writer, and editor who has maintained a strong presence in the Chicago art world for the past 15 years. She served as East Coast editor, then editor-in-chief for the national contemporary art magazine New Art Examiner from 1991 to 1998. She is currently Director of College Communications at Columbia College Chicago, where she established and edits the college magazine, Demo. Wiens is a regular con-tributor to Chicago Magazine and The Chicago Collection, was formerly the art critic for New City, and has written for CS, the Chicago Reader, Art and Antiques, dialog, Lake, and other periodicals. She has written numerous catalogue essays, co-edited the book The Artist in Society: Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities (with Dr. Carol Becker), and in 2004 wrote a mono-graph on artist Darrel Morris. A painter, Wiens is represented in Chicago by Byron Roche Gallery. Her most recent solo exhibition, "Exotic Na-tives," was shown at Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA and Byron Roche Gallery in Chicago in 2004-2005. Her public commissions may be seen in the Mount Greenwood branch library in Chicago, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, and the Exelon Visitors Center at Millennium Park.
S.L. Wisenberg is a former feature writer at the Miami Herald. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, The New Yorker, on WBEZ-FM, and in many other periodicals, and anthologies. She has taught at the Medill School of Journalism and Northwestern University, where she received her bachelor's degree. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and is co-director of the MA in Creative Writing at Northwestern. She's pub-lished a book of short stories, The Sweetheart Is In, named a Tribune notable book of the year, and a collection of essays, Holocaust Girls. She also teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School. She's received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Marianne Wolf is the author of Joliet which was published in June as part of the Images of America Series by Arcadia Publishing. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies published by Outrider Press. She currently serves on the boards of the TallGrass Writers Guild and the Illinois Woman's Press Association, an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women. She is a MFA candidate in the Fiction Writing Program of Columbia College Chicago and is currently working on a novel.