Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Zaina Arafat has published short fiction in Granta and the Iowa Review, and her essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and on NPR’s Tell Me More. She has worked for The International Writing Program, Italia 7 Public Television, and The New Yorker magazine. She has taught at Project Pen in Jordan, the Borj El Barajneh Refugee Camp in Lebanon, and at the University of Iowa. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa.

Alice Bradley is co-author of the nonfiction humor book Let’s Panic About Babies (St. Martin’s Press). She co-edited with Lee Gutkind the essay anthology Oh, Baby: True Stories About Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love (In Fact Books). Her essays have appeared in Redbook, The Sun magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Creative Nonfiction. Her short fiction has been published in Pank, Fence, and the Berkeley Fiction Review. She writes the blog Finslippy, which has been featured in the New York Times and on Good Morning America and Today, and she is co-host of the podcast The League of Awkward Unicorns. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.

Tom Brennan is a comedian, writer, producer, comic book editor, and blogger who has worked for Marvel Comics, Disney, Dynamic Forces and CBS News. He produces the hit political debate show Electoral Dysfunction every week at The Peoples Improv Theater in Manhattan. He has taught at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and 826 NYC. He holds a BA from Drexel University. 

Kelly Caldwell has written for Vox, New York Newsday, House Beautiful, Time Out New York, The Writer, The Huffington Post, and others. One of her essays was named a Notable Essay by the editors of the Best American Essays series and anthologized in If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home. She is also dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop. She holds a BJ from the University of Missouri and an MS from Columbia University.

Bruce Cherry is a writer and performer for The Final Edition/The Final Edition Radio Hour and has been a producer, staff writer, or contributing writer for the Late Late Show on CBS, Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, The Randi Rhodes Show, Air America Radio, and Jest Magazine. He is a contributor to Air America: The Playbook (Rodale Books) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Jokes (Alpha Books/Penguin), and was a featured columnist for City Scoops magazine. He has written humor for celebrities and politicians, including a U.S. President. He has also written for several animated web series, including The God & Devil Show. He holds a BA from Penn State University.

Ken Derry is the former executive editor of publications for the New York Yankees, and also worked as deputy editor of the team's Yankees Magazine. He has written articles for the New York Times, ESPN.com, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World, Bicycling, AM New York, the Times of Trenton, Blue, the Rough Guides, and Shecky’s Nightlife Guides. He has taught for New York University. He holds a BA from Old Dominion University and an MFA in Fiction from the New School.

Michael Dunphy is a contributing writer for USA Today’s travel publication RoadWarriorVoices, and his articles and essays have appeared in Travel Weekly, PBS: Next Avenue, American Way, Travel + Leisure, Time Out, Beer Advocate, and NewYork.com, among many others. He has worked as an editor and contributor to Fodor’s Travel (Random House). He holds a BA from the University of Vermont and an MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College.

Peter Finch is a contributing editor for Golf Digest, where he writes the “Golf and Business” column and where he has also served as a senior editor. He is the co-author of the books The SmartMoney Guide to Long-Term Investing, The SmartMoney Stockpicker’s Bible (both John Wiley & Sons), and How to Raise Kids Without Going Broke (Avon Books). He has served as an editor at SmartMoney magazine and BusinessWeek, and written for The Wall Street Journal, The San Jose Mercury News, and Art Direction magazine, among many others. He has taught at the University of Tennessee, and holds a BA from Stanford University.

Janet Flora has published nonfiction in Yalabusha Review, Willow Review, Health Magazine, Salon News, Dramatics, Dan's Papers, and Makeup Artist Magazine, and she served as nonfiction editor of LIT. Her short fiction has been published in NDQ, New Orleans Review, and Hawaii Pacific Review. She has taught at NYU and the School of Visual Arts. She holds a BA from City University, Richmond College, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School University.

Jen Glantz is the author of the memoir Always a Bridesmaid for Hire (Simon & Schuster) and the essay collection All My Friends Are Engaged (Thought Catalog), which was an Amazon bestseller in humor essays. She writes the blog The Things I Learned From, which has been syndicated by the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and xoJane. Her articles and essays have appeared in Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, PopSugar, Refinery29, and Today.com, among many others, and she writes a weekly advice column for BRIDES magazine. She has taught at General Assembly and for ConEdison. She holds a BA in Journalism and a BA in Creative Writing, both from the University of Central Florida.

Patty Lamberti has served as an editor with Playboy, Latina, and Lifetime online. She has written nonfiction for Maxim, New York Metro, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, and Satisfaction. She is the Professional-in-Residence at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. She has taught at the University of Illinois. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in Writing from the University of Illinois.

Beth Livermore has written articles and essays for the magazines Astronomy, E: The Environmental Magazine, Family Circle, Glamour, Health, Mademoiselle, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic World, Natural History, Outside, Ski, Smithsonian, and Your Family. She has contributed to many books, including: The Blessing of a Mother’s Love (Ideals Publications), Early Childhood Education (McGraw Hill), Making Connections: Mother-Daughter Travel Adventures (Seal Press), and several Discovery Communications books including Star and Sky and American Safari (Insight Guides/Discovery Communications). She’s been a science writing/journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at Columbia University, Rutgers University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She holds a BJ from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MFA in Nonfiction from Columbia University.

Aspen Matis is the author of the memoir Girl In The Woods (HarperCollins), which was named one of the best books of the year by The Guardian. Her essays and articles have appeared in Marie Claire, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, Psychology Today, Salon, and Tin House. She has studied at Colorado College and the New School.

Sarah McColl is the author of the memoir Joy Enough (Liveright Publishing, forthcoming). She was the founding editor-in-chief of Yahoo Food, and her food writing has appeared in Bon Appetit, Food52, Epicurious, House Beautiful, Edible Brooklyn, and TakePart. Her essays have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Story Quarterly, South Dakota Review, In Context Journal, and in the anthology The Shell Game (University of Nebraska Press). She’s been a senior editor and producer for Condé Nast Publications, and worked for Cambridge University Press. She holds a BA from Macalester College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Ian S. Port is the author of the nonfiction book The Birth of Loud, (Scribner, forthcoming), and his essays, articles, and criticism have appeared in The Believer, The Oxford AmericanPopular Mechanics, Radio Silence, Rolling Stone, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Threepenny Review, and the Village Voice. He was music editor of San Francisco Weekly, where among other duties he oversaw the award-winning All Shook Down music blog. He holds a BA from the University of California-San Diego and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University.

Chris Prioleau has published short nonfiction in The Awl, ZYZZYVA, and Apogee Journal, among others. He has taught at Columbia University, both undergraduate creative writing courses and in the Summer Creative Writing Program for teens, at the Benjamin Banneker Academy, the Brooklyn High School for the Arts, and the Globe Institute of Technology. He is the Development and Communications Manager for the New York Writers Coalition, a founding editor of Apogee Journal, and a current board member of the Wendy’s Subway community writing center in Brooklyn. He holds a BA from the University of California-Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

Heather Wood Rudulph is the co-founder and editor of the website Sexy Feminist, and co-author of the nonfiction book Sexy Feminism  (Mariner Books). She has published articles and essays for The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, Refinery 29, Elle, Glamour, Details, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Salon, among others. She holds a BS from Syracuse University. 

Ammon Shea is the author of the nonfiction books Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation, The Phone Book—The Curious History of the Book that Everyone Uses but No One Reads, and Reading the OED—One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, (all Perigee Books), and he is the co-author of the nonfiction books Insulting English and Depraved English (both St. Martin’s Press). His articles and essays have appeared in the Guardian, Humanities magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and Slate, among many others. He has been a columnist for Departures magazine and is a writer for Merriam-Webster. He holds a BA from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Ashley Shelby is the author of the nonfiction book Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City (Minnesota Historical Society Press) and the novel South Pole Station (Picador USA). Her short fiction, journalism, and essays have appeared in J Journal: New Writings on Social Justice, the Los Angeles Review, The Nation, Post Road, Seattle Review, Sonora Review, Southeast Review, and Third Coast, among many others. As an editor at Penguin Group (USA), she acquired and edited both narrative nonfiction and memoir. She holds a BA from Indiana University and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University.

Steven James Snyder has written articles for People.com, USA Today, Newsday, the Newark Star-Ledger, L Magazine, the Villager, and Art Forum. He has served as associate editor at Time magazine, film critic for the New York Sun, arts reviewer with Downtown Express Collider, film editor for SOMA magazine, and is executive editor of The 74. He is also a member of the New York Film Critics Circle. He holds a BS from the University of Minnesota and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University.

Cullen Thomas is the author of the memoir Brother One Cell (Viking). His work has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Salon, The Rumpus, The Sonora Review, World Hum, Current Biography, and Penthouse. He holds a BA from Binghamton University.