Editor of the Alumni Arts Review and Associate Teaching Professor of English



Office: Writers House


Sands Hall is the Founding Editor of the F&M'Alumni Arts Review and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English. She 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. She is on the staff of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. 

Sands Hall is the author of the novel, Catching Heaven, a Random House Reader’s Circle selection and a Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. Her stories and nonfiction have been published by New England ReviewGreen Mountains Review, Tahoe Quarterly, and the Iowa Review. The latter story, "Hide & Go Seek," made the "100 Other Notable Stories" list in Best American Short Stories 2009.  She is also a singer/songwriter, with a CD called Rustler's Moon. 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. Recent stage work includes playing Venus in a staged reading of Alicia Frost's Psyche, and directing The Fantasticks for the 2010 Colorado Shakespeare Festival. 


MFA: Iowa Writers Workshop, Fiction

MFA: University of Iowa: Theatre Arts

BA (magna cum laude): University of California, Irvine: Acting


 Women's history, etymology, myth and gender, the literary fairy tale, history of the West, issues of fair use, Alcott's pseudonymous "sensation stories," the "Shakespeare question" & Christopher Marlowe.

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.

Rustler's Moon: A CD (lyrics & music by Sands Hall)


"Thiem's Winged Chariot" : New England Review

"Silver Dagger": Green Mountains Review

"Hide & Go Seek": Iowa Review  

Essays/nonfiction include:

 "Practice"      "The Authorship Question": 2Paragraphs.com

“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