Instructors

  • Janelle M. Williams

    Associate Director of Outreach and Programs
    Janelle M. Williams

    Janelle M. Williams has been a part of the Writopia Lab team since 2016. At Writopia, she works as an instructor and a program manager. She manages private sessions and co-manages the Write-to-Recognition Program and the Joy and Literacy in After School Program. With the support of Executive Director Rebecca Wallace-Segall and the team, she founded Writopia Lab's annual Teen Writers' Summit. She enjoys teaching on-site and off-site workshops, some in Title 1 schools and a residential treatment facility. She is enthusiastic about sustaining safe, diverse, and socially conscious workshops at Writopia Lab. Janelle received her BA from Howard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. In 2017, she received a fellowship from Kimbilio Fiction. As a southern writer from Decatur, Georgia, Janelle's lyrical stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, SmokeLong Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Split Lip Magazine, midnight & indigo, Kweli, and elsewhere. Her novel, “Gone Like Yesterday”, will be published by Tiny Reparations Books in 2023.

  • Elsa Bermúdez

    Los Angeles Regional Manager
    and Outreach Programs Manager
    Associate Director of WriCampia
    Elsa Bermúdez

    Elsa Bermúdez has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, comedy writing, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. As National Programs Manager, she runs Writopia Lab’s on-site scholarship program, Write to Recognition, and several off-site partnership programs. Elsa is a writer, comedian, artist, and educator. She earned her BA in Philosophy from Providence College and her MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from The New School. Her short story Agency was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. She also studied improv and sketch comedy writing at UCB. Elsa has produced and performed on comedy stages around New York City, including the Magnet Theater, the Pit, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She has directed for Magnet Theater’s sketch program, Remix, and was on Magnet Theater’s house sketch teams Mama’s Boy and House Party. Elsa also wrote, directed, performed for, and produced the filmed sketch comedy show I Feel Funny. Currently, she is thrilled to continue her journey as Writopia’s LA Regional Manager and to focus her creative energy on writing screenplays and drawing comics. Elsa lives in East Hollywood with her puggle, Bug.

  • Michaela Florio

    Instructor
    Project Manager
    Michaela Florio

    Before Michaela moved to the Bay Area, she was Program Coordinator and Head Instructor at our location in Hartsdale, NY for three 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. She was named a 2021 Pushcart Nominee for her nonfiction piece “The Sanctuary”, which was published in Quarter After Eight. Other publishing credits include Madcap Review and Under the Gum Tree to name a few. Before working at Writopia Lab, 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.

  • Malcolm Knowles

    Program Manager, The Writopia Music Lab
    Creative Writing and Songwriting Instructor
    Malcolm Knowles

    Malcolm Knowles has been part of the Writopia Lab team since 2018. He is a writer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Houston, Texas, where he learned to record and release music during his teenage years. He later attended Sarah Lawrence College with a focus in Jazz Guitar, Composition, and Radio. During the summer, Malcolm teaches Creative Writing and Songwriting at both the Writopia Full Day camp and WriCampia, and is the Division Head of Upper Boys at WriCampia. After two years of developing the Writopia Songwriting Studio and its camp electives, Malcolm co-designed, launched, and began overseeing the Writopia Music Foundry in 2021. Both programs are offered as part of Writopia's Music Lab. During the school year, Malcolm helps young and teen writers navigate the process of Essay Writing, Creative Writing, and Songwriting. When not teaching, you can often find Malcolm next to the closest musical instrument.

  • Tasnim Hussain

    Program Manager
    Instructor

    Tasnim Hussain is a creative writing and essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab, where she offers support to young writers throughout their writing process. Tasnim graduated as salutatorian from Hunter College, where she majored in English with minors in Education and Sociology. She has taught in public schools throughout the city, working with students in many different contexts and settings in English classrooms. In awe of the creative genius of Writopia Lab writers, she finds herself constantly learning from their passion and enthusiasm. In her free time, Tasnim enjoys writing short fiction and free verse poetry, and she has been published in GRLQUASH, a bi-annual literary magazine, and Hunter College's The OliveTree Review.

  • Will Bond

    Manager of Digital Media and Communications
    Picture of Will Bond

    After moving to New York City from Louisiana, Will landed his first post-college job as a video editor and counselor at WriCampia in 2018. He graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Digital Filmmaking, and has years of experience working in film production. His set experiences include driving a 20-foot grip truck through Times Square, filming in a Staten Island prison, lighting music videos for 88rising, and camera assisting on a Kevin Smith film. Currently he is working on developing a web series and regularly creating video essays on Youtube.

  • Shanille Martin

    Program Coordinator
    Instructor
    Shanille Martin

    Shanille Martin joined the Writopia Lab team in 2020. She is a recent graduate of Purchase College, where she studied Creative Writing and minored in Psychology and Literature. She was a Girls Write Now mentee, and is now a current mentor to a high school junior. Shanille has been published in a variety of magazines and platforms such as Gandy Dancer, Italics Mine, and Submissions Magazine. Shanille was the captain of her high school debate team and is thrilled to not only teach creative writing but also debate at Writopia. Shanille plans to pursue her MFA and continue to teach writing to the upcoming generation. She is currently working on her first novel.

  • Nicole Flippo

    Program Coordinator
    Instructor
    Nicole Flippo

    Nicole Flippo (she/her/hers) has been a part of Writopia Lab as a WriCampia counselor since 2018 and an instructor since 2019, and is currently the Program Coordinator for the New York Metro North region! She attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she completed a BFA in Dramatic Writing and concentrated in writing for television. She went on to complete an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she concentrated in speculative fiction and was the blog editor of Lumina. She was a recipient of the Cobell Scholarship through Indigenous Education, Inc. Nicole’s original scripts have received awards with the Brucia Television and Screenwriting Awards, Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival, Fusion Film Festival, Oklahoma State One Act Festival, Oregon Short Film Festival, Talent Factory’s Script and Storyboard Showcase, Tulsa City Smashers, and others. Her mission as an educator is to assist young writers in identifying and executing the stories they are most driven to tell, and her dream as a writer is to recreate the joy she experiences while reading her favorite books for others. When Nicole isn't busy writing or teaching professionally, you can find her exploring quirky thrift shops, reading in Fort Tryon Park, waxing poetic about dark coffee, and living it up in fandom!

  • Peter Quinn-Jacobs

    Operations, Registration, and RPG Coordinator
    Peter Quinn-Jacobs

    Peter Quinn-Jacobs started at Writopia Lab as a Dungeon Master in 2020 and is excited to work full time at the Washington, D.C. office starting in 2022. He has run role-playing games since he was seven years old and enjoys games both in-person and over the internet in a variety of fantasy and science fiction settings. In his free time, he designs his own board games and murder mystery parties. His science fiction has earned an honorable mention in the Writers of the Future competition (2008) and his scholarly work won the William Hamilton Prize at William & Mary Law School (2018) and was a finalist in the American Indian Law Review Competition (2018). He's excited to work with Writopia to spur the imaginations of writers and players through fantasy gaming!

  • Christina McDowell

    Registration and Outreach Coordinator
    Instructor
    Christina McDowell

    Christina McDowell is thrilled to be joining Writopia Lab in Washington DC as a writing instructor. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books After Perfect: A Daughter’s Memoir and The Cave Dwellers: A Novel, both published by Gallery Books/Scout Press at Simon & Schuster. In 2018, After Perfect was optioned by Valparaiso Pictures and is currently being adapted for the screen. Christina’s work has appeared in The Washington Post; the Los Angeles Times; The Guardian; O, The Oprah Magazine, LA Weekly, Marie Claire, USA Today, and The Village Voice, among other publications. Christina is also an advocate for children impacted by prison. She taught creative writing to teenage girls at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles with InsideOUT Writers and served on the advisory board of POPS The Club, the first high school club in the U.S. that uses the written word to transform, heal, and empower youth harmed by mass incarceration. She was awarded for her outstanding advocacy work in 2018. To read more about her work, you can find her at christinamcdowell.com. Christina is currently at work on a new novel and when she is not spending her days writing and rewriting, she loves spending time with her little Havanese, Zelda Fitzgerald.

  • Carly Sorenson

    Instructor and Registration Associate
    Carly Sorenson

    After taking Writopia Lab workshops for many years as a child and teen, Carly Sorenson is thrilled to return as an Instructor and Registration Associate. Carly, who uses she/her pronouns, was born and raised in Queens, New York. She learned from a young age to speak, write, and read Spanish, thanks to a dual language program at her local public school. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing from SUNY Purchase College, where she edited the literary magazine Italics Mine and founded an academic club for writers. In 2020, her college awarded her the Ginny Wray Senior Prize in Fiction. She has published several short stories in literary magazines and writes blog content for the Love Wins Food Pantry in Jackson Heights. In her free time, she engages in mutual aid work and makes textile art.

  • Madeline Stevens

    Instructor
    Madeline Stevens

    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

    Instructor

    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.

  • Sophia Marie Lee

    Instructor

    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.

  • Justin Allen

    Instructor
    Justin Allen

    Justin Allen is excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Justin is the author of two novels, Slaves of the Shinar and Year of the Horse. He is also the author of three plays. Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allen Poe and Gilbert and Sullivan, The Ballet! were both commissioned and produced by Dances Patrelle. The Beatitudes was commissioned by Eidolon Ballet in Concert and was produced for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Justin is curently formulating a new script, which he wants to call Superhero: The Legend of the Lightning Defender. Justin earned his MFA at Columbia University and studied Comic Book Scripting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He loves fantasy and science-fiction, mystery and alternate history, love stories and comic books, and he adores work that defies classification. He has taught writing as a part of the Columbia Writing Workshops at Bank Street College of Education, led a seminar focusing on graphic novels and comic books at Bethesda Academy, and spent years as a children's ballet master in New York City. He looks forward to reveling weekly in the work of the talented and creative young writers that make Writopia Lab a special place.

  • Daniel Ajl Kitrosser

    Instructor
    Artistic Director of Writopia Plays Festival
    Playwriting and Screenwriting Specialist
    DanKitrosser

    Dan Kitrosser has been teaching year-round at Writopia Lab since 2007. He teaches musical theater, playwriting, language play, and fiction workshops, and also produces and directs Writopia Lab's annual Best Playwrights' Festival. Dan is the resident storyteller at Central Park and an award-winning playwright. His plays and musicals have appeared at Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and American Place Theatre. His children's musical, Night of the Butterfly, has been declared "a winning original musical!" by TimeOut Kids, and had an extended Off-Broadway run. He was the recipient of the 2010 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for his one-man musical The Legend of Ichabod Crane (Halloween Pick - Village Voice) which he continues to tour around the city. At Writopia, six of Dan's students have won "Best Play" in Stephen Sondheim's 2008, 2009, and 2010 Write a Play! contests, and many others were named finalists or won honorable mentions. A graduate of NYU, Dan's screenplays include Old Days, directed by Matt Shapiro and starring Brad Oscar (Tony Nomination, The Producers) and Mary Beth Piel (Dawson's Creek) and Bodybuilder Island, directed by Matthew Kliegman. Dan has been a final committee judge for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival for four years (this coming summer will be his fifth). Dan's play Be Here Now won this festival and was a finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Playwriting Competition.

  • Amy Dupcak Remland

    Instructor
    picture of Amy Dupcak Remland

    Amy Dupcak Remland is the author of Dust, Short Stories, published in 2016, and the co-editor and designer of Words After Dark: A Lyrics, Lit & Liquor Anthology, published in 2020. After studying Writing and Film History at Sarah Lawrence, she earned an MFA in Fiction from The New School. She has worked as an adjunct English professor, music and culture journalist, assistant editor, and high-school creative writing teacher. Amy has led creative and essay writing workshops, as well as private sessions, at Writopia Lab since 2012, primarily working with teens. She also works with adults at The Writer’s Rock as a fiction instructor and private mentor/editor.

    Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Sonora Review, Hypertext, Fringe, Litro, Phoebe, and other literary journals. She contributed one story, two poems, and thirty-five original trivia questions to Words After Dark. In 2020, she published poems in the “How To” issue of District Lit, fall issue of The Night Heron Barks, “In Sickness and In Health” column of Pangyrus, and in Alternative Field & Avenue 50 Studio’s “In Isolation” poetry anthology. Her personal/cultural essay “How Zelda Saved Me: The Inspiration, Feminism, and Empowerment of Hyrule” was also published in Entropy. She is currently finishing a YA novel.

  • Sarah Bernstein

    Instructor
    Sarah Bernstein

    Sarah Bernstein is an award-winning teacher and playwright. Sarah studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University, and her work has been produced and/or developed with companies throughout the country, including the Lark Play Development Center, the Amoralists, Forward Flux Productions,The Motor Company, the Source Festival, FullStop Collective, Caps Lock Theatre, the American Globe Theatre, Project Y, and the New Voices Project. Her play, Perpetuation, and her adaptation of Les Miserables, will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year. After falling in love with Writopia Lab through her work on the Worldwide Plays Festival, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Writopia's brilliant students and staff as an instructor.

  • Kyle Metzger

    Instructor
    Kyle Metzger

    Kyle Metzger (he/him) is excited to be back with Writopia Lab this summer from Philly! A Philly based theater director, deviser and educator. He has over a decade of experience directing and devising new plays in NYC and New England. Kyle loves making theater in non-traditional spaces, magical realism, and his dog Wynona. He has an MFA in Directing from UNC Greensboro and a BFA in Music Theater from The Hartt School. He teaches theater at Rowan University and is developing a performance series for the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia.

  • 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.

  • Korama Danquah

    Instructor

    Korama Danquah

    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!

  • Clynthia Graham

    Instructor
    Clynthia Graham

    Clynthia is extremely excited to join the Writopia family. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. Clynthia has worked as a performing arts teacher for more than 30 years, teaching students from elementary school to college. The opportunity to mix her experience with youth and her passion for writing with Writopia is a dream come true. Clynthia recently received honorable mention from the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s College Writers Award for her story, Miss Sage’s Anniversary Celebration. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories for her graduate thesis and running around with her grandchildren when she has a minute away from school.

  • Alison Doherty

    Instructor

    Alison Doherty loves working with writers of all ages at Writopia Lab. She also teaches writing classes to freshman at The New School. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2016 with a concentration in writing for children and teenagers. For undergrad, Alison studied English Literature at Smith College and The University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Before moving to New York, Alison worked as a classroom teacher and a curriculum consultant at Harvard EdLabs. Now, when she isn't teaching, Alison is working on her first YA novel and writing about books for Book Riot.

  • Ben Zuckert

    Instructor
    Ben Zuckert

    Ben Zuckert is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who has taught creative writing and screenwriting workshops with Writopia Lab since 2018. His first feature film, Larchmont, premiered at the Twin Cities Film Fest in 2016. His second feature, Noah Wise, screened at festivals in 2018 and 2019, including the Hof International Film Festival in Germany as well as the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. He's helped develop screenwriting games for Writopia writers and has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards as an "outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

  • Anne Metcalf

    Instructor
    AnneMetcalf Anne is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Coming from a long line of female educators, Anne is humbled and inspired by the opportunity to work with such talented, imaginative young writers! She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Her work has screened at film festivals around the world, including the Soho International Film Festival, Paris Independent Film Festival, NYC Independent Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, NewFilmmakers LA, and as a Golden Egg Selection at the Reykjavik International Film Festival. She is currently developing a web series based on her original screenplay, Trouble, a coming-of-age story about trauma and resilience. Across mediums and forms, Anne is continually drawn to the tragicomic. In addition to television and film scripts, Anne has also written poetry, short fiction, personal essays, and at least 37 agonizing drafts of this bio.
  • Di Jayawickrema

    Instructor

    Di Jayawickrema is thrilled to be part of the Writopia Lab team! She is a Sri Lankan New Yorker who is passionate about cross-genre writing, community-building, and youth mentorship. Di has mentored youth since she herself was a teenager, and has founded and facilitated writing communities for young writers, women and non-binary writers, and writers of color throughout her adulthood. Her cross-genre writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, including wildness, Jellyfish Review, Pithead Chapel, and Entropy, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and anthologized in Best Microfiction. She received an honors degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University, and has been awarded fellowships from Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation and Kundiman. She is currently on staff at the award-winning publications, The Offing and The Rumpus, and is working on a book as often as her joyous, rambunctious infant will allow her!

  • Celine Aenlle-Rocha

    Instructor
    Celine Aenlle-Rocha

    Celine Aenlle-Rocha is thrilled to be a creative, essay, and college essay writing instructor at Writopia Lab NYC. She is a writer from Miami and Los Angeles, residing in Washington Heights, New York City. She has contributed to literary magazines HIKA, Luna de la cosecha, Broad! Magazine, The Suburban Review, Pen + Brush, and Salt + Pepper, among others. Celine is pursuing an MFA in Fiction at Columbia University, where she is a volunteer instructor with Columbia Artists as Teachers, the Online Editor for the Columbia Journal, and Co-President of Our Word, the School of the Arts' student organization committed to championing inclusiveness in literature. She previously attended Kenyon College and the Columbia Publishing Course. Before Writopia, she marketed academic books at Oxford University Press for several years. Her writing is inspired by her family history from Havana to New Orleans to Los Angeles, and she loves helping emerging writers discover their own voices at Writopia.

  • Reuben Sack

    Instructor
    Reuben Sack

    Reuben is ridiculously excited to join the Writopia Lab team! Reuben is a children’s author and the ghostwriter of ten books in the iconic Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series for Simon & Schuster. While Reuben loves writing for kids and young adults, his storytelling experience spans a variety of genres and media. He is an award-winning independent filmmaker and screenwriter whose work has appeared in film festivals around the world. Reuben graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Media Production and minored in Journalism and Mass Communication. When he’s not writing, you can often find him helping other writers as a university guest lecturer and freelance editor—and now as a Writopia Lab instructor.

  • Susan Xu

    Instructor
    Susan Xu

    Susan joined Writopia Lab as an Instructor in 2019. She is a playwright/screenwriter based in Brooklyn. She received her BFA from NYU in Film and TV and most recently, her MFA from Hunter College in Playwriting. Before moving to New York, Susan lived in Shanghai, China, for seven years, where she was involved in the local theatre and film scene, and also developed the movies Abominable and Over the Moon. Her play Yellow Dream$ won the Zarkower Award for Playwriting and awarded her a Playwrights’ Center Core Apprentice Finalist distinction. She is a proud member of the inaugural Mu Tang Clan playwriting incubator in association with Theatre Mu. Susan currently teaches as an adjunct professor at Hunter College. She’s happy to be involved with Writopia Lab, working creatively with young writers.

  • Kristi Hort

    Instructor
    Kristi Cook

    Kristi is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia Lab team as a creative writing instructor. She is the best-selling author of more than a dozen novels for both adults (writing as Kristina Cook) and teens (writing as Kristi Cook). Her YA debut, Haven, was released by Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse in 2011, was a National Readers Choice Award finalist for Best YA novel, and was selected by the International Reading Association as a 2012 Young Adult Choices novel. Kristi's other YA novels include Mirage, Eternal, Magnolia, and Mischief & Magnolias. Kristi has taught creative writing classes for both teens and adults at Sarah Lawrence College and the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami-Dade College, as well as leading workshops at libraries and conferences nationwide. Kristi earned a BS in History (with a minor in English) from the University of Southern Mississippi. She lives in New York City with her husband and two college-aged daughters (when they're home from school, that is).

  • María Alejandra Barrios

    Instructor
    María Alejandra Barrios

    María is very excited to join Writopia Lab. Teaching and writing are her two passions, and she is overjoyed to be a part of the Writopia Lab community! María Alejandra Barrios is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has lived in Bogotá and Manchester where in 2016 she completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from The University of Manchester. She was selected for the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Performing & Literary Arts for the city of New York in 2018. Her stories have been published in Hobart Pulp, Reservoir Journal, Bandit Fiction, Cosmonauts Avenue, Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, Shenandoah Literary, Vol.1 Brooklyn, and El Malpensante. Her poetry has been published in The Acentos Review. Her work has been supported by organizations like Vermont Studio Center, Caldera Arts Center, and the New Orleans Writing Residency. She is the 2020 SmokeLong Flash Fiction fellow.

  • Christina Connett-Gonzalez

    Instructor
    Photo of Christina Connett-Gonzalez

    Christina is a writer, editor, and educator who has long-admired the Writopia Lab team. She is honored to be an instructor in New York City. Christina is a proud double-alum of The New School, where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts-Nonfiction Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction). Concurrent with her graduate studies, she worked as a Teaching Assistant in The New School's prestigious Riggio Honors Program for Writing and Democracy. Upon graduation, her first short story was published in H.O.W. Art and Literary Journal, where she later served as Assistant Editor and Editor of their youth publication, H.O.W. Junior. It was during her tenure at H.O.W. Junior that she was first impressed by the work of many Writopia writers and was thrilled to publish their pieces. Christina writes essays, poetry, and is currently finishing a short story collection. When she's not writing or teaching, she can be found expressing herself through the sport of obstacle course racing. She lives in Queens with her wife and their demi-god dog, Hercules.

  • Jane Young

    Instructor
    Jane Young

    Jane Young began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in 2019. She is a writer, editor, and teacher, whose plays have been seen in over a dozen Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theaters in New York, as well as Ohio and Colorado. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as a non-fiction editor for its literary magazine, Lumina. Her fiction debuted in the premier issue of the magazine, and a book of poetry she’s written with Thomas Keith, The Histories of Gladys, was published by Mellon Poetry Press. Jane recently completed her first novel, War Cry of the Good Angels. Her teaching credits include State University of New York at Purchase College, the Women’s Correctional Facility at Bedford Hills, and LEAP. She is thrilled to be working with Goddard-Riverside Community Center and Writopia Lab!

  • Samantha French

    Instructor
    Samantha French

    Samantha has been involved with Writopia Lab in various capacities since its inception in Rebecca's studio apartment in 2007 and is so excited to now come onboard as an instructor. Having begun her Writopia journey as a student and later having worked as a WriCampia counsellor, Samantha has witnessed first-hand the incredible impact Writopia Lab has on its young writers and is a passionate believer in its mission to empower children and teenagers through the medium of storytelling.

    Samantha’s own writing career kicked off when she was 11 years old when a short story of hers was published in the Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans. She has since gone on to write essays and opinion pieces that have been published on websites such as Girl With Pen and Forbes.com. After attending drama school in Boston, Samantha graduated with a BA in English Literature with Journalism from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. Samantha now lives in Bath and has most recently been working with high school students on short story and essay writing while completing an MA in Law.

  • Alex Cooper

    Dungeon Master
    Alex Cooper

    Alex Cooper is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia Lab team as a Dungeon Master for D&D workshops. Born and raised in midtown Manhattan, he comes from a family of actors and writers. Alex has worked in public education in New York City as well as in the entertainment industry. He has been an enthusiastic player and Dungeon Master for several years, playing and running games with a variety of groups. He believes Dungeons & Dragons offers a unique and collaborative, improvised method of storytelling. He looks forward to creating new adventures with young writers at Writopia Lab.

  • Sanina Clark

    Instructor
    Sanina Clark

    Sanina L. Clark has been with Writopia Lab since January 2020 and is the editor of Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve (longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature) and All City by Alex DiFrancesco (2020 Ohioana Book Awards Finalist in Fiction). Their bookcase is filled with YA, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror, plays, and queer literature. They’re addicted to ramen, cat photos, tea, and Doctor Who paraphernalia. A perfect day to Sanina involves lots of green tea while relaxing with a good book or anime and cuddling their cat... They really love cats.

  • Jaime Reuter

    Dungeon Master
    Jaime Reuter

    Jaime Reuter has been an admirer of Writopia Lab’s mission for years. They studied English and Communications at Pace University until receiving their BA in 2019. As soon as they finished school, Jaime immediately became involved in Writopia’s ‘Write 2 Recognition’ program as a volunteer mentor. They saw the opportunity to work for Writopia as a Dungeon Master and knew this would be the perfect fit. Jaime loves all types of creative writing, but especially creative nonfiction, flash fiction, poetry, and of course, Dungeons and Dragons. They even wrote their senior thesis on the benefits of fantasy role-playing games on both mental health and creative processes. Jaime is currently working on being published for their fiction writing and RPG work.

  • Madeleine Cravens

    Instructor
    Madeleine Cravens

    Madeleine Cravens is very happy to join Writopia Lab as an Instructor. She began at Writopia as a Write to Recognition Mentor, where she worked with youths, guiding many aspects of their creative writing. Madeleine is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she studied Creative Writing. In fall 2020, she will be the Max Rivto Poetry Fellow at Columbia University. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Best of the Net, the Adroit Journal, IMAGE Journal, Folio, Frontier, and the New Ohio Review. Madeleine lives in Brooklyn and looks forward to continuing to work with the inventive and dedicated writers at Writopia.

  • Jordana Frankel

    Instructor
    Jordana Frenkel

    After eight years at Writopia Lab's Upper West Side location, Jordana Frankel drove across the country in her green, tiny house on wheels to be a part of the Bay Area family! She is the author of two young adult dystopian novels (The Ward, 2013 and The Isle, 2016) and is currently at work on a fantasy novel for adults. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from Goucher College, where she taught as the Kratz Writer-in-Residence in 2015. Jordana also has experience in the publishing world; while living in New York City she worked as a literary assistant, scavenging the slush pile for manuscripts to pass along to the Lead Agent. At The Book Report Network she worked on marketing strategies for NYT Bestsellers like Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay and Lauren Kate's Fallen. Jordana can be found at various coffee shops around Oakland, writing by hand and dreaming up the impossible-made-possible.

  • Arthur Meyer

    Instructor
    Picture of Arthur Meyer

    Arthur Meyer is VERY HAPPY (yes, all CAPS!) to join Writopia Lab. Based in NYC and originally from Wilmette, Illinois, he is an Emmy-nominated-but-incidentally-not-Emmy-winning-but-hey-that's-okay-he's-come-to-peace-with-it writer. From 2012 through 2019, he was a writer and a performer at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Prior to that, he was a long-time contributing writer to The Onion, and he also wrote for The Onion News Network TV series. With his sketch comedy groups Pangea 3000 and Two Fun Men, Arthur wrote and performed in five full-length shows at the UCB Theater. He has also performed at the New York, San Francisco, Portland, Austin, Chicago, Toronto, and Washington D.C. sketch comedy festivals. His UCB solo sketch show, "Arthur Meyer: Rock and Roll" was named Time Out Magazine's Best Sketch Show of 2013. Arthur is one of three creators of the fake takeout menu FUDS, as well as a co-author of the book FUDS: A Complete Encyclofoodia. Arthur has also appeared on the TV shows The Late Show with David Letterman, High Maintenance, and Shrill, and he had a lead role in the 2012 Worldwide Pants-produced We Made This Movie. It's possible that Arthur was destined to lead a workshop for young writers because his biggest credit was as a member of the three-sibling Wilmette living room-based sketch comedy show Meyer Kids' Night, performed to his parents weekly. Arthur loves comedy writing and loves people, but he does not love getting attacked by sharks.

  • Lily Gellman

    Instructor
    Picture of Will Bond

    Lily Gellman (she/her or they/them) is over the moon — and probably a number of other celestial objects — to join Writopia Lab. As a former writer here, she is so pleased to be a Writopian in an official capacity once more. Lily comes to Writopia fresh from W. W. Norton & Company, where she worked from 2017 through 2020, most recently as an assistant editor. She feels energized to pursue distinct but related passions as a writer and educator. Lily earned a BA in American Studies and a certificate in gender studies from Princeton University in 2017, graduating with honors. During her time there, she was the recipient of the 2017 Asher Hinds Thesis Prize for Excellence in American Studies, and a 2015 Martin A. Dale Summer Award for independent writing and travel. She studied creative nonfiction under John McPhee, and completed coursework in fiction, poetry, songwriting, and screenwriting. Lily is currently working on a collection of interlinked essays and short stories.

  • Emily Weitzman

    Instructor
    Picture of Emily Weitzman

    Emily is thrilled to be joining the Writopia Lab team! She has taught creative writing around the world to writers of all ages, and particularly loves connecting with young writers. Emily currently teaches writing to undergraduates at NYU and Columbia University, where she received an MFA in nonfiction writing. She has implemented creative writing curricula in her classrooms both as a high school English teacher on Cape Cod and a second grade teacher in New York City. As a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Emily spent a year teaching and performing poetry while collaborating with spoken word communities in eight countries. She worked with young writers through organizations including the Word Warriors in Kathmandu and the Children’s Art Museum of Nepal, where she was an artist-in-residence. As an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, where she majored in English/creative writing and dance, she taught creative writing at the Kibera School for Girls in Nairobi. Emily’s writing has been published in Longreads, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and HAD, among other places, and her spoken word poetry has been featured on HuffPost, Bustle, and Button Poetry. She has been awarded writing residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Adirondack Center for Writing. Emily loves that she can combine her passions for teaching and writing at Writopia Lab!

  • Abhigna Mooraka

    Instructor
    Headshot of Abhigna Mooraka

    Abhigna is super pumped to be starting as a Creative Writing Instructor with Writopia Lab. She is originally from Bangalore, India, and is currently based in New York City. Abhigna is an MFA Fiction candidate at Columbia University, where she is also a Graduate Teaching Fellow. She has been nominated for the 2021 Henfield Prize in Fiction and has served as the Columns editor for Columbia Journal. Her favorite part of teaching writing is the opportunity to see young writers discover their love for writing and the unique voices they bring to the page.

  • Victoria Cho

    Instructor
    Picture of Victoria Cho

    Victoria has been admiring Writopia Lab for many years and is thrilled to be part of the team. Born and raised in Virginia, Victoria has been writing and working in New York City since 2005. Victoria's writing has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, Perigee, Quarter After Eight, Word Riot, and Mosaic. She is a Kundiman Fellow, a VONA/Voices alumna, and was Co-Fiction Editor of Apogee Journal. Victoria has received support from Vermont Studio Center and led creative writing workshops for New York Writers Coalition. She is excited to help young people explore their identities and build their communities through their stories.

  • Kaili Turner

    Instructor
    Picture of Kaili Turner

    Kaili Y. Turner is a Black Indian (Nipmuc), comedian, actress, writer, producer, and puppeteer who received her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School. Kaili’s pilot Fk’d Up & Fabulous is streaming on the Tenoir TV app, and her play Indian Country was a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill playwrights conference. She’s also the creator of Rock the Bells Comedy, a variety show that is a platform for BIPOC comics and musicians. She was a participant of the Walt Disney/ABC Pilot Prep Program for Native Americans, and a recipient of the SNL/Second City Scholarship.

  • Chava Lansky

    Instructor
    Picture of Chava Lansky

    Chava Pearl Lansky is thrilled to be joining the Writopia Lab NYC team as an essay writing instructor! Originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, Chava graduated from Barnard College with a BA in Dance and English. Following a fellowship in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, Chava spent three and a half years as an editor at Pointe Magazine. She has also written on dance for publications including Tablet, Playbill, Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, and Musical America, and is a regular contributor to Dance Magazine. In the fall of 2020, Chava joined The Graduate Center, CUNY's MA program in Biography and Memoir. Her studies explore the intersection of these two genres with a particular focus on the lives of mid-twentieth century American ballet and modern dancers. Chava is also the recipient of a 2020-2021 Research Assistantship through the Leon Levy Center for Biography.

  • Niki Fakhoori

    Instructor
    Niki Fakhoori

    Niki Fakhoori is beyond ecstatic to be joining Writopia Lab as an instructor. A student of both Sequential Art and Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Niki has experience as an independent comic artist, freelance writer, and teacher. She writes feature articles, essays, and reviews for digital publications about various subjects, predominantly video games and eSports, and also enjoys recording podcasts and video reviews. She unabashedly believes in the limitless power of collaboration and communication, of which writing is the cornerstone. When she isn’t writing, she’s likely playing video games, after which she will undoubtedly write about them.

  • Kelly Hudson

    Instructor
    Kelly Hudson

    Kelly Hudson is delighted to become an instructor with Writopia Lab! Kelly is based in Los Angeles, originally hails from Austin, Texas and is a working writer, actor, and podcaster. She co-created the fake takeout menu FUDS, and co-authored the book FUDS: A Complete Encyclofoodia with Dan Klein and fellow Writopia Lab instructor Arthur Meyer. Kelly has also written for Funny or Die, Adult Swim, and The Onion, and is an Upright Citizens Brigade alum. Kelly’s fondest memories of school and college were the creative writing workshops she took part in where she blossomed as a writer and a creative human being. She is so honored to carry on that legacy as an instructor for Writopia Lab!

  • Rachel Calnek-Sugin

    Instructor
    Rachel Calnek-Sugin

    Rachel Calnek-Sugin's life was changed and her love of writing was nurtured when she joined a Writopia Lab workshop as a middle schooler, and Writopia soon became a home away from home. Thirteen years later, Rachel is now a published and produced writer, educator, and activist committed to the openness of the soul in all its forms! She is delighted to join the Writopia staff as an instructor. Rachel writes stories, creative nonfiction, and plays—which have had productions or development in New York, New Haven, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles—about the weird, vast lives of women and girls. She graduated from Yale University in 2019, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Since then, she’s been developing and teaching in an after school program for refugee youth in New Haven, CT, and she’s starting her Master’s of Social Work in September 2021.

  • Andres Vaamonde

    Instructor
    Andres Vaamonde

    Andres Vaamonde originally joined the Writopia Lab community not as an instructor but as a student writer! Growing up, he attended Writopia workshops and participated in the Worldwide Plays Festival and Teen Night at the Nuyorican. He's since graduated from Cornell University with a BA in English, where he founded the University's spoken word poetry club, edited a fiction column in the Cornell Daily Sun, and taught writing to incarcerated students. He's been a bike messenger, a bricklayer, and a firefighter. But most recently he worked for three years as an international literary book scout, reading and reporting on new fiction and nonfiction titles for book publishers in other countries, as well as for Netflix for book-to-film adaptation. In addition to working at Writopia, Andres teaches English through a language learning program offered by the Office of Immigrant Affairs in New York. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in HASH Journal, Quip Literary Review, great weather for MEDIA, Fortune Magazine, OZY, and elsewhere. He's also been named a Finalist for the Marianne Russo Award for Emerging Writers (2020) and is the forthcoming Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University (Spring, 2022).

  • Amy George

    Instructor
    Amy George

    Amy George is thrilled to join Writopia Lab as an Instructor! Amy grew up in India and is a resident of the Bay Area. She graduated from the MFA program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, where she was the Kearny Street Workshop Fellow. She was awarded a Fellowship by the San Francisco Writers Grotto and has attended workshops with Tin House and the Community of Writers. Her work was featured and is forthcoming in the Oyster River Pages and Aster(ix) Journal. She enjoys spending time with her husband, their children ages 10 and 8, and their 12-year-old canine. She is currently at work on a novella.

  • Kai Naima

    Instructor
    Kai Naima

    Kai Naima Williams attended Writopia Lab for eight years as a young writer and is thrilled to join the team as an instructor in 2021. She is a storyteller, poet, and performer, and the author of the poetry chapbook He Tried to Drown the Ocean, I Waved. She is also the co-founder and Executive Director of Eat At The Table Theatre Company, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to providing actors of color with performance opportunities in New York City. In 2020, she graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in English and African American Studies.

    Kai’s writing has been featured in Mask Magazine, DRØME Magazine, Louisiana Literature, Stirring Lit, and CRWN Magazine amongst other publications, and she has performed in showcases for Planned Parenthood, Sakhi for South Asian Women, and as part of the Freshman Class at Bowery Poetry. She is the 2018 winner of the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival Fiction Award, the 2019 recipient of the Monroe Prize for Excellence in African American Studies, and she has been honored by the National YoungArts Foundation and The New York Times.

  • Cloe Gentile

    Instructor
    Cloe Gentile

    Cloe Gentile Reyes is honored and thrilled to join such a talented and warm group of writers at Writopia Lab! She is a historian, poet, performer, and activist based in New York City. Having received dual degrees in Music and Sociology from Emory University, she is now working on her doctoral thesis in Musicology from the University of California Santa Barbara. She is passionate about cultivating community and her writing is dedicated to preserving and celebrating her Puerto Rican heritage and her family’s migration story. She loves bending and blending forms and styles of writing and exploring what it means to be second generation in the U.S. by incorporating Spanglish into her work. She has presented her work at national and international conferences and has designed several of her own lecture-recitals in which she dances, sings, and shares musical histories that are often overlooked by Eurocentric knowledge systems. She is super excited to be able to bring her out-of-the-box approaches to the brilliant writers at Writopia Lab, and to learn from them as well!

  • Alex Harris

    Instructor
    Alex Harris

    Alex Harris is thrilled to be joining the Writopia Lab team as an instructor! Originally from Davis, California, Alex graduated from Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television with a BA in Film Directing and Screenwriting. During his time at LMU, Alex was one of 12 undergraduate students nationwide to win the Hollywood Foreign Press Grant for Excellence in Student Filmmaking for his short film Memoirs, which went on to play in major film festivals across the country. As a screenwriter, Alex is a Writers Guild of America member and has been hired to write original screenplays, adaptations, and rewrites for Oscar-nominated producers. Most recently, Alex was hired by Dwayne Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions and 101 Studios to write the upcoming sports biopic Unstoppable: The Anthony Robles Story with Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome attached to star. Alex is a Film Independent Incubator Lab alum ('19) and a Sundance Catalyst Fellow ('21) for his directorial debut, In The Valley of Men, based on a short story by renowned author Joanne Greenberg, which will star Ed Harris and Noah Jupe. He is mentored by acclaimed filmmaker David Lowery and represented by Grandview.

  • Ben Wietmarschen

    Instructor
    Ben Wietmarschen

    Ben Wietmarschen (pronounced "wheat-martian") is super excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Ben is based in Los Angeles, but is originally from Cincinnati, OH (whose sports teams he loves way too much). Ben has been a professional comedy writer, performer, and director since 2011. He has worked as a staff writer at Funny Or Die, contributing writer for The Onion News Network and Onion Sports, and most recently worked in TV development at Just For Laughs. He also is co-creator of the long-running internet series Long Haired Businessmen. Ben got his start writing sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where he wrote, improvised on house teams, and taught all levels of sketch writing. Ben earned a B.S. in English Education from Kent State University where he ran cross country and track for the Golden Flashes.

  • Nathan Mortenson

    Assistant Instructor
    Nathan Mortenson

    Nathan Mortenson is happy to be joining the Writopia Lab team as an assistant instructor! In 2015, Nathan fell in love with Writopia as a camper at the Dungeons and Dragons Winter Retreat. Over the next few years, Nathan was alternately an intern, camp counselor, and writer in Writopia workshops, discovering his passions for writing, Dungeons and Dragons, and working with young people at the same time. Nathan graduated from Hampshire college with a Bachelor’s degree in the arts. He now works at Nest+M as an assistant teacher during school hours, in addition to helping run the workshops Writopia holds after school. Nathan is an aspiring author, with a fantasy novel on the path to publication (hopefully).

  • Sara Joy Marquez

    Instructor
    Sara Joy Marquez

    Sara Joy is thrilled to be re-joining the Writopia Lab community as a creative writing and essay writing instructor here in New York City! She is passionate about cultivating space for creative expression and exploration in all forms, for all ages. She holds a BA in English and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from Columbia University.

    Sara Joy is primarily a documentary/testimonial poet, whose work explores Latinx and multi-ethnic identity and colonial histories, domestic work, and ecological examinations of her homelands in the Upper Midwest and Puerto Rico. In addition to being a writer, she is a dedicated seedkeeper, farmer, yoga teacher and practitioner, and food access advocate. Her poems have appeared in The Boston Review, The Mississippi Review, Impakter Magazine, Amazon’s Day One Journal, The Grief Diaries, and Epiphany Literary Magazine. She was a 2016 recipient of the Phyllis Smart Young Poetry Thesis Prize and the George B. Hill Poetry Prize. She is currently working on a menagerie of projects, including a debut collection of poetry and essays, and her first television screenplay. When Sara Joy isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, gardening, and cooking. She and her husband—and a rotating cast of canine houseguests—live in Brooklyn.

  • Matthew Pancer

    Instructor
    Matthew Pancer

    Matthew Pancer is thrilled to be joining the Writopia Lab LA team as a creative writing and filmmaking instructor! Originally from Toronto, Canada, Matthew first came to Los Angeles to study at the prestigious American Film Institute, where he received his MFA in Screenwriting. Since graduating, Matthew’s thesis film, Akeda, has screened at over 20 festivals and has won six awards. His screenplays have also been optioned by esteemed producers, including The Breakfast Club’s Michelle Manning. These accomplishments secured him representation from the industry-leading Creative Artists Agency. When Matthew is not writing or making movies, he is teaching, having lectured at York University for their screenwriting and business courses. Matthew also has experience in journalism, having written articles for Entity Magazine: For Women That Do.

  • Kellie Watkins

    Instructor
    Kellie Watkins

    Kellie Watkins is a writer and co-owner of Jahphut, a small publishing company. She is the author of If These Shoes Could Talk: The Awakening and Savvy Diva’s Take On…44 Days of Random Thoughts & Observations, under her pen name, Jahzara the Savvy Diva.

    Kellie possesses her MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University and a BA in Journalism/Mass Media and Communications from the University of the District of Columbia. If Kellie isn’t sleeping or devouring her favorite cupcakes, she’s writing and pitching screenplay ideas, sharing random thoughts and observations through her blog and social media platforms, teaching creative writing workshops, or empowering the youth through community engagement. Kellie is also a ghost writer and provides book consulting services to aspiring writers who are stalled in their journeys. In between inhaling and exhaling, she pauses to appreciate her family of humans, lions, and wolves.

  • Meghan Palmer

    Instructor
    Meghan Palmer

    Meghan Palmer is overjoyed to be joining the Writopia Lab team as an instructor after spending an enchanting two weeks in the summer of 2021 as a counselor at WriCampia. Meghan is a New York City-based writer and editor whose work explores gender, inequality, and self-discovery. Her debut short story, "I’ll Be Missing You", was published in Prime Number Magazine, and her work has been published in various outlets, including Condé Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, and Architectural Digest. Meghan went to school at the University of South Florida, where she majored in Mass Communications and graduated cum laude. She primarily writes short fiction and essays, but she is in the process of adapting her work into screen-ready formats and has recently completed her first original pilot script. Meghan grew up attending a small art school in Central Florida, and being immersed in the worlds of dance, theater, and literature from such a young age shaped her as a writer and artist.

  • Jordan Casomar

    Instructor
    Jordan Casomar

    Jordan K. Casomar is delighted to be joining Writopia Lab as an instructor! Jordan is a prose writer with essays in The Kenyon Review, Catapult, and elsewhere. He received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2021, was the nonfiction runner-up in The Pinch’s 2018 Spring Literary Awards, and is an alum of the VONA conference for writers of color. Jordan has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Minnesota. His first novel—a dramedy about high schoolers, toxic masculinity, and the so-called friendzone—is forthcoming. Jordan loves teaching writing workshops and running D&D games. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and their two cats, Tuleg Rasputin III and Little Girl.

  • Emma O'Neill-Dietel

    Instructor
    Emma O'Neill-Dietel

    Emma is overjoyed to return to Writopia Lab as an instructor after volunteering at Writopia and working at WriCampia since 2018. She is a recent graduate of Smith College, where she was the president of the creative writing club and led writing workshops for other campus organizations. In June of 2022, she was in residence at the Dylan Thomas Summer School in Wales. She writes memoir, short fiction, and poetry about themes including disability, queerness, history, and place. To her, the best part of writing is sharing it with others through teaching and collaboration.

  • Hanna Mahon

    Instructor
    Hanna Mahon

    Hanna Mahon is excited to be joining the DC Writopia Lab team as a writing instructor in the summer of 2022. Hanna is a proud native Washingtonian who graduated from Jackson-Reed High School (then Woodrow Wilson) before earning a BA from Middlebury College and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Their fiction has been published in Guernica, The Breakwater Review, and Every Day Fiction, among other publications, and they were nominated for the 2022 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Their experience in education spans from teaching memoir writing to high schoolers in rural Vermont to analyzing dystopian literature with undergraduate art students in LA. When Hanna is not writing—or scheming about how to get young people interested in writing—they organize for economic and racial justice and tend to their perpetually wilting plants.

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