DC Metro

Learn more about Writopia in Washington, D.C.

  • Laura Owsiany

    Program Manager
    Instructor

    Laura Owsiany is excited to be a part of Writopia Lab! She first worked with Writopia as an intern in 2015, then joined full-time as Registration Coordinator in 2018. 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 a publishing intern at the nonprofit 826DC. In addition to writing, Laura enjoys reading modernist poetry, podcasting, the outdoors, and frequenting DC’s many free museums.

  • Lucian Mattison

    Program Manager
    Instructor
    Lucian Mattison

    Lucian Mattison is very excited to be a part of the DC Writopia team! He is the author of two books of poetry, Reaper's Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018) and Peregrine Nation (Dynamo Verlag, 2017). His poetry, short fiction, and translations appear in numerous journals including Hayden's Ferry Review, Hobart, Nano Fiction, The Nashville Review, Puerto Del Sol, and Sixth Finch. Over the past six years, he has also taught creative writing writing workshops for adults, undergraduates, and teens in DC and Norfolk, Virginia. He's thrilled to join Writopia in cultivating a community of young poets and writers who will grow to be the voices we see in magazines and on bookshelves in the future!

  • Rita Feinstein

    Program Coordinator & Registration Coordinator
    Rita Feinstein

    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 work has appeared in The Cossack Review, Permafrost, and Grist, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. Life on Dodge, her debut poetry chapbook, is available from Brain Mill Press. She lives with her husband, who is a lawyer, and her dog, who is not.

  • 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.

  • Jessica McHugh

    Instructor
    Jessica McHugh

    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

    Instructor
    Melanie Howard

    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 Baker

    Instructor
    Monica Baker

    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.

  • Norah Vawter

    Instructor
    Norah Vawter

    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 Dall

    Instructor

    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 Jayawickrema

    Instructor

    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.

  • Paul Maliszewski

    Instructor

    Paul Maliszewski loves working with Writopia DC writers. He is the author of Fakers, a book of essays, and Prayer and Parable, a collection of stories. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines, including Harper’s, The Paris Review, and Granta. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes. He has taught at Johns Hopkins and George Washington University.

  • Carmen Rodrigues

    Instructor
    Carmen Rodrigues

    Carmen Rodrigues lives and plays in the great urban wilds of Northern Virginia, where she is a writer by day and a writing instructor by night (and afternoon). She has worked with hundreds of students along the east coast, specializing in enrichment education and executive function. Teaching creative writing to the next generation remains one of her greatest joys. As such, she is thrilled to be in her third season at Writopia Lab, where she has the honor of shepherding stories set in worlds both real and fantastical, profound and comical. In the workshop space, Carmen embraces Writopia Lab’s process-based approach that enables young writers to embark on a unique journey that expands their individuality in storytelling. Carmen earned her MFA in Fiction from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and BA from Florida State University, where she majored in English and minored in Theater. She is the author of three young adult novels—The Universal Laws of Marco (a “best read of 2019,” Seventeen Magazine), 34 Pieces of You (“a haunting read,” Publisher’s Weekly), and Not Anything. For more, visit CarmenRodrigues.com.

  • Anney Bolgiano

    Instructor
    Anney Bolgiano

    Anney Bolgiano earned her MFA from George Mason University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in A Velvet Giant, District Lines, Oblong Magazine, and The Greenleaf Review. She primarily writes short stories and prose poems and is currently working on a novel. Anney loves teaching and writing equally and has taught creative writing, literature, and composition to first graders through college seniors. She loves the unique, funny, surprising, and insightful stories young people write.

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