Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

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 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.

Marie Carter is the author of the memoir The Trapeze Diaries (Hanging Loose Press). Her work has been published in the Brooklyn Rail, Bloom, Spectacle, Turntable + Bluelight, and in the anthology Best Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton). She serves as associate editor of Hanging Loose Press, where she has edited the anthologies Word Jig and Voices of the City. She holds an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University.

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.

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.

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.

Janice Erlbaum is the author of the memoirs Girlbomb (Villard), and Have You Found Her (Villard). She is a columnist for Bust magazine, and her essays, fiction, and poetry have appeared in New York Press, Interview, PAPER, and McSweeneys Internet Tendency. She holds a BA from Hunter College and an MA in English/Writing from NYU.

Shahnaz Habib has published fiction and nonfiction in the anthologies Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House) and 21 Under 40 (Zubaan). She is a regular contributor to the New Yorker online, the Guardian, and Of Note magazine. Her work has also appeared in Afar magazine, Brevity, and Laundry, among many others. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature. 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.

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. 

Kenji Jasper is the author of the memoir The House on Childress Street (Harlem Moon), and the novels Snow (VIBE Books) and Dark (Broadway Books), a Los Angeles Times and Washington Post bestseller. He co-edited the nonfiction book Beats Rhymes and Life: What We Love and Hate About Hip Hop (Three Rivers Press), and his articles and essays have appeared on NPR, and in Newsweek, The Village Voice, Essence, Ebony, and VIBE, among others. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Florida, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the College Success Foundation. He holds a BA from Morehouse College. 

Blaise Allysen Kearsley is the creator, producer, and host of the How I Learned storytelling series, and has performed stories for The MOTH, The Soundtrack Series, and Literary Death Match, among other series. Her photography and essays have appeared in New York magazine, Gothamist, VICE magazine, 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.

Scott LaCounte is the author of the humor memoir Quiet, Please (Da Capo Books). He has published humor pieces in McSweeney's, The Door, Campus Life, Morning News, Pacific Review, and Orange County Register. He holds a BA from California State University, Fullerton, and an MLIS in Library Science from San Jose State University.

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.

Nan Mooney is the author of the memoir My Racing Heart: The Passionate World of Thoroughbreds and the Track (HarperCollins), and the nonfiction books (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents (Beacon Press) and I Can't Believe She Did That: Why Women Betray Other Women at Work (St. Martin's Press). Her work has also appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Slate, the Seattle Weekly, and Hamptons Jitney Magazine. She holds a BA from Scripps College.

Lilly O'Donnell is the Deputy Editor and Community Manager at Narratively, where she edits its Memoir section. Her essays and articles have appeared in New York magazine, VICE, Gothamist, Marie Claire UK, the New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, BUST, The Hairpin, and The New Inquiry. She has worked for the Joy Harris Literary Agency and taught at Girls Write Now. She holds a BA from The New School for Liberal Arts and an MS from Columbia University.

Emma Pearse is the author of the nonfiction book Sophie: The Incredible True Adventures of the Castaway Dog (Perseus Books). She has worked as a features editor for Virgin Airlines’ Voyeur magazine, ID magazine, and the Canberra Times, and as a contributing writer at New York magazine. Her essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian magazine, the Guardian UK, Slate, Salon, New York magazine, and the Village Voice, among many others. She holds a BA from Australian National University, and an MA in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU.

Stacy Pershall is the author of the memoir Loud in the House of Myself (W.W. Norton), selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program, and her work is included in the anthologies Lost and Found (W.W. Norton) and Spent (Seal Press). She has taught at Writopia, Pratt Manhattan, City College of New York, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She holds a BA from the University of Arkansas and an MFA in Performance Art from the University of Cincinnati.

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.

Jon Reiner is the author of the memoir The Man Who Couldn’t Eat (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), based on his Esquire story, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award and won the James Beard Foundation Award for Magazine Feature Writing. His nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Creative Nonfiction, The Huffington Post, Graze, Slice, and on NPR. He wrote and directed the documentary film Tree Man. He has taught at the University of Maryland and Rutgers University. He holds a BA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an MA in English from the University of Maryland.

Domenica Ruta is the author of the memoir With Or Without You (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), which was a Barnes & Novel Discover selection. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Indiana Review, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, PEN America, and Epoch, among others. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

David Seigerman writes for the Newbridge Marketing Group and has written blogs and articles for numerous corporate clients, including Polo and Barnes & Noble. He is the co-author of three nonfiction books: Take Your Eye Off the Ball, Under Pressure, and Quarterback: the Toughest Job in Sports (all with Triumph Books). 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.

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.