Learn more about Writopia in Chicago.

  • Alexandra Cohl

    Program Developer
    Developing Regions Manager

    Alexandra is thrilled to be an Instructor, Program Developer, and the Developing Regions Manager at Writopia NYC! As Developing Regions Manager, she oversees the growth of new regions and specifically serves as the Program Coordinator for the Chicago and Bay Area regions. 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. 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.

  • Michael Alessi

    Michael Alessi

    Michael Alessi is honored to be an instructor for Writopia. He grew up in Virginia and graduated from the University of Michigan before earning his MFA in Fiction at Old Dominion University. His work has appeared in literary journals such as decomP, Gigantic Sequins, Mid-American Review, NANO Fiction, and New Delta Review. He is the recipient of the first annual Ryan R. Gibbs Award for Short Fiction, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a finalist for an AWP Intro Journals Award and the 2015 Wabash Prize for Fiction.

  • Halle Butler

    Halle Butler

    Halle Butler is very excited to join the Writopia team! She is a fiction writer and screenwriter living in Chicago. Her first novel, Jillian, was published in 2015 by Curbside Splendor, and was called "sublimely awkward and hilarious" by the Chicago Tribune. Films she's worked on have screened at the Slamdance Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, and elsewhere, and the 2014 comedy, Crimes Against Humanity (which she wrote and produced), was named Best Local Production by the Chicago Reader in 2014. Halle loves to work collaboratively, and to perform her work at readings alongside Chicago's mix of incredibly talented writers and artists.

  • Peter Baker


    Peter Baker is thrilled to be a part of the Chicago Region of Writopia Lab. His fiction, essays, and reporting have been published in print and online by Granta, New World Writing, The Nation, The New Yorker, ELLE, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and has led workshops for writers of all ages, from elementary school students to retirees.

  • N'Kyenge Ayanna Brown

    N'Kyenge Ayanna Brown

    N’Kyenge Brown is thrilled to be working as a Creative Writing Instructor at Writopia Lab, Chicago! This creative voice, howling from the windy city, is a graduate of Columbia College and Roosevelt University Graduate School in Chicago, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. N’Kyenge is enamored with poetry; her work has been published in Word Curves by Poetry in the Round. She has recently completed her first manuscript, AfroSoul Volume 1: A Collaboration of Poetry and Poem Stories, and has finished a novel, for which she is in pursuit of publication. She works as a long-term substitute teacher and has decided to pursue her Masters in Education to become a licensed educator.

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