Maya Afilalo is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and minoring in French. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and dabbles in screenwriting. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Filament Magazine and the Penn Review. She is working on a novel about a family in Pennsylvania with the working title “Thicker Than Water.” When not writing, she can be found watching professional women’s soccer and running (slowly) along the Schuylkill River. She grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia.
Rachel Becker teaches English at Newton South High School and has for the past seven years. In addition to being on the faculty of the Newton Teacher Residency, she has been the recipient of an NEH Summer Seminar Award and a State Department/Fulbright Fellowship in New Delhi, India. She is also a poet whose work has appeared in journals such as Exquisite Corpse (ed Andrei Codrescu) and Fire, International, and she has read her work on regional BBC stations.
Liz Bedell is a writer, editor and teacher living in Western Massachusetts. She spent 20 satisfying years teaching literature and writing in an artsy, rigorous secondary school and doing her own writing in the margins. An intangible “what’s next, Mrs. Landingham?” prompted her to uproot that settled existence, and the past several years have been fruitful and terrifying as she’s put writing at the center of her life. She is at work on a novel set during the Great War and a collection of essays about the writing life.
Tabitha Blankenbiller is a graduate of the Pacific University MFA program living outside of Portland, Oregon. Her essays have appeared in publications including The Rumpus, Barrelhouse, Hobart, Passages North and Brevity. She is a regular contributor to PDXX Collective and reviews books for Bustle. She is currently writing a novel about work and friendship. For more literary and soccer Tweets, follow her @tabithablanken.
Sally Blatt is a poet and writing teacher who currently calls Oregon’s Willamette Valley home. She holds an MFA from Oregon State University and a BA from the University of North Carolina Asheville. In 2014, she served as Fishtrap’s writer in residence.
Lisa Brackmann is the critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author of the Ellie McEnroe novels set in today’s China (Rock Paper Tiger, Hour of the Rat, Dragon Day), the thriller Getaway, and the upcoming Go-Between. Her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Travel+Leisure and CNET. She lives in San Diego with a couple of cats, far too many books and a bass ukulele. You can find her online at www.lisabrackmann.com.
Rachel Brandt is a writer and photographer living in San Diego, California with her husband, daughter and two unruly mutts.
Mary Breaden works as communications writer for an all-girls school in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn. She received her M.A. in publishing from Portland State University and manages PDXX Collective, a website for feminist writers. Her writing has been published in The Mondegreen, LitReactor, Education Week, Portland State Vanguard, Portland Book Review, Stumptown Underground, and PDXX Collective. In October 2015, Mary was selected for the Lamprophonic Emerging Writers Series. She is currently shopping around a speculative fiction novel about New York that her feminism and obsession with the news inspired. You can follow her @MaryBreaden for feminist news, writing craft thoughts, homebrewing tales, and biking horror stories.
Kelly Burch is the editor of Renew Magazine, a national lifestyle publication for people in recovery from addiction. She is passionate about sharing stories related to mental health and addiction, but is also a sucker for sharing any good story. Before Renew, Kelly worked as the assistant editor for locally-focused community magazines in New England. She is always working to balance the writing that she loves with the writing that pays the bills. Kelly’s father was a children’s author, and one of her aspirations is to follow in his footsteps writing children’s books.
Rachel Carter is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. She graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in Nonfiction Creative Writing. She has taught at Columbia University, Baruch College, and Champlain College, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New Republic, The Faster Times, and Booktrib, where she’s a regular contributor. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.
Rodger is a junior Biology major at the University of Delaware with some minors. Coming into college, he was afraid of writing and settled on majoring in biology so that he would have to do as little writing as possible. Last spring, during a time of serious self-questioning, he decided to take a step towards self-improvement and signed for an english class titled “Intro to Environmental Literature.” Since he was a child, he has always had a passion for the environment; always been afraid that there isn’t enough empathy towards nature. Through this class, which had two simple assignments; to work at the farm for an hour each week and to submit a two-page journal on the topic of one’s choosing, Rodger was able to explore writing without the rigid academic standards that he had been used to. He learned that writing is not something to be feared or dreaded, but simply a way to express one’s thoughts. Having made this realization, he is dedicated to developing the skill and hopes to be able to use it to do some good. In addition to this desire to write, Rodger hopes to through-hike the Appalachian Trail next spring and to attend medical school starting in Fall 2017.
David Eyer Davis
David Eyer Davis has always intended to write, and has even occasionally succeeded, with news pieces, reviews, and editorials. He has contributed to the BBC, TEDx, Dissent Magazine, PEN America, Bicycle Times, and others. He has worked as an nonprofit director, journalist, documentarian, freelance filmmaker, and educator. His work focuses on leveling inequality and inspiring conservation through building confidence and minimizing needs. He is working on a young adult book circulating around art, love, mayhem and the magic found in a considered life. The book is heavily situated in realism; there are no fortuitous orphans or multidimensional doorways here. The characters quickly discover, however, that life has miraculous potential if you take risks, stick to your convictions, and fight corruption with subversive resourcefulness. ‘Simple Worlds’ is full of dumpster diving, midnight painting missions, high school escapades, and dodging cops. Beneath the youthful energy of uncompromising direct action, however, there are real lessons to be learned. By navigating the complicated worlds of drugs, emerging technology, and power abuse, the kids become self-actualized within a dynamic community. David has lived in Salt Lake, New York, and the Middle East.
Melissa Duclos is a writer, writing instructor, and freelance editor. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Salon, The Offing, Electric Literature, Bustle, and English Kills Review, among other venues. She runs an online forum aimed at demystifying the process of submitting books to agents and editors, and is currently at work on her second novel. She has an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children. You can learn more about her work at melissa-duclos.com.
Jamie Duclos-Yourdon, a freelance editor and technical expert, received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. His debut novel, FROELICH’S LADDER, is forthcoming in August 2016 from Forest Avenue Press. His short fiction has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Underneath the Juniper Tree, and Chicago Literati, and he has contributed essays and interviews to Booktrib. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two children. Learn more about his work at jamieduclosyourdon.com.
A writer, educator, and activist living in Portland, OR, Tessara Dudley writes poetry and personal essay from the intersection of working class Black queer disabled life, and hopes her art will help to build a better world. She is a contributor to Black Girl Dangerous and The Portland Observer, and she recently founded a small press, Mourning Glory Publishing, dedicated to publishing the work of folks from marginalised communities. She can be found at http://tessaradudley.com
Rachel Fellman is a paralegal in Portland, Oregon. She writes sharp, painterly SFF about mountain climbing, art history, and terrible moral choices. Most of her protagonists are great at exactly one thing and are continually prevented from doing it. Her novel The Saints Under the Stones has representation but is still looking for a home; she is editing two further novels and trying to get her hands around the short story form.
Stephanie Frescas is a junior at Barnard College, where she is studying English with a Concentration in Creative Writing (pending her acceptance into the program). Her love of reading and writing was sparked in 4th grade, when she read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. She has worked for and been published in several newspapers, as well as in Interlude, a West Texas anthology.
Robyn Gertner’s work has appeared in Font, VOYA, and Seventeen Magazine. She is currently working on her first novel, How to Wire a Family Tree, which is about a Brooklyn family battling against genetics, Nikola Tesla, and lawn gnomes.
Bio coming soon.
Mandy is a senior Creative Writing major at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She is currently considering careers in journalism, literary fiction, and/or academia, and is especially interested in the short story and critical theory. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Mandy enjoys backpacking and plans on thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after graduation. All the staff members at the local bagel shop know her order by heart.
Bryn Greenwood is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned a MA in Creative Writing from Kansas State University and continues to work in academia as an administrator. Her novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is coming from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s in August 2016. She is also the author of the small press novels Last Will and Lie Lay Lain. Her stories and essays have appeared in Menda City Review, Karamu, The Battered Suitcase, Kansas Quarterly, and Chiron Review. Over the years, she has done duty as a Freshman Composition instructor, a slush pile reader for a venerable literary magazine, and a sex educator.
Carmella Guiol is the creator of The Family Roots Project and The Restless Writer Blog. When she is not writing memoirs for her clients, she writes about travel, sustainability, and culture. She is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa where she studies fiction and nonfiction and is the nonfiction and arts editor at Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art. Her work has appeared in The Inquisitive Eater and is forthcoming at The Normal School and Lunch Ticket. She is a Miami native and a graduate of Amherst College.
Eleanor Haglund is a senior in the creative writing program at Carnegie Mellon University. She enjoys writing fiction, screenplays and plays. She is also studying to get a minor in Psychology in order to learn about the motivations behind people’s actions. She was born and raised in New Jersey. She is the Director of Marketing for a Pittsburgh startup, AbiliLife, which specializes in biomedical products for people living with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. She is also a volunteer EMT with Carnegie Mellon’s Emergency Medical Services. When she isn’t working on her latest story, she enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on (including stop signs) and enjoying exciting food with friends.
Maree Jones is currently seeking for representation for her debut Young Adult novel THE BONE SINGER. Maree is a junior college lecturer with a background in law, human rights and social work. Maree lives in Perth, Western Australia with her two dogs and is currently at work on her second novel, LITTLE STRANGETOWN.
Sauleha Kamal is a recent graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University where she double-majored in English (creative writing concentration) and Economics & Social History. She is a Project Officer, Strategic Securities Initiative (SSI) at Jinnah Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan and a fiction editor for literary magazine The Missing Slate. She enjoys reading and writing fiction and has been especially interested in literary fiction over the past few years. She was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Anna Quindlen/Axinn Foundation Prize for writing. Her fiction and essays have appeared in various publications including the Oxford University Press anthology “I’ll Find My Way”.
Polly Duff Kertis
Polly Duff Kertis is the author of two chapbooks of translation, Old Gus Eats (Publishing Genius, 2012) and Poemario Rouge (O’Clock Press, 2012). Her writing has appeared in Tin House’s Flash Fridays, The Collagist, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. She teaches writing and lives in Brooklyn.
Tracy Manaster is a graduate of Wesleyan University and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was the 2006 recipient of the National League of American Pen Women’s Joanna Catherine Scott prize for novel excerpt. Her debut novel, You Could Be Home By Now, was published in 2015 by Tyrus Books. Her nonfiction has appeared in Iagora and Moxie magazines and as interactive exhibit texts for The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and twin daughters.
Mallory McMahon holds an MFA in Writing from The New School. Her fiction has appeared in The Berkeley Fiction Review; the Tupelo Quarterly; and the EEEL. She placed third in The Berkeley Fiction Review’s Sudden Fiction contest (2015), was shortlisted by The Masters Review (2014) and was the recipient of third prize in the International 3-Day Novel Contest (2013). She lives and works in her native Brooklyn, NY.
Sherryll Mleynek is a retired literature professor with a Master’s in Literature and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California at Irvine. In addition to teaching in community college and in her Ph.D. program, she was, for 17 years, a member of the English Department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the last five years as Department Chair. She has published in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and in Literature and Theology. Her book, Knowledge and Mortality, is a study of the way in which narrative literature reflects our human experience of knowledge, and ultimately the knowledge of mortality. She is currently writing an essay about gun legislation, and writes vignettes that would have been called “essays” in the 18th or 19th centuries. Her interests are in literature and science, literature and religion, classical literature, nineteenth century fiction and women’s studies. She is a physically retired professor, but otherwise not retired. In addition to reading and writing, Sherryll is active in the Social Justice movement.
Susannah Nevison is the author of Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. She is also the recipient of a 2013 Academy of American Poets Larry Levis Prize, the 2013 American Literary Review Poetry Prize, and Pushcart Prize nominations in both poetry and nonfiction. Her work has recently appeared in Ninth Letter, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Journal, and elsewhere. She teaches and studies at the University of Utah.
Rania Abi Rafeh
Rania Abi Rafeh is a rising senior at Barnard College of Columbia University. She was born with spastic cerebral palsy; her writing comforted her sense of physical alienation. Writing gave Rania the ability to capture what it meant to be able-bodied through her characters. She wrote her first story in a composition notebook in the first grade about a young prince and princess, brother and sister, on a quest to save their parents from being kidnapped. Little did she know, that her first story would have an impact on her decision to become a writing major in college. However, she kept on thinking about the popular advice, “Write what you know!” It was at that point that Rania realized that fiction discriminated against her instead of accepting her; disability-related narratives are not the norm in the literary world. Her realization propelled her to begin writing a coming of age novel about disability, identity, sex and coming of age. She is currently working on this project with the intention of expressing a world of physical pain and limitations with humor, and wit.
Diana Rhodes is a thirty-something writer living in Ohio. She is the author of two local history books as well as various magazine publications such as Highlights for Children, NACS, Family Business Magazine and Workers Write: Tales from the Cash Register, among many others. She enjoys reading romance, suspense/thrillers and young adult books. Diana loves getting new ideas from observing everyone around her, especially her children. She writes most of her books and articles using just a pen and paper.
Rashi Rohatgi is a writer, a poet, and an academic who always sneaks something in translation onto the syllabus. Her work has appeared in Wasafiri, Africa in Words, The Misty Review, and Allegra.
Cassie Paton is writer, blogger, and journalist living in Northern California. A recent graduate of USC Annenberg’s master’s program in journalism, Cassie has interviewed criminals, rock stars, and community members alike, each with their own fascinating stories to tell. Cassie is also the founder of Witty Title Here, a community and resource for young female writers, and is originally from the East Coast. Her ultimate writing goal is to write (and publish) a novel.
Emily June Street
Emily June Street is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. She co-founded Luminous Creatures Press for her independent publishing endeavors with Beth Deitchman in 2013. Emily lives in Northern California, where she splits her time between teaching Pilates and writing. She is an avid cyclist and occasionally attempts ballet. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Emily’s first traditionally published novel, The Velocipede Races, a feminist, steampunk bicycle adventure, is forthcoming from Microcosm Publishing in 2016. You can learn about her writing activities on her WordPress blog: https://emilyjunestreet.wordpress.com/
Katherine D. Stutzman
Katherine D. Stutzman’s stories have appeared in Bound Off, jmww, The Summerset Review, and Everyday Genius, among other journals. Her book reviews can be found in the Chattahoochee Review, New Letters, Pleiades, and others. She studied English at Bryn Mawr College as an undergraduate, and holds an MFA in fiction from Penn State University. She was a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow in 2013, and is looking forward to second fellowship there in 2016. A native of upstate New York, she currently lives, writes, and teaches in Philadelphia. Find her online at www.katherinedstutzman.com.
Dwyer Tarantino was born and raised in San Diego, Calif., mostly by a bevy of Sicilian-Americans from her mother’s side. A graduate of National University, she has completed two MA’s, one in English and one in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting, and finally is adult enough to succumb to fact that writing is about the best thing she can do at this moment. Once a stage manager for Coronado Playhouse, an actor who earned one credit on IMDb, an amateur photographer and that telemarketer that bothered you at dinner time, she is now in the process of completing her first novel. Generously based on her grandmother’s life, it centers on the details of a teenage girl’s experience as an Italian immigrant in 1930s Depression-era Buffalo, New York. She has hopes that should she succeed in literature she will continue to fund and feed her crazily ambitious dream to write seriously for film, and one day advance on to directing her stories. But as of now, and perhaps for her whole life, writing and words is the core of who she is and storytelling will forever be the comfort of her nature.
Bex vanKoot is a Canadian freelance ghostwriter and journalist living in Oaxaca, Mexico. A feminist, social justice advocate and anti-oppression activist, Bex writes creative nonfiction while harboring a secret lust for magical realism and speculative fiction. She lives in a house with a man and a cat at the end of a private street with a rose bush taking over the tiny yard. She drinks mezcal and speaks Spanish. A little.
Katelyn Walters is a writer and non-profit professional living in Jacksonville, Florida. She is currently contemplating pursuing an MFA while working on a novel for young adults.
Gabriela Worrel earned her B.S. in Biology from Westmont College, an open-minded liberal arts college, and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from University of California, Irvine. She has published a variety of short-form articles in a variety of outlets, from ultra-local blogs to book review publications, to professional journals. Gabriela has written about a wide variety of subjects, but feels her strong suit drifts towards subject matters about interacting with the natural world, food policy, and other policy issues. In her ‘spare’ time as a writer she also dabbles in poetry and personal essay. She is currently getting paid as an Outreach Coordinator for a local environmental nonprofit organization, which, thankfully, employs some of her writing skills.