Faculty and Staff Bios
Our faculty all possess extensive teaching experience as well as outstanding credentials in their areas of expertise, and we continue to add to these ranks. Most teach in our program both during the Summer Intensives and during the academic year, and many also participate in our summer conference, Writing the Rockies.
David J. Rothman, Graduate Program Director, Poetry Concentration Director
Office: Taylor 222B
David J. Rothman serves as the Director of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, along with also directing the Poetry Concentration. His most recent volumes of poetry, both of which appeared in 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press). A book of essays about mountains and mountain towns, Living the Life (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Appalachia, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and scores of other newspapers, journals and periodicals. He co-founded the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press (now owned by the Samizdat Group of Denver), and currently serves as Poet-in-Residence of Colorado Public Radio. He has served as Executive Director, President, and a Board Member of the Robinson Jeffers Association, and currently serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and of the West Chester University Poetry Center. He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado.
Russell Davis is Director of Western’s Genre Fiction concentration. He has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. He has also worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. He is a past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and his newest work, The End of All Seasons, is a collection of short fiction and poetry that came out in 2013.
JS Mayank is Director of Western’s Screenwriting Concentration. He is a British-Indian filmmaker, represented by ICM Partners and Ensemble Entertainment. He has several TV projects and features in development at the moment. His first sci-fi feature script, Slate, earned him a spot on the 2009 BLOODLIST (the Horror/Sci-fi/ Thriller Blacklist). He was invited by Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival to the prestigious 2010 Tribeca All Access Program for his feature script Marathon. For his directorial debut, Mayank was granted an opportunity by the band Radiohead to create a concept music video for their song Weird Fishes / Arpeggi. He worked alongside visual artist extraordinaire John Langdon (Angels & Demons) to design special ambigrams for the video. Most recently, Mayank’s script for EMIT won a Grand Prize at the Table Read My Screenplay contest, beating out over 1200 other scripts, and winning him a trip to Sundance (2012) where a table-read of it was performed. Since then, he’s directed Emit starring Jack Coleman (Heroes, The Office, Scandal), and the short has played at over 30 festivals all over the world, including NBC|Universal Shortcuts festival and the Philip K. Dick fest in New York, Fantasia, SCI-FI London, Sci-fi Fantasy – Athens, Edinburgh, Newport Beach, New York, Las Vegas, Brazil, garnering several awards, stellar reviews and high praise for its inventiveness and creative vision. Mayank has an MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University and an MA in Communication & Film from Wake Forest University. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Dr. Mark Todd, founder of Western’s MFA in Creative Writing, has been a Professor of English at Western since 1988. He currently serves as Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, and as Editor-in-Chief for Western Press Books. He has 25 years of professional journalism experience, having published hundreds of news stories, features, columns, and editorials in local through international markets. He also served as editor and publisher of both a newspaper and a regional magazine and, at one point, digested online news for the Lycos daily news service. In addition, Mark directs Western's summer creative writing conference, Writing the Rockies, now in its 15th year. Mark has performed his poetry and given fiction readings across the country and in Europe. His books include two collections of poetry, Wire Song (Conundrum, 2001) and Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe (Ghost Road, 2008). He is author of the science fiction novel Strange Attractors (Write in the Thick, 2012) and co-author with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd of the paranormal comedy/fantasy trilogy The Silverville Saga: The Silverville Swindle (Ghost Road, 2006), which was reissued as Little Greed Men (Raspberry Creek, 2011), All Plucked Up (Raspberry Creek, 2012), and The Magicke Outhouse (Raspberry Creek, 2013). All were nominated for Colorado Book Awards and Little Greed Men was also nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award. Currently, he and Kym are at work on a creative nonfiction book about hauntings in frontier mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.
Caleb J. Seeling began working in publishing in 2006 and founded Samizdat Publishing Group in Denver in 2009. The company has since expanded, forming two imprints (Conundrum Press and Samizdat Creative), publishing between 20-30 books altogether each year. An active member of several publishing and arts organizations, Caleb is also a social entrepreneur, finding ways to serve the greater community and disadvantaged youth through strategic partnerships with organizations such as Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Youth on Record. He has also recently published his first graphic novel, The Battle Begins, with David C. Cook Publishing, illustrated by Eisner-award winning artist Sergio Cariello. The sequel, The Seeds of Struggle, will appear in fall 2015 and he is under contract for two more. Caleb is a native Coloradan based in Golden, where he lives with his wife Angela, four children, and three chickens.
New York Times Best-Selling Author Stacia Deutsch has written more than a hundred children's books. In addition to her award-winning creative chapter book series Blast to the Past, Stacia has also ghost-written for a popular girl's mystery series, published non-fiction texts, and penned a young adult romantic comedy called In the Stars. She has written junior movie tie-in novels for summer blockbuster films including Batman, The Dark Knight and the New York Times Best Sellers Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Jr. and The Smurfs. She is currently writing stories for Lego. In 2013, she earned her MFA from Western. Find her at ww.staciadeutsch.com, @staciadeutsch and ww.facebook/staciadeutsch.
Candace Nadon has an MFA in Fiction from Stone coast Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English with Creative Concentration from Georgia State University. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Hartskill Review in The Fourth River, Platte Valley Review, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, and Mary: A Journal of New Writing, among others. She edited the book Our Place Two, and contributed to the forthcoming textbook Primary Research and Writing. Candace is a fifth generation Coloradan and currently lives in Durango, CO, where she teaches at Fort Lewis College and is working on a novel.
Michaela Roessner holds an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She has published four novels, as well as assorted short fiction and nonfiction in publications that include Asimov’s Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, OMNI Magazine, Canada’s Room Magazine and anthologies that include Full Spectrum 2 and Intersections. Her first novel, Walkabout Woman, won the Crawford and John W. Campbell awards. She has also had work short-listed for the Calvino Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Millennium Publishing short fiction contest. Her current major projects include a number of short fiction pieces, finishing up her novel The Waters of Babylon, completing the last of her trio of novels that center around the early life of Catherine de Medici, and participating in several group ekphrastic commissions.
Ernest Hilbert received his doctorate in English Literature from Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly and studied with Jon Stallworthy, editor of the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, and James Fenton, then Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Hilbert is the author of two collections of poetry, Sixty Sonnets (2009), described by critic X.J. Kennedy as “maybe the most arresting sequence we have had since John Berryman checked out of America,” and All of You on the Good Earth (2013), which has been hailed as a “wonder of a book,” “original and essential,” an example of “sheer mastery of poetic form,” containing “some of the most elegant poems in American literature since the loss of Anthony Hecht.” His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Boston Review, Verse, New Criterion, American Scholar, and the London Review as well as a number of anthologies, including the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (2009) and two Penguin classroom anthologies, Poetry and Literature (both 2011). He also supplies opera libretti for contemporary composers Stella Sung, Daniel Felsenfeld, and Christopher LaRosa. Hilbert is a senior specialist at Bauman Rare Books in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, Lynn Makowsky.
Poet David Yezzi also teaches at the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. He is the former Executive Editor of The New Criterion, and the former Director of the Unterberg Poetry Center of the92nd Street Y in New York, where he has also taught poetry in the center’s writing program. Yezzi’s poems appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The New Republic, The Paris Review and elsewhere. He writes literary criticism regularly for The Wall Street Journal, Poetry, Yale Review and many other publications. In addition to his many years at The New Criterion, Yezzi has held editing positions at Parnassus: Poetry in Review and The New York Observer. In 1998, he was awarded Stanford University’s prestigious Wallace Stegner Fellowship.
Bob Shayne has been an active and successful screenwriter for years, both in New York and Los Angeles. He’s sold 18 prime-time pilots and written 16 of them for the major TV networks in all genres, six of which were shot, two of which went to series, and most of which he produced. He’s worked on staff of both sitcoms and one-hour dramas; been a show-runner on sitcom, drama, MOW and pilots; written well over 100 episodes; written and produced TV movies; written two four-hour miniseries, written features both live-action and animated, and adapted four novels into screenplays (not counting his own). He’s won or been nominated for awards including Best TV Movie of the Year from the Writers Guild of America, Edgar for Best TV Movie of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, Edgar for Best TV Episode of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, two Emmys from the TV Academy (for Best Talk Show and Best Documentary), and a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.