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."
Matthew Jellison is over the moon to be joining the Writopia Lab staff full time as the Games and Curriculum Manager and the Editor-in-Chief of Litmags. 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.
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.
Alexandra Cohl is a creative and essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab NYC. After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance, she moved to New York City to pursue writing and teaching. She is currently an M.A. candidate for English Literature at the City College of New York (CCNY) and has also taught undergraduate composition courses at CCNY. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine, and she has contributed blog posts to New York School Talk, an education blog. Her Writopia Lab writers have won both regional and national recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards and have also had plays or spoken word performed in Writopia's Worldwide Plays Festival. In addition to writing fiction, memoir, and songs, she is currently running her own blog, POD.DRALAND, where she combines her love of supporting fellow artists and listening to podcasts.
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.
Zakiya Harris is thrilled to be an instructor at Writopia Lab, NYC! Zakiya joins us from Penguin Random House, where she worked as an assistant editor on both nonfiction and fiction books. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2016, where she focused on nonfiction writing and crafted personal essays revolving around topics such as identity and her childhood growing up in Connecticut, and she received her BA in English literature from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2014. Zakiya was first published in 2006 by American Girl Magazine after winning a contest whose prompt was to write a short story based on a simple illustration, and she’s excited to encourage a love of creativity and storytelling within other young individuals. When she isn’t working on her workplace-sci-fi novel, she’s writing book reviews for The Rumpus or falling down the deep, irresistible rabbit hole that is Spotify.
Josh is excited to join the Writopia Lab team! Josh teaches composition and creative writing at Hunter College, where he received his MFA in Fiction. His work has appeared in Akashic Books and Breadcrumbs Lit Mag, and his plays have been performed by the Abingdon Theater and Psychopomp Theater Company. In addition to teaching, Josh is also the co-founder and New York host of Club Motte, an international storytelling collective with events in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Berlin.
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