MFA Alumna's Independent Publishing Press Sweeps Hollywood Awards Season

MFA Alumna's Independent Press Sweeps Hollywood Awards Season

Lisa Kastner MFA ’12, founder and executive editor of independent publisher Running Wild Press, is helping her authors make their debuts during the 2019 Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards ceremonies.

"I couldn’t think of a better way to honor our stories and authors than to have them included in these awards season swag bags. It's a great opportunity to get them in front of some the best talent in entertainment today.

— Lisa Kastner MFA '12, Founder and Executive Editor, Running Wild Press

A Star is Born might be one of the big contenders on Oscar night, but it’s also a perfect summary of one entrepreneurial Fairfield alumna’s experience in 2019’s cinematic awards season.

Lisa Kastner MFA ’12, a graduate of the Fairfield University MFA in Creative Writing Program, recently placed two titles from her independent publisher Running Wild Press in gift bags for select nominees and presenters at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards. Following the ceremony on January 6, two books from her imprint went home with 50 of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including Glenn Close, Rami Malek, Emma Stone, Lupita N’yongo, Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, and Lady Gaga.

“I couldn't think of a better way to honor our stories and authors than to have them included in these awards season swag bags,” Lisa said of the opportunity to contribute. “It's a great opportunity to get them in front of some the best talent in entertainment today, and a pretty big deal for Running Wild Press.”

Running Wild was one of several presses, including major publisher Hachette Book Group, to provide reading for the stars. Books are included in award season gift bags at the celebrities’ request, Lisa said, because they often travel for filming and have downtime on set during production, leaving them in need of activities like reading to fill the time.

Thankfully, Lisa sent them off with thrilling tales. The first, Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild, tells author Suzanne Samples’ heartbreakingly real story of her experience with brain cancer. The second, the Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 2, which Lisa edited, collects short fiction and delivers on the mission Lisa set for Running Wild when she founded it in 2016: to give readers bold stories that don’t fit neatly in a box.

According to Lisa, the short story collection also helped Running Wild stand apart. “It was the only work of fiction in the bags,” she said.

While inclusion in the Golden Globes festivities was a thrilling opportunity, it won’t be the last time Lisa helps her company bask in the limelight. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards air on January 27, 2019, and Running Wild Press will have two volumes of the Running Wild Novella Anthology included in swag bags for that event as well.

Throughout its decade-long run, Fairfield’s low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing has fostered a spirited alumni community comprised of experienced and emerging writers, as well as professionals interested in the publishing industry. More than 55 students and alumni have already published original novels, in addition to hundreds of articles, essays, and poems. Students enrolled in the program are encouraged to pursue whichever genre they desire to study, including fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or screenwriting. They also have the opportunity get hands-on publishing experience through Causeway Lit, the program's online literary journal, and through internship opportunities.

For more information about Fairfield’s MFA program, visit

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