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, The BelieverBuzzfeed, 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.

Gabrielle Bellot is a staff writer at Literary Hub, and her essays and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Tin House, New York magazine’s “The Cut,” Electric Literature, Guernica, and VICE, among many others. She has served as a board member for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, fiction editor for The James Franco Review, and as assistant prose, creative, and life writing editor for Transnational Literature. She has taught at Florida State University. She holds a BA from St. Leo University, an MFA in Creative Writing-Fiction, and a Ph.D in English-Creative Writing, both from Florida State University.

Nina Boutsikaris is the author of the memoir I’m Trying to Tell You I’m Sorry (Black Lawrence Press), and her essays have appeared in Brevity, Entropy, Fourth Genre, Third Coast, Hobart, the Los Angeles Review, the Mid-American Review, and Redivider, among many others. Her work has been anthologized in The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction, and 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.

Kelly Caldwell has written for Vox, Pacific Standard, Entropy, New York Newsday, House Beautiful, Time Out New York, The Writer, and Essay Daily, among many 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.

Michael Dunphy is the managing editor of The Montpelier Bridge in Vermont, and has been a contributing writer for USA Today’s travel publication RoadWarriorVoices, a contributing writer to Travel Weekly, and editor of Rawckus Magazine. His articles and essays have appeared in 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.

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.

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.

Kim Liao has published short memoir, personal essays, fiction, and creative nonfiction in The Millions, The Rumpus, Salon, Lit Hub, Another Chicago Magazine, River Teeth’s “Beautiful Things” column, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fourth River, Fringe, and Hippocampus, among others. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Creative Arts Research Fellowship. She wrote the Girl Meets Formosa blog about travel, history, food, culture, and family secrets in Taiwan. She also edited Vernacular, an ensemble blog about the Boston literary community, and served as the nonfiction editor of the literary journal Redivider and a prose reader at Black Lawrence Press. She has taught at Lost Lit and Emerson College. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College.

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.

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.

Tal McThenia wrote the screenplay for the dramatic film Shift, which premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and aired on PBS nationwide, and he has developed feature films with Automatic Pictures and Archer Entertainment. He has written for Butterbean’s Café (Nickelodeon), and writes animated science mysteries for Mosa Mack Science, an award-winning middle-school science curriculum. He reported and wrote The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar, a one-hour documentary for the NPR radio show This American Life, and is the co-author of the book based on that documentary, A Case for Solomon (Free Press). He authored the chapter on Scene in Gotham’s book Writing Movies (Bloomsbury USA). He holds a BA from Oberlin College.

Melissa Petro has published essays, articles, and criticism in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, the Guardian, InStyle, Marie Claire, Narratively, New York Magazine, Pacific Standard magazine, Salon, and the Washington Post, among many others. 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 has been a finalist for the PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize. She holds a BA from Antioch 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 is web editor at StreetEasy. His essays, articles, and criticism have appeared in The Believer, The Oxford American, Popular 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.

Yin Quan is the executive producer and a writer of the web series Mercy Mistress. She is a staff writer for A Womens Thing magazine and Chance Magazine, and her articles and essays have appeared in Bust magazine and Apogee Journal, among others, and in the anthologies Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections Between African-Americans and Asian-Americans (Duke University Press Books) and Queer Magic Anthology: Power Beyond Boundaries (Mystic Productions Press). She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School.

Alanna Schubach is a Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow and has been named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. Her essays, articles, and criticism have appeared in The Atlantic, Refinery 29, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, and the LA Review of Books, among many others, and her short fiction has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, Post Road, the Lifted Brow, and Prick of the Spindle. 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.

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.