Visiting Writer Jay Jennings is a fiction writer, journalist, and humorist, whose stories have appeared in many national literary journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sport Literate, Fields Quarterly, the Lowbrow Reader, the Oxford American, and Travel & Leisure. He is a regular contributor to the New York Time Book Review. He is a two-time MacDowell Colony fellow in fiction and a winner of a fiction grant from the Arkansas Arts Council for a novel-in-progress. His most recent project was editing Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany (out in fall of 2012 from Butler Center Books), a collection of the novelist's journalism, short fiction, and drama. Jennings nonfiction book, Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City was published by Rodale in 2010 and named and Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Jay was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he now lives.
Visiting Writer and Editor Heidi Julavits is the author of four novels, most recently The Vanishers. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, The New York Times, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. She's the recipient ofa Guggenheim Fellowship and a founding editor of The Believer Magazine. She teaches writing and literature at Columbia University.
Creative Writing Program Assistant Hope Coulter is a novelist and poet whose work has appeared in journals such as Spoon River Poetry Review, New Delta Review,Slant, and (forthcoming) Rattle. Her poem “The Last Joke” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2008. She is the author of two published novels, The Errand of the Eye and Dry Bones (August House, 1988 and 1990), and a children’s book, Uncle Chuck’s Truck (Bradbury Press, 1993). Other honors include Arkansas’s Porter Fund for Literary Excellence, the Short Story Award of Louisiana Life magazine, and a residency at the Dairy Hollow Writers’ Colony. A native of New Orleans, Hope grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana, and received her A.B. from Harvard University and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. She has taught creative writing at Hendrix since 1993.
Visiting Playwriting Instructor Werner Trieschmann, a 1986 graduate of Hendrix College, has published numerous plays, including Failing the Improv, You Have to Serve Somebody and Killers, which have been staged across the country. His monologues have appeared in The Best Women's Stage Monologues 1999 and Audition Arsenal for Women in Their 20s. He received first prize in the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans New Play Competition for his play Lawn Dart and was the first playwright to receive the Porter prize for outstanding achievement by an Arkansas writer. He has an M.F.A. in playwriting from Boston University. Trieschmann is a freelance writer and busy adjunct professor living in Little Rock with his wife and two wild but beloved boys.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Wenjia Liu teaches Chinese language and culture classes in the Department of Foreign Languages. She received a Ph.D. in 2010 and a M.A. in 2006 from the University of Oregon, while her bachelor's degree in 2003 is from Fudan University in China. Dr. Liu has taught at the College of the Holy Cross and at the University of Oregon. Her research interests include late imperial Chinese fiction, women and gender studies, Chinese contemporary literature and culture, and poetry from medieval and late imperial China period.
Murphy Visiting Theatre Director Virginia Smith will direct a student theatrical production of Jim Leonard's Anatomy of Gray. In this magical coming of age story, a doctor is thrust upon the town of Gray, answering the prayers of fifteen-year-old June Muldoon. Virginia Smith has just completed her 8th year as the Artistic Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. She is the head of Graduate and Undergraduate Directing at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and runs the M.F.A.Program in Directing for Stage and Screen. Her directing credits include God of Carnage, Church Basement Ladies,Vino Veritas, Santaland Diaries, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Metamorphoses, Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, Omnium Gatherum, Crimes of the Heart Dinnertime, The Voice of the Prairie, Romeo and Juliet, Ride Down Mount Morgan, Hamlet, Judevine, and Marisol. In addition to directing, Virginia has adapted former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's Local Wonders for the stage.