Faculty Bios


William J. Cobb is a novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer whose work has been published in The New YorkerThe Mississippi ReviewThe Antioch Review, and many others. He’s the author of five books of fiction: three novels—The Fire Eaters(1994), Goodnight, Texas (2006), and The Bird Saviors (2012)—and two books of stories, The White Tattoo (2002) and The Lousy Adult (2013). He has reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times, and lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Charlotte Holmes has directed the Creative Writing Program at Penn State since 2013. Her new collection of short fiction, The Grass Labyrinth, published in March 2016 by BkMk Press, received both the Gold Medal for the Short Story from the Independent Publishers Association (the IPPY) and the Gold Medal for the Short Story from Foreward magazine. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Antioch Review, Epoch, Grand Street, Narrative, New Letters, The New Yorker, and other magazines, and her poems in American Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, The Women’s Review of Books, and other journals. Her work has been cited for excellence in the O.Henry Prize Stories anthology, Best American Stories, and Best American Essays, and anthologized in After O’Connor: Contemporary Georgia Writers and in two volumes of New Stories From the South: The Year’s Best. The recipient of a Writer’s Exchange fellowship from Poets & Writers, she has also received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, two Pennsylvania Arts Council Fellowships, the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship, a travel fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and from Penn State, the George Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Stephanie J. Pavoucek Shields Faculty Award for the Mentoring of Women, the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Advising Award, and the College of Liberal Arts Award for Outstanding Teaching By Tenure-Line Faculty.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published three collections of poetry with the University of Pittsburgh Press, most recently Poetry in America.  Among the previous collections, Eve’s Striptease was named one of Library Journal‘s Top 20 Best Poetry Books of 1998, and Sleeping Preacher won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and the Great Lakes College’s Association Award for New Writing.   Her poems were awarded a 2009 NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize and appear in numerous anthologies. She thinks about the relationships writers have with the communities and places they come from and also those places they choose to inhabit. Past projects along these lines include a collection of essays, The Body and the Book:  Writing from a Mennonite Life, winner of the 2002 Book of the Year Award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and a monograph, Fixing Tradition:  Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American.  She has worked on new editions of Yoder’s 1940 local color classic Rosanna of the Amish, which is set in Centre and Mifflin Counties and Fred Lewis Pattee’s The House of the Black Ring, set in Centre County.  With Michael Tyrell she co-edited the anthology, Broken Land:  Poems of Brooklyn, published by NYU Press. And with photographer Steven Rubin, she has created a poetry collection to document the impacts of natural gas development in Pennsylvania, titled Shale Play, which will be published by Penn State University Press in fall 2018.

Elizabeth Kadetsky  is the author of a story collection, The Poison that Purifies You (C&R Press, 2014); a novella, On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World (Nouvella, 2015); and a memoir, First There Is a Mountain (Little Brown, 2004). Her short stories have been chosen for a Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, and two Best American Short Stories notable citations, and her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Santa Monica Review, Antioch Review and elsewhere. She has been a fellow at MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the St. James Centre for Creativity in Malta. A 30-year practitioner of Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga, she lived in India as a Fulbright scholar and wrote a memoir about her studies with the yogi BKS Iyengar.

Originally from Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of five books of poetry, published in the US and UK: MadwomanThe Face of Water: New and Selected PoemsThis Strange LandSong of Thieves, and The Water Between Us. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks in the US, UK and other parts of Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Israel and have been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Dutch, and Turkish. Her personal essays appear regularly in print and online. Recognition for her writing includes a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry, and other awards. From 2003-2017 she was the Director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.

Toby Thompson is the author of five books, including Metroliner, Positively Main Street: Bob Dylan’s Minnesota, Saloon and The ’60s Report. He has written for publications as diverse as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Gray’s Sporting Journal, GQ, Men’s Journal, Sports Afield, Playboy, Outside, Big Sky Journal, Western Art & Architecture, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.  He teaches creative nonfiction at Penn State University and lives in Livingston, Montana, and Cabin John, Maryland.


Skip to toolbar