Book Launch – Alum David Jackson Ambrose


State of the Nation Bookcover

State of the Nation
David Jackson Ambrose

Please join the author – David Jackson Ambrose – in celebrating the release of his debut work of fiction!


Where: Wooden Shoe Books

704 South Street.  Philadelphia PA

When:  Saturday, May 5, 2018

Time:  7 p.m. –  8:30 p.m.

There will be readings from the novel, free giveaways, refreshments and a book signing.

For more information about the novel, enter the author portal.

For inquiries about the event, contact Wooden Shoe Books: 215-413-0999



Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Author: David Jackson Ambrose (SJU Writing Studies Alum ’15)

Publisher: The TMG Firm

Format: Paperback, 978-0-9987-9939-1 ($17.95)

STATE OF THE NATION follows the day-to-day experiences of three friends as they navigate through a society that does not see them, at best, or at worst, sees them as degenerate bodies deserving extermination. The Atlanta Child Murders of the late 1970’s to early 1980’s serves as the undefined albatross that inhibits and prescribes behavior. The murders loom in the background of the story, hovering over the lives of three friends coming of age during a moment in American history that in many ways mirrors the present, as police violence perpetuated against Black youth continues to generate press. STATE OF THE NATION highlights the fact that missing black bodies were not an anomaly, it was the media attention of those particular bodies that was the anomaly, as black bodies were being defaced, defiled, and extinguished all over the country during that time. The Atlanta Murders were a continuation of neo lynching, a replication of an age-old American tradition reminding black youth that they are expendable. STATE OF THE NATION links elements of the Tuskegee Experiment of the 1940’s to the ever-present vulnerability of the black body, making use of the era in which the story is told, the cusp of the 1980’s, to hint at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, which began on the tail end of the Atlanta Child Murders.

Please come out and support David. Word has it our fearless leader, Tenaya Darlington, will attend.

Parting Words by Krisann Janowitz

Krisann Janowitz








Do you have any parting words or shout-outs to share with current students and faculty?

I have loved every minute of my grad school experience in the Writing Studies program. Experiencing genuine camaraderie from my very first semester of the program was more than I could have ever asked for. Then to make (hopefully!) lasting friendships with so many amazing professors and talented classmates truly spoiled me. Now that I have graduated from the program, I know that nothing will ever compare

Which Writing Studies course or course reading was most interesting or useful to you? Why?

Gosh, this is a tough one because I truly feel that every course I took has benefited and matured me in one way or another. I guess if I had to choose, I’d say I’m pretty darn thankful for Maureen Saraco’s Grant Writing course because without that I would not have gained the experience necessary for my internship last year and (fingers-crossed) a career in development.

But, of course I have to say that both April’s and Ellie’s poetry courses have proved useful to me. I often tell people that I got a degree in Writing Studies with an unofficial minor in poetry and I say that because I do feel that I received an MA and MFA experience all rolled into one. I know my poetry would not be nearly as strong as it is without the guidance of those two remarkable women.

How do you plan to use your Master’s Degree in your career? 

Currently, I’m primarily applying for editing, development, and communication jobs; all of which I would not have felt confident doing before this program. My dream is still to eventually get my PhD (before 40) and teach at the University level– and in that way the program is a great stepping stone for me.

Do you have any tips for future students about choosing classes, juggling the workload, or writing a thesis?

Pick the courses that excite you the most– have fun with it.

Understand that your professors are also juggling a very large workload and a certain amount of grace should be extended to them as you take their courses.

Try not to skimp on the readings; they were chosen for a reason by some very wise people.

Krisann just graduated from the program in May of 2017. Currently, she is working on getting her thesis published, a collection of poems that explore the interconnections between home and homelessness. You can also see her perform her poetry at Fergie’s Pub on July 26th at 7 pm.