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Ep. 78 Tara Stillions Whitehead | The Year of the Monster, writing hybrid forms, and the film industry

Hi there,

Today I am delighted to be arts calling writer and filmmaker Tara Stillions Whitehead!

About our guest:
A native Southern Californian, alumna of University of Southern California’s historic School of Cinematic Arts, and graduate of San Diego State University’s MFA writing program, Tara Stillions Whitehead ( is a filmmaker and writer teaching in Central Pennsylvania.

After working as a DGA assistant director and then as assistant to the executive producers of two number one prime time television shows, Tara left Hollywood to pursue projects that subvert celebrity worship and the dangerous narratives promoted by mainstream American media.

Tara’s writing has been published in or is forthcoming from various award-winning journals, magazines, and anthologies, including cream city review, The Rupture, Fairy Tale Review, Gone Lawn, PRISM international, Chicago Review, Pithead Chapel, Jellyfish Review, and Hobart. She is Assistant Professor of Film, Video, and Digital Media Production at Messiah University, where she is also faculty for the renowned Young Writers Workshop, and has given public lectures on monsters, media, and film.

Tara’s essay, “The Mother Must Die and Other Lies Fairy Tales Told Me,” published in Fairy Tale Review, was designated as a notable essay in the Best American Essays 2022 anthology, edited by Alexander Chee. Her stories were included in Wigleaf’s Top 50 in both 2021 and 2022, and she has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small fictions, the Pushcart Prize, and the AWP Intro Journals Award.

Check out Tara’s latest publications!
The Year of the Monster (Unsolicited Press 2022)

Blood Histories (Galileo Press 2021)

They More Than Burned (ELJ Editions 2023)


Thanks for taking the time to catch up on the podcast, Tara! All the best!

Arts Calling is produced by Jaime Alejandro ( If you like the show: please consider reviewing the podcast and sharing it with those who love the arts, or are starting their creative journey! Your support truly makes a difference, so check out the new website for the latest episodes!

Go make a dent: much love,


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