Current MFA Students

Laura Birdsall is a first-year MFA student in fiction.  She grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA.  She likes movies and songs and Youtube.

Alicia Marie Brandewie is a first-year MFA student in poetry. She grew up in Wyoming, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. After earning her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Emory University, she spent just under a year studying and writing in the Texas panhandle. She is currently a poetry editor for Nashville Review.

Anders Carlson-Wee is a first-year MFA student in poetry.  He was a professional rollerblader before he studied wilderness survival and started hopping freight trains to see the country. He has traveled through the forests of the South, the cornfields of the Midwest, the prairies of the West, and the blue-hued mountains of Alaska, eating food out of dumpsters and trash cans to avoid getting a job. Last year he walked across Croatia and Bosnia through the Dinaric Alps, camping in the backyards of the farmers he met.  He went to Fairhaven College, where he designed his own degree entitled “Writing through the Body” and taught a course on poetry and the psychology of imagination. He is the winner of a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and his work has appeared in Best New Poets 2012. He is currently a poetry editor for Nashville Review.

Anne Charlton is a second-year MFA student in poetry. Born in Lafayette, Indiana, she grew up in Versailles, a small town in central Kentucky. She earned a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University and worked as a copy editor for Purdue’s daily student newspaper. Her work appears in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place and  Toad the Journal.  She is Community and Social Media Coordinator for Nashville Review.


Lee Conell is a second-year MFA student in fiction.  Raised in New York City, she graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Glimmer TrainLilith, the New York Times, and other publications. She won the 2013 Guy Goffe Means Prize for Fiction. She is the nonfiction editor for Nashville Review.

Cara Deesis a third-year MFA student in poetry. She studied English, Creative Writing, and French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Helen C. White Outstanding Senior Award. A former English teacher in southern France, she is currently an editor of poetry and the head editor of comics for Nashville Review. Her poems have appeared in The Journal and Muzzle Magazine.

Reid Douglass is a second-year MFA student in fiction. He grew up in Round Rock, Texas, and earned a BA in English from Texas A&M University. After that, he lived in Austin and worked for a non-profit military and veterans’ organization. He is a fiction editor of Nashville Review.

Simon Han is a first-year MFA student in fiction. He was born in China and grew up in Dallas, Texas. A graduate of Northwestern University, he worked the past two years in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he was a product manager of collectible Christmas ornaments. His writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. He is a fiction editor for Nashville Review.

Claire Jimenez is a third-year MFA student in fiction and Creative Writing Fellow at the Curb Center, where she is collaborating with the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center to run a writing workshop for people impacted by cancer. She was a Posse scholar at Colby College.  Then, after graduation in 2006, she returned home to New York City, where she spent several years teaching and coordinating activities for youth development agencies.  With a District of Cultural Affairs’ artist grant from the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island in 2010 and 2011, she established a youth arts council to map arts opportunities on the island and to host an open mic series for teenagers at the local library.  She is currently teaching a creative writing workshop on Death Row at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.

Edgar Kunz is a second-year MFA student in Poetry. A New England native, he earned his BA in English from Goucher College where he won the L. W. Reese Award and a Kratz Center Fellowship. Last year, he won an Academy of American Poets Prize (chosen by Thomas Lux). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bat City Review, Redivider, Passages North, Arcadia, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, and other places. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Nashville Review.

Marysa LaRowe is a third-year MFA student in fiction. She grew up outside Chicago, and completed her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has appeared in Southeast Review, Matchbook, Valparaiso Fiction Review and others. She is a fiction editor of Nashville Review.


Anna Silverstein is a first-year MFA student in fiction. She grew up in the Boston area and studied creative writing at Oberlin College. After college, she volunteered for six months in Peru and then worked for three years for the youth mentoring organization, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, in Boston. In addition to writing fiction, she enjoys translating prose and poetry from the Spanish. She is a fiction and nonfiction editor for Nashville Review.

Sara Strong is a second-year MFA student in poetry. Born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks, she earned a BA from the University of Missouri, where she studied creative writing, linguistics, and history. While there, she also worked as an editorial assistant at The Missouri Review. She is currently poetry editor of Nashville Review.


Simone Wolff is a first-year MFA student in poetry. She was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her interests include gardening, food, and cartoons.

Magdalena Zebracka is a second-year MFA student in fiction. Born in southeastern Poland, she grew up in Chicago and completed her B.A. in Psychology at Wellesley College in 2012.