Humera Afridi moved to New York City in 2001 to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at NYU, where she was the recipient of a New York Times Fellowship. From 2012-2013, she was a Open City Fellow at the Asian American Writers Workshop, during which time she wrote creative nonfiction stories about Jackson Heights, Queens. Humera has worked as a feature writer in Dubai and taught English in Jeddah, Dubai, Dallas, and New York City. She earned a BA in English at Mount Holyoke College and an MA in Literary and Cultural theory at Carnegie Mellon University. Humera’s work has appeared, amongst other publications, in Pakistan’s news weekly, The Friday Times, The New York Times, Granta, The Journal of Postcolonial Studies and in the anthologies, Leaving Home (Oxford University, 2001), 110 Stories. New York Writes After September 11 (NYU Press 2002) and in And the World Changed (The Feminist Press, 2008). Aware of the incommensurable worlds she inhabits—her ancestral home which lies on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is often referred to as “the world’s most dangerous place”—Humera sometimes experiences a sense of dissonance as she walks the streets of New York City.
Sulai Akbary is the quintessential nomad. Thirsty and leathered by the sun, he has crossed the globe from Kabul to Berlin and from Paris to New York, in search for the source of the mirage, the flickering of the air. When he is not living the life of a polyglot vagabond, he teaches at the university, dabbles in corporate life, works for non-governmental organizations and brings people together using his skills as both a story-teller and a communications major. Aside from looking for Flaubert’s perfect sentence, he never grows tired of shaking his fists at his favorite, overpriced coffee: the tell-tale signs of a real caffeine addict.
Ashna Ali is a doctoral student in the Comparative Literature department at CUNY Graduate Center, a teacher, and a poet. She occasionally performs at small poetry events in New York City and otherwise writes alone on trains. She has experience as a culture reporter and film critic for the New York Press and other alt. weeklies. She was born in the U.S., raised in Italy, and is originally from Bangladesh. When she's not lesson planning herself into a frenzy, she thinks and writes about queer woman-of-color feminism, postcolonial literatures of migration, various forms of cultural schizophrenia, and cyborgs.
Marcy Arlin is Artistic Director of the OBIE-winning Immigrants’ Theatre Project, directing at MESTC, LaMama, NYTW, Public, ArtTheater (Koln), Tenement Museum, Czech Center, Romanian Cultural Institute, Ohio Theatre, among many others. She is a professor at CUNY and Pace and has given workshops on immigrant theater for social change at Yale, Brown, NYU, University of Chicago (her alma mater), and in Eastern Europe. Marcy studied writing at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas and has published widely in spec fiction. She has written for tcgcircle.org and is editor of Czech Plays: 7 New Works. She is the recipient of grants including CEC ArtsLink and the Ford Foundation, and was Fulbright scholar to Romania and the Czech Republic. She is a member of Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers and Theater Without Borders. Marcy's writing reflects her interest and concerns about cultures, immigration, and Mel Brooks. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and cats and bakes a mean pecan pie.
Kelly Aronowitz (Kelly A.K.) has lived most of her life in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Jerusalem. Last year she joined the Graduate Center’s PhD program in Comparative Literature as well as the Writer’s Institute. She has a B.A. in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a M.A. in Critical Theory. She has also served as the information coordinator and co-host on “La oveja eléctrica,” the science and culture program on Channel 22, the Mexican equivalent of PBS. She also works as a freelance translator. Kelly was awarded the prestigious Government of Mexico FONCA young creative scholarship 2009-2010 to write her first novel. Her first book, an erotic essay La espera: Seducción de las bellas durmientes, is in its second edition and has been adopted as a text by universities in both Argentina and Mexico. Kelly has published extensively in Spanish-language magazines across the spectrum, from the most popular to the scholarly. Her second book Estío en la canícula, a narrative poetry work, will be published this August. She currently works as the New York anchor for MVS Radio to be broadcast over its 118 affiliates in Mexico and the Latin community in the USA. Kelly has a yellow belt in Krav Maga and is a Reiki Master. She is also a serious knitter. She joins the Writer’s Institute for a second year to improve her craft and engage in audacious narrative adventures.
Ajay Arora was born in Queens and grew up in Long Island. He spent a few years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee studying Economics and Engineering before graduating from Long Island University. He hopes to contribute a majority of nonfiction that he’s written since graduating to either a memoir or a collection/series of personal essays. His personal experiences have inspired his writing. He enjoys biography, personal essays, and reportage, but vivid and tempestuous memoirs are at the top of his reading list. He hopes to convey his own story at The Writers’ Institute. He carries with him the crucial advice of his seventh grade English teacher, the mnemonic mantra K.I.S.S: to “keep it simple, stupid.”
Akilesh Ayyar is a writer who, like the ouroboros, the self-devouring snake, is always trying to figure out just what it is that he's always trying to figure out. His interests lie at the intersection of literature, philosophy, psychology, and religion. He has published a smattering of essays, fiction, and prose poetry in journals like Philosophy Now, non+x, and Lines of Flight, and in his salad days co-authored a didactic dialogue on eastern philosophy entitled Irreverent Spiritual Questions. He has graduate degrees in law, forensic psychology, and information systems from Harvard Law School, CUNY, and Carnegie-Mellon respectively, and has externed at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Despite growing up in Los Angeles, he feels his obsession with new restaurants and his distaste for driving reveal him to be a New Yorker at heart. He lives in Brooklyn.
Sultana Banulescu wrote fiction in Romanian up to the age of sixteen and has been writing in English since she came to America at twenty-six. She is a Ph. D. candidate in History at the CUNY Graduate Center and the 2010-2011 recipient of the Randolph Braham Dissertation Fellowship in Eastern European History and Holocaust Studies. Sultana’s short story, “Beggars and Thieves,” a coming-of-age account set in the late Seventies in one of Bucharest’s formerly Jewish neighborhoods, selected from over 500 entries, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction by Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry in June 2011 and will be published in its Fall 2011 issue.
Emily B. Campbell spent the first years of her life on a Christmas tree farm next to the Jackson River in Virginia. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington. She has lived in Montana, Massachusetts, Italy and Spain and has travelled to 42 American and nine Mexican states. She is a doctoral student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches in the Department of Sociology at Lehman College in the Bronx. She speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Emily is currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction pieces that explore mysticism and coming of age in late modernity through the eyes of the supposed lost generation of the great recession, inspired for the most part by her travels. Among these pieces is the story of a young American veteran confronting a decade of war abroad and old challenges at home, and the story of a mestizo Mexican man drawn to the jungle of Chiapas for healing.
Denise Carvalho, born in Rio de Janeiro, began her career as a painter, moving to New York via Toronto in the mid 1980s. She has also lived in Stockholm and California, and later returned to her adopted city, New York. She also traveled extensively through Latin America and Central Europe, and twice she traveled across the US by car. Not limiting herself to one art form, she played the accordion, wrote poetry and prose in her native Portuguese, sang 17th century Renaissance music, acted in plays and musicals, and performed the leading voice of many Brazilian films and commercials. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, an M.A. in anthropology from Hunter College, two other Masters in art history and in cultural studies, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies from UC Davis. In the last fifteen years, her artistic career has bifurcated into critical writing and curating. As an art critic, she published in art magazines, such as Art Nexus, Art in America, Flash Art, and Sculpture, as well as in journals and artists’ catalogues. She is now attempting to switch her focus to fiction by incorporating contemporary art, theory, concrete poetry, and her reminiscences of the art world and of Brazil.
Leah Casner grew up in the suburbs of Chicago living the exact same life as everyone else you saw in 70s afterschool specials. She took the scenic route through colleges, majoring first in Great Books, then Religion, finally receiving her undergraduate degree in Humanities. In graduate school she continued studying philosophy but decided that Husserl at 3 AM doesn't mix well with babies if you are without nurses, housekeepers, and nannies. The babies won out. By that time, her husband was gainfully employed and they found themselves unwilling implants in Brooklyn-before-it-was-hip. While staying home with her children for twenty years, she had occasional commentary pieces published, in the New York Daily News, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsday, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, and Bitch magazine. She is very proud that after her New York Times' essay griping about people strolling on designated bike-only lanes, the Park Service was shooing pedestrians off the lanes the next day.
Michael Caylo-Baradi Before coming to The Writers' Institute, Michael experienced New York City only through films, books, pop-music, the Internet, and one of Frank Sinatra's famous songs. Born in the Philippines, he has lived in California most of his life, where work is clocked at an information center in Los Angeles. Before pursuing graduate work at UCLA's library-school, he went to the University of California at Berkeley for his B.A. in English and occasionally contributed op-ed pieces for The Daily Californian, the school's paper. More recently, his work has appeared in Latin American Review of Books (UK), Galatea Resurrects, Los Angeles Daily News, Our Own Voice, PopMatters, Tertulia Magazine, and elsewhere. As always, some of his days are blogged, others deleted jpeg photos; but most feel like small bites into the heart of a big apple.
Isabelle Chicoine, a French-American born in Germany, spent most of her life in Europe. She holds two Masters degrees from French Universities, one in Public Law and one in Business Law. As a practicing Corporate Lawyer in France, she advised clients on capital restructurings and other transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. She also served as Secretary to the Immigration Committee of the International Bar Association. Isabelle leveraged her immigration law expertise to publish reference material in English on the topic of French Immigration Law for the Center for International Legal Studies. Over the years, her passion for writing shifted from the legal field to fiction. She now lives in the New York area.
Judy Chicurel’s writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Newsday, Parenting, and YM magazines. Her plays have been performed and read at the NYC International Fringe Festival, New Perspectives Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse and Sage Theater. Her short story, "A Rainbow Around the Moon," is scheduled to appear soon in the literary journal, Granta, and scenes from her play, A Better Place, will appear in the Women Playwrights International anthology, scheduled for release this fall. She is a past member of the New Perspectives Women’s Work Playwrights LAB and a member of the New York Writers Coalition. Judy holds a masters degree in Liberal Studies/Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center. She is currently the Development Director for Girls for Gender Equity, Inc., a youth development organization serving New York City. Judy lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Amir Dagan was born in New York and has lived there for most of his life. He received a BA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with an Honors Concentration in Literature and Music and an MA in English Literature from NYU. He is currently a PhD candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Nevertheless, he is much more engaged in composing fiction than academic writing, and is also at work on some non-fiction essays on matters of aesthetics.
Greg D’Alessandro recently served as head writer, producer and songwriter for Zodiac Island, a popular Chinese children’s show produced in Hong Kong. Greg holds dual MFAs in screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film & Television, where he was awarded the Jack Oakie Comedy Fellowship and the Gilbert Cates Screenwriting Fellowship. A WGA screenwriter, he has several projects in development, including an animated sitcom, Queen of the House. He has been a story consultant in Los Angeles for the past eight years. As a musician, Greg has produced 16 albums and performed around the world. His song, One World, One Dream (2008) raised money for earthquake victims in Sichuan. He has written two novels, The Driver and Schooling Uncle Frank, stories mined from his many eccentric life events and his uncanny knack for putting himself in situations that require adult supervision.
Jose Del Pilar has been a psychologist and psychoanalyst in the metropolitan area for over thirty years. A lot of his writing energy went into composing detailed and readable individual assessments that were, sadly, received not as literature but as reports to be filed. Wanting these character studies to see the light of day he began writing short stories. He is looking forward to enhancing his skills through The Writers’ Institute. Having retired from the City University he still teaches as an adjunct. He loves jazz, he loves good food, and the culinary influence in his stories comes from having worked his way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking two decades before Julie Powell turned the same experience into the book that I was hoping to write some day. She beat me to it!
Navdeep Singh Dhillon was born in England, and raised in Nigeria, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. He has worked as a linguist for the U.S. Navy, taught ESL in China, and traveled extensively throughout South East Asia, especially India, Tibet, and China. His novel-in-progress, Men With Beards, and a collection of short stories (not yet titled), center on the concept of home as it is shaped by conflict, history, displacement, and the notion of identity. Navdeep holds an MFA in creative writing from California State University, Fresno, and has a framed, personalized rejection letter from Nathaniel Rich, former Fiction Editor of The Paris Review. Navdeep has been known to clear entire dance floors with his crazy-fresh bhangra dance moves. In his spare time, Navdeep teaches English literature and creative writing in New York City and New Jersey. When not designing websites for his fellow writers at PatakaDesign.com, Navdeep blogs about his adventures in writing at www.NavdeepSinghDhillon.com and travel at www.IshqInABackpack.com.
Tyson Duffy is a New Hampshire native. He graduated from a state university in Georgia and in 2013 was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco. Currently working as an editor at a commercial printer in Manhattan, he spends his mornings, evenings, and weekends reading and working on a novel. He lives with his wife in Queens.
Jonathan Durbin has lived in New York City as a writer and editor for the past fifteen years. After completing his master’s degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, he began working for Paper, a downtown New York monthly lifestyle magazine, which gave him an invaluable entrée to the city’s vibrant subcultures and colorful nightlife. In the years since, he has edited hard news at Maclean’s, fashion features for men.style.com, and coverage of New York City for nycgo.com. He has written features and profiles for a number of publications, most recently for Interview, Esquire, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure and Monocle. He is also the co-writer of two screenplays: a feature-length script currently undergoing revisions, and a short, produced in 2013, titled Sometimes I Lie.
Annie Dycus was born in Dallas, Texas and moved several times while growing up but eventually came to know a small village in rural Vermont as home. She received a BA from Bates College in Religion and an MA in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University in Paris specializing in the study of contemporary female artists. After living abroad while painting and writing, Annie moved to New York City where she worked in the documentary film industry and taught French before earning an MS in Early Childhood Education at the Bank Street School of Education. At Bank Street she studied Children’s literature and began writing and illustrating Children’s books. For several years she taught at one of the country’s first progressive schools and attended classes at the Writer’s Studio where she wrote short stories and poetry for adults. Currently, she spends most of her time raising three small boys, a job she thinks gives the Peace Corps a run for its money as the toughest job you’ll ever love.
Lev Feigin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and came to the U.S. in 1989. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York and has taught literature and composition at John Jay College and Hunter College. He now lives in Philadelphia and teaches Communications at Drexel University. A passionate walker of the city, he wrote his dissertation on the image of the flâneur in the nineteenth-century metropolis and is currently working on his first novel, tentatively titled Archaeology, set in Rome, St. Petersburg, and Azerbaijan’s autonomous republic of Naxchivan.
Andra Fenton is from Mexico City. She’s lived in suburban Minnesota, Tuscany, Rio de Janeiro, and other places. New York City is home for now. Following degrees in Political Science and International Relations, Andra moved to Washington, D.C. where she lobbied on Capitol Hill for political action against human rights abuses in repressive regimes. She co-led a delegation to the United Nations in Geneva to advocate for the release of imprisoned journalists, most of whom were freed later that year. She has continued her work in human rights by focusing on public health, organizing the first regional coalition against women's cancers in Latin America. She speaks and writes in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, and is a certified yoga instructor. In her fantasy life, she is a bike messenger.
Suzan Flamm, a lawyer for many years, is now focused on her novel-in-progress. Set in 1940’s Palestine during the British Mandate, it is a sequel to a screenplay she wrote. The novel follows a few characters from the script that deserved more attention, at least according to them. She actually quit a paying job to take this on and finds herself thinking about that decision quite frequently. Originally from Los Angeles, Suzan has practiced law in a variety of positions in New York City, including as a prosecutor and investigative attorney. She has written extensively for legal and trade publications and taught courtroom communication and investigative interviewing at John Jay College in New York. Most recently she worked for a non-profit legal compliance association. Suzan has two grown children and lives with her husband in Port Washington, NY. She is a graduate of UCLA and UCLA Law School. When not writing, Suzan can be found binge-watching British TV shows on Netflix to “research” English colloquialisms.
Catherine Greenman is a native New Yorker and product of New York City public schools, including Stuyvesant High School, which fueled her lifelong fear of math. She is an author and former New York Times journalist whose first novel, Hooked, was published in 2011. While her four young children are at school, she works on her second novel, a project she'd prefer to see progressing in a swifter and easier way. She is an avid reader, cook, swimmer and game player. She is not a laundress, at least in theory. Catherine thinks "Complexion" and "jejune" are two good words and she agrees that "moist" should remain forever in word hell. She is trying to write every day. Notes and shopping lists count.
Kathleen Griffin woke up naked on a seashell about four months ago, head splitting, remembering nothing. According to the contents of the wallet lying beside her, she attended the Rhode Island School of design for her Masters Degree. A further Google search indicates a series of international residencies and reveals as well her generous inclusion to a few prestigious collections. Since her awakening Kathleen has written a very nice article about a dog for her hometown paper; the dog's owner is still talking about it. Inspired by this, Kathleen is now dedicating the fullness of her attentions to developing her talent as a fiction writer. She is in the process of completing her first novel, Dreams of the Astronaut.
Peter Haje practiced law for many years, first as an associate then as a partner at a leading Manhattan-based law firm, later as the general counsel of a major international media company. Earlier in life he held (often briefly) a long series of working class jobs, from delivering newspapers to washing dishes to unloading trucks, and served in the (peacetime) U.S. Army. Today he conducts a modest solo legal and business consulting practice, serves as a director of several for-profit and non-profit organizations and mainly writes short stories and novels. He grew up in Brooklyn and Nassau County, New York and is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He is married, lives in Manhattan and has three children and two grandchildren.
Avital Louria Hahn is a New York based writer and journalist whose work appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, Newsday and other publications. She spent much of her journalism career covering Wall Street and has won awards for her work on the financial meltdown. She holds a master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, where she focused on newspaper and magazine writing and wrote extensively about Israel and the Middle East. She is currently writing about her Sephardic family's adventures in Palestine under the Ottomans and the British.
Wendy Hammond’s plays have been produced in U.S. theatres such as Second Stage, HERE, Soho Rep, Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Charlotte Rep, and People Light and Theatre. Her plays have also been produced, including in London, Milan, Rome, Tel Aviv, Singapore and Melbourne. Her screenplays include Julie Johnson which stars Lili Taylor, Courtney Love and Spalding Gray. Wendy’s plays and screenplays have received several awards. She is a New Dramatists alumnus, holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU and a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. She has taught playwriting and screenwriting in several universities, recently at NYU TischAsia School of the Arts in Singapore. She now writes, teaches, and lives in the New York area with her truly amazing son, Will. She is an excited beginner at writing prose, and can’t wait to start on this new Writers’ Institute adventure.
Joelle Hann is an award-winning poet with an MFA (poetry) and an MA (English Literature) from New York University, and many publications in journals and anthologies including McSweeney’s, Matrix, and Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. Her journalism has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Time Out New York, Yoga Journal, and Poets & Writers, and she has been a resident at Yaddo, MacDowell, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as other juried art colonies internationally. She works as a book doctor, ghostwriter, and yoga teacher, and travels frequently to pursue her meditation practice. Raised on a rural island in Western Canada, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Daniel Hernandez is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer. He was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Aurora, Colorado. After earning an English degree from Colorado State University, he moved to New York City in 2004. Since then he has worked as a paralegal for corporate law firms, copy edited on the overnight shift for a newswire, and currently works as a UN correspondent and general news reporter for the Tokyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper in Japan. His writing has been published (in English) by The Huffington Post, The New York Observer and The Big Ugly Review. His photos have appeared on Gawker, Gothamist, and in several books, including one about Pomeranians. He is thrilled to attend the Writer's Institute.
Maggie Hill is a Brooklyn-born native New Yorker, who graduated with a journalism degree from NYU and from the Brooklyn College MFA-Fiction program. As an Associate Editor for Scholastic, she wrote about technology and education for Scholastic’s national professional magazines. She also ran a weekly features newspaper, and wrote a monthly online column about technology and the home for LinkUp Magazine. She married a fireman and raised kids, ultimately teaching Humanities to grateful and well-behaved 7th grade students in the NYC public school system. She’s written one-and-a-half novels, as well as some weird stories. Her book reviews are for Brooklyn Rail, MostlyFiction.com, and SmallSpiralNotebook. She teaches composition and literature at CUNY-Kingsborough and is psyched to join the Writers’ Institute.
Elyse Hilton Many years ago, when she was about to graduate college, Elyse’s grandfather asked about her plans for the future. She said she wanted to be a writer. He appeared taken aback, then recovered and said proudly, “Well if you’re going to be a waiter, be the best waiter you can be.” Elyse compromised by becoming a lawyer and working for the City of New York. Years passed and now she’s retired. Too old to become a waiter, she is ready to work as a writer. She writes poetry and short stories and hopes to become the best writer she can be.
Yu-Yun Hsieh was born in Taipei, Taiwan. After earning a B.A. in English from National Chung Hsing University, she went on to pursue her M.A. in English at National Taiwan Normal University (though she wrote her thesis on a Czech writer who wrote in French). She consciously started writing after misreading Lolita when she was a preteen. Her short stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in several newspapers and literary magazines, including Ink Literary Monthly, Youth Literary, UNITAS: A Literary Monthly, and China Times. She received the UNITAS Literature Award in 2004 and the Taipei Literature Award in 2009. She had almost completed the coursework for her PhD in English when she came to New York in the summer of 2010. She is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is also a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Hunter College.
Mary-Beth Hughes was born in Northern New Jersey and grew up on the Jersey Shore, in London, and finally on a kibbutz in Israel. After a brief stay in college, she arrived in New York City with the intention of becoming a modern dancer, an idea her childhood ballet teacher found unbelievable. Even so, seventeen years passed in this way until she decided to complete her undergraduate degree in literature. Through college she worked as a ghostwriter and personal assistant to a retired spy. Besides this top-secret work, her stories have appeared in various literary journals, including A Public Space. She has also written a novel. She teaches creative writing in New York. Someday she would love to live in Rome.
Nadia Ibrashi is a native of Egypt. Her first exposure to English were the cartoon features and the Hollywood movie “du jour” at the open air cinema in a suburb of Cairo, followed by an introduction to Shakespeare and Erica Jong when she arrived in Buffalo, NY as a teenager. She practiced medicine in Egypt and in the U.S., and retired a few years ago. Her poetry and fiction won prizes in several competitions. Her work appears in Narrative, The Southeast Review, The MacGuffin, The Whirlwind Review, Rosebud, and Tidal Basin Review. She works as assistant editor at Narrative magazine and is editing a novel and her memoirs. She collects stamps, and has to get over her fear of flying to get to New York every week.
Joe Jablonski holds a B.S. from the US Maritime Academy at Kings Point and a Master’s in International Management from Portland State. As captain of a large container ship, he visited ports in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America before partnering up with his son to become a Harlem landlord. Joe’s coming-of-age novel, Three Star Fix, was published in 2002. He divides his time between New York City and Portland, has a passion for travel, cooking and good movies and would like to be better at tennis and scrabble. Like sailors everywhere, Joe loves sea-stories, most of which have only a passing relationship with the truth.
Menachem Kaiser is a Brooklyn-based writer and critic. He is a graduate of Columbia University and was a recent Fulbright Fellow in Lithuania, where he taught Creative Writing and Modern Jewish Culture at Vilnius University. His non-fiction and fiction have appeared in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Stumble, Vogue, Slate, Salon, Vol1Brooklyn, Wall Street Journal, Tablet, and elsewhere. He is a proud alum of the Toronto School of Circus Arts, where he learnt how to fall.
Hatim Kanaaneh is a retired public health physician and a Palestinian citizen of Israel. He was born and raised in rural Galilee. On his eleventh birthday Israel came into existence and his family narrowly missed becoming refugees. His parents thought he was smart enough to study medicine and tend to the sick in his underserved rural community in Israel. With that and a total of $500, he travelled to the USA, survived the sixties campus experience and in 1970 returned to his village with an MD from Harvard, a pregnant wife from Hawaii, and a VW camper and proceeded to change the world. He slugged at it for 35 years before giving up and turning to his natural calling: writing. He published a book of memoirs entitled A Doctor in Galilee (Pluto Press, 2008) and blogs at http://a-doctor-in-galilee.blogspot.com. Kanaaneh has two semi-fictional works in progress: a Novel and a collection of portraits from his medical practice.
Susan Katz is a born and bred New Yorker. Although she has travelled widely, she continually returns to her home base in New York. From teaching emotionally challenged children in the 1970’s to currently having a thriving private practice in psychotherapy for adults, Susan earned an MS Ed. in Counseling from Hunter College and an MSW from Yeshiva University. Working with people can be stressful and there are times she feels like making an appointment with herself! Susan is also a photographer. Her MFA thesis led to an exhibit entitled “South Bronx Barrio,” housed in the archives of The Museum of the City of New York. A second documentary project of interviews and photographs, entitled “The Woman I Am” is housed in the archives of The Women’s Museum in Washington, D.C. Susan is currently working on a memoir comprising personal essays interspersed with photocollages that reflect her experiences grappling with physical illness, family dysfunction, and mental health. Into this mix is a transformative awakening that she continues to weave into her everyday life.
Don Kelly was a shy boy who decided, strangely enough, that he wanted to tell stories. Comic books, horror novels, fantasy, and science fiction stories began to ruin his mind at a very early age, and his parents, civil servants who did their best to raise their children well in Levittown, NY, knew he had sat too close to the television the day young Don announced his intention to become a writer. Undaunted, he set out on an adventure of words and performance that led to screenwriting and Los Angeles. For twelve years he foraged there among the dreamers until his future wife appeared at the conclusion of a fateful trip to New York. She showed him a new world, Egypt, France, England, and he offered her love stories in exchange. To this day she says it's been a fair trade, and it is because of her that he applied to The Writer's Institute after finishing his B.A. in Media Studies at Queens College. As always, she was right when she said he would be accepted, and he is thrilled to attend.
Dmitry Kiper has a deep love for a great variety of art forms: he writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry, paints, and plays guitar—with a special interest in improvisation. Dmitry holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of California at San Diego and an M.A. from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. As a freelancer, he has written for The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Onion (A.V. Club). As a contributor to Current Biography magazine, he has profiled a variety of fascinating people, including jazz pianist Robert Glasper, science writer Mary Roach, neuroscientist David Eagleman, and philosopher Denis Dutton. Dmitry was born in Russia, and after the Soviet Union broke up he and his family immigrated to San Francisco, which is where he grew up. He has lived in New York City since 2006.
Debora Kuan is a poet, writer, and art critic. She holds a BA from Princeton University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the recipient of a Fulbright media arts scholarship (Taiwan), University of Iowa Graduate Merit Fellowship, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference work-study scholarship, and Pushcart Prize nomination. She has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and The College of New Jersey, and has written for Artforum, Art in America, Paper Monument, Photo District News (PDN), Planet, Printculture, and World Press Review, where she was an editor for two years. Her first poetry collection, XING, is forthcoming from Saturnalia Books in 2011-12.
Thomas Lin is a senior producer for the science desk of The New York Times and teaches interactive journalism at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He grew up on a farm in rural Oregon, driving tractor, splitting wood, hauling bales of hay, and wanting, more than anything, to write. Before finding his way to journalism, he was an engineer and teacher, and worked for six years in Taiwan. He now covers tennis for the Straight Sets blog, edits the Scientist at Work blog and has recently written articles on game-based military simulators, ping pong, and the intersection between technology and science. He holds a College Scholar BA from Cornell University and a MA in Teaching from Oregon State University. Though he managed in 1994 to ride his bike from Eugene, Ore., to Ithaca, N.Y., he still gets lost driving his wife and son to Queens to enjoy traditional Taiwanese food.
Andy Lobashevsky discovered New York when he was a music reviewer for the Old Gold & Black at Wake Forest University. With all expenses generously comped and riding the subway a magical experience, he was immediately smitten by the city. After college, Andy earned a medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in his hometown, and it proved to be the ticket for the big dance. He stayed long enough in residency to complete an internship and then shifted focus for a blossoming interest in film. While making ends meet through various gigs in production and healthcare, he collaborated on a few independent projects with friends. Eventually, Andy developed an idea for a documentary-style video essay about a group of musicians, which he hopes to complete editing in the very near future. Now, between watching the skyline mushroom year after year from Manhattan and playing softball in Prospect Park during the warmer months, he consistently produces works through his publisher—“Moleskine”—who seldom rejects anything he submits.
Kristen Lowman began her career in John Houseman’s The Acting Company. She’s worked in repertory theatres throughout the country, understudied and performed on Broadway, been on a National Tour, as well as acting in television and the films (and along the way became a great waitress, short order cook and house painter). She has been a teaching artist with YAWP, Young Artists and Writers Program, sponsored by Stony Brook Southampton. She is also a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC, and has written several plays. Her novel, Arabian Eve, will be published by Selwa Press (as soon as she finishes the rewrites!).
Lloyd Lynford lives in Croton-on-Hudson and Manhattan. He received his B.A. in English and American Literature and Theatre Arts from Brown University. Originally a director working in the theatre in Poland and New York, Lloyd became an entrepreneur in the 1980s and is currently the CEO of a public company. As a writer, he has published two pieces in Playboy and is currently at work on a novel. For the last four summers he has been a member of Marilynne Robinson’s and Mary Gordon’s master class in fiction at the New York State Writers’ Institute at Skidmore College.
Kai Ma is a writer, journalist, and editor. She is the former editor of Open City and former editor-in-chief of KoreAm, an indie monthly for which she earned the national New America Media Award for “Best In-Depth and Investigative Reporting” for her feature story on gay marriage and the Asian American vote. She’s also written about North Korean defectors, booking clubs, and hot wives. Some of her work has appeared in Nerve, The Daily Beast, TIME.com, New York, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. She lives in New York City.
Laura Martineau is a middle-aged mother of four who has been writing ad copy for thirty years. She received a BA in English from Connecticut College. Her awards include Andys (Ad Club of New York,) assorted regional ad prizes, and a book of essays by Emerson for best 8th grade English student. Resident of a paradisiacal but un-peopled mountainside in Vermont, she returns part-time to the city of her birth both awestruck by the population density and worried that she has no chic pants. She is thrilled and nervous to attend the Writer’s Institute, and only slightly less terrified of learning the subway system.
Destanie McAllister’s short stories have appeared in Lit and Wordriot. She has an MA in Philosophy from Virginia Tech and studied English Literature as an undergraduate. She grew up in Arizona and has worked in New York for the last several years, running a referral system that provides fair access to jobs for members of two local unions. She writes novels in addition to short stories and has recently begun a project that will either be a novel or a collection of short stories linked by the same characters.
David Merrill is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Before that he was an entomologist studying ant-butterfly symbioses in Australia, and before that he was a bike messenger. After spending a number of years writing painfully dry academic articles, he recently switched to more interesting projects: a profile of a one-legged wrestler and some short stories about the challenges of parenting. He lives with his wife and two children in Manhattan.
Sheila Miller was born and raised in the Colorado where, in addition to reading and writing fiction, she engaged in many of those activities generally associated with the wild outdoors, almost always without getting injured. She arrived at the University of Colorado, Boulder, intending to become a music therapist and left nine years later with three degrees in mathematics, a PhD among them. After a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the United States Military Academy at West Point, she accepted a tenure-track position at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. Sheila publishes academically across several fields, teaches yoga, and occasionally gets nice notes from her mathematics students.
Danielle Milner is a Connecticut native and member of one of Hartford’s oldest Political families. Niece of Thirman L. Miner, New England’s first African American mayor, Danielle’s passion for writing developed long before any political aspirations. Danielle holds her BA in Journalism from Temple University and has worked as a writer and mentor in Philadelphia and New York. In 2008 she combined her passion for writing with her love of sports and began working in the Consumer Products department at the National Football League where she now works to build the NFL Brand Internationally. Danielle is currently working on a novel based on true stories from her life entitled The Tin and Paper Fan and intends to use the power of her prose to impact the lives and ideals of young women around the world.
Ryan Andrew Milov-Cordoba is a doctoral student in the Comparative Literature department at the CUNY Graduate Center, a Classics teacher at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, a writer, and a musician. Before beginning his work at the Graduate Center he spent his free time writing songs, essays, and poetry. Currently, he has two musical projects "underway": an EP of original pop-folk music (Charlie and the Time Machine) and a retelling of the Aeneid (Hesperia), both recorded on his phone (and available here: ramc.nyc). He also recently produced a short-film about the school where he practices Tai Chi (Black and White: A Story of Tai Chi in Brooklyn), scheduled for release in early March. He moved to Brooklyn three years ago after growing up in California, West Virginia, Florida, and Massachusetts. He currently lives in Bed-Stuy with five roommates.
Joni Murphy is an interdisciplinary writer and artist, originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, who has lived in Brooklyn since 2013. Since leaving the desert she has lived, studied, and taught in Montreal, Vancouver, Portland, Chicago, New York, and Baltimore. In 2012 she received an MFA from The School at the Art Institute of Chicago where she attended as a merit scholar. She has taught classes on writing and visual thinking at the Art Institute, as well at The Poetry Foundation, New Jersey City University, Abrons Art Center, and The Maryland Institute College of Art. Her writing has been published most recently in The Capilano Review, Canadian Ecstasy, and Canadian Art. In spring of 2016 Bookthug will publish Double Teenage, her first novel. This fall the Sound Development City Residency will take her to Belgrade, to Athens, and to points in between. She will be writing and presenting work throughout the journey.
Khristina Narizhnaya was born in Moscow and grew up in the US. She just returned to New York after living in Moscow for the last four years, where she worked as a journalist and got in touch with her roots. The sojourn inspired her to start writing a book - her current project - about her experiences in her fascinating, tragic, absurd and often poetic homeland. She has a bachelor's degree in political science and art history from Rutgers University and a master's in journalism from Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Her writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vocativ, Los Angeles Times, ESPN and the Global Post, among others. She has always found inspiration in random adventures in foreign lands: attending a sheep fight in Indonesia; learning to shoot guns in the Egyptian desert with a policeman; watching the sunset turn Jerusalem pink on a Friday night; listening to a fiddle and flute duet in a Dublin pub; marveling at the Hagia Sophia arches in ancient Istanbul. Her vices include New York sample sales, raspberry chocolate cake and the Daily Mail's celebrity gossip.
Jeff Norris is a 31-year veteran of the newspaper industry. For the past eight years, he has served as Technology Director for The Santa Fe New Mexican. His newspaper career has included sports writing, news writing and editing, and management. His first short story was selected as winner of The Santa Fe Reporter's annual fiction contest. His story “Yo El Rey!” was published this summer in the 2009 Scratch Anthology. He is currently finishing a collection of short stories and starting a novel.
Sara O’Loughlin was born in Amsterdam to Dutch-Irish parents, both of them writers. She has spent most of her life in Dublin, growing up surrounded by the ghosts of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats, as well as a colorful collection of living artists and writers. She has a Degree in English and Drama from University College Dublin, and has worked at both the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin and the Irish Arts Centre, New York. Her short story “The Beautiful People” was published in the Sunday Tribune New Irish Writing and shortlisted for the Hennessy Award, the starting point for the career of many Irish writers including Colum McCann and Joseph O’Connor. She is now working on a novel based on the short story, which moves between Dublin and New York and deals with the complex emotional world of an outsider in a world of privilege and betrayal. She looks forward to returning to New York to write, walk, rescue dogs, and finally master the subway system.
Paola Peroni was born and raised in Rome. She received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and recently earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. A WGA screenwriter, she worked and lived in Los Angeles for fourteen years. Her short stories have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, The Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Fence, Mississippi Review Prize Issue, H.O.W. Journal, and other publications. She is the recipient of a fellowship from Yaddo. She currently lives in New York and is pursuing analytic training at the C.G. Jung Institute.
Martin Quinn was born in Limerick. After graduate study in engineering, he worked as a proprietary trader in currencies and fixed income in London and Greenwich, CT. His work has appeared in Arena and Esquire (UK).
Alexandra Redgrave, a returning student, found her calling as a writer, editor and media mogul when she launched Redgrave Opinion from her Nova Scotia bedroom at the age of seven. Before attending the Writers’ Institute, she served as associate editor at the monthly travel magazine enRoute. A trained dancer, Alex completed her B.A. in Journalism and Western Society and Culture at Concordia University in Montreal, followed by editorial internships at The Walrus magazine and the Canadian International Development Agency in Burkina Faso. Her writing is featured in the 2011 anthology New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press). Alex’s short documentary Literacy Through Hip Hop appears on the National Film Board of Canada’s CITIZENShift website and was screened by Cinema Politica. None of that prepared her to drive an electric green 37-foot RV across the U.S. as part of the PBS series Road Trip Nation. Good thing she got her license three days before departing.
Rasha Refaie was born in Kansas City to a German mother and an Egyptian father, while French friends in the neighborhood babysat her German-born sister. They moved to California before her first birthday. She received her B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington before moving to New York. Rasha has written for Newsday, New York Press, and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood, has worked in post-production on documentaries and television, and is currently at work on a novel. She loves how her Egyptian relatives react when she tells them how much a falafel sandwich costs in New York City.
Tom Ribitzky hosted a weekly radio show in college called “Soundtracks to Bookstacks,” pairing contemporary music with his favorite classic literary works. After earning two undergraduate degrees, one in English and the other in International Affairs, he worked a number of odd jobs, many at the same time. While teaching an evening literature course, working as a part-time barista, and holding a full-time retail job, he wrote his unpublished novel Treasury, which brought him to the annual BookExpo America Conference in New York City. But just a visit to the greatest city in the U.S. was not enough, so he applied to the Comparative Literature department at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is now enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate. His nonfiction work will appear in the upcoming Brooklyn-based publication It’s Complicated: A Feminist Zine on Loving Misogynist Art (Fall 2012). He also has an undying obsession with German trance music.
Alessandro Ricciarelli was born in Italy moved to Germany where he immediately broke his leg, went to school, studied Comparative Literature at Munich University, broke that off, went to Boston to study Jazz, came back to Munich, drifted for ten years between the US and Germany, then finally installed himself—sort of—in NYC and began working as a music therapist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He also began writing in English, went to several residencies, and finally got an MFA from Columbia––and now maybe, maybe, will publish something.
Tracey Rose is a writer living in Brooklyn. She received her B.A. from Howard University, where she studied film production and English. As an interactive producer, she’s worked in educational media and advertising for the past 10 years. Her short fiction has been published in Elimae, Pank Magazine, Vandal Journal, and the hip-hop feminist anthology, Homegirls Make Some Noise. She’s a Callaloo fellow and has won an Artist Fellowship from the D.C. Commission of the Arts.
Marianna Rosen is from Moscow. She worked as a journalist, reporting for a prime-time weekly political commentary talk show co-writing the show’s script and text. Marianna wrote her first fiction story while reporting on war in Chechnya. The insatiable thirst for adventure eventually motivated Marianna to move to New York. She spent the following twelve years in a rhetorical limbo, while acquiring a decent command of Italian, working many long hours on Wall Street, and earning an M.A. in International Affairs at Columbia University. Once the verbal incarceration was over, she began to write short stories and now is working on a collection titled The Guide to Moscow, which centers on interactions between mad and dislocated personalities during times that were also mad and dislocated. When the very thing that motivates her to write becomes, paradoxically, the very same thing that compels her to feed her writing to the wastebasket, she switches to research on Italian and Russian Futurism, a field of Comparative Literature, which she hopes to pursue as a Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Louise Roug was born in Copenhagen but kept moving west, living first in London and then in New York, where she got her Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. In 1999, she arrived in Los Angeles where she took a job at the L.A. Times. At the Times, she wrote about art and murder, food and war. In 2004, she went to Baghdad for the Times, and liked it so much, she decided to stay for almost three years. She also spent time in Beirut, Jerusalem, and Gaza, but came back to the U.S. to cover the 2008 American presidential election. She is a Pulitzer finalist and a recipient of a Hal Boyle Award from the Overseas Press Club, and now works as an editor at The Daily Beast. Her first book was published this year in her native Denmark. She lives in Brooklyn where, on clear days, she can see the Statue of Liberty from her fire escape.
Sajan Saini is a Canadian expatriate who left behind his favorite hockey-town for the New England life to earn a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. More recently, as a professor of physics at Queens College of CUNY, he has taught courses in introductory modern physics and astronomy, while researching optical communications and solar cell devices. Sajan also writes popular science articles and has authored two scientific book chapters. He is at work on short stories about the Indian diaspora and a hard science novella. Sajan is currently a lecturer in science writing at Princeton University and lives with his wife in Queens, New York—a brisk ten-minute walk south of Archie Bunker’s old neighborhood.
Lisa Sardinas A former copywriter in her native Turkey, Lisa moved to New York intending to write. That intention took on special meaning when she learned that her grandmother in Israel had also dreamed of becoming a writer – a dream that still haunted her at the age of 89. Following a Masters Degree in Media Studies at The New School, Lisa went to work in film. Her film career ranged from a humbling stint on a Sarah Jessica Parker set disposing of 85 people’s daily trash, to more compelling work as location manager for “Padre Nuestro,” which traveled to Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize at Sundance. Lisa published a short story, “Amateur,” in the Brooklyn Rail in 2004, and studied later that year with Chris Offutt at the Summer Fiction Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In 2007, then pregnant with her son Oskar, Lisa devoted herself fully to writing, studying with Mary Gordon and Marilynne Robinson at Skidmore. Currently, Lisa is working on her debut story collection – a collection in need of much nurturing and love.
Susan Scutti writes both fiction and poetry. Her work appears in various journals, anthologies and small press publications and includes a collection of her short stories, The Renaissance Began with a Muted Shade of Green, and a book of her poems forthcoming from Paper Kite Press. She works as a freelance writer while completing her thesis for an MA in Liberal Studies here at CUNY. She earned a BA in English from Yale.
Caroline Seklir is a native New Yorker who has also lived in France, Ireland, Chile, and Northern California. She holds a BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Colby College and recently earned an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. For two years she taught University Writing at Columbia as a Teaching Fellow in the Undergraduate Writing Program. She is a contributor to The Brooklyn Rail and offManahattan.com. Caroline writes short stories and novels. She is currently at work on a novel about soil, teenagers, and longing in upstate New York.
Kathleen Seltzer moved to New York City in 1977 from Philadelphia. She arrived as a photographer and worked for the Soho News and the then beginning Details magazine. Her work has been shown in the United States and Europe. She is now making pictures with outdated Polaroid film and paintings and drawings that incorporate organic material. The first story she ever wrote was in the third grade. It was about a dentist, a subject she doesn’t plan to return to.
Ian Shapira is a staff writer at The Washington Post who loves writing fiction (outside the pages of the newspaper). He grew up in Louisville, KY, graduated from Princeton University in 2000 with an English degree, and immediately began working as a reporter for The Post. He's written about the impact of CIA officers' lives on their families and helped unravel a mystery about a stolen Renoir painting. His articles on the Virginia Tech and Navy Yard shootings have been included in The Post’s entries that won the Pulitzer Prize and that were named as a finalist in the breaking news category. This year, he is beginning to review novels for The Post and hopes to get his first piece of fiction published.
Sanjay Sharma is the Chief Risk Officer of Global Arbitrage and Trading at RBC Capital Markets. Previously he held investment banking and risk management positions at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Moody’s, and Citigroup spanning over two decades. Prior to his career in the financial services industry, he worked as a marine engineer with Asian and European shipping companies on cargo ships and supertankers, and received the Chief Engineer’s certificate of competency. He holds a Ph.D. in Finance from NYU and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He has undergraduate degrees in Physics and Marine Engineering from St. Stephen’s College (Delhi University) and Marine Engineering College respectively. He is the Founder and Board Member of Green Point Global – a publishing, technology, legal services firm with operations in the US, Israel and India with 400 employees, and of Tomorrow’s Genius – a provider of online education. Sanjay has published several articles related to the financial services industry in journals and other publications, and is currently completing a book Risk Transparency forthcoming in October 2012.
Rachel Signer is a writer, communications strategist, and yoga teacher, usually in that order. She holds an M.A. in anthropology from The New School, which has given her cause to write about the national student debt crisis for publications like n+1 , and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Virginia. Rachel has conducted anthropology research in Latin America and Africa. As a freelance writer, she has reported on Occupy Wall Street for The Nation, and about the Pesky Whipper-Snapper generation, social entrepreneurship, local food movements, and the show GIRLS for The Brooklyn Rail, Construction Magazine, GOOD Magazine (R.I.P.),and Grist. She has recently returned from a three-month stay in India and is at work on a dystopian novel in which the death of philosophy is imminent.
Rhonda Silver has taken a long, circuitous route to arrive, happily and finally, at the Graduate Center’s Writers’ Institute. She has been a tax accountant, a newsletter writer/editor, an alternately part-time and full-time “stay-at-home” mom, and a grant writer. She has also devoted herself to many non-profit organizations, and serves as a volunteer court advocate to assist domestic violence victims in Family Court in Essex County, NJ. Rhonda holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers College where she was part of the school’s first class of women, as well as an MBA from The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. Initially inspired by her favorite childhood authors, Rhonda has written short memoirs and fiction, as well as poetry, throughout her life. A five-year survivor of lymphoma, Rhonda has had two pieces included in collections published by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. In 2014, she completed the TCS New York City Marathon in order to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Rhonda has lived her entire life in the New York City area. She and her husband currently split their time between the city and their home in Upper Montclair, NJ.
Karen Spear-Ellinwood is a native of Long Island and now long-term resident of Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from Brooklyn Law School in 1986, she practiced criminal defense for 13 years. Karen imagined herself a writer since she was 6 years old and swore she would make writing her life's work. Along the way, she became a criminal defense lawyer, a social studies teacher, an education researcher, as well as a mom, wife, and grammy. After leaving the practice of law, Karen devoted her “free” time to writing both short works and novel-length fiction. Karen will have completed her PhD in language, reading and culture at the University of Arizona in 2010. Her publications to date have been in the field of education research.
Karen De Luca Stephens is a visual artist and writer. Originally from Boston she studied philosophy, art and architecture. After graduate school in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University she moved to Mexico City where she and her husband raised their five children. There she designed residences, worked with stained glass and metal, and studied painting with Filipe Bragar, a contemporary neo-expressionist painter. She has also worked in strategic planning and development for non-profits in Mexico and the US. She and her artist husband now split their time between New York City and Mexico City. She is currently working on her second screenplay and a collection of short fiction, and, of course, her painting.
Hannah Sung received her B.A. from the University of Toronto in 2000. Since then, she has worked as a writer and broadcast journalist with a focus on pop culture. She produces short documentaries and enjoys traveling with a mic, pen and paper, learning the cultures of Mali, East Timor, Indonesia, Korea, Croatia, France, Japan and Brazil. Her work life has included arts reportage for the CBC, The Toronto Star, MuchMusic and TV production on several reality shows including a prank show involving chicken suits and fake funerals, which provided a special kind of illumination of human psychology under duress.
Maggie Veatch-Ferly is a native Californian who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. Trained as a public health researcher, Maggie evaluated child protection programs in Aceh, conducted abortion research in the former Soviet Union, and developed hospital protocol for miscarriage management in Mexico. She is currently the Director of Nutrition and Physical Activity at New York City Health Department’s Brooklyn office. Maggie holds a graduate degree in public health from Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish Literature from the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. When she’s not working, you can find Maggie attempting new recipes in the kitchen, biking to pastry shops throughout New York City, and intending to improve her French. She lives in Brooklyn.
Carissa Véliz is a fiction and nonfiction writer, an illustrator, and an apprentice philosopher working on a PhD at the Philosophy Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is particularly interested in ethics, political philosophy, and Buddhist philosophy. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Salamanca, for which she received the Spanish National Mention for Excellence in Academic Performance, and is currently the recipient of a fellowship from “la Caixa” Foundation. Her Spanish heritage drives her to go unearthing old and classified documents from the time of the Spanish Civil War and Francoist Spain in pursuit of unveiling the many mysteries surrounding her family’s history, about which she is writing a novel. Her Mexican origins compel her always to be in search of bright colors and the sun. She believes better worlds are possible, and obsessively dreams up some of these worlds while she rides the subway every day.
Beth Venn has been an art museum curator and art historian for twenty-five years. During stints at the Whitney Museum, the Philadelphia Museum and the Newark Museum, among others, she’s written artist monographs, exhibition catalogs, museum handbooks and the trickiest of all—the tiny little texts that accompany artworks on museum walls. Though she loves art, enough is enough. She hopes to expand her non-fiction repertoire to include personal essays, opinion pieces and short biographies.
Anna Voisard is an associate editor at an educational publisher in NYC. She holds a BA in journalism from NYU. Her writing has appeared in children’s nonfiction and fiction collections for several major publishers, as well as in advertising campaigns for a number of Fortune 500 companies. She has also worked on literacy programs for both children and teens. Anna’s photography has been exhibited in NYC, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. She grew up in Switzerland, Germany, New Jersey, and Ohio. She currently lives in Queens.
George Wen was born in Seattle, Washington. A graduate of Dartmouth, Cambridge University, Harvard, the University of Paris, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he worked in Paris for thirteen years as a record producer and a university lecturer before coming to New York City. After a brief career as a magazine editor, he finally found his way to children’s book publishing, where he has been ever since. New to writing fiction, George was encouraged to continue after winning the Bronx Writers’ Center Chapter One Award. It was his first attempt at writing something longer, and more significant, than a business memo. He has received a Yaddo fellowship and a scholarship to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony.
Lisa Williams is a full-fledged New Yorker. She grew up in the city and returned shortly after graduating from college and has remained ever since, even though most of her family emigrated to California. She knew at a young age that she wanted to be a writer when she hid in her room reading books so she wouldn’t have to compete with her athletic brothers. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches writing and literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She has published a book of creative nonfiction, Letters to Virginia Woolf (www.letterstovirginiawoof.com). She has also published poetry and prose in such journals as Washington Square, The Tusculum Review, The Mom Egg, and various anthologies. She is currently working on a historical novel about Russia and is delighted to join the Writer’s Institute.
Thomas Patrick Wisniewski is a writer, translator, and musician. A Jacob K. Javits Fellow and three-time recipient of the Avery Hopwood Prize, he has published essays, reviews, and translations in Biography, World Literature Today, Gradiva, In Other Words, Italica, Italian Culture, and Music & Literature. He has taught writing and literature at Harvard, Boston University, Tufts, and Dartmouth. As a concert saxophonist, he has been a soloist with the Brookline Symphony Orchestra, the Mercury Orchestra, the Harvard Dudley House Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, and l’Orchestre Symphonique Universitaire de Grenoble. He lives in Cambridge, MA.
Chris Wolf graduated in 2010 from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he concentrated in nothing in particular. He accidentally became a professional web developer while working in Washington DC, but writing has been his consistent passion. He hopes to hone his talent and build a collection of new short fiction.
Holly Woodward is a writer and painter. Her novel-in-progress follows a couple of dominatrixes in New York City. A book of poems Sin for Beginners was finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her second novel project chronicles the lives of Russian poets from the start of Stalin’s reign through WWII. Holly was a doctoral fellow at Moscow University for a year, after two semesters at Saint Petersburg University. She served as writer-in-residence at Saint Albans, Washington National Cathedral. Holly is a calligrapher and marbles paper, which she incorporates into handmade books. An anthology of modern aphorists, Short Flights, includes a chapter of her work.
Danny Wynn grew up in Syracuse, New York, and earned various university degrees from Syracuse University, SUNY at Buffalo and NYU. He practiced as a lawyer a long time ago, and worked in the music business for 25 years before retiring to devote himself to full-time fiction writing. He is now 58 years old and lives in the West Village with his family. In addition to New York City, he has lived and worked in London and Los Angeles. He has completed two novels, is currently at work on a novella, and is struggling mightily to become a better writer.
Naomi Adiv is a doctoral student in Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she focuses on public spaces, specifically municipal swimming pools. She holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC-Berkeley and an MS in Community Development from UC-Davis, where she was also a finalist for UC Poet Laureate. Her master’s thesis – a 35 mile walk on the railroad tracks of the far East Bay – was stopped by the cops. The blog of that project can be found at www.beatingthebounds.typepad.com. When not doing ethnography in her swimsuit, she can be found in the NYPL doing archival research for her dissertation or writing creative nonfiction pieces. Her favorite piece of writing equipment is a Remington 5, which needs to be fixed, as it currently only works when held upside down.
Elizabeth Alsop received her B.A. from Brown University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. She teaches film courses at Hunter College. Previously she worked at Vogue and Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Her most recent essay, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, was originally submitted to The Writers' Institute in the Spring of 2008.
Leah Anderst is a recent graduate from the PhD program in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has taught writing, film, and literature courses within CUNY since 2004. She has worked as a Writing Fellow at The City College and a Visiting Instructor of Writing at Marymount Manhattan College. She has published translation of an essay on Orson Welles through a Wallflower Press title on dialogue in cinema and was the editor of The Films of Eric Rohmer: French New Wave to Old Master, published by Palgrave. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the English department at Queensborough Community College.
Beth Aviv graduated from the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Harvard University (M. Ed.), and since then has taught high school English and the occasional college composition class. Her short stories, essays and book reviews have appeared in the University of Windsor Review, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, Seventeen Magazine, and Salon. She's now working on a memoir of her friendship with Detroit artist Cay Bahnmiller.
Marcelo Ballve was born in Buenos Aires and raised there and in Atlanta, Mexico City, and Caracas. He’s a New York-based contributing editor at New America Media, where he covers immigration and Latin America. He also writes about Latino arts and culture for the New York Daily News. His in-depth articles. essays and criticism have appeared in Mother Jones, Orion, and Wax Poetics magazines, as well as The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, and Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinión. One of his literary essays was just selected for the Dzanc Books Best of the of the Web 2009 anthology: "Macedonio Fernández: the Man Who Invented Borges." In 2007, he co-founded and served as first editor of community newspaper El Sol de San Telmo in the Buenos Aires historic district. He's a former AP reporter and editor in the Brazil and Caribbean bureaus.
Michael Bernstein has recently returned home to New York City after spending a year as a volunteer in Israel. Although more experienced with fiction, Michael has been keeping a regular blog from abroad and is thrilled with the opportunity to develop his non-fiction interests in travel writing and topical essays. He holds a B.A. from Amherst College, where he majored in geology.
Robert Brenner is a satirist, critic, and ventriloquist. He writes about business, politics, technology, and the arts, usually in the voices of funny characters—superheroes, professional wrestlers, disgraced politicians and celebrities. His work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Salon, the Barnes and Noble Review, and Happy. He lives in New York City with his child bride and two imaginary cats.
Roberta Brody was born in Brooklyn and has lived in and around New York City for most of her life. She is currently a Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College where she teaches research related courses; including competitive intelligence, business research, and records management. Like most other tenured professors who teach for the City Univeristy of New York, she has published scholarly articles in her field. She has also written articles in related professional journals. Roberta now wishes to write for a broader audience.
Iris Brooks graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. She founded and ran the literary salon The Accompanied Library in New York City for two years. She has reviewed theater, film and books for The New York Sun and The Austin Chronicle.
Nathan Burstein, who normally doesn't write or speak about himself in the third person, would love to be a professional movie critic or otherwise write about film, TV, books and history. He got to do a fair amount of such writing during the two and a half years he spent at The Jerusalem Post, where he also wrote occasional tourism pieces. Born in Nashville and raised near Seattle, he's been back in the U.S. since December, freelance writing and copy editing in New York. He has an idea for a book but isn't sure it will work; he hopes to start experimenting with it before classes begin.
Shelley Burtt taught political philosophy at Yale University from 1988 to 1998. Since that time she has moved to England and come back, sent two children to college, adopted two more, enjoyed a stint as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, earned a second-degree black belt, and explored life as an "independent scholar." Her academic writings have been primarily concerned with questions of law, morality, and politics, with special attention to the politics of virtue and the rights of parents, children, and the disabled in liberal democracies, subjects she expects to continue to address in her writing this year.
Delois Byrd was born in Philadelphia and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. Lawton is an Army town and joined at the hip with Fort Sill, a massive field artillery base. She holds a B. S. in Elementary Education and taught third grade for three wonderful years at a school with a disproportionate amount of chronically poor children and so-called “Army brats.” Delois writes mostly in the memoir/personal essay genre and also dabbles in poetry. She is interested in writing more about public education, especially as it relates to social justice issues, like generational poverty, incarceration, adult literacy, and the effects of a parent’s deployment to war. She eagerly anticipates the opportunity to improve and broaden the scope of her writing.
Sean Carlson is at work on his first book, a nonfictional narrative of emigration from Ireland to the United Kingdom and the United States. His writing, which has appeared in the Irish Times, USA Today, the New York Daily News, and elsewhere, includes vignettes from Cambodia and a column on Boston's burrito scene. He received a Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers. Sean has managed global communications with Google and editorial and special projects with Yahoo. He leads trainings with the International Center for Journalists, and co-founded the TechRaking summit series with the Center for Investigative Reporting. He previously interned with the Consulate General of Ireland in Sydney, Australia and serves on the board of the nonprofit Irish American Writers & Artists.
Tess Clarkson earned her B.A. in History and Communication at Loyola University Chicago and moved to Manhattan to attend Fordham University School of Law. In the middle of Tess' first year at Fordham, Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance offered her a spot in its Irish dance chorus, and she began traveling across North America with the show and performed in the original cast of Michael Flatley's Feet of Flames in London. Following her return to law school, Tess also had the opportunity to dance in the Broadway production of Riverdance. Since officially hanging up her dance pumps upon earning her J.D., Tess has worked on Wall Street as a lawyer. She also serves as a hospice volunteer and is a trained end-of-life doula. Tess discovered her passion for creative writing after a friend gave her Julia Cameron's An Artist's Way. Many writing workshops followed, and Tess currently is writing about her friend's death on Air France 447 and how it led Tess to serve the dying.
Kristen Drybread is an anthropologist, a freelance research editor, a capoeira instructor, and an actress. She has taught anthropology at Columbia University, won fellowships from the Fulbright-Hays and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, and taught gifted elementary school students in New Orleans as a member of Teach for America. A fearless explorer, Kristen has climbed mountains in 5 continents, traveled up the Nile and down the Amazon, spent nine months in a Brazilian juvenile prison, navigated the rapids of rivers across the U.S. as a whitewater raft guide, and provided entertainment—as a clown and as a dancer—at birthday parties for the children of Manhattan’s elite. Her ambition is to begin translating stories she has collected in her adventures into captivating prose.
Libby Edelson received her B.A. from Reed College, and has an MFA from the University of Minnesota. She is an associate editor at Ecco, an Imprint of HarperCollins.
Alan Edelstein is a nonfiction filmmaker originally from western Massachusetts. His short documentary “The Wizard of the Strings,” about the 1920s stringed-instrument virtuoso and vaudeville star Roy Smeck, received an Academy Award nomination in 1986. More recently he produced and co-directed Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2013), which was selected as one of the Best Films of 2013 by Entertainment Weekly, and was featured on the PBS series American Masters. His new film, An Art That Nature Makes, about the contemporary art photographer Rosamond Purcell, will have its theatrical premiere in Manhattan in the summer of 2016. A freelance journalist as well as filmmaker, Alan has written on arts and culture for publications including The New York Times, The Forward, and Transition. He is grateful to be using his time at the Writers’ Institute toward the completion of a book-length seriocomic essay on religion, an unruly mix of memoir, historical research, travelogue, gossip, and amateur philosophical speculation.
Dale W. Eisinger is a writer, photographer, musician, and fly-fisherman from Idaho. He came to New York City in 2009 to attend the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Since then, he’s published hundreds of articles on music, culture, and the arts, with bylines spread across New York Press, NBC New York, The International Business Times, Impose Magazine, Altered Zones, Out Magazine, City Arts, Overflow Magazine, Consequence of Sound, and elsewhere. As a multimedia reporter, Dale’s work has appeared variously on DNAinfo, The New York Times City Room, amNY, City Limits, and elsewhere. In 2011, the National Council on Contemporary Families gave an Emerging Journalists Award to a team for which Dale reported on education issues relating to homelessness. During his undergraduate English, communications, and journalism studies in Boise, he was given an Idaho Press Club award for review writing. Behind the camera, Dale stops his F at 1.2; on the drums, he employs a Flamacue; in the river, he barrel casts a Royal Wulff to snag elusive brook trout.
Malcolm Farley has published poems in The Antioch Review, The American Scholar, Chelsea, The Denver Quarterly, The Harvard Review, The Indiana Review, The New Republic, and The Paris Review, among other publications. He has also reviewed books for The New York Times Book Review, The Lamda Book Report and The New York Blade. In 2005, Malcolm was fortunate to win a residency at The MacDowell Colony. He is currently working on a collection of short stories entitled "Mid-Atlantic States." Malcolm blogs at WordRustler.
Susan Farkas is a veteran radio and television broadcaster, who started her career in her native Canada. She’s worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC News and the United Nations as head of their Radio and Television Service. Susan has written and edited loads of television scripts and she teaches broadcast writing at the CUNY Journalism School. But now the question is: can she write for print, or have all those years of sentence fragments and heavy-handed foreshadowing deformed her writing style forever?
Albert Fayngold was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where he studied painting and architecture at the National School of Fine Arts and the National Academy of Arts (1984-91) and worked as a scene painter and set designer at the Kiev Opera Theater prior to moving to the US in 1992. While continuing to paint and exhibit here in New York, he enrolled at C. W. Post and earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1999. Later the same year, he traveled to Prague where he lived for two years—teaching, writing, and painting—before returning to NY to enter CUNY’s Graduate Program in Comparative Literature, specializing in Anglo-American and Russian Literature of the 19th and 20th Centuries. In 2005, a bilingual book of his paintings and personal prose Studies at the Forgotten Neighborhoods was published both in the Ukraine and in the U.S. His art and literature reviews have appeared in The Forward and The NY Sun.
Jessica Firger is a native New Yorker. Her stories have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Salon, BUST, Tablet, City Limits, Poets & Writers, among others. Jessica's work has landed her at homicide scenes, in a boat-size SUV with pop icon Suzanne Vega, at a drunken late-night game of mah-jongg and in a meat locker in the South Bronx. She holds an MA from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where she studied health and medical reporting, and a BA in English from the University at Albany. Prior to working as a journalist, she spent eight years on both the editorial and publicity sides of the book publishing industry. She lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Cora Fisher was born in New York City to an émigré theater family known as the Squat Theater. She brings a wide range of aesthetic and political interests to writings on art, essays, and personal writings. She holds a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art where she studied sculpture, printmaking and painting. She continued to be active in the institution as a Writing Associate in the Humanities Department and has worked for art historian Dore Ashton. Currently, she is staff writer for The Brooklyn Rail, and is a freelance writer. Last year she was selected for the Creative Capital/ Warhol Foundation Art Writing Workshop in partnership with the International Association of Art Critics where she worked closely with critic and art writer Lilly Wei.
Megan Foley contributes a weekly feature story to Metro newspapers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. She holds a B.A. in creative writing and English from The George Washington University, where she received the Vivian Nellis Award for creative writing. Her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore magazine.
John Frank is the Director of Development and Public Relations at AABR.org and a lecturer of Sociology at LaGuardia Community College. A former high school teacher, John received his BA in History from Columbia University and Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. He is presently writing his Peace Corps memoirs with the hope of explaining how the ego is an illusion.
Kristen French has been a business journalist for over ten years, in both Santiago, Chile and in New York. She is currently the managing editor at a popular and award-winning monthly magazine covering Wall Street. Kristen has covered business as a reporter for the now defunct newswire Bridge News as well as for TheStreet.com, among other publications. She has a degree in English from Williams College and lives in Brooklyn.
Estee Friedman is the Associate Principal of Manhattan High School for Girls on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She oversees the school’s General Studies department, focusing on curriculum development and enrichment, and teaches the twelfth grade English course. Estee holds a B.A. in English from Touro College and a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is the recipient of the 2008 New York State English Council Program of Excellence Award in recognition of Literally Speaking, a school-wide reading program that she innovated in 2003. The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Estee is interested in capturing the fragility and fluidity of human memory in the story of her grandmother’s survival. She wishes to write short nonfiction on the everyday—from human experience to popular culture and world events.
Michael Gately studied philosophy and politics at Princeton University and is now the program director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has worked as a research assistant at the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations; as an English and history teacher, debate coach, and student publications advisor at the Collegiate School; and as a ghost writer to the founding partner of a large New York law firm. For many years he wrote overly-long e-mail messages, but he now hopes to perfect the Facebook status update as a literary form. He is an avid cyclist and currently lives in Forest Hills, Queens.
Linda Gibson is traveling the reinvention road, becoming the fulltime writer she always wanted to be. Working backwards, she was a member of the faculty of the Division of Education at Queens College (CUNY). Before that, there was teaching young children, which was prefaced by a short career as a modern dancer. Currently, she is completing a memoir—her life and times filtered through recorded conversations with her grandson—and expanding her writing repertoire to include personal essays and journalism.
Janee Graver wrote a bestselling technical book in the ‘90’s which sold well over a quarter million copies and was translated into twenty-plus languages. Years passed and Janee took her creative nonfiction writing private as she stepped up to the demands of running three companies and two nonprofits, raising two sons, and following her own diverse interests (Her first company was focused on tech and her fourth on loose leaf organic tea). Today her life is rich with experiences of world travel, and she lives in New York City as a new urban resident, consulting to emerging companies. Curious about how people live, over the last five years she has followed the international Jewish community and rowing community in almost a dozen countries. She writes essays about her experiences. Her essay about a meditation retreat in Auschwitz was published as part of an international collection of writings in 2015. Janee spent her childhood in Buffalo, NY, earned her MS Degree in Information Science and Instructional Technology from Syracuse University, and her BS from Northwestern University. She worked as a teacher of the deaf in her first career. When not writing, traveling, or consulting, Janee can be spotted on her kick scooter, joyfully zipping around New York City.
Wendy Hammond’s plays have been produced in U.S. theatres such as Second Stage, HERE, Soho Rep, Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Charlotte Rep, and People Light and Theatre. Her plays have also been produced, including in London, Milan, Rome, Tel Aviv, Singapore and Melbourne. Her screenplays include Julie Johnson which stars Lili Taylor, Courtney Love and Spalding Gray. Wendy’s plays and screenplays have received several awards. She is a New Dramatists alumnus, holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU and a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. She has taught playwriting and screenwriting at several universities, recently at NYU TischAsia School of the Arts in Singapore. She now writes, teaches, and lives in the New York area with her truly amazing son, Will. She is an excited beginner at writing prose, and can’t wait to start on this new Writers’ Institute adventure.
Jenny Shannon Harkins grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She attended Barnard College, Columbia U., and won the Lenore Marshall Prize for prose, among other awards and scholarships. A devotee in the temple of music since childhood, she later played in a garage band. She has written for publications such as Surface and Flaunt and is currently writing a novel. She divides her time between Brooklyn and a cabin in the woods of Leatherstocking country.
Joanna Clapps Herman’s memoir, The Anarchist Bastard (SUNY Press) begins WITH, “I often say that I was born in 1944 but raised in the 15th Century because although I was born in Waterbury, CT, in a New England factory town, in post-WWII, I grew up in a large southern Italian family where the rules were absolute, and customs antiquated.” She has co-edited two anthologies: Wild Dreams and Our Roots Are Deep with Passion. She is currently writing After the Manner of Women, (forthcoming, Fordham Press, 2014) She has published fiction, poetry and essays in literary magazines and anthologies. She teaches at CCNY, The Center for Worker Education and is on the MFA faculty in writing of Manhattanville College. Reading, writing and teaching are just as important as cooking, eating and drinking good wine are to her. www.joannaclappsherman.com
Merle Huerta, a writer, army wife, and mother of a blended family of thirteen children, finds that the subject of loss and renewal—after divorce, after death, after losing one’s reputation, and after losing one’s sense of self—offers some of the most compelling material for storytelling. She has a Masters from Columbia University in Instructional Media, and is a graduate of The Writers Institute and Technology. She has published poetry, essays, and book reviews, some appearing in LiteraryMama.com, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Press, and National Review Online. Currently, she teaches English and English Skills as an adjunct at SUNY/Rockland and serves as an editorial assistant in the Literary Reflections Department at LiteraryMama. She lives in Cornwall-on-Hudson with three of her children and a small dog with big dreams.
Patrick Inglis is a doctoral candidate in the sociology program at the City University of New York Graduate Center. A former high school English teacher in Vancouver, where he grew up, he moved to New York City in 2003. He is writing a dissertation on social class and upward mobility in Bangalore, India, with a specific focus on the life and work of poor golf caddies who carry the golf sets of middle- and upper-middle-class men and women at exclusive golf clubs across the city. The study reflects his broader interests in politics, economics, and labor in cities of the developing world.
Joscelyn Jurich is a freelance journalist and critic. Her reporting and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Bookforum, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly and numerous other publications. Joscelyn was also a writer for PBS and Bravo productions, and hosted an English language radio program and children’s television show in Croatia. Her photographs have been published in The Chicago Tribune and City Limits, and she is currently working on a photography project about abandoned hotels. Joscelyn has an MA in Journalism/Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU, a Master of Philosophy in European Literature from Cambridge University, and a BA in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She teaches journalism and humanities courses at NYU, and has taught writing and literature at several CUNY colleges.
Emily F. Keller is a creative nonfiction writer, poet and journalist whose work mixes personal stories with social commentary. Her articles have been published in City Limits, Courier-Life Publications, BusinessWeek.com and The New York Daily News. She has written extensively about the disability rights community in New York City for Able Newspaper and for her blog Transportation Access. She has been the featured poet at the Cornelia Street Café and was a semi-finalist for the 2011 louderARTS poetry slam team. Emily has been having a little trouble finding a job for the last three years and is writing a humor memoir about under-employment with a blog at www.revolvingjobs.com. Before that, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree from The New School. www.emilyfkeller.com.
Jean Kim grew up in suburban Maryland, and has lived the last 10 years in Manhattan and Westchester County. She currently works as a psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains, NY and is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in NYC. She received a B.A. in English from Yale, and her M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia. She has always loved writing in all genres, including poetry, fiction, and essays. During medical school she received several national writing awards for medical students and published work in several medical magazines such as New Physician, Pharos, and Medical Student JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).
Anna King was born in Oxford, England, and has a B.A. in English from Cambridge University. She has lived in New York City for the past nine years. For seven of those years she worked for the British Consulate, before leaving to attend Columbia, where she gained a master’s in journalism. More recently, she’s been contributing regularly to Time Out New York, where she blogs and writes articles about film, books, theater, politics, celebrity fluff, restaurants and bars. Her work has also appeared in The Real Deal, New York Press, and Edible Brooklyn. annaking.wordpress.com
Alan Kornheiser is an experimental psychologist who earned his PhD at Columbia so long ago that the walking stick he bought as a weapon to move safely around Morningside Heights is today occasionally used as real walking stick. Once a nationally competitive fencer, he now—quite literally—cultivates his own garden in Northern Westchester. Although some years ago he was an editor of scientific publications, almost all of his recent writing (with minor exceptions) has been professional. He would like to be able to convey the meaning, importance, and emotions inherent in science and technology in an actionable, intelligible, and engaging way. It is not enough to understand how the heart beats; one must feel it beating.
Debora Kuan is a poet, writer, and art critic. She holds a BA from Princeton University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the recipient of a Fulbright media arts scholarship (Taiwan), University of Iowa Graduate Merit Fellowship, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference work-study scholarship, and Pushcart Prize nomination. She has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and The College of New Jersey, and has written for Artforum, Art in America, Paper Monument, Photo District News (PDN), Planet, Printculture, and World Press Review, where she was an editor for two years. Her poems, short fiction, and art reviews can be found at www.deborakuan.com
Adele Kudish was born and raised in New York City, and received a B.A. at NYU in Comparative Literature. She held several internships in magazine publishing, including at New York magazine, Time Out New York, and Harper's Bazaar, during college, and has worked in freelance book publishing as well. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the English department at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Charlotte Lucy Latham left her training in philosophy to study literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. The years between these academic pursuits were filled by running a small arts school in Santa Fe, NM, followed by working as Publications Director for a medical publishing house in New York City for which she eventually launched a medical education division, Candeo Clinical/Science Communications. She then founded Script and Type where she works with artists to develop documents that actually support the content of their visual portfolios. That work keeps her thinking practically as she produces a Ph.D. relating ekphrasis to the imagination. She is currently working on a series of essays about the intersection of art with her life. When she is not reading, or writing, or editing, she responds to emails. When the lights go out she dances.
Amy Leavitt, a native of New England, has written on aikido, ambivalence, and the Japanese anarchist Ito Noe. Her article on Madoff’s marks appeared in CounterPunch. After receiving a B.A. in Philosophy from Dartmouth College, she lived communally for many years and worked in the field of financial planning. She was named one of the top ten planners in the U.S. by Financial Planning magazine, and serves as a founding member of the board of directors of Burton Snowboards. Home is with Ralph and his two sons, Andre and Nikko, on a small organic farm down a dead-end dirt road in Vermont. Swinging from the front porch is a hand-carved wooden sign that reads: Purgatorio.
Timothy Ledwith has managed communications at non-profit and advocacy organizations for more than 25 years. He currently serves as news editor at the website of the United Nations Children’s Fund and has reported from the field for UNICEF in West Africa and Central America. Among other career highlights, he previously co-founded a human rights magazine at Amnesty International USA; edited the tabloid newspaper of the New York City musicians’ union, Local 802, AFM; worked with veterans of the anti-war and civil rights movements on the journal of the National Lawyers Guild; and covered housing and neighborhood issues at the influential urban-affairs monthly, City Limits. He has also written features, reviews and essays for a variety of publications and websites, including a recent memoir series at TheMorningNews.org. A native New Yorker and the father of two teenagers, Tim unwinds by playing piano in a Staten Island-based rock ensemble.
Liz Levine is originally from Tucson, and has been living in Brooklyn for the past six years, writing reviews mainly about concerts and albums. As an editor at Routledge, she commissions literature, music, theater studies, and communications monographs. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and her writing has appeared in Movmnt magazine, Impose Magazine, Culture Bully, The Owl, and a number of other online music publications. She is currently an editor and contributing writer for the music website Knocks from the Underground, and the copyeditor for Quiet Color.
Robert Levine is currently working as the Director of Security Capital Programs at NYC Transit. He has a background in city planning and public policy, and has a MA in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center. At CUNY Graduate Center his area of focus was the connection between language and politics and his research was on the constitutionality of English-only legislation. He has been involved in a number of political organizations over the years and is active as part of the Leadership Form of the Coalition for One Voice in New York. He teaches yoga at the Integral Yoga Institute, and his writing stems from his background as both a yoga instructor and a political activist. For the last five years he has been writing a column for an e-magazine, LifeSherpa.com, where he is exploring the deep connection between politics and spirituality. He is working to expand and further develop the topics explored in these columns, as well as to write further on politics and social change.
Frank Ligtvoet studied and taught literature at Amsterdam University before working in international publishing in his native Holland. Twenty years ago he moved to the U.S. with his now-husband to work as the counsellor for culture in the Dutch diplomatic services. He is now a freelance writer whose work, inspired by the adoption of his two kids, deals with adoption and diversity. He is writing a memoir on his time as a member of a secret homosexual literary society, Castrum Peregrini. Its German leader, a follower of the poet Stefan George, guided his Freundeskreis [Cirlce of Friends] from a canal house on Herengracht in Amsterdam.
Erica Lipper was born in New Jersey and has been on the run ever since. She worked for several years as an English teacher and had various office jobs before returning to graduate school to study counseling psychology. Her writing interests include jobs and work , immigration, geography, the natural world, and funny people. She does not like culture-journalism pieces about the internet, dating, or elite college graduates working on farms. Along with writing, she hopes to work clinically in the field of international trauma studies. She lives in Brooklyn.
Valeria Luiselli is the author of a book of personal essays titled Papeles Falsos. Before coming to New York, she held a scholarship at the Foundation for Mexican Literature (2006-2007) and at the National Endowment for Culture and the Arts in Mexico (2007-2008) and was the online editor for the literary magazine Letras Libres. She had published literary criticism, poetry translations, and personal essays in several Spanish-language magazines and newspapers, including Tierra Adentro, Metapolítica, Este País, Punto de Partida, Cuaderno Salmón, Letras Internacionales and the newspaper Reforma. She is currently a graduate student at Columbia University.
Janelle Lynch is a working artist/photographer with an active international exhibition record. In 2011, Radius Books published her first monograph, Los Jardines de México. In 2013, they will publish another book, which will include four years of work from Barcelona. She loves to write as much as she loves to make photographs. She has written freelance in Spain and the US about photography and photography books, and is also interested in the personal essay. After seven years abroad, she now lives between the West Village and the Catskills, in a renovated red hay barn built circa 1865.
Kevin Lynch is an Irish-born freelance writer who has lived in New York since 1994. He has studied Journalism & Creative Writing at Baruch College and has worked in various sectors such as: Real Estate, Sports Media Services, Investment Banking and Publishing. He has contributed pieces to New York Press, Queens Chronicle, and The Periscope Post. An avid runner who has run marathons in the United States and Europe. He isn't shy when it comes to grabbing the microphone at any karaoke event.
Joshua Mack, a native New Yorker who has always lived between the East and Hudson Rivers, has a B.A. from Columbia and an M.A. from NYU, both in Art History. He works as an independent curator and since 2004 has written about contemporary art, politics, and opera for Modern Painters, Time Out New York, and Art Review. Prior to writing regularly, he cared for his beloved and aged grandmother and worked as an art dealer. Rarely more than a few days and a subway ride from his next psychiatrist appointment, he lives in Chelsea with his boyfriend, Ron, and 2000 sock monkeys.
Daniel Massey covers the New York City economy, labor, immigration, housing, and economic development for Crain’s New York Business. Before Crain’s, Daniel worked at the Star-Ledger, where he wrote a six-part series on a soldier nearly killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. He reported for Newsday and he covered Queens for the Times Ledger, earning the New York State Press Association’s Rookie Reporter of the year award. In 2003, Daniel produced Persons of Interest—on Muslims detained after Sept. 11— which was an official selection of the Sundance, Rotterdam, Locarno and Human Rights Watch film festivals. His book on the role Nelson Mandela’s alma mater played in the South African liberation movement was published this past spring as part of the University of South Africa Press Hidden Histories series. Daniel holds MA degrees from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and the University of Fort Hare, South Africa and a BA from Brown University. He was born in Washington Heights and raised in the Bronx.
Trish Milnamow has a BA in Communications from Temple University. She has been published as a guest columnist in the Philadelphia Daily News and has written short stories. She is currently working on a memoir about growing up Catholic in a working class neighborhood in the Philadelphia area.
Leslie Nipkow came to NY with dreams of a career on the Broadway musical stage, but ended up in roles like: Nurse, Cop, CSI, Demolition Worker, Female Officer, and Erica Kane’s prison guard on All My Children. The latter inspired her one-woman show, Guarding Erica, published in Talk to Me: Monologue Plays (Vintage Books). She now cobbles together the life of an unlikely hyphenate: essayist - TV writer - actor. Her essay “A Long Day’s Journey Into Lip Gloss” appeared in the New York Times City section; “Mantooth” is featured on www.freshyarn.com; and “(Mis)Reading the Signs” ran in the Sunday New York Post. She is currently working on Guarding Erica, a memoir in parts about her life as actor, writer, bartender, mistress, Weight Watcher, personal assistant, and accidental soapwriter.
Shoshana Olidort earned her B.A. in creative writing and literature from Columbia University in 2007. She works a freelance editor, researcher and writer for various projects. Her articles–mostly book reviews–have appeared in a range of publications, including the Forward, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Pleiades and ZEEK.
Tina Pamintuan received her M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago where she wrote a thesis on the Asian American radio program Pacific Time. She began her journalism career at National Public Radio where she worked on the science program Radio Expeditions and the cultural desk. In 2001, she was part of a a four-person production and editorial team that won a Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton for the yearlong radio series, The Geographic Century. She is the recipient of many grants and founder of X-treme Youth Zone Media, a documentary training program for urban youth. She is currently on the broadcast faculty at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY where she teaches audio podcasting and is the Director of Radio Projects and Initiatives. Her writing has appeared in publications including Bust Magazine and Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Alyssa Petersel received a BA in psychology and a BA in international studies from Northwestern University in 2013. Alyssa was awarded the Northwestern Public Interest Fellowship in 2013. She completed the fellowship at Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), a violence prevention collaborative convened by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where she worked in research, community building, policy and advocacy. Alyssa raised $12,000 via Kickstarter crowdfunding to spend eight months in Hungary conducting research and interviews for her debut nonfiction anthology Somehow I Am Different, which was released on March 22, 2016 and has since won first place in the Biography/Autobiography section of the New York Book Festival, earned a starred Kirkus Review, and was featured as Kirkus' Indie Book of the Month for July 2016. Alyssa is now obtaining her Masters in Social Work (MSW) at New York University and participating as an author in the 2016-2017 Jewish Book Council Network. Alyssa lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Alexandra Redgrave found her calling as a writer, editor and media mogul when she launched Redgrave Opinion from her Nova Scotia bedroom at the age of seven. Before attending the Writers’ Institute, she served as associate editor at the monthly travel magazine enRoute. A trained dancer, Alex completed her B.A. in Journalism and Western Society and Culture at Concordia University in Montreal, followed by editorial internships at The Walrus magazine and the Canadian International Development Agency in Burkina Faso. Her writing is featured in the 2011 anthology New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press). Alex’s short documentary Literacy Through Hip Hop appears on the National Film Board of Canada’s CITIZENShift website and was screened by Cinema Politica. None of that prepared her to drive an electric green 37-foot RV across the U.S. as part of the PBS series Road Trip Nation. Good thing she got her license three days before departing.
Dahlia Remler is a Professor at the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College of the City University of New York. An economist, Dahlia has published academic articles on many health care policy topics. She is now working on higher education issues and is especially interested in studying whether professors’ focus on research hurts teaching and learning. Last year, she published with co-author Gregg Van Ryzin a textbook on research methods for applied social and policy areas. In her youth, Dahlia’s identity was forged as a math and science person—not being a literature and writing person was central to that identity. So, she has some trepidation about entering a class likely filled with those who already have literature and writing backgrounds. But Dahlia’s career has revealed the importance—and joy—of communicating with as broad an audience as possible, so she looks forward to the Writer’s Institute to help her meet that goal.
Ruthann Robson's work in creative nonfiction has been recognized by a 2007 fellowship in Nonfiction Literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 2006 Djerassi Residence Artists residency, a Creative Nonfiction (magazine) award, and publication in the Best of Creative Nonfiction (WW Norton, 2004), as well as appearing in various periodicals. Her other published creative work includes novels, short fiction, and poetry. She has also published widely in the area of law, specializing in law and sexuality, including the books Sappho Goes to Law School and Lesbian(Out)Law. She is Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law, teaching primarily in the area of constitutional law.
Molly Rogers turned to writing after failing as a location scout, waitress, legal secretary, and counter of money belonging to a now disgraced celebrity chef. After a brief detour through graduate school to study art history, she returned to writing and thus far has had one play produced, one book published, one short story read on the radio, and one personal essay published in a literary journal. While she has had rather more success writing on the history of photography, she hopes to cover more imaginative ground with a project called "Cold War Family Album; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Mom." She lives in Queens.
David Rompf's essays and stories have appeared in Harvard Review, Missouri Review, Creative Nonfiction, Under the Sun, Berkeley Fiction Review and many other publications. One of his recent essays was selected as a "Notable Essay of the Year" by the Best American Essays series. He has also published travel articles and book reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Philadelphia Inquirer, and several other newspapers and magazines. His most recent essay in The Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page was originally submitted to The Writers' Institute in fall 2007.
Katherine Rowland has lived in and around New York City for the better part of her life. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in public health and social science research at Columbia University, where she focuses on issues of agricultural development and community health in Brazil, and teaches undergraduate courses on health, women and globalization. Her academic work has taken her around much of South America, visiting farms and engaging in activist movements with small-scale farmers. When she is not ensconced in academe, she can be found working on a non-fiction documentary project of international utopian endeavors, for which she has lived in a variety of communes, eco-villages and alternative living experiments in order to create literary portraits of their ideas, ideologies and inhabitants.
Michael Rymer is an education writer for Village Voice and a frequent contributor to The Second Pass, an online literary review. Rymer holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University and an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. His first feature article in Village Voice was originally submitted to The Writers’ Institute in fall 2007. www.michaelrymer.com.
Anya Sacharow is a professionally trained cook, writer and mother. Her B.A. in Comparative Arts is from Washington University, St. Louis, and she studied cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. She has lived in London, Paris, Singapore and Oaxaca, Mexico, but only for two months in Mexico, which was still long enough to pick up a terrible stomach bug. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Her writing has appeared in Mediaweek, Endless Vacation, New York, Time Out, Lexus magazine, and there were a couple of pieces in GQ. And something about Hong Kong in Travel & Leisure. She also published many Internet market research reports as an Internet media analyst at Jupiter Communications in the late 1990s. You can find her on Facebook and foursquare, but not on twitter.
Perry Santanachote traded mountain peaks for skyscrapers when she left Colorado to attend the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in New York City. She now holds a master’s degree in new media on top of a bachelor's degree in anthropology and actually uses them both in her freelance career. A hustler in every sense of the word, Perry juggles jobs in cultural reporting, editing, fact-checking, social media-ting, producing and script-writing - in addition to playing mom to a very needy Pomeranian. Above all else, she is a storyteller. Where words are concerned, she is a staunch supporter of the perfectly placed pun and thinks brevity is beautiful.
Adi Schwartz is an Israeli independent journalist, based in his favorite city Tel Aviv. After working ten years as a staff writer and a senior editor for the daily Haaretz newspaper, he decided that it was time to go his own way. He currently works as freelance and has written for Monocle, The Jewish Chronicle, Il Foglio, Maariv, Globes, and others. Aside from dealing with supposedly serious issues, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, he likes to write about culture, arts and history. He teaches journalism and is working (rather slowly) on his PhD in Communications. His dream is to travel one day along the Mediterranean coast.
Nicholas Sautin is a third year PhD student in English at the Graduate Center, specializing in 20th-century fiction and film. Originally from Paris, France, he holds a B.A. in English from Swarthmore College as well as an MS in Secondary English Education. He has taught English in secondary schools in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and in Istanbul, Turkey. He currently teaches English and Composition at Brooklyn College. Nick is interested in the modern novel and in the representations of memory and trauma in modern literature and film.
Debra Schultz is the author of "Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement" (NYU Press, 2001). A founding board member of the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation’s International Women’s Program, she served for ten years as its Director of Programs. She has taught history and women’s studies at the New School, Rutgers University, and Laguardia Community College. One of her primary passions is thinking about the politics of memory.
Indrani Sen is a journalism teacher, news blog editor and freelance writer. She edits the Local, a news blog about the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill that is run as a collaboration between Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and The New York Times. As a freelancer, Sen has written for The New York Times Dining section, Saveur magazine, the Village Voice, The Christian Science Monitor, and thenation.com, among other publications. Sen was a staff reporter at Newsday from 2001 to 2005, where she covered politics and wrote crime, breaking news, and feature stories. She was also the special writer of “American Lives” – a Newsday-published book and newspaper series, where she profiled more than 100 people that were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. For two years, she was a writer-in-residence and journalism teacher at Bronx Academy of Letters. She holds a B.A. in English literature and language from Oxford University and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Joe Sgammato is a freelance writer and occasional adjunct instructor of English at local colleges. He earned an MA in English from Fordham University and an MFA in Film from Columbia University. He has written articles on film, literature, and art, but his predominant output for the last two decades has been in the field of health care. As a medical writer, he has contributed numerous articles to peer-reviewed journals and has produced a variety of sponsored projects for the pharmaceutical industry. He lives in Norwalk, CT with his family. Joe is at the CUNY Graduate Center Writers’ Institute for two reasons: to share an anticipated warm collegial experience in that loneliest of occupations—writing; and to expand the markets for his work.
Dasha Shkurpela is originally from Kyrgyzstan and works in painting and sculpture. Her writing is part of the continuous interchange between different modes of perception and expression. Dasha has an MFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art, an MA in History from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and a BA from the University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. To make a living Dasha works for profit in the non-profit industry. She collects Soviet Socialist Realist porcelain, grows avocado trees, meditates, swims, and is a devoted listener of classical music.
Carol Spindel has published two books of nonfiction: a memoir of a year in a village in West Africa, In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove, and a book about the controversy over the use of Indian-themed mascots in American sports, Dancing at Halftime. She has written short pieces for literary journals and for her local NPR station as well as for magazines. She usually lives in Urbana, Illinois with her husband, geographer Tom Bassett, and teaches at the University of Illinois. She has two grown children. She recently returned from the same village in northern Cote d'Ivoire where she first lived twenty-seven years ago. Her neighbors there are subsistence farmers trying to feed their families after five years of political instability and rebellion have disrupted their country's fragile economy. She plans to write about this.
Nathan Thrall has written for The New Republic, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, GQ, and Slate and is a contributing editor to Tablet Magazine. He holds an M.A. in political science from Columbia University and lives in New York.
James Trimarco is an anthropologist and writer born in New York City but raised in Florida. His non-fiction work has covered topics ranging from the souvenir trade at Ground Zero to gender relations at Burning Man, and has appeared in Critique of Anthropology, The Fifth Estate, and Strange Horizons. Recently, he won third prize in Vanity Fair's annual essay contest. Mr. Trimarco specializes in careful, ethnographically-inspired investigative writing and thoughtful critiques of culture and politics. He is interested in publishing more widely and steadily.
Kristin Vuković is from St. Paul, Minnesota and is now a writer living in New York City. She holds an MFA in Nonfiction Writing and a BA in Literature and Writing from Columbia University. During her time in Columbia’s graduate writing program, Kristin was Editor-in-Chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. Her work has been published in The New Yorker’s “Goings On About Town,” The Wall Street Journal India, ForbesLife India, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Connecticut Review, and Croatian Chronicle Network, among others. Kristin is currently a Travel Expert for Jetsetter specializing in travel to Croatia, and is working on a book about the famous Paški cheese from the northern Dalmatian island Pag. http://www.kristinvukovic.com.
Michael Washburn is a Kentucky-born, New York-based writer. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Travel Section, The Washington Post, NPR, Bookforum, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Observer, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Guardian, among others. He is a frequent contributor to The Boston Globe. Over the past decade of working in public humanities, Michael has curated programming designed to facilitate discourse on politics, history, music, and literature. He is currently a research associate with the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He previously served as the assistant director of the GC's Center for the Humanities. Before joining CUNY he was the assistant director of The University of Chicago’s Cultural Policy Center. Michael previously taught literature and writing at DePaul University in Chicago, and starting in the fall of 2011 he will teach on book culture and the future of criticism at NYU. He was educated at The University of Chicago and The University of Louisville, his hometown school. He’s currently procrastinating – heroically, though – on a book.
Louis J. Wasser (Lou) was born and raised in Philadelphia and currently lives with his wife in East Stroudsburg, PA. He has also lived and worked in New Jersey, Washington D.C. and for many years in Southern California. He has published critical reviews and theater pieces in The Washington Post, book reviews in Washington Jewish Week and literary journals as well as film reviews for an online cultural magazine. He has a background and strong interests in jazz and classical music, and is looking to publish articles and books in the fields of the arts and American cultural history. He is currently working on a memoir of the sixties called No Senator's Son.
Christine Wenc has published in Orion, The Stranger, the Seattle Weekly, Exquisite Corpse, and Surgery of Modern Warfare. She the former editor of The Stranger, was a member of the original staff of The Onion in Madison, WI, and worked for three years reading the news on Wisconsin Public Radio. She has an MA in English and creative writing from Hollins College in Roanoke, VA, and spent 6 years in the PhD program in the history of science at Harvard.
Erica Wetter is an acquisitions editor at the academic publisher Routledge. Over the years, her writing has appeared in Audubon, Orion, Bust, Publishers Weekly, Utne, Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture, and other publications. She has a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan and an MS in Environmental Writing from the University of Montana.
Rebecca Wharton was the editorial producer for the national weekly broadcast Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. As editorial producer, she was responsible for developing ideas, vetting potential interviewees, doing background analysis and investigation. She was also editorial producer for NOW with Bill Moyers and On Faith and Reason—a series of extended conversations with authors and thinkers on faith and reason, doubt and belief, myth and ritual. She has also worked for ABC News, Turner Broadcasting, and on several independent documentaries. She received her BA from Wesleyan University in studio art and Russian language and literature. In addition to writing, her interests include drawing, painting, yoga, and dogs.
Victor Xavier Zarour Zarzar is a doctoral student at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Born and raised in Mexico in a Palestinian family, he went on to complete a Baccalaureato in Philosophy and a BA in English Literature in Rome, Italy, a city that has been fundamental to his personal and intellectual development. He is currently finishing coursework for his PhD and will start teaching literature at Baruch College in the fall. His interest in literature spans across genres and periods. His work focuses on the development of the novel, and, in particular, the works of Elena Ferrante.