Who We Are
Who We Are

MARINA KOESTLER RUBEN

Instructor, Writopia DC
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Marina Koestler Ruben joined Writopia DC this fall. She is the 2004 winner of the New Jersey All Ages Playwrights Festival. Her one-act plays have been produced in Maryland and New Jersey. For two years, she served as a judge for CENTERSTAGE's Young Playwrights Festival. Marina earned her M.A. in Writing and the award of "Outstanding Graduate" from the Johns Hopkins University. Among the publications that have featured her articles are the Washington City Paper, Education Week, Smithsonian magazine, and CNN.com. Her articles are available online at www.marinaruben.com.

Marina also works as the Upper School Writing Tutor at Sidwell Friends School, and previously taught 10th-grade English and History at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy. She has worked as a mentor for the International Rescue Committee and American Red Cross and as a tutor in Baltimore, Potomac, and in Washington, D.C.


 

MELISSA WYSE

Instructor, Writopia DC
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Melissa Wyse has been an instructor with Writopia DC since the summer of 2010. She has taught writing at American University and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and she works as a writing tutor and freelance editor in Maryland and DC. Melissa is completing her MFA in fiction and creative nonfiction writing at American University. Her stories, articles, and poems have appeared in print and online publications, including Urbanite and decomP.


 

TONY MANCUS

Instructor, Writopia DC
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mini-tonyTony Mancus is very excited to be joining the good folk at Writopia Lab! He is newly transplanted in Rosslyn, VA and he holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona. Tony has been teaching writing in varying capacities for the past six years, most recently at a small preparatory high school in DC and in Florence, Italy. He has taught creative writing and composition at Hunter College, Montclair State University, Queensborough Community College, the University of Scranton, and the University of Arizona. He co-founded Flying Guillotine Press, a press that makes small handbound books, where he helps in the editorial screening and book design process. Tony's poems have appeared in a number of print and online journals and his work received an award from the University of Arizona's Poetry Center.


 

TAYLOR HARRIS

Instructor, Writopia DC
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taylorTaylor began teaching workshops with Writopia DC in 2010. Her essays and articles have been published by National Public Radio, Northern Virginia Magazine, and Hypocrite Press. She also serves as the DC Race Relations Examiner for Examiner.com. Taylor is pursuing her M.A. at the Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, where she studies memoir, profile, essay, and viewpoint journalism. She loves helping Writopia's students find their voices as writers.

 


 

JOHN BISHOP

Instructor, Writopia DC
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mini-john_bishopJohn Bishop is a writer and editor based in Washington, DC. He studied creative writing at Colby College and has an MFA from the University of Michigan where he was the recipient of an Avery Hopwood Award. His fiction has appeared in literary magazines including The Southern Review, The Green Mountains Review, The Blue Mesa Review, The Georgetown Review, Fugue, and Confrontation. He has lived in China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Nepal and has returned to the US after six years overseas working as a journalist.


 

AMIN AHMAD

Instructor, Writopia DC
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aminAmin joined Writopia in the winter of 2011. He grew up in India and was educated at Vassar College and MIT.
After a career in architecture (his affordable housing projects can be seen dotted around Cambridge and Boston), he is now a full-time writer and freelance editor. His short fiction and essays can be found in The Harvard Review, The New England Review, Narrative Magazine, The Sun, Utne Reader, and The Good Men Project. As 'A.X.Ahmad', he is currently writing a series of thrillers featuring an Indian protagonist. When he's not writing, editing, or thinking about words, Amin can be found cooking spicy food, or giving tours at the National Building Museum.

 

JULIA WANG

Coordinator, Writopia DC Affiliate for the Scholastic Awards
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mini-juliawangJulia Wang joined Writopia, DC the fall of 2010. She is completing her Creative Writing MFA at American University and working on her Children’s Literature MA at Hollins University. She works as a freelance editor and has taught writing to third grade students. When she was in high school, she participated in the Scholastic Writing Awards and received a Gold Key and a prestigious American Voices Award. She is thrilled to be working with the Scholastic Awards and with Writopia, to do her part in bringing the program to a new generation of young writers. Here’s to a great year!

 

 


 

ALEX YATES
Instructor, Writopia DC
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DSC_0143_2Alexander is very excited to be involved with Writopia Lab. He earned an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University, and his first novel, Moondogs, was published by Doubleday and Random House Audio in the spring of 2011. Other work of his has appeared in Salon, American Fiction, The Kenyon Review Online, and the Tin House Blog. He has taught writing in Syracuse, NY, and Fairfax, Va. He used to live in the Philippines. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, he will live in Rwanda.


 

HEIDI BISHOP

Book-Making Instructor

Heidi BishopHeidi Bishop is an artist specializing in printmaking and children’s book arts.  She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Art with a concentration in Art History and a Masters in Business Administration.  She has experience working with arts organizations such as the Cavallaro Cleary Visual Arts Foundation, The Art Institute and Gallery, and Maryland Summer Center for the Arts and is dedicated to making art accessible and relevant to children.  She has taught children’s art classes and activities for the Horizon’s Program, Camp Odyssey, and the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Heidi currently serves on the Gaithersburg Cultural Arts Advisory Committee and Gaithersburg Book Festival Planning Committee.

 

 

 

 

 


CRISTIN TERRILL

Instructor

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cristinmoorCristin Terrill is a young adult novelist living in Washington DC. Her debut novel All Our Yesterdays will be published by Disney-Hyperion in the fall of 2013. She holds a BA in Drama from Vassar College and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham.

 


 

 

 

 

NATALIE BUTZ

Program Assistant

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Natalie Butz graduated from Washington College in May with a B.A. in English. While at WC, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of her student newspaper and was nominated for the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the world. Currently, Natalie serves as the Program Assistant for Writopia Lab's DC branch and the editor of the Parenthetical, Writopia Lab's literary magazine for student writers.

 

 

 

 

 


NORMAN ALLEN

Instructor

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Allen1Norman Allen is thrilled to join the Writopia team! His plays have been commissioned and produced by the Kennedy Center (The Light of Excalibur), the Shakespeare Theatre Company (On the Eve of Friday Morning), and the Karlin Music Theatre in Prague (Carmen). His work while playwright-in-residence at Signature Theatre (VA) includes Nijinsky's Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Play) and In the Garden (Charles MacArthur Award), with subsequent productions throughout the United States, South Africa and Europe. Norman provided the concert adaptation for Encore's Sweet Adeline at New York City Center, and the libretto for the national tour of Cirque Ingenieux, featured on PBS. He’s the founder and former director of the Signature In The Schools outreach program. His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc., and have been translated into Czech, Hungarian, Slovenian, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. His essays and commentary have appeared in The Washington Post, Smithsonian, WAMU-FM (NPR), and other media outlets.

 

 

 


STACY PERSHALL

Instructor

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167319_1749304365471_1024689145_31955004_7564217_nStacy Pershall is the author of Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl, published by W.W. Norton and chosen for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program. Other writing credits include essays anthologized in Lost and Found: Stories from New York, edited by Thomas Beller, and a full-length play, The Color Wheel, which was produced by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival and The College of William and Mary.  The Color Wheel recently had a staged reading at the Intravenous Theatre in NYC.  Stacy blogs for Psychology Today and The Huffington Post, and holds BA degrees in theatre and English from the University of Arkansas and an MFA from the University of Cincinnati.  She is a member of the Active Minds speakers' bureau and speaks nationwide about bullying, eating disorders, and suicide prevention.  When she's not writing or traveling, Stacy takes dance classes and performs as a belly dancer.

 

 

 


ALEX HENDERSON

Instructor

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AlexphotoAlex Henderson gets excited every time he thinks about going to work at Writopia Lab. He came to Washington from North Carolina, where he focused on creative writing and Russian at UNC-Chapel Hill. After he graduated, he moved to Prague to work in a bookstore and write. Now an MFA candidate in fiction at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Alex spends most of his time riding the metro with his notebook balanced on his knees. His fiction has appeared in Harper-Perennial’s Fifty-Two Stories and Ekleksographia. He will listen to anyone tell a good story.

 

 

 

 

 


ELIZABETH GUTTING

Instructor
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Elizabeth_GuttingElizabeth Word Gutting is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia DC team. She graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in English and received her MFA in fiction from George Mason University. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Rumpus, Connotation Press, The Washington Post, and Defying Gravity, an anthology of D.C. women writers. Originally from St. Louis, she has lived in various other wonderful cities and places, including San Francisco and the small island of Jeju in South Korea, where she taught English as a Fulbright Fellow. Currently she is at work on her first novel.


 

Instructor
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McClearySmallKathleen McCleary is the author of three novels, including HOUSE AND HOME (Hyperion); A SIMPLE THING (HarperCollins) and LEAVING HAVEN (due out in Oct. 2013 from HarperCollins). Her non-fiction articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She has also taught writing as an adjunct professor at American University. When she's not writing, she can be found in the gym, trying to teach herself to do pull-ups. You can find more about Kathleen's work at www.kathleenmccleary.com