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, Buzzfeed, 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.

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 Lenny Letter, 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.

Lilly Dancyger is the author of Hunted: A Memoir of Art and Addiction (Shanti Arts Press, forthcoming). Her essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, New York magazine, Playboy, VICE, Gothamist, Marie Claire UK, and the New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, among many others. She is Deputy Editor of Narratively, where she edits its Memoir section, and has worked for the Joy Harris Literary Agency. She has taught at Catapult and Girls Write Now. She holds a BA from The New School for Liberal Arts and an MS from Columbia University.

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.

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.

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, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, Post Road, the Lifted Brow, and Prick of the Spindle, and she has been named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. 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.

Nelsie Spencer is the author of the novel The Playgroup, (St. Martin’s Press), and the feature screenplay A Girl's Best Friend. She 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). She co-wrote and starred in the play My Heart Belongs To Daddy, produced at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Dorothy Lyman’s A Director’s Theater in Los Angeles, and at 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 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.

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.