Current Students: MFA Creative Writing
Sami A.F is from the vibrant city of Beirut, Lebanon, and is currently an MFA student in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University. His work has been published in the poetry anthology And We Chose Everything (Turning Point Books). He is also the author of a self-published collection of short stories, Minds in Disarray, and is currently working on a full-length poetry collection. While working as a copywriter for advertising agencies such as Republique Beirut and Blackink Design Agency, he was working on his poetry, short stories, and his novel, The Nameless Land. Sami hopes to open his own creative writing academy and become a professor of creative writing as he works toward the completion of an independent poetry collection.
Laura Brady received her BA in International Studies at the University of Washington, where her ethnographic research-based thesis on Hugo Chavez’s cooperative movement was awarded the UW Library Research Award and “High Honors” distinction. She served as Assistant Director of the Social Justice Film Festival from 2012-2019, concurrently running her art/design/language business Swimming Rabbit Arts. Laura has training in permaculture, wilderness rites of passage, the way of council, and wildcrafting. Her creative work is largely place-based, inspired by her lifetime love of the Salish Sea, her year in Galicia, Spain, and, most recently, by her journey to recover from neuro-immune illness, which has taken her from a small cabin in the woods in Washington’s Methow Valley to Arizona’s Sonora Desert in pursuit of healing. Laura’s poems and essays have appeared in Scribendi; Bricolage; Poetry on Buses; Nudge; and Our Food, Our Right: Recipes for Food Justice. She has released two albums of original music under her stage name, Wren, and her third album and accompanying companion book is due out in June 2020. (Photo by Jayna Powers)
Courtney Brooks is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, as well as the web editor for Thin Air Magazine’s online journal. She reads and writes fabulism and horror and is a sucker for an all-black outfit. She has been published in The Tunnels and Thin Air Online. When not buried in her work, you can probably find her in the woods somewhere, thinking about monsters.
Margarita Cruz is an MFA candidate for Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University. Formerly a bouncer for an Irish pub, she now spends time writing as a columnist for Flagstaff Live!, teaches English at Northern Arizona University, hosts a local radio show Words and Notes, and spends time working at Bright Side Bookshop. She is current editor in chief of Thin Air Magazine. Her work has been featured in Curios, Miracle Monocle, and Susquehanna Review.
Cymelle Leah Edwards is an MFA Candidate at Northern Arizona University. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Contra Viento, Elm Leaves Journal, WKTLO, and elsewhere. She currently works as a freelance research assistant in the Special Collections department at Cline Library. Cymelle was born and raised in the Arizona desert where she moved from the valley, to a small town between Phoenix and Tucson, then back to the valley, and now to the lush Coconino Forest. When mining began to slow, her hometown of Casa Grande became nearly abandoned, but was saved by the advent of agriculture. So, she is a country girl at heart, the references to “Black cowboys” and “frog skeletons” in her work are true from childhood: “I took roping lessons and have an authentic leather belt with my name engraved, a couple of geodes, and pennies flattened by trains to prove it.”
Over the last decade, Clare Magneson has guided just over 50 river rafting trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Her writing explores deterioration; it stems from years spent working in the outdoor industry of small-town America and months back in her hometown taking care of her mother as she declined from ALS. Currently, Clare is an MFA student in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University and the Managing Editor for NAU’s graduate literary publication, Thin Air Magazine.
Katie McGee is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University and an instructor of English at Hibbing Community College. She is from Duluth, Minnesota, but has forsaken the dark and frozen North for the 266 days of sunshine in Flagstaff, Arizona. Katie is a competitive masters runner and three-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon.
Jeff Schultz is a writer from Lincolnwood, Illinois.
Shaniya Smith was born and raised near the heart of the Navajo Nation in Chinle, AZ. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University (NAU). Currently, she is continuing her studies as a graduate student in NAU’s MFA writing program. Aside from being a student, she is an active runner, painter, and storyteller.