Creative Writing

Learn more about Writopia's Creative Writing program.

  • Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Executive Director
    Founder
    Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Rebecca founded Writopia Lab in April 2007, currently directs the national organization, teaches writing workshops and college essay writing and runs in-school staff and teacher trainings in New York City through the DYCD, the DOE, and at community-based organizations that serve at risk youth. She has grown the organization in NYC, and established and oversees Writopia in the DC Metro region, NY Metro North, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. She trains Writopia instructors across the nation, as well as classroom teachers and volunteers in the Writopia method.

    Rebecca has won multiple teaching awards including the Scholastic Awards' 2012 Ovation Inspired Teacher Award for submitting the most outstanding senior portfolios on the national level and for "developing a method of working with students that inspires them to create original work that embodies their unique, personal voice.... Because of [her] tutelage... these students are now empowered to bring that voice into the broader world..." She has also won the 2008, 2009, and 2011 National Gold Apple Teacher Award for "submitting the most outstanding group of submissions on the national level" to the Scholastic Art & Writing event. She lectures at schools, events, and parents' organizations on a variety of topics including "How to Inspire the Writer Within Your Child," "Writing for High School and College Admittance," and on "Identifying and Participating in Positive Competitions." Previously, Rebecca established the creative writing program at the Abraham Joshua Heschel Middle School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a consultant. While she was there, the program outperformed every other school in the city (including every elite public and private institution) in Scholastic's prestigious Art & Writing Awards competition. She has been awarded recognition from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as an "outstanding educator" every year since 2006. (Writopia won Scholastic's official endorsement in 2007.) Rebecca was also nominated by students and selected to be entered into the 11th Edition of Who's Who Among American Teachers.

    Rebecca has taught at SUNY Albany, New York University, and at Gotham Writer's Workshop. In 2009, Rebecca was invited to join The Op-Ed Project Mentor Editor Program and has since helped several brilliant women break into some of the nation's most widely read national opinion pages. In 2002, she had the pleasure of working with young writers in New York City public schools for the first time as a resident writer with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. By 2003, she was working at the Heschel School, planting the seeds for a unique and successful creative writing program there. She also participated in the judging of the Scholastic competition in 2006 and currently serves as a judge of several national youth writing competitions (in which her students are not involved).

    Rebecca also serves on Writopia Lab’s Board of Directors and is thrilled to have a team of accomplished board members from various social and business sectors, help shape the future of Writopia's youth literary community.

    Writings

    Rebecca began writing for publications in 1997. She has contributed opeds about education and writing to the The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, and thought pieces to The Huffington Post and The Nation, along with five cover stories (and other pieces) to the Village Voice. She has contributed the foreword to Bryant Park's Poem in Your Day Chapbook 2012 and to The Scholastic Award's 2012 Best Teen Writing. She also served as Senior Editor at Psychology Today Magazine, and won Salon's "Best People Story of the Year Award" for "Love Labor's Flossed." In 1999, she became a Journalism Fellow at Brandeis University. In 2003, she entered the world of comedy writing, and began writing and performing sketch comedy around NYC. She won a "Best Sketch" competition at the Upright Citizens Brigade in 2006.

  • Yael Schick

    Director of Programs
    Instructor
    Yael Schick

    Yael is thrilled to be part of the Writopia team! She received her BA in English from Stern College of Yeshiva University, and joined Writopia Lab in 2011. She has taught and tutored writing in several New York City colleges and private schools, and has worked as a director, most recently directing at 59e59 Theaters and at Roy Arias Theater. At Writopia she works as an instructor and program developer. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on both on the regional and national levels, and she has served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In 2012, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

  • Danielle Sheeler

    Director of Camps and Curriculum
    Instructor
    DanielleSheeler

    Danielle has been part of the Writopia team since 2011. She currently codirects Writopia’s NYC full-day camps and WriCampia, Writopia’s Sleepaway Camp, and develops in-school and essay writing curricula. Danielle teaches writing workshops at Writopia, in schools, and in Residential Treatment Facilities for incarcerated youth. She provides literacy support and creative writing workshops for at-risk teens who are transitioning these facilities into adulthood as part of Writopia’s Write to Independence Program. She launched the Essay Writing program at Writopia in 2013. In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Prior to Writopia, Danielle tutored for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests both privately and with a Long-Island based company called Dynamic Tutoring.

    She has studied writing at Stanford University and New York University, and received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU in January 2010. She has co-written (with Yael Schick) a new musical How to Click, which was showcased at Shetler Studios and the Sorter Lee Theater. Her one-act play, Under Somebody's Nose, was produced at Roy Arias theater in November of 2012. She produced and performed the one-acts Graduands to Graduates; The Megalomaniac and Valedictorian Commence; and Scene From a Dartboard at the Manhattan Repertory theatre in March through June 2010, and the one-act Look at Me When I Am Talking to You at the Wings Theatre in New York in May 2008. She has had the opportunity to teach English and creative writing in a classroom setting to children in Pram-pram, Ghana; Quito, Ecuador; Chinatown, New York; East Palo Alto, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Abby Coleman

    Associate Director of Programs
    Instructor

    Abby Coleman

    Abby Coleman joined Writopia Lab in September 2012. She completed her BA in English/Creative Writing from Hendrix College in Arkansas (2011) and her MFA in Poetry from The New School (2014). Her poetry and artwork have appeared in The Providence Journal, The Aonian, The New School Collaborative (for which she also created the cover design), and most recently in Pieces of Cake, The NYD Anthology 2014, great weather for MEDIA, and Eleven Eleven. She has also created two chapbooks, The Heart Machine and Involuntary Rabbits. Abby manages the Write to Recognition Program, Joy and Literacy in After School, and External Submissions, and she serves as an adviser to The (Parenthetical) and The Ellipsis... She is thrilled to be working with Writopia.

  • Elsa Bermudez

    Human Resources Associate
    Instructor
    ElsaBermudez.jpeg

    Elsa Bermudez is a writer, graphic novelist, artist, and educator. She has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. Elsa runs creative writing workshops for children and teens in under-served communities through Writopia programs such as Write to Recognition and Homes for the Homeless. She holds her BA in Philosophy and her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her short story, Agency, was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. Elsa loves fashion, hates speaking in third person, and lives in Astoria, Queens with her wife, Abby, and their puggle and cats: Bug, Beyonce, and Jay-Z.

  • Alexandra Cohl

    Instructor
    Program Developer
    AlexandraCohl

    Alexandra is thrilled to be an instructor and Program Developer at Writopia NYC! Alexandra interned at Writopia NYC during the summer of 2014 after graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance. While in school, she wrote and performed a solo Commedia dell’Arte mask show, Stella, for the theatre department and outside guests. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine. Throughout the school year, she instructs multi-genre workshops and private sessions, and in the summer, mainly works with the playwrights, helping them bring their written pieces to the stage. Her Writopia writers have won both regional and national recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards. Outside of work, she writes memoir and realistic fiction and is currently working on a series of short stories. Periodic summer visits to her grandparents' house in upstate New York—or as her mother called it: "cousin camp"—proved to be influential in her artistic endeavors and remains a place of inspiration; she and her cousins would create and perform original stories, often times charging for entry. Since then, she has always loved the beauty and therapeutic power of words. In addition to reading and writing, she loves to sing and is especially moved by R&B and soul music.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Registration Coordinator
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor joined Writopia as an intern in June 2015 and, after a year of working part-time, began full-time as Registration Coordinator. She also served as the Production Stage Manager for the Writopia Worldwide Plays Festival 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions, and her main areas of instruction at Writopia are the Playwriting & Performance program and the Essay Writing program. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature.

  • Hannah Boysko

    Instructor & Curriculum Developer
    Private Sessions Coordinator
    Hannah Boysko

    Hannah started at Writopia Lab as an intern in 2015 and became a full time administrator and instructor after graduating from Barnard College in 2016 with a degree in History and Education. She writes poetry, essays, short fiction, and pieces for performance. At Writopia, Hannah organizes private sessions, develops curriculum, supports the management of the Brooklyn Lab, and teaches Creative and Essay Writing workshops at our labs and off site. She has created and collaborated on numerous zines and developed Writopia’s Zine-making Curriculum. In Spring 2017, her poetry was published in the docu-zine Femme Mâché, and her short play Leveling Up was read at TheaterLab. Hannah is currently working on her upcoming chapbook, Mostly Water, and writes music and bikes around Brooklyn in her free time. Hannah is over the moon to be part of Writopia’s New York City community and help young writers build empathy, find their voices, tell their stories, and quest for truth.

  • Sarah Park

    Registration Support & Instructor
    Editor-in-Chief of The (Parenthetical) and The Ellipsis...
    Sarah Park

    Sarah joined Writopia Lab NYC in October 2016. Born and raised in New York, she graduated Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Baruch with an English and Art History degree. At Baruch, she was a poetry and prose editor for Encounters Magazine, and launched a digital nonfiction magazine, Refract Magazine, as the Editor-in-Chief. Sarah won the 2016 Sidney Harman Fiction Writing Competition for a short story that challenges the conventional female muse narrative. She has also written articles for KNSTRCT, an online art and design magazine. She hopes to use this experience to help others flex their imaginations and craft exquisite stories of their own.

  • Sarah Shatan-Pardo

    Registration Support
    Assistant Instructor
    Sarah SP

    Sarah joined Writopia full time the summer of 2017 after spending the summers of 2015 and 2016 assistant teaching at our workshops and camps as an intern. She graduated from Haverford College with a BA in English in May, 2017. At Haverford, Sarah had a concentration in Creative Writing and spent her senior year writing a creative thesis. When she graduated, she was awarded the Terry M. Krieger ‘69 Memorial Prize for her achievements in writing. Sarah attended Writopia workshops as a high school student, so Writopia has been a part of her life for a long time. At Writopia, Sarah is a part of the registration team and an assistant instructor. She is also an enthusiastic member of the team who brings fantasy and adventure to young writers through Worldbuilding, where the young writers create their own interactive worlds and stories. YA fantasy is Sarah’s genre of choice for both reading and writing, but nothing inspires her like the stories written by Writopia’s young writers.

  • Léna Roy

    New York Metro North Regional Manager
    Instructor
    Lena Roy

    Léna began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in Manhattan in 2009, then went on to bring the program to New York City's northern suburbs in 2010. Léna is the author of the YA novel, Edges, published by FSG. She co-authored Becoming Madeleine, a Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters, coming out in February 2018. She co-edited the award-winning Girls Write Now anthology, First Lines. Her writing was featured in the essay collection for middle school kids and their teachers: Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Essays to Devour: Your Favorite Authors Take on the Dreaded Essay Assignment. From 2014 to present, Léna has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Léna earned her BA from Barnard, studying English and Italian literature, and her MA in Drama Therapy from NYU. Mentoring has long been the connective tissue in Léna's life, whether through her work with at-risk adolescents in Utah, California, and New York; or through her own writing discipline, as fostered by her late grandmother, author Madeleine L'Engle. It was her grandmother who taught Léna to transform the solitary nature of writing into a sacred sense of community, where her art and the art of others can flourish. You can visit Léna at www.lenaroybooks.com.

  • Rob Roy

    Operations Manager
    Rob Roy

    Rob is Writopia Lab's administrator for the New York Metro North labs. Having worked more than a decade in New York film production, Rob says he's perfectly qualified to run errands, file paperwork, and tinker on computers. And because Rob shares Writopia's vision of building an environment in which to foster the creativity of teens and kids, he now runs, files, and tinkers with more joy than he did before.

  • Michaela Florio

    Program Coordinator

    Michaela Florio is ecstatic to be joining Writopia Lab, Westchester as Program Coordinator. Michaela received her BA in English & Literature from University of Alaska Anchorage and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she worked with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri. She is currently writing a collection of essays focusing on Alaska and relationships, and hopes to climb Denali with her stepfather so she can finish a memoir on their relationship. Michaela has taught English and creative writing courses at the college level in Westchester, led creative aging workshops for Alzheimer's and dementia patients through Timeslips, played Division I college soccer, and has coached players ranging from age three through college. Whether on the field or in academia, she enjoys mentoring and helping people to achieve their full potential. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking, and on the weekends you can find her playing soccer on various county leagues, and enjoying all the pizza.

  • Anu Amaran

    Instructor
    Anu Amaran

    Anu Amaran (pen name: A. Anupama) is excited to work with the team of Writopians, young and old, in the Metro North labs. Anu is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator whose work has appeared in Fourteen Hills, CutBank, Numéro Cinq Magazine, Tulane Review, and elsewhere. She studied at Northwestern University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received her MFA in writing. She currently organizes literary community and is a founding editor of the literary journal River River. She lives and writes in Nyack, New York. Find Anu’s musing at seranam.com.

  • Kate Long

    Instructor
    katelong

    Kate is ecstatic to be joining Writopia’s northern Westchester division! Kate has served as a Teaching Artist in NYC’s public schools for over thirty years. She is a playwright member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre where several of her one-acts have been produced. Her plays have been published by Samuel French, Broadway Play Publishing and included in Applause Books’ Best Short Plays. Her latest one-act, Casting Cordelia, can be found in the 2015 edition of The Westchester Review.

  • Sophia Marie Lee

    Instructor

    Sophia is thrilled to be joining Writopia Lab, Westchester as a Writing Instructor. Sophia is an author of books for children and young adults. Her first book, What Things Mean, is a young adult novel published by Scholastic Asia (2016). This work won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Scholastic Asian Book Awards, and is one of the first young adult stories about the Philippines to have been published by Scholastic. What Things Mean was included in the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Top 10 Books of 2016. Her second book, a children's picture book titled Soaring Saturdays, won 2nd Prize at the Samsung KidsTime Authors' Awards (2015). It was digitized into an interactive e-book app in 2016 and is set for print release by Scholastic Asia in 2018. Sophia wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things through writing. She studied creative writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and is currently a Creative Writing MFA Candidate with a concentration in Writing for Children and Young Adults at The New School in New York City. You can find her online at www.sophianlee.com.

  • Justin Allen

    Instructor
    Justin Allen

    Justin Allen is excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Justin is the author of two novels, Slaves of the Shinar and Year of the Horse. He is also the author of three plays. Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allen Poe and Gilbert and Sullivan, The Ballet! were both commissioned and produced by Dances Patrelle. The Beatitudes was commissioned by Eidolon Ballet in Concert and was produced for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Justin is curently formulating a new script, which he wants to call Superhero: The Legend of the Lightning Defender. Justin earned his MFA at Columbia University and studied Comic Book Scripting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He loves fantasy and science-fiction, mystery and alternate history, love stories and comic books, and he adores work that defies classification. He has taught writing as a part of the Columbia Writing Workshops at Bank Street College of Education, led a seminar focusing on graphic novels and comic books at Bethesda Academy, and spent years as a children's ballet master in New York City. He looks forward to reveling weekly in the work of the talented and creative young writers that make Writopia Lab a special place.

  • PJ DeGenaro

    Instructor
    PJ DeGenaro

    A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, PJ DeGenaro is overjoyed to be joining the staff of Writopia's Northern Metro labs as of the summer, 2015. PJ’s writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Adirondack Review, The Westchester Review, and The Hudson Independent. Her short story, “Everything Is Not Yet Lost,” was awarded “Best Thing We’ve Read Today” by The Furnace Review. PJ earned her BA in Fine Art from Hofstra University, and her MFA in Fiction at Manhattanville College. She has taught academic writing at the college level, and has developed and facilitated creative writing workshops for adult-education programs.

  • Melissa Marino

    Instructor
    Melissa Marino

    Melissa happily joined Writopia in March 2014. She is the author of YA novel, Witch Way (Lycaon Press, 2014) and two novels in the paranormal/fantasy genre. Melissa also dabbles in poetry and short-story writing and she is currently writing a chapbook. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College and MA in Psychology from Iona College. Melissa is honored and delighted to be a part of the Writopia team! Visit her online at www.mamarino.com/.

  • Daniel Ajl Kitrosser

    Instructor
    Artistic Director of Writopia Plays Festival
    Playwriting and Screenwriting Specialist
    DanKitrosser

    Dan Kitrosser has been teaching year-round at Writopia since 2007. He teaches musical theater, playwriting, language play, and fiction workshops, and also produces and directs Writopia Lab's annual Best Playwrights' Festival. Dan is the resident storyteller at Central Park and an award-winning playwright. His plays and musicals have appeared at Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and American Place Theatre. His children's musical, Night of the Butterfly, has been declared "a winning original musical!" by TimeOut Kids, and had an extended Off-Broadway run. He was the recipient of the 2010 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for his one-man musical The Legend of Ichabod Crane (Halloween Pick - Village Voice) which he continues to tour around the city. At Writopia, six of Dan's students have won "Best Play" in Stephen Sondheim's 2008, 2009, and 2010 Write a Play! contests, and many others were named finalists or won honorable mentions. A graduate of NYU, Dan's screenplays include Old Days, directed by Matt Shapiro and starring Brad Oscar (Tony Nomination, The Producers) and Mary Beth Piel (Dawson's Creek) and Bodybuilder Island, directed by Matthew Kliegman. Dan has been a final committee judge for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival for four years (this coming summer will be his fifth). Dan's play Be Here Now won this festival and was a finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Playwriting Competition.

  • Alex Henderson

    Instructor
    AlexHenderson

    Alex Henderson has enjoyed working with young Writopians since 2012. Originally from North Carolina, he has lived in Prague, CR, and Washington, DC, where he was awarded the Thesis Fiction Fellowship by the MFA program at George Mason University. He soon made the leap to New York City and Writopia's headquarters here, where you can now find him most days of the week (sometimes it's hard to get him to leave). Alex spends his free time riding the subway with a notebook balanced on his knees or figuring out how to re-arrange the bookshelves in his Brooklyn apartment. His fiction has appeared in Harper-Perennial's Fifty-Two Stories and Ekleksographia. He will listen to anyone tell a good story.

  • Michael Alessi

    Chicago Regional Manager
    Instructor
    Michael Alessi

    Michael Alessi is Writopia’s Chicago Regional Manager. Over the past six years he has served literary communities around the country as a college-level writing instructor, high school workshop leader, and managing editor of several university-housed and independent literary journals. He is thrilled to share his experience with young writers of all ages.

    Michael’s poetry and prose has earned awards and recognition from the Academy of American Poets, the University of Memphis, Louisiana State University, and the AWP Intro Journals Project. He holds dual BAs in English and Economics from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Fiction from Old Dominion University, where he was selected as a David Scott Sutelan Fellow. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in such literary journals as Mid-American Review, Passages North, The Pinch, the minnesota review, Paper Darts, and New Delta Review, among others. He is currently at work on his first novel, set in the rural hollows of his home state of Virginia.

  • Courtney Sheinmel

    Instructor
    CourtneySheinmel

    Courtney Sheinmel teaches summer and year-round fiction and memoir workshops at Writopia Lab. She grew up in California and New York, graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College, and Fordham University School of Law. After working as a litigator for several years, Courtney decided to focus on her true love: writing. Her critically-acclaimed debut "tween" novel, My So-Called Family, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2008. Her second book, Positively, came out in September 2009. She is also the author of Sincerely Sophie/Sincerely Katie (June 2010) and You Can't Even Measure It (2011). Visit Courtney online at www.courtneysheinmel.com.

  • Cathleen Davitt-Bell

    Instructor
    CathleenDavittBell

    Cathleen is the author of seven middle grade and YA novels, including a ghost story, Slipping (Bloomsbury 2008), a fake-historical romp Little Blog on the Prairie (Bloomsbury 2010), a time-travel romance I Remember You (Knopf, 2015) and the paranormal Weregirl trilogy: Weregirl, Chimera, and Typhon (Chooseco, 2016, 2017 and 2018). She holds a BA from Barnard College, an MFA from Columbia University, lives in Brooklyn with her family, and has been a proud member of the Writopia team since 2010. Visit her online at CathleenDavittBell.com.

  • Taylor Sykes

    Instructor
    Taylor Sykes

    Taylor joined the Writopia team the summer of 2013. She graduated from Purdue University West Lafayette in 2013 with her BA in English Education and Creative Writing. During her last year of college, she taught American Literature and Creative Writing at McCutcheon High School in Indiana full time. Taylor received several literary awards from Purdue for her creative and critical writing and was recently a finalist in NPR's Three-Minute Fiction contest. Her short fiction was published on NPR's website and a portion was read on the air during All Things Considered. Other fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has been published in Alyss, Pieces of Cake, and The Brooklyn Film and Arts blog. She has been a fan of Writopia for some time so she is thrilled to be part of the team of inspired thinkers, teachers and writers.

  • David Kim

    Associate Program Manager
    Instructor
    David Kim

    David Kim is delighted to be a member of the Writopia family. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, where he served as a reader for local literary magazines, taught an undergraduate course in Asian American Literature, and completed a collection of linked stories that he hopes never to see again. After graduate school, he spent considerable time in the nonprofit sector, coordinating, designing, and teaching creative writing workshops and reading enrichment classes for the Harlem Children's Zone.

    He is also a former New York City teaching fellow and has taught English Language Arts at high schools in both Brooklyn and Baltimore. Most recently, he taught creative writing and English composition at a community college in Bloomington, Indiana. He is excited to return to the DC metro area and for the opportunity to work again with young writers. His favorite authors are Junot Diaz, Elizabeth Strout, and Yiyun Li, names he hopes his students will be familiar with shortly. When David is not reading, writing, or teaching, he is most likely listening to Kendrick Lamar or watching Good Will Hunting for the hundredth time.

  • Melissa Baumgart

    Instructor
    Melissa Baumgart

    Melissa is honored to be part of the Writopia team! Melissa graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied Radio/TV/Film and History. She volunteered for several years as a mentor and as a Writing & Critical Thinking consultant for Minds Matter NYC, where she helped students prepare their college applications. Melissa has worked at HBO and Comedy Central, TV Land, and Spike TV. She is currently working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

  • Amy Dupcak

    Instructor
    AmyDupcak

    Amy Dupcak is truly excited to join Writopia, NYC. She studied Writing, Film History, and other random things at Sarah Lawrence College, then earned an MFA in Fiction from The New School. Along the way, she's worked as a music and culture journalist, editor, blogger, and publishing intern. She started and taught a Creative Writing course for high school seniors in Westchester, and now teaches English and tutors on the college level in Manhattan. She has published short stories and creative nonfiction in Sonora Review, Fringe, Phoebe, The Dirty Napkin, and other literary journals, and has also completed her first novel, which she hopes to get out into the world soon!

  • Laura Owsiany

    Registration Coordinator
    Instructor
    Laura Owsiany

    Laura Owsiany is so excited to join Writopia Lab as Registration Coordinator and an instructor. She holds a BA in English from Georgetown University. After graduating, Laura worked as a full-time tutor in McLean, VA, where she mentored students in college essay writing and taught everything from English to calculus. She previously served as an intern for Writopia Lab in the summer of 2015, and as a publishing intern at the nonprofit 826DC. In addition to writing, Laura enjoys reading modernist poetry, photography, the outdoors, and frequenting DC’s many free museums.

  • Talia Sand

    Instructor
    Talia Sand

    Talia Sand teaches Language Play workshops at Writopia. She graduated from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Women's Studies. While there, she served as the editor of the Lifestyle section of Stern College Observer. She eventually became the first female staff member and Creative Editor and Section Editor of the Yeshiva University Commentator. She has served as an intern at Random House Publishing and is currently an event assistant at Eloise Shop at the Plaza. Additionally, she has also served as the lead writer of the Simply Southern Cookbook. She recently graduated from the New School for Creative Writing where she studied under David Leviathan and Sarah Weeks. She is currently working on her first Young Adult novel.

  • Stephen Cedars

    Instructor
    Stephen Cedars

    Stephen began teaching fiction and playwriting at Writopia in 2011. His original theatre has been produced throughout New York City for the past seven years through the Brick Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, and the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator, chashama. He has also co-produced community theater for Williamsburg families. He studied English, History and Theatre at Louisiana State University, and recently graduated with his MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing, where he was awarded the John Golden Prize for Excellence in Playwriting.

  • Sarah Bernstein

    Instructor
    Sarah Bernstein

    Sarah Bernstein is an award-winning teacher and playwright. Sarah studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University, and her work has been produced and/or developed with companies throughout the country, including the Lark Play Development Center, the Amoralists, Forward Flux Productions,The Motor Company, the Source Festival, FullStop Collective, Caps Lock Theatre, the American Globe Theatre, Project Y, and the New Voices Project. Her play, Perpetuation, and her adaptation of Les Miserables, will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year. After falling in love with Writopia through her work on the Worldwide Plays Festival, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Writopia's brilliant students and staff as an instructor.

  • Michelle Schusterman

    Instructor
    Michelle Schusterman

    Michelle Schusterman joined the Writopia team in the spring of 2014. Michelle is the author of the middle grade series I Heart Bandand The Kat Sinclair Files (Penguin), as well as the upcoming horror-fantasy novel Maudville (Egmont). She has a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Texas and was a middle and high school band director for several years before teaching ESL in Brazil and Korea. She currently lives in New York City with her husband (and bandmate) and their chocolate lab (who's more of a vocalist).

  • Kathleen McCleary

    Instructor
    Kathleen McCleary

    Kathleen McCleary is the author of three novels, including House and Home (Hyperion); A Simple Thing (HarperCollins) and Leaving Haven (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.

  • Kyle Metzger

    Instructor
    Kyle Metzger

    Kyle joined the Writopia team in 2015. He is first and foremost a storyteller. As a theater director he devises, develops and directs new plays. As a teaching artist he's worked with the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) teaching playwriting and songwriting, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) teaching music theater, and Serious Fun After School running their program at PS33 in Chelsea. Kyle has directed numerous plays over the last 3 years in Writopia's Worldwide Plays festivals and is pumped to join the team this summer as an Instructor. He holds a BFA in Music Theater from The Hartt School, and recent directing projects include work at Signature, terraNOVA Collective, Culture Project, and 59E59. This summer he will be adapting and directing Shakespeare's As You Like It to be performed in NYC parks. If you see a guy biking around the Upper West Side with a neon yellow helmet and a very sweaty face please wave hello and offer him water. This spring Kyle assisted director Mia Rovegno on the world premier of Underland by Alexandra Collier at 59E59. Currently in development are two new plays by frequent collaborator Tim Duncheon - Stage Spies! and Almost Free as well as an adaptation of Shakespeare's As You Like It to be performed this August in parks throughout the city.

  • Jessica McHugh

    Instructor
    Jessica McHugh

    Jessica McHugh is thrilled to be a part of Writopia Lab. She's a novelist, playwright, and short story writer with seventeen books published by small presses in the last seven years, including the first three novels in her edgy young adult series, the Darla Decker Diaries. Her play, Fools Call It Fate, won the Mobtown Theatre playwriting competition in 2010 and was named "Best New Play of 2011" by Baltimore Broadway World. While crafting fiction is Jessica's biggest passion in life, she derives immense joy from inspiring and encouraging the creativity of others. She's honored to join the Writopia Lab family as an instructor this summer. For more information on her ever-expanding McHughniverse, please visit www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com or excellent publishers like Post Mortem Press and Evolved Publishing.

  • Melanie Howard

    Instructor
    Melanie Howard

    Melanie Howard is excited to join Writopia Lab as an instructor in the Greater Washington DC area. Melanie is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared online and in print in Time.com, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, SELF, Seventeen, Parenting, Good Housekeeping and other major publications. She is the co-author of the satirical novel, Queen of the Court (2013) and her second novel, a mystery set at a girls’ boarding school in 1963, is in the publication process. Melanie is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in General and Comparative Literature. She loves writing for a living for many reasons, but mostly because she gets to stay home with her dog, Rocket.

  • Dara Coye

    Instructor
    Dara Coye

    It’s been such a joy for Dara to be a part of the Writopia family for the past few years. She is a playwright, a screenwriter, and a novelist who received her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. In addition to teaching creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, poetry, essay writing, and creative nonfiction, she is an advocate for youth literacy outreach and has worked as a reading and writing tutor and mentor for children with special needs. She also had the great pleasure of teaching theatre at the middle school level and coordinated productions of original one-act plays, written, directed and performed by brilliantly talented 8th grade students. Her experience working with students of all ages lead her back to school to earn a secondary education credential in English/Language Arts.

  • Katherine Kipp

    Instructor

    Katherine_Kipp_headshotKatherine is thrilled to join the Writopia team! A Tennessean at heart, she moved to Maryland to work on her MFA in Fiction Writing, which she received from the University of Maryland in 2014. She also has a MA in English from Southeast Missouri State University and a BA in English and Journalism from Union University. Her first book was a construction paper cut-out of a cat's face, containing a story about a disobedient kitten that she wrote in the 2nd grade. Since then, her writing has been published in Glasschord, Journey, and Big Muddy, and reviewed on newpages.com. As a journalist, she wrote entertainment and feature stories for small newspapers in Tennessee and Missouri. Currently, she teaches composition at the University of Maryland and Montgomery College. Katherine enjoys big cups of coffee, sushi, collecting books and journals, running and, of course, writing. She hopes to adopt a cat soon and name her after one of her favorite authors, Flannery O'Connor.

  • Kristen Burke

    Instructor
    KristenBurke

    Kristen Burke is a Long Island based instructor, excited to be a part of the Writopia team. As a freelance writer, she enjoys working with clients on their latest marketing and advertising endeavors while also maintaining a career as a humor writer. She graduated from Hofstra University, where she studied Fine Arts and Art Education, and is now working on her thesis for a master’s degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University. Kristen is currently working on a collection of humorous personal essays expected to be complete in 2017.

  • Chad Anderson

    Instructor
    Chad_Anderson

    Chad is thrilled to join the team at Writopia Lab DC. He is a freelance editor and writer and has published fiction in Salamander, Black Warrior Review, and Nimrod International Journal. He also has written extensively about culture and higher education. Originally from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Chad earned his B.A. in English and in American studies from the University of Virginia and his MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, where he taught academic and creative writing and also served as the fiction editor for Indiana Review. In addition to writing, Chad loves hiking, camping, being on the water, reading (of course), traveling, karaoke, analyzing television and film, gardening, and attempting to cook. To learn more about Chad and his work, visit www.chadbanderson.com.

  • Erika Walsh

    Instructor
    Erika Walsh

    Erika is so excited to work as a creative writing instructor for Writopia Lab! She first joined the Writopia Lab team as a teaching intern during the summer of 2016. Since then, she has served as an instructor for a Writopia Lab workshop in Ithaca, NY, a counselor at Wricampia, and a volunteer for Writopia’s residency and service program in Quito, Ecuador. She received a BA in creative writing from Ithaca College, where she worked as a teaching assistant in a college-level class on writing the personal essay and in a poetry workshop at the Ithaca Writers Institute. She served as lead poetry editor for Stillwater, an on-campus literary and arts magazine, was awarded first place in the poetry category of her school’s annual writing contest, and was selected to receive a full scholarship to attend the Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers at the University of Houston. Her poetry and short fiction has been featured or is forthcoming in literary journals such as Hotel Amerika, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Peach Mag, Juked, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and elsewhere. She was selected as a semifinalist in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. In addition to instructing at Writopia, she serves as an editor for A VELVET GIANT, an online literary journal she co-founded.

  • Gina Stevensen

    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Gina Stevensen is a playwright, performer and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. Her plays have been produced in New York City and regionally and include: Book of Esther (semi-finalist: 2016 Princess Grace Award, workshop production: Binghamton's KNOW Theater), The Time Crawlers Save the World (grand prize winner: Manhattan Repertory Theater's one-act competition, space grant recipient: Looking Glass Theater) and Troll Doll's Big Day (36-hour play festival: Urban Stages). Plays in development: Cruel Sister and When You're Young You Know You'll Live Forever at Columbia University. Gina is the artistic director of Park Slope Day Camp's Cirque d'Été summer circus camp, and is the writing coordinator at Tribeca Performing Arts Center's Writers in Performance Workshop. She has traveled three times to southern India to train in Mohiniyattam, a classical Indian dance-drama form. She was the choreographer for Narcissus: An Ancient Roman Pantomime, a new opera that aired on PBS in March of 2016. She received her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch and is an MFA Playwriting candidate at Columbia University.

  • Michael Burns

    Instructor

    Michael is excited to be a part of the Writopia Lab family! He's a writing coach, author, and an award-winning filmmaker. His written work has been published by Penguin and others and his feature documentary work has been seen in over twenty countries. His projects have included an in-depth analysis of the US government’s military strategy of preemptive war, the efficacy of the leading treatment for PTSD in the world today, and the state of third, forth, and fifth political parties in America. He holds a B.A. from Georgetown University, an M.S. from UMass, Amherst, and a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He’s also the founder of India’s longest-running, live true storytelling organization, Tall Tales, through which he’s coached hundreds of storytellers while teaching original writing workshops across South Asia.

  • Mikaela Dunitz

    Regional Manager
    Head Instructor
    Mikaela Dunitz

    Mikaela is excited to be bringing the wonders of Writopia to the Bay Area! She taught creative writing workshops at Stuyvesant High School in New York City from 2013-2016 and at The Urban School of San Francisco during 2016-2017. She holds a BA in English from Georgetown University and an MA from Columbia University in English Education and recently attended workshops at the Kenyon Review for Literary Nonfiction as well as the Southampton Arts for poetry where she studied with Sharon Olds. She is currently writing the story of her grandmother’s life, using the material gathered from weekly interviews.

  • Alison Doherty

    Instructor

    Alison is excited to join the Writopia team as an instructor! Alison recently earned an MFA with a concentration in writing for children and young adults from The New School. During the program, she completed two publishing internships and studied under David Levithan, Sarah Weeks, and Tor Seidler. She is currently writing her first young adult novel. Allison grew up on both coasts, in California and Maryland, and graduated from Smith College with a BA in English Literature. She is a former teacher and has served as a curriculum consultant for Harvard EdLabs.

  • Samantha Stone

    Instructor

    Samantha Stone has been involved with Writopia as a JLA volunteer since Fall of 2016 and is thrilled to continue, now as a creative writing instructor. She is a New York City based playwright and theatre artist, who focuses on creating theatre for social change in both national and international platforms. In 2013, she earned a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the George Washington University and is currently earning a degree from the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA in Playwriting program with the expectation to graduate in Spring 2018. Her first play The Muscle in Question, a story about the human brain and its effect on a society's day-to-day well-being, experience, and existence, made its world premiere at the 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival in 2016.

  • Lee Eisen

    Assistant Instructor
    Lee Eisen

    After interning with Writopia last summer, Lee Eisen is excited to lead workshops in Los Angeles this fall. Lee graduated from the University of Miami (FL) in December 2016 with departmental honors in Creative Writing. "Tens in the Dark", one of the short stories from Lee's senior thesis, was published in Mangrove Literary Journal, which receives hundreds of submissions from undergraduate students around the country. Lee's experience spans multiple genres and disciplines. He was a contributing writer for his college newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. He also worked as a production assistant for the ABC television series, The Goldbergs. Lee plans to pursue an MFA degree in fiction, teach higher education, and publish a collection of short stories. Lee is incredibly excited to help kids learn the fundamentals of writing, with an emphasis on the "fun!"

  • Corey Haydu

    Instructor

    Corey Ann Haydu is thrilled to be teaching with Writopia! She is the author of the Young Adult novels OCD Love Story (Simon and Schuster 2013), Life By Committee (HarperCollins 2014), Making Pretty (HarperCollins 2015), and the middle grade novel, Rules For Stealing Stars (HarperCollins 2015). A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Corey has been working in children’s publishing since 2009. In 2013, Corey was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s Flying Starts. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections.

  • Rachel Barclay Prabhu

    Instructor
    Rachel Barclay

    Rachel Kay Barclay Prabhu has been teaching with Writopia Lab since 2012 and has had the pleasure of working out of four Writopia Lab regions: Washington D.C., Manhattan, Brooklyn, and now the Bay Area. Rachel has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Catholic University of America and a B.A. (magna cum laude) in English and Theater with a minor in Creative Writing from Arcadia University. Rachel was the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s JFK National Playwriting Award and a finalist for the National Partners of American Theatre National Playwriting Award. Her plays have been produced across the United States and beyond in cities such as London, New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. She is the creator, writer, and producer of the comedic web series, Human Telegraphs, and her work has been selected and premiered by film festivals, such as DC Shorts, at the National Constitution Center.

  • Adam Seidel

    Instructor
    Adam Seidel

    Adam is honored to be part of the Writopia family. Adam has been teaching creative and essay writing workshops at the Upper West Side lab since early 2017. Prior to moving to New York, Adam lived in Chicago where he was a company member of Collaboration Theatre Company, which focuses on creating devised pieces of theatre that raise awareness about social conscious issues. Adam's plays have been produced around the country, most notably at Cherry Lane, 59E59, Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Actor's Studio, The Road Theatre in LA, Collaboraction and Playhouse on the Square in Memphis. Adam's plays are published by Middle Tennessee State University Press and Broadway Play Publishing Inc.

  • Malcolm Knowles

    Songwriting Program Developer
    Assistant Office Manager
    Instructor

    Malcolm Knowles is ecstatic to be a part of the Writopia team. He is a writer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Houston, Texas, where he learned to record and release music during his teenage years. He later attended Sarah Lawrence College with a focus in jazz guitar, composition, and radio. During the summer, he leads the songwriting elective at both the Writopia day camp and WriCampia and is currently developing the Songwriting Studio Program for the Fall, Winter, and Spring trimesters. When not teaching, you can often find him next to the closest musical instrument.

  • C. A. Johnson

    Instructor
    C. A. Johnson

    C. A. Johnson is thrilled to be a new member of the Writopia Lab family! Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, C. A. now lives in Astoria Queens where she spends her days writing plays and drinking far too much coffee. Her plays include Mother Tongue, The Climb, An American Feast, Waitin’ on the Moon, Elroy Learn His Name, and Thirst (2017 Kilroys List, PlayPenn Conference). Her work has been supported and/or developed by SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Playwrights Center, The Lark, The Dramatists Guild, The Civilians, and many other organizations. Most recently, C.A.’s play An American Feast was developed with The Civilians and received a workshop production at Playwrights Horizons Theater School. She received her BA from Smith College and her MFA from NYU. www.cajohnson.info

  • Abby Sher

    New Jersey Regional Coordinator
    Instructor
    Abby Sher

    Abby Sher is honored to be part of this amazing Writopia community. She is the New Jersey Regional Coordinator – Go Garden State! Abby is an award-winning author of both memoir and fiction, with four books out and fifth due in the spring of 2019. She also enjoys teaching writing to all ages and demographics. As an actor, Abby has performed with The Second City, HBO, and NPR, and is currently a co-producer of Scratch ‘N Sniff Productions. She can often be spotted with a puppet named Sloopy.

  • Michelle Kim Hall

    Instructor
    Michelle Kim Hall

    Michelle Kim Hall is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia community and is committed to honoring young voices and the power of self-expression. She believes that writing is serious fun. She wrote her first poem at age five after breaking her arm: "casts are white / paper can tear / this thing hurts / more than you care." She hasn't stopped writing since. After graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with a concentration in creative writing, she went on to earn her JD from Harvard Law School. Her thesis explored a troubling human rights issue through the short story form. Michelle practiced law in both California and New York before deciding to return to academia. She got an MFA in fiction from New York University, where she taught creative and expository writing. Her poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in periodicals including The Rumpus, Open Letters Monthly, and The Margins. With almost two decades of teaching experience, Michelle loves working with writers of all ages.

  • Wesley Cohen

    Instructor
    Wesley Cohen picture

    Wesley Cohen is a Writopia instructor in the Bay Area region. Her short stories can be found at Entropy Magazine, Potluck Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, and other publications, and she reviews new books for the East Bay Review. She was a 2017 Writing By Writers Newberry Fellow, and serves as prose editor of Foglifter Journal. She’s excited to bring her love of stories to the next generation of great writers.

  • Kristin Slaney

    Instructor
    Kristin Slaney

    Kristin is very excited to be joining the Writopia team as an instructor! Kristin is a New York-based playwright originally from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Her plays have been produced and developed by Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea Theater, The Tank, Ugly Rhino, Spicy Witch Productions, Ship’s Company Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Halifax Theatre for Young People, Doppler Effect Productions, the Queer Acts Festival, the Atlantic Fringe Festival, the University of Alberta, the Fountain School for the Arts, DaPoPo Theatre, Doppler Effect Productions, and Forerunner Playwrights Theatre. She is currently a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie Award-winning playwriting group Youngblood, and she was a 2017 member of The Tank's TV Writing Group. Kristin was a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference, a semifinalist for the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, and a two-time finalist for Roundabout Theatre Company’s Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. She has completed residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Catwalk Institute, the PARC Playwrights Colony, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, and Spicy Witch Productions. Kristin is also the writer for season four of a the award-winning web series ADULTish. Kristin received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University in 2016.

  • Ben Zuckert

    Instructor
    Ben Zuckert

    Ben is looking forward to being a part of the Writopia team! He's a Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker originally from Westchester, NY. His stories have appeared in The Westchester Review and The New York Times’ "Metropolitan Diary." His first feature film Larchmont screened at the Twin Cities Film Fest and Yonkers Film Festival in 2016. Ben is also a composer with music appearing on the PBS NewsHour. He is currently in post-production on his second film Noah Wise.

  • Julia Drake

    Instructor
    Julia Drake

    Julia is thrilled to be part of the Bay Area Writopia Lab team. She received a BA in Spanish from Williams College and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she also taught writing to first year students. She has worked with high school students for many years, tutoring English and Spanish, as well as leading student language immersion trips and creative writing workshops to Spain, Cuba, and Ireland. Her fiction has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Esopus, and The Gettysburg Review. In 2017, she was awarded residency by the Sitka Fellows Program in Sitka, Alaska. She's currently at work on a young adult novel.

  • Angela Hur

    Instructor
    Angela Hur

    Angela is thrilled to be teaching for Writopia Lab! She has a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in Creative Writing from Notre Dame, where she was Managing Editor of the Notre Dame Review. She's taught literature and creative writing at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, in Seoul, South Korea, as well as essay writing for Boston Academy. Her debut novel, The Queens of K-town (2007), has been assigned in diaspora Korean literature classes at Berkeley, Stanford, University of British Columbia, and the University of Seoul. While living in Sweden for five years, she worked as a screenwriter, an editor for a think tank, and writer for a documentary film start-up. She's recently been part of the Tin House Workshops and the Napa Valley Writers' Conference. Kelly Link selected her novel for a Tin House mentorship. Excerpts have been published in Azalea: the Harvard Journal of Korean Literature and Two Thirds North, Stockholm University's literary journal.

  • Sita Romero

    Instructor
    Sita Romero

    Sita Romero is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team! She is an MFA candidate in the Fiction program at Queens University of Charlotte, where she serves as an editorial assistant for QU Literary Magazine. Her short fiction has been published with Transmundane Press and Third Flatiron. As an instructor, Sita has a passion for cultivating a love of writing by ensuring every student feels nurtured and supported in workshop. Sita has taught creative writing to middle and high schoolers. She is a member of Science Fiction Writers of America and the Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She grew up on the coast of Florida and after recently spending a year living abroad in Mexico, has settled in Northern Virginia with her husband, three of her kids, and over 200 board games.

  • Angela Johnson

    Instructor
    AngelaJohnson

    Angela is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab family as an instructor this summer. Angela Johnson-Rogers is a writer, poet, and educator. She grew up in the heart of New York City where she first fell in love with poetry, fiction, lyric, prose, rhythm, rhyme, and storytelling. As a teen, she was encouraged to explore her voice as a writer. These early years shaped and deepened her love of words and her desire to work with kids. Angela earned her BA, and later her MSEd in Education from Fordham University and her MFA from City College of New York. She taught for a decade as part of the public education system and published several poems at City College in various literary magazines including Global City Review and Promethean. She is working on a pilot about her time as a public school teacher, she recently completed her first picture book, and she's placing finishing touches on a poetry collection.

  • Rita Feinstein

    Instructor
    Rita Feinstein

    Rita is excited to join the Writopia Lab family! She received her MFA from Oregon State University, where she taught composition and creative writing. Her stories and poems have appeared in Permafrost, Grist, The Cossack Review, and Five on the Fifth, among other publications. Life on Dodge, her debut poetry chapbook, is forthcoming from Brain Mill Press. Her favorite things are dragons, all-you-can-eat sushi, and the movie Labyrinth.

  • Josef Kuhn

    Instructor
    Josef Kuhn

    Josef Kuhn is delighted to be a part of the Writopia Lab community. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University, where he taught writing and literature classes and was the Fiction Editor for the journal Phoebe. His work has appeared most recently in Superstition Review, The Columbia Review, and Rough Beast. Prior to graduate school, he worked in journalism and media for several years in Washington, DC, and he earned his BA in the Program of Liberal Studies from the University of Notre Dame. When he's not reading or writing, he enjoys seeing live music, discovering odd little museums or galleries or restaurants in DC, and teaching himself how to do the shuffle.

  • David Neilsen

    Instructor
    David Neilsen

    David Neilsen joined Writopia Lab in the spring of 2013. His first book, Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom was published by Crown Books for Young Readers in 2016. Crown published his follow-up, Beyond the Doors, in 2017. David spent a decade writing horror screenplays for Hollywood, managing to get a single, non-horror feature produced straight to DVD and optioning a not-really-horror TV pilot to 20th Century FOX. David has also written extensively on the web, and has been featured in numerous national publications, including Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly.

  • Jacob Gamage

    Instructor
    Jacob Gamage

    Jacob Gamage joined Writopia Lab in the fall of 2017. After receiving an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching Literature at Bard College in upstate New York. His writing has appeared in small press literary journals, educational journals, and online magazines, and he is currently working on a collection of personal essays that explore the tension between the longing for rootedness and the desire for exploration. He has taught creative writing and composition at the University of Wisconsin and at a diverse group of high schools around the country. Most of all, he enjoys working with kids and teens as they explore their own worlds, both real and imagined, and the characters and voices that inhabit those places.

  • Madeline Stevens

    Instructor
    Madeline Stevens

    Madeline is so excited to join the Writopia Lab team this summer! She has been crafting stories, essays, screenplays, and poetry since she learned to write. Her stack of diaries is roughly the height of an average first grader. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has had her work published in a variety of literary magazines. She is the founder of the reading series Sundays at Erv's, and in August 2019, her debut novel will be released from Ecco Press. She has also worked as a nanny for seven years and taught creative writing to middle and high school students through Columbia's Writer As Teacher Program and the former DC nonprofit WVSA Arts Connection.

  • Dav Yendler

    Instructor
    Dav Yendler

    Dav Yendler is excited to work with young writers at Writopia Lab! He is an illustrator and writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Northern California, Dav has spent the last decade in Louisville, London, and Chicago working as a theatre director, graphic novelist, and illustrator. Most recently, he collaborated with BuzzFeed Video to create an animated adaption of his visual essay MY BOD, which tackles mental health and body image issues. Illustration clients include the Los Angeles Tourism Bureau, the University of Chicago, and Groupon. He was previously a comics contributor to The Hairpin and is currently working on a graphic novel about guns in America.

  • Sarah Davidson

    Instructor
    Sarah Davidson

    Sarah is beyond excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab and looks to her mother and grandmother, both longtime educators, as her teaching inspiration. When she's not at Writopia, Sarah is a freelance writer and enthusiastic consumer of books, movies, and things on the internet. Her short fiction has been published in Forth Magazine and The Oyez Review, and her nonfiction and journalism have been published in Man Repeller and Willamette Week. She is also at work on a screenplay. Sarah graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and a concentration in gender studies. Previously, she lived in New York, where she worked at Time Inc. and Condé Nast.

  • Salma Zarook

    Instructor
    Salma Zarook

    Salma loves teaching at Writopia Lab and helping young writers give voice to their imagination and emotions! When she's not teaching, reading, or brewing large quantities of chai, she blogs about self-development, travel, and the realities of being Muslim in the Western world on her blog, https://salamfromsalma.com/. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and International Politics in 2015, shortly after which she made the leap from her hometown in Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles! Salma is currently working on a historical fiction novel.

  • Brady Guy

    Assistant Instructor
    Brady Guy

    Brady couldn't be more excited to join the Writopia Lab team as an assistant instructor. Brady graduated Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where he spent his time studying for classes in a hammock on the beach. After earning his BA in Creative Writing, Brady worked in podcasting for WBEZ, Chicago, and as an Associate Producer for the PleasureTown show, a fictional narrative podcast set in Old West Oklahoma. In Chicago, Brady studied comedy and won the Second City Original Sitcom competition and placed in a few others as well. Brady can't wait to use his experience to inspire Writopians.

  • Louise Simone

    Instructor
    Louise Simone

    Louise Pisano Simone is happy to be a part of the Writopia Lab family. Louise earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and also holds a doctorate in Literature, History, and Ethics from Georgetown University. Her novel, Heir of the Jaguar, won a 2011 Next Generation Honors Medal, and her work for children has appeared in Appleseeds and Cobblestone magazines. A former librarian, Louise has spent way too much time reading fantasy and science fiction, and is a real sucker for anything that takes place in an alternate reality. The chance to nurture imagination and creativity in young writers, and a persistent head-butt from her cat, Momma Reno, get her up and moving each morning.

  • Norah Vawter

    Instructor
    Norah Vawter

    Norah is excited to join Writopia Lab! She has an MFA in fiction writing from George Mason University. Before taking a high school writing workshop, Norah wanted to be a mathematician. She still thinks math is beautiful, a way to tame the chaos, but prefers putting the chaos into words. Norah has published stories, poems, and articles in Agave Magazine, The Nassau Review, Stymie, The Washington Post, and others. Her novel excerpt was short-listed for the Ropewalk Press Chapbook Prize. Norah’s been teaching writing to kids since she was 17. She lives in Virginia with her husband and son.

  • Sarah Wheeler

    Instructor
    Sarah Wheeler

    Sarah Wheeler is a writer and educator originally from Portland, Oregon, and currently living her best life in the DC area. She graduated in 2018 with an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from George Mason University in Virginia, where she taught composition, literature, and creative writing. She has short stories published in Mid-American Review, Gone Lawn, From the Depths, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a novel, and is thrilled to be part of the Writopia Lab team!

  • Alexa Salvato

    Instructor
    Alexa Salvato

    Alexa Salvato has worked at Writopia Lab on-and-off in many capacities since 2013, and she’s so excited to rejoin the team this summer. She has a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and is beginning her Master’s of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern University. Her journalistic work and creative writing have previously been published in Stillwater Magazine, River River Literary Journal, BUST.com, Chronogram magazine, Buzzsaw magazine, and various other publications. She was awarded a Scholastic Outstanding Educator award for her young writers’ regional recognition in 2017. She is passionate about empowering young people to be stronger readers and more compassionate citizens.

  • Alexia Nader-Rondinini

    Instructor
    Alexia Nader-Rondinini

    Alexia is thrilled to join Writopia's Bay Area team as an instructor. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor for over six years. Her writing has been published on the websites of publications such as Guernica, Smithsonian Magazine, and The New Yorker. She received her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania, her MA in Journalism from New York University, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing, with a concentration on fiction, at the University of San Francisco. Alexia is passionate about helping new writers find their voices.

  • Laura Robson

    Instructor
    LauraRobson

    Laura is excited to be a part of the Writopia family! Her debut young adult fantasy novel is slated for publication in the spring of 2020 with Kathy Dawson Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. While pursuing a BA in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University, Laura worked as a writing tutor, camp counselor, and RA. She was a 2016 Pitch Wars mentee and a 2018 mentor, helping authors edit manuscripts and sign with agents. Laura is thrilled to help young writers explore their interest in words.

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