Our Writers

Marie-Helene WestgateWhat advice would Marie-Hélène Westgate MFA '11 give to grad students? "Make sure to let enough magic into your life so that once you’re spat out into the world again, and you find yourself struggling, doubting yourself, and yearning for the time to really think and create and give yourself to your craft, you can recall these two strange years when your only duty was to do exactly what it was you had wanted, all your life, to do.” Read Marie-Hélène's story»

Mira PtacinMira Ptacin, who graduated Sarah Lawrence College with an MFA in nonfiction in 2009, didn’t always know that she wanted to pursue creative writing professionally. Once she decided to pursue this path, the lure of the Big Apple proved irresistible—Mira knew that as a literary apex, New York would be the perfect environment for her to hone her skills as a writer. Read Mira's story»

Brynn SaitoBrynn Saito MFA '08 had completed her bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and was in the process of completing her master’s in religious studies at NYU when she experienced an epiphany: what she really wanted to do was be a poet and not a scholar of religion. Brynn took the plunge and chose to pursue her MFA at Sarah Lawrence, where she was lured by the quality of the professors. Read Brynn' story»

Katie Arnold-Ratliff

Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay area, and after attending high school in Vallejo, California, Katie Arnold-Ratliff MFA '08 had been groomed for the Sarah Lawrence experience. She applied to Sarah Lawrence, was accepted as an undergrad, and wanted to attend—only, the timing wasn't quite right. When the time came for her to pursue her MFA in fiction, where to go was a no-brainer—Sarah Lawrence’s conference system was exactly what Katie was looking for in a master's program. Read Katie's story»

Seth MichelsonGrowing up with a congenital hip disease, Seth Michelson MFA '02 was precluded from many of the same activities his friends enjoyed. Poetry, literature, and a passion for language, however, afforded him a creative outlet and a portal for self-expression that helped him adapt to the limitations of his disease. Later, when Seth decided to pursue an MFA, he was seduced by the opportunity to work with SLC's glittering roster of successful writers. Read Seth's story»

Gwendolen GrossWhen it came time for Gwendolen Gross MFA '98 to explore graduate schools, she and Sarah Lawrence clicked instantly. "When I visited, Sarah Lawrence struck me not only as a place where I'd enjoy the workshops and learn about revision—the key, I think, to learning to write—but where I'd forge writing friendships." Read Gwendolen's story»

Jonathan Callahan

Jonathan Callahan MFA '08's stories from The Consummation of Dirk (winner of the 8th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction) have appeared or are forthcoming in The Collagist, Kill Author, The Lifted Brow, Pank, Underwater New York, Unsaid, and Washington Square Review. The title piece in the book, a mini-novella featuring Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki that first appeared in The Collagist, achieved brief blogosphere notoriety last autumn, written up at both Deadspin and ESPN.com. Callahan has also written non-fiction, including a lengthy essay of Kafka, Thomas Bernhard, and David Foster Wallace for The Collagist and an essay on Rick Moody in The Fiction Writers Review. He grew up in Honolulu, studied fiction at Sarah Lawrence, where he worked with Stephen O' Connor, Melvin Bukiet, and David Hollander, and taught writing at SUNY Purchase for a year. Currently he lives and works in New York City.

Alex DimitrovAlex Dimitrov '09 is the author of Begging for It, published by Four Way Books. He is also the founder of Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon in New York City. Dimitrov's poems have been published in The Yale Review, Kenyon Review, Slate, Poetry Daily, Tin House, Boston Review, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize in 2011. He is also the author of American Boys, an e-chapbook published by Floating Wolf Quarterly in 2012. Dimitrov is the Content Editor at the Academy of American Poets, teaches creative writing at Rutgers University, and frequently writes for Poets & Writers.

Ilana GaronIlana Garon MFA '09 is an English teacher at a public high school in the Bronx, N.Y., and holds masters degrees in both English education and fine arts. In the past nine years, she has taught every level of high school English, including ESL and AP, SAT Prep, and even math in emergency situations. In addition to Education Week Teacher, her writing has appeared in Dissent Magazine, Huffington Post, and PresenTense Magazine. Her forthcoming book, Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens: Teaching Lessons from the Bronx, is available on Amazon.

Marty McConnellMarty McConnell MFA '01 is the author of wine for a shotgun, released in October 2012 on EM Press. Part of the vanguard of poets fusing and refusing the delineations between literary and oral poetry, McConnell’s work blurs the lines between autobiography and personae to comment on and illuminate what it means to live and love outside the lines in early 21st century America. “wine for a shotgun” is a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award (Publishing Triangle) and the Lambda Literary Award for lesbian poetry. Both prizes will be announced in spring 2013. 

McConnell’s work has been published in numerous anthologies, including A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Movement, Spoken Word Revolution Redux, Women of the Bowery, Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader, Bullets and Butterflies: Queer Spoken Word Poetry, Will Work for Peace, Women. Period. and In Our Own Words: Poetry of Generation X, as well as journals including Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard, Salt Hill Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, Rattle, and more. 

A member of seven National Poetry Slam teams representing New York City and Chicago, McConnell is the 2012 National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) Champion. In 2011, she completed her first European tour and debuted her one-woman show, “vicebox.” She is a two-time recipient of the Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago’s Office of Tourism and Culture, and received a 2013 grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

McConnell transplanted herself from Chicago to New York City in 1999, after completing the first of three national tours with the Morrigan, an all-female performance poetry troupe she co-founded. She received her MFA in creative writing/poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and for nearly a decade, co-curated the flagship reading series of the New York City-based louderARTS Project. She appeared on both the second and fifth seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She returned to Chicago in 2009 to co-found Vox Ferus, an organization dedicated to empowering and energizing individuals and communities through the written and spoken word.

She has performed and facilitated workshops at schools and festivals around the country, including The Dodge Poetry Festival, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Wicker Park Arts Festival, Connecticut Poetry Festival, Cornell University, University of Utah, James Madison University, Old Dominion, University of Connecticut, University of Arkansas, DePaul University, and more. She lives in Chicago, and travels the country performing and leading workshops.  For more information, visit: http://www.martyoutloud.com

Maya PindyckMaya Pindyck MFA '06 is the author of Friend Among Stones, a collection of poems published by New Rivers Press, and the chapbook, Locket, Master, which received a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems have been widely published in such places as Poets & Artists, Sycamore Review, Bellingham Review, Mississippi Review, and Tusculum Review. She is the recipient of fellowships from Squaw Valley's Community of Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Drisha Institute. A former New York City Teaching Fellow, she has taught English and creative writing in the public school system for over four years. She currently teaches critical writing and reading skills to inner-city high school students through Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Maya earned her MA in Education from Brooklyn College and her BA in Philosophy and Fine Arts from Connecticut College. She lives in Brooklyn.

Lev AC RosenLev AC Rosen MFA '06 is the author of the critically acclaimed All Men of Genius, which was an Amazon Best of the Month, was on over a dozen "best of the year" lists, and has been nominated for multiple awards. Publisher's Weekly says it "puts a steampunk spin on the Victorian comedy of manners while sneakily critiquing the gender biases of both genres." The Onion's A.V. Club declares that it "slyly examines the psychology and the aesthetics behind the act of human invention," and Locus Magazine says it "mixes genres with fearless panache." At 22, Lev's short story Painting was the inaugural piece for the "New Voices" section of the renowned Esopus magazine. He has written articles on steampunk, postmodernism, and writing for numerous blogs, including booklifenow and tor.com. Lev has studied with David Young, David Walker, David Hollander, and many people not named David, including Mary LaChapelle, Ernesto Mestre-Reed, Paul Lisicky, Whitney Otto, Arnost Lustig, Brian Morton, Joan Silber, and Dan Chaon. He received his BA from Oberlin College. Lev is originally from lower Manhattan and now lives in even lower Manhattan, right at the edge. He teaches creative writing, and is hard at work on something new, he promises.

Faculty Spotlight

Vijay SeshadriOn April 14, 2014, it was announced that Vijay Seshadri, a faculty member since 1998, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He received the honor for his 3 Sections, which the Pulitzer committee described as “a compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless.” Read a conversation with Vijay»

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Video Corner

Natalie Korth

Natalie Korth, a Non-Fiction MFA student, shares her thoughts on SLC's Writing program. Watch on YouTube»