Lighthouse Kudos

Cue the fireworks–our Lighthouse community continues to attract accolades for the work they’re putting in at the keyboard! We’ve had so much good news shared with us recently that we’re just going to jump right in.

A Rush of Honors

This spring held some incredible accolades for two of our Book Project mentors. Last month, when the Pulitzer Prizes were announced, we donned party hats for Vauhini Vara, who was a finalist in fiction for her debut novel, The Immortal King Rao. Weeks earlier, Erika Krouse traveled to New York to receive the Edgar Award in Crime Writing for Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Personal Investigation. Cheers, you two!

Back home, both writers kept the celebration going by winning top honors for their categories (fiction and creative nonfiction) at the Colorado Book Awards, along with anthology category winner Cynthia Swanson, editor of Denver Noir, which features Lighthouse instructors and members David Wanbli Heska Weiden, Erika Wurth, R. Alan Brooks, Twanna LaTrice Hill, Amy Drayer, and Mario Acevedo. Member Katherine Indermaur won the poetry category for I/I, and member Christina Holbrook won the romance category for All the Flowers in the Mountain. Christina shared, “One of the important resources that got me to the finish line with my novel was the class I took with Rachel Weaver.”

More Lighthouse Faculty News 

Elizabeth Robinson has a new book out, Excursive, from Roof Books. She also recently received a Pushcart Prize for her poem "Confession," which Publisher's Weekly described as "haunting."

Poetry and Nonfiction instructor (and Executive Director) Michael Henry’s new book, Mountain Biking the Colorado Trail, follows his adventures bike packing the Colorado Trail and offers tips to riders and armchair travelers alike. 

First Draft Lab instructor David Wroblewski delivered Familiaris, the much-anticipated prequel to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle to be published in June 2024 by Blackstone Publishing. Woot woot!

Relocated but not forgotten (and frequently teaching on Zoom), instructor Toby Altman’s new book Discipline Park drops this month. You can preorder now. 

Lighthouse Member Books 

Book Project graduates Theodore McCombs, Simone Stolzoff, and Jan Thomas all saw their books debut this May and June. Uranians, a collection of short stories by McCombs, was a bestseller at Lit Fest this year, and Stolzoff’s The Good Enough Job sold its first 10K copies in its first month out (and garnered 700+ reviews!). Jan Thomas read from her Middle-Grade novel Control Freaks at a recent Writing in Color Presents and had the crowd in stitches. Congrats to all three!

Former Young Writers Program director Megan Nix's memoir, Remedies for Sorrow, was published in April by Doubleday and is an Amazon Editors' Best Pick for Biographies and Memoirs and made People Magazine's Best Books of April. This is such a great read–check it out! Congrats, Megan!

Christina Rivera (Cogswell)'s debut book of essays, My Oceans—a collection of ecofeminist reflections from the confluence of motherhood and marine life—was selected as a finalist for the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature as well as longlisted for the 2022 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. My Oceans is forthcoming from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press in the spring of 2025. She also won a Pushcart Prize for her essay, "Two Breaths," published by The Kenyon Review in the July/August 2022 Issue, and won the John Burroughs 2023 Nature Essay Award. Yay, Christina!

Lit Fest attendee and Lighthouse member Kristin Koval sold her first novel, Penitence, in a pre-empt to Celadon Books. Watch for it to come out in 2025. Congrats! Meanwhile, Virginia Trench’s debut thriller, Our Secrets Were Safe, is going to be published by Holt Books at Macmillan in 2025! She worked on the novel in several Lighthouse classes and is so grateful for the support of this writing community. Eric Fretz’s novel, Groundswell, a surf/murder mystery, will be published by Belanger Press in November 2023.

Last month, Stephanie Harper relaunched a second edition of her award-winning novel Wesley Yorstead Goes Outside through Writing Brave Press. John Tinnell's new biography, The Philosopher of Palo Alto: Mark Weiser, Xerox PARC, and the Original Internet of Things, was published by the University of Chicago Press this May.

Marjorie Kay Nanian’s second children's book has been published by the Armenian Missionary Association of America. The Hero of Musa Dagh is a true story of six villages that went up the Mountain of Moses and resisted the Turkish army from slaughtering them, during World War I, for 53 days. Alison Turner's debut collection of short stories, Defensible Spaces, was released in February from Torrey House Press.

Melissa Manassee has just released the first book in her series, Curiocity Travel Guides. This first book focuses on Paris and emphasizes engagement and understanding through conversational prompts, activities, cultural guidance, and pre-and post-travel integration. Meanwhile, Steven H. Begleiter published his first novel, Leaving Cleveland, and Robert Dodge published his ninth nonfiction book, Fields of Fortune: 'Viking' Farmers In America. Congrats!

Lighthouse Member Publication and Prize Announcements 

Book Project members have had reasons to celebrate lately. Candice May had her story “The Ghost Skaters” published in the most recent issue of Ploughshares,” and Dara T. Mathis has had a reported essay, "A Blueprint for Black Liberation," published in the Atlantic! Janie Braverman's poem “Blue October” appeared in Unmissed; an excerpt from her experimental memoir, which she wrote in the Book Project, is also forthcoming in Persimmon Tree, whose editor called her work "harrowing and bold." Ladane Nasseri, a Book Project teaching fellow who will soon graduate, is enjoying a fellowship at MacDowell right now. Cheers to all!

Maria Zorn’s essay, “All True At Once,” revised in Melissa Sierra Alvarado’s CNF workshop, was published on Longreads in March. This was her first published piece. Lit Fest attendee Erin Greenhalgh is pleased to share her recently published piece “Treatment for Chronic Pain,” which was inspired by somatic EMDR therapy sessions and an experimental writing class led by Lighthouse instructor Richard Froude. 

Ona Marae's braided essay, “No Apologies Here,” appeared in the spring issue of Shooter Literary Magazine, a print journal based in the UK. Shawna Ervin's essay "Unmothered" was published in Sonora Review. She also had a poem, "U" published in American Literary Review. 

Madelyn Garner was a runner-up for The Humboldt Poetry Prize, awarded each year for work along environmental themes published in The Florida Review or Aquifer. She also recently published a set of poems in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and has more poems coming in Tar River Review and Sand Hill Literary Magazine.  

Deborah Kelly’s 2023 journal publications so far include poems in KHÔRA (The Ledge I and The Ledge II), PlantHuman Quarterly (Part Bloom Part Beast), and La Piccoletta Barca (Ruin) upcoming in April. LPB published her long-form, "Postcards to Ilya Kaminsky," in 2020, a finalist in this Competition Issue. 

In March 2023, Erica Reid's debut poetry manuscript, Ghost Man on Second, won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize and will be published by Autumn House Press in April 2024.

Petra Perkins won the Denver Woman's Press Club in-house writing contest: Plays/Scripts category with her entry “Surrender." She thanks Steve Almond for his memorable class in sex scenes! Petra's New York Times (Modern Love) Tiny Love Story, published in 2019, was also selected for their 2023 NY Times daily calendar (the February 14 page!). 

Adam Poor’s short story, “The Gutter Jesus,” was published in the Spring ‘23 issue of The Pinch. Robert Garner McBrearty's latest short story collection has been accepted for publication by the University of New Mexico Press. 
Diana Kurniawan has published over nine poems since March of 2023. Two of her poems will be included in a small indie press anthology, Indie Earth Books, titled Glow in June 2023.

Are you a Lighthouse member with good news to share? Please let us know by filling out our Kudos form. And thanks, everyone, for keeping us inspired!