Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Jacob M. Appel is the author of the novels Wedding Wipeout (Cozy Cat Press), The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock Books), and The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up (Cargo Publishing), as well as the short-story collection Scouting For The Reaper (Black Lawrence Press) and the essay collection Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press). His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Literal Latte, Agni, Colorado Review, Nebraska Review, Boston Review, and Greensboro Review. He has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He holds a BA and MA from Brown University, an MA and an MPhil from Columbia University, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU.

Zaina Arafat has published short fiction in Granta and the Iowa Review, and her essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Buzzfeed, 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.

Michael Backus is the author of the novel Double (Xynobooks Publishing), and he has published work in One Story, Portland Review, Sycamore Review, Exquisite Corpse, Verb, Storyhead, The High Hat, The Writer, and Hanging Loose. He has taught at Columbia College and Marymount Manhattan College. He holds a BA from Purdue University and an MFA from Columbia College.

Susan Breen is the author of the novel The Fiction Class (Plume and Headline Review UK), and the Maggie Dove series of mystery books (Random House Alibi). She has published short fiction in American Literary Review, Chattahoochee Review, Nebraska Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, anderbo, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MFA from Columbia University.

Jason Napoli Brooks is the author of the chapbook Shelter (New School Press) and his short fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter, Pindeldyboz, H.O.W., Papercut Press Annual, Satanica, DUC Magazine, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, and Big Bridge, among many others. His play Soundstage is to be produced by the Here Arts Center and his play A Woman at the End of the World was produced by Mattachine, both in New York City. He has published nonfiction in Neue Kunst, Index, and Zing Magazine. He has taught at academies in the U.S. and in Spain. He holds a BA from Shippensburg University and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.

Sarah Bruni is the author of the novel The Night Gwen Stacy Died (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). She has taught at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis.

Benjamin Buchholz is the author of the novel One Hundred and One Nights (Back Bay Books/Little, Brown), the nonfiction book Private Soldiers (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), and two poetry chapbooks, Thirteen Stares (Magic Helicopter Press) and Windshield (BlazeVox Press). His short fiction has appeared in Storyglossia, Hobart, Mad Hatter’s Review, and Prime Number Magazine, among others, and been anthologized in the Dzanc Press Best of the Web collections. He has published articles in Military Review magazine and Infantry magazine. He has served as a foreign area officer and U.S. Army attaché in Oman and Yemen, and lectured at Princeton University. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completed the Omani Royal Air Force Staff College in Arabic Language, and holds an MA in Near East Studies from Princeton University. 

Carole Bugge is the author of the novels The Star of India, (re-released by Titan Press), The Haunting of Torre Abbey (St. Martin's Press), as well as Who Killed Blanche Dubois?, Who Killed Dorian Gray?, Who Killed Mona Lisa? (all with Berkely Prime Crime for the Claire Rawlings mystery series), and, under the pen name C.E. Lawrence, Silent Screams, Silent Victim, Silent Kills, and Silent Slaughter (a thriller series from Kensington Publishing). Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies from St. Martin’s Press, Doubleday, and the Mystery Writers of America. Her plays and musicals have been presented regionally and in New York City. She has taught at NYU, Duke University, the Royal Court Repertory Theatre, and the American Comedy Institute. Carole holds a BA from Duke University.

Roohi Choudhry has published fiction and nonfiction in the Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, Callaloo, Bitch, Hyphen, Desilicious, Fiction Writers Review, and the anthology 21 Under 40. She has taught at the University of Michigan and led workshops for the New York Writers’ Coalition. She holds a BSc from Lahore University of Management Sciences, an MS in Marketing Research from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan.

Matthew Cody is the author of the middle grade novels Villainous (Knopf), Powerless (Yearling), The Dead Gentleman (Yearling), among others. He has published pieces in McSweeney’s and Opium Magazine. He has taught at Laguardia Community College. He holds a BFA from Webster University and an MFA in Theater from the University of Alabama.

Elizabeth Cohen is the author of the memoir The Family On Beartown Road (Random House), the short story collection The Hypothetical Girl (Split Oak Press), the poetry collections The Economist's Daughter (Ecstatic Utterance) and What the Trees Said (Split Oak Press), and co-author of the nonfiction book The Scalpel and the Silver Bear (Bantam).  Her essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in Newsweek, People, the New York Times Magazine, Yale Review, among others. She has taught at Binghamton University, University of New Mexico, the New School for Social Research, and Western Connecticut State University. She holds a BA from University of New Mexico, an MA in Documentary Filmmaking from Temple University, and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.

James Conrad is the author of the novel Making Love to the Minor Poets of Chicago (St. Martin’s Press). He has published fiction and nonfiction in Tin House, The Advocate, Out, Metrosource Magazine, James White Review, Outweek Magazine, Allegheny Review, Fruit XXX, Inside Chicago, and Helicon. He has taught at the Woodstock Wool Company. He holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MFA in Fiction and Poetry from Columbia University. 

Michael Davis is the author of the short story collection Gravity (Carnegie Mellon Press), and he has published fiction in Descant, San Joaquin Review, Jabberwock Review, Black Mountain Review, Eclipse, Cottonwood, Mid-American Review, Full Circle, Hayden's Ferry Review, Georgia Review, Storyglossia,and Chicago Quarterly Review. He served as fiction editor of CutBank. He has taught at CSU Fresno, Fresno City College, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Montana, and the CSU Young Writers' Conference. He holds a BA from UC Irvine, an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D in English from Western Michigan University. 

Anita Diggs is the author of the novels The Other Side of the Game, A Meeting in the Ladies Room, and A Mighty Love (all Kensington Books), and of the nonfiction books Barrier Breaking Resumes and Interviews (Times Books/Random House), Staying Married, (Kensington Books), and Talking Drums (St. Martin’s Press). As an editor and senior editor at Time Warner Publishing, Thunder’s Mouth Press, and Random House, she acquired and edited both fiction and memoir. She holds a BA from the State University of New York/Empire State College and an MFA in Creative Writing/Memoir from Hunter College.

Renee Dodd is the author of the novel A Cabinet of Wonders (Lake Union Publishing), which was designated a Best of Year by Kirkus Review. She has taught at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. She holds a BA and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

BC 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 MagazineLa 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, and has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in poetry. He holds a BA from Reed College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. 

Jon Gingerich published fiction in Pleiades, Stand Magazine, Helix Magazine, and Oyez Review and nonfiction in The Nervous Breakdown, the LitReactor Magazine, and Thought Catalog, among many others. He is the editor of O’Dwyer’s magazine, and has previously taught at LitReactor. He holds a BA from The Ohio State University and an MFA from The New School. 

Brendan Halpin is the author of the novels Dear Catastrophe WaitressLong Way Backand Donorboy (all by Villard); the memoirs Losing My Faculties and It Takes a Worried Man (both by Villard);  and the author or co-author of eight young adult novels, including Forever Changes  (by Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom (Walker Books) and A Really Awesome Mess (Egmont USA) . He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Teaching from Tufts University. 

Season Harper-Fox has published fiction, poetry, and book reviews in Cream City Review, Rocky Mountain Review of Modern Language and Literature, OnTheBus, and Primavera, and she has served as editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner. She has taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She holds a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Michael Harvkey is the author of the novel In the Course of Human Events (Soft Skull Press). His fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Mississippi Review, and his nonfiction has appeared in Salon, The Believer, Esquire, and Poets & Writers. He has also served as the Deputy Reviews Editor at Publishers Weekly. He also teaches at Columbia University. He holds a BS from the University of Central Missouri and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

CJ Hauser is the author of the novel The From-Aways (William Morrow), and has published fiction in TriquarterlyTin HouseThe Kenyon Review, Esquire, The Brooklyn Review, The Laurel Review, and Third Coast. She has worked at several literary agencies, and has taught at CUNY Manhattan and Brooklyn. She holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MFA in Fiction from Brooklyn College.

Scott Alexander Hess is the author of four novels: Bergdorf Boys and Diary of a Sex Addict, (both JMS Books), Skyscraper (Lethe Press), and The Butcher's Sons (Lethe Press), a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Genre Magazine, The Fix, and The Huffington Post, and he co-wrote the short film Tom in America, which screened at more than a dozen film festivals and won best short film prizes at several of them. He holds a BJ from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MFA in Fiction from The New School.

R. Dean Johnson is the author of the novel Californium (Plume Books) and the short-story collection Delicate Men (Alternative Book Press). His short fiction and essays have appeared in Ascent, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Louisville ReviewNew Orleans Review, Natural Bridge, Ruminate, Santa Clara Review, Slice, and Southern Review, and in the anthologies Agave (Ink Brush Press) and A Tribute to Orpheus (Kearney Street Books). He served as fiction editor at Hayden’s Ferry Review and editor of the anthology, Teachable Moments: Essays on Experiential Education (University Press of America). He has taught at Arizona State University, Prescott College, Cameron University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He holds a BS from California State Polytechnic, an MA in English from Kansas State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University.

Jaime Karnes has published fiction and nonfiction in Granta, Storyglossia, Willard & Maple, HTMLGIANT, PopMatters and TransLit Magazine. She is an Editor-at-Large in fiction at The Utopian. She has taught at Rutgers and Essex County College. She holds a BA from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark University.

Kody Keplinger is the author of the novel The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), which reached No. 2 on the New York Times Young Adult Best Sellers List and was made into a feature film by CBS Films. She is also the author of the young adult novels Run, Lying Out Loud, (both Scholastic), Shut Out, Secrets and Lies, and A Midsummer’s Nightmare (all Little Brown Books for Young Readers), and the middle-grade novel The Swift Boys & Me (Scholastic). She has published fiction in Young Adult Review Net, and nonfiction in Seventeen magazine, YA Highway, and Poptimal.

Megan Kruse is the author of the novel Call Me Home (Hawthorne Books). She has published fiction and nonfiction in Narrative Magazine, Drunken Boat, Witness Magazine, The Sun, Bellingham Review, and Psychology Today, and her short fiction is included in the anthologies Portland Noir (Akashic) and Portland Queer (Lit Star Press). She was named a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Awards. She has taught for the University of Montana, Ashford University, Badgerdog in Austin, and Hugo House in Seattle. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana.

T Kira Madden has published in or has work forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Tin House online, Cosmonauts Avenue, Puerto del Sol, Hyphen, Fourteen Hills, and elimae, among others. She is the founding editor in chief of the literary journal No Tokens. She holds a BBA from Parsons School of Design & Eugene Lang College and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. 

Zachary Martin has published fiction, essays, and humor in Washington Square, Louisville Review, Fourth Genre, Lumina, Southeast Review, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He is an assistant fiction editor at Narrative and has taught at the College of Staten Island. He holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MA in Fiction from Florida State University.

Thaïs Miller is the author of the novel Our Machinery and the short story collection The Subconscious Mutiny and Other Stories (both Brown Paper Publishing). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Nautilus, Bleak House Review, AmLit, and the anthology  Lethal Rejection (Carolina Academic Press). She holds a BA from American University and an MA in Creative Writing for Social Activism from NYU. 

N. West Moss is the author of the short-story collection The Subway Stops at Bryant Park (Leapfrog Press), and her fiction has been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Cahoodaloodaling, The Stockholm Review, Salt, Blotter Magazine, and The Westchester Review, among many others. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Salon, The New York Times, Brevity, Memoir Journal, Sou-Wester, Ars Medica, and Hospital Drive Magazine, among others. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and taught at William Paterson University, Montclair State University, and Passaic County Community College. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, a Master of Secondary Education from Mercy College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from William Paterson University.

Benjamin Obler is the author of the novel Javascotia (HamishHamilton), and he has published short fiction and essays in Evansville Review, QWERTY, and The Slate. 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. 

Francesca Ochoa has published fiction and nonfiction in This, That, Those; Art XX; and Aorta.  She is the author of chapbooks Love/ Smut and Pictograph, and she has served as editor at Apogee Journal. She holds a BA from the University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University.

Dalia Pagani is the author of the novel Mercy Road (Delacorte), and her fiction and essays have appeared in Story, Portsmouth Review, Green Mountains Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Omnificent, and Cruising World. She has taught at Plymouth State University, Lebanon College, and Johnson State College. She holds a BA and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.

Jessica Penner is the author of the novel in stories Shaken In The Water (Foxhead Books), and her short fiction has appeared in Lost Writers, in the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies (Herald Press). Her nonfiction has been published in the Bellevue Literary ReviewThe FiddlebackLuna Luna, Rhubarb, and The Center for Mennonite Writing Journal. She has taught at James Madison University and the Long Island Business Institute. She holds a BA from Eastern Mennonite University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. 

Dominic Preziosi has held senior editorial and management positions with Commonweal, McGraw-Hill, Forbes, CMP/TechWeb, STV Inc., and the Forsite Group. He has written newsletters, blogs, video scripts, tech tutorials, and a range of other materials for numerous clients and publishers, and he has published fiction, articles, and essays in Avery, Descant, Front Porch, Beloit Fiction Journal, Brooklyn Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Storyglossia, and The Writer Magazine. He has taught at CUNY. He holds a BA from Fordham, an MA in Liberal Studies from CUNY, and an MFA in Fiction from Brooklyn College.

Lisa Reardon is the author of the novels The Mercy Killers (Counterpoint Press), Blameless (Random House), and Billy Dead (Viking), which was named one of 20 Top First Novels by Booklist. She has also written numerous plays which have been produced throughout the country. She has taught at the Circle Repertory School, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Division of Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Playwriting from Yale.

Christine Reilly is the author of the novel Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday (Simon & Schuster), and the poetry chapbooks Too Animal, Not Enough Machine (Sundress Publications) and Mano a Mano: Or Relationship Neither Here Nor There (Shoe Music Press). She has written young adult e-books for the Sh! Pass It On series (Palindrome Media). Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in the Adirondack Review, the Brooklyn Review, FriGG, and Lifelines, among many others. A one-time Intel Science Talent Search National Semi-Finalist, she has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Dalton School, and the Collegiate School. She holds a BA from Bucknell University and an MFA in English from Sarah Lawrence College.

David Rice is the author of the novel A Room in Dodge City (Alternating Current Press). He has worked as a screenwriter for filmmakers Simon Pummell and Douglas Blumeyer, and his short fiction has appeared in Black Clock, The Rumpus, Hobart, and the New Haven Review, among many others. His book reviews and essays have appeared in The Believer, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, and Salon. He has taught undergraduates at Harvard University, and young writers at Brownstone Tutors and Smith Street Workshop. He holds a BA from Harvard University.

Lev AC Rosen is the author of the novels Woundabout (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and All Men of Genius (Tor). He has published short fiction in Esopus and written for Tor.com. He has taught at the Oberlin Experimental College. He holds a BA from Oberlin and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence. 

Alexis Schaitkin has published fiction and nonfiction in Southern Review, Southwest Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gastronomica, the New York Times, and Ecotone. She has served as an editor with Meridian. She has taught at the University of Virginia and WriterHouse. She holds an AB from Princeton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. 

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, Post Road, the Lifted Brow, and Prick of the Spindle, among others. 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 received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in fiction. She holds a BA from American University and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.

Amy Shearn is the author of the novels The Mermaid of Brooklyn (Touchstone) and How Far is the Ocean From Here (Crown). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The L Magazine, Opium, Five Chapters, and she is regular contributor to Oprah.com and RedbookMag.com. She has taught at the University of Minnesota. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, and the editor of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity. He is a recipient of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and has published stories and essays in GuernicaBuzzFeed, and Appalachian Heritage, among many others. Carter has taught at Pennsylvania State University, UNC at Chapel Hill, Eastern Oregon University, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. He holds a BA from Ohio University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Penn State, and an MA in Folklore from UNC at Chapel Hill.

Hasanthika Sirisena is the author of the short-story collection The Other One (University of Massachussetts Press, 2016) and has published fiction in Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, StoryQuarterly, Narrative, among many others. Her work has won the Juniper Prize, been named a notable story by Best American Short Stories in 2011 and 2012, and anthologized in Best New American Voices. She is an associate fiction editor at West Branch literary magazine. She has taught at the City College New York. She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and an MFA in Creative Writing from City College New York.

Jessica Sticklor is the author of the novel Betwixt and Between (Ig Publishing). Her work has appeared in The Paper Nautilus, Open Wide Magazine, Conclave, The Skyline Review, Chiron Review, and Kudzu, among many others. She serves as an editor at The House of Books. She holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from City College - The City University Of New York.

Emily Taylor has published fiction in Inkwell, Crate, Baltimore Review, Green Mountains Review, Lost, and Hobart, and she served as the prose editor for LIT. She holds a BA from Colgate and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School.

Arlaina Tibensky is the author of the novel And Then Things Fall Apart (Simon & Schuster). Her short fiction and nonfiction have  appeared  in One Story, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, the Madison Review, and The Dinner Party Download on NPR. She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in Fiction. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. 

David Yoo is the author of the YA novels Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before (Hyperion) and Girls for Breakfast (Delacorte), the middle grade novel The Detention Club (Balzer + Bray), and the essay collection The Choke Artist (Grand Central). He has published fiction and nonfiction in Massachusetts Review, Rush Hour, Maryland Review, and the anthology Guys Write for Guys Read (Viking). He is also a columnist for KoreAm Journal. He has taught at Pine Manor College, Eckerd College, and CU-Boulder. He holds a BA from Skidmore College and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Irene Zabytko is the author of the novel The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin), and the short story collection When Luba Leaves Home (Algonquin). Her short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and her nonfiction has appeared in such publications as the Orlando Sentinel, the New York Times Book Review, and the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. She holds a BA from Vermont College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.