Our alumni remain part of our writing community after graduation and are invited to participate in events such as the alumni writing workshop and our MFA Readings, along with attending other literary events on campus. Alumni can also participate in our Student/Alumni Facebook group and may serve as editorial assistants on The Lindenwood Review.
Alumni of the Lindenwood University MFA in Writing Program include Fred Venturini, author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back; Lisa Haag Kang, author of Recombinant Loves; screenwriter Glenn Bruce; and many other writers who are publishing their work and using their writing skills as teachers, as editors, and in other writing-related careers.
Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. In 2014, his story "Gasoline" was featured in Chuck Palahniuk's Burnt Tongues anthology. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South. The Heart Does Not Grow Back, published by Picador in 2014, is his first novel. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter. Looking back on his time in Lindenwood's MFA in Writing program, Fred says:
"The Lindenwood MFA program allowed me to discover my voice and pushed my boundaries as a reader, writer, and artist. The intimate workshop environment helped me forge important relationships with fellow writers so that our critiques, beta reads, and development could continue beyond the classroom. Many have become lifelong friends. If I can recommend one skill for writers to develop, it's the ability to self-edit, and the MFA program develops this difficult skill as you learn not only what works and doesn't work, but the reasons, techniques, and tools that create those results. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without my experience in the Lindenwood MFA program."
Michael DeVault is a writer living and working in Nashville, Tennessee. A multi-published novelist and essayist, Michael’s nonfiction has appeared in regional and international publications, including BayouLife Magazine and Eclectica. His next book, a collection of personal essays titled Defying Gravity: Memories of an Unconscious State, is due out in early 2018.
"Choosing Lindenwood’s MFA program was the best decision I could have made. Throughout the course of study, I was able to work alongside and learn from other writers who were working to improve their craft, all under the guidance of some of the best professors a young writer could hope for. Each workshop contributed so much knowledge, so many new tools, and I developed the kinds of professional relationships that last a lifetime. Not only did the program make me a better writer, but it also made me a much better teacher, as well. Today, I’m proud to be a Lion, carrying on the practices I developed at Lindenwood in my own teaching career."
GLENN A. BRUCE
Glenn A. Bruce has an MFA in Writing, was associate fiction editor for The Lindenwood Review, and has published eight novels as well as two collections of short stories. He wrote the movie Kickboxer, as well as episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger and Baywatch. His short stories, poetry, and essays have been published internationally in Blue Crow (Australia), Alfie Dog (Great Britain), and Earthen Lamp Journal (India), as well as numerous American publications such as Flights (Sinclair College), RedFez (Illinois), Beat Poets of the Forever Generation (D.C.), and Carolina Mountain Life (right here in Boone!). Glenn recently won first place in the “Down and Dirty” short story contest at About That magazine, and was a finalist in the Defenstrationism annual short story contest two years in a row. He was final judge for the Brilliant Flash Fiction annual short story contest in 2016 and 2017. He has just finished two new novels, is rewriting a mini-series, and has begun two new novels, a screenplay, and is putting together two new collections of short stories. Glenn taught Screenwriting and Acting for the Camera at Appalachian State University for 13 years. Visit Glenn's website and Amazon author page for more info.
"I joined the MFA Writing program at Lindenwood in October of 2013 at the age of 61 with my goal of completing the program in one year—a task which turned out to be daunting as hell! In the second quarter, I began a divorce. In the third quarter, I fell and broke my back, spending a week in the hospital, doing my classwork with an I.V. in my arm. Despite all of that, I met my goal and earned my MFA with a 4.0., something of which I am extremely proud. But the reason I could accomplish this was due to the program and instructors. As I have always chosen alternative study programs, the program was perfectly tailored to my needs. And without that work to do, the “worst year of my life” would have been a lot worse! I had something to do that was both challenging and rewarding—and took my mind off my many troubles. Despite being entirely online, the instructors were all tightly engaged with the classes and students. As I had been a college professor myself for a decade, I was aware of the difficulties they faced with online instruction and wide variety of students. In all of the courses I took and complete, the professors were patient, informed, demanding, understanding, encouraging, and dedicated to imparting the specific knowledge associated with that course. At my age, having spent nearly a lifetime writing and teaching, I was impressed with their ability as a group, and individually, to convey the needs of the classes and keep up with all the students’ progress. It was one of the most difficult years of my life—certainly the most strident and demanding learning year of my life—but I was and am pleased that I found Lindenwood at a time when I needed such a program and that the program turned out to be such a perfect fit for me. I value the degree I earned."