Learn more about Writopia in Los Angeles.
Jan has been teaching with Writopia Los Angeles for over two years and loves working with all of our amazing writers across the city! Jan's poetry and reviews have been published in Weave Magazine, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Rio Grande Review, The Raven Chronicles, and The Exquisite Corpse. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New York University and a B.A. in English from Louisiana State University, where she won the Dara Wier Award for Poetry. Jan has worked with youth in various capacities for over sixteen years, as a camp counselor, writing and English tutor, and creative writing instructor at NYU.
Lyndsay has taught with Writopia for two years and feels inspired by the talented young writers across Los Angeles. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and a BS in mass communication from Florida International University. Her prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, juked, The Avalon Literary Review, xoJane, and elsewhere. She is at work on a novel, multiple poems, and countless short stories and essays.
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.
Lily Ladewig is thrilled to join Writopia Lab's Los Angeles team and wishes that she could have taken Writopia workshops when she was a young writer. She earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Program for Poets and Writers as well as a certificate in screenwriting from New York University's School of Professional Studies. Her full-length poetry collection, The Silhouettes, was published by SpringGun Press in 2012. Lily has taught creative writing at the K-12 and college level, and loves yoga, birthday cake, and reading under the covers with a flashlight.
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.
Cory is excited to teach with Writopia this summer! Cory is a playwright based in Los Angeles, where he is a member of the Playwrights Union. Most recently, he won the 2015 Heideman Award for his play This Quintessence of Dust. He is the past recipient of two Jerome fellowships and a McKnight Advancement Grant. His work has been produced or developed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Guthrie Theater, HERE Arts Center, Moving Arts, Chalk Rep, New York Theatre Workshop and the Sundance Theatre Lab, among others. He has taught theatre and writing courses at a number of institutions, including Bates College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Writopia Lab, and the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. More info: www.coryhinkle.com.
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.
Brian Sonia-Wallace (alias RENT Poet) is jazzed and jubilant to be working at Writopia. Brian makes poetry and live art, and is interested in community development, cultural literacy, and people talking to each other. He creates jobs for poets as Co-Director of Melrose Poetry Bureau, and his first book of poems, I Sold These Poems, Now I Want Them Back, was published by Yak Press in 2016. Past accomplishments include a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award Nomination and residencies with the National Parks System, LACMA, Shuar Nation (Ecuador), Gallerie Ulrike Petschelt (Germany), and Dollar Shave Club. Brian has an MA in Sustainable Development from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
Natalie Lima is an instructor at Writopia Los Angeles. She is a 2016 Pen Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow and writes prose and poetry. Her fiction has recently appeared in Word Riot, and her writing has been awarded a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) Fellowship, a UCLA Extension Kirkwood Literary Prize Nomination, and a PEN Center USA Fellowship. Natalie is a first-generation college graduate of Northwestern University and, in the fall of 2016, will begin her MFA in Creative Writing at the The University of Alabama as a McNair Graduate Fellow. In addition to writing, Natalie volunteers for Minds Matter LA, a nonprofit college prep program serving accomplished high school students from low-income families, and also for POPS the Club, a creative writing club for high school students who have been impacted by mass incarceration crisis.
Ryan Sandoval is thrilled join Writopia and loves getting imaginative with minds of all ages. Ryan holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and has a comedic spy novel being published this winter through The Devastator Press.
Ian McDonald is thrilled to be back working at Writopia for his third summer! Ian is a playwright, filmmaker, and educator from Portland, Maine. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University, where he also taught. He is the recipient of a Playwriting Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Clauder Competition Gold Prize, and the Visionary Playwrights Award from Theatre Masters. He has also received residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the UCross Foundation, and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. He teaches at Loyola Marymount University and writes for the L.A. Review Of Books. Ian's film Some Freaks will be premiering at the 2016 Fantasia Film Festival.
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.
Kimberly is thrilled to work with young minds as an Instructor at Writopia in LA! Her written work has appeared in Abe's Penny, ArtSlant, MetroMix, and The Los Angeles Times. She's twice been a resident in fiction writing at Vermont Studio Center. She holds a B.F.A. in Media & Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from New York University, where she was selected as a Goldwater Fellow. For over thirteen years, she's taught creative writing, Language Arts/English, and arts enrichment. She is at work on a novel set primarily in her home state of Alabama, as well as on several short stories and essays.
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.
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