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, 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.

Amelia Blanquera has had essays and articles published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the New York Times, Orion, The Nervous Breakdown, and Climbing Magazine, among many others.  She’s served on the staffs of several publishing companies including Doubleday, Macmillan, and Putnam. She holds a BS from New York University and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.

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, 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.

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.