The Emory University Creative Writing Program will welcome two new postgraduate fellows to campus this fall. Cassie Gonzales was named the new Fellow in Fiction and Michael Marberry was awarded the Fellowship in Poetry. Both will hold a two-year appointment at Emory from fall 2017 to spring 2019.
“We are proud to have such great budding writers to join our ranks,” says Jericho Brown, associate professor of creative writing and English. “Both Cassie and Michael expand what we can offer students through their comprehensive understanding of international literature and love of the arts as a whole, such as visual art and music.”
Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Gonzales earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Oxford and has lived abroad for many years — most recently in Stockholm, Sweden.
“When I first got the email telling me that I had been selected for this fellowship I immediately burst into cry-laughing,” recounts Gonzales. “I couldn't even explain the good news to my husband; I just handed him my phone so he could read the email himself.”
Her writing has been published by or is forthcoming from “The Kenyon Review,” “Tin House Open Bar,” “The Letters Page,” “Granta Online,” “The Paris Review Online,” “Huizache,” “The Sonora Review” and “The Ploughshares Blog,” among others. Her drama has been staged by the University of Iowa, shortlisted by the BBC World Service and the British Councils’ International Radio Playwriting Competition, and performed on three continents.
Marberry is equally excited to join Emory in the fall.
“Given the program's excellent reputation in creative writing circles and the high quality of its faculty, it's certainly a humbling opportunity and a real honor,” he says.
Originally from rural Tennessee, Marberry is a Pushcart Prize recipient whose poems have been anthologized in “Best of the Net,” “The Southern Poetry Anthology” and “New Poetry from the Midwest” (forthcoming). His poetry has appeared in “New Republic,” “Sycamore Review,” “West Branch,” “Crab Orchard Review” and elsewhere.
The coordinator of the nonprofit Poets-in-Print Reading Series, Marberry has previously served on the staffs of publications including “Third Coast,” “The Journal,” “Black Warrior Review” and others. He has earned degrees from Ohio State University, the University of Alabama and Lipscomb University. Recently, he completed his doctorate at Western Michigan University, where his research interests included cine-poetics, comics and horror literature.
The Creative Writing Fellows program allows young writers with recent masters or doctoral degrees in creative writing to gain teaching experience, as well as time to finish a manuscript and submit it for publication. They teach three workshops per year.
As an instructor, Gonzales looks forward to introducing students to international writers they may not have been exposed to in their previous studies.
“I've lived abroad for many years and have met and worked with wonderful writers from many different countries, so one of my goals is to bring some of that international perspective into my classroom," she says. "I'm assigning readings from around the world, which I hope will decenter the 'Western' canon and give my students the confidence to read and write about people who are underrepresented in literature.”
Both fellows will take advantage of their time on campus to create new work, an opportunity that Marberry does not take lightly. “This fellowship will provide much-needed and hard-to-come-by time to work on new poetry, edit my manuscripts and continue my research, for which I’m deeply grateful," he says.
Gonzales plans to spend her time in Atlanta working on a piece of historical fiction set along the US/Mexico border. “I envision it as quite a big project,” she explains, “really unlike any writing I’ve attempted before.”
Gonzales and Marberry will give a free joint reading on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, as part of the Creative Writing Program Reading Series. Now in its 26th year, the Emory undergraduate Creative Writing Program allows students to approach the study of literature through their own creative writing, as well as by the more traditional method of critical analysis and reading.