Instructors

  • Yael Schick

    Director of Programs
    Co-New York City Regional Director
    Yael Schick

    Yael has been a member of the Writopia Lab team since 2011. As the Director of Programs, she oversees programs nationally and supports all instructors and workshops at Writopia’s Upper West Side lab. Yael’s favorite role at Writopia is that of instructor; she works with writers of all ages in all genres, including college essay. She has been recognized as an “Outstanding Educator” by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018, and her students have been awarded National Medals, including American Voice Awards, Best in Grade Awards, and Silver Medals with Distinction in their senior portfolios.

    Yael is also the lead Program Developer of Writopia Lab’s Language Play program, which runs enriching early-literacy engagement for the emerging writers. She has helped over 300 preschoolers become filmmakers as part of the Language Play Filmmaking program, and she regularly brings the program into UPre-Ks in homeless shelters and Title 1 schools in New York City. She also developed Writopia Lab’s service trip to Quito, Ecuador and has led the annual trip each year. She co-created and runs WriCampia, working closely with all instructors, counselors, and campers year-round.

    Yael will be graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2022 with a Masters in Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship. At Harvard she is a recipient of a Saul Zaentz Fellowship, awarded to emerging leaders in early childhood education. She holds a BA in English Literature from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. She lives in Manhattan but will always call Queens home!

  • 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.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Associate Director of Program Operations
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor has been working at Writopia Lab since 2015, and currently is Writopia's Associate Director of Program Operations as well as a Creative Writing and Essay Writing instructor. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature; her work has been published in the New York Times and her short fiction will be published in Emerge Literary Journal in May 2021. She is currently working on a novel, which would be coming along significantly faster if her beloved cats Ginkgo and Juniper would stop distracting her with their cuteness.

  • Matthew Jellison

    Senior Curriculum Manager
    Editor-in-Chief of Litmags
    Matthew Jellison

    Matthew Jellison is over the moon to be joining the Writopia Lab staff full time as the Games and Curriculum Manager and the Editor-in-Chief of Litmags. He began as a creative writing instructor in summer of 2017 and since has had the privilege of reading wonderful writing by extraordinary kids. Born and raised in NYC, Matthew writes plays and works with kids. The first two plays in his cycle, the giants, was produced by Loft 227 in winter of 2016. He’s getting the third play ready for a workshop this coming Fall at TOWN stages, where he’s currently in residence. Matthew is the 2012/13 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, a two-time Playwriting Fellow at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, an alumnus of FreshGround Pepper Playground Playgroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Prior to Writopia, Matthew worked with kids and teens with the 52nd Street Project, Marquis Studios, the Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club’s education department. He graduated from the acting school at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

  • Rachel Dean

    Program Manager
    Instructor
    Rachel Dean

    Rachel Dean joined Writopia Lab's New York Metro North region as an instructor in 2019. She graduated summa cum laude from Monmouth University with a degree in Journalism and received her MFA from Adelphi University in Creative Nonfiction, where she was the recipient of a fully-funded candidacy and studied under Katherine Hill, Martha Cooley, and Jacqueline Jones LaMon. Rachel has taught Creative Writing as an adjunct professor and has worked for Bridges to Adelphi, a comprehensive program that assists students on the autism spectrum as they pursue college degrees. Rachel loves teaching and learning with students, and she enjoys working in creative environments like the one fostered at Writopia Lab. She is currently at work on a collection of nonfiction lyric essays and spends her spare time reading, writing, and traveling.

  • Michaela Florio

    Instructor
    Community Liaison
    Michaela Florio

    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

    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.

  • Sarah Boyle

    Community Engagement and Creative Communications Associate
    Senior Editor, Litmags
    Instructor
    Sarah Boyle

    Sarah Boyle graduated from Emory University, where she studied English & Creative Writing, with a minor in Anthropology. Sarah was a Writopia Lab intern during the summer of 2019. At Emory, she was the treasurer of a student-run literary magazine and volunteered at various elementary schools to help students with their literacy skills. She also wrote a novella as part of an honors program, under the mentorship of award-winning author Tayari Jones. Sarah hopes to publish a novel of her own one day soon.

  • Tasnim Hussain

    Program Coordinator
    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

    Media Coordinator
    Picture of Will Bond

    After moving to Brooklyn from Louisiana, Will landed his first post-college job as a video editor and counselor at WriCampia in 2018. Now in 2021, he is so excited to rejoin Writopia Lab as Media Coordinator!

    Will has a BFA in Digital Filmmaking and two years of experience working in production in New York City. 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. Outside of work he enjoys making Youtube videos, sketching, writing screenplays, and attempting to befriend the stray cats in his backyard.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Monica Baker

    Instructor
    Monica Baker

    Monica adores teaching creative writing with Writopia Lab 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.

  • Gina Stevensen

    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Gina Stevensen is a playwright, performer and teaching artist based in Brooklyn. Her plays have been produced in New York City and regionally and include: Book of Esther (semi-finalist: 2016 Princess Grace Award, workshop production: Binghamton's KNOW Theater), The Time Crawlers Save the World (grand prize winner: Manhattan Repertory Theater's one-act competition, space grant recipient: Looking Glass Theater) and Troll Doll's Big Day (36-hour play festival: Urban Stages). Plays in development: Cruel Sister and When You're Young You Know You'll Live Forever at Columbia University. Gina is the artistic director of Park Slope Day Camp's Cirque d'Été summer circus camp, and is the writing coordinator at Tribeca Performing Arts Center's Writers in Performance Workshop. She has traveled three times to southern India to train in Mohiniyattam, a classical Indian dance-drama form. She was the choreographer for Narcissus: An Ancient Roman Pantomime, a new opera that aired on PBS in March of 2016. She received her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch and is an MFA Playwriting candidate at Columbia University.

  • 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.

  • Chelsey Grasso

    Instructor
    Chelsey Grasso

    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.

  • 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.

  • Sarah Shatan-Pardo

    Instructor
    Sarah SP

    Sarah joined Writopia Lab full time the summer of 2017 after spending the summers of 2015 and 2016 assistant teaching at our workshops and camps as an intern. She graduated from Haverford College with a BA in English in May, 2017. At Haverford, Sarah had a concentration in Creative Writing and spent her senior year writing a creative thesis. When she graduated, she was awarded the Terry M. Krieger ‘69 Memorial Prize for her achievements in writing. Sarah attended Writopia workshops as a high school student, so Writopia has been a part of her life for a long time. At Writopia, Sarah is an enthusiastic member of the team who brings fantasy and adventure to young writers through Worldbuilding, where the young writers create their own interactive worlds and stories. YA fantasy is Sarah’s genre of choice for both reading and writing, but nothing inspires her like the stories written by Writopia’s young writers.

  • Ben Zuckert

    Instructor
    Ben Zuckert

    Ben is looking forward to being a part of the Writopia Lab team! He's a Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker originally from Westchester, NY. His stories have appeared in The Westchester Review and The New York Times’ "Metropolitan Diary." His first feature film Larchmont screened at the Twin Cities Film Fest and Yonkers Film Festival in 2016. Ben is also a composer with music appearing on the PBS NewsHour. In 2019, he was recognized by the Scholastic Awards as an "outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." He is currently in post-production on his second film Noah Wise.

  • 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.
  • Brady Guy

    Instructor
    Brady Guy

    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 Howard

    Instructor
    Will Howard

    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 Rose

    Instructor
    Cassandra Rose

    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.

  • 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!

  • Peter Quinn-Jacobs

    Dungeon Master
    Peter Quinn-Jacobs

    Peter Quinn-Jacobs is enthusiastic to be a Dungeon Master at Writopia Lab! He has played role-playing games since he was seven years old and has run many games both in-person and digitally for decades in a variety of fantasy and science fiction settings, using myriad systems of rules. 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!

  • 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.

  • Nicole Flippo

    Instructor
    Nicole Flippo

    Nicole Flippo is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab family! She is currently an MFA in Writing candidate at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as the Blog Editor of Lumina. She received her BFA in Dramatic Writing with a minor in Creative Writing from New York University. Her short fiction has appeared in Grimm Tales. Her scripts have received awards with the 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, and Tulsa City Smashers. Previously, she worked in production on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. She was also a primary cast member on WNYU’s American News Now (seasons 1-3).

  • Charlotte Nicole Davis

    Instructor
    Charlotte Nicole Davis

    Charlotte Nicole Davis is thrilled to be a part of the Writopia Lab team. A 2016 graduate of The New School's Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte is the author of the young adult fantasy novel The Good Luck Girls (Tor Teen, 2019), which was honored with a starred review from Kirkus and selected as a Kids Indie Next List pick. Her most recent work is a short story featured in the anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2020). Charlotte has attended book events and conferences nationwide to talk shop about the writing process, and she cannot wait to share her love of the craft with the young people who have always inspired it.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jared Wilson

    Instructor
    (and D & D Dungeon Master)
    Jared Wilson

    Jared Wilson started as an intern at Writopia Lab in March of 2018. He soon became an Assistant Instructor, began leading graphic novel workshops, and recently emerged as a Writopia Lab Dungeon Master. Jared is an aspiring graphic novelist and a college student finishing his last semester at Hunter College. Jared is very excited to share his passion for writing and teaching with others. He is well versed in illustration and comic book storytelling and is currently working on a graphic novel of his own. Jared is beyond excited to continue working alongside the creative minds at Writopia Lab and can't wait to experience more of the amazing stories that our imaginative students tell!

  • Jordana Frankel

    Instructor

    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.

  • Ally Glass-Katz

    Instructor
    Ally Glass-Katz

    Ally Glass-Katz is thrilled to join the Writopia Lab team! She graduated from Bowdoin College and received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where she served as Fiction Editor of Bat City Review and taught fiction through Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp. Her stories have appeared in The Sewanee Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She is so excited to share her love of storytelling with this community of young writers!

  • 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.

  • Katie Hartman

    Instructor
    Picture of Katie Hartman

    Katie Hartman is thrilled to be “coming home” as a Writopia Lab instructor. As one of Writopia’s first-ever students, Katie has been a Writopia super fan since she was in middle school. Now, Katie is passionate about taking her love of writing and bringing it to her students. She is currently a special education teacher at The Shefa School in Manhattan. In addition to teaching essay writing at Writopia Lab, she is a volunteer college essay coach through Goddard Riverside’s Options Center. She received her B.A. in English and creative writing and her M.S.Ed. in special education and elementary education, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • 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.

  • Victoria Santamorena

    Instructor
    Picture of Victoria Santamorena

    Victoria Santamorena is delighted to join Writopia Lab’s New York Metro North region as a writing instructor. Victoria’s poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype and Cathexis Northwest Press, and a few of their short horror stories appeared in Graffiti Literary Magazine. Their poetry was nominated for Best of the Web 2020, and they have presented their work at Reading Underwater: A Symposium at New York University. Victoria earned an MA in English and American Literature from NYU and a BA in English Literature from Manhattanville College. They love mystery, fabulism, and the found-family trope. For many years, Victoria instructed students in academic writing at Manhattanville College and Concordia College New York. They look forward to working with Writopia’s young writers and finding inspiration in their boundless creativity.

  • Natasha Reilly-Moynihan

    Instructor
    Picture of Natasha Reilly-Moynihan

    Natasha is so thrilled to become a part of the Writopia Lab family that it makes her want to cartwheel around the room! After receiving her MFA from the New School, she published original pieces in national publications such as Latina and Family Circle, online venues such as Modern Creative Life and MediaBistro, and physical spaces such as the Library of Congress. Natasha has taught writing and art workshops around the US and online. She created a successful art program for kids and teens that used both literature and art as a means of self-expression, and now she’s looking to bask in the expression of the amazing Writopia writers.

  • 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.

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