Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

María Alejandra Barrios is the author of the novel The Women of Caminito (Lake Union Publishing, forthcoming). Her short stories have appeared in Fractured Lit, The Offing, The Citron Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Jellyfish Review, Bandit Fiction, Lost Balloon, Reservoir Journal, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Fresh Ink, El Malpensante, WaxWing Mag, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Shenandoah Literary and been anthologized in Best Small Fictions. She has taught for the Universidad Del Norte Barranquilla, Paragraph New York, and the Beaubourg Theatre in New Orleans. She holds a BA from the Universidad de los Andes and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester.

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.

Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series, originally published by Penguin Random House/Alibi and rereleased by Under the Oak Press, as well as the novel The Fiction Class (Plume/Headline Review UK). Her short stories have appeared in American Literary Review, the Chattahoochee Review, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, as well as the anthologies Best American Nonrequired Reading and Murder Most Diabolical. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MA in Economics from Columbia University.

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). He is also co-author, with Sam Farran, of the memoir The Tightening Dark: An American Hostage in Yemen (Hachette). His short stories have appeared in Storyglossia, Hobart, Mad Hatter’s Review, and Prime Number Magazine, and been anthologized in the Dzanc Press Best of the Web collections. His nonfiction has appeared in Military Review, Infantry, and The Writer. He has served as a foreign area officer and U.S. Army attaché in Oman, Yemen, and Uzbekistan, 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.

Philip Cioffari is the author of the novels If Anyone Asks, Say I Died From the Heartbreaking Blues, The Bronx Kill, Jesusville, Catholic Boysand Dark Road, Dead End, as well as the short story collection A History of Things Lost or Broken, (all Livingston Press/University of West Alabama). His short fiction has appeared in the Southern Humanities Review, the Westchester Review, the North American Review, the Connecticut Review, Italian Americana, and been anthologized in Wild Dreams (Fordham University Press), 100 Percent Pure Florida Fiction (University of Florida Press), and Many Lights in Many Windows (Milkweed Editions). His plays have been staged or received staged readings at The Actors Studio, the Belmont Playhouse, the Gettysburg College New Plays Festival, and the Circle Repertory Lab, among many others. He wrote and directed the feature film Love in the Age of Dion, which won Best Director at the New York Independent Film and Video Festival, played at many film festivals including the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Wildwood-By-The-Sea Festival, and was selected for the New Filmmakers NY series. He teaches at William Paterson University. He holds a Ph.D from New York University.

Tom Cooper is the author of the novels Florida Man (Random House) and The Marauders (Broadway Books/Crown Publishing). His short stories have appeared in the Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Boulevard, Smokelong Quarterly, and Oxford American. He has taught at Florida State University, Nicholls State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of South Florida-Tampa. He holds a BA from Florida Atlantic University, an MA in Literature from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D in Creative Writing from Florida State University.

Shari Goldhagen is the author of the novels In Some Other World, Maybe (St. Martins), Family and Other Accidents (Random House) and 100 Days of Cake (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). Her short stories have appeared in Indiana Review, Prism International, Beacon Street Review, and Wascana Review, and her nonfiction has appeared in the National Enquirer, Complete Woman, teenStyle, Ohioana, and Restaurants and Institutions. She is editor of the nonfiction anthology Witches Then and Now (Centennial), and editor-in-chief of Women & Weed magazine. She has taught at Ohio State University. She holds a BSJ from Northwestern University and an MFA in Fiction from Ohio State University.

Varud Gupta is the author of the graphic novel Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love and the nonfiction travel memoir Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food of the Gods (both Penguin Random House). His food and travel articles have appeared in National Geographic and America's Test Kitchen, among others, and his short graphic fiction has appeared in Comixense and Inklab. He has worked as head of originals for the production studio Resting Kitsch Face, and taught for the Indian Institute of Art and Design. He holds a BS from New York 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.

Scott Alexander Hess is the author of five novels, including Skyscraper, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, The Butcher's Sons, named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015 (both Lethe Press), and a pair of novellas The Root of Everything & Lightning (Rebel Satori Press). His work has appeared in HuffPost, Genre Magazine, The Fix, and Thema Literary Review. He co-wrote “Tom in America,” an award-winning short film, and curates Hot Lit, an LGBTQ+ themed monthly newsletter. He holds a BJ from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MFA in Fiction from The New School.

Rosalie Morales Kearns is the founder of Shade Mountain Press, an independent publisher of literary fiction. She is the author of the novel Kingdom of Women (Jaded Ibis Press) and the short-story collection Virgins & Tricksters (Aqueous Books), and her short stories, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Drunken Boat, Entropy, Fiction Writers Review, Luna Luna, PANK, and Yes, Poetry. She edited the anthology The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press), and her work has appeared in the anthologies Arcana (Minor Arcana Press) and Nasty Women Poets (Lost Horse Press). She has taught at the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Illinois, and the Arts Center of the Capital Region. She holds a BA from Fordham University, an MA in Russian Language/Literature from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois.

Meghan Kenny is the author of the novel The Driest Season (W.W. Norton & Company), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and  the short story collection Love Is No Small Thing (LSU Press). Her short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, and Pleiades. She has taught at Boise State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Franklin & Marshall College. She holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA in Fiction from Boise 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, and the Women of the Crush series (all 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.

Cleve Lamison is the author of the science fiction novel Full-Blood Half-Breed (Penguin Random House), and he is a contributing writer to Suvudu.com, a science fiction and fantasy blog at Random House. He is a staff writer for the television show Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy (Urban Movie Channel), and he wrote and directed the feature film Following Bliss, which won Best Feature Film at the Global Arts International Film Festival. His short film "The Story" won the Denver World Film Festival, and his short film "Jack for President" was a runner-up in the New York 24-Hour Filmmaking Contest. He was the artistic director of the BlackBird Theatre Company in NYC; created, wrote, and drew the cartoon strip Rick the Roach for the Richmond News Leader; and is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves. He holds a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Christine Meade is the author of the novel The Way You Burn (She Writes Press), and her personal essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Chicago Literati, HuffPost, the Manifest-Station, and Writer’s Digest. She has taught for 826 Boston, Lasell College, and Curry College. She holds a BA from Northeastern University and an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts.

N. West Moss is the author of the memoir Flesh and Blood (Algonquin), the short story collection The Subway Stops at Bryant Park (Leapfrog Press), and the middle-grade novel Birdy, (Christy Ottaviano Books/Little Brown Books for Young Readers, forthcoming). 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, Dorothy Parker's Ashes, 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.

Benjamin Obler is the author of the novel Javascotia (Penguin UK). His short stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, London Times, Mirror, Electric Literature, Long Reads, Puerto Del Sol, The Junction, Belle Ombre, Qwerty, Sundress, Thirty-Two, Cottonwood, and Evansville Review. 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.

Kristin Rockaway is the author of the novels Smart Girl Summer (forthcoming), Life, Unscheduled (both Montlake), How to Hack a HeartbreakShe’s Faking It(both Graydon House), and The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World (Center Street), as well as the young adult novel My Epic Spring Break (Up) (Underlined). She’s written essays and blog posts for Fresh Fiction, Frolic, Novel Novice, We Heart Writing, and Women Writers, Women’s Books. She holds a BA from New York University.

Lynda Sandoval is the author of numerous novels including Unsettling, (Rayo/Harper Collins), the young adult novels Who’s Your Daddy?, Chicks Ahoy (both Simon Pulse), and Father Knows Best (Bold Strokes Books), and the Amgias Y Amor romance series (Bold Stroke Books) and the Return to Troublesome Gulch series (Silhouette Books). She is a former police officer with the Wheat Ridge (Colorado) Police Department and a former 911 and fire department dispatcher with the Littleton (Colorado) Fire Department. She has taught Constitutional rights classes for middle school students and has served as a novel writing mentor with the Nevada Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds a BS from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

Alanna Schubach is the author of the novel The Nobodies (Blackstone Publishing). Her short stories have appeared in Sewanee Review, Massachusetts Review, Juked, and Electric Literature's Recommended Reading. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The NationJacobin, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, and the LA Review of Books. 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.

Tatjana Soli is the author of the novels The Lotus Eaters, a New York Times bestseller, The Removes (Sarah Crichton Books), The Forgetting Treeand The Last Good Paradise (both St. Martin’s Press). She has published short stories in StoryQuarterly, Confrontation, Gulf Coast, Other Voices, Nimrod, Third Coast, Carolina Quarterly, Sonora Review and North Dakota Quarterly, and her work has been twice cited in Best American Short Stories. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson.

Divya Sood is the author of the novels Find Someone to Love and Nights Like This (both Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have won the New Jersey Arts and Letters First Prize for Short Fiction and appeared in The Masters Review. She has taught at Rutgers University and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from Rutgers University and an MA in English from New York University. 

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.

Jessica Sticklor (also writing as Jessica Stilling and J.M. Stephen) is the author of the novels Just So Many Places (NineStar Press) The Weary God of Ancient Travelers (D.X Varos), The Beekeeper's Daughter (Bedazzled Ink Press), and Betwixt and Between (Ig Publishing), and the young adult Pan Chronicles series and The Rise of Runes and Shields, book one of her Seidr Sagas young adult fantasy series (all D.X. Varos). Her short stories have appeared in The Paper Nautilus, Open Wide Magazine, Conclave, The Skyline Review, Chiron Review, and Kudzu, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Writer, Ms., and Tor.com. She has worked as an editor at The House of Books. She holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY.

Katherine Taylor is the author of the novels Valley Fever and Rules For Saying Goodbye (both Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). Her essays and short stories have appeared in Elle, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ploughshares, ZYZZYVA, Southwest Review, Town and Country, Prairie Schooner, and Shenandoah. She holds a BA from USC and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

Arlaina Tibensky is the author of the novel And Then Things Fall Apart (Simon & Schuster). Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in One Story, SmokeLong QuarterlyMcSweeney's, Madison ReviewThe Dinner Party DownloadNew Stories from the Midwest 2018 (New American Press), the New York Times, and elsewhere. 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 young adult 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 short stories 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.