We love it when April showers us with good literary news from our members.  It’s been a while, so this will be a big newsflash—more of a news tome. We begin with our usual caveat: having news about publications, awards, and honors, is always reason to celebrate, and we’re also hugely festive just knowing people are writing and reading and connecting. Three cheers for all.

It’s been a banner year for members and alums of the Book Project–so much greatness we’re whipping out the bullet list:

  • Jihyun Yun (BP class of ’23) has just signed a two-book deal in the US with Knopf, and the UK with Oneworld, with her first book, And the River Drags You Down, scheduled to release next spring.
  • Nini Berndt (’20 and current Lighthouse faculty) signed with Tin House Books for her debut novel, There Are Reasons for This, coming out next spring.
  • Simone Stolzoff (’22) sold his second book, tentatively titled Unknowing, to WW Norton. His debut, The Good Enough Job (Penguin Random House, 2023), sold and written during his time in the Book Project, went into multiple printings.
  • Jenny Dandy (’20) celebrates the publication of the first novel of her three-book deal, The Brownstone on E. 83rd, next week.
  • Kari Leibowitz’s (’23) book How to Winter comes out October 22 from Penguin.
  • Ted McCombs’s (’15) 2023 short story collection, Uranians (Astra House), is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.
  • Dara Mathis (current BP) was just honored with the prestigious American Mosaic Journalism $100K Prize for her powerful coverage of Black freedom movements, identity, and parenthood.
  • Jeanette Craigwell-Graham (current BP) has been awarded a summer fellowship at MacDowell. She’ll use the four-week residency to start revisions on her Book Project novel, which is a story of motherhood, monsters, and sexual discovery set in pre-independence Barbados.
  • Ladane Nasseri (BP ’23 and current Lighthouse faculty) also enjoyed a fellowship at MacDowell in the summer of 2023, and published a great interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Hisham Matar in Electric Literature.
  • Melissa Alvarado Sierra (BP ‘22 and current Lighthouse faculty) has a story, “My Bloody Socks,” in issue seven of the Atticus Review. Yay!
  • Julie Kim (Current BP) is a recipient a De Groot Courage to Write fellowship!
  • And other good news: Jeneé Skinner (BP ‘22 and current Post-Grad Year), saw her story “Mother Water, Mirror Mother” come out in Kenyon Review. Peter Hack (current BP) has a story, “At Least Once,” set to appear next month in swamp pink (formerly Crazyhorse).  Joan Burleson (BP ‘18) published her memoir, I Love You More, available on Amazon. Rosemary Jones (current BP), has a flash piece, “Nevermore,” and short interview up at The Forge Literary MagazineMaria Zorn (current BP) has an essay up in the winter edition of West BranchMary Catherine La Mar's (BP ‘18) short story, "Breathless (Overheard from a Grave in a Brattleboro, Vermont Cemetery)," was published in the quarterly "Blended and Beyond" series of JMWW. 

If you’re inspired by the good work being done in the Book Project, consider applying for the 2024–2026 class.


The poets tend towards metaphysical mastery but celebrate earthly successes too. Over the years, there have been some exciting collections coming out of the Poetry Collective, and we have a few updates here:

  • Sara Frances’s (PC ‘19) anthology, Voices Unplugged, featuring work by fellow PC grad Andrea Doray (PC ‘20) and Book Project director William Haywood Henderson’s foreword, is a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. 
  • Harriet Stratton’s (PC’19) collection, Ear to the Ground, came out in March from Finishing Line Press.


We know they’re great; you know they’re great; the world is showing they know how great the Lighthouse faculty is.

  • Three cheers for Amanda Rea, who was awarded a residency at Ragdale, and has published two short stories of late: "Wish In One Hand" in the January issue of The Missouri Review, and "Among Men" forthcoming in the Colorado Review later this year.
  • John Cotter’s short story, “The Galkhad Mines,” which he wrote in the old Lighthouse attic, came out in Prairie Schooner; and his essay about his father’s death, “Your Name is My Name,” has earned a Pushcart nomination. 
  • Book Project mentor Benjamin Whitmer’s latest novel, Dead Stars, comes out in France by Gallmeister.
  • Book Project mentor Erika Krouse, in addition to handing in her new collection, the forthcoming Save Me, Stranger, scored a great endorsement from the legendary Ann Beattie. 
  • Faculty member Joe Fassler’s debut novel, The Sky Was Ours, drops next week, April 23! Come celebrate at his launch event on April 26.
  • Longtime faculty Diana Khoi Nguyen returns to Denver to celebrate Root Fractures, her latest book, in a joint celebration (May 2) with Cindy Juyoung Ok, who just published a Yale Younger Poet Series book, Ward Toward
  • Wendy Chen’s novel, Their Divine Fires, comes out from Algonquin in May and will be featured at Lit Fest at the New Fiction Showcase, along with Joel Morris's All Our Yesterdays.
  • Faculty member David Wroblewski will join Wendy and Joel to celebrate his long-awaited follow-up to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, coming out during Lit Fest on June 11. He’s been racking up some pretty exciting praise, so please be sure to come hear him, Wendy, and Joel read at the June 7 New Fiction Showcase. You can pick up a copy a few days later at the Lit Fest bookstore.
  • Novel and memoir instructor John Cotter is a finalist in the nonfiction category for his memoir Losing Music.
  • Book Project mentor Vauhini Vara is a finalist for her short story collection This Is Salvaged. She was also recently written up for the DCPA production of her debut play!
  • Instructor Buzzy Jackson is a finalist in the historical fiction category for her novel, To Die Beautiful.


Going with the theory “good news raises all ships,” we’re shouting out these great feats from Lit Fest participants and year-round members:

  • Lit Fest attendee Amanda Churchill's debut novel, The Turtle House, came out in February 2024 from Harper Books. Moving between late 1990s small-town Texas to pre-World War II Japan and occupied Tokyo, The Turtle House was inspired by the life of her own grandmother and was actually first thought of as a “novel” on the writing bench on the staircase landing at the Lighthouse Race Street location. 

  • Lit Fest attendee Gerry Wilson’s debut novel, That Pinson Girl, came out in February as well from Regal House Press. Let February henceforth be known as Lit Fest Debut Month!

  • We enjoyed reading Lit Fest 2024 attendee Annabelle Allen’s piece, “Love Bug,” in The Audacity a few days ago.

  • Paige Kaptuch gave a shout out to Steve Almond’s 2023 Lit Fest workshop for the publication of her story “The Smokejumper” in the February issue of swamp pink (formerly Crazyhorse).

  • Member Jaclyn Eccesso was recently named runner-up for the 2023 Howard Frank Mosher Fiction Prize and her debut story “The Bad Mother” was published in Hunger Mountain Issue #29.

  • Member Wendy Egstat has had a series of wins lately: her poem "Attachment Theory" was published by Ghost City Review;  her poem, "Birthgiving," appeared in Eunoia Review. She’s followed up with several more poems coming out in Black Box and Emerge Literary Journal. Wow!

  • Longtime member Gail Lyn Hanson’s debut, The Palisades, was named 2023 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist. Amazing, Gail! 

  • Longtime member and poet Michal Rubin won the Unpublished Author Chapbook Contest: Cathexis Northwest Press. Her chapbook Home Visit was published January 2024. Her full collection, And the Bones Stay Dry, will be published by Muddy Ford Press in the fall of 2024.

  • Longtime member Mack Green's novel Frank's Bloody Books was published by April Gloaming Publishing a few months ago!

  • Writing in Color 2024 Fellow Katerina Jeng has a collection of poetry, Gospel of a Whole Sun, forthcoming from Andrews McMeel. Come celebrate her release with us next month!

  • And finally, member Constance E. Boyle's poetry book Liberties was published in February 2024 and is available at www.planbpress.com

Are you a Lighthouse member with news to share? Please let us know by submitting it here.