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After graduating from VCFA, many of us hope to make the transition from student writer to published writer. But once the program ends, certain aspects of structure and community fall away, and recreating the connection to writing that we felt as students can prove elusive with the daily demands of a job and/or family responsibilities. Perhaps doubt and negative self-talk creep into our creative process, presenting more obstacles. In this panel, I will be in conversation with three amazing VCFA alums to discuss the external and internal challenges on their paths to publication. We’ll compare notes on balancing life with writerly ambitions, coping with rejection and starting over, finding a literary agent, getting a book deal, and taking the long view of publication and the writing life. There will be time for audience questions at the end. Please join us! 

Panelists: Mary Warren Foulk (W ‘20), Sharon Kurtzman (W ‘19), Laura Warrell (W ‘13)

Moderator: Anne Gimm (W ‘19)

Mary Warren Foulk

A 2020 graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Mary Warren Foulk (she/her) has been published in The Hollins Critic, Palette Poetry, Fjords Review, Silkworm, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and North American Review, among other publications. Her work also has appeared in Who’s Your Mama? The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers (Soft Skull Press), (M)othering Anthology (Inanna Publications), and My Loves: A Digital Anthology of Queer Love Poems (Ghost City Press). She has two award-winning chapbooks, If I Could Write You a Happier Ending (dancing girl press) and Erasures of My Coming Out (Letter) (The Poetry Box). Her newest collection, The Show Must Go On, was a finalist for the 2021 Gival Press Poetry Award, and the Inlandia Institute’s 2022 Hillary Gravendyk Prize, and a semi-finalist for the Word Works’ 2022 Washington Prize. It is forthcoming from Fernwood Press (Summer 2024).


Sharon Kurtzman

Sharon Kurtzman’s (W ‘19) historical novel, The Lost Baker of Vienna, is forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking in summer 2025. Sharon earned her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2019. She has worked as a freelance food writer with pieces appearing in INDY Week and South Writ Large. She is also a former blogger for The Huffington Post, a past contributor at BetterAfter50.com, and has been published in Hippocampus Magazine and the Raleigh News and Observer. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies and she’s had two pieces nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in North Carolina.


Laura Warrell

Laura Warrell (W ‘13) is the author of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, and long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Lit Hub, Los Angeles Review of Books, Huffington Post, and other publications. Laura graduated from the Creative Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and she has attended residencies at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop. She lives and teaches in Los Angeles.


Anne Gimm (W ’19) writes fiction and personal essays that explore questions of identity, history, memory and hope. She majored in English at Yale College, received her MA in International History at the London School of Economics, and practiced law for several years before leaving to care for her son with autism. She is a founding member of the Alumnx Advisory Council at VCFA, and her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Greenline North Brooklyn News, The Past Ten anthology and other publications. Born into a family of Korean War survivors, she now lives with her husband and children in Montclair, New Jersey. When she’s not working on her novel, she can be found growing dahlias or chasing her puppy in the park.


May 14
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT
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