Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Mary Barbara S. Hall

Editor of the Alumni Arts Review and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English
Office: WRI
Office Hours: W 2:45-5:00 PM and Tuesdays & Thursdays by appointment

Professional Biography

Sands Hall earned an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and holds a second MFA in Theatre Arts; her resume as a theatre artist includes work as director and actor as well as playwright/adaptor.  In addition to her position as Editor of F&M's  Alumni Arts Magazine and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, she facilitates private workshops. is on the staff of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and teaches for conferences such as the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. 

She is the author of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft, and of the novel, Catching Heaven, a Random House Reader’s Circle selection and a Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction. Recent stories and nonfiction have been published by Green Mountains Review, Tahoe Quarterly, and the Iowa Review. The latter story, "Hide & Go Seek," received mention in the "100 Notable Stories" in Best American Short Stories 2009.  For years an Affiliate Artist with The Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City, California, her produced plays include an adaptation of Alcott’s Little Women and the comic/drama Fair Use. She is also a director, and most recently helmed The Fantasticks for the 2010 Colorado Shakespeare Festival. 


MFA: Iowa Writers Workshop, Fiction

MFA: University of Iowa: Theatre Arts

BA: University of California, Irvine: Acting

Research Interests

 Women's history, History of the West, issues of fair use, Alcott's pseudonymous "sensation stories"; myth and gender; Fairy Tales.

Grants & Awards

  • Irvine Foundation Grant (with The Foothill Theatre Company, Nevada City, California): for workshops and support of an theatrical/musical adaptation of Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
  • Willa Award Finalist: Best Contemporary Fiction: Catching Heaven
  • Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Service Award: University of California, Davis Art and Humanities
  • NEA Grant (with The Foothill Theatre Company, Nevada City, California: for workshops and support of a theatrical project called first "The Mary Hallock Foote Project," which became Fair Use (premiered 2001)
  • The Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Performing Arts Award for Outstanding Service to the Community, Nevada City, California
  •  May Martin Goyne Award: Outstanding Contributions to the LIterary Arts


Catching Heaven, a novel (Ballantine)

Tools of the Writer's Craft (Moving Finger Press)

Little Women: stage adaptation of the novel by Louisa May Alcott

Fair Use: a comic/drama that explores the controversy surrounding Wallace Stegner's use of the writings of Mary Hallock Foote in his novel Angle of Repose, as well as issues of plagiarism and fair use in general.


"Silver Dagger" Green Mountain Review 

"Hide & Go Seek" Iowa Review

Essays/nonfiction include:

“Snow.” Tahoe Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2009.

“Making Workshops Work.” Workshop in a Book, ed. Alan Cheuse and Lisa Alvarez, Chronicle Books, 2007

“Banning Juliet.” Women’s Literary Salon, website, Spring 2007.

“Dialogue Without Words.” Now Write!: Fiction Writing From Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, ed. Sherry Ellis, Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.

“The Literary Life of Mary Hallock Foote.” California State Library Foundation Bulletin, Winter/Spring, 2006. 

“Mary Hallock Foote & Wallace Stegner.” Idaho Magazine, Fall 2004.

 Foreword: Sierra Songs and DescantsProse and Poetry of the Sierra. HipPocket Press, ed. Gail Entrekin, 2003.

"Abject Naturalism: Lessons from a Tough Workshop.” The  Workshop: Seven Decades of the Iowa Writer's Workshop; ed. Tom Grimes. Hyperion Press, 1999.

"A Stolen Life," Wild Duck Review, 1996.

"A Tide of Metaphor," Wild Duck Review, 1995

Course Information

English 163: Introduction to Myth & Fairy Tale

English 225: Introduction to Creative Writing

English 381: Writing Fiction

English 480: Advanced Creative Writing Workshop