2020 MFA Fellows

Lena Crown

Lena Crown is a candidate in Creative Nonfiction hailing from Oakland, California, though she spent six years in St. Louis, Missouri, and still thinks of it as home. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Offing, Entropy, Hobart, Pidgeonholes, Atticus Review, and Porter House Review, among others. She has a background in Latin American history and has studied the role of the U.S. in various violent conflicts.

Lena will travel to both Mexico and Argentina to research a work of creative nonfiction on the impact of family separation, looking historically at Argentina and contemporarily at Mexico.




O. Dada is a second-year student in the Creative Writing MFA program (Fiction). Born and raised in Nigeria, he moved to the US in 2009, and earned an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to Mason, he taught ESL, technical writing, and American Literature at the undergraduate, middle and high school levels. In his spare time, he dabbles in woodworking and home brewing.  

He will be traveling to Nigeria to better understand the apprentice system utilized by many of the country’s artisans. This system is at the heart of a novel that O. Dada is currently working on.



Emily Green is a half-Japanese essayist, poet, and animal lover. Originally from Shizuoka, Japan's green tea capital, her family relocated to Richmond, VA in 1998. A 2018 Graduate of both Mason's Honors and English Honors College, she plans to graduate from GMU again in 2021 with her MFA in Poetry. She currently works as a program assistant for the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center, an editorial intern for Poetry Daily, and as an English 201 instructor at Mason. Her accolades include the Virginia Downs Poetry Award, the Joseph Lohman III Poetry Prize, and inaugural winner of the Berkey Essay Contest.
Emily plans to travel back to Japan after almost half a decade to research women’s work in her family through each Imperial Era, specifically on her family's tea farm. She hopes this will culminate in a bilingual work of poetry and essay called "A Face and Hands Like Theirs" that illuminates what matrilineal traditions are passed down through the generations and why. She also hopes to shed more light on the experience of a growing minority in Japan: hafus.