Learn more about Writopia in Los Angeles.
Kimberly Faith Waid is Writopia’s Los Angeles regional manager, where she is an educator, registrar, marketing lead, and director of regional partnerships. She also is a part of the national communications team with a focus in social media. For over thirteen years, she has taught creative writing, Language Arts/English, and arts enrichment to all age-levels and is passionate to continue growing confidence and literacy skills in young writers. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on regional and national levels. A community builder, Kimberly worked for five years with the founder of The Moth, George Dawes Green, on The Unchained Tour, a storytelling series which brought storytellers and musicians to small towns across the American South to support local literary communities and their independent bookstores. At Writopia, in addition to creative writing, she teaches screenwriting, drawing on her experience as a script coverage consultant for high-level filmmakers and on the set of Breaking Bad. She holds a BFA in Media and Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design and an MFA from New York University, where she was selected as a Goldwater Fellow. She’s been shortlisted for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and the 2012 William Faulkner Wisdom Competition. Her written work has appeared in Abe’s Penny and ArtSlant. She's twice been a resident in fiction writing at Vermont Studio Center where she began work on a historical novel set primarily in her home state of Alabama.
Jacquelyn Stolos can barely contain her excitement about joining the Writopia 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 is currently at work on her first novel.
Dara is filled with joy to be a part of the Writopia Lab family. She is a playwright, a screenwriter, and a novelist who received her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. In addition to teaching creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, poetry, essay writing, and creative non-fiction, Dara has also taught theatre and coordinated productions of original one-act plays written, directed, and performed by middle school students. In fact, Dara’s passion for championing young voices and fostering safe spaces for authentic communication inspired her to receive a secondary education teaching credential in English/Language Arts. When she’s not collaborating with her incredibly talented Writopia Lab writers, Dara can be found teaching English to 7th and 8th graders who, every day, teach her more than she could ever teach them.
After interning with Writopia last summer, Lee Eisen is excited to lead workshops in Los Angeles this fall. Lee graduated from the University of Miami (FL) in December 2016 with departmental honors in Creative Writing. "Tens in the Dark", one of the short stories from Lee's senior thesis, was published in Mangrove Literary Journal, which receives hundreds of submissions from undergraduate students around the country. Lee's experience spans multiple genres and disciplines. He was a contributing writer for his college newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. He also worked as a production assistant for the ABC television series, The Goldbergs. Lee plans to pursue an MFA degree in fiction, teach higher education, and publish a collection of short stories. Lee is incredibly excited to help kids learn the fundamentals of writing, with an emphasis on the "fun!"
Michelle Kim Hall is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia community and is committed to honoring young voices and the power of self-expression. She believes that writing is serious fun. She wrote her first poem at age five after breaking her arm: "casts are white / paper can tear / this thing hurts / more than you care." She hasn't stopped writing since. After graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with a concentration in creative writing, she went on to earn her JD from Harvard Law School. Her thesis explored a troubling human rights issue through the short story form. Michelle practiced law in both California and New York before deciding to return to academia. She got an MFA in fiction from New York University, where she taught creative and expository writing. Her poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in periodicals including The Rumpus, Open Letters Monthly, and The Margins. With almost two decades of teaching experience, Michelle loves working with writers of all ages.
Madeline is so excited to join the Writopia Lab team this summer! She has been crafting stories, essays, screenplays, and poetry since she learned to write. Her stack of diaries is roughly the height of an average first grader. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has had her work published in a variety of literary magazines. She is the founder of the reading series Sundays at Erv's, and in August 2019, her debut novel will be released from Ecco Press. She has also worked as a nanny for seven years and taught creative writing to middle and high school students through Columbia's Writer As Teacher Program and the former DC nonprofit WVSA Arts Connection.
Brendan is excited for the opportunity to guide young filmmakers at Writopia Lab as they begin their own cinematic journeys with their unique voices. His own love for cinema began when he was in middle school! He’s a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, where he studied Film Directing and has taught film to younger generations at their summer camps. He’s written and produced critically acclaimed independent films including Dance Party USA, the Spirit Award-nominated Quiet City, and Cold Weather. In 2013, he co-wrote and produced the short documentary, The Great Imposter, as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. It was among the group of documentaries awarded a Primetime Emmy in 2014 for Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program. Brendan is currently developing projects for film and television.
Brady couldn't be more excited to join the Writopia Lab team as an assistant 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.
Leah Bognanni is incredibly excited to be part of the Writopia team working with young voices. She is a comedy and dramedy screenwriter from Boston who loves writing for animation. She has an MFA in Screenwriting and Playwriting from Northwestern University in Chicago, where her play, “Accidents,” was produced by Nothing Without a Company. She also has a BA in English and Media Screen Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, where she produced a ten-minute play festival and her poetry was published in Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine. Her animated feature screenplay, Wishbone, won a Krevoy Screenwriting Award in 2018 and she’s currently working on her next animated feature and television pilot.
Sandra Ramirez is excited to share her love of writing with young people this summer at Writopia Lab! Sandra is a former Pen Emerging Voices Fellow and holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems have been published in The Laurel Review and Puerto Del Sol. She also was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received a Notable Mention in Best American Essays in 2014 for her essay "Strays.” She’s currently at work on a screenplay and a poetry collection.
Vanessa is beyond excited to be joining Writopia Lab this summer as an assistant instructor! She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, where she received the 2018 Beau J. Boudreaux Poetry Award and the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award. Vanessa will be pursuing her MFA in poetry from the University of Washington in the fall, where she will teach both creative and composition writing. Her poems have been published in a handful of literary magazines, and she is currently working on her first poetry collection.
Caitlin is so happy to join the Writopia Lab community this summer! Caitlin has an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she participated in the faculty selected 6x6 reading series. Her writing has appeared in Bookforum, Los Angeles Review of Books, Adroit Journal, and The Leveler. She worked as a research assistant at the Getty Research Institute for the past two years and is currently working on her first collection of essays about artists in periods of transition and doubt.
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!
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