Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

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 (Black Lawrence Press), and her essays have appeared in Brevity, Entropy, Fourth Genre, Third Coast, Hobart, the Los Angeles Review, Mid-American Review, and Redivider. Her work has been anthologized in The Best of Brevity, and named a Notable Essay by 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.

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 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.

Kelly Caldwell is the dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop. Her nonfiction has appeared in Vox, Pacific Standard, Entropy, New York Newsday, House Beautiful, Time Out New York, The Writer, and Essay Daily. 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 holds a BJ from the University of Missouri and an MS from Columbia 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.

Elizabeth Cohen is the author of the memoir The House On Beartown Road (Random House), the short story collectionThe Hypothetical Girl (Split Oak Press), and the poetry collections The Economist's Daughter (Ecstatic Utterance), What the Trees Said (Split Oak Press), Bird Light, The Patron Saint of Cauliflower (both Saint Julian Press), and Wonder Electric (Kelsay Books). She is also co-author of the nonfiction book The Scalpel and the Silver Bear (Bantam). Her nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Newsweek, People, the New York Times Magazine, and Yale Review, as well as the anthology Walk on the Wild Side. She has taught at SUNY Plattsburgh, 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.

Anita Diggs is co-author, with Ida Keeling, of the memoir Can't Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time (Zondervan). She is the author of four novels, including A Meeting in the Ladies Room, (Kensington Books), and the nonfiction book Talking Drums: An African-American Quote Collection (St. Martin’s Press). She has served as senior editor and director of One World Books for Ballantine/Random House. She has taught at Salem College. She holds a BA from the State University of New York/Empire State College and an MFA in Creative Writing/Memoir from Hunter College.

Anita Gill is the nonfiction editor for Hypertext Magazine, and her nonfiction has appeared in Kweli Journal, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, Hippocampus, The Citron Review, The Offing, and the Baltimore Sun. She is a former Fulbright Scholar, has worked for the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, and has taught at the UCLA Extension and Santa Monica College. She holds a BA from New York University, an MA in Literature from American University, and an MFA in Writing from Pacific University.

Brendan Halpin is the author of the novels Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Long 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 Legacy (Gum Road), Forever Changes (by Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Tessa Masterson Will Go To Prom (Walker Books), and A Really Awesome Mess (Egmont USA). His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Sunday Times (of London) Magazine, Best Life Magazine, Rosie Magazine, and Ladies’ Home Journal. He has taught at Emmanuel College, Bunker Hill Community College, and the Wentworth Institute of Technology. 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 novel Dark (Broadway Books), a Los Angeles Times and Washington Post bestseller. His nonfiction has appeared on National Public Radio, and in Essence, Ebony, VIBE, and Bad Yogi,. 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, 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.

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 (both 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.

Joselin Linder is the author of the memoir The Family Gene (Ecco/Harper Collins), and co-author of the nonfiction books The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill), Game-Based Marketing (Wiley and Sons), and The Good Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin (Adams Media). She is also co-author of the humor books The Stoned Family Robinson (Adams Media) and The Purity Test (St. Martin’s Press). Her nonfiction has appeared in Elle, This American Life, NPR’s Morning Edition, StoryCollider, Life of the Law, and the New York Post. She holds a BA from Tufts University.

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 nonfiction has also appeared in The Atlantic, the Washington Post,Slate, Motherwell, Alternet, and Babble. She holds a BA from Scripps College.

N. West Moss is the author of the memoir Flesh and Blood (Algonquin) and the short story collection The Subway Stops at Bryant Park (Leapfrog Press). Her short stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Stockholm Review, Blotter Magazine, and Westchester Review. Her nonfiction has appeared in Salon, the New York Times, Brevity, River Teeth, and Ars Medica. She has 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, an MFA in Creative Writing from William Paterson University, and a CPA in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University.

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 Allure, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, the Guardian, InStyle, the Kitchn, Marie Claire, Narratively, New York Magazine, Pacific Standard magazine, Real Simple, Salon,the Washington Post, and The Writer. 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.

Jil Picariello is the co-author of the memoir Jessica Lost (Union Square Press). She is the Theater Editor for ZealNYC, and her nonfiction has appeared in Afar, Food + Wine, New York, Seventeen, and USA Today. She has worked as a copywriter for New York and People, as copy chief for The Parenting Group at Time Warner, and as copy director for Reader’s Digest. She has taught at Media Bistro. She holds a BFA from New York University and an MFA in creative writing from The New School.

Julie Powell is the author of the memoirs Julie And Julia (Little, Brown and Company), based on a widely popular blog and adapted into a feature filmand Cleaving (Back Bay Books). Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Bon Appetit and Slate,  and the anthologies Altared and Behind The Bedroom Door. Two of her essays have been included in the Best Food Writing series and won James Beard Awards for Magazine writing. She holds a BA from Amherst College.

Jon Reiner is the author of the memoir The Man Who Couldn’t Eat (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), based on his James Beard Award-winning story in Esquire. His nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Daily Beast, Creative Nonfiction, Huffington Post, Graze, Slice, and on NPR, and his humor has been published by the New York Times, The Satirist, and Medium. He also co-wrote and directed the documentary film Tree Man, which was a selection of the Doc NYC, St. Lawrence, and World film festivals. He served as a communications executive for Sony, American Express, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and several global public relations and marketing agencies. 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.

Barbara Schoichet is the author of the memoir Don’t Think Twice: Adventure and Healing at 100 Miles Per Hour (Putnam) and the nonfiction book The New Single Woman: Discovering a Life of Her Own (Lowell House). Her short stories have appeared in MSS, the Sarah Lawrence Review, Permafrost Magazine,  and Westword, and she has worked as a literary agent for Flannery, White and Stone, as an editor for RGA Publishing, and head publicity writer for Paramount Pictures. She has taught at Denver University, Lancaster University, Long Beach City College, Santa Fe Community College, and Stephens College. She holds a BA from Stephens College, an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Ph.D in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in England.

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 is the writer/producer/editor of his independent sports storytelling podcast Out of Left Field, and has been contributing features of Olympic athletes to TeamUSA.org. 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 has taught at Manhattanville College. He holds a BA from Ithaca College.

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.

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.

Teresa Wong is the author of the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression (Arsenal Pulp Press), a finalist for the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2020. Her comics and nonfiction have appeared in The Believer, Buzzfeed, and Event Magazine, and she has taught comics workshops for The Believer and The Word on the Street Lethbridge. She holds a BA and a B.Ed from the University of Calgary and a Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College.