Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

María Alejandra Barrios has published short stories in Cosmonauts Avenue, Jellyfish Review, Bandit Fiction, Lost Balloon, Reservoir Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fresh Ink, El Malpensante, WaxWing Mag, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Shenandoah Literary. She has taught for the Universidad Del Norte Barranquilla, Paragraph New York, and the Beaubourg Theatre in New Orleans. She holds a BA from the Universidad de los Andes and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester.

David Berner is the author of the memoirs Walks with Sam, October Song, (both Roundfire) and The Consequence of Stars (Adelaide); the novels Things Behind the Sun (Adelaide) and A Well-Respected Man (Strategic); and the novella Sandman: A Golf Tale (Roundfire, forthcoming). His essays and short stories have appeared in Chicagoland Journal, Clef Notes, Epiphany, Eunoia Review, Longshot Island, Under the Gum Tree, and Write City. He is a reporter/anchor for WBBM Radio-Chicago and a contributor to the CBS Radio Network. He is the producer/writer of the audio documentaries NaNoWriMo (PRX/WRST Oshkosh, WI), Bracelets of Grace (Prairie Public Radio), and Finding My Kerouac (WFUV Radio, NYC). He teaches at Columbia College. He holds a BS from Clarion University, an MA in Teaching from Aurora University, and an MFA in Creative Writing-Nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Emily Rapp Black is the author of the memoirs Sanctuary (Random House), The Still Point of the Turning World (Penguin), and Poster Child (Bloomsbury). Her nonfiction has appeared in Vogue, the New York Times, Die Zeit, The Times-London, Lenny Letter, The Sun, Time, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, O the Oprah Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. A former Fulbright scholar, she is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award and a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. She has taught at the University of California-Riverside and the UCR School of Medicine. She holds a BA from Saint Olaf College, an MTS from Harvard University, and an MFA in Fiction and Poetry from the University of Texas.

Nina Boutsikaris is the author of the memoir I’m Trying to Tell You I’m Sorry: An Intimacy Triptych (Black Lawrence Press), a Small Press Distribution Bestseller. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Third Coast, Hobart, and the Los Angeles Review, among others; anthologized in The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Fiction (Rose Metal Press); and named Notable Essays by the Best American Essays series. She has taught at the University of Arizona and the New School, and is the archivist at John Ashbery's Flow Chart Foundation. She holds a BA from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona.

Adela Brito has published short stories in Acentos Review, Litbreak Magazine, Hieroglyph, and Moko Magazine, and she is a former fiction editor of The Pinch literary journal. Her nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Underwood, Adelaide Literary Magazine, All About Jazz, c-nf, Counterculture UK, and Storyboard Memphis. She has taught at the University of Memphis and Nashville State Community College. She holds a BA from Florida International University and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Memphis.

Carmen Bugan is the author of the memoir Burying the Typewriter (Picador), the essay collection Poetry and the Language of Opression (Oxford University), and the poetry collections Time Being, Lillies from America, Releasing the Porcelain Birds, The House of Straw (all Shearsman Books), and Crossing the Carpathians (Carcanet Press). Her poems and essays have appeared in the Irish Times, the Harvard Review, the International Literature Quarterly, the Nieman Storyboard, and the anthologies Centres of Catacylsm (Bloodaxe Books), See How I Land (Heaven Tree Press), and Penguin’s Poems for Life (Penguin). She has taught at Grand Valley State University, the University of Fribourg, the Geneva Writers’ Group, and Oxford University. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and a Master’s and Ph.D, both in English Literature, from Oxford University.

Marie Carter is the author of the novel Holly's Hurricane (Grace Goodrich Press), the memoir The Trapeze Diaries (Hanging Loose Press), and the forthcoming nonfiction book Mortimer and the Witches (Fordham University Press). Her nonfiction has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Bloom, Spectacle, Turntable + Bluelight, and in the anthology Best Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton). She has served as associate editor of Hanging Loose Press, where she edited the anthologies Word Jig and Voices of the City. She holds an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University.

Angie Chatman is a contributor to Business Insider and iPondr, and her short stories have been anthologized in Dine (Hippocampus Books), and appeared in Literary Landscapes, Pangyrus, the Rumpus, Blood Orange Review, Hippocampus magazine, fwriction:review, and the blog Slice of MIT. She has performed stories for The MOTH, the RISK! podcast, StoryCollider, MassMouth, Tell-All Boston, and the TV series Stories from the Stage (WGBH). She has taught for the University of Hartford, Tunxis Community College, and Des Moines Area Community College. She holds a BS from the Illinois Institute of Technology, an MS in Economics from MIT Sloan, and an MFA in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction from Queens University of Charlotte.

Carter Edwards is the author of the short story collection The Aversive Clause (Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc) and the poetry collections From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes (Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc) and To Mend Small Children (Augury Books), and his work is included in the anthologies Diving Divas and Zombiality. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the New York Times Magazine, La Petite Zine, Freerange Nonfiction, Sink Review, Pax Americana, and Brooklyn Rail. He has served as an executive producer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York. He holds a BA from Reed College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. 

Janet Flora has published nonfiction in Yalabusha Review, Willow Review, Forge, and the Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine. Her short stories have appeared in New Orleans Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Portland 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.

Seth Fried is the author of the novel The Municipalists (Penguin) and the short story collection The Great Frustration (Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint). His short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Missouri Review, One Story, and Tin House. His work has been anthologized in the Better of McSweeney’s and the Pushcart Prizes XXV: The Best of the Small Presses, and twice named a Distinguished Story by the editors of the Best American Short Stories series. He has been regular contributor to Shouts & Murmurs in the New Yorker and to NPR's Selected Shorts. He has worked as an assistant editor at the Mid-American Review. He holds a BA from Bowling Green State University.

Britt Gambino has published poetry in Armchair/Shotgun, anderbo, The Boiler, decomP, and Springgun Press, and her poem "In Bloom" was featured in an ad for 1-800-Flowers. She has served as a contributing writer at The Sexy Feminist blog and as an Associate Poetry Editor at The Doctor T.J. Eckleberg Review. She has taught at Education Unlimited, Brooklyn Brainery, and 826 NYC. She holds a BA from Drew University and an MFA in Poetry from The New School.

Serrana Laure Gay has published short stories in North Dakota Quarterly, the Hunger Journal, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and Prometheus Dreaming. She is the author of the illustrated book Fatty Fatty No Friends (Mind the Art Entertainment), adapted from her operetta of the same name, which was winner of the Best of Fest prize at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Her plays have been workshopped or appeared at the New York International Fringe Festival, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, the National Opera Center, the Frigid NY theatre festival, the HERE Arts Center, and Feinstein’s 54 Below. She has taught at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. She holds a BFA from Ithaca College and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Shahnaz Habib is the author of the nonfiction book Airplane Mode (Catapault, forthcoming), and the translator of the novel Jasmine Days, for which she and the author Benyamin won the JCB Prize, India's most valuable prize for literature. Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker online, Creative Nonfiction, Agni, Brevity, The Guardian, and Afar. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and her work has been cited in the Best American Essays series. She holds a BA from Mahatma Gandhi University, an MA in English Literature from the University of Delhi, and an MA in Media Studies from the New School.

John Oliver Hodges is the author of the novel Quizzleboon (Perpetual Motion Machine Press), the short story collection The Love Box (Livingston Press), and the novella War of the Crazies (Main Street Rag). His short stories have appeared in appeared in Southern Cultures Magazine, American Short Fiction, New World Writing, and Texas Review. He has taught at Florida State University, the University of Mississippi, and the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. He holds a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from Florida State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi.

Jaime Karnes has published fiction and nonfiction in Granta, Adirondack Review, Opium Magazine, and PopMatters. She is an editor-at-large in fiction at The Utopian. She has taught at Rutgers and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark University.

Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of the novels The House of Erzulie (Shade Mountain Press), Ice Song, a Barnes & Noble Feature Pick, and Tattoo (both Random House). Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Transition, Arts & Letters, Existere Journal of Arts and Literature, Drunk Monkeys, Disturbed Digest, Body Parts Magazine, San Diego Reader, and Pretty Owl Poetry. Her nonfiction has appeared in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Re-Discover MSN—San Diego, About Town Magazine, and Annotation Nation, as well as the anthologies My Cruel Invention (Meerkat Press) and The Body Horror Book (Oscillate Wildly Press). She has worked as the managing editor of San Diego Family Magazine, and taught at San Diego State University, Emporia State University, and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from Ashford University and an MFA from Antioch University.

Rosalie Morales Kearns is the founder of Shade Mountain Press, an independent publisher of literary fiction. She is the author of the novel Kingdom of Women (Jaded Ibis Press) and the short-story collection Virgins & Tricksters (Aqueous Books), and her short stories, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Drunken Boat, Entropy, Fiction Writers Review, Luna Luna, PANK, and Yes, Poetry. She edited the anthology The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press), and her work has appeared in the anthologies Arcana (Minor Arcana Press) and Nasty Women Poets (Lost Horse Press). She has taught at the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Illinois, and the Arts Center of the Capital Region. She holds a BA from Fordham University, an MA in Russian Language/Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois.

Blaise Allysen Kearsley is the creator, producer, and host of the How I Learned storytelling series, and has performed stories for The MOTH, Risk!, The Soundtrack Series, and Literary Death Match. She is a contributing editor to the Vestal Review, and her photography and essays have appeared in Longreads, the Boston Globe, Electric Literature's the Nervous Breakdown, Elle, New York, Gothamist, VICE, Gawker, Playbill, Midnight Breakfast, and The Weeklings. She has contributed to the anthologies Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic. (Simon Spotlight Entertainment) and Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, And Abandoned Rock Operas (Crown Archetype). She holds a BA from Bennington College.

Meghan Kenny is the author of the novel The Driest Season (W.W. Norton & Company), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and  the short story collection Love Is No Small Thing (LSU Press). Her short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, and Pleiades. She has taught at Boise State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Franklin & Marshall College. She holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA in Fiction from Boise State University.

Scott LaCounte (also writing as Scott Douglas) is a long-time contributor to McSweeney’s, from which his humor series was turned into the memoir Quiet, Please: Dispatches From a Public Librarian (Da Capo Books). He has independently published a wide range of books on religion, as well as books for children and in the science fiction and humor genres. He holds a BA from California State University-Fullerton, and an MLIS in Library Science from San Jose State University.

Angela Lam is the author of the memoir Red Eggs and Good Luck (She Writes Press), the novels Friends First, The Divorce Planner, and the Women of the Crush series (all The Wild Rose Press), and Blood Moon Rising (Eternal Press), and the short story collection The Human Act and Other Stories (All Things That Matter Press). Her nonfiction has appeared in The Sun, the San Jose Mercury News, SFGate, the Portland Book Review, and the Bohemian. She holds a BA from Sonoma State University.

Cleve Lamison is the author of the science fiction novel Full-Blood Half-Breed (Penguin Random House), and he is a contributing writer to Suvudu.com, a science fiction and fantasy blog at Random House. He is a staff writer for the television show Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy (Urban Movie Channel), and he wrote and directed the feature film Following Bliss, which won Best Feature Film at the Global Arts International Film Festival. His short film "The Story" won the Denver World Film Festival, and his short film "Jack for President" was a runner-up in the New York 24-Hour Filmmaking Contest. He was the artistic director of the BlackBird Theatre Company in NYC; created, wrote, and drew the cartoon strip Rick the Roach for the Richmond News Leader; and is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves. He holds a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Chip Livingston is the author of the novel Owls Don’t Have to Mean Deaththe short story/essay collection Naming Ceremony, (both Lethe Press), and the poetry collections Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (New York Quarterly Books) and Museum of False Starts (Gival Press). His short stories and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Potomac Review, Court Green, Subtropics, and Crazyhorse. He has taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts, the University of the Virgin Islands, the University of Colorado, and Brooklyn College. He holds a BS and a BA from the University of Florida, an MA in Fiction from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College.

Sarah McColl is the author of the memoir Joy Enough (Liveright Publishing). 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, Smithsonian magazine, JSTOR Daily, and TakePart. Her essays have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney's, 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.

Michael Montlack is the author of the poetry collections Cool Limbo and Daddy (NYQ Books) and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). His poetry has appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Offing, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Court Green, and Los Angeles Review. He holds a BA from Hofstra University, an MFA from the New School, and an MA from San Francisco State University, all in Creative Writing and Literature.

Benjamin Obler is the author of the novel Javascotia (Penguin UK). His short stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, London Times, Mirror, Electric Literature, Long Reads, Puerto Del Sol, The Junction, Belle Ombre, Qwerty, Sundress, Thirty-Two, Cottonwood, and Evansville Review. He has taught at the Loft Literary Center. He holds a BA from the University of St. Thomas and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow.

Betsey Odell is the author of the novel Deep Water (Sapphire Books) and the essay “Naked in Bohemia” in the anthology Travelers Tales Prague and the Czech Republic (Travelers’ Tales Guides). Her nonfiction has appeared in Preserving Your Memory magazine, of which she was editor-in-chief, and Yellow Rat Bastard. She has taught at Randolph-Macon College. She holds a BA from Randolph-Macon College.

Amy Scheiner has published essays and short nonfiction in The Southampton Review, Longreads/Memoir Monday, Trouble Maker Fire Starter, and the Matador Network, among others. She has taught for Stony Brook University, the Young Artists and Writers Project, and the Community College of Philadelphia. She holds a BA from Boston University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University.

Radhika Sharma is the author of the novel Mangoes for Monkeys and the short story collection Parikrama, (both Frog Books/Leadstart Publishing). Her short fiction has appeared in the Santa Clara Review and The Fanzine, and her essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Times of India, the Economic Times, Pacific Time, Perspectives, In the Fray, and the Forum on KQED FM, among many others. She is a former assistant fiction editor for 14Hills literary magazine, and she has taught for San Francisco State University, Milipitas Adult Education, and the Learning Bee. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

Josh Sippie is the director of publishing guidance at Gotham Writers Workshop, host of Gotham’s talk show Inside Writing, and the organizer of the Gotham Writers Conference.  He has published short stories, nonfiction, humor, and poetry in Hobart, McSweeney’s, Brevity, Stone of Madness, the Guardian, The Writer, Bear Creek Gazette, Allegory, and Truffle. He is the Fiction Editor at The Razor magazine, an associate editor at Uncharted Magazine, has served as a developmental editor and proofreader for Del Sol Review and Writers Clearinghouse, and was a literary assistant at Talcott Notch Literary. He holds a BA from the University of Central Missouri.

Divya Sood is the author of the novels Find Someone to Love and Nights Like This (both Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have won the New Jersey Arts and Letters First Prize for Short Fiction and appeared in The Masters Review. She has taught at Rutgers University and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from Rutgers University and an MA in English from New York University. 

Nelsie Spencer is the author of the novel The Playgroup, (St. Martin’s Press). She wrote the feature screenplay A Girl's Best Friend and co-wrote the feature film Valley Inn, which debuted at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. She wrote, produced, and co-hosted the radio show The Radio Ritas, (Greenstone Media) and hosts the podcast Losing It. She co-wrote and starred in the play My Heart Belongs To Daddy, produced at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and Duke University’s Pre-Broadway series, and her one-woman show Goodbye Cream played at the When I’m 34 Festival in Los Angeles. She studied dance and theater at Orange Coast College, and fiction at The New School.

Jessica Sticklor (also writing as Jessica Stilling and J.M. Stephen) is the author of the novels Just So Many Places (NineStar Press) The Weary God of Ancient Travelers (D.X Varos), The Beekeeper's Daughter (Bedazzled Ink Press), and Betwixt and Between (Ig Publishing), and the young adult Pan Chronicles series and The Rise of Runes and Shields, book one of her Seidr Sagas young adult fantasy series (all D.X. Varos). Her short stories have appeared in The Paper Nautilus, Open Wide Magazine, Conclave, The Skyline Review, Chiron Review, and Kudzu, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Writer, Ms., and Tor.com. She has worked as an editor at The House of Books. She holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY.

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is the author of the young adult Compound series, the young adult novels The Tomb, The Raft, The Detour, the middle grade Shipwreck Island series (all Feiwel and Friends), and the Elizabeti series of picture books (Lee & Low). She has taught at the Whidbey Island Writer’s Workshop. She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.

Justine Teu has published short fiction in Passages North, Storm Cellar, The Offing, Pidgeonholes, VIDA Lit, LEVEE magazine, and Pigeon Pages, among others, and her essays have appeared in the Binghamton Journal of History and Binghamton Writes. She has taught for WriteOn and for BuzzFeed. She holds a BA from the State University of New York-Binghamton and an MFA in Fiction from the New School.

Cullen Thomas is the author of the memoir Brother One Cell (Viking). His nonfiction has 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 has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and the National Geographic channel and has taught at NYU. He holds a BA from Binghamton University.

Arlaina Tibensky is the author of the novel And Then Things Fall Apart (Simon & Schuster). Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in One Story, SmokeLong QuarterlyMcSweeney's, Madison ReviewThe Dinner Party DownloadNew Stories from the Midwest 2018 (New American Press), the New York Times, and elsewhere. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University.

Laura Yeager is the author of the short story collection First Aid and Other Stories (Iowa State) and the essay chapbook Cancer Loot (excerpted by Cancer Wellness). Her fiction has  appeared in Paris Review, Missouri Review, North American Review, and Kaleidoscope; her personal essays have appeared at Aleteia, Skirt magazine, Dogster, the National Catholic Reporter, Guideposts, and bp Magazine; and her craft essays have appeared in Funds for Writers, WOW—Women on Writing, and Writers Weekly. She blogs for  Cure Today and PsychCentral. She has taught at Kent State University, Kirkwood Community College, and Rhode Island School of Design. She holds a BA from Oberlin College, an MA in English from Iowa State University, and an MFA in English from the University of Iowa.

Irene Zabytko is the author of the novel The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin), and the short story collection When Luba Leaves Home (Algonquin). Her short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and her nonfiction has appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, the New York Times Book Review, and the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. She received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award in Ukraine for an upcoming novel based on the life of Nikolai Gogol. She holds a BA from Vermont College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.

Salma Zarook wrote Salam From Salma, a travel and lifestyle blog, and now writes for Medium. Her essays and poetry have appeared in Pasadena Now and Voiceworks, and one of her short stories won the Australia-wide Write4Fun competition. She has taught for Johns Hopkins University, the New Horizon School LA, the Islamic Center of Southern California, and Five Tuition in Melbourne, Australia. She holds a BA from the University of Melbourne.