New Creative Writing Graduate Students

Before starting the University of Houston’s Creative Writing PhD, Nick Rattner taught English at Holyoke Community College and coached high school basketball. He is a former basketball journalist and Editor for Ugly Duckling Presse. With Marta del Pozo, he has translated the work of poets Yván Yauri and Czar Gutiérrez. Recent work can be found in The Columbia Review, Beautiful Losers, Asymptote, Exchanges, and InTranslation.

A native Houstonian, Sonia Hamer earned her BA in English from Rice University. She has been the recipient of the Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing at Rice University, the Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction, and the George Williams Prize in Non-Fiction.   

Hunter Gilson is a first-year MFA student. Before joining the Creative Writing Program at UH, he received a BA and MA from Kansas State University.

Colby Ornell is originally from a small town in central Massachusetts. She has a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College (MA) and an MFA in Fiction from Butler University. Her work has appeared in The Cobalt Review and Curbside Splendor.

Madeleine Maillet is a writer, translator and editor. Her work has appeared in Prism International, THIS Magazine, Joyland, The Journey Prize Stories Anthology and other places. She is happy to be a brand new PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

Despy Boutris is a Berkeley, California native currently earning her MFA in creative writing at the University of Houston. Her poems have been featured in several publications, and she was awarded Editor’s Choice in 2016, Second Place in 2017, and First Place in 2018 in California Polytechnic State University’s yearly literary journal, Byzantium.

Grace Wagner is an incoming a MFA in poetry. She just graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado Denver where she studied with Wayne Miller, Brian Barker, and Nicky Beer. She has attended the New York Summer Writers Institute and her work can be found in Salmagundi Magazine, which featured nine of her poems.

Blaine Ely received a BA from Western Kentucky University, an MA from Auburn University, and an MFA from the University of Oregon. He has worked in both retail and agriculture, as well as in the oil and gas industry, and his fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter and Shenandoah. He is from Kentucky.

Brittny Ray Crowell, a native of Texarkana, TX, received her BA in English from Spelman College, followed by an MA in English from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Her work focuses on the hidden mythologies, dreams, traumas, and sensualities of the black contemporary south. In addition to poetry and creative writing, her interests also include studying the intersections between religion and hip hop.

Obi Calvin Umeozor received his B.A. in English from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and taught English Literature before moving to the States in 2015, where he obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Southeast Review, Shift and others. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.


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