Advisory Board

The Founding Advisory Board to the Graduate Creative Writing Program acted as a sounding board throughout the evolution of the program.

Members are consulted not only on strategic issues, such as the program's size and scope, but also on specific curriculum matters, admission standards, faculty, publication venues and program promotion.

Board members are invited to the Wilkes campus to give readings and meet with faculty and students during the January and June residencies. In short, the Program's co-directors and its faculty and students will look to the Board for counsel and advice, as well as interaction during residencies, on all aspects of the Program.

Current Advisory Board

* Founding Advisory Board member

Susan Cartsonis | Producer

Susan Cartsonis produced What Women Want, the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time at the time of its release. While an executive at Fox, Cartsonis made the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She most recently produced The Duff, which was released in February 2015. Cartsonis is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, the Producer's Guild, Women in Film's Board of Directors, and the Women's Board of Digital Hollywood. Cartsonis teaches producing at USC and Chapman University's Graduate Programs.

William Heyen | Poet

William Heyen is Professor of English/Poet in Residence Emeritus at the College at Brockport, his undergraduate alma mater. He holds a PhD from Ohio University, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by SUNY. He was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Germany, and has won NEA, Guggenheim, American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters, Pushcart, & other fellowships & awards. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Poetry, The Atlantic and in hundreds of other magazines and anthologies including, recently, The Oxford Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry. He edited Etruscan Press's first book,September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond. Among his dozens of other books, Noise in the Trees: Poems was an ALA Notable Book of the Year selection; Crazy Horse in Stillness won 1997's Small Press Book Award for Poetry; Shoah Train (Etruscan Press) was a Finalist for the National Book Award; and A Poetics of Hiroshima, also Etruscan Press, was a selection of the Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle. His voluminous journals have been appearing from H_NGM_N Bks. In the fall of 2016, Etruscan Press will publish a selected and new volume, The Candle: Poems of Our 20th-Century Holocausts. More Information >> external website

H. L. Hix* | Poet, Essayist

His recent books from Etruscan Press include the essay collection Demonstrategy: Poetry, For and Against (2019), and the poetry collections Rain Inscription (2017) and American Anger (2016). Others of his recent books include a "selected poems," First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010 (Etruscan Press, 2010); a translation, made with the author, of Eugenijus Ališanka's from unwritten histories (Host Publications, 2011); an essay collection, Lines of Inquiry (Etruscan Press, 2011); and an anthology, Ley Lines (Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2014). He earned his PhD in philosophy from the University of Texas, taught for fifteen years at the Kansas City Art Institute, and currently teaches in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wyoming, and lives in Laramie with his partner, the poet Kate Northrop. His poetry collection Chromatic, published by Etruscan Press, was a National Book Award Finalist. More Information >> external website

William J. Kennedy | Novelist, Nonfiction Writer

William Kennedy has written eight novels in what he calls the Albany Cycle, chronicling two centuries of life, love, and politics in Albany, NY: Legs (1975), Billy Phelan's Greatest Game (1978), Ironweed (1983), which won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a film by Hector Babenco; Quinn's Book (1988), Very Old Bones (1992), The Flaming Corsage (1996), Roscoe (2001), and his latest novel, Chango's Necklace and Two-Tone Shoes, exploring the Cuban revolution and the civil rights movement. He has written a history of his city, O Albany! (1983), essays collected as Riding the Yellow Trolley Car (1993), a play, Grand View (1996), two screenplays, The Cotton Club with Francis Coppola (1984), and Ironweed (1987). Kennedy taught writing from 1974 to 1983 at the University at Albany and Cornell University. In 1983, he won a MacArthur Fellowship and gave part of his award to the University at Albany to create the New York State Writers Institute, which for 27 years has conducted a broad range of year-round events involving writers and filmmakers. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

More Information external website

J. Michael Lennon*

J. Michael Lennon is the late Norman Mailer's archivist, editor, and authorized biographer. Norman Mailer: A Double Life (2013) was chosen as an "Editors' Choice" book by the New York Times Book Review and was one of Amazon's top twenty nonfiction books of the year. The paperback edition, published in October, 2104, was chosen as the top paperback bio for October by the Times of London. He recently edited Selected Letters of Norman Mailer (2014). Other books include: Norman Mailer: Works and Days (2000) (with Donna Pedro Lennon), the recipient of a Choice Magazine award for "outstanding scholarly title" in 2001; and three edited volumes: Conversations with Norman Mailer (1988), The James Jones Reader (1991), and Mailer's The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing (2003). He is the current president of The Norman Mailer Society and past president of The James Jones Literary Society, and serves as Chair of the Editorial Board of The Mailer Review. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Mailer Review, New York Review of Books, James Jones Literary Society Journal, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, TLS, Hippocampus, Provincetown Arts, Chicago Tribune, New York, New England Review, and the Journal of Modern Literature, among others. He co-authored Mailer's last book, On God: An Uncommon Conversation (2007), and in 2012, edited Mailer's biography of Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer/Bert Stern: Marilyn Monroe, also for Taschen. Recently, he edited the Taschen edition of Mailer's The Fight (fall 2016), and contributed the introduction to the Taschen edition of Mailer's essay on JFK, "Superman Comes to the Supermarket" (2014). His documentary, James Jones: From Reveille to Taps, was shown on PBS in 1984, and The Lincolns of Springfield, Illinois in 1990. He was a faculty member and Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Illinois-Springfield from 1972-1992, and is Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University. He continues to teach in the Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program, which he co-founded, and for The Mailer Center, and serves on the advisory boards of both. He served from 2005-2007 as a literary consultant at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas-Austin, and was a Fellow there in 2009. He is currently working on a new biographical work, Sixteen Handshakes to Shakespeare. He is married to the former Donna Pedro. He received his M.A. and PhD in English from the University of Rhode Island.

Robert May* | Producer

Robert May, founder of SenArt Films, is a producer of independent films whose projects have collectively garnered more than 40 awards including the Oscar, Bafta, Independent Spirit Awards and Human Rights Award. May produced

  • The Station Agent, directed by then first-time director Tom McCarthy, which starred Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale,
  • The Fog of War (Errol Morris)
  • Stevie (Steve James)
  • The War Tapes (Deborah Scranton)
  • Bonneville (Chris Rowley), starring Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates.

Recently, May released his directorial debut, the documentary Kids for Cash, a film about greed, corruption and kids. Quotes like "Riveting," "Shocking," and "Gifted Storyteller" from the likes of The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have been used to describe the film. May's projects have been distributed by Miramax, Sony, Lions Gate, 20th Century Fox and Comcast/Universal. May is currently in active development on a number of projects and is in production on an adventure film, Lust for Gold: A Race Against Time. May is currently in development on a number of TV and film projects.

More Information external website

Paul T. Riggs

Paul T, Riggs joined Wilkes University in July 2015, bringing over twenty years of career experience in higher education. He served most recently in the department of history at Valdosta State University as professor and department head. He also worked there as an associate dean in the college of arts and sciences. His previous experience includes positions in academic affairs and in the president's office at Dickinson College as well as teaching and other appointments at the University of Pittsburgh. A native of Ambler, PA, Riggs graduated from Dickinson College and earned the M.A. and PhD in history from the University of Pittsburgh.

Lawrence Schiller

Lawrence Schiller is a photojournalist, novelist, nonfiction writer, producer, director and screenwriter. Lawrence grew up outside of San Diego, California. After attending Pepperdine College in Los Angeles, he worked for Life magazine, Paris Match, The Sunday Times, Newsweek, Stern and The Saturday Evening Post as a photojournalist. His first book, LSD, was published in 1966. Since then, he’s published 11 books, including W. Eugene Smith’s Minamata and Norman Mailer’s Marilyn. He’s also collaborated with Albert Goldman on Ladies and Gentlemen and Norman Mailer on The Executioner’s Song and Oswald’s Tale. His own books include American Tragedy, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Cape May Court House and Into the Mirror. He has directed seven motion pictures and miniseries for television; The Executioner's Song and Peter the Great which won five Emmys. American Tragedy, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town and Into the Mirror were made into television mini-series for CBS. Schiller produced and directed each of the motion pictures. In 2008, after the death of Mailer, he was named Senior Advisor to the Norman Mailer Estate and is the Managing Director of the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, in Provincetown, MA, which he created with Norris Mailer. Schiller was a close friend of Mailer and collaborator on five of his works. He also serves as director of the Norman Mailer Licensing company. Schiller is a consultant to NBC News and has written for the New Yorker.

Tim Seibles

Poet Laureate of Virginia, Tim Seibles is the author of several poetry collections including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and Buffalo Head Solos. His first book, Body Moves, (1988) has just been re-released by Carnegie Mellon U. Press as part of their Contemporary Classics series. His latest, Fast Animal, was one of five poetry finalists for the 2012 National Book Award. In 2013 he received the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award for poetry. In 2014 Tim received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Misericordia University for his literary accomplishments. During that same year, he won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award for Fast Animal, a prize given triennially for a collection of poems. In 2015, he chaired the panel of judges that decided the winner of the National Book Award in poetry. He has been a National Endowment for the Arts fellow and was also awarded a seven-month writing fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. In the spring semester of 2010, Tim was poet-in-residence at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. His poetry is featured in several anthologies; among them are: Rainbow Darkness; Uncommon Core; Autumn House Contemporary American Poetry; Black Nature; Far Out: Poems of The 60s; Villanelles; and With Our Eyes Wide Open. His poem "Allison Wolff" was included in Best American Poetry 2010 and, more recently, his poem "Sotto Voce: Othello, Unplugged" was featured in Best American Poetry 2013. He has been a workshop leader for Cave Canem, a writer's retreat for African American poets, and for the Hurston/Wright Foundation, another organization dedicated to developing black writers. Tim lives in Norfolk, Virginia and is a Professor of English at Old Dominion University where he teaches literature as well as classes in the MFA in writing program.

More Information external website

Johnny Temple | Publisher

Johnny Temple is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and the American Association of Publishers' 2005 Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing. Temple is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice and includes stories from Dennis Lehane, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates, and others. Temple has taught courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University, Wesleyan University, and Pratt Institute; and is the Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which works with Brooklyn's borough president to plan the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the band Girls Against Boys, which has toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including The Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum.

Christine Tomasino | Agent

Chris Tomasino has been agenting since 1975, when she joined RLR Associates, Ltd and developed their literary division. Her clients have ranged from Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote to former baseball manager and now MLB executive Joe Torre, from talented international book packagers Labyrinth Publishing and Carroll & Brown to diverse corporate clients Angel Records and The PGA. She is as comfortable with commercial fiction as she is with highly produced full color books; with the unconventional and best-selling Anti-Coloring Books as she is with translating the content of the world's foremost online wedding resource, The Knot, and its offspring The Nest and The Bump, into best-selling book franchises. She shepherded Sarah Ban Breathnach's ground-breaking Simple Abundance (two and and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list) and its spin-offs through the publishing process. Ever ahead of the trends, she was in on the boon in young adult fiction series in the 1970s and 1980s, the cookbook and lifestyle rage in the 1980s and 2000s, and the blossoming of spirituality and esoterica in the 1980s and 1990s. Having started her own, boutique-sized agency in 2000, she is best known for representing popular non-fiction titles. She specializes in memoir, self-help, lifestyle, health, women's issues, and spirituality, especially those books exploring the newest concepts in wellness and social science through careful thought and scholarship. Even though non-fiction is a surer sale in today's publishing marketplace, Tomasino loves fiction and is always on the lookout for the novel that will envelop, entertain, and enrich.

Former Advisory Board Members

✝ In memoriam
* Founding Advisory Board member
  • Toi Derricotte*
  • Samuel Hazo
  • Beverly Hiscox* ✝
  • Larry Heinemann ✝
  • Norman Mailer ✝
  • Colum McCann
  • Jack Scovil ✝
  • Carol Schneider
  • Thom Ward