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BARBARA BAIG is the creator of The Mastery Path for Writers, a new approach to learning to write that focuses on achieving excellence through deliberate practice. Barbara is an expert writing teacher and coach, having honed her skills over thirty years of teaching undergraduate and graduate students, working adults, and aspiring creative writers. She spent two decades as the Writing Instructor at Harvard Divinity School and now teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Her website provides free writing lessons for creative writers and others.
Fiction and Nonfiction Children’s Literature
TRACEY BAPTISTE is a New York Times bestselling author. She writes mostly for children, from picture books to young adult novels.
Writing for Stage and Screen
BARRY BRODSKY began writing plays in the 80s and is a past grant recipient from the Mass. Artists Foundation (now Mass Cultural Council). His plays have been performed around the country and in Canada. He has also written for film, with a short script nominated for Best Short Film at the Madrid International Film Festival. He has been teaching Playwriting since 1990 and Screenwriting since 1998.
JANE BROX‘s fifth book, Silence, was published in January 2019, and was selected as an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times Book Review. Her previous book, Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, was named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2010 by Time magazine. She is also the author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm; Five Thousand Days Like This One, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has been awarded grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Maine Arts Commission.
SHARON BRYAN is the author of four books of poems, most recently Sharp Stars and Flying Blind. She edited Where We Stand: Women Poets on Literary Tradition and co-edited, with William Olsen, Planet on the Table: Poets on the Reading Life. She has received numerous awards for her work, including two NEA Fellowships and a Governor’s Award from the State of Washington. She has taught in more than twenty writing programs, and is currently on the faculty of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Lesley University.
STEVEN CRAMER is the author of six poetry collections and has published poems and essays in journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Field, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New England Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry. Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and two fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, he founded and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. He writes poems and about poems. If he could write more lucratively, he doesn’t know if he would, but he can’t so he doesn’t. Some of the poems from his latest collection, Listen, out in October 2020 from MadHat Press, are available online through his website.
LORI DESROSIERS’ poetry books are The Philosopher’s Daughter, Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak and Keeping Planes in the Air, all from Salmon Poetry (Ireland). Two chapbooks, Inner Sky and typing with e.e. cummings, are from Glass Lyre Press (Illinois). They edit two journals: Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry and Wordpeace.co, an online journal dedicated to peace and social justice. Lori teaches the Ekphrastic Poetry, Narrative Poetry for Social Change, Intro to Poetry and Poetics, and The Art of the Chapbook IS courses at Lesley’s MFA in Creative Writing program.
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Photo Credit: Adrianne Mathiowetz
Writing for Young People
DAVID ELLIOTT is the award-winning author of more than thirty books for young people, including the picture books Baabwaa and Wooliam, and the New York Times best-selling And Here’s to You!. He is the author of the critically acclaimed verse novels, Bull, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, and most recently The Seventh Raven. His many jobs have included popsicle stick maker, cucumber washer, teacher, and singer. A native of Ohio, David now lives (and writes) in New Hampshire with his wife and their Dandie Dinmont terrier, Queequeg.
TONY EPRILE has been working for some years on an historical novel about South Africa in WWII and war artists. He is also revising a memoir about moving from a fraught political situation in South Africa to an all-boys school in London. His work has been featured in publications like The American Scholar. Other activities include photography, foraging for wild mushrooms, uechi ryu karate, and swimming.
LAURIE FOOS is the author of Ex Utero, Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist, Twinship, Bingo Under the Crucifix, Before Elvis There Was Nothing, and the Blue Girl. She has also published two books for Gemma Media’s Open Door Series for Emerging Readers, The Giant Baby, and most recently, Toast, which she has expanded into a middle grade novel about siblings and autism. She has been teaching at Lesley since 2005 and is also on the faculty in the low-residency BFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College.
Graphic Novels & Comics
SOPHIE GOLDSTEIN is an award-winning graphic novelist, illustrator and comics instructor living in Tulsa, OK where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow. Her work combines the gut-punch of pulp science fiction and body horror with the seductive power of art nouveau and pristine design—exploring moral grey areas in black and white and challenging our cultural narrative of linear progression and techno-utopianism. Her most recent graphic novel An Embarrassment of Witches from Top Shelf Productions, is her second collaboration with Jenn Jordan.
JOAN HOULIHAN is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently It Isn’t a Ghost if It Lives in Your Chest. Her previous books include Shadow-feast, named a must-read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; The Mending Worm, winner of the New Issues Green Rose Award; The Us, named a must-read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; the sequel Ay; and Hand-Held Executions. She is Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and has been teaching at Lesley since 2007. She founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.
RACHEL KADISH’s most recent novel, The Weight of Ink, was awarded a National Jewish Book Award. Her work has been read on National Public Radio and has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Slate, Paris Review, Iowa Review, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She has been the Koret Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University and a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She lives outside Boston and is a co-founder of the Stockholm-based initiative Voices Between: Stories Against Extremism.
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Photo credit: Kevin Day
HESTER KAPLAN is the author of novels and short story collections, including The Edge of Marriage, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction. Her fiction and nonfiction has been widely published and anthologized, including in The Best American Short Stories series. She is a 2020 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is co-founder of Goat Hill Writers and Write Rhode Island, a state-wide high school writing competition. Her most recent fiction can be found in The Idaho Review.
Writing for Young People
MICHELLE KNUDSEN is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty-five books for children and teens, including the award-winning picture book Library Lion, which was selected by TIME magazine as one of the Best 100 Children’s Books of All Time. Her other books include the picture book Marilyn’s Monster (one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015) and the novels The Dragon of Trelian (VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers) and Evil Librarian (YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults and winner of the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor). She writes about love, friendship, dragons, demons, magic, musical theater, and, in a forthcoming picture book, giant spiders. Her next book will be a biography of Nellie Bly for young readers, part of Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted series about women who changed the world.
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Photo Credit: Alvaro Keding
MICHAEL LOWENTHAL is the author of four novels: The Same Embrace, Avoidance, Charity Girl (a New York TimesBook Review “Editors’ Choice” and Washington Post “Top Fiction of 2007” pick), and The Paternity Test (an Indie Next List selection and a Lambda Literary Award finalist). His short stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, the Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, Guernica, and The Rumpus, and have been widely anthologized. A collection of his short stories, Sex with Strangers, is due out in 2021.
Graduated June 2017
THATO MWOSA, originally from Botswana, is an illustrator, screenwriter and filmmaker. When she is not doing art, she spends time with her three kids and husband in Boston, MA. Thato won the coveted “Emerging Filmmaker Award” at the 2005 Roxbury Film Festival for her film, “Don’t tell me you love me.” Thato has made several short documentaries and one of them, “An African in America,” was screened at the Pan African Sweet Mother Conference held at Harvard University in early 2006. Thato’s third film, “The Day Of My Wedding,” was selected for broadcast on The Best Shorts program on BETJ (Black Entertainment Television). Thato created, wrote, and directed an international TV show, Ya Ma’Afrika. The show chronicles the lives of African immigrants in America. Ya Ma’Afrika was nationally broadcast on a Comcast channel Afrotainment and was broadcast all across Africa. In early 2009, Thato started on the production of her feature documentary, Tribe of Women, which tells the story of the Sisterhood for Peace, an anti-war movement by women from Sudan. Thato’s first narrative feature, Memoirs of a Black Girl completed in late 2020 is now making the 2021 film festival rounds. Thato is a finalist for the 2019 Mass Cultural Art Fellowship in the Dramatic Writing category. Thato graduated with a dual degree in Film Production and Marketing/Advertising Communications from Emerson College 2001. She has a Film Directing certificate from New York Film Academy and an MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen from Lesley University. She serves on the boards of Boston Neighborhood Network in Boston and Women in Film/Video New England. Thato currently teaches TV, Film, and Documentary Filmmaking at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA.
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Creative Nonfiction; Graphic Novel & Comics
PAMELA PETRO is a writer, artist, and educator. She works in both research nonfiction and memoir—often braiding the two together—and as a visual artist works with experimental forms of photography. In addition to the MFA, she teaches creative writing at Smith College and is the Director of the Dylan Thomas Summer School at the University of Wales, Trinity St David. Her essays have been published in Lumina, The Paris Review, Granta, Slab, and Harvard Review Online.
Graduated June 2014
CYNTHIA PLATT is the author of three picture booksand her first chapter book, Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship, was published in May 2019. Postcards from Summer, her first young adult novel, will be published in summer 2021. She also teaches at Montserrat College of Art and writes for the Khan Academy Kids learning app.
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KEVIN PRUFER is the author of seven books of poetry and the editor of numerous anthologies, the most recent of which is How He Loved Them (Four Way Books), winner of the Julie Suk Award and long-listed for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. Prufer is also Co-Curator of the Unsung Masters Series, and Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. Among Prufer’s awards and honors are four Pushcart prizes and multiple Best American Poetry selections, numerous awards from the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation.
Young Adult & Children’s
JASON REYNOLDS is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Recently named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning.
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Photo Credit: James J. Reddington
Cassie M. Seinuk
Writing for Stage and Screen
CASSIE M. SEINUK is a Jewish Cuban playwright, stage manager, and educator in Boston, MA. Her play From the Deep won the Kennedy Center ACTF Latinidad Playwrights Award, The Pestalozzi New Play Prize, the Boston University Jewish Culture Endowment grant, Honorable Mention on the 2015 Kilroys List, and IRNE Award and FringeNYC award nominations. Seinuk’s short works have been produced internationally, including her award winning 10 minute play Occupy Hallmark, which won the Gary Garrison National 10 Minute Play award at the Kennedy Center. Seinuk is on faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Lesley University MFA in Creative Writing.
Writing for Stage and Screen
KATE SNODGRASS has taught in the Lesley University MFA in Creative Writing program since 2008. She moonlights as the Artistic Director of Derek Walcott’s Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and directs the MFA in Playwriting program at Boston University. She is the Co-Founder of the Boston Theater Marathon, now in its 22nd year. A StageSource 2001 “Theatre Hero,” she was awarded Boston’s Theatre Critics’ Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence in 2012. The author of the Heideman Award-winning play Haiku, and the winner of two IRNE Awards and a Gertrude Steinberg nomination, Kate is the recipient of a 2015 Tanne Foundation Award for her passion and commitment to the Theatre. She studied acting in NYC and at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and worked closely under Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s tutelage and as a colleague for 20 years until his retirement.
Easthampton, MA & NYC
Writing for Stage and Screen
Born in the US and raised in Istanbul, much of Sinan Ünel’s work reflects a yearning to find common ground, and to unite worlds. His plays have been produced in New York City, regionally, and across Europe. Sinan has been awarded The John Gassner Memorial Award, The Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, and was a fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company from 2003 to 2005. His script Race Point was the winner of the 2001 New Century Writer Award for best screenplay. Sinan divides his time between Easthampton, MA and NYC.
A.J. VERDELLE is a working mother and author of The Good Negress, a novel that won five national prizes, including: a Whiting Writers Award, finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, for the IMPAC/Dublin Literary Award, and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Verdelle also received the Vursell Distinguished Prose Fiction award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Verdelle has published essays about art, photography, and Hurricane Katrina. Verdelle teaches undergraduates at Morgan State University, an HBCU in Baltimore, MD and works with graduate writers in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University. In Fall 2021, Harper/Amistad will publish A.J. Verdelle’s memoir about her relationship with the late Toni Morrison.
Writing for Young People
SARA ZARR is the acclaimed author of nine novels for young readers and a work of nonfiction. She’s a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner, and the host and producer of the podcast This Creative Life. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Image, Gather, and several anthologies. Sara also does some book consulting and coaching as her schedule allows. She divides her time between Salt Lake City and San Francisco.