Essay Writing

Learn more about Writopia's Essay Writing program.

  • Elsa Bermúdez

    Senior Programs Manager
    Elsa Bermúdez

    Elsa Bermúdez has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, sketch comedy, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. As Program Manager, she also runs Writopia Lab’s on-site scholarship program, Write to Recognition, and several off-site partnership programs. Elsa is a writer, comedian, artist, and educator. She earned her BA in Philosophy from Providence College and her MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from The New School. Her short story, Agency, was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. She also studied improv and sketch comedy writing at UCB. Elsa has produced and performed on comedy stages around New York City, including the Magnet Theater, the Pit, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She has also directed for Magnet Theater’s sketch program, Remix. Currently, Elsa writes for Magnet Theater’s house sketch team, House Party, and writes, directs, performs, and produces a sketch comedy show, I Feel Funny. Elsa lives in Astoria, Queens with her dog and two cats.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Program Administration Manager
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor has been working at Writopia Lab since 2015, and currently is Writopia's Program Administration Manager as well as a Creative Writing and Essay Writing instructor. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature; her work has been published in the New York Times and her short fiction will be published in Emerge Literary Journal in May 2021. She is currently working on a novel, which would be coming along significantly faster if her beloved cats Ginkgo and Juniper would stop distracting her with their cuteness.

  • Malcolm Knowles

    Program Coordinator
    Instructor

    Malcolm Knowles has been part of the Writopia Lab team for two years. 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, Malcolm teaches Creative Writing and Songwriting at both the Writopia Full Day camp and WriCampia. During the school year, he helps guide young minds through the process of Essay Writing, Creative Writing, and his specialty program, Songwriting Studio. When not teaching, you can often find Malcolm next to the closest musical instrument.

  • Madeline Stevens

    Instructor
    Madeline Stevens

    Madeline Stevens has taught writing to adults and children for over ten years! At Writopia Lab, she leads creative and essay writing as well as graphic novel workshops. Madeline holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Portland State University and an MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel was published by Ecco Press in the US, Faber & Faber in the UK, and translated into six languages. Her essays, stories, and other writing have appeared in places such as The Guardian, Electric Literature, CrimeReads, and Monkeybicycle. For three years she was host and curator of the Brooklyn reading series Sundays at Erv’s and is excited to be organizing events along with teaching and program coordinating for children and teens in Los Angeles through Writopia Lab!

  • Tasnim Hussain

    Program Coordinator
    Instructor

    Tasnim Hussain is a creative writing and essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab, where she offers support to young writers throughout their writing process. Tasnim graduated as salutatorian from Hunter College, where she majored in English with minors in Education and Sociology. She has taught in public schools throughout the city, working with students in many different contexts and settings in English classrooms. In awe of the creative genius of Writopia Lab writers, she finds herself constantly learning from their passion and enthusiasm. In her free time, Tasnim enjoys writing short fiction and free verse poetry, and she has been published in GRLQUASH, a bi-annual literary magazine, and Hunter College's The OliveTree Review.

  • 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.

  • Samantha Stone

    Instructor
    Registration Support

    Samantha Stone began with Writopia Lab as a JLA volunteer in 2016 and has taught creative writing and essay workshops since the summer of 2017. In the Fall of 2019 she joined the administrative team part-time, helping with registration, and is delighted to work more closely with the team. Samantha is a New York City based playwright and theatre artist, who focuses on creating theatre for social change in both national and international platforms. She received finalist status for the Leah Ryan Fund For Emerging Women Writers in 2019 and for the Ivoryton Playhouse’s POWER PASSION PROSE Women Playwrights’ Initiative for 2018. Her work has been produced at the Walkerspace at Soho Rep, Primary Stages, and as part of the 20th annual New York International Fringe Festival. In 2013, she earned a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the George Washington University. She has an MFA from the Fordham/Primary Stages Playwriting program, which she earned in 2018, and currently teaches as an adjunct professor in Fordham’s English department.

  • Celine Aenlle-Rocha

    Instructor
    Celine Aenlle-Rocha

    Celine Aenlle-Rocha is thrilled to be a creative, essay, and college essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab NYC. She is a writer from Miami and Los Angeles, residing in Washington Heights, New York City. She has contributed to literary magazines HIKA, Luna de la cosecha, Broad! Magazine, The Suburban Review, Pen + Brush, and Salt + Pepper, among others. Celine is pursuing an MFA in Fiction at Columbia University, where she is a volunteer instructor with Columbia Artists as Teachers, the Online Editor for the Columbia Journal, and Co-President of Our Word, the School of the Arts' student organization committed to championing inclusiveness in literature. She previously attended Kenyon College and the Columbia Publishing Course. Before Writopia, she marketed academic books at Oxford University Press for several years. Her writing is inspired by her family history from Havana to New Orleans to Los Angeles, and she loves helping emerging writers discover their own voices at Writopia.

  • Christina Connett-Gonzalez

    Instructor
    Photo of Christina Connett-Gonzalez

    Christina is a writer, editor, and educator who has long-admired the Writopia Lab team. She is honored to be an instructor in New York City. Christina is a proud double-alum of The New School, where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts-Nonfiction Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction). Concurrent with her graduate studies, she worked as a Teaching Assistant in The New School's prestigious Riggio Honors Program for Writing and Democracy. Upon graduation, her first short story was published in H.O.W. Art and Literary Journal, where she later served as Assistant Editor and Editor of their youth publication, H.O.W. Junior. It was during her tenure at H.O.W. Junior that she was first impressed by the work of many Writopia writers and was thrilled to publish their pieces. Christina writes essays, poetry, and is currently finishing a short story collection. When she's not writing or teaching, she can be found expressing herself through the sport of obstacle course racing. She lives in Queens with her wife and their demi-god dog, Hercules.

  • Jane Young

    Instructor
    Jane Young

    Jane Young began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in 2019. She is a writer, editor, and teacher, whose plays have been seen in over a dozen Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theaters in New York, as well as Ohio and Colorado. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as a non-fiction editor for its literary magazine, Lumina. Her fiction debuted in the premier issue of the magazine, and a book of poetry she’s written with Thomas Keith, The Histories of Gladys, was published by Mellon Poetry Press. Jane recently completed her first novel, War Cry of the Good Angels. Her teaching credits include State University of New York at Purchase College, the Women’s Correctional Facility at Bedford Hills, and LEAP. She is thrilled to be working with Goddard-Riverside Community Center and Writopia Lab!

  • Victoria Collins

    Instructor

    Victoria Collins (she/they) is an essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab and a writer and teacher currently residing in the South Bronx, by way of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. They graduated from The New School with their MFA in Creative Writing.

  • Dueling Decimas

    Playfully argue opposing sides of an opinion with a partner through this dynamic poetry game.

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