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Creative Writing alumna lands new two-book deal with Random House

Mary Lowry, Joy Williams, Ariel Delgado Dixon.
Mary Lowry, Joy Williams, and Ariel Delgado Dixon. Williams was on Dixon’s thesis committee.

Ariel Delgado Dixon, a 2019 graduate of Boise State’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, has sold her first novel, “Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You,” to Random House. A second novel is under contract with the publisher.

“Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You” was Dixon’s thesis at Boise State. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Greensboro Review, The Mississippi Review, and O: The Oprah Magazine.

“Ariel Dixon is a writer of preternatural ability, and her first novel is a powerful expression of it,” said Brady Udall, MFA program co-director who served as Dixon’s thesis director. “Ariel’s work shines a stark light on this new and dangerous strange world in which we find ourselves and does so with such insight, such grace. Ariel is a once-in-a-generation talent, and I feel lucky to have been able to watch that talent take root and grow.”

Dixon’s publishing success follows on the heels of two high-profile book deals for recent graduates of the creative writing program. Mary Lowry, class of 2019, published her novel, “The Roxy Letters,” with Simon and Schuster in March. The novel was selected as the publisher’s No. 1 title for the spring bookselling season. Jackie Polzin, class of 2018, sold her first novel, “Brood,” to Doubleday this year, following an eight-publisher auction for the manuscript. “Brood” is forthcoming in 2021. This week, Picador won a six-publisher auction for the U.K. rights to “Brood.”

Professor Udall also was thesis director for both of these novels. Udall was awarded the Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award in 2019.

“It’s absolutely remarkable to see three MFA students place their thesis manuscripts in short order with such top publishing houses,” MFA program co-founder Mitch Wieland said. “I’m utterly thrilled for them. It’s a fantastic achievement.”

The MFA in Creative Writing at Boise State is a nationally ranked program in fiction and poetry. The Huffington Post describes it as “a small but stellar program in a gorgeous city in the Great Northwest.”

Past Boise State MFA graduates have published books with W.W. Norton, St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, and Graywolf Press, among other leading publishers. They have published work in major journals such as Tin House, McSweeney’s, Glimmer Train, Zoetrope, Narrative, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Recent awards won by Boise State MFA graduates include the National Magazine Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Whiting Award, and the Short Story Award for New Writers from Glimmer Train. “The Driest Season,” a novel by MFA alumna Meghan Kenny, was a finalist for the 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award. The novels of MFA graduate Cynthia Hand have made the New York Times bestseller list. Alumna Malia Collins is the current Idaho Writer in Residence.