2021 MFA Fellows

Kathleen ColvertKathleen Colvert’s current project is a historical fiction novel set in Japanese-occupied Philippines during World War II. She will be traveling to the Philippines to learn more about a World War II Filipino guerilla fighter who was assassinated by the Japanese. Colvert said she hopes to meet living resistance fighters from the era to learn more about them and their perspectives.

“I anticipate that the experience of recording these stories will give my work the kind of accuracy, authenticity and nuance that I feel it deserves,” Colvert said. “And in a small way, I’m hoping that the care, time and attention I give this project might leave those I encounter with a sense of recognition that I also think they deserve.” 

Colvert holds an M.A. in Strategic Public Relations and a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University, where she currently teaches Advanced Writing in the Strategic Public Relations graduate program. Previously, she served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy from 2001-2011. She resides in Alexandria, Va.



Timothy JohnsonTimothy Johnson’s current project, a novel that takes place in a near-future United States destroyed by war, follows characters on a journey from Virginia to the U.S.-Mexico border. With this Fellowship, Johnson plans to travel the same path as his characters. 
“The opportunity to travel the roads, see the landscapes, and experience the environments my characters might encounter in my novel will inform my storytelling with an authenticity that I wouldn't be able to conjure from home,” Johnson said.   
Currently, Johnson works as the managing editor for phoebe literary journal. Prior to coming to Mason, he worked as a magazine editor and staff writer in print and digital media, and he earned his BA in English from Virginia Tech. Learn more at timothyjohnsonfiction.com.



Jace SmellieJace Raymond Smellie will be traveling to the Flathead Indian Reserve in Montana to write a series of poems about his experiences there. His research on his Bitterroot Salish heritage will inform his poetry, which will center around themes of family and self. 
“I've been writing a lot of poetry exploring the self through family and other relationships,” Smellie said, “and I think unlocking this part of my identity will allow me to generate a deeper understanding of myself that will in turn generate a more honest poetry from my work." 
Smellie’s recent poetry has appeared in journals such as Marathon Literary Review and Boston Accent Lit. He grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and lived in parts of Utah and Arizona as well before moving with his family to Fairfax, Va. to attend GMU. Jace is of Bitterroot Salish and European descent.