Learn more about Writopia in Los Angeles.
Kimberly Faith Waid is Writopia’s Los Angeles Regional Manager, where she is an educator, registrar, marketing lead, school coordinator, and manager of the amazing parent community. For over thirteen years, she has taught creative writing, Language Arts/English, and arts enrichment to all age-levels and is thrilled to share her experience with other writers. In addition to her teaching experience, Kimberly worked for five years with the founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green, on The Unchained Tour, a storytelling series which brought storytellers and musicians to small towns across the American South to support local literary communities and their independent bookstores. Prior to that role, she was the Events Manager of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. At Writopia, in addition to creative writing, she teaches screenwriting, drawing on her experience as a script coverage consultant for high-level filmmakers and on the set of Breaking Bad. She holds a BFA in Media and Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design and an MFA from New York University, where she was selected as a Goldwater Fellow. Her written work has appeared in Abe’s Penny, Metromix LA, and ArtSlant. She's twice been a resident in fiction writing at Vermont Studio Center where she began work on a historical novel set primarily in her home state of Alabama.
Lyndsay joined the Writopia team in September 2014, and there is nothing she values more than helping young writers find their voice. As head instructor and program manager, she looks forward to training instructors and developing strategies that best serve our writers.
Lyndsay earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, where she worked as the managing editor of the program's literary journal. Her narrative essays, poetry, and journalism have appeared in online and print journals, such as Little Fiction | Big Truths, juked, Lunch Ticket, b(OINK),The Avalon Literary Review, xoJane, Design District Magazine, and elsewhere. In addition to her master's degree, Lyndsay has attended Bread Loaf in Sicily (2016), the Slice Literary Conference (2013), and New York University's Writers in New York program (2012). She has taken classes through the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop in New York and worked as the first reader of manuscript submissions at Union Literary. Lyndsay is now at work on a novel and a multimedia project involving mental illness. She also hosts a reading series with her Los Angeles-based organization, Sevilla Writers House.
Sheila is so excited to join the Writopia LA team after teaching at Writopia DC for 3 years. Sheila is the author of daughterrarium (2017), winner of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. She brings to Writopia over a decade’s worth of experience in creative writing and education ranging from after-school writing and enrichment programs, to public school and classroom partnership projects, to Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Prague as well as in China’s Shandong Province, a stint teaching English Composition and Intro to Literature at the collegiate level, editing magazines and periodicals, and publishing her own original work. She is a strong believer in and supporter of youth empowerment, literacy advocacy, and community involvement. She is passionate about books and storytelling. She loves to read them, write them, and get them into the hands of others. Even more, she is dedicated to writing and talking story with people from all walks of life to encourage the writing and storytelling process, especially with those who do not consider themselves “writers” or “someone with a story” and those from communities or with perspectives rarely given space to be witnessed. She believes everyone has truly important stories to share and the right for their voices to be valued. She believes it an honor to help get those stories out into the world. She earned her M.F.A. in Poetry from George Mason University and sits on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. In her spare time, she volunteers at her local cat rescue.
Alex Machock is very excited to join the team at Writopia L.A. He earned a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and during this time wrote two plays, which were both produced and performed by the faculty. He has worked with youth for the past 6 years, from instructing science lessons at a summer camp to leading SAT test prep workshops, and is thrilled to be able to bridge his love of teaching with his passion for writing. When he isn't working or writing he is most likely indulging his other passion: playing music.
Gabe is excited to be a part of Writopia! He's the author of a summer camp novel called Fun Camp (2013) and a nonfiction book about weird Christian video games called Bible Adventures (2015). He received his M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and currently works as the editor and publisher of Boss Fight Books, a series of short critical books about games. His prose has been published in over 50 magazines and journals, including Electric Literature, Mid-American Review, and Puerto del Sol, and his projects have been featured in Nylon Guys, BuzzFeed, and The Onion A.V. Club. He's taught writing and literature at Bay Path College, Lipscomb University, Holyoke Community College, and Mount St. Mary's College.
Dara couldn’t be more excited to join Writopia Lab’s Los Angeles team! She is a produced playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who received her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. In addition to her creative writing, Dara is a freelance journalist who has covered the arts for various publications. She is passionate about youth literacy outreach and has worked as a reading and writing tutor and mentor for children around Los Angeles. She recently completed a novel and is currently working on a screenplay.
Jessica is excited to join Writopia Lab. Her YA fantasy trilogy will be published by Random House Children's Books beginning in 2016. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, holding a degree in communications as well as a certificate from the Creative Writing for the Media program. She lives in Los Angeles and loves coffee. A lot.
Michelle joined Writopia LA the summer of 2013. Her prose pieces have been published in DOGZPLOT, jmww, and Clerestory Journal of the Arts. Her plays have been developed and/or produced in New York City (New Dramatists); Los Angeles (Hollywood Fringe Festival and the Pacific Resident Theatre); Chicago (Indie Boots Theatre Festival); Great Barrington, MA (Berkshire Fringe Festival); Providence, RI (Production Workshop, the McCormack Family Theater, and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts); and Nova Scotia, Canada (Acadia Theatre Company). Michelle graduated from Brown University with degrees in “Literary Arts” and “Theatre—Writing for Performance” and is a recipient of the Weston Award for Playwriting and the SCCC Creative Writing Award for College Students. Her first novel will be released on Amazon in 2014. When not working with Writopia, Michelle teaches English and history at Fusion Academy Los Angeles, an alternative private middle and high school, and is part of the Los Angeles playwrights’ collective Fell Swoop Playwrights.
Tricia Aurand is a working screenwriter and playwright in Los Angeles. She has developed more than a dozen feature and pilot scripts for various companies, including Viewfinder Pictures and Anomaly Entertainment, and her short plays have been produced all over the city. She is currently writing and directing a new original play, Nicaea, which will premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June and is in post-production on her short film Work. When not typing furiously, Tricia teaches English enrichment and writing at all levels, but her passion is working with the young, brilliant writers at Writopia! She holds a BA in Cinema from Azusa Pacific University.
Cara Stevens joined the Writopia team in Fall 2015. She has written more than twenty books for children, including several widely popular Minecraft graphic novels, the first unofficial guide to Pokemon Go!, and books based on the video game Terraria. She has designed educational video games and interactive storybooks, written for teen blogs, and has created ads, billboards, and articles for major publications. She studied Psychology at Vassar College and earned a Master of Arts degree in Communication from New York University. Cara is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia community. Her best inspiration and encouragement often comes from the young writers in her workshops! She loves watching Doctor Who, Gilmore Girls, and Animaniacs with her kids, and has read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy nineteen times and counting. Cara lives in the South Bay of Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and loud, white, fluffy dog named Oliver.
Jamie is excited to be leading Writopia workshops in L.A. this summer! She is a working screenwriter, recently published her first YA novel, Painless, and has previously coached kids' writing with 826LA and the Young Storytellers organizations. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 7-year-old son, and a needy-but-adorable rescue dog.
Heather Hewson is amazed by the work of Writopia students and is honored to be working with them as an Instructor in L.A.! Heather has been writing since she could hold a crayon. Some years later, with a BA from Long Island University Friends World College Program in International Women's Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, she continues to write across all genres; she is currently at work on a graphic novel and publishes a daily graphic on Instagram called Work Week with Heather Hewson. Aside from swimming, reading, and Airedale puppies, the thing that makes Heather happiest is inspiring young people to connect to their creativity and share it with each other.
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 M.F.A. 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!"
After interning with Writopia this fall, Emma is so excited to be joining the team as an assistant instructor! An English major with a concentration in poetry, Emma graduated this past spring from Smith College, where she won departmental prizes for most original creative work in prose and best poems by an undergraduate. Her poetry, journalism, and science writing have been featured in print and online publications including Ms. Magazine, Labrys, and Oxford University’s Notes, and she has spent the last three years tutoring writing to both high school and college students. Emma is currently working on her third novel and plans to apply to pursue an MFA. In her remaining free time, she plays video games with her kid brother, bakes astonishing numbers of brownies, and attempts to make her dog Cinnamon famous on Instagram.
Helena is honored to be a part of the Writopia family! She is a writer, comedienne, and activist from Detroit and leader of the Break the Silence chapter here in Southern California. Along with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, she has over seven years of experience working with the arts and community outreach. She has facilitated art, theater, and writing workshops in women’s prisons, men’s prisons, juvenile facilities, urban schools, women’s shelters, and LGBT centers. She's worked as a freelance travel writer, helped in the production of plays both in front and behind the scenes, showcased sketch comedy shows in Detroit, and is currently working on a one-woman show to showcase at UCB. When she isn’t working on one of her many creative projects, she’s volunteering, road tripping, or hiking in her beloved desert.
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.
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