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Jorge Armenteros

Nice, France
Graduated June 2012

JORGE ARMENTEROS was born in Cuba, his family leaving for Madrid, Spain, then Tampa, Florida, before finally settling in Puerto Rico. After graduating from Harvard University, he acquired an MD at the University of Puerto Rico and completed his residency in psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, later obtaining an MA in Spanish and Latin American Literature at New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Armenteros is the author of the 2015 International Latino Book Award winner The Book of I (Jaded Ibis Press), and the Striped Tunic Trilogy: AIR, The Roar of the River, and The Spiral of Words (Spuyten Duyvil Press). His author interviews and book reviews have appeared in The Writer’s ChronicleAmerican Book ReviewRain Taxi, and Gargoyle. Armenteros resides in the South of France.

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Rex Carey Arrasmith

Lāna’i City, HI (NOV-MAR) Sedona, AZ (APR-OCT)
Graduated January 2018

REX CAREY ARRASMITH was raised by wolves in San Diego, CA and after a thirty year career with United Airlines thought he would give writing a try. He has decades of life experiences and he feels the need to turn them into stories. A faulty and romanticized memory makes writing them as fiction the only way to get the truth out. He advises his readers to believe his fictions as facts. He is a co-founder of Cambridge Common Writers, a Lesley MFA alumni group. His work has been published on Spillwords Press, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and Postcard Shorts. He is always happy to talk to aspiring writers if you want to reach out: WreckWrites@gmail.com.

Rex can also be found in our Poetry section!

Christine Bagley

Andover, MA
Graduated January 2011

CHRISTINE BAGLEY has been teaching foreign national physicians and scientists how to improve their writing at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston since 2011. She was a 2016 fiction contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and won Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award for Crime Fiction, as well as a nomination for the Derringer Award. She uses a wide range of topics in her stories including domestic abuse, dementia, murder, and lunacy. In many cases, her stories include a humorous character to lighten up the darkness. Her work has been published in Bryant Literary Review, Best New England Crime Stories, Untoward Magazine, and Briar Cliff Review. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Grub Street, and Sisters-in Crime.

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Anita Ballesteros

Somerville, MA
Graduated January 2020

ANITA BALLESTEROS’s MFA from Lesley in Creative Writing is her fourth degree, complementing a PhD and MS in Molecular Oncology from NYU and a BS in Chemistry from SUNY/Purchase College. She works in biotech in Cambridge MA, part of the engine looking to cure life-threatening diseases.  She is second-gen Spanish-American on her dad’s side and Jewish-American on her mom’s side, and growing up in a house full of girls, including the pets, can tell you that the Spanish dad tropes are real.  Anita grew up living a nomadic childhood throughout Europe and calls neither and both “home.”  Her writing has focused on loss and transition, although she wishes often that more humor would fly off her fingertips and she’s working on that too.

Tavi Taylor Black

Vashon, WA
Graduated June 2008

TAVI TAYLOR BLACK lives on an island near Seattle where she designs sets for the Vashon Dance Academy, works as the tour manager for Deva Premal & Miten with Manose (a musical mantra group), and was the founding director of the Dove Project, an anti-domestic violence non-profit organization. Before earning an MFA from Lesley University, Tavi spent 14 years touring with rock bands. Her work has been published in Literary Mama, The Zodiac Review, and is forthcoming in Levee Magazine.

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Aqueela C. Britt

Holbrook, MA
Graduated June 2018

AQUEELA C. BRITT’s love for writing began in a townhouse in Roxbury in the early 80’s. What started as pencil scribed tales on steno notepads has since transformed into raw, matter-of-fact stories about LGBTQ identified black and brown kids trying to live their best lives. Aqueela’s dual passion is Social Work, where her career in child protection often served as a backdrop to her stories.

Aqueela published her first novel, London Reign under the pseudonym, A.C. Britt in 2007 through Ghettoheat Publishing. Since then, Aqueela has penned several works of short and long fiction, poetry and essays.

Aqueela holds a BA in Social Work, Master of Social Work and an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Fiction. Aqueela currently works as an Academic Advisor in the School of Social Work at Simmons University, of which she is an alum. Aqueela is the proud mom of a charmingly precocious son with a love for animals, gaming and all things fun.

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Alissa Butterworth

Billerica, MA
Graduated June 2012

ALISSA BUTTERWORTH is an author, editor and educator based in northern Massachusetts. Her work, comprising short and long form fiction, nonfiction and poetry, has appeared in print and online, in such publications as the Reading Eagle and the Alumni Arts Review. She has appeared on television and on the radio. Alissa has finished her first novel and is currently working on or hatching several other book-length projects, as well as shorter pieces.  She teaches a popular and long-standing Writer’s Workshop (among other courses) and enjoys working with creative writing students and clients. She lives with her family and her quirky rescue hound dog Scout, named after the protagonist of one of Alissa’s favorite novels, To Kill a Mockingbird.  An avid history lover, Alissa also volunteers as a docent at a Revolutionary War-era house, and often includes historical settings and themes in her work.

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Margaret F. Chen

Rockville, MD
Graduated June 2020

MARGARET F. CHEN is the author of two short story collections, Three Terrible Tales and Suburban Gothic, both independently published through Opus of Politics and Prose Bookstores. Suburban Gothic earned an Indie Kirkus Star and includes several previously published stories from a variety of literary journals. Margaret grew up in Iowa, where she sledded down hills during the winters, hung out at the pool during the summers, scribbled stories and read books in secret whenever she could, and hid under her bed at night with the crickets and mice in a creepy basement bedroom.

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Leland Cheuk

Brooklyn, NY
Graduated June 2008

A MacDowell and Hawthornden Castle Fellow, LELAND CHEUK is an award-winning author of three books of fiction, most recently NO GOOD VERY BAD ASIAN (2019). Cheuk’s work has been covered in BuzzfeedThe Paris ReviewVICESan Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere, and has appeared in publications such as NPRWashington PostSan Francisco ChronicleSalon, among other outlets. He is the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheuk.

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E. Christopher Clark

Chelmsford, MA
Graduated June 2005

E. CHRISTOPHER CLARK is the author of the Stains of Time series, a family saga with a hint of magical realism. His short stories have appeared in Clarkwoods, Commonthought, Device, Plaidswede Publishing, and Vice-Versa, among others. A graduate of Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, he lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughters.

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S.E. Clark

Boston, MA
Graduated January 2015

S.E. CLARK is a 2015 graduate of Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program. When not scavenging through graveyards for histories and names, she writes genre fiction stories about witches, astronauts, and eldritch creatures who are misunderstood. She also dabbles in poetry, creative non-fiction, and mixed media art. Her work has appeared in publications such as Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, The Drum Literary Magazine, Nixes Mate Review (x , x), Panoply, South Shore Review, and WhimsicalPoet Magazine.

Katie Cotugno

Boston, MA
Graduated June 2015

KATIE COTUGNO is the New York Times bestselling author of seven messy, complicated feminist YA love stories including 99 Days, How to Love, Fireworks, Top Ten, 9 Days & 9 Nights, You Say It First, and Liar’s Beach (Delacorte, 2022), as well a forthcoming adult novel, Birds of California (Harper Perennial, 2022). She is also the co-author, with Candace Bushnell, of Rules for Being a Girl. Her books have been honored by the Junior Library Guild, the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, and the Kentucky Association of School Librarians, among others, and translated into more than fifteen languages. Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, and Argestes, as well as many other literary magazines. Katie studied Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College and received her MFA in Fiction at Lesley University. She lives in Boston with her family.

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Angelo A. D’Amato, Jr.

Medford, MA
Graduated June 2020

ANGELO A. D’AMATO, JR. is a first-grade associate teacher in Boston, MA. He is pursuing another MFA, this one in poetry, at Albertus Magnus College. His literary interests include anything that has innovative prose, and science-fiction. His work has been published in Passengers Journal and Oslo Writers League. When he’s not writing, he’s hanging out with his cat, Bello, and/or watching sketch comedy on YouTube.

Karin Cecile Davidson

Columbus, OH
Graduated June 2009

Originally from the Gulf Coast, KARIN CECILE DAVIDSON is the author of the novel Sybelia Drive (Braddock Avenue Books, October 2020). Her stories have appeared in Story MagazineFive PointsThe Massachusetts Review, Colorado ReviewThe Rappahannock ReviewPassages Northand AROHO, among others. Her awards include a Fine Arts Work Center Summer Residency, an Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency, a Studios of Key West Artist Residency, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Orlando Prize for Short Fiction, and the Waasmode Short Fiction Prize. She is an Interviews Editor for Newfound Journal. Follow her on Instagram @karinceciledavidson.

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LaWanda Dixon

Mansfield, MA
Graduated June 2018

LAWANDA DIXON is an African American Writer, Poet, Mother, and all around Hard Worker from Boston, MA. A True Boston native and proud of where she derives from. LaWanda’s mother from Tampa, Florida, and father from Kingston, Jamaica give her all of her sweet and spice. LaWanda was born out of love. LaWanda is the single parent to a 10-year-old boy. She works full time as a Manufacturing Administrator ( AKA Document Lady), for a laboratory Diagnostics Company, Siemens-Healthineers.  LaWanda is very well-rounded and educated. She holds one B.A. in visual arts, and two Masters Degrees in Management (MSM) and Creative Writing (MFA). LaWanda has a love for all things African and African American culture. She writes for her culture and is unapologetic about doing so. Her writing style is filled with AAVE, black anecdotes and culture. LaWanda has been writing since she could read, she always wanted to be an author. LaWanda is an inspiring novelist although she has not yet published any of her work. She plans to do so by the end of 2021.

Curt Eriksen

Brookline, MA
Graduated June 2014

CURT ERIKSEN is the author of A Place of Timeless Harmony, a Kirkus Reviews’  Best Indie Debut Novel of 2018. Curt’s short fiction, novel extracts, poetry and political and literary commentary have appeared in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, India and Spain, in numerous print and online journals, including Blackbird, Rosebud and Writer’s Digest. An excerpt from his novel-in-progress was recently published at failbetter.com.

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Photo Credit: Natalia Granada Carrillo

D. Dina Friedman

Hadley, MA
Graduated January 2016

D. DINA FRIEDMAN has published both fiction and poetry in many literary journals (including The Sun, Aji, Cider Press Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Lilith, Negative Capability, Rhino, Common Ground Review, Crab Orchard Review, Steam Ticket, New Plains Review, Blue Stem, and Anderbo) and received two Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry and fiction. She is the author of two YA novels, Escaping Into the Night (Simon and Schuster) and Playing Dad’s Song (Farrar Straus Giroux) and one chapbook of poetry, Wolf in the Suitcase (Finishing Line Press). Dina is also a political activist focusing on immigration and racial justice issues, which often find their way into her writing. Originally from New York City, she has lived for nearly 40 years in western Massachusetts, the last 20+ next door to a farm with 500 cows, and she teaches writing to business students at UMass/Amherst.

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Cynthia Sally Haggard

Washington, DC
Graduated June 2015

CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD was born and reared in Surrey, England; about 30 years ago she surfaced in the United States, inhabiting the Mid-Atlantic region as she wound her way through four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer, and novelist. 

Her first novel, Thwarted Queen, a frustrating tale (hence the title) of Lady Cecylee (Cecily) Neville (1415-1495) who was nearly crowned Queen of England, was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.

Her second novel, Farewell My Life, a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin, won a Pinnacle Award (2019) and a Distinguished Favorite (New York City Big Book Awards, 2019).

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Livia Hermiz

San Diego, CA
Graduated January 2019

LIVIA HERMIZ was born and raised in San Diego, California, where she eventually attended the University of California, San Diego and received a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing. She attended Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in January of 2019 received her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, with a focus in fiction. She has been published in both the Dreamers Creative Writing Magazine website, and 2020 anthology.

Jody Hobbs Hesler

Charlottesville, VA
Graduated June 2017

JODY HOBBS HESLER lives, writes, and teaches writing in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her short stories, feature articles, book reviews, and essays have appeared in a range of places including CRAFT, North American Review online, Gargoyle, Raleigh Review, Pithead Chapel, the Rumpus, Valparaiso Fiction Review (x, x), Prime Number Magazine, Change Seven, Streetlight, Sequestrum, and more. She has also published dozens of articles in a range of local interest magazines as well as book reviews in [PANK], The Georgia Review, and elsewhere.

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Virginia Ryan Hoeck

Cotuit, MA
Graduated January 2018

GIN RYAN is a former journalist and marketing writer, housing advocate, yoga instructor and caterer. She loved serving with the Peace Corps in Thailand. Her recent stories have appeared in Anak Sastra, Adelaide and Sky Magazine. Before COVID, she traveled whenever she could. Now, she digs clams, raises chickens, bakes cakes, and attempts to make cheese. She lives on Cape Cod.

Cindy House

New Haven, CT
Graduated June 2017

CINDY HOUSE has a debut book coming out in early 2022 with Simon & Schuster, a memoir in essays entitled Mother Noise. She opens regularly for David Sedaris across the US and looks forward to joining him on tour post-pandemic.

Celia Jeffries

Northampton, MA
Graduated in 2008

CELIA JEFFRIES’ work has appeared in numerous newspapers and literary magazines including Westview, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Puerto del Sol, as well as the anthology Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper. She has received grants from Turkey Land Cove Foundation, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, and La Muse. Jeffries holds an MA from Brandeis and worked in news and educational publishing before earning an MFA from Lesley University in fiction and creative nonfiction. She has worked with writers at all levels, from elementary school to university both here and abroad, and in many different communities, including incarcerated, literacy, and ESL programs. Her own writing has been nurtured in the community of writers in Western Massachusetts, where she is on the steering committee of Straw Dog Writers Guild, and where she offers workshops at Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop.

Her debut novel Blue Desert will launch April 20, 2021.

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Celia can also be found in our Nonfiction section!

Rebecca Joy

Cambridge, MA
Graduated January 2017

REBECCA JOY is a Boston-based writer and editor, as well as former bartender and current Lesley staff. She’s written for local publications – like Scout Cambridge and BostonChefs.com – covering cocktails and fine dining, subjects further explored in her short fiction. Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebecjoy for updates on her reading list and an ongoing list of celebrities who share her Zodiac sign.

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Christine Junge

San Jose, CA
Graduated June 2008

CHRISTINE JUNGE graduated from Lesley’s MFA program in 2008. She also has a masters in literature from Harvard University. She has published stories and essays in The Boston Globe, Harvard Review, and New Plains Review. She is at work on her first novel and lives  in San Jose, CA, with her husband and newborn son.

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Hayley Krischer

Glen Ridge, NJ
Graduated June 2009

HAYLEY KRISCHER has been a journalist for 20 years. She’s a regular contributor to The New York Times and her work has been in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Marie Claire and more. Her debut YA novel Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf was released by Penguin Teen/Razorbill in October 2020.

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Chaney Kwak

San Francisco, CA
June 2009

CHANEY KWAK was living in Berlin, Germany, and freelancing for publications such as The New York Times when he began his MFA studies in fiction. He has contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, Travel & Leisure, and a number of National Geographic anthologies. His fiction has appeared in Zyzzyva, Catamaran Literary Review, Gertrude, and other literary journals, earning a special mention from the Pushcart Prize. A winner of the Key West Literary Seminar Emerging Writer Awards, he has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and other literary workshops. Godine in Boston publishing his first book of nonfiction, The Passenger: How a Travel Writer Learned to Love Cruises & Other Lies, in June, 2021.

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Photo Credit: Michael Baca

Julie Lam

New York City, NY, formerly Brookline, MA
Graduated June 2019

JULIE LAM is a New York based painter, photographer, designer and writer. Lam attended Hong Kong Polytechnic, in Hong Kong, and Massachusetts College of Art, in Boston, to develop a foundation in art and design. Lam also earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, in Cambridge, MA. The Surrogate, one of her short plays, won the Audience Award of The Writer’s Voice Ten Minute Play Festival, in 2017. Lam’s urgent effort to promote mask wearing during the COVID pandemic has been curated by Medium (x , x, x), and published in the New York Voice (x , x, x). Julie’s passion to affect change on the individual level stems from her desire to stand with the marginalized and advocate social reform. Prior to pursuing writing, Lam worked as a creative director at several Boston and Manhattan advertising agencies where she created memorable campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Motorola and Time Warner. Her campaign launching TD Ameritrade has been taught in Harvard’s marketing curriculum, and was notably the highlight of a video spoof at President Clinton’s final White House Press Correspondents Dinner. Julie Lam’s work has received industry recognition and many awards, including The One Show, the Emmy, D&AD, and The London International Advertising Award.

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Julia Leef

Quincy, MA
Graduated June 2018

JULIA LEEF wrote her first book at the age of six about a frog and a prince who problem-solved their way through many exciting adventures such as “The Prince and the Frog Dug a Big Hole and Now They Can’t Get Out” and “The Prince Uses Too Much of the Frog’s Lake Water for His Showers.” She was so proud of her first completed book that she convinced her teacher to let her read it to the Kindergarten class, presumably because it’s hard to say no to a six year-old. She has loved writing stories ever since, dabbling in all styles of fiction but mostly drawn to fantasy and magical realism. She works at Macmillan Learning in Boston and loves that dirty water. Her work appears in Belmont Story Review and has been selected as a finalist in the 2020 Dream Foundry Contest.

Photo Credit: Amy Blenk

Lyz Lenz

Iowa
Graduated June 2011

LYZ LENZ’s writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored, is due out from Bold Type Books on August 11, 2020. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Iowa with her two kids and two cats and is a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

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Hunter Liguore

Graduated 2012

HUNTER LIGUORE is writing for the next generation of readers who care about the world.

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Gene Luetkemeyer

Jacksonville, OR
Graduated May 2015

As EA LUETKEMEYER, Gene writes fiction that is uncompromising and unapologetic. He embraces the trite but true adage that bad roads lead to good stories. Gene has published short fiction in numerous literary magazines over the years. He is the author of the memoir, The Book of Chuck, and the novels, Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller and Penitentiary Tales: a Love Story, both completed post-Lesley and available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. He is knee-deep in a new novel, The Outlaw Ethan James and a collection of short stories, Tales From Elsewhen.

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Scott Mashlan

Milwaukee, WI
Graduated June 2015

SCOTT MASHLAN teaches at Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has been a juried participant at Lit Camp and AIR at Can Serrat in Barcelona. His work has been shortlisted by Glimmer Train and the Disquiet Literary Prize. He has been published in F(r)iction and online in Bull.

Celeste Mohammed

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Graduated June 2016

CELESTE MOHAMMED is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. Her debut novel-in-stories, Pleasantview, is forthcoming from Ig Publishing in May 2021. Celeste’s goal is to dispel all myths about island-life and island-people, and to highlight points of intersection between Caribbean and North American interests. Her work has appeared in The New England Review, Litmag, Kweli Journal, Epiphany, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Rumpus (X , X), among other places. She is the recipient of a 2018 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. She was also awarded the 2019 Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction, and the 2017 John D Gardner Memorial Prize for Fiction.

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Sebastian Murdoch

Jackson, MS
Graduated June 2019

SEBASTIAN MURDOCH is a fiction writer living in Jackson, MS with her two cats, Kafka and Yoshimi. She is a graduate of the Lesley University MFA program with a concentration in Fiction. Her writing focus lies in Southern Gothic fiction, and she has been published in the Johannesburg Review of Books. She is currently interning for the Write or Die Tribe website, and her nonfiction posts on writing and creativity can be found there as well as on her website.

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Kristin Offiler

Rhode Island
Graduated January 2011

KRISTIN OFFILER teaches creative writing with the Sarah Selecky Writing School and is currently working on her second novel. Her fiction has previously appeared in the Waccamaw Journal of Contemporary Literature. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and son.

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Lee Okan

Cambridge, MA
Graduated January 2015

LEE OKAN is a Boston-based writer. Her work has appeared in Nixes Mate Review and Papercut Magazine. She teaches writing, literature, and English as a second language in the Boston area. Her novel, The Lives of Atoms, was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2018. She is currently working on a novel that examines themes of quantum physics and suicide.

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Buki Papillon

Boston, MA
Graduated June 2007

BUKI PAPILLON is the author of An Ordinary Wonder, described in Cosmopolitan as “tender and moving”. [Dialogue Books / Little, Brown UK. March 2021. Pegasus Books, US. September 2021]. Her work has appeared in Post Road Magazine and The Del Sol Review. She has received fellowships to The Key West Literary Seminars and Vermont Studio Center, was awarded an Archie D. And Bertha. H. Walker Foundation Scholarship by the Fine Arts Work Center, and is an alumna of the VONA Voices Workshops.

She was born in Nigeria, lived in the UK where she studied law at the University of Hull, and is now settled in Boston in the US, where she has learned to find inspiration in the long winters. She has in the past been a travel adviser, events host and chef. In her downtime she loves making jewelry and cooking up a storm. Her twitter is @bukipapillon.

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Lauren Paredes

Portland, OR
Graduated June 2015

LAUREN PAREDES is a storyteller across mediums with a soft spot for the unusual. She’s currently very smitten with erasure poetry. ​Her works have been published in Gold Man Review, Trnsfr, and First Matter Press. Lauren lives in Portland, Oregon where she is a founding member of First Matter Press and the Eastside Poetry Workshop.

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Dan Portincaso

Oak Park, IL
Graduated January 2008

DAN PORTINCASO is a writer of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, with novels in the works.  His writing has appeared in publications such as: F(r)iction, the Hoot Review (x, x), and Pank. He served as the 2012 managing editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and has also been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.  After graduating from Columbia College Chicago’s undergraduate fiction writing program he worked for many years as the Facilities Manager and Head Docent at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum on the University of Illinois Chicago campus where he strove to bring the history of social justice on the Near West Side of Chicago to people from around Illinois and the world through tours, exhibitions, research, and community development.   After earning his MFA in Fiction writing at Lesley University, he turned his attention to being an educator and is now an Associate Professor of English at Waubonsee Community College in the suburbs of Chicago where he teaches courses in Composition and Fiction writing, and is the faculty advisor for the college’s Creative Writing Club and literary magazine, Horizons.

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Nada Samih-Rotondo

Providence, RI
Graduated June 2012

NADA SAMIH-ROTONDO is a writer, teacher, and mother who is inspired by the relationship between personhood and place. She is interested in the slippery concept of home, local histories, and creature folklore. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, she immigrated to the United States at the age of six to Rhode Island. She lives in the enchanted post industrial land of Providence with her husband and three kids. Her work has been published in The Masters Review, Squat Birth Journal, Topography Literary Magazine, Frequency Anthology, and Gulf Stream Magazine.

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Find Nada on Instagram @nadasamihwrites.

Mariya Taher

Cambridge, MA (though originally from California!)
Graduated June 2016

While at Lesley University, MARIYA TAHER received the 2014 Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences Dean’s Merit Scholarship and the 2016 Lesley University Graduate Student Leadership Award. More recent writing accomplishments include being named a Golden Cod Award fiction finalist for her novel-in-progress, The Chai We Drink, at the Marblehead Festival of Arts, as well as being named a Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholar. Mariya is also a social worker and has been recognized globally for her innovative work involving utilizing storytelling to break generational gender-based violence. In 2019,  the Muslim American Leadership Alliance awarded her their storytelling award for her human rights work. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared on NPR, Ms. Magazine, HuffPost, The Fair Observer, Brown Girl Magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine (x , x), Awaaz Voices, The Express Tribune, The San Francisco Examiner, The Flexible Persona, Cecile’s Writers’ Magazine, The New Social Worker, Blue Minaret, Bay Woof, and more. To make sure she is well rounded, Mariya also considers herself an avid chocolate taster, runner, novice potter, and just overall klutz.

Find Mariya on Twitter (@mariyataher83) and LinkedIn!

Lisa Weiss

Baltimore, MD
Graduated June 2015

LISA WEISS, Professor of Music Emeritus, Goucher College is a professional classical pianist born and raised in Quincy and Milton, MA. In addition to her MFA, Lisa has earned her Harvard B.A., Yale School of Music M.M. in Piano Performance, and Peabody Conservatory D.M.A. in Piano Performance. Her spouse Howie Lee Weiss is Professor of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art and her son Billie Weiss is Manager of Photography for the Boston Red Sox. Her writing interests include flash fiction, short story, memoir, music topics, relationship between music and writing. Her published work appears in Flash Fiction Magazine, Story Shack, Postcard Shorts, and the former Kentucky Review.

Hurley Winkler

Jacksonville, FL
Graduated January 2017

HURLEY WINKLER was born and raised in Northeast Florida, where she still lives and will always live (and where she will most certainly be buried in the swampy ground someday). Since graduating from Lesley, she’s had the marvelous opportunity to attend juried workshops and residencies at Lit Camp, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Mors Tua Vita Mea. Her work has been published in Hobart, The Millions and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hurleywink.

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