MGA's Creative Writing Faculty

Meet our talented Creative Writing faculty, teaching classes for graduate and undergraduate students.


Zardosht Afshari

Prof. Zardosht Afshari

Professor Afshari is a filmmaker whose short films have been screened in international film festivals in the US, Iran, Poland, Croatia, India, and Italy.  He has an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and an MA in Dramatic Literature from the University of Tehran.  His short documentary Philadelphia Iran Afghanistan (2020) was selected as a “Market Pick” at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. His recent two short narrative films, She Does Not Smile (2022) and "An Endoscopy" (2023) had their world premieres at the Academy Awards® Qualifying Film Festivals for Shorts.  He is the recipient of the 2023 University Film and Video Association Award of Mert for Short Screenplay, “An Endoscopy.”

Andy Davidson

Prof. Andy Davidson

Professor Davidson earned his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi in 2004. His debut novel, In the Valley of the Sun, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. His follow up, The Boatman’s Daughter, was named one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year and appeared on numerous best-of lists, including Library Journal’s Best Horror the Year and the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Adults in 2020. His most recent novel, The Hollow Kind, was listed among Esquire’s Best Horror of 2022 and was featured as a Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year. His short fiction has been published widely in magazines and anthologies.

Hali Sofala-Jones

Dr. Hali Sofala-Jones

Dr. Hali Sofala-Jones is a Samoan American writer and teacher. She holds degrees from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (PhD) and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (MFA). Her 2019 debut poetry collection , Afakasi | Half-Caste, was published by Sundress Publications and was heralded by the “Chicago Review of Books” as one of the “10 Great Poetry Collections You May Have Missed” in 2019. Her poem “Fractured” was featured in the “Poem of the Day” series by the Academy of American Poets on September 6, 2019. Her work has been published in  The Missouri Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALYX, Fugue and elsewhere. 

Kelly Whiddon

Dr. Kelly Whiddon

Dr. Kelly Whiddon is a poet whose book, The House Began to Pitch, received the Adrienne Bond Poetry Award.  Her work has appeared in the anthologies Writing on Napkins at the Sunshine Club and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume V: Georgia, as well as the literary magazines Cimmaron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry International, Meridian, and The Southern Poetry Review.  

Adam Young

Prof. Adam Young

Professor Young's fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Palo Alto Review, Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, The Adirondack Review, and Turnstyle: The SABR Journal of the Baseball Arts. He grew up in Oklahoma and Mississippi, earned an M.F.A. in English from the University of Mississippi, and has taught at MGA since 2005.