MFA Alumni Celebration

Mason MFA Alumni Celebration

Thursday, October 7, 7 pm reception, 7:30 pm event live-streamed via Crowdcast & in-person at Merten Hall Room 1201 at George Mason University

About the Event

Come together online or in-person to celebrate Mason MFA’s 40 years with six alumni. Poet Danielle Badra’s Like We Still Speak is an elegiac conversation between herself and the sister and father she has lost, investigating intimacy, survival, and inheritance. In John Copenhaver’s mystery, The Savage Kind, two teenage girls find themselves caught between their penchant to solve crimes and their desire to commit them. Christopher Davenport witnessed an unspeakable killing of a local woman in the Papua New Guinean village in which he was stationed as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His memoir The Tin Can Crucible asks difficult questions about the role of philanthropy, intersections of culture, and complex mechanisms of humanity. In Tara Laskowski’s The Mother Next Door, good mothers never admit to murder. Kathleen Barber calls the novel, “Suspenseful, sinister, and just the right amount of spooky.” Poet Danika Stegeman LeMay’s collection Pilot is a book about recovery and human connection; a work of erasure that pulls its raw materials from the TV series LOST. Matt Mauch says “LeMay’s poems show us that even those doomed get our shot at beauty, at connection, at joy.” In Angie Mazakis’s poetry collection I Was Waiting to See What You Would Do First, she examines scenes within scenes, sharpening focus on minute details that reveal the wonders of human perception and imagination.

This is an in-person event that will also be live-streamed. We encourage you to attend in whatever way you’re most comfortable. In-person attendees must pre-register here. Please review the public health guidelines on the registration page. If you attend in-person, there will be a 7 pm light reception on the lawn of Merten Hall. The event will start at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the George Mason University Creative Writing Program. 

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Danielle Badra

Danielle Badra received her BA in Creative Writing from Kalamazoo College (2008) and her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University (2017). While there, she was the poetry editor of So To Speak, a feminist literary and arts journal, and an intern for Split This Rock. Her poems have appeared in Guesthouse (forthcoming), Mizna, Cincinnati Review, The Maynard, Outlook Springs, 45th Parallel, The California Journal of Poetics, Duende, The Greensboro Review, Bad Pony, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Her manuscript, Like We Still Speak, was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and is forthcoming through the University of Arkansas Press fall 2021.

Christopher Davenport

Christopher Davenport is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has served in Vietnam, Guatemala, Tajikistan, the European nation of Georgia, and Washington, D.C. His first international experience was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea, from 1994 to 1996. His time in a village of Papua New Guinean subsistence farmers forms the basis of his memoir, The Tin Can CrucibleDavenport is a 2007 graduate of George Mason’s MFA program in Creative Writing.  He and his wife have two daughters, and they live in Springfield, VA with an assortment of pets they have collected from around the world.

Tara Laskowski is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.

Danika Stegeman LeMay

Danika Stegeman LeMay’s debut collection of poems, Pilot, is available now from Spork Press. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter. Danika received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Her work has appeared in 32 Poems, Afternoon Visitor, CutBank Literary Journal, Forklift, OH, Sporklet, and Word for/ Word, among other places. Her website is

Angie Mazakis

Angie Mazakis’s first book of poems, I Was Waiting to See What You Would Do First was chosen by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and was published by University of Arkansas Press. The book was also a finalist for the National Poetry Series, Indiana Review’s Blue Light Book Prize, the Ping-Pong Free Press Poetry Competition, and twice for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award.  Her poems have appeared in The New Republic, Boston Review, The Iowa Review, Best New Poets, Washington Square Review, Columbia Journal, Indiana Review, Conduit, Lana Turner Journal and other journals. She has an MFA from George Mason University and is a PhD student in creative writing at Ohio University.

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