Three from WMU Creative Writing Program win literary awards

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Many alumni of WMU's Creative Writing Program have garnered accolades for their work.

KALAMAZOO—Two graduates and one student of Western Michigan University's Creative Writing Program have pocketed important literary awards that will result in the publication of their works.

The award winners and their awards are:

  • Brandon Krieg, who is earning a doctoral degree in poetry, has won the New Rivers Press' 2012 Many Voices Project prize for poetry. The press will publish his collection of poems, "Invasives," in October 2014.
  • Dustin M. Hoffman, a recent graduate of the fiction doctoral program, won Burning River Press' chapbook contest for fiction. His collection of linked stories, titled "Secrets of the Wild," will be published in July 2014.
  • Laura Donnelly, a graduate of the poetry doctoral program, won the Cider Press Review 2013 Editor's Prize. She will receive a $1,000 cash award and a publishing contract for her manuscript, "Watershed," which will be available in August 2014.

Brandon Krieg

Krieg has been garnering high praise for "Invasives."

"In his first full-length collection, Brandon Krieg displays a vision that is both sprawling and exacting," Judge Katrina Vandenberg writes. " … A wholly original voice, and a Whitmanesque response to our natural world in the digital age."

Krieg grew up in Tualatin, Ore., and attended Cornell University and The University of Washington as well as WMU. He is the author of a chapbook, "Source to Mouth," published by New Michigan Press, and his poems have appeared in Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Antioch Review and many other journals. He is a founding editor of The Winter Anthology and an associate editor of Poetry Northwest. He lives in Kalamazoo with his wife, Colleen O'Brien.

Dustin M. Hoffman

Hoffman's story collection features a silverback gorilla named Kevin and the owner of a struggling alternator repair shop. Hoffman spent 10 years painting houses in Michigan before getting his master of fine arts degree in fiction from Bowling Green State University and his doctoral degree in creative writing from WMU. His stories have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, Puerto del Sol, Witness, Quarterly West, Palooka, Copper Nickel, Gargoyle, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Kalamazoo and is a visiting assistant professor at Albion College.

Laura Donnelly

Donnelly received a master's degree from Purdue University in addition to her WMU doctoral degree. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, CutBank, DIAGRAM, Flyway and Poetry East, among other journals. Her chapbook, "Nocturne—Schumann's Letters," was published by Finishing Line Press. She was a finalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes, the Orlando Prize and the St. Lawrence Book Award. She is an assistant professor at State University of New York-Oswego.

About the program

Founded in 1981, Western Michigan University's graduate program in creative writing offers master's and doctoral degrees in fiction, poetry and playwriting. Students have won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Flannery O'Connor Award, the Eudora Welty Prize, Pushcart Prizes and the Rona Jaffe Writer's award, while one was a finalist for the National Book Award.