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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.
Alison Doherty loves working with writers of all ages at Writopia Lab. She also teaches writing classes to freshman at The New School. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2016 with a concentration in writing for children and teenagers. For undergrad, Alison studied English Literature at Smith College and The University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Before moving to New York, Alison worked as a classroom teacher and a curriculum consultant at Harvard EdLabs. Now, when she isn't teaching, Alison is working on her first YA novel and writing about books for Book Riot.
Ben Zuckert is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who has taught creative writing and screenwriting workshops with Writopia Lab since 2018. His first feature film, Larchmont, premiered at the Twin Cities Film Fest in 2016. His second feature, Noah Wise, screened at festivals in 2018 and 2019, including the Hof International Film Festival in Germany as well as the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. He's helped develop screenwriting games for Writopia writers and 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."
Di Jayawickrema is thrilled to be part of the Writopia Lab team! She is a Sri Lankan New Yorker who is passionate about cross-genre writing, community-building, and youth mentorship. Di has mentored youth since she herself was a teenager, and has founded and facilitated writing communities for young writers, women and non-binary writers, and writers of color throughout her adulthood. Her cross-genre writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, including wildness, Jellyfish Review, Pithead Chapel, and Entropy, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and anthologized in Best Microfiction. She received an honors degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University, and has been awarded fellowships from Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation and Kundiman. She is currently on staff at the award-winning publications, The Offing and The Rumpus, and is working on a book as often as her joyous, rambunctious infant will allow her!
Victoria has been admiring Writopia Lab for many years and is thrilled to be part of the team. Born and raised in Virginia, Victoria has been writing and working in New York City since 2005. Victoria's writing has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, Perigee, Quarter After Eight, Word Riot, and Mosaic. She is a Kundiman Fellow, a VONA/Voices alumna, and was Co-Fiction Editor of Apogee Journal. Victoria has received support from Vermont Studio Center and led creative writing workshops for New York Writers Coalition. She is excited to help young people explore their identities and build their communities through their stories.
Kaili Y. Turner is a Black Indian (Nipmuc), comedian, actress, writer, producer, and puppeteer who received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School. Kaili’s pilot Fk’d Up & Fabulous is streaming on the Tenoir TV app, and her play Indian Country was a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill playwrights conference. She’s also the creator of Rock the Bells Comedy, a variety show that is a platform for BIPOC comics and musicians. She was a participant of the Walt Disney/ABC Pilot Prep Program for Native Americans, and a recipient of the SNL/Second City Scholarship.
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