Learn more about Writopia in Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Rita is excited to join the Writopia Lab family! She received her MFA from Oregon State University, where she taught composition and creative writing. Her stories and poems have appeared in Permafrost, Grist, The Cossack Review, and Five on the Fifth, among other publications. Life on Dodge, her debut poetry chapbook, is forthcoming from Brain Mill Press. Her favorite things are dragons, all-you-can-eat sushi, and the movie Labyrinth.
Louise Pisano Simone is happy to be a part of the Writopia Lab family. Louise earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and also holds a doctorate in Literature, History, and Ethics from Georgetown University. Her novel, Heir of the Jaguar, won a 2011 Next Generation Honors Medal, and her work for children has appeared in Appleseeds and Cobblestone magazines. A former librarian, Louise has spent way too much time reading fantasy and science fiction, and is a real sucker for anything that takes place in an alternate reality. The chance to nurture imagination and creativity in young writers, and a persistent head-butt from her cat, Momma Reno, get her up and moving each morning.
Norah is excited to join Writopia Lab! She has an MFA in fiction writing from George Mason University. Before taking a high school writing workshop, Norah wanted to be a mathematician. She still thinks math is beautiful, a way to tame the chaos, but prefers putting the chaos into words. Norah has published stories, poems, and articles in Agave Magazine, The Nassau Review, Stymie, The Washington Post, and others. Her novel excerpt was short-listed for the Ropewalk Press Chapbook Prize. Norah’s been teaching writing to kids since she was 17. She lives in Virginia with her husband and son.
Jessica is the author of several novels such as Raining Embers and Graven Idols, along with several short stories that have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. Having been an avid writer since middle school, she is overjoyed that she has been able to spend the past six years with Writopia Lab, teaching the next generation of authors, poets, and playwrights.
Di is thrilled to join the Writopia team! She is a Sri Lankan New Yorker, currently living in beautiful DC. Words are her life. In addition to being a creative writer, she is a communications professional who works with literary, arts, and immigrant and racial justice nonprofits. She has mentored and taught youth since she herself was a teenager, and is so excited for the opportunity to unite her passion for writing and youth mentorship at Writopia. Her fiction and prose poetry have appeared in Unbroken Journal, Ginosko Literary Journal, Fiction Fix, and The Albion Review. She is currently at work on a collection of autofiction.
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