photo by Allen Jones

photo by Allen Jones

Chris Dombrowski, Co-Director and Founder

Chris Dombrowski's nonfiction debut, Body of Water (Milkweed Editions), was named to numerous Best Books of 2016 lists and hailed in wide range of venues. A recipient of numerous grants and awards, Chris is also the author of two books of poems, By Cold Water, a Poetry Foundation Bestseller, and Earth Again, runner-up for ForeWord Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Year, both published by Wayne State University Press. His essays and poems have appeared in many publications and anthologies including Poetry, The Sun, Outside, and The Southern Review. For nearly two decades Chris has taught creative writing to a vast array of age groups, most recently as the William Kittredge Visiting Writer in Residence in University of Montana's EVST Program. In addition, he has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Missoula, where he founded the Beargrass Writing Retreat, and lives with his loveably feral family.


Robin Troy, Co-Director

Robin Troy is the author of two novels, Liberty Lanes, which was a finalist for the High Plains Book Award and the Michigan Literary Fiction Award for novels, and Floating, which won the MTV prize for fiction. Her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and journals nationally, including the Seal Press anthologies Woman’s Best Friend and P.S. What I Didn’t Say. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and was a professor of fiction-writing and MFA Program Director at Southern Connecticut State University for ten years before returning to Missoula. Prior to teaching, Robin was a journalist at the Missoula Independent and Fitness magazine in New York. She is currently at work on a non-fiction book titled Breathing, One Adult.  

Peter Picard, Finance Director

Peter Picard is a writer/producer and small business owner. He sits on the boards of several non-profits whose focus is improving the lives of underserved children, including Global Arts Initiative (co-founder), the Rockhouse Foundation, Bronx Academy of Letters, and the Russian Children Welfare Society. He lives in New York City.


Sarah Aronson, 2017 Fellow

Sarah Aronson is a recent graduate of the University of Montana MFA program. Her poems can be found in Cirque, the Big Sky Journal, and the Portland Review among others. In her spare time she angles for fish and pie.




Tyler Dunning, 2017 Fellow

Tyler Dunning grew up in southwestern Montana, developing a feral curiosity and reflective personality at a young age. This mindset has led him around the world, to nearly all of the U.S. national parks, and to the darker recesses of his own creativity. He’s dabbled in such occupations as professional wrestling, archaeology, social justice advocacy, and academia. At his core he is a writer. Tyler released his first memoir, A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends, in 2017, accompanied by a short film and TEDx Talk of the same name

Peter Gurche Beargrass 2017

Peter Gurche, 2017 Fellow

Peter Gurche was born, raised, and educated in eastern Washington. After stints as a farm hand, mechanic, carpenter, and commercial fisherman across the west and in Alaska, Peter completed his Masters in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, where he was a senior co-editor of Camas Magazine. His essays have appeared in Camas and Fugue
, where he was a contest finalist in nonfiction. He currently writes and coordinates the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent, a multi-stakeholder landscape collaborative focused on the transboundary Northern Rockies. He enjoys skiing, baking, and music making.

Shanely Smith Beargrass 2017

Shanley Smith, 2017 Fellow

Shanley Smith was born and raised in the bookstores and coffee shops of Holland, Michigan, places she stills considers home. Currently, she attends Hope College where she studies creative writing and theatre. Though she loves all genres equally, she predominantly writes poetry and plays these days. Her work can be found in various under-graduate magazines includingMangrove Literary Journal and Collision

Anna Zumbalan

Anna Zumbahlen, 2017 Fellow

Anna Zumbahlen serves as managing editor for Carve Magazine. She is pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of Montana, where she teaches undergraduate composition. She lives in Missoula.



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Missy Peterson, 2017 Fellow

Missy Peterson is an Environmental Studies student at the University of Montana where she is on the editorial board for Camas Magazine. Her creative nonfiction has been published by Flyway, Oregon Quarterly, and Seal press among others. Her first novel, Jimmy James Blood, earned fourth place in Kirkus Reviews Best Indie books of 2012 and was a finalist for an Indie Excellence National Book Award.