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Welcoming our New MFAs!

Colson Hall

The WVU English Department is excited to welcome nine new MFAs to Morgantown this year!  They have already become an important part of our community here, and we are looking forward to reading more of their work over the next three years.  You can read more about these writers below.


Jackson Buttery is an incoming MFA student in fiction from Philadelphia by way of Tallahassee and other places in the south. He was previously an environmental speechwriter, lived and worked on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, and helped to manage an organic orchard. His writing often involves place, the environmental tradition, and what is no longer there. 

James Freda is a first-year fiction candidate from Maine.

Emily (Emma) Merrick has a master's in linguistics from George Mason University. She loves mythology, especially Greek and Norse, and when she has any downtime at all, you can find her sitting down in front of the Witcher 3, or hiking in a very green, very quiet place in the mountains. Emma is currently journeying through The Poetic Edda (translated by Carolyne Larrington) for the first time and reading Circe (Madeline Miller) for the fourth time.


Ola ElWassify grew up in Cairo, Egypt. She has a B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics, along with writing poetry, her other passions include hiking, dancing, and embarking on little adventures on a daily basis. Fun fact: she learned to read and write in English before Arabic, her native tongue. 

Matt Powney grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia and earned an Industrial Engineering Degree at WVU. He writes about the things he can’t reconcile. For him, this means writing about the juxtaposition of our society and the natural world, about time, belonging, and memory. Recently, he has been thinking specifically about rivers, their original life-giving property, and the ways we have destroyed those properties through our obsessive focus on ease and convenience. When he is not lamenting what could be, he is probably pinned under one of his cats: Wynonna, River, or Bat; watching a Manchester United match; or longboarding on the riverfront. 

My name is Jonah Stokes, and I am a first year MFA candidate in poetry. Me and my cats, Watson and Midas, have moved to Morgantown from Chattanooga, TN, where I received my BA in Creative Writing and History. I am obsessed with Dolly Parton and dance to her music in my spare time. I also love snowboarding, wake surfing, and spending time in nature. I have been obsessed with Truman Capote's work as of late, but always hold a special place in my heart for YA dystopian novels, memoirs, and Westerns.


Angel Sutjipto graduated from CUNY Baccalaureate in Unique & interdisciplinary Studies with an area of concentration in Genocide Studies. They write creative non-fiction. 

Megan Williams is a creative nonfiction writer originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her B.A. in English Writing on the Nonfiction track. When she's not working on a weird little essay, she's reading The Odyssey or baking banana bread. 

Shannon Virtue is an MFA candidate at West Virginia University focusing on creative nonfiction. Born and raised in West Virginia, she's an avid lover of mountains. When not writing or reading, she's either oil painting, hiking, or making pizza.