Instructors

  • 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.

  • Janelle Williams

    In-School and Outreach Lead Instructor
    Janelle Williams

    Janelle M. Williams is thrilled to join New York City's Writopia team! She is a graduate of Howard University and received her MFA from Manhattanville College in January 2017. Janelle is also a 2017 Kimbilio Fellow. She has experience teaching Creative Writing and ELA to middle schoolers throughout the New York City area. As a southern writer from Decatur, Georgia, Janelle's lyrical stories are inspired by her friends and family. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Feminist Wire and Kweli Journal. She is currently at work on a novel set in Harlem and a collection of short stories.

  • 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.

  • Peter Cohen

    Assistant Instructor
    Operations Specialist
    Peter Cohen

    Peter is thrilled to finally be a full-time member of the Writopia team. He has interned at Writopia for many summers, and used to be a student at Writopia during high school. He's always enjoyed writing and frequently uses it to unwind (and justify procrastinating). Combined with his love of working with kids, Writopia is the perfect place for him. Peter was initially drawn into Writopia before there even was a Writopia. Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Writopia's Executive Director, was his 7th grade English teacher. She encouraged him to submit his stories to the Scholastic Writing Awards, and, in turn, he won multiple regional and national Scholastic Awards during that time. Rebecca helped him realize that writing was more than just a hobby. Now Peter is able to help transmit that lesson to the hundreds of students who attend Writopia's classes every week. Peter graduated from SUNY Binghamton in May, 2014.

  • 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.

  • Bianca Turetsky

    Brooklyn Regional Coordinator
    Instructor
    biancaturetsky

    Bianca is thrilled to be working with Writopia Lab as the Brooklyn Regional Coordinator. She is the author of The Time-Traveling Fashionsta, a historical fiction series published by Little, Brown and Company. The books have been translated into nine languages. After graduating from Tufts University, Bianca began working for artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. She managed his studio for over 11 years and was his assistant on the Academy Award-nominated film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. She is currently at work on a new chapter book series with fellow Writopia Lab instructor Courtney Sheinmel, to be published by Random House Kids in Spring 2019.

  • 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 is thrilled to join Writopia Lab NYC! 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.

  • Milana Meytes

    Instructor
    Essay Writing Curriculum Developer

    Milana Meytes is thrilled to be returning to Writopia as an essay writing instructor and full-time administrative staff member. Milana received her Masters from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She concentrated on Memory and Diaspora Studies, focusing on emigre writers and Eastern European literature. Her OpEd has been published in NYU's Journal of Political Inquiry (2017) and poetry and fiction in NYU's Anamesa/Caustic Frolic: Graduate Literary Magazine (2015, 2016, 2017). Milana was a fiction and poetry editor of NYU's graduate literary magazine and the recipient of the Graduate Research Initiative Grant to research Russian emigre writers and literature in Prague. Milana received a BA in English from Wheaton College, MA. At Wheaton she founded Wheaton Words, an autobiographical storytelling production that has been a staple and annual event at the college ever since. Her poetry was published in Wheaton College's Literary Journal: Rushlight (2013, 2014 and 2015). She has taught creative writing workshops at New York's Friends of the Children Foundation. She has been affiliated with Writopia Lab ever since she wrote her first memoir in 2006 under the guidance of Writopia's Executive Director, Rebecca Wallace-Segall, the year before Rebecca founded Writopia Lab. Writopia was pivotal in her journey as a writer and advocate for the power of storytelling.

  • Sarah Shatan-Pardo

    Registration Support
    Assistant Instructor

    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.

  • Donna Miele

    Instructor
    DonnaMiele

    Donna Lee Miele joined Writopia Lab in 2014 as an instructor at Cuppa Pulp Writers' Space in Nanuet, New York. She also teaches in Westchester. Donna writes primarily fiction and non-fiction (though she's been spotted enjoying poetry slams and open mics in Nyack). She recently finished a full-length fiction manuscript based on her family's life in Mindanao, Philippines during World War II, and is at work on her second novel. She received her MFA from Manhattanville College, has been published in MendaCity Review , blogs for Magnificent Nose, and has work forthcoming in Atticus Review. As owner-manager of Cuppa Pulp Writers' Space, Donna leads writing salons and workshops, organizes and facilitates author events, and just generally enjoys stirring the local writing soup, along with her Rockland County cohorts. She's looking forward to supporting a new generation of writers with Writopia Lab!

  • 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.

  • Kimberly Faith Waid

    Regional Manager
    Kimberly Faith Waid

    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.

  • 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.

  • Elise Chidley

    Instructor

    Elise Chidley joins Writopia Lab this spring 2017 as a Creative Writing Instructor. Elise’s first novel, Your Roots are Showing, was shortlisted for the 2009 National RITA Awards. Her other books include Married with Baggage and The Wrong Sort of Wife. Her work has also appeared in the Chicken Soup series, and one of her short stories was short-listed for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and an MFA in Fiction from Penn State University. For many years she worked as a magazine journalist, writing for a national parenting magazine in South Africa, and for healthcare trade publications in Pennsylvania. She has taught English at Penn State and at the University of Natal, South Africa. She is widely traveled and even more widely read, with a passion for young adult literature inspired by her teen daughters. She is currently working on a young adult novel, and loves the energy and inventiveness of young writers.

  • 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.

  • Rachel Ephraim

    Instructor
    Rachel Ephraim

    Rachel Ephraim is a Writopia Instructor for the Westchester Region. She is a graduate of Columbia University's MFA fiction program and has taught creative writing to kids, teens, and adults for the last ten years. Her short fiction has been published in the Apple Valley Review, The Barcelona Review, Word Riot, and other publications, and her non-fiction has appeared in The New York Spirit, Hudson Valley Parent, and Organic Hudson Valley. She was managing editor of the Park Slope Reader as well as slush-pile reader at The New Yorker, and now lives upstate where she is raising her daughters on a small homestead.

  • 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.

  • Lyndsay Hall

    Program Manager
    Head Instructor
    Lyndsay Hall

    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.

  • 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.

  • Steve DiUbaldo

    Instructor
    Steve DiUbaldo

    Steve is honored to be a part of Writopia's New York City team. He is a playwright, filmmaker, essayist, poet and producer living in New York City. His work has appeared in production and workshop in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Steve is a proud member of the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater apprentice company, “The Middle Voice.” He was a 2014 terraNOVA Collective “Groundbreaker,” and a 2015 member of Page 73’s “Interstate 73” writers group. Steve was the recipient of the Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in 2015, where his play “Wayward” was developed and produced. His play “Exposure” is a 2016 semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neil National Playwrights Conference. His short film, “Couples Therapy,” appeared on the front page of FunnyOrDie. He was awarded “The Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwright Foundation Fellowship” and the “Excellence in Playwriting” Award at NYU, where he received his MFA (’13) in Dramatic Writing. He has been to the NCAA Tournament as a player and to the Grammy’s as a Beyonce dancer.

  • Anisha Sridhar

    Instructor
    Anisha_Sridhar

    Anisha is thrilled it be a part of the Writopia DC teaching team. She is a published journalist and fiction writer who holds holds a Diploma in Screenwriting from Vancouver Film School in British Columbia, Canada and a Masters of Arts from NYU in Digital Media Design for Learning. Anisha is an accomplished writer, educator, and, producer. She recently co-produced and co-wrote a web series set in New York City. She also develops curriculum, writes in-game scripts, characters, and story bibles for educational gaming products. In her spare time, she loves reading comics and long-form fiction. She is originally from India and tries to read at least one non-English story or book a year.

  • Brigit Kelly Young

    Instructor
    BrigitKellyYoung

    Brigit is honored to work as an instructor at the oasis of creativity that is Writopia! Brigit's poetry and fiction have been published in several venues, some of which include The North American Review, 2River View, Eclectica Magazine, Drunken Boat, Opium Magazine, The Pinch, Emerge Literary Journal, and Midwestern Gothic. She has received a nomination for the Million Writers Award, and is a winner of the Esther Unger Poetry Prize as well as a two-time recipient of the James Emanuel Poetry Award.

  • Cathleen Davitt-Bell

    Instructor
    CathleenDavittBell

    Cathleen is the author of two novels for young adults, Slipping (Bloomsbury 2008) and Little Blog on the Prairie (Bloomsbury 2010). She holds a BA in American Studies from Barnard College and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. Aside from teaching writing to kids, she's worked as a reporter, a salesperson, a market researcher, a copywriter, a birthday party entertainer, a personal shopper and a research assistant. Visit her online at CathleenDavittBell.com. She is thrilled to join the Writopia community. She has two dogs named Oscar and Oprah. Her favorite food is pizza and, strangely, in her thirties, she's developed a great love for playing catch.

  • 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.

  • Cory Tamler

    Instructor
    CoryTamler

    Cory Tamler (www.corytamler.com) writes and translates essays, fiction, and plays/pieces for performance. She also works as a director, producer, and organizer, often on cross-disciplinary projects with an international component and performed in non-traditional venues. She has made theater in Germany, Serbia, New Zealand, Mongolia, and throughout the United States. Cory is a former Fulbright Scholar, a member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET/TEN Exchange Grant recipient), an alumna of DirectorsLabChicago, and a CEC ArtsLink Grant recipient for her theater work in Belgrade. Her personal and critical writing has been published in The Offing, Culturebot, Extended Play, ArtParasites, Howlround, and Interartive, and her translations have appeared in Asymptote, The Offing, and The Animated Reader (New Museum Triennial). In the fall of 2015 she designed a writing residency on board the RV Roger Revelle, a research vessel on which she shadowed and worked with oceanographers for five weeks. She is the Spring 2016 R&D Season Fellow at the New Museum. A Brooklyn resident since 2011, Cory is originally from Pittsburgh, where she studied physics and fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She will begin a Theater Studies PhD program in fall 2016. As a homeschooled kid, Cory took a lot of writing and theater classes and wouldn't be who she is today without them. She is proud to teach writing and performance across the city with Writopia and with Brooklyn Acts.

  • 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.

  • Steve Ross

    Graphic Novel Mentor
    Steve Ross

    Steve Ross is an artist, illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in many magazines and periodicals including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is the creator of two popular graphic novels: Marked, a re-imagining of the Gospel of Mark and Blinded, an idiosyncratic take on the misadventures of St. Paul of Tarsus. He and his son, Allen (a proud Writopia alum), are also the creators of the online web comic www.SeventyOfSeventy.com.

    Steve began his professional career as a teenager in San Antonio, Texas, selling pictures of angst-ridden, dark and disturbing surrealist art to his friends and teachers. Soon after high school he landed a job drawing dining room tables for a local furniture company, and was surprised when the owner became upset that he was drawing dark and disturbing surrealist furniture for the company's newspaper ads. They parted company.

    You can visit Steve and see more of his work at www.StevenTracyRoss.com.

  • 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.

  • Catherine Curan

    Instructor
    CatherineCuran

    Catherine began teaching with Writopia Lab in 2012. Her writing has been published in Fiction, Many Mountains Moving, Ozone Park Journal, the SalonZine and Sleet magazine. As a journalist, Catherine has investigated the mortgage industry for the New York Post, covered fashion shows for Condé Nast Portfolio.com, and earned a Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award for her Crain's New York Business special report on the hip-hop economy. Catherine earned her A.B. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Princeton University, graduating cum laude, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She volunteers as Associate Publisher of the online journal Anderbo.com, and has twice served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

  • Scott Krier

    Film Producer and Editor
    Operations Specialist
    Scott Krier

    Scott began working for Writopia Lab in October in 2013 as an editorial intern managing Writopia's online magazine, The (Parenthetical). Now, Scott serves as an Office Manager as well as the National Editorial Coordinator for Writopia's newly launched literary magazines, The Ellipsis... and The (Parenthetical). He was born in Chicago, IL, graduated in 2012 from Boston University with a degree in Film/TV Screenwriting, and has traveled to many places in between. Scott worked at PBS Frontline as a production assistant from 2012-2013. Scott is Writopia's in-house film producer and editor. He keeps himself busy by planning the next great adventure, whether on the page or out in the world.

  • 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

    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.

  • Korama Danquah

    Instructor
    Korama_headshotKorama is so psyched to be a member of the Writopia team! She is a writer (plays, short stories, and poetry) and actor originally from Los Angeles, CA. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies from Brown University. Korama splits her time between acting, working on the West Coast Premier of her solo show Mixtape for New Year's Eve, blogging for various feminist and woman-centric publications (LA FPI, Geek Girl Authority), penning her first young adult novel, writing collaborative theatre pieces with Fell Swoop Playwrights, and co-founding a writers' colony for young women called The Grange.

  • 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.

  • Monica Baker

    Instructor
    Monica Baker

    Monica adores teaching creative writing with Writopia DC! In 2010 Freestyle (Schiffer Publishing), her first middle grade novel and 2011 Crystal Kite Award finalist, was born. Monica went on to write nonfiction for Science Weekly before earning her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has always loved a good adventure and has always loved including those adventures in her writing. For over twenty years she has worked on wildly fun marketing assignments, which have exposed her to exotic places like Cambodia and to interesting movements like the Underground Railroad. Currently, Monica is marketing a novel and several picture books.

  • Michelle Meyers

    Instructor
    michellemeyers

    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.

  • Steve Lewis

    Instructor
    Steve Lewis

    A recent transplant from Writopia DC, Steve is thrilled to be joining the Writopia West squad. Steve's work as a playwright has been honored by the Kennedy Center and Sundance Lab (winner of the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting), placed as a Finalist for New Dramatists' Princess Grace Award for Playwriting, and published by Smith & Kraus. As an arts educator, Steve has also taught fiction and playwriting for the award-winning Young Playwrights' Theater, Arena Stage, Imagination Stage, and the University of Maryland. Steve studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Catholic University of America (MFA). He and his wife love Los Angeles, and their two tiny dogs love not living under threat of snow burial.

  • 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.

  • Jenna Danoy

    Instructor
    Program Coordinator
    jennadanoy

    Jenna Danoy is very excited to be joining the Writopia team! Jenna earned her BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing: Fiction from Emerson College in December 2014, and has since used her writing and editing skills to help high school and college students craft essays, polish their work, and discover a love for writing. While at Emerson, Jenna published four works of short fiction; a personal essay and a one-act play. Jenna has been writing short fiction and personal essays for as long as she can remember, and has read her work aloud since she was eight years old. She is now working on several pieces, including a young adult novel, and several short stories.

  • Kerry Blu

    Instructor
    kerry_blu

    Kerry Blu is so happy to explore this amazing opportunity with Writopia Lab. He is a Rapper, Songwriter, Producer, Actor, Dancer, and Columnist living in Brooklyn NY by way of Winston-Salem N.C. After high school, Kerry majored in Theatre and Dance performance at Appalachian State University. Hip-Hop soon became an intricate part of his artistry and expression and in 2012 he made the move to NYC to develop the craft of song writing and stage performance. Since that time he has produced over 20 musical concerts and performed in over 40 musical concerts as a solo artist; including shows at Webster hall, the Fillmore, Santos party House and SXSW music Festival 2016.

  • Betsy Allen


    Instructor
    elizabethallen

    Elizabeth (Betsy) Allen is thrilled to join the Writopia staff! She is a native of Defiance,Ohio and earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University in 1984. She also holds a master’s degree in English (2011) and an MFA in fiction writing (2013) from George Mason University. Somewhere in between those degrees, Allen worked in corporate marketing communications, public relations, and freelance writing and editing. She is the author of several short stories published in various genre anthologies, including Twisted Yarns and Southern Haunts 3, and is currently revising her MFA thesis project (aka, her novel). She also is the co-author of the graphic novel trilogy, The End of Gath. At home in Alexandria, Virginia,Allen lives with her husband and two rarely cooperative, but (fortunately for them) cute dogs. In her spare time, she frets about her two grown children and her grandson.

  • 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.

  • Clynthia Graham

    Instructor
    Clynthia Graham

    Clynthia is extremely excited to join the Writopia family. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. Clynthia has worked as a performing arts teacher for more than 30 years, teaching students from elementary school to college. The opportunity to mix her experience with youth and her passion for writing with Writopia is a dream come true. Clynthia recently received honorable mention from the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s College Writers Award for her story, Miss Sage’s Anniversary Celebration. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories for her graduate thesis and running around with her grandchildren when she has a minute away from school.

  • Catya McMullen

    Instructor
    Catya McMullen

    Catya McMullen is a playwright, comedian, and NYC native thrilled to join Writopia as an instructor! Her short play, Missed Connection, directed by Leslye Headland and published by Samuel French, won the 37th Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. She is the author of six full-length plays (The Collective, Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, Everything is Probably Going to be Okay, AGNES, We Pray to Elephants, and AIGS) along with numerous shorts and musicals. She is a member of the Obie Award Winning EST/Youngblood and a company member of The Middle Voice Theater Company, the apprentice company of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. She is also the Educational Director for Ground UP Productions. She is a regular performer and sketch writer at The People's Improv Theater. She was a finalist for the City Theater National Award for Short Playwriting and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Catya is also the Creator of the WE ARE ANIMALS series, a quarterly variety show series she writes with Scott Klopfenstein of the gold-record selling band Reel Big Fish, where she raps as her hip hop alias “MC Chihuahua Fancy.”

  • N'Kyenge Ayanna Brown

    Instructor
    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.

  • Arielle Jovellanos

    Graphic Novel Instructor
    Arielle Jovellanos

    Arielle Jovellanos is a freelance illustrator, comic artist, and zine maker. She's especially passionate about the power of storytelling and is absolutely delighted to collaborate with the young writers of Writopia. She graduated from Parsons The New School for Design with a dual degree in Illustration and Fiction Writing. Arielle illustrated the 60-page comic "School Spirit" featured in the Eisner and Harvey nominated comic anthology Fresh Romance and has also worked with IDW Publishing, Audible, Little Brown & Company, and more. In her spare time, Arielle cries over pictures of cats, obsesses over musical theatre, and gets very emotionally invested in the lives of fictional characters. You can see Arielle's work at arielle-jovellanos.com.

  • Tricia Aurand

    Instructor

    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.

  • Jenny Splitter

    Instructor

    Jenny Splitter is excited to be joining Writopia in Washington D.C.! Though she was an attorney in a former life, she now writes about science, food and health for outlets like Slate, Salon, New York Magazine and Vice. She's also a storyteller in D.C. who has performed for audiences at the 9:30 Club, the National Gallery of Art and the Birchmere, and was selected for Story District's best of the year Top Shelf show in 2014. Her plays, H Street Housewives and The Dish, were produced for the Capital Fringe festivals in 2013 and 2014. Keep an eye out for her in the upcoming documentary, Science Moms! She lives in the H Street Northeast neighborhood of Washington, DC with her husband and two kids.

  • 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.

  • Matthew Jellison

    Instructor
    MatthewJellison

    Matthew is an instructor for Writopia Lab in NYC! Born and raised in New York City, Matthew is both a writer and an actor. His play, the giants, parts one and two was produced by Loft 227 last winter. He is the 2012/2013 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, an alumnus of the FreshGround Pepper PlayGround PlayGroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. He hangs out with kids a lot at the 52nd Street Project, and works as a teaching artist with Marquis Studios, Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club.

  • Jessica Fleitman

    Instructor

    Jessica joined the Writopia team in summer 2017 and is thrilled to be surrounded by such imaginative, passionate, and accomplished students and instructors! She is a NYC-based writer of plays, musical theater, and comedy. Her produced works for the theater include The Average-Sized Mermaid (Corwin Award), Deuteranomaly (nominated for 5 PCTF Awards), Word of the Day (commissioned by the Sloan Foundation/Magic Theatre), G Train Exodus (winner of the LIC One Act Play Festival), and Show of Hands (Finalist for the International Jewish Plays Project). She is a lyricist in the BMI Musical Theatre Advanced Songwriting Workshop, and her work with composer Rick Bassett has been performed in venues throughout the city and recognized with commissions from JCP Downtown and the Well Songs Project. Her comedy sketches for Seriously.TV have been featured in The Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, and NewNowNext. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was awarded The Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwright Foundation Fellowship and The Chair’s Award (the department’s highest honor for overall excellence in playwriting, screenwriting, and TV writing).

  • Heather Hewson

    Instructor

    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.

  • 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

    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.

  • Tori Testa

    Instructor
    Tori Testa

    Tori Testa is thrilled to be leading workshops in the Bay Area after six years of interning with Writopia Lab in NYC! Tori is currently a BA Candidate in English and Creative Writing at Stanford University and is also a member of the Stanford Honors in the Arts 2018 cohort for which she is working on a young adult graphic novel. Her work has been published in various campus publications as well as in Young Voices of America and Freedom Forge Press Anthologies. In addition to writing and teaching, Tori is the Co-Director of the Stanford Light Opera Company. As a Writopia alumna and long-time enthusiast, Writopia continues to be a profound and meaningful space for creativity and passion for her, and she is so proud to be a part of such an incredible community!

  • Emma Watson

    Assistant Instructor
    Emma Watson

    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.

  • Sam Bellamy

    Instructor
    Sam Bellamy

    Sam Bellamy started writing fiction and poetry at Writopia when she was in high school, and hasn't stopped since then. She graduated with a BA in English from Occidental College in 2016, where she edited the school’s literary magazine, led a weekly writer’s workshop, and was awarded a fellowship in fiction writing. Her work has been published in Seafoam Magazine and Cadaverine Magazine.

  • Jeff Lock

    Instructor
    Jeff Lock

    Jeff Lock is a screenwriter based in Brooklyn. His script Beef made Hollywood's annual "Black List" in 2014 and currently has Timothy Olyphant and Thomas Mann attached to star. He has also sold screenplays to Warner Brothers and Netflix. Originally from Indiana, Jeff moved to New York in 2007 and worked as a production assistant on various films and TV shows. For several years, he worked closely with director & producer Allen Coulter on multiple episodes of Ray Donovan, House of Cards & Boardwalk Empire.

  • 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.

  • Val Swan

    Instructor
    Val Swan

    Val Swan is excited to join the Writopia team in the Bay Area! Val has served as an instructor, program director, and mentor for youth from all walks of life for over two decades. Born curious, she shares her enthusiasm as a writer, blogger, editor, and storyteller. Recent publications include lead authorship on a case study of young women's leadership development through the Center for Creative Leadership. Excerpts of her writing can be found in Know and Tell: A Writing Pedagogy of Disclosure, Genre, and Membership by David Bleich. Val’s poetry has been published by SUNY Binghamton. She is currently writing her story of surviving and thriving with childhood chronic illness.

  • 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.

  • Jeni McFarland

    Instructor
    Jeni McFarland

    Jeni McFarland is stoked to join the Writopia Lab team! She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston, where she served as a fiction editor for Gulf Coast magazine. She is also a 2016 Kimbilio Fellow, with work appearing in Crack the Spine, Forge, and Spry, which nominated her for the storySouth Million Writers Award. She was a finalist for the 2015 Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction from the Doctor T. J. Eckleberg Review. In 2018, she joined the Spry editorial team as a general reader. You can find her latest work, “Hair Like Ariel’s” in The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives About Being Mixed Race in the 21st Century. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and many cats.

  • Anne Metcalf

    Instructor
    AnneMetcalf Anne is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Coming from a long line of female educators, Anne is humbled and inspired by the opportunity to work with such talented, imaginative young writers! She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Her work has screened at film festivals around the world, including the Soho International Film Festival, Paris Independent Film Festival, NYC Independent Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, NewFilmmakers LA, and as a Golden Egg Selection at the Reykjavik International Film Festival. She is currently developing a web series based on her original screenplay, Trouble, a coming-of-age story about trauma and resilience. Across mediums and forms, Anne is continually drawn to the tragicomic. In addition to television and film scripts, Anne has also written poetry, short fiction, personal essays, and at least 37 agonizing drafts of this bio.
  • 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.

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