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Current MFA Students

Chelsea Bowlby (Novello) is a fiction writer and a second-year MFA candidate. She holds a BA in English from The University of Michigan and lives in Nashville and California.





Elena Britos is a third-year MFA student in fiction from Portland, Maine. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2015, where she studied English. After graduation, Elena worked in trade book publishing and the college study abroad world. She is assistant editor of the fiction and comics sections of the Nashville Review.





Born in California, raised (mostly) in Texas, and now living in Tennessee, Courtney Brown is a poet and scholar, currently working on her MFA in Poetry and her Ph.D. in English Literature at Vanderbilt University. She previously studied literature and poetry at Rice University where she was also the editor-in-chief of R2: The Rice Review. Her poems have appeared in R2: The Rice Review and




Maria Isabelle Carlos is a poet from Columbia, MO. She was awarded the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship from the University of North Carolina, where she received her BA in English. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House Online, Pleiades, Sycamore Review, Cave Wall, Four Way Review, The Collagist,and elsewhere. She was a finalist for The Pinch Literary Award, the Palette Poetry Prize, and the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. She is a second-year MFA candidate in poetry at Vanderbilt University and editor-in-chief of Nashville Review.



Lara Casey is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction. She spent most of her childhood in Germany and holds a BFA in Theatre from Emerson College. Lara currently serves as assistant editor of the fiction and creative nonfiction sections of the Nashville Review.




Hayes Cooper is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry. He was born and raised in Nashville, and for the last decade has lived and studied in Massachusetts and North Carolina. Hayes serves as a reader of poetry and translations for the Nashville Review.





Joanna Currey is a third-year MFA candidate in poetry from Fairfax, VA. She earned a BA in English and Poetry Writing from the University of Virginia where she wrote mostly about plants, bodies, and religion. Joanna has served as the art editor and poetry co-editor for Nashville Review, and she hopes one day to record a pop/rock album, read every book she owns, and become a pretty good gardener.




Yi Jiang is a first-year MFA candidate in fiction from Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. For a few years, she worked as an engineer in healthcare software. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast and is forthcoming in Epoch.





Rebecca Kantor is a second-year MFA student in fiction from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from University of Southern California in 2013, where she studied creative writing, psychology, and film. After graduation, Rebecca worked as a verbal tutor in her hometown, then taught English to high school students in Madrid, Spain, for two years. Rebecca enjoys travel, dogs, and high-stakes trivia. She hopes to one day eat the perfect taco. She is editor of the fiction section of the Nashville Review.




Chris Ketchum is a poet from northern Idaho. He is a second-year MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University, where he serves as poetry co-editor for Nashville Review. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming inFive Points, Prairie SchoonerSheila-Na-Gig, and Alternating Current’s anthology Undeniable: Writers Respond to Climate Change. He was runner-up in the 2019 Pinch Literary Award in poetry.   



Jessica Lee is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry from Nevada City, California. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, THRUSH, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She earned a BA in English from Western Washington University and is currently an Assistant Poetry Editor for the Nashville Review. Find her online at




Hassaan Mirza is a second-year MFA student in fiction at Vanderbilt. Originally from Lahore, Pakistan, Hassaan graduated from Bowdoin College, where he studied English and Chinese. He serves as the editor of the creative nonfiction section and co-editor of the translation section for the Nashville Review.




Joshua Moore is a Nashville poet, and third year MFA candidate in poetry, at Vanderbilt University, where he serves as the 2019-2020 Curb Center Fellow. He formerly served as Co-Poetry editor and Comics editor for the Nashville Review. He is the Host/Producer of Nashville Public Radio’s Versify podcast, the winner of a 2018 Academy of American Poets University Prize, a scholarship recipient from The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and The Virginia Quarterly Review Writers’ Conference. He received his BA in English Writing with a minor in Biology Pre-Medicine, from Eureka College. He is a recipient of the Ronald W. Reagan Fellowship, and former editor of Impressions Literary Arts Journal. 


Madelin Parsley is a third-year MFA candidate in fiction from the panhandle of Nebraska. She earned her BA in English from Amherst College in 2015, and has served as nonfiction editor for the Nashville ReviewHer work has appeared in Narrative and is forthcoming in Ploughshares.






Kiyoko Reidy is a first year MFA candidate in poetry. She received the Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied philosophy and creative writing. She also served as the poetry editor for the Madison Review. Her work has appeared in the Berkeley Poetry Review, Driftwood Press, and elsewhere.




John Shakespear is a third-year fiction writer and musician from Cambridge, Massachusetts. His writing and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Grist, Afro-Hispanic Review, and Split Lip. He has served as co-editor-in-chief of the Nashville Review, and he bears no known relation to William Shakespeare.




Pallavi Wakharkar is a first-year MFA student in fiction. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, she studied English at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been supported by an Emerging Writer Fellowship from Aspen Words. She is an assistant fiction editor for the Nashville Review.