Tusculum Writing Student & Alumni News

Students graduating from the Writing Program at Tusculum have been accepted into first-rate graduate programs with excellent financial aid packages, full tuition waivers, fellowships, and teaching assistantships, including (but not limited to): Washington University in St. Louis, Chatham University, Columbia College (Chicago), the University of Mississippi, the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Central Arkansas, the California Institute for the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois University, Florida International University, the University of Memphis, the University of Tampa, East Tennessee State University, Lincoln Memorial University, Milligan College, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Georgia College. Other students have followed up their undergraduate work with study in other areas of personal interest ranging from mortuary science to massage therapy.

Some of our students have taken teaching positions around the world; students of our program have acquired jobs teaching English in the US, Chile, South Korea, and China.

Many of our students have won national awards for creative writing (including the National Book Award), have published books and chapbooks, and have published work in respected literary journals.

Visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TusculumUniversityEnglish/.

Fall 2018 News & Highlights


Justin Phillip Reed accepts the National Book Award for Poetry. Credit: Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

Reed accepts the National Book Award for Poetry. Photo credit: Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed (2013) has been named WINNER of the 2018 National Book Award: Poetry. For more about Reed and his work, visit his website.

David Roncskevitz (2011) is in the MFA program in fiction at Columbia College in Chicago, where he recently accepted a full-time position working as a Conaway Achievement Program Project Advisor. David says he has just finished work on his thesis, “the first draft of a novel following a man who’s recently suffered a tragedy, praying for the end of the world so he can reclaim dominance over his family. The year is 1999.”

David Roncskevitz ('11)

David Roncskevitz (’11) tunes Patti Smith’s guitar

A poem by Jennie Frost (2016)–“Body as Updated Return Address”–was nominated by Crabfat Magazine for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.

After teaching in Chile, Joshua K (2012) moved to Chicago to complete his MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Focusing on translation and print media, Joshua explored themes of memory and the biological breakdown of man-made structure in his mixed-media works. Joshua has exhibited his works in an assortment of locations around the Chicagoland area, including Sullivan Galleries and the Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection, among others. His thesis work focused on how terror following disaster is processed and revisited. Joshua has published images of his works both print and online in a variety of locales ranging from promotional materials to zines and newspapers. Several of his books have been purchased by–and are available for viewing in–the permanent collections of the Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection and the John M. Flaxman Library. Joshua frequently guest lectures at the Art Institute of Chicago on topics ranging from ‘Monumentalization’ to ‘Translation as Transference’ and ‘Writing as Visual Art’. Joshua serves as a guest curator and performer for HI Typ/o Salon.

Junior Rachel Swatzell’s poem—“The Abyss of the Nineties“—will be published in an upcoming issue of The Blue Route.

On November 16, junior River Donnelly represented TU’s Andrew Johnson Society Debate Club in the Porch Swing XII forensics tournament sponsored by Berry College & Carson–Newman University. Writing Program Coordinator Heather Elouej served as a debate judge. Competitors attended from Walters State, Murray State, Texas Southern, Covenant, Tennessee Tech, and elsewhere.

Junior Rachel Swatzell was commissioned to write a poem to honor Tusculum University’s 2018 Homecoming. Swatzell’s poem, “Homecoming or Coming Home” was read by the Provost, Dr. Madison Sowell, to an audience of TU alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.

Jonathon Dennis (2017) earned a Master of Human Resources & Talent Development from Tusculum University. Dennis says, “On October 11, 2018, my wife and I welcomed our daughter, Lyla, to the world. I am currently looking for an illustrator for my first children’s book, so if any of you would like to get a head start on getting your professional illustration career started, let me know.”

Summer 2018 News & Highlights

Carnes White (2015) now works as a government account representative in federal IT sales at Carahsoft in Reston, VA outside of DC. ​

Andrew R. Baker (2013) secured a position with Southern Health Partners as a proposal writer. Of his new job, Baker says, “Guess I can finally put that degree to good use.”

Katie Pittser Messer (2010) earned an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University with a 4.0 GPA. Katie is starting her third year as a high school English teacher at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School in Gatlinburg, TN. This will be her fourth year with the Sevier County Board of Education, as she started as a TA for Special Education.

Charlene Danielle Garner (2017) landed an internship with Martin Olsen, who is running for Tennessee’s First Congressional District. Of her work with the campaign, Garner says: “I, along with fellow interns, will be assisting the campaign manager, the candidate, and other members of his campaign with canvassing, working on press releases (especially as the manager writes them), and networking with the public. What qualified me for the job was working/studying with The Tusculum Review.”

Alec Cunningham ('15)

Alec Cunningham (’15)

Alec Cunningham (2015), set out on tour with the band Silent Rival as Tour Manager. Cunningham worked for over three years at a venue in Knoxville called the Open Chord and booked Silent Rival there. “Their manager used to manage quite a few big bands—My Chemical Romance, The Used, Tracy Chapman, Circa Survive, etc. He called me up and said the band asked for me as their tour manager, and I said yes. They’re from LA, so we fly out there Tuesday, then head to Phoenix, TX, back east, and all through the US. Then we head to Europe later this year and might be working with a few other big bands as well. I’m incredibly excited to get out and travel more,” says Alec.

Spring 2018 News & Highlights

Jennie Frost ('16)

Jennie Frost (2016)

Kristen Wiggins ('18)

Kristen Wiggins (2018)

Kristin Wiggins will start the Master of Arts in History program at ETSU in the fall.

Rebekah Voiles (2018) will start the Master of Arts in English program at ETSU in the fall.

Macy French (2017) will start the Master of Education program (with a K-5 endorsement) at Milligan College this summer.

Jennie Frost is serving on two panels at the AWP conference in Tampa on March 8th & 9th: Deep-Fried Mic: Running Reading Series and Building Literary Community Down South and I Pledge Allegiance to More Than Myself: Literary Citizenship in the Classroom.

Justin Phillip Reed was featured in The Academy of American Poets’s Poem-a-Day series: “About the Bees”.

Ryan Barker (2015) was offered a tuition scholarship in the history graduate program at ETSU, which covered his tuition in exchange for working eight hours a week for the history department. During that time, he assisted a professor with a US history survey and updated the university’s Africana Studies website. Starting this semester Barker was offered a Graduate Assistantship, which comes with tuition remission as well as a $6,400 annual stipend. In exchange, he works 20 hours a week for the department. He is assigned to work under the same professor (except this semester he is helping with her history of Africa course and still updating the Africans Studies website). He says his writing studies at Tusculum continue to help him in his graduate work at ETSU.

The 2018 Curtis Owens Awards recipients were chosen by Ethel Morgan Smith: graduating senior Rebekah Voiles (honorable mention, nonfiction), sophomore Rachel Swatzell (winner, poetry), graduating senior Tyler Brown (honorable mention, poetry), senior Taylor Rose (winner, nonfiction), sophomore Jazmyn Bishop (winner, fiction), and graduating senior Kristen Wiggins (honorable mention, fiction).

Sophomore Rachel Swatzell was honored at the Andrew Johnson Women’s Club Scholarship Luncheon. Swatzell was asked to give a speech about her plans for the future, as she was chosen as a scholarship recipient.

Abby (Wolfenbarger) Hill (2012) has been hired as a career advisor for Walters State Community College, where she guides students to determine and attain their educational and career goals and aids her colleagues in campus events.

Fall 2017 News & Highlights

Zach Gass ('17)

Zach Gass (2017)

Rebekah Voiles

Rebekah Voiles

Graduating senior Charlene Garner has been accepted to the MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Tampa.

Junior Jacob Jordan has been admitted to the KEI Study Abroad program; during the Spring 2018 semester, Jordan will take creative writing and literature courses in Australia at Griffith University.

Poetry by Justin Phillip Reed (2013) will appear in the anthology Bettering American Poetry Volume 2, edited by Kaveh Akbar, jayy dodd, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Muriel Leung, Camille Rankine, and Michael Wasson.




Hannah Berling (2016) moved to Knoxville, Tennessee back in May for a paid internship with The Tombras Group, an independent advertising agency. By the end of July, Berling was promoted to a full-time assistant account executive position; she currently works on a large account with Carolinas HealthCare System.

Senior Macy French’s poems — “Irreducible in This Space” & “If Sylvia Plath Were Southern” — have been accepted for publication in the October 2017 issue of Lady Blue Literary Journal.

Zach Gass (2017) accepted a position writing for Disney Fanatic. Read his latest piece here.

Read poetry by  Jennie Frost (2016) in the Fall 2017 issue of Border Crossing.

Senior Macy French’s poems –“Siri the Party Girl” & “Pondering the Rooks”– have been accepted for publication by Gravel Magazine (University of Arkansas at Monticello).

Jennie Frost (2016) has been named one of twelve finalists in the 2017 reading period/contest at Hyacinth Girl Press for her poetry chapbook, Where Men Go to Cry. Frost started her first semester in the MFA writing program at Ole Miss this fall.

Senior Rebekah Voiles was named McNair Scholar and will begin research this semester. Voiles is the fourth McNair scholar to come out of the English department in recent years, following Danielle Armstrong (2012), Matt Pierce (2017) and senior Kiah McIsaac, who was a McNair Scholar last academic year.

Brittany Nicole Connolly Purchase ('13)

Brittany Nicole Connolly Purchase (2012)

Brittany Nicole Connolly Purchase (2012) received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Tampa.

Spring 2017 News & Highlights

Jennie Frost ('17) at Ole Miss

Jennie Frost (2016) at Ole Miss

Jennie Frost has committed to the University of Mississippi’s MFA program in creative writing. Frost has been awarded a full ride/assistantship to attend the graduate program at Ole Miss.

Curtis Owens Awards winners with judge Ada Limón

2017 Curtis Owens Awards winners with judge Ada Limón

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Tusculum College Curtis Owens Awards for literary achievement (as chosen by the inimitable Ada Limón). Senior Emily Waryck (English, Creative Writing & Literature) won in the nonfiction, fiction, and poetry categories, and junior Macy French (English, Creative Writing & Honors) took home the prize for drama.

Joseph Borden (2013) has been named Editor for Broken Ribbon: A Journal of the Arts.


Justin Phillip Reed (2013) is featured in the Spring/Summer 2017 43.2 issue of Black Warrior Review.

Winter 2016 News & Highlights

Justin Phillip Reed (2013) is the December 2016 Featured Artist for The Blueshift Journal.

Justin Phillip Reed (2013) has been selected as runner-up for the 2016 Iowa Review Awards. Brenda Shaughnessy writes, “Could there be more crucial questions than the ones posed by this beautiful poet? I feel I am in the presence of a mind that not only loves words, needs them, but can bend and shape them toward his love and his need, toward what we need to hear. Every decision this poet makes is sound, is powerful, and as powerfully surprising as it is blood-essential, familiar the way the sound of our hearts breaking is familiar.”

Junior Macy French was named Editorial Intern at Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, Tenn.

Read a poem by Jennie Frost (2016) in Stirring: A Literary Collection, Vol. 19 Ed. 1.

Read an interview with Justin Phillip Reed (2013) at Howlarium“Living Your Truth: A conversation with Justin Phillip Reed”.

Read a poem by Justin Phillip Reed (2013) in the Nashville Review.

Fall 2016 News & Highlights

Joyce Carol Oates names Justin Phillip Reed’s essay “Killing Like They Do in the Movies” as a must-read from the book she’s “most thankful for”: Best American Essays 2016 edited by Jonathan Franzen. Her glowing recommendation appears in 16 Famous Writers Told Us About The Book They’re Most Thankful For”.

Macy French ('18)

Macy French

Two poems by Macy French — “Succulent in the Window” & “Lunch is Over at Summer Camp” — have been accepted for publication in the 2017 issue of Mochila Review. French’s poem — “Outdoor Funeral” — has been accepted for publication in The Oakland Arts Review.

Visit his website and then read a Ploughshares interview with Justin Phillip Reed (2013): “What Does Your Liberation Look Like?: Conversation with Liz Mputu and Justin Phillip Reed”.

Jennie Frost (2016) will have the poem — “Quiet in the Maternity Ward” — and the story — “The Runner” — published by Mochila Review. Her poem — “Noe Says Fuck It” — has been accepted for publication by Indica: A Journal Curating Literary Arts. Frost’s poem — “Everyone Else Is Out Having Fun” — will appear in Sink Hollow.

Parker Wright ('19)

Parker Wright

Parker Wright is now writing for The Odyssey. She was recently named Editor-in-Chief for Tusculum’s Odyssey team.

Jennie Frost (2016) presented in a panel — “Writing the Queer South” — at the 10th Annual Western Maryland Independent Literature Festival at Frostburg State University’s Center for Literary Arts. Frost has also been invited to read with Erin Elizabeth Smith & Emily Capettini as part of the ongoing collaborative poetry reading series — “Impossible Language” — hosted by Crosstown Arts in Memphis, Tenn.

Jennie Frost ('16)

Jennie Frost (2016)

Jennie Frost has been invited to serve as Guest Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection (October 2016). Her poem — “Noe Tries to Keep It Cool” — has been accepted for publication in Glass Mountain.


Justin Phillip Reed (2013) has accepted the position of Public Engagement Coordinator for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Reed’s A History of Flamboyance is now available from YesYes Books.

Jennie Frost (2016) presented in a panel — “Writing in the Appalachian Margins” — at the James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts at Pellissippi State.

Danielle Armstrong (2012) wrote “Life After the MFA: Diversification” for the University of Central Florida’s MFA blog.

David Roncskevitz ('11)

David Roncskevitz (2011)

David Roncskevitz now attends the MFA program in Fiction at Columbia College in Chicago.



Summer 2016 News & Highlights

Andrew Baker (2013) published “It’s not summer in Tennessee until these 11 things happen” in Matador.

Lulu McGeorge ('14)

Lulu McGeorge (2014)

Lulu McGeorge (2014) has been named Administrative Director of the Business Development Center at Ted Russell Nissan of Knoxville, Tenn. McGeorge schedules appointments and manages retention within service and sales between the Nissan and Mitsubishi dealerships. She works regionally with other BDCs in her dealer family. McGeorge is on track to win “Rookie of the Year” at her state-wide sales conference.

Jennie Frost has received a scholarship to attend a creative writing workshop in Auvillar, France. The week-long workshop — “O Taste and See: Writing the Senses in Deep France” — will focus on poetry writing that celebrates the sensory joys of being in Southwest France and will include a wide variety of cultural immersion experiences.

Spring 2016 News & Highlights

Justin Phillip Reed’s first book of poetry — Indecency — has been acquired by Coffee House Press for publication in 2018. 

Jonathan Franzen selected Justin Phillip Reed’s essay “Killing Like They Do in the Movies” for Best American Essays 2016.

Ben Sneyd (2013) graduated from the MFA program in Creative Writing at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Jennie Frost will have the poem “בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית” published by Anomaly Literary Journal this spring, and two poems — “13 ways to properly dispose of childhood” & “like linen on a line” — have been accepted for publication by Kudzu Literary Magazine, an Appalachian journal, on April 28; the theme of the Kudzu issue is Women in Appalachia.

Justin Phillip Reed ('13)

Justin Phillip Reed (2013)

Justin Phillip Reed was featured in the PEN Poetry Series by guest editor Dawn Lundy Martin. About Reed’s work, Martin writes: “To be re-born inside these poems of chasm is a rigor not quietly undertaken. Justin Phillip Reed undoes the sonnet’s deep organization with the violent abandon of a boy become object in the stink of rapture. A ripping of form occurs. A cataclysm of self. And what do we find in these body ruins? I, for one, hear the hunt of masculine desire beating through — familiar, a known place — calling like a rustling of trees in night’s black thought. These poems at once trouble this bringing forth and grieve the ‘softness’ become ‘satchel.’ Indeed, how do we ever re-gather ourselves? When I read these poems by Reed, I’m left energized, bereft, and altered. They will forever live in my imagination.”

Kristen Wiggins ('19)

Kristen Wiggins



Kristen Wiggins has been accepted to the Irish American Scholars program. She will attend Queen’s University Belfast in Fall 2016.

Ben Sneyd (2013) was selected to represent the CalArts MFA program in the Writing Our Future reading at the LA Public Library, which features readers from all the MFA programs around the Los Angeles area.

Macy French was named to the Tusculum College President’s Society.

Sarah Holly ('16), Makenna Lewis, and Kristen Wiggins ('19)

Sarah Holly (2016), Makenna Lewis (’16) & Kristen Wiggins

Sarah Holly & Kristen Wiggins donated writing, editing, and design work in service to the Greeneville-Greene County TN Humane Society.




Judge Eric Lundgren read at Tusculum College — along with Meagan Cass — and announced his selections for the Curtis Owens Literary Prizes. Jennie Frost won the fiction category. Sarah Holly won the nonfiction category. Emily Waryck won the poetry category. Honorable mentions for nonfiction went to Austen Herron and Tyler Brown. Honorable mentions for poetry were Sarah Holly & Jennifer Frost. Honorable mentions in fiction went to Emily Watson & Emily Waryck.

Hannah Berling ('16)

Hannah Berling (2016)




Hannah Berling (2016) accepted a creative direction and branding internship with the strategic communications and storytelling firm Fallon Thatcher in Cincinnati, working closely with the founder and creative storyteller Micah Paldino. About this opportunity, Berling says, “The creative writing background I acquired at Tusculum, along with the wide range of exposure I’ve had to visual fields in studio classes, helped me get noticed initially. It seems companies want someone who can write and think creatively, which makes them more able to develop creative solutions. I’m excited to get into the fashion world and learn about creative direction and public relations.”

Macy French’s poem — “Nature and Nurture in Binary” — has been accepted for publication in the Sucarnochee Review.



Jennie Frost, Sarah Holly, Macy French, Emily Watson, & Emily Waryck, traveled to Hollins University in Roanoke, VA to attend the Lex Allen Literary Festival. Sarah HollyMacy French, Jennie Frost, & Emily Waryck were honored as finalists in the festival’s literary contest for poetry; their work was discussed in front of an audience by a panel of esteemed poets, & Macy French’s poem “Nature and Nurture in Binary” was selected for the runner-up prize by poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa.

Attendees of the 56th Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival at Hollins University (from left to right): Emily Waryck (finalist), Emily Watson, Sarah Holly (finalist), Jennie Frost (finalist), & Macy French (runner-up winner).

Attendees of the 56th Annual Lex Allen Literary Festival at Hollins University (from left to right): Emily Waryck (finalist), Emily Watson, Sarah Holly (finalist), Jennie Frost (finalist), & Macy French (runner-up winner).

Emily Waryck published the poem — “Purgatory” — in the “A Haunting” issue of Sediments Literary-Arts Journal.

Cynthia Conte ('15)

Cynthia Conte (2015)

Cynthia Conte‘s essay — “Stalking Jo Ann Beard” — was published in the literary journal, Connotation Press.

Winter 2015 News & Highlights

Cynthia Conte published a poem — “Concussed” — in the literary journal, The Blue Route.

Lulu McGeorge (2014) was named Head of Marketing at Powell Animal Hospital in Powell, Tenn.

Matthew Pierce has had two poems — “Flask and Funnel Set” & “Him Who Eats Time” — accepted for publication by Big Muddy.

Justin Phillip Reed (2013) has new work published in issue 15 of phantom.

Emily Waryck published two poems — “Drown” & “Weathered” — in Frontier Magazine.




Fall 2015 News & Highlights

Hannah Berling has been hired as Graphic Design Intern for the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) in Knoxville, Tenn. 

Justin Phillip Reed (’13) was featured in “Paris is Still Burning”, a poetry reading and performance showcasing contemporary LGBT poets of color, in Miami.

Joseph Borden ('15)

Joseph Borden (2015)

Joseph Borden (’15) has been hired as Special Projects Coordinator for American Blackguard, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. Of his new job, Borden says, “The best part is that I’m actually using skills you guys taught me.”

Justin Phillip Reed (’13) was nominated for Sundress Press’s Best of the Net Anthology for a poem published in Muzzle Magazine.

Matthew Pierce was awarded an Advanced Research Fellowship in honor of his work as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.

Jennie Frost was promoted to Staff Director at Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) in Knoxville, Tenn.


Macy French published a poem — “Deviled Eggs” — was accepted for publication by the poetry journal, These Fragile Lilacs. French’s poem — “Germination” — has been accepted for publication in Abbreviate Journal.

Danielle Armstrong ('12)

Danielle Armstrong (2012)

“Elliot Goodacre Survives the Flood” by Danielle Armstrong (’12), a finalist in the January 2015 Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction contest, recently appeared in border crossing literary journal. Armstrong, a recent graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Central Florida where she was a McNair Fellow, has published three short stories from her thesis in border crossing, riverSedge, and the 2015 Savannah Anthology. Armstrong was hired with Performance Technical Documentation Services, Inc., where she has been placed on-site at Epcot; she works with Disney on sustainment in the Department of Technical Publications, updating maintenance manuals for the various attractions at Epcot Theme Park.

Andrew Baker ('13)

Andrew Baker (2013)

Andrew Baker (’13), whose micro essay — “Iron Man” — was published by Cactus Heart Press, served as guest editor for Wuxi Life magazine and The Shanghaiist. Baker recently earned TEFL certification with specializations in Teaching Business English, Teaching Oral Comprehension, Teaching Young Learners, and Teaching One-on-One. He is currently enrolled in MatadorU’s Travel Writing program.

Summer 2015 News & Highlights

Jennifer Frost’s poem — “This South” — will be published in Sundress Publications’ print anthology Political Punch, due out in February of 2016. Frost also received a fellowship to attend the Sundress Academy for the Arts workshops after her poem — “For the Birds” — was selected to be performed in the OUTSpoken program in Knoxville, Tenn. 

Cynthia Conte ('15)

Cynthia Conte

Cynthia Conte’s poem — “Number three star: Fast years” — was published in the literary journal, Really System.

Justin Phillip Reed (’13) has received a third-year fellowship and has been named the Jr. Writer-in-Residence in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. YesYes Books will release his first chapbook, A History of Flamboyance, in 2015. Reed’s poems have recently been published in Anti-Rattle, Boston ReviewConnotation Press, joINT.pluck!Muzzleand Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. He will read his work at the River Styx reading series on August 17 in St. Louis.

Emily Waryck ('17)

Emily Waryck






Emily Waryck’s poem — “Purgatory” — will be published in the literary journal, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, in October 2015.

Macy French’s poem — “Gethsemane” — was accepted for publication by the new poetry journal, These Fragile Lilacs.

Matthew Pierce ('16)

Matthew Pierce


Matthew Pierce was awarded a Ronald McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program Summer Pre-Research Internship at East Tennessee State University. Pierce presented on his project–“Words as Social Power”–on July 13, 2015 at ETSU.

Autumn Reynolds ('15)

Autumn Reynolds (2015)









Autumn Reynolds (2015) was hired by EPIK (English Programs in Korea) to teach in Chungnam Province, South Korea. She leaves for Korea on August 16.

Ryan Barker ('15)

Ryan Barker (2015)



Ryan Barker (2015) has accepted a position at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina as a Communications Specialist. He starts on August 17.

 Spring 2015 News & Highlights

Essayist Julija Ŝukys gave a reading at Tusculum College in which she announced the winners of the Curtis Owens Literary Prizes. Jennie Frost won in the poetry and drama categories. Carnes White won in the fiction category. Cynthia Conte (’15) won in the nonfiction category. Honorable mentions in fiction were Laine Callahan and Sarah Holly. Honorable mention for nonfiction was Sarah Holly. Honorable mention for poetry was Emily Waryck.

Creative Writing majors Jennie Frost, Cynthia Conte, Tyler Jinks, Sarah Holly, Matt Pierce, Joshua Fuller, Emily Waryck, & Autumn Reynolds traveled to Hollins University in Roanoke, VA to attend the Lex Allen Literary Festival. Jennie Frost was honored as a finalist in the festival’s literary contest for poetry; her work was discussed in front of an audience by a panel of esteemed poets.

Alum Justin Phillip Reed (2013) read with poet Susan O’Dell Underwood at the Old Oak Festival Tusculum Review Launch on Thursday, April 16.

Poet Brent House & fiction writer Charles Dodd White read with the Curtis Owens Literary Prize winners (Cynthia Conte, Jennie Frost, & Carnes White) during the Old Oak Festival on Saturday, April 18.

News & Highlights

Justin Phillip Reed ('13)

Justin Phillip Reed (2013)

Justin Phillip Reed (2013) attends the MFA program in creative writing (poetry) at Washington University in St. LouisReed’s poem, “The Saints Look On La Sagrada Familia,” was selected as winner of the 2013 Lex Allen Literary Festival Poetry Award. Reed’s poems, “Apotropaic of Induced Insiration” and “Apotropaic of Sameday,” were published by Glass Mountain literary journal. Reed’s “Winter Poem” was published in Mangrove and was subsequently selected to be anthologized in plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2012Reed’s  “Apotropaic of Giving Roadhead” appears in the Tribute to Southern Poets Issue of Rattle (March 2013). Reed’s poems, “Testimony” and “What Reconciles Us,” were published in the July 2012 issue of EduceReed’s poem, “Everyone Down Here is Pretty,” was selected by Natasha Trethewey, David Huddle, and Jeanne Larsen as runner-up for the 2012 Lex Allen Literary Festival Poetry Prize at Hollins University. Connotation Press will publish two of Reed’s poems, “The Locusts of Control” and “The Waking Sex of Brom Bones.” The Tusculum Review published Reed’s impressive review of Carl Phillips’ Speak LowTusculum College’s alumni magazine published Reed’s feature on using social networking in the classroom.

Ben Sneyd (2013) attends the MFA program in creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts. Sneyd’s poems, “what you’ve done here,” “We Were Nuclear, Darling,” and “Drunk in the City, Remembering Home,” were published in Burningword Literary JournalSneyd’s short story, “Riding Reflections,” was named runner-up for the 2013 Lex Allen Literary Festival Fiction Award.  His poem, “We Were Nuclear, Darling,” was selected as a finalist in the poetry category. Sneyd’s short story, “Guarding Charlene,” was published in Spry Literary Journal.

Ben Sneyd (2013) attends the MFA program in creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts. Sneyd’s poems, “what you’ve done here,” “We Were Nuclear, Darling,” and “Drunk in the City, Remembering Home,” were published in Burningword Literary JournalSneyd’s short story, “Riding Reflections,” was named runner-up for the 2013 Lex Allen Literary Festival Fiction Award.  His poem, “We Were Nuclear, Darling,” was selected as a finalist in the poetry category. Sneyd’s short story, “Guarding Charlene,” was published in Spry Literary Journal.

 Austen Herron’s short story, “Vigilar,” was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Lex Allen Literary Festival Fiction Award.

Noelle Rankin (2013)

Noelle Rankin’s short story, “Separation Anxiety,” was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Lex Allen Literary Festival Fiction Award.

Billie Jennings (2013)











Billie Jennings graduated from the MA/PhD program in English at the University of Tennessee—KnoxvilleJennings’ short story, “Excerpts From a Blizzard Survival Guide” was published in NovelletumJennings’ review of Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper has been published on The Tusculum Review’s companion website.

Andrew Baker (2013)

Andrew R. Baker worked at the Shane English School, where he taught English to children in the city Wuxi (located in the Jiangsu province of China). Baker’s micro-essay, “Diosa Respuestas” was published in Outside In Literary & Travel MagazineBaker was elected Vice President of Membership for the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE).

Danielle Armstrong graduated from the MFA program in creative writing (fiction) at the University of Central Florida with a McNair FellowshipArmstrong’s work has been published in Connotation Press, Paragraph Line, and Scissors and Spackle.

Robert Pollock (2012)


Rob Pollock graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 2013.

Kenneth Wayne Hill (2012)











Kenneth Wayne Hill graduated from the MA/PhD program in English at the University of Tennessee—KnoxvilleHill’s work has been published in Novelletum and his review of Kim Addonizio’s Lucifer at the Starlite appeared in The Tusculum Review‘s companion website.

Joshua Kibert (2012)

Joshua Kibert graduated from the MFA program in writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Kibert earned TEFL certification with specializations in Grammar, Teaching Business English, Teaching One-to-One, Teaching with Limited Resources, and Teaching Young Learners. He taught English in Santiago, Chile.

Courtney Broderick (2012)

Courtney Broderick completed the massage therapy program at the Sedona School of Massage in Sedona, Arizona.

Brittany Connolly (’12) attended the MFA program in creative writing (fiction) at the University of Tampa, where she served as Fiction Editor for Tampa Review Online. She has been the Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief  for Connotation Press, where she also wrote the Artisan Review column. Connolly’s short story “Daphne” has been published in the Sheepshead ReviewConnolly’s work has appeared in Paragraph Line, The Alarmist, Connotation Press, Paper Darts, Scissors and Spackle, and elsewhere. Her poetry has been featured in Nicelle Davis’ work for the Poetry in Motion Project in L.A.

Elizabeth McDonnell (2011)

Elizabeth McDonnell is a 2013 graduate of the MFA program in creative writing (nonfiction with concentrations in travel writing & publishing) at Chatham University.  She serves as an Assistant Editor for The Fourth River, and has published an essay in Connotation Press and an art column for the Pittsburgh Quarterly. She currently works as a reader for Creative Nonfiction and as Marketing Intern for Sundress Publications.

David Roncskevitz (2011)







House of Autumn Fire, a play by David Roncskevitz, was published by Connotation Press in its undergraduate feature section.

Amanda Harmon Parks (2009)








Amanda Parks earned a MA in English/Professional Writing from the University of Memphis. She works as a paralegal and writes the fashion blog, The Sequined Spaniel.