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.

Nina Boutsikaris is the author of the memoir I’m Trying to Tell You I’m Sorry (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming). Her short nonfiction has appeared in Brevity, Entropy, Fourth Genre, Third Coast, Hobart, the Los Angeles Review, the Mid-American Review, Phoebe, Puerto del Sol, and Redivider, among many othersand her work has been named a Notable Essay by the editors of the Best American Essays series. She has worked at Ms. magazine, the Sonora Review, Riffle Books, and Skyhorse Publishing. She has taught at the University of Arizona and the New School, and been a teaching fellow at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. She holds a BA from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona.

Chloé Caldwell is the author of the essay collections Legs Get Led Astray (Future Tense Books) and I’ll Tell You In Person (Coffee House Press/Emily Books), as well as the novella Women (Short Flight/Long Drive Books). Her essays have appeared in Lenny Letter, The Sun magazine, Salon, VICE magazine, The Rumpus, xoJane, Smith Magazine, and Freerange Nonfiction. She has contributed to the anthologies True Tales of Lust and Love (Soft Skull Press) and Goodbye To All That: Writers On Loving And Leaving New York (Seal Press). She has taught for LitReactor, The Independent Resource Cente, and The Hudson Opera House.

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.

Kerry Cohen is the author of the memoirs Seeing Ezra (Seal Press) and Loose Girl (Hyperion) and the nonfiction book, The Truth of Memoir: How to Write About Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion, and Integrity (Writer's Digest Books). She is also the author of the young adult novels Easy (Simon & Schuster), The Good Girl, and It's Not You, It's Me (Delacorte). She has taught at Clark College, Mt. Hood Community College, and City University in Vancouver, Washington. She holds a BA from Clark University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon.

Lilly Dancyger is the author of Hunted: A Memoir of Art and Addiction (Shanti Arts Press, forthcoming). Her essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, New York magazine, Playboy, VICE, Gothamist, Marie Claire UK, and the New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, among many others. She is Deputy Editor of Narratively, where she edits its Memoir section, and has worked for the Joy Harris Literary Agency. She has taught at Catapult and Girls Write Now. She holds a BA from The New School for Liberal Arts and an MS from Columbia 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.

Fran McNulty is the co-author of the nonfiction book Powerplay (Simon & Schuster). She has written features and food reviews for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, New York, The Nation, Barrons, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Boston Globe, and New York Woman. She has taught at City University of New York and William Paterson College. She holds a BA from Harvard.

Melissa Petro has published nonfiction in Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, Poets & Writers, Salon, Daily Beast, Narratively, Jezebel, xoJane, Frisky, The Fix, and Rumpus. She is the editor of two anthologies: Pros(e): Writings by Individuals with Experiences in the Sex Industries and Corner Stories: Writings by the Washington Heights CORNER Project Community. She is a PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize finalist. She holds a BA from Antioch, an MS in Education from Fordham, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School.

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.

Alanna Schubach has published essays, articles, and criticism in The Atlantic, Refinery 29, The Village Voice, and the LA Review of Books, among many others. Her fiction has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, Post Road, the Lifted Brow, and Prick of the Spindle, and she has been named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. She has taught at the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, the College Readiness Program, the Westchester County Department of Corrections, and Girls Write Now. She holds a BA from American University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

David Seigerman is the author of the nonfiction books Becky Sauerbrunn and Tamba Hali (both Aladdin), and the co-author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball, Under Pressure, and Quarterback (all with Triumph Books). He writes for the Newbridge Marketing Group and has written blogs and articles for numerous corporate clients, including Polo and Barnes & Noble. He has served as a senior producer for RealFootballNetwork, a senior analyst for Football.com, managing editor of College Sports Television, and a producer/writer for CNN-Sports Illustrated. He co-produced and co-wrote the feature-length documentary The Warrior Ethos: The Experience and Tradition of Boxing at West Point. He holds a BA from Ithaca College.

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.