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Graduated January 2017
FRANCES ESBEE writes young adult and middle grade fiction with contemporary themes, as well as quiet narratives for younger children. Touching on mental illness, addiction, child abuse/neglect, the focus of her work examines how historical trauma reverberates in the seemingly resilient lives of friends and family long after the initial threat has passed.
Saraciea J. Fennell
Graduated January 2020
SARACIEA J. FENNELL is the founder of The Bronx is Reading—Bronx Book Festival. She is also a book publicist who has worked with many award-winning and New York Times best-selling authors like Daniel José Older, Tui T. Sutherland, Peter Sís, Kass Morgan, Chris Colfer, Deborah Wiles, Javaka Steptoe, & many more. She is passionate about books and devours anything sci-fi/fantasy-related in books, TV, and movies. Fennell sits on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing as well as on the Advisory Board of People of Color in Publishing. You can find her somewhere in NYC boxing or practicing yoga in the next up and coming studio. The Bronx Times listed her as one of 25 Influential Women of 2018, she was listed on the Bitch Media 50 list for 2018, and was included among Remezcla’s 30 Latinxs who made an impact in 2018 . In her time pursuing an MFA at Lesley University she studied under David Elliott, Jason Reynolds, A.J. Verdelle, Tracey Baptiste, and Chris Lynch. She was born in Brooklyn and currently lives in the Bronx, New York. Her forthcoming anthology, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, will be published by Flatiron Books in fall 2021. Follow her on social @sj_fennell.
Beth Raisner Glass
Graduated June 2006
BETH RAISNER GLASS is a children’s book author, newspaper writer and teacher. She has taught in the Massachusetts public school system, and was Associate Professor of Education at Wellesley College. Her first picture book, Noises at Night, was published to wide acclaim and was featured on the Today Show’s “Best Books for Children” segment. Her picture book, Blue Ribbon Dad, was published in 2011, and is now a featured book on Reading Rainbow’s iPad app. Noises at Night was also selected as a Reading Rainbow ebook for their ipad app. She received her Bachelors in Education from Lesley College, and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Lesley University.
Graduated June 2017
CANDICE ILOH is a first-generation Nigerian-American writer and performer whose writing has appeared in Fjords Review, The Grio, For Harriet, Blavity (x , x), No Dear Magazine, Glass Poetry Journal, Puerto Del Sol, and The Black Girl Magic Anthology by Haymarket Books. They are a recipient of fellowships from VONA, Home School via Lambda Literary fellowship, as well as a Rhode Island Writers Colony Writer-in-Residence alum. They hold an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University, where they completed their debut young adult novel in verse, Every Body Looking (Dutton YA/Penguin Random House, Sept 2020). They are a 2018 Hi-ARTS Critical Breaks artist residency recipient where they debuted their first one-woman show, ADA: ON STAGE. When Candice isn’t writing, they dance. You can follow them @becomher on Instagram and Twitter.
Patty O’Connell Pearson
Graduated June 2015
PATRICIA (PATTY) O’CONNELL PEARSON is a former high school history teacher and curriculum writer with an MEd from George Mason University and an MFA from Lesley University. Her first book, Fly Girls, was named a best of 2018 by A Mighty Girl and a best of 2019 by Bank Street Books. Fighting for the Forest was named one of four finalists for the 2020 NY Historical Society’s Children’s History Book Prize and Conspiracy: Nixon, Watergate, and Democracy’s Defenders will be released in August, 2020—all are nonfiction for ages ten and up from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. When she is not writing, researching, or catching up with her four adult children, Pearson can often be found talking about history as a volunteer with the National Park Service in Washington, DC.
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.
Caitlin T.D. Robinson
Graduated June 2018
CAITLIN ROBINSON received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in June, 2018 and is currently working toward her MA at The Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College. As an after-school director for children in Grades 3-8, she has taught creative writing at various elementary schools throughout her career as an educator. Raised in a family of artists and musicians, Caitlin enjoys playing and writing music as well. She met her husband while living in the Pacific Northwest and they now live in Dedham, MA with their cat, Gus. She also writes non-fiction essays, and has been published on Kripalu, Solstice Lit Mag and The Dedham Times.
Graduated January 2016
ROSE VIÑA is a Cuban-American author originally from California. She received her MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Her debut picture book, Ice Breaker: How Mabel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating (Oct 2019), was an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist. Her next book, Alicia Alonso: Dancing Through Darkness, will be published Fall 2021 by Albert Whitman and Co. She was a professional figure skater with Disney On Ice and Holiday On Ice. Rose is currently the head figure skating coach in Sweden where she resides with her husband, son, and puppy Jack.
Graduated June 2011
ANDREA WANG is the award-winning author of picture books The Nian Monster (Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor), Magic Ramen (Freeman Book Award Honor), and Watercress (JLG Gold Standard Selection, seven starred reviews). The Many Meanings of Meilan, her debut middle grade novel, publishes in August 2021. Andrea’s work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. She is also the author of seven non-fiction titles for the library and school market. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Centennial, Colorado with her family.
Photo Credit: Elaine Freitas Photography
Graduated June 2013
JASMINE WARGA is the author of the New York Times bestseller Other Words For Home. Other Words For Home earned multiple awards, including a John Newbery Honor, a Walter Honor for Young Readers, and a Charlotte Huck Honor. She is also the author of young adult books, My Heart and Other Black Holes and Here We Are Now, which have been translated into over twenty-five different languages.The Shape of Thunder, her next novel for middle grade readers, will be published in May 2021. Originally from Cincinnati, she now lives in the Chicago-area with her family.