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Faculty Bios

Full-time Faculty

Kris Bigalk serves as Director of Creative Writing at Normandale Community College.  She is the author of the poetry collection Repeat the Flesh in Numbers (NYQ Books, 2012), and her poetry has also appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, including Poetry City USA Volumes 2 and 3.   In 2012, she was awarded a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Outstanding Educator award, and she has also received two grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board for her poetry. Read more about Kris and her work here:  http://krisbigalk.com

The story collection Lives of Mapmakers is Alicia L. Conroy’s first book and was a fiction finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. She has received a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship, in addition to an honorable mention in the 2005 Pushcart Prizes and other writing awards. Her fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Ontario Review, Puerto Del Sol, Chattahoochee Review and other journals, and she publishes reviews and interviews. Conroy lived for thirteen years in the Boston area and later returned to her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she now lives. She teaches at Normandale Community College.  Alicia is on sabbatical for the 2014-15 school year.

Layla Dowlatshahi (Playwright, JOYS OF LIPSTICK) graduated from UC Berkeley and received her MFA from Goddard College. Joys of Lipstick was staged at The Producer’s Club and was written up in The New York Times. Waiting Room had a staged reading at the Annenberg Studio Theatre at the University of Pennsylvania. She has completed three additional plays, (Waiting Room and Joys of Lipstick are slated to be published by Temple University Press) a teleplay and a novel, Stones in the Garden.  Layla is on sabbatical for the 2014-15 school year.

Thomas Maltman’s essays, poetry, and fiction have been published in many literary journals. He has an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His first novel, The Night Birds, won an Alex Award, a Spur Award, and the Friends of American Writers Literary Award. In 2009 the American Library Association chose The Night Birds as an “Outstanding Book for the College Bound.”  He’s taught for four years at Normandale Community College and lives in the Twin Cities area.  Little Wolves is his second novel.  Read more about Tom and his new novel, Little Wolves, here: http://thomasmaltman.com/. Tom is on sabbatical for the 2014-15 school year.

Matt Mauch grew up in small Midwestern towns between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, in the snow and wind-chill belt. He is the author of If You’re Lucky is a Theory of Mine (Trio House Books), Prayer Book ( Lowbrow Press) and The Book of Modern Prayer (a limited-edition chapbook from Palimpsest Press). His poems have appeared in NOÖ Journal, DIAGRAM, The Journal, Willow Springs, The Squaw Valley Review, The Los Angeles Review, Sonora Review, and elsewhere. The editor of Poetry City, USA, Volume 1 (forthcoming from Lowbrow Press), Mauch teaches writing and literature in the AFA program at Normandale Community College, and also coordinates the reading series there. He holds an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and lives with his wife in Minneapolis.  Read more about Matt and his new poetry collection, If You’re Lucky is a Theory of Mine, here: http://www.mauchmauch.com/

John Reimringer’s first novel, Vestments, named one of the “Best Books of 2010” by Publishers Weekly and winner of the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for Novel and Short Story, was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week/Starred Review, and the Milkweed Editions 2010 Editor’s Circle Selection. Also an Indie Next and Midwest Connections pick, Vestments was featured on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midmorning. He teaches at Normandale Community College and lives in Saint Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood with his wife, the poet Katrina Vandenberg.  Read more about John here:  http://www.johnreimringer.com/

Lynette Reini-Grandell’s first collection of poetry will be published in the fall of 2014 by Holy Cow! Press.  She co-hosts “Write on Radio,” on KFAI, received a 2009 Intermedia Arts Writer-to-Writer Mentorship, and enjoys performing poetry at venues in the Twin Cities and around the country. She won a SASE/Ache prize for fiction, was a 2009 MNLit What Light Poetry Project Winner, and has published work in Ache, Evergreen Chronicles, and Poetry Motel. Her poems can also be found on the walls of the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan, in an installation created with her husband Venus, a transgender artist and musician. She teaches English at Normandale Community College and has an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.  Lynette advises the Normandale Creative Writing Club, and supervises the production of Normandale’s literary magazine, The Paper Lantern.

Adjunct Faculty

In addition to teaching at Normandale Community College, Deanna Larsen co-teaches creative writing in a federal prison. Before receiving an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, she taught Spanish is several Twin Cities elementary schools and preschools. Her poetry and artwork have appeared in PANK, Neon, Anti-, The Blood Orange Review, Mixed Fruit, and elsewhere; two of her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she is a two-time finalist in Button Poetry’s Exploding Pinecone Chapbook Contest. Besides teaching and writing, her passions are travel, bats (hiking a cave in Panama with thousands of bats was the best experience of her life!), and décollage. A podcast of her lecture “History of the F-Word,” hosted by Light Grey Art Lab, can be found here: http://blog.lightgreyartlab.com/2013/05/podcast-history-of-f-word.html

Gretchen Marquette has served as the assistant poetry editor for Water~Stone Review, and as a first reader for the National Poetry Series. Her work has appeared in places such as Paper Darts, Harper’s, and the Paris Review. Gretchen is a 2014 recipient of a Minnesota Emerging Writer Grant through the Loft Literary Center, and her first book, May Day, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2015. She currently lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood in South Minneapolis.

Anna George Meek has published in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Seneca Review, The Missouri Review (where she was awarded the Tom McAfee Discovery Prize), Water~Stone, Crazyhorse, and dozens of other national journals.  She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, two Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, and an Academy of American Poetry Prize.  She has also been a finalist for the National Poetry Series (three times), the Minnesota Book Award, and the Yale Series of Younger Poets.  Her first book, Acts of Contortion, won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry from University of Wisconsin Press; her chapbook Engraved won the Snowbound Chapbook Competition and will be published by Tupelo Press this October.

Charlotte Sullivan received the 2012 Loft Shabo Picture Book Award, a Pushcart nomination and an honor from Fourth Genre’s Annual Editor’s Prize for Best Essay/ Memoir 2007. Her essays and poetry have also appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis StarTribune, Ottertail Review, Front Range Review, Rockhurst Review and others. She earned an MFA in fiction from Hamline University and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has taught young people or their literature to college students for nearly two decades and served as the Visiting Scholar in Children’s Literature at Normandale Community College in 2011-2012. She also teaches at The Loft Literary Center and interviews children’s authors for Write On! Radio at KFAI.

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