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Ella Nathanael Alkiewicz
Graduated June 2018
Labrador Inuk ELLA NATHANAEL ALKIEWICZ writes articles, essays, and poetry. Her work has been featured in Inuktitut, Locating Me, and Lucky Jefferson among others. In June 2021, she’ll be a poet-author fellow at Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Ella enjoys learning her first language Inuttitut. She lives with her husband and tabby.
Photo Credit: Chris Alkiewicz
Graduated June 2014
MICHAEL ANTHONY is the author of the acclaimed memoirs Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir and Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq. His work has also appeared in several anthologies, for both poetry and non-fiction, and his writing has been described as: “strong … and starkly honest…”–Publisher’s Weekly, “Dark Humored,” –Kirkus, “smart and mordantly funny,” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and “gut punching…” –Mary Roach.
Graduated January 2016
ANGELA CRUZ grew up in a Mexican-American household where secrecy was a way of life. Unable to speak to friends about her family, (her father is Mexican and her mother struggles with mental illness and addictions, both are shameful in rural North Carolina) Angela escaped to books and quickly discovered memoirs and nonfiction. Sean Wilsey’s Oh The Glory Of It All and Tobias Wolf’s This Boy’s Life showed Angela she wasn’t alone. Angela ultimately fell in love with the writing style of David Sedaris and modeled her memories into short pieces that could stand on their own or be compiled into a larger piece. Angela is currently working on a memoir told in short essays.
Jodi Sh. Doff
New York City, NY
Graduated January 2013
JODI SH. DOFF is a NY-based writer/editor with work in LitroUK, Hippocampus, O, BUST, Drafthorse, The Fix, and more. A guest of the Sex Worker Literati Series, the KGB Radio Hour, and In Bed with Susie Bright, Jodi advises a graduate seminar in the Art of Memoir at Lesley University (MFA, 2013).
Graduated June 2020
Nonfiction ROBBIE GAMBLE still hails from Brookline. He is working on memoir about his relationships with privilege, family, and eugenics, which has been a struggle, and for this reason he returned to Lesley for a second round to get help with the craft of prose. His essays have been published in Deep Wild Journal, Masspoetry, Solstice, and Under the Gum Tree, and he was the winner of the 2019 Soundings East flash nonfiction prize. He was a 2019 Peter Taylor Fellow at the Kenyon Summer Writers Workshop, working with A.J. Verdelle.
Robbie can also be found in our Poetry section!
Graduated January 2022
Retiring from general dentistry after thirty-six years, STEVE GERKIN thought he would make wine from his hobby-vineyard south of Tulsa. But two freezes during subsequent budding seasons and a flood from a nearby pond convinced him otherwise. Luckily, he found that he could string together a few complete sentences and appear in historical nonfiction publications. Seeking formal education to improve his writing, Steve, at 71, entered the Lesley nonfiction, creative writing program.
Graduated June 2013
COURTNEY GILLETTE is a writer and teacher whose essays and book reviews have appeared in BuzzFeed, Tin House, Electric Literature (x , x), Lit Hub, Lambda Literary and Medium, among others. She serves as Director of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College which offers virtual and in person writing workshops for all writers. In 2013, her work was chosen by A.M. Homes for The Masters Review and in 2015 she won Gertrude Press’ Prose Contest. Courtney was named an Emerging Writer Fellow at Aspen Words Summer Words in 2017 and serves on the Aspen Words Creative Council. An adjunct professor of creative writing at Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine program, she lives in the Hudson Valley with one librarian and three cats.
Graduated January 2017
AMY GRIER writes memoir, essays, and sometimes poetry, and is a freelance editor specializing in memoir and personal essays. She’s studied piano and voice for many years, and her education includes an MA in East Asian Studies and an MA in Literature. She loves literary analysis and unpacking text in just about any form. Her work has been published in Dream International Quarterly, Poetry East, e-ratio postmodern poetry (x , x), Streetlight Magazine, and xojane. She is currently finishing a book-length memoir.
Graduated January 2018
DIANE GRIFFIN writes essays, fantasy, and songs, and responds to whatever whims come her way. She is the Director of Programming for Short Films for Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBTQ Film Festival and is currently working on one or another of the 3 or 4 fantasy stories she currently has in the hopper. Her work has been published in Commonthought, For All In Tents and Porpoises (x , x), and Piscataqua Press. She is a transgender woman married to Karen Larsen, who is quite the artist herself.
Boston, Denver and New Hampshire
Graduated June 2007
LISA GRUENBERG is a physician, medical educator and writer based in Boston. Her essays have been published in Ploughshares, The Intima, a Journal of Narrative Medicine and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her short story, Keiskamma, set in South Africa, won the 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Fellowship for prose. Her second-generation Holocaust memoir, a collage of photographs, letters, primary source documents, memoir, fiction and poetry was published by Cambridge-based TidePool Press in late 2019. It will be rereleased in paperback and on Audible shortly. She is currently working on a series of novellas.
Graduated January 2019
JO-ANNE HART studied Persian poetry and international politics in grad school before her MFA. She now prefers to work on compelling storytelling over her analytical academic writing. Hart came to creative writing to tell a particular love story of friendship. Her best friend, the person she most relied upon in this world, died of AIDS a dozen years after they’d been together in college. Hart is working off a trove of their letters to one another which detail the depth a friendship is capable of as well as the chronicle of what it’s like to die young. Her work has been published in Barddas and she has participated in The Boston Moth StorySLAM.
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.
Celia can also be found in our Fiction section!
Graduated January 2021
AMY JENNESS is a journalist and nonfiction writer. She has been a reporter, editor and radio announcer. Currently, Amy is the director of Marketing & Communications at the Center for Coastal Studies. She is the author of On This Day In Nantucket History (The History Press, 2014) and poems in in the chapbooks “Poems So Far,” “Lemon Hummus And Other Stories,” and “Tips On Throwing A Housewarming Party In A Small Space.”
Jill Frances Johnson
Graduated January 2017
JILL JOHNSON grew up overseas in Jordan, Nepal, and Nigeria and like many TCK’S took a while to settle before growing roots in New England. Her love of reading and writing inspired her to finish college in the Ada Comstock Scholars Program for nontraditional (older!) students at Smith. Her work appears in Under the Gum Tree and Clockhouse and Solstice Literary Magazine,where she is a nonfiction reader. Jill’s current project is a memoir Water Skiing in Kashmir about expat life during the ‘60’s. She divides her time between the green hills of Vermont and the artsy city of St Petersburg, FL.
Bala Cynwyd, PA
Graduated June 2020
ROSALIND KAPLAN is excited to be a 2020 graduate of Lesley’s MFA program. She is a Philadelphia-based writer, physician and teacher of Narrative Medicine. She writes Narrative Medicine, memoir, and personal essays. Her work can be found in a smattering of literary and medical journals, including Amarillo Bay (x , x), Another Chicago Magazine, the Eastern Iowa Review, Brandeis Magazine, ‘On Being a Doctor,’ the humanities section of the Annals of Internal Medicine, Pulse, and Prompted, a Philadelphia Stories Anthology.
Graduated June 2008
MEGAN MARGULIES is the author of My Captain America: A Granddaughter’s Memoir of a Legendary Comic Book Artist. Her essays have appeared in various publications, including the Washington Post, New York Magazine, Woman’s Day, and LitHub. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two daughters.
Kathy Park (aka Kathy Woolbert)
Graduated June 2010
KATHY PARK is an artist, author, English professor, and martial artist. She grew up in a family challenged by physical disabilities including birth defect, polio, stroke, and her own problems with vision and now brain cancer. Kathy’s non-traditional path through life has been guided by her inquisitiveness and intuition: after dropping out of college, she apprenticed for fifteen years to a stone sculptor; she has studied and taught the martial art of Aikido for over forty years; she traveled to Europe, India and Africa; she lived on the outback fringes of civilization; she went to the former Soviet Union in 1989 as a citizen diplomat practicing aikido; she founded and ran a unique and innovative volunteer program of holistic health in a federal women’s prison in the early 90s; and in 2003, she returned to college after a thirty-three year hiatus and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Kathy currently teaches English through print-based correspondence courses for the Prison College Program through Adams State University in Colorado. All of her students are incarcerated with compelling stories to tell. Her published works include a memoir chronicling her apprenticeship with stone sculptor Gordon Newell titled Seeing Into Stone: A Sculptor’s Journey; a compilation of fiction, non-fiction, and ten-minute plays titled Coyote Points the Way: Borderland Stories and Plays; a memoir hybrid titled Aikido Off the Mat: One Woman’s Journey Using Aikido Principles to Stay Sane in Body, Mind and Spirit; and a poetry and prose book titled Bowing into Sensei Glioblastoma.
Graduated June 2006
JANET POCOROBBA writes memoir and essay and is currently writing a hybrid memoir about a co-op in a village in Vermont that incorporates personal memoir and social history. She is the author of The Fourth String: A Memoir of Sensei and Me, and has published other work in lit mags, most recently “Stalking the Self: Finding a Point of View in Memoir,” Writers’ Digest Sept/Oct 2021.
Julie Wittes Schlack
Graduated June 2013
For JULIE WITTES SCHLACK, the Lesley MFA program was a transformative experience, and she continues to benefit from both what she learned and the relationships that were born there. After her essay collection, This All-at-Onceness, was published in 2019, she returned to fiction, and is in the throes of revising a still-to-be-titled novel. She continues to write nonfiction, through Op-Eds for Cognoscenti, personal essays for literary journals, and book reviews for The ARTery. She also teaches Op-Ed Writing and Book Reviewing as Lesley IS options, and serves as a manuscript coach to a handful of brave fiction and nonfiction writers.
Kelly Fig Smith
Mount Vernon, OH
KELLY FIG SMITH is an essayist and wannabe poet. When she’s not writing, teaching, or chasing her four children around the house, she can usually be found corn-field-watching from beneath an apple tree in her backyard. Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction Magazine, The Rumpus, Under the Gum Tree, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post and Hippocampus Magazine, among others.
Graduated January 2015
DEBORAH SOSIN is a writer, editor, psychotherapist, and GrubStreet instructor. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Salon, Cognoscenti, Writer’s Digest, The Manifest-Station, JMWW Journal, and elsewhere. Her third-semester craft essay on the self as antihero in creative nonfiction appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle. Debbie authored a clinical workbook, Breaking Free of Addiction; and the picture book Charlotte and the Quiet Place, which won the Gold INDIEFAB and Silver IPPY awards, among several honors. In addition to her Lesley MFA, she holds an MSW from Smith College School for Social Work. Since 2009, Debbie has led “Write It Like It Is” freewriting groups. She is working on an essay collection titled Heartbeats and Other Seismic Matters.
Graduated June 2018
BRIDGET WEIGEL was previously Boston’s smallest bouncer, and is currently Montana’s weirdest local reporter and sometimes professor. She spends her free time hiking, memorizing useless facts, listening to podcasts, collecting dead things, and being bossed around by two cats and a rabbit. Occasionally she has fangs, but she always has a laugh. Her work has been published in Stone Canoe and Brave Voices Magazine.
Graduated January 2014
AMBER WONG is an environmental engineer in Seattle who writes about identity, the depth of family secrets, and the breadth of environmental threats. Her personal narratives explore her fourth-generation American life through the cultural themes of scarcity vs. abundance, comfort vs. unfamiliarity. She’s intrigued about how the statics of culture – ethnicity, gender, even one’s profession – bend the dynamics of modern-day America, and is happily searching for that intersect where her engineering and her writing selves comfortably meet. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction, Catamaran Literary Reader, Tahoma Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, Entropy, Full Grown People, Lunch Ticket (x , x), Slippery Elm, and The Writer’s Connection.
AMY YELIN is a versatile wordsmith whose articles, essays and author interviews have appeared in Salon.com, The Boston Globe, The Boston Globe Magazine, Brainchild, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Literary Mama, The ManifestStation, and other publications.
Las Vegas, NV
Graduated January 2018
A passionate womanist, LEAH YOUNG is an author, visual artist, professor of English Composition and a bookstore owner (Powher Books: Books by, for and about women). She has been writing since the age of nine having fallen deeply in love with words. Her work includes serving as an editor & contributor for a monograph of visual art and essays by 7 women artists in The Art of Women from July 2014. She has also published work in Artshifts, Union Institute & University Press. Divine Flow—her book of affirmations, is self-published.