The Writing Institute Faculty

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Established in 1983, The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College has a proud history of workshops, classes, events, and conferences made viable by our esteemed faculty. Teachers at The Writing Institute come from many walks of life, locales near and far, and include fiction writers, editors, poets, an expert on iguanas, memoirists, teachers from New Mexico as well as Korea, a grandfather of sixteen, essayists, screenwriters, writers on social justice, a humorist who believes that uncool is cool, and many more. Although some class offerings change over the year, each member of The Writing Institute faculty believes in our goal to help every writer become the writer they want to be.

Please take a moment to learn more about our faculty members. The Writing Institute updates this list regularly and hopes you will consider our faculty’s workshops now and for the future. We have categorized this listing by genre, however most of our faculty have experience in a variety of forms and styles as you will see in these fascinating bios that highlight the diversity of experience each brings to The Writing Institute.

Fiction

Marcia Bradley

Marcia BradleyMarcia Bradley loves words, intentional sentences, and stories that uplift the magic of everyday lives. An adjunct professor in English programs, Marcia teaches Novel Writing at The Writing Institute, and is a marketing copywriter where she weaves words into the world of branding. Marcia received her BA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles in 2014, where she was an editor of Two Hawks Literary Magazine. She earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2017. She has been published in Two Hawks and Hippocampus. Marcia has completed a novel about the community of Englewood on the South Side of Chicago about the effect of violence on people’s lives. A Chicago native, then transplanted to LA, Marcia now lives in Bronx, NY, where she is working on her second novel.

Leland Cheuk

Leland CheukA MacDowell Colony and Hawthornden Castle Fellow, Leland Cheuk is the author of the story collection Letters from Dinosaurs (2016) and the novel The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong (2015). Cheuk’s work has been covered in VICE, The Millions, The Rumpus, Asian American Writers Workshop, and has appeared in or is forthcoming in publications such as Salon, Catapult, Joyland Magazine, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, [PANK] Magazine, among others. He is the fiction editor at Newfound Journal and the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books. He lives in Brooklyn. You can follow Leland on Twitter.

Patricia Dunn

Patricia DunnPatricia Dunn, MFA, Director of The Writing Institute and Assistant Dean, Graduate and Professional Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has appeared in Global City Review, Salon.com, Women’s eNews, The Christian Science Monitor, The Village Voice, The Nation, and L.A. Weekly. Her work has been anthologized in Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies; Progressive Muslim Identities: Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada; and, most recently, in the bestselling anthology, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women. Pat leads the Sarah Lawrence College annual Joe Papaleo Writers’ Workshop in Cetara, Italy. Her debut novel, Rebels by Accident, was published in August 2012 and Pat is completing two new novels at this time.

Jimin Han

Jimin HanJimin Han was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in New York, Rhode Island, and Ohio. She attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and earned an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing can be found online at NPR’s “Weekend America,” Poets & Writers Magazine, Entropy, The Rumpus, Hyphen Magazine, Kartika Review, KoreanAmericanStory.com, and elsewhere. A Small Revolution (Little A Books) is her first novel.

Nicole Haroutunian

Nicole HaroutunianNicole Haroutunian is the author of the story collection Speed Dreaming (Little A, 2015) and literary coeditor of the anthology Silent Beaches, Untold Stories: New York City's Forgotten Waterfront (Damiani, 2016). Her work has appeared in Post Road, Joyland, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, online at Tin House, and elsewhere. She is coeditor of the digital arts platform Underwater New York and cofounder of the reading series Halfway There. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Queens.

Veera Hiranandani

Veera HiranandaniVeera Hiranandani earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of The Night Diary (Dial) and The Whole Story of Half a Girl (Delacorte Press), which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist. She is also the author of the chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green (Grosset & Dunlap). A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing and is working on her next novel. Follow Veera on Twitter or Instagram.

Steven Lewis

Steve LewisThrough a life formed, informed, and daily reformed by seven children (and now sixteen grandchildren), Steve Lewis writes affectionately and passionately about our shared experiences on this earth. From Zen and the Art of Fatherhood to Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton, he took us on a narrative tour of every sunny nook and darkened cranny in the family home—and is now wandering through the yard, beyond the tree line, deep in the woods in novels Take This and Loving Violet (Summer 2017), and a collection of poems, If I Die Before You Wake (March 2017). Steve is a former Mentor at Empire State College, a current member of the Writing Institute faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, a Contributing Writer at TalkingWriting.com, Editor/Literary Ombudsman at WritersReadOnline.com, and El Jefe of the annual Hatteras Island Writers' Retreats at Duckdog Cottage, Rodanthe, North Carolina.

Annabel Monaghan

Annabel MonaghanAnnabel Monaghan is the author of two novels for young adults, A Girl Named Digit and Double Digit (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012, 2014). She is also the author of Does This Volvo Make My Butt Look Big? (Fischer Press 2016), a collection of essays based on her column that appears on The Huffington Post, The Week, and The Rye Record. Annabel is also co-author of Click! The Girls Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making it Happen (Simon and Schuster 2007). She graduated with a BA in English from Duke University and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. She teaches novel writing at The Writing Institute, which is her favorite job she’s ever had.

Katie Rainey

Katie RaineyM.K. (Katie) Rainey is a writer, teacher, and editor from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the winner of the 2017 Bechtel Prize at Teachers & Writers Magazine and the 2017 Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Collagist, 3AM Magazine, Atticus Review, Fiction Southeast, and more. She co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series and lives in Harlem with her dog. Sometimes she writes things the dog likes.

Ines Rodrigues

Ines RodriguesInes Rodrigues is a Brazilian journalist, writer, and teacher. Her first novel, Days of Bossa Nova, was published in 2017 by Black Opal Books. Ines teaches Creative Writing at The Writing Institute and Italian language at Bronxville Adult School. She worked as a journalist and radio host in Brazil and lived in Italy and London before making New York her home years ago. Since 2015, she also promotes the Scarsdale Salon, a quarterly literary event at the Scarsdale Public Library. 

Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thaddeus RutkowskiThaddeus Rutkowski is a graduate of Cornell University and The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the books Guess and Check (Gival Press), Violent Outbursts (Spuyten Duyvil), Haywire (Starcherone Books), Tetched (Behler Publications), and Roughhouse (Kaya Press). Haywire won the Members’ Choice Award, given by the Asian American Writers Workshop. He also teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer's Voice at the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and has been a resident writer at MacDowell, Yaddo, and other colonies. His stories have appeared in Copper Nickel, Faultline, Fiction, Fiction International, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Iron Horse Review, Sou’wester, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, and many other publications.

Steven Schnur

Steven SchnurSteven Schnur (BA, Sarah Lawrence College; MA, Graduate Center, City University of New York) studied writing with Grace Paley, Jane Cooper, Irving Howe, and Alfred Kazin and has devoted forty-five years to writing fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. Since 1990, Steve has been a faculty member of The Writing Institute. His two dozen books include Father’s Day, Beyond Providence, The Koufax Dilemma, The Shadow Children (winner of the Sidney Taylor Award for outstanding juvenile fiction), and The Tie Man’s Miracle: A Chanukah Tale (which aired as a PBS animated special). When not writing, Steve can be found behind a camera documenting the lives of young children, taking care of his grandchildren, riding a bicycle, or pursuing the violin and the piano with more ardor than either has ever shown him. He is married to his high school sweetheart (also a Sarah Lawrence grad) with whom he raised three children.

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn

Barbara Solomon JosselsohnBarbara Solomon Josselsohn is a New York-based novelist and freelance writer. Her first novel, The Last Dreamer, was published by Lake Union Publishing. Her articles and essays have appeared in Consumers Digest, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, American Baby, Westchester Magazine, The Journal News, Westchester Home, and at BrainChildMag.com, ConsumerSearch.com, and GrownandFlown.com. Barbara teaches adult writing classes at the Scarsdale Library, a summer magazine writing course for children at the Scarsdale-based JCC-Midwestchester, and is a presenter at children’s writing workshops. Barbara began her career as a reporter and editor with HFN, a trade magazine covering the home furnishings business. Her BA in English is from Binghamton University, MA from the University of Connecticut. She has studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville College.

Marian Thurm

Marian ThurmMarian Thurm is the author of seven novels and four short story collections, including the most recent, Today Is Not Your Day, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her novel, The Clairvoyant, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Michigan Quarterly, The Southampton Review, and many other magazines, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories, and numerous other anthologies. Her books have been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Dutch, German, and Italian. In addition to teaching at the Writing Institute, she has taught creative writing at Yale University and Barnard College, and in the MFA programs at Columbia University and Brooklyn College.

Wendy Townsend

Wendy TownsendWendy Townsend is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is a lifelong lover of animals and has shared her home with large lizards and snakes since she was eight years old. In 1993, she co-authored and illustrated Iguanas: A Guide to Their Biology and Captive Care and has written many articles for Reptiles magazine. Her first young adult novel, Lizard Love (2008), received a Booklist Starred Review. Her second novel, The Sundown Rule, is among the Kirkus Reviews best children’s books of 2011 and is a Bank Street College book of outstanding merit for 2012. Her third novel, Blue Iguana, was short-listed for the 2015 Green Earth Book Award. Townsend is at work on a memoir entitled Half Lizard.

Crissy Van Meter

Crissy Van MeterCrissy Van Meter has an MFA from The New School in New York City. She is the managing editor at Nouvella Books and the founding editor of Five Quarterly, a democratic literary project and magazine in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in VICE, Catapult, Guernica, Bustle, ESPN, The Hairpin, Golly, VIDA, and more. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Algonquin Books. She lives in Los Angeles.

Nonfiction & Memoir

Rachel Aydt

Rachel AydtRachel Aydt is a part-time Assistant Professor of writing and literature at the New School University. She's lived in New York for over 25 years, working for national consumer magazines in staff positions; doing freelance writing and editing; and teaching across many genres of writing. In 2017, she received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction. She's published essays in The White Review, Broad Street Journal, and many other publications, and has completed a memoir. She's thrilled to be teaching “Storytelling from a Place of Mindfulness” at the Writer's Institute.

Peter Bricklebank

Peter BricklebankPeter Bricklebank has published in The American Voice, Carolina Quarterly, Mid-American Review, Kansas Quarterly, Confrontation, Fiction, The New York Times Book Review, and The Chicago Tribune, et al. His chapter on essay/memoir appears in The Portable MFA. He teaches in the online graduate program of National University; Hudson Valley Writers' Center; The Writing Institute. He was recently a visiting writer at the Northwestern Arts MFA program on Whidbey Island.

Kathy Curto

Kathy CurtoKathy Curto teaches at The Writing Institute and Montclair State University. Her work has been published in the essay collection, Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, and in The New York Times, Barrelhouse, La Voce di New York, Drift, Talking Writing, Junk, The Inquisitive Eater, The Asbury Park Press, VIA-Voices in Italian Americana, Ovunque Siamo, and Lumina. She has been the recipient of the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship, the Montclair State University Engaged Teaching Fellowship, and also serves on the faculty of the Joe Papaleo Writers’ Workshop in Cetara, Italy.

Sarah Saffian

Sarah SaffianSarah Saffian (MFA, Columbia) is the author of Ithaka, her memoir of being an adoptee who was found by her birth family. A regular faculty member of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and an independent writing coach, Sarah has been a writer-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Millay Colony, a journalism professor at NYU and the New School, and has written for publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Yoga Journal. As a psychotherapist (LMSW, NYU), Sarah counsels individuals and groups, and blends her areas of interest and expertise in Therapeutic Writing, using memoir prompts as a tool for encouraging reflection, processing, and discovery.

Alexandra Soiseth

Alexandra SoisethAlexandra Soiseth has been teaching personal writing and memoir for 20 years. She is the author of the memoir Choosing You, published by Seal Press in 2008. She is the recipient of a Canada Arts Council grant, an Ontario Arts Council grant, and is the former managing editor of and communications director for Global City Review, a New York City-based literary magazine. Her work has appeared on babycenter.com, literarymama.com, and in McGill Street Magazine, The Ryersonian, and on the radio program “LifeRattle,” among others.

Dan Zevin

Dan ZevinDan Zevin is a Thurber Prize-winning humorist. He has written eight funny books, including Dan Gets a Minivan and The Day I Turned Uncool, which were both optioned by Adam Sandler. Dan has been an award-winning humor columnist for The New York Times, a comic commentator for NPR, and a contributor to print or digital editions of The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Rolling Stone, Salon, The Los Angeles Times, Real Simple, and Parents, among others. He currently teaches comedic writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Dan’s latest project is a series of picture book parodies featuring adorably annoying adults, including Mr. Selfie, Little Miss Overshare, Mr. Humblebrag, and Little Miss Basic.

Donna Zucker

Donna ZuckerDonna Zucker is a nonfiction writer and teacher. She has 18 years of experience working as senior writer and research editor for publishing houses such as Time Inc., Condé Nast, and Scholastic. She writes and designs biographical books with her business, Story Guide. She earned a MFA in nonfiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. In 2013, Donna began teaching nonfiction workshops and lecturing on biography, memoir, and family history at writing centers and libraries around the country. Donna also has a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector, and a passion for the arts rooted in her classical training as a pianist. She has traveled extensively, experiencing firsthand the power of storytelling in cultures around the world.

Poetry & Essay

Anya Achtenberg

Anya AchtenbergAnya Achtenberg is an award-winning writer. Her publications include Blue Earth (a novel); The Stories of Devil-Girl (a novella); and poetry collections, The Stone of Language, I Know What the Small Girl Knew, and Advice to Travelers. Her writing has received distinctions from Southern Poetry Review; Another Chicago Magazine; Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story; New Letters; the Minnesota State Arts Board, and others. Anya’s almost completed novel, History Artist, centers on a Cambodian woman born the moment the US bombing of Cambodia begins, nonfiction includes an essay on identity and the inadequate instruction to “write from a sense of place,” in the 2017 anthology, How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse. She writes creative nonfiction on Cuba, leads arts-focused/multicultural journeys there, and she works with writers to help them develop and complete their manuscripts. Her workshops include “Writing for Social Change” and others.

Carla Carlson

Carla CarlsonCarla Carlson is the author of Love and Oranges, a poetry chapbook. Some of her poems have been published in journals such as PANK, Prelude, The Mom Egg, Yes Poetry, and Columbia Journal. She teaches poetry classes at the Writing Institute and at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY, where she co-runs a monthly submission cooperative. She and her husband live in Bronxville, NY.

Paige Lockard

Paige LockardPaige Lockard is a writer from Kansas City. She is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and teaches creative writing in The Writing Institute. She is also directing the 2018 Poetry Festival at Sarah Lawrence. Paige has experience in online content creation, editing, and has worked for animal rescue nonprofits. Her poetry focuses on the planet, its creation and demise, as well as her own.

David Masello

David MaselloDavid Masello is a writer and editor based in New York. He is executive editor of Milieu, a national print magazine about design and architecture. He has held senior editor positions at several publications, including Town & Country, Art & Antiques, Travel & Leisure, Country Living, and Departures, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Out Traveler. He has had essays published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Best American Essays, and for read650.com, a live reading series, among others. He is a widely published poet and author of two books on art and architecture. Lecturer at universities on journalism and the arts, David has also had plays produced and performed by the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Jewish Women’s Theatre of Los Angeles, National Arts Club, Big Apple Theatre Festival, and Fresh Fruit Theatre Festival. At the National Arts Club, he serves on the literary and theatre committees.

Genevieve Pfeiffer

Genevieve PfeifferGenevieve Pfeiffer is the executive editor of Anomaly, an international journal of literature and art. She teaches literature at Westchester Community College and Pace University and has facilitated workshops with both young children and incarcerated women. Pfeiffer has been the writer in residence at The Platte-Clove Preserve and The Mall of Found. Recently, she was selected to participate in The Home School conference. Her work has been published in journals that include So to Speak: feminism + language + art, Crack the Spine, Stone Canoe, BlazeVox, and The Write Room. Genevieve is grateful for trees.

Elaine Sexton

Elaine SextonElaine Sexton is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Prospect/Refuge (Sheep Meadow, 2015). Her poems, reviews, and artworks have appeared in journals including Art in America, American Poetry Review, O! the Oprah Magazine, and Poetry. An avid book-maker, in addition to the Writing Institute, she teaches text & image and poetry at various art and writing centers in the US and abroad, most recently at Poets House and Arts Workshop International in Assisi, Italy. She is the visual arts editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Estha Weiner

Estha WeinerEstha Weiner's newest poetry collection, at the last minute, is forthcoming in spring 2018 (Salmon Poetry). She is also author of In the Weather of the World (Salmon Poetry); Transfiguration Begins at Home (Tiger Bark Pres); The Mistress Manuscript (Asheville Book Works); and co-editor/contributor to Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews (University of Akron Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including The New Republic and Barrow Street. Winner of a Paterson Prize, she is founding director of Sarah Lawrence NY Alumni/ae Writers Nights, and Advisory Committee member of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley Writers Center.

On Getting Published

Caitlin Alexander

Caitlin Alexander has been editing books for more than fifteen years. She spent much of that time at Random House, where she acquired and edited New York Times bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction. She continues to edit bestselling and award-winning books as a freelance editor.

Cynthia Manson

Cynthia Manson is a well-known and respected independent literary agent with a small, successful list of published authors. She graduated from Scripps College for Women with a BA in English Literature and Fine Arts. She also attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course, where she was inspired by Sterling Lord. Two years later she joined the Sterling Lord Literary Agency. Manson has worked in both magazine and book publishing, including Putnam, Bertelsmann, and Scientific American. Currently she is a consultant for Advertising Age magazine and other Crain Publications, as well as representing authors in a variety of genres.

Ginger McKnight-Chavers

Ginger McKnight-ChaversGinger McKnight-Chavers is a native of Dallas, Texas, graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Law School, she worked for many years in arts/entertainment and corporate law. She lectures artists and arts nonprofits on copyright, contracts and other arts law topics. Ginger studied fiction writing at The Writing Institute, where she was a Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellow. Her debut novel, In the Heart of Texas, She Writes Press, won the 2016 USA Best Book Award for African American Fiction. Ginger was published in the anthology, Oil and Water: and Other Things That Don’t Mix, in Essence, Huffington Post, New York Family, SheWrites.com, ShareBlue, and Scribe, among others. Ginger resides in Westchester County, NY, with her husband, daughter, and an overweight West Highland White Terrier.

Screenwriting & Theatre

Jennifer Manocherian

Jennifer ManocherianJennifer Manocherian has been a theatre producer for thirty years and moonlights writing. She wrote and produced the film “Family Blues,” which can be streamed online on many movie websites, and currently has a few screenplays in development. She wrote the book of the musical MARRY HARRY under her maiden name Jennifer Robbins, which has been produced regionally and at the York Theatre in New York City. She is on the board of New York Stage & Film, a nonprofit devoted to developing new works.