Faculty / Novel Retreat

The Novel Retreat is pleased to announce our 2019 faculty.

Connie May FowlerConnie May Fowler (Retreat Director, faculty, manuscript mentor) is the author of eight books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her 2017 memoir A Million Fragile Bones, was a finalist for the Clara Johnson Award for Women's Literature. Her novels include How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, The Problem with Murmur Lee, Remembering Blue (recipient of the Chautauqua South Literary Award), Before Women had Wings (recipient of the 1996 Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Buck Award from the League of American Pen Women), River of Hidden Dreams (recipient of a Florida Individual Artist Grant), and Sugar Cage. Her memoir When Katie Wakes was recognized as essential reading on the topic of family violence by domestic violence organizations across the United States. She is currently working on a novel-in-progress titled Stone by Stone.

Three of her novels have been Dublin International Literary Award nominees. She adapted Before Women had Wings for Oprah Winfrey. The result was an Emmy-winning film. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, London Times, International Herald Tribune, Japan Times, The Sun, Oxford American, Best Life, and elsewhere. Her work has been widely anthologized in the United States and abroad. 

From 1997-2003 she directed the Connie May Fowler Women Wings Foundation, an organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need. From 2003-2007 she served as the Irving Bacheller Professor of Creative Writing at Rollins College and directed their award-winning visiting author series Winter With the Writers. She is founder and director of the Yucatan Writing Conference and directs the VCFA Novel Retreat. She is a core faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing low residency program. 

Miciah Bay GaultMiciah Bay Gault's (manuscript mentor) debut novel Goodnight Stranger is forthcoming with HarperCollins in 2019. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Sun, Agni, The Southern Review, The Literary Review, and in the anthology Contemporary Vermont Fiction. Miciah was the editor of Hunger Mountain at Vermont College of Fine Arts for nine years, and she now coordinates the Vermont Book Award and teaches in VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program. She lives in Montpelier with her husband and three children.

Jeff KleinmanJeff Kleinman (literary agent in residence) is a literary agent, intellectual property attorney, and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, a New York literary agency which works with all of the major U.S. publishers (and, through subagents, with most international publishers). He’s a graduate of Case Western Reserve University (J.D.), the University of Chicago (M.A., Italian), and the University of Virginia (B.A. with High Distinction in English). As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn an incredible variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something—a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. His authors include the New York Times bestsellers The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Eighty Dollar Champion (Elizabeth Letts), The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist; Eowyn Ivey), Widow of the South (Robert Hicks), and Mockingbird (Charles Shields), among other books.

For more information about Jeff (including interviews, books sold, and so forth), please go to www.foliolit.com/jeffkleinman.

Robin MacArthurRobin MacArthur (manuscript mentor) lives on the hillside farm where she was born in Marlboro, Vermont. Her debut collection of short stories, Half Wild, won the PEN New England award for fiction, and was a finalist for the New England Book Award and the Vermont Book Award. Her debut novel, Heart Spring Mountain, was released in January 2018. 

Robin is also the editor of Contemporary Vermont Fiction: An Anthology and one-half of the indie folk duo Red Heart the Ticker, which has released four albums and been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. Robin is the recipient of two Creation Grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the founder and creative director of Wildwood Arts.

She has taught writing in various traditional and non-traditional settings for ten years; when not writing and teaching, Robin spends her time traipsing through the woods outside her back door with her big-hearted and half-wild children.

McCannRichard McCann (faculty, manuscript mentor) is the author of Mother of Sorrows, a work of fiction, and Ghost Letters, a collection of poems (1994 Beatrice Hawley Award, 1993 Capricorn Poetry Award). He is also the editor (with Michael Klein) of Things Shaped in Passing: More 'Poets for Life' Writing from the AIDS Pandemic.

His fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in such magazines as The Atlantic, Ms., Esquire, Ploughshares, Tin House, and the Washington Post Magazine, and in numerous anthologies, including The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 and Best American Essays 2000. He is currently working on a memoir, The Resurrectionist, which explores the experience and meanings of illness and mortality through a narrative exploration of his experience as a liver transplant recipient.

For his work, he has received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, Yaddo, The McDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, on whose Board of Trustees he served from 2000-2008. He also serves on the PEN Faulkner Foundation. He is a member of the Corporation of Yaddo and is a core faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing low residency program. Photo credit: Vincent Hurteau

Crystal WilkinsonCrystal Wilkinson (faculty, manuscript mentor) is an award-winning feminist poet, novelist, memoirist, and professor from Indian Creek, Kentucky. A founding member of the Affrilachian Poets Collective, she is currently Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Kentucky.

Wilkinson’s first book, Blackberries, Blackberries won the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature; her second book, Water Street, was a finalist for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award; her third book, The Birds of Opulence, won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, The Judy Young Gaines Prize for Fiction, The Appalachian Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award. Her work—fiction, poetry, memoir—has been widely anthologized and published in countless journals including most recently The Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She and her partner, Ron Davis, co-own and run the beloved independent bookstore, Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Lexington, Kentucky.