Faculty Bios

Full-time Faculty

Kris Bigalk serves as Director of Creative Writing at Normandale Community College.  She is the author of the poetry collections Enough and Repeat the Flesh in Numbers (NYQ Books); her poetry and essays have also appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. She has won two Minnesota State Arts Board grants in poetry, and serves on the Boards of The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Rain Taxi Review of Books. 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. 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.

Dan Darling is the author of Archaeopteryx:Albuquerque Trilogy Part 1. Obsessed with the desert, Dan was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He studies the people, the creepy-crawlies, and the geography of the sacred dry spaces. Before earning his MFA in creative writing at the University of New Mexico, he worked as a juggler, a bartender, an IRS agent, and a professional magician. Dan has traveled to over 20 countries and speaks several languages. He’s now an award-winning educator of writing and literature at Normandale. Read about Dan here: https://www.dandarling.net/

Layla Dowlatshahi Fitchett (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, a teleplay and a novel, Stones in the Garden. Read more about Layla here: https://pwcenter.org/profile/layla-dowlatshahi

In addition to teaching at Normandale Community College, Deanna Larsen Quinn teaches creative writing to inmates 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. 

Thomas Maltman’s 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.” Little Wolves, his second novel, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and won the All Iowa Reads selection in 2014. He lives in the Twin Cities area with his wife, a Lutheran pastor, and his three daughters. His third novel, The Land, was released from Soho Press in October, 2020.  Tom regularly serves as advisor to the Normandale Creative Writing Club, and assists in the publication of The Paper Lantern literary magazine.Read more about Tom and his novels here: http://thomasmaltman.com/

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 three poetry collections: Birdbrain (Trio House Books); If You’re Lucky is a Theory of Mine (Trio House Books); Prayer Book (Lowbrow Press) and the chapbook The Book of Modern Prayer (Palimpsest Press). His poems have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. The founder of Poetry City, USA, Mauch holds an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and lives with his wife in Minneapolis.  Read more about Matt 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. His work appears in many literary magazines and anthologies. The recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships and a residency at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, he has been a Susannah McCorkle Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a Loft-McKnight Fellow.. He 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 is the author of two poetry collections, Wild Verge and Approaching the Gate (Holy Cow! Press). Her work has appeared in Alligator Juniper, The Understanding between Foxes and LightMNArtists.org, Poetry MotelRevolver, Poetry City U.S.A., and Seminary Ridge Review, among others.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart and received grants for her work from the Finlandia Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board.  Based in Minneapolis, she reads regularly with the Bosso Poetry Company and performs in the jazz/poetry collective Sonoglyph. Her work is often inspired by Finnish folk culture and song, and she frequently collaborates with Nordic Roots artists in multimedia performances. Lynette regularly advises the Creative Writing Club, and assists in the production of The Paper Lantern literary magazine. Read more about Lynette here: http://www.reini-grandell.com/

Adjunct Faculty

Anna George Meek is the author of two full-length books of poems, Acts of Contortion, which won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and The Genome Rhapsodies, which won the Richard Snyder Prize; her chapbook Engraved won the Snowbound Chapbook Competition. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She has published in journals such as Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The Yale Review.  Her work has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and has been selected multiple times for both Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. She gives readings nationally and has written numerous commissions for events and choral composers. Several of her previously published  poems have been set to music, and one has been the basis for a ballet.  Meek lives with her husband and daughter in the Twin Cities where she sings professionally with the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers. More about Anna here: http://www.annageorgemeek.com



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