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Join us in celebrating University of South Florida creative writing alumni, who will be reading their work from 9-11pm at our pop-up location on March 7th (715 Franklin St 2nd Fl). Alicia Thompson, Darrell Nicholson, John Nieves, Christine Lasek, Sharon Pinson, Sarah Escue, JR Miller, and Chelsea Dingman will be giving short readings, and First Drafters and fellow USF MFA alumni TJ Murray and Annalise Mabe will be hosting and leading the audience in a series of interactive storytelling activities.




    1. Chelsea Dingman is a Canadian citizen and Visiting Instructor at the University of South Florida. Her first book, Thaw, was chosen by Allison Joseph to win the National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Her chapbook, What Bodies Have I Moved, is forthcoming from Madhouse Press (2018). In 2016-17, she also won The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize, Water-stone Review’s Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and The South Atlantic Modern Language Association’s Creative Writing Award for Poetry. Her work can be found in Ninth Letter, The Colorado Review, Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast, among others. Visit her website:


    1. Sarah Escue is a poet, visual artist, and translator. She is a Florida native currently living in Colorado as she pursues her MFA at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her first poetry chapbook, Bruised Gospel, was published this year by dancing girl press. Sarah is the Assistant Editor at The Adirondack Review and a poetry editor at a new bilingual literary journal founded by Jonathan Simkins, Cigar City Poetry Journal. Sarah enjoys letterpress printing, baking, and hiking.


    1. Christine M. Lasek holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida. She is currently an Academic Professional at the University of Georgia, where she teaches creative writing and administers the Creative Writing Ph.D. program. Christine's work has been published in several literary magazines, most recently in Eleven Eleven and Another Chicago Magazine.  Her collection of short stories, Love Letters to Michigan, was published by ELJ Editions in 2016.

  4. J.R. MILLER

    1. J.R. was born and raised in the blue-collar suburbs of Detroit. After several years of working in advertising and joined by his wife and children, he moved to Florida. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. His work has been published by Midwestern Gothic, Palooka, Prime Number, Prick of the Spindle, and others.  He is the Co-Founding editor of ĕm: A Review of Text and Image, production editor for Sweet Publications and teaches creative writing in Florida.

    2. At the heart of his first collection Nobody’s Looking is the tragedy of suburbia—characters in relationships that are not as close or memorable as once thought, characters pulling it all together and breaking out only to never escape, characters that face questions with no answers and decisions with life changing trajectories. The stories in J.R. Miller’s debut are affecting and often haunting. Raw and tender, funny and unyielding, provocative and thoughtful, these stories explore, with a keen eye, the human relationship.


    1. Darrell Nicholson is the editor of the sailing magazine Practical Sailor and much of his creative work is inspired by the ten years he spent sailing to the South Pacific in an old wooden boat. He is the winner of the 2012 Anspaugh Fiction Award, the 2013 David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction, and the Outstanding Graduate Thesis Award from the University of South Florida where he earned his MFA.  His poetry and fiction has been published in Aquifer, Found Poetry Review, and Southwest Review, and featured in Burrow Press’s linked story collection 15 Views of Tampa Bay. He was the lead writer for two full-length adventure films, including the Disney documentary Sea of Sharks. Currently, he and noted fiction writer Monica McFawn are working on several collaborative projects in film, theater, and television.


    1. John A. Nieves has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Beloit Poetry Journal, American Literary Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and Mid-American Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an assistant professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.


    1. Recovering from ankle surgery--may or may not be able to attend/read. TBD.


    1. Alicia Thompson is the author of six books for children and young adults, and has had work appear in Narratively, Atlas Obscura, and The Billfold, among other publications. Her favorite Cranberries song is “Ode to My Family.”