MFA Faculty

Gerri Brightwell
Professor; Director of Creative Writing

Gerri Brightwell was raised in South Devon, England, and has lived in Spain, Thailand, Canada and the United States. She has master’s degrees in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as a doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota.

Brightwell teaches graduate writing courses (Forms of Fiction, Writers’ Workshop) plus undergraduate courses like creative writing, world literature and women’s literature. Her writing has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Copper Nickel, Redivider, BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines and elsewhere. Her story “Williamsville” was featured in The Best American Mystery Stories 2017. She is the author of three novels: Cold Country (Duckworth), The Dark Lantern (Crown) and Dead of Winter (Salt UK).

jr-16-5030-22Daryl Farmer
Associate Professor; Director of the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series

Daryl Farmer is the author of the memoir and travelogue Bicycling beyond the Divide (University of Nebraska Press), which received a Barnes and Noble Discover Award and was a Colorado Book Award finalist, and the story collection Where We Land (Brighthorse Books). His recent work has appeared in The Whitefish Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Gingerbread House. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and he has previously taught at Georgia Tech University and Stephen F. Austin University.

Farmer directs the creative writing program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He also serves as faculty editor for the literary journal Permafrost. In 2016, he received an Alaska Literary Award from the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation. His website is

Joseph Holt
Term Assistant Professor

Joseph Holt received his MA from the University of North Dakota and his PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, the American College of Norway and elsewhere. His research interests include fiction writing, editing and publishing, and professional writing. He is the faculty advisor for Ice Box, the undergraduate literary journal at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Holt’s fiction has appeared in Gulf CoastNew Ohio Review and Beloit Fiction Journal. His nonfiction has appeared in The Sun and J Journal: New Writing on Justice. His book reviews have appeared in Prairie SchoonerColorado Review and Harvard Review Online. Holt has also received scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Community of Writers Workshops at Squaw Valley. His debut story collection, Golden Heart Parade, will be published in Fall 2021 by Santa Fe Writers Project. His website is

Sara Eliza Johnson
Assistant Professor

Sara Eliza Johnson’s poetry collection Bone Map (Milkweed Editions) won the 2013 National Poetry Series. It was also selected by Poets & Writers as one of ten notable 2014 poetry debuts in their annual Debut Poets feature. Her work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly ReviewBoston Review, Copper Nickel, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Memorious, Pleiades, Gulf Coast and Salt Hill. Her poetry has also been anthologized in Read Women, Best New Poets and February, and has been featured in Poetry DailyVerse Daily, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series.

Johnson has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Bread Load Writers’ Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She received her MFA at the University of Oregon and her PhD from the University of Utah, where she was a Vice Presidential Fellow in creative writing and Managing Editor of Quarterly West. Her website is