Share |

TYWW Faculty Bios

TYWW Class of 2011

Jesse Graves grew up in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, about 40 miles north of Knoxville, in a community his ancestors settled in the 1780s. He is an Associate Professor of English at East Tennessee State University, where he won the 2012 New Faculty Award from the College of Arts & Sciences. His first poetry collection, Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, won the 2012 Weatherford Award in Poetry from the Appalachian Studies Association, as well as a Book of the Year Award from the Appalachian Writers’ Association. He was given the 2013 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. His second collection of poems, Basin Ghosts, was published in the spring of 2014. Graves was awarded the 2014 Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, and the 2015 James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Graves has been inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.Visit Jesse at

Dylan “nobigdyl.” Phillips is a Hip-Hop artist, poet, and spoken word teaching artist hailing from Murfreesboro, TN. After graduating from MTSU in 2013 with an honors degree in Music Business, he and his wife started a music and marketing firm, indie tribe. LLC. Through indie tribe., Dylan has garnered hundreds of thousands of online record spins, tens of thousands of video views and mixtape downloads, and was named a “Rapzilla Freshman” in 2015. Currently, Dylan is working on his debut album, tour, and merchandise line. Dylan teaches spoken word and writing workshops with Southern Word five days a week, teaching students ranging in age from elementary through college.

Susan Finch is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has appeared in Carve, The Louisville Review, New Ohio ReviewThe Portland Review, Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose, among other literary publications. Her fiction has been a finalist in many contests, including the Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest, the Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and in 2015, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Most recently, she was the recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in fiction at The Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Currently, she is working on a novel and a collection of short stories.


Mike Dobrzelecki is a screenwriter, filmmaker and special effects makeup artist living in Murfreesboro Tennessee. He grew up in West Tennessee before attending college for his AA at Nashville State and then attending MTSU for film and communications. Mike’s films and screenplays have been in competition all over the world from the Las Angeles Film Festival to the Brussels International Film Festival. Over the past year, he has been a semi-finalist in the Nashville Screenwriting competition and finalist at the Memphis 48 Hour Film Festival. Mike also hosts a weekly podcast called “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Show” that focuses on film and pop culture and features interviews with the best and brightest stars and filmmakers of the art form. This summer will be Mike’s twelfth with the Tennessee Young Writers Workshop. He began as a student in 2004 and came up through the staff to become both Assistant Program Director and now a faculty member.