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Before Michaela moved to the Bay Area, she was Program Coordinator and Head Instructor at our location in Hartsdale, NY for two years. Michaela received her BA in English & Literature from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she worked with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri. Her publishing credits include Madcap Review and Under the Gum Tree to name a few. Before working at Writopia, Michaela taught English and creative writing at the college level, led creative aging workshops for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, and played Division I college soccer while coaching players ranging from age three through college. Whether on the field or in academia, she enjoys mentoring and helping people to achieve their full potential. Her hobbies include hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking. On the weekends, you can find her playing soccer in various leagues and enjoying all the pizza.
Madeline Stevens has taught writing to adults and children for over ten years! At Writopia Lab, she leads creative and essay writing as well as graphic novel workshops. Madeline holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Portland State University and an MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel was published by Ecco Press in the US, Faber & Faber in the UK, and translated into six languages. Her essays, stories, and other writing have appeared in places such as The Guardian, Electric Literature, CrimeReads, and Monkeybicycle. For three years she was host and curator of the Brooklyn reading series Sundays at Erv’s and is excited to be organizing events along with teaching and program coordinating for children and teens in Los Angeles through Writopia Lab!
Jacquelyn Stolos can barely contain her excitement about joining the Writopia Lab team in Los Angeles this spring! Jacquelyn began her writing career as an elementary schooler filling up spiral-bound notebooks while perched on a mossy rock in the woods behind her childhood home. Her habits have barely changed since. She studied English and French literature at Georgetown University, where she completed an honors thesis of short stories and won the Annabelle Bonner Medal for short fiction. For her masters, Jacquelyn was awarded the Writers in the Public Schools fellowship to study fiction in New York University’s MFA program. She has also workshopped at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, and the New York Summer Writers Institute. Her short fiction has appeared in The Atticus Review, Conte Online, and The Oddville Press. Jacquelyn is an ardent believer in the power of story and is always looking for ways to spread the love through education. She previously worked as a teaching artist at Teachers and Writers Collaborative, leading creative writing workshops in elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as an adjunct professor at New York University. Jacquelyn's first novel, Edendale, will be released by Creature Publishing, a feminist horror press, in the spring of 2020.
Korama Danquah started teaching workshops at Writopia Lab in 2015 and loves it! She is a playwright, screenwriter, poet, and fiction writer originally from Los Angeles, CA. After studying Theatre Arts at Brown University, she produced her first solo show, Mixtape for New Year's Eve (Secretly a Love Story) in Providence, RI. She has published multiple pieces in Coast Magazine, most recently a personal essay on cultural diversity in the ever-expanding industry of food delivery services. In 2019 she was a finalist for Skylight Theatre Company's Fresh Brews competition, and she is currently working on writing her second television pilot (while trying to sell the first). When she's not writing, she enjoys acting, karaoke, and going to the theatre!
Chelsey believes that storytelling is universal and at the heart of human connection, and she is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab community once again after time at the NYC site. Chelsey's fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Minnesota Review, Harvard Review Online, Carve Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. Her work has also been a finalist in multiple prose contests and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Along with writing and teaching, Chelsey loves attending writing workshops herself and has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Conference, and the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she is currently completing her MFA.
Brady couldn't be more excited to join the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Brady graduated Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where he spent his time studying for classes in a hammock on the beach. After earning his BA in Creative Writing, Brady worked in podcasting for WBEZ, Chicago, and as an Associate Producer for the PleasureTown show, a fictional narrative podcast set in Old West Oklahoma. In Chicago, Brady studied comedy and won the Second City Original Sitcom competition and placed in a few others as well. Brady can't wait to use his experience to inspire Writopians.
Will is very excited to join the Writopia Lab team! He graduated with a BA in English from Pomona College, where he received the Dole-Kinney Prize in Creative Writing and the Matthew Klopfleisch Prize in English. While at Pomona, he wrote for the student newspaper and taught creative and expository writing to children through the Weekly Writing Workshop. More recently, he is a finalist for the 2019 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction. In the near future, he plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Will loves to read and write across all genres!
Cassandra is tickled pink to be working with Writopia Lab in LA after starting with them in Chicago! Cassandra earned her BA in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago and did an MFA alternative program at Chicago Dramatists as a Tutterow Fellow. Recently, she completed Upright Citizens Brigade’s sketch writing program and UCLA’s Professional Program in Writing for Television. As a playwright, she’s had over 300 of her short plays performed across the country. Her longer plays include The Amen Trilogy, The Battle of Charlottesville, Billy to His Friends, and The Volunteer. Her work has been developed and produced by Broken Nose Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Jackalope Theatre Company, The New Colony, and Stage Left Theatre. As a screenwriter, her first pilot, The Great Desire, made it to the second round of the 2020 Sundance Episodic Lab. She loves helping young writers with their scripts, their essays, and their creative writing in general.
Vanessa Batyko has been teaching creative writing workshops with Writopia Lab since 2019, and they are thrilled to be working with such inspiring young writers! Vanessa is a poet from Los Angeles, California. They hold a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Vanessa has also taught writing classes at UW, and with the UW Youth Programs. They are the recipient of the Joan Grayston Poetry Prize from the University of Washington, the Beau J. Boudreaux Poetry Award, and the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award from the University of Southern California. Their work has recently been published in Columbia Journal, where they were a finalist for the 2019 Winter Contest.
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