Learn more about Writopia in Brooklyn.
Bianca is thrilled to be working with Writopia Lab as the Brooklyn Regional Manager. 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, Magic On the Map, with fellow Writopia Lab instructor Courtney Sheinmel, to be published by Random House Kids in Spring 2019. In 2018, 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."
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.
Matthew Jellison is over the moon to be joining the Writopia staff full time as Playwriting Program Coordinator and Administrative Support. He began as a creative writing instructor in summer of 2017 and since has had the privilege of reading wonderful writing by extraordinary kids. Born and raised in NYC, Matthew writes plays and works with kids. The first two plays in his cycle, the giants, was produced by Loft 227 in winter of 2016. He’s getting the third play ready for a workshop this coming Fall at TOWN stages, where he’s currently in residence. Matthew is the 2012/13 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, a two-time Playwriting Fellow at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, an alumnus of FreshGround Pepper Playground Playgroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Prior to Writopia, Matthew worked with kids and teens with the 52nd Street Project, Marquis Studios, the Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club’s education department. He graduated from the acting school at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Cathleen is the author of seven middle grade and YA novels, including a ghost story, Slipping (Bloomsbury 2008), a fake-historical romp Little Blog on the Prairie (Bloomsbury 2010), a time-travel romance I Remember You (Knopf, 2015) and the paranormal Weregirl trilogy: Weregirl, Chimera, and Typhon (Chooseco, 2016, 2017 and 2018). She holds a BA from Barnard College, an MFA from Columbia University, lives in Brooklyn with her family, and has been a proud member of the Writopia team since 2010. Visit her online at CathleenDavittBell.com.
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.
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.
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.
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. In 2019, he was recognized by the Scholastic Awards as an "outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." He is currently in post-production on his second film Noah Wise.
Simone is so excited to be an instructor at Writopia! Originally from New Zealand, Simone moved to the U.S in 2014 for the Masters of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing at Tisch, NYU, where she then spent two years, writing TV pilots, plays and screenplays. During her time in New York, Simone interned for a Documentary maker, an Animation writer and on Comedy Central’s ‘Inside Amy Schumer’. She was awarded NYU’s Venable Herndon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting and started working as a Writer’s Assistant on the Netflix show, ‘Bloodline’. In 2016, Simone was the recipient of the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship and moved to Los Angeles, where she worked on Nickelodeon shows. Simone briefly returned to New Zealand to work as writer and Associate Producer on both the 2017 New Zealand Music Awards and the New Zealand Television Awards. She has since won the Green Card Lottery and is now back in the U.S.
Anderson Cook is thrilled to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. He holds a BFA and MFA in dramatic writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and he is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop. His plays and musicals have been seen at venues like (le) poisson rouge, the Boston Conservatory, Dixon Place, the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute, and comedy clubs and rooftops across New York City. He is the recipient of a 2018 Sloan Screenwriting Grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Anderson and his writing partner Amanda D’Archangelis were the winners of the 2017 NMI New Voices Contest, co-sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering, and was a finalist for the Echo Theatre’s National Young Playwright.
Lorraine is very excited to join the Writopia Lab team! She is a freelance writer whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Parents, and GoodHousekeeping, among other outlets. She earned her BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Skidmore College, where she was the recipient of the Analytical Writing Award, and a fellowship to the New York State Summer Writers' Institute. She later graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in Art Therapy from The School of Visual Arts, where she was the recipient of the Chairman's Grant and the School of Visual Arts Award for Excellence for her work, including the use of writing as a creative and therapeutic outlet, with patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and foster children at New Alternatives for Children in New York.
Maya is so excited to be working at Writopia Lab as a part-time intern! Maya took her first Writopia workshop in eighth grade, continuing all the way until graduating high school, and she started interning at Writopia during her sophomore year. She is now on a gap year before attending the University of Chicago in the Fall of 2019, and she knew from the start that she'd want to spend this year working at Writopia. Writing is a huge part of Maya's life: at Stuyvesant High School she wrote for the school newspaper, was a peer editor at the writing center, and was a playwright for the annual student-run musical theater competition, SING!. She has received both regional and national recognition for her work through the Scholastic Art and Writing awards, the Penguin Random House Creative Writing awards, and the Worldwide Plays Festival, and she has been published in Writopia's The Ellipsis and The Parenthetical literary magazines, as well as in Surge Magazine. Maya loves to write poetry, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction, but when she's not writing, she spends her time running, reading, and learning new languages (both human and programming ones!). Maya can’t imagine what her life would be like without Writopia Lab, and she is so happy to continue being a part of this amazing community.
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