Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Shahnaz Habib is the author of the nonfiction book Airplane Mode (Catapault, forthcoming), and the translator of the novel Jasmine Days, for which she and the author Benyamin won the JCB Prize, India's most valuable prize for literature. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker online, Creative Nonfiction, Agni, Brevity, The Guardian, and Afar, among many others. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and her work has been cited in the Best American Essays series. 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. 

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, among other series. 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 magazine, 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.

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.

Alanna Schubach is a Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow and has been named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. Her essays, articles, and criticism have appeared in The Atlantic, Refinery 29, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, and the LA Review of Books, among many others, and her short fiction has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, Post Road, the Lifted Brow, and Prick of the Spindle. 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.