Meryl Streep Selects Anna Hozian For Her Lab

Screenwriting alum Anna Hozian is one of 12 screenwriters selected for the inaugural year of Meryl Streep’s Writer’s Lab. Variety has the scoop:

New York Women in Film & Television and the Iris film collective have selected 12 screenwriters for the inaugural year of Meryl Streep’s Writers Lab.

The program, which is fully funded by Streep, provides script development for female writers over the age of 40. The Writers Lab, presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America East, received over 3,500 submissions.

Here are the participants and their scripts: Sarah Bird, “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen”; Vanessa Carmichael, “The American”; Tracy Charlton, “Raised Up”; Kellen Hertz, “Ashburn”; Anna Hozian, “Anchor Baby”; Lyralen Kaye, “St. John the Divine in Iowa”; Jan Kimbrough, “The Glastonbury Cow Party”; Billie Mason, “The Cargo”; Peres Owino, “Basketweaver”; Gretchen Somerfeld, “Face Value”; Janet Stilson, “Jaguar Trail”; and Kim Turner, “It Goes Like This.”

The event will take place September 18 to 20 in upstate New York at the Wiawaka Center. Iris is a collective of women filmmakers founded by Kyle Ann Stokes, Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon to champion the female voice through fictional narrative film.


By |October 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meryl Streep Selects Anna Hozian For Her Lab

Two New Books for David Ulin

sidewalkingOctober is looking like a big month for professor David Ulin. His new book, Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles comes out on October 6th, and news comes today that his next book will be out next spring, a novel co-written with  Paul Kolsby:

LA Times Book Critic and author of SIDEWALKING David Ulin and creator of THE ZERO MAN Paul Kolsby’s EAR TO THE GROUND, set in 1990s LA where news that the “Big One” is approaching, thanks to the mysterious Center for Earthquake Studies, propels a Hollywood producer to fast track an earthquake disaster flick so that it can premiere before the actual earthquake hits, while a seismologist wunderkind Charlie Richter, of the Richter Scale Richters, becomes the city’s only hope for survival, to Chris Heiser at Unnamed Press, for publication in Spring 2016, by Bonnie Nadell at Hill Nadell Literary Agency (World English).


By |October 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Two New Books for David Ulin

Big Deal For JoAnn Chaney’s Debut

chaneyauthorWe’ve been sitting on this news for a little while, waiting for it to become official…but now the story can be told. Big news (and a big deal) for fiction alum JoAnn Chaney! She has inked a two-book deal with Amy Einhorn in her new role at Macmillan’s Flatiron Books. Here’s the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

JoAnn Chaney’s debut, WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW, about how seven years after a renowned serial killer was put in jail, those in his orbit – the cop who arrested him, the lead reporter on the case, and his wife — are sucked back into a new nightmare when an eerily similar series of murders occur, and this may be their last chance for vindication or finally cause them to forfeit what’s left of their humanity, in a two-book deal, to Amy Einhorn and Christine Kopprasch at Flatiron Books, by Stephanie Cabot at The Gernert Company (World).
The book is set for release in summer 2016. JoAnn graduated from the program in spring 2014.


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Welcome Fall 2015 Cohort: Student Bios

Annie ConnoleAnnie Connole was born and raised in Helena, Montana where she spent many of her formative years at the famed Grandstreet Theatre.  At 18, she moved to Los Angeles to study acting and then onto London to study at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Art.   New York called and Annie enrolled at The New School, where she received a B.A. in Arts in Context.  During this time, she wrote a play, Highline, co-produced and art directed the Brooke Swaney film, The Indigenoid, and starred in the role of Sunny in the first university production of The Exonerated.  She worked in art and performance spaces including Location One and Acconci Studio and then transitioned into a career
as a talented political and communications consultant.  Most recently, at the urge of transformation, she put her finger on the map and moved to the beautiful, raw, desert landscape of Joshua Tree, California where she adopted three bunnies and began to write again.


Mark Forde was born in Dublin, Ireland and lives in the Los Angeles area. He graduated with a BA in Political Science/International Relations from UCR. Mark Forde
Mark has also completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA, and for many years worked in theatre in both Dublin and London. Mark worked and trained alongside the late Deirdre O’Connell at Dublin’s legendary Focus Theatre, (the training ground for Liam Neeson & Gabriel Byrne). Mark had has written several original screenplays and has had two optioned. Mark is also a classically trained Chef and worked in some of the finest restaurants in London, Dublin and Boston. Mark has traveled to China and the Philippines where he has taught classes in classic and modern French cuisine. He is a fulltime instructor of Culinary Arts and Baking, and writes short stories when not writing recipes.


Tom GWhen Tom Gianakopoulos isn’t writing about himself in the 3rd person, he is usually spending too much time on Instagram, or he’s at his favorite cafe reading the book review section of the New York Times (so many books, so little time). Whichever activity he’s engaged in, it’s a given that he’s also drinking too much coffee.  His preference for an explicit writing style may have something to do with being born in Brooklyn and raised in the cultural hornet’s nest that is New Jersey. He’s worked in the realms of documentary, advertising, higher education, and even tried his hand as an aerial tent cleaner for Cirque Du Soleil (cleaning the top of the big top). He received his undergraduate degree from Emerson College in Boston, and even spent a few months at the University of Iowa during a summer session of the Writers’ Workshop.  He currently lives and works in Los Angeles with his wife, Yukari.


Tracy GranzykAn experienced content creator for healthcare organizations and an aspiring screenwriter, Tracy Granzyk most often points the lens of her professional storytelling directly at patients and healthcare providers who have been harmed by the very system professing to protect both sides of the care giving encounter. Of focus most recently is the pervasive issue of health disparities, and crafting solutions through stories that build bridges and connection, working to acknowledge differences so all can truly appreciate the many similarities that unite us all. Generation of ideas is rarely an issue, and spit balling is considered a favorite sport! Her working screenplay, The Insurance Man, is based on a true event that took the life of her grandfather in 1967 during a robbery in a west side Chicago housing project. She is also working on a serial dramedy set in the medical field and inspired by the multiple award-winning crime drama Dexter, which she hopes will fill the gaping hole left for fans when the Showtime series ended. Most importantly, Tracy is the cool aunt to three of the coolest nieces and nephew ever. She is convinced this is the decade, if not the year, for her Chicago Cubs, and she frequently Skypes with her yellow lab, Patch, when on the road. Tracy feels fortunate to be a part of the UCR MFA writing community, and looks forward to meeting new friends and getting her butt kicked by writers with far more “real world” experience.

Kerry Keith: Bio and photo arriving soon…

Kathernine Kiefer-NewmanKatherine Kiefer-Newman, PhD, is just your average middle-aged, middle-class college professor who spends most days bopping from one to the other of the two colleges where she teaches. She loves and is generally beloved by her students, spending extra time helping them understand composition, critical thinking, philosophy, folklore & fairytales, religious concepts, and anything else she can convince her colleges to let her teach. People often comment how pleasant, affable, and kind she is and she is always pleased with these compliments. If only they realized that under that gentle smile is a person who has read far too much about serial killers, spree killers, watches more B horror than might be considered healthy, and can excitedly explain to other Gen Xers what Creepy Pasta is and why Slenderman is the millennials’ anti-hero of choice. If one makes the mistake of talking to her long enough she might casually reference Soylent Green, headhunters, why vampires should never sparkle, how Frankenstein’s monster was really just misunderstood, and other things that tend to confuse (maybe even worry) her audience. Back in her high school days, when the other 80s girls were spraying Aqua Net on their enormous hair and ironing their little, white OP shorts, when those other girls were dreaming of becoming ingenues and manic-pixie-dreamgirls, Kat longed to be the final girl, the scream queen who killed the masked murderer and saved the town from chaos and mayhem by kicking…ahem. Perhaps this is why she used to read the original Grimms’ fairytales to her daughters, and could be bribed to allow one or both of her daughters to stay up for an episode of X-Files or Buffy (who wants to watch those alone, anyway). Whatever the case, books should never be judged by their covers, as the old adage goes.

Dein SofleyDein Sofley graduated from Columbia College with a BA in Fiction Writing. She abides in Chicago and her native, California, ghostwriting a celebrity memoir that may or may not be published before said celebrity is dead. Striving for creative collaboration, she has also written and produced plays, including The TomKat Project in Chicago, New York and LA. Some days, she likes to bicycle, some days, she likes to write sappy folk ballads that begin with a shot of bourbon and end with a broken down truck.  She’s elated to rub elbows with the outstanding students and faculty of UCR.


Phil TisoPhil Tiso is a good man in a tight corner, which is a fortunate thing for him since that seems to be his native environment. Phil is an avid reader and collector of words and, unfortunately, books. There was once a petition to make him the patron saint of silverfish. Phil is a graduate of UC San Diego and is currently a Principal Editor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UC San Francisco. He is excited to be making his third stop on the UC tour the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. A long-time resident of California, Phil has lived in various parts of the state but has never once lived more than a brisk walk away from one of the Missions. He’s also a veteran of the US Coast Guard, but you’d never know it by looking at him.


When he was five years old, Arturo Urrutia got lost in the fresh trenches of Tijuana when his neighborhood was getting its first sewer system. His uncles neverArturo Urrutia
sent him to buy beer again because he lost the money. Two years later a lifeguard resuscitated him after finding him at the bottom of a swimming pool. His father spanked him for sneaking into the hotel swimming pool. His older sister once smashed his head against an Aztec statue in Mexico City, scarring his right ear for life. Many years later, Arturo married a wonderful lady named Martha; they have two wonderful kids and live an almost perfect life in San Diego, California. When National Geographic published a picture of Arturo Urrutia’s former Tijuana neighborhood in an article about the horrors of the planet, his mother asked, “Did they get us naked?” Arturo answered, “No, but they got the window of pop’s shop.” That’s about all the highlights in his life, so far.


Jesse WehrenbergJesse Wehrenberg has worn many hats, none of them berets. In previous lives he has professionally inspected furnished apartments, sold drugs (legally), appliances (also legally), learned to read squiggles and dots, and taught children how to build birdhouses. He spent six years working in military intelligence where he [REDACTED] for the [REDACTED], and established a new [REDACTED] in [REDACTED.] And yes, he has seen and even spoken to [REDACTED] in real life. It was, as you might guess, as intense as it sounds. He has a pair of colorful socks for every occasion. He made a little birdhouse in his soul. He refuses to discuss religion or politics but will, if asked, happily sing a traditional sea shanty (off-key.) He still misses his grandfather.

Tanisha WilliamsTanisha Quilter-Williams moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in screenwriting. In the beginning of her career she landed work in the entertainment business working in the trenches of some of the most prestigious Hollywood entertainment companies–as an assistant and coordinator at the William Morris Agency; Don Cornelius Productions; RKO Pictures; New Line Cinema and ICM. While pursuing her writing career, she acting in music videos, commercials and soap operas.  In 1999, she was chosen as a fellow in the Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program at USC, for my comedy screenplay, “Personal Problem,” about a man that looks for a date through the personal ads. She went on to produce a short film, “Artificial Genes,” a romantic comedy about a woman who used artificial insemination to start a family of her own. After hitting a rough patch, she decided to go  back to school and completed her degree in Broadcast Journalism and Media Studies at California State University- Los Angeles. During this time, she continued to climb the ladder and landed opportunities writing for several entertainment television shows and magazines and soon garnered staff positions at Inside Edition, E! Entertainment, US Weekly, BRE Magazine and As a senior entertainment reporter she interviewed celebrities, such as, Oprah Winfrey, Catherine Zeta Jones and Kelsey Grammar. In 2010, she landed the biggest cover for US Weekly Magazine by bringing the Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin engaged cover story to the forefront. Coverage of numerous events and red carpets definitely gave way for some interesting stories. Williams passion for screenwriting never faded and she has began to write again and is currently working on a romantic comedy.

By |September 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Welcome Fall 2015 Cohort: Student Bios

Announcing The Guest Faculty For Our Spring Residency!

23-UCR Residency Dec 2014a

We’re only a few weeks away from our spring residency, which means it’s time to start getting excited about all of the amazing writers, editors, publishers, agents, producers, showrunners, development execs and industry professionals who’ll be joining us! If you’re interested in applying to the program, we encourage you to come out and visit for the day, see some lectures, sit in on a workshop or two, and get a chance to meet the faculty and students. For more information, please contact Agam Patel at 760-834-0926 or via email at


Natalie Baszile. Natalie has a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers where she was a Holden Minority Scholar. An early version of Queen Sugar won the Hurston Wright College Writer’s Award, was a co-runner up in the Faulkner Pirate’s Alley Novel-in-Progress competition, and excerpts were published in Cairn and ZYZZYVA. She has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation where she was awarded the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The, Mission at Tenth, and in The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9. She is a former fiction editor at The Cortland Review, and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Natalie grew up in Southern California and lives in San Francisco with her family.

Matt Bell. Matt is the author of the novel IN THE HOUSE UPON THE DIRT BETWEEN THE LAKE AND THE WOODS, a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award, a Michigan Notable Book, and an Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year Honor Recipient, as well as the winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. He is also the author of two previous books, HOW THEY WERE FOUND and CATACLYSM BABY, and his stories have appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Fantasy, Conjunctions, Gulf Coast, The American Reader, and many other publications. He teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

Amber Benson. Cocreated, cowrote, and directed the animated supernatural Web series Ghosts of Albion with Christopher Golden, which they followed with a series of novels, including Witchery and Accursed, and the novella Astray. Benson and Golden also coauthored the novella The Seven Whistlers. As an actress, she has appeared in dozens of roles in feature films, TV movies, and television series, including the fan-favorite role of Tara Maclay on three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Benson wrote, produced, and directed the feature films Chance and Lovers, Liars and Lunatics.  Her latest book, The Witches of Echo Park follows the five novels in her popular Calliope Reaper-Jones series.

Cecil Castellucci. Cecil Castellucci is the author of novels for young adults. Boy Proof , The Queen of Cool and Beige all on Candlewick Press. Rose Sees Red, First Day on Earth on Scholastic Press. And The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star and Stone in the Sky on Roaring Brook Press.  Her upcoming novel, Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure, is a part of the Star Wars Journey to the Force Awakens series. Her first Graphic Novel The Plain Janes launched the DC Comics Minx imprint and she was awarded the 2007 Shuster Award for best Canadian Comic Book Writer. It was followed up by the sequel Janes in Love, which was nominated for the 2008 Shuster Award. Her first Picture Book, Grandma’s Gloves won the California Book Award Gold Medal for juvenile literature and Odd Duck was nominated for the Eisner Award, the Shuster Award and the Sakura Medal. Her short stories have appeared in various places including Strange Horizons,, Apex Magazine, Black Clock, The Rattling Wall, YARN and the anthologies, Teeth, The Eternal Kiss, Geektastic (which she co-edited), Dear Bully, Interfictions 2 and After. Her books have been on various American Library Association’s (ALA’s) lists, as well as the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, Bank Street Books, Junior Library Guild and the Amelia Bloomer list. In addition to The Plain Janes and Janes in Love, (illustrated by Jim Rugg), The hybrid novel, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell) and Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon). Cecil’s other comics work includes The Wallflower (illustrated by Amy Reeder) in Ghosts #1 (Vertigo), The Lighthouse- Aquaman/Mera (illustrated by Inaki Miranda) in Young Romance #1 (DC Comics), I Will Return (illustrated by Kel MacDonald) in Womanthology Space #5 (IDW), Green Lantern: The Animated Series Issue #11(DC Comics). Upcoming she has a story in Wonder Woman: Sensation Comics and a graphic novel Pearl in the Rough with Joe Infurnari (Dark Horse). She is the recent recipient of two Macdowell Fellowships, Banff Residency and the Launchpad space science workshop.

Rae Dubow. Rae Dubow is the director of Talking Out Loud. She believes that everyone can be trained to communicate more effectively. Using techniques that she has taught for many years, she has a developed a system for public speaking that will help you create a dialogue with your audience. A former actress, Rae received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has coached and directed actors since the late 1990s and has worked with many writers on their public presentations.

Dave Elliott. Dave Elliott has more than 25 years of experience working in every aspect of the comic book industry from writer and artist to editor and publisher. Dave created Odyssey, The Weirding Willows, Sharky and Maximum Force and has worked on diverse titles such as A1, Deadline, Viz Comic, Heavy Metal magazine, Penthouse Comix, 2000 AD, Justice League of America, Transformers, GI Joe and Doctor Who. He recently worked with the band Fall Out Boy, and with NASCAR/MMI to create and brand new intellectual properties which he sites as examples of new media integration for a more immersive entertainment experience.  In 2006, Dave co-founded Radical Studios. As both the co-publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Dave was integral to the development and launch of Radical’s premiere comic book titles several of which have now begun development as film properties including Hercules (Starring Dwayne Johnson, directed by Brett Ratner and released by MGM), Freedom Formula (New Regency), Schrapnel, Caliber, Hotwire, Last Days of American Crime and Oblivion (starring Tom Cruise, directed by Joe Kosinski and released by Universal). Recently BenderSpink optioned the project Marksmen, co-created by Dave for Benaroya Productions, for development as a feature. Recently Dave relaunched his company ATOMEKA, started with his partner Garry Leach, as an imprint at Titan Books.  His first graphic novels series released under this deal are THE WEIRDING WILLOWS, ODYSSEY, as well as the rival of his two anthologies A1 and MONSTER MASSACRE. Dave currently crisscrosses the country every month between Los Angeles and his home in Sleepy Hollow, New York, developing content for companies like DeviantArt.

Katie Ford. Katie Ford is the author of Deposition and Colosseum, which was named a “Best Book of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Her poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Poetry, and Poetry International. She has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Levis Reading Prize. She teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, and lives with the writer Josh Emmons and their daughter. Her latest book, Blood Lyrics, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book prize.

Dara Hyde. Dara Hyde is an agent at the Hill Nadell Literary Agency in Los Angeles and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and the occasional young adult title. Before joining Hill Nadell, Dara spent over a decade as an editor and rights and permissions manager at independent publisher Grove Atlantic in New York. A graduate of Bard College, Dara has always balanced her love of film and literature. At the agency she assists with foreign and film rights for the whole agency in addition to managing her own clients.  Dara has taught or spoken at a number of writers’ conferences and events, including 826LA, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, New Orleans Writers’ Conference, Pima Writers’ Workshop, PubWest, BinderCon, Long Beach Comic Expo, and the UC Riverside MFA program in Creative Writing. You can follow her on Twitter @dzhyde.

Douglas Kearney. Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney’s third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood. His second, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was a National Poetry Series selection. He has received residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnes, Pleiades, The Boston Review, The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, Washington Square, and Callaloo. Two of his operas, Sucktion and Crescent City, have received grants from the MAPFund. Sucktion has been produced internationally. Crescent City premiered in Los Angeles in 2012. He has been commissioned to write and/or teach ekphrastic poetry for the Weisman Museum (Minneapolis), Studio Museum in Harlem, MOCA, SFMOMA, the Getty, and the Hammer. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts, where he received his MFA in Writing (04).

Shawna Kenney. Shawna Kenney wrote the award-winning memoir I Was a Teenage Dominatrix (Last Gasp), co-authored Imposters (Mark Batty Publisher), and edited the anthology Book Lovers: Sexy Stories from Under the Covers (Seal Press). Her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, The Rumpus, Bust, Juxtapoz, Veg News, Ms., Mix Mag, Transworld Skateboarding, the Baltimore Sun and the Florida Review, among others, while her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kenney’s personal essays appear in numerous anthologies and she has shared her words with Goucher College, Sarah Lawrence, UCLA, UC Riverside, California State University Long Beach, Cal-State Fullerton, the University of Maryland, Ladyfest LA, the DIY Convention, Vallekilde School of Communications (Denmark), the Hollywood Public Library, Hustler Hollywood, NPR affiliates and the BBC. She earned a BA in Communications from American University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She teaches creative writing in private workshops and for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Kenney lives in Los Angeles, where she is finishing Live at the Safari Club: a people’s history of harDCore.

Jillian Lauren. Jillian Lauren is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and the novel, Pretty, both published by Plume/Penguin. Some Girls has been translated into seventeen different languages. Her next memoir, Everything You Ever Wanted, is coming out from Plume in spring 2015. Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine and among others and has been anthologized widely, including in The Moth Anthology, True Tales of Lust and Love and Best of Babble Blogs. She has performed at spoken word and storytelling events across the country, including being a regular on The Moth mainstage, and has been interviewed on such television programs as The View, Good Morning America and Howard Stern. She is a popular and sometimes controversial blogger at MSNBC, The Huffington Post and, which was named a Top 100 Mom Blog of 2012 by Babble Magazine. Jillian is married to Weezer bass player Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.

Gallagher Lawson. Gallagher Lawson is a graduate of UC Riverside’s Palm Desert MFA. program. He has worked as a travel writer and technical writer, and plays classical piano. He lives in Los Angeles. His first novel, The Paper Man, is out now.

Brian Lipson. Lipson is a partner in the Los Angeles based literary management company Intellectual Property Group (IPG).  Brian  specializes in selling the motion picture/television rights of literary material. For 15 years he has represented such notable authors as Stephen E. Ambrose, Jared Diamond, Eric Garcia, Joe Lansdale, Brad Meltzer, Joyce Carol Oates, Rex Pickett and Mark Haskell Smith. Brian also represents the literary estates of Mark Twain and Jim Thompson. Some of the motion picture and television projects he sold include Band of Brothers, Boardwalk Empire, Ike: Countdown to D-Day, Sideways, Matchstick Men, Repo Men, Pain & Gain and The Departed. Additionally, Brian also markets non-fiction books to publishers. Some of the authors he has sold books for include Stephen Ambrose, Hugh Ambrose, the Osbournes, Alexandra Pelosi, Amber Tamblyn, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sharon Rocha (Laci Peterson’s mother), Scout Productions (the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Aisha Tyler, Bob Newhart, Burt Bacharach and Roger Ebert. Prior to joining IPG, Brian ran the book division at Endeavor from 1999 until the merger with the William Morris Agency in 2009. Before Endeavor, Brian was an agent and assistant at the Renaissance Agency, where he trained under his current partner, Joel Gotler.

Leon Martell. An MFA from the University of Iowa, he co-founded “DUCK’S BREATH MYSTERY THEATER” and performed with them on stage and in series for NPR, PBS, and a children’s series “DR. SCIENCE” for FOX Television. He wrote the award winning “HOSS DRAWIN” as a member of Sam Shepard’s writing workshop and participated as a writer, actor, and director in the Padua Hills Festival for thirteen years. His award winning plays also include “KINDLING” , “1961 EL DORADO”, “MOONCALF”, “FEED THEM DOGS,” and “HARD HAT AREA”. His play with music, “STEEL – JOHN HENRY AND THE SHAKER” , written with composer Penka Kouneva, received seven “Ovation Award” nominations, including “Best New Musical” and “Best Musical – Small Venue.” His “BEA[U]TIFUL IN THE EXTREME,” was a finalist for the national “L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting” and the Pen West Playwriting Award. His solo work has been recorded for NPR and performed at Beyond Baroque, Library Girl and in the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. For the past nine years he has been writing “Orchestral Theater” for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Summer Sounds world music shows at the Hollywood Bowl.  He’s in his 20th year teaching writing at UCLA Extension and has taught various playwriting, screen writing and character writing courses at Loyola Marymout, Occidental and Santa Monica Colleges.


Dito Montiel. Dito Montiel is an author, screenwriter, and director. He is the author of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Eddie Crumble is the Clapper. His films include A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Fighting, The Son of No One, Empire State, and Man Down.

Ruth Nolan is a recent graduate of the UC Riverside low residency MFA program. She is Professor of English at College of the Desert, where she’s taught composition, creative writing, and literature courses since fall, 1999 and advises the campus literary magazine, Solstice. She won a national teaching award in 2004 from The National Council of Teachers of English/Teaching English in the TwoYear College affiliated organizations. Her poetry and prose writing has appeared recently/is forthcoming in Rattling Wall, New Fiction Los Angeles (Red Hen Press;) New California Writing (Heyday Books); KCET Los Angeles; and Sierra Club Desert Report. She is winner of the 2015 Mojave River Press creative nonfiction chapbook contest for California Drive, and has collaborated as a writer on several film projects, including Escape to Reality: 24 hrs at 24 fps, produced by the UCR/California Museum of Photography in 2008. Ruth is also editor of the anthology No Place for a Puritan: the literature of California’s Deserts (Heyday, 2009) and has founded and led many community-based writing and literature workshops for the Inlandia Writers Workshop; the (In)Visible Memoir Project; UCR and CSUSB Extension; and the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park. She has been a featured reader at the L.A. Times Festival of Books; Lit Crawl L.A., 2013-2014; Rattling Wall at Book Soup; Dirty Laundry Lit;  PEN USA Empire Moon; and was recently honored for her community writing workshop contributions at the Poets & Writers /West 25th Anniversary Celebration. Ruth is currently writing a memoir about her work as a wildland firefighter in the Mojave Desert and western U.S. in the 1980’s.


Patrick O’Neil.  Patrick O’Neil is the author of the memoir Hold Up, which was published in France. During punk rock’s heyday (1979–83) O’Neil worked at the legendary Mabuhay Gardens, San Francisco’s premier punk venue. He then went on to become a roadie and eventually the road manager for Dead Kennedys and Flipper, as well as the Subhumans (UK) and T.S.O.L. (Los Angeles). But that was before his life got totally out of control. O’Neil was a heroin addict for eighteen years, incarcerated for two and a half years, went to two long term residential rehabs for a total of three years, worked as a substance abuse counselor for six years, and has been clean off drugs for the last thirteen. He holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, teaches at a community college, and splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. His new book, Gun Needle Spoon, is out now from Dzanc.


Eduardo Santiago. Eduardo’ first novel Tomorrow They Will Kiss was an Edmund White Debut Fiction Award finalist and a Latino Book Award finalist. Mr. Santiago’s highly anticipated follow-up is entitled, Midnight Rumba, won the New England Book Award – Best Fiction and took top honors at the Beverly Hills Book Awards 2013. His short fiction has been widely published, most notably in ZYZZYVA, Slow Trains, and The Caribbean Writer, among others, and his nonfiction has appeared in Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, and Out Traveler Magazine, among others.

Mr. Santiago earned a BFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts and a Creative Writing MFA from Antioch University. He has taught novel writing for UCLA’s extension program for the past eight years, and memoir writing at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, and is currently on faculty at Mt. San Jacinto College. He is the founder of the Idyllwild Authors Series, and a two-time PEN Center U.S.A. Fellow (2004 & 2008). His many personal appearances include” CBS News, KCRW’S All Things Considered, The New York City Book Festival, The Miami Book Fair International, The Tucson Book Festival, The Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books, and the West Hollywood Writers Fair.


Andrea Seigel. Andrea Seigel is the author of four novels, Like The Red Panda, To Feel Stuff, The Kid Table, and Everybody Knows Your Name (with Brent Bradshaw). Her first film, Laggies, directed by Lynn Shelton, was released last year.


John Hilary Shepherd is the Director of Development at Cross Creek Pictures and is a WGA Award-nominated writer for his work on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime television series NURSE JACKIE.  He comes to Cross Creek Pictures after also working in development for Spelling Films, Polygram, and as a story analyst for the William Morris Agency.  Mr. Shepherd has a BA in Broadcasting & Cinema from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and received an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute.


Dan Smetanka is the Executive Editor of Counterpoint Press and has worked in various aspects of the publishing industry for over twenty years. As an Executive Editor at Ballantine/Random House, Inc., he acquired and published award-winning debut books including The Ice Harvest by Scott Philips, The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner, Down to a Soundless Sea by Thomas Steinbeck, and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, a 2001 finalist for the National Book Award. Prior to this, he served as Director of Maria B. Campbell Associates, an international scouting agency that facilitated the placement of American authors into the international marketplace. Daniel also acted as a publishing consultant to both Amblin/Dreamworks and The Kennedy/Marshall Company to identify material appropriate for feature film and television adaptation. As Executive Editor for Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, one of the largest independent presses in the country and one of the few located on the west coast, his recent projects include works by Thomas Steinbeck, Linda Gray Sexton, James Brown, Scott Phillips, Janna Malamud Smith, Craig Nova, Ilie Ruby, Neil Jordan, Dana Johnson, Isaac Adamson, Karen E. Bender, Joshua Mohr, Emma Woolf, John N. Maclean, Tara Ison, Kim Addonizio, Andrea Portes, Dinah Lenney, Frank Browning, Anna David, Liza Monroy, Thaisa Frank, Tod Goldberg, Gina Frangello, Natashia Deon and more.


Mitch Stein runs The Stein Agency, a literary agency representing screenwriters, producers and directors. Previously, he was a partner is Shapiro-Lichtman-Stein, which he left in 2000 to start his own firm.


Jamison Stoltz is a senior editor at Grove/Atlantic. He edits nonfiction—recent titles include Paradise Lust by Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Harlem  by Jonathan Gill, and Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson—and mysteries and thrillers, including Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series and the novels of Deon Meyer, Mike Lawson, and Mark Haskell Smith. Before joining Grove/Atlantic, he worked at the William Morris Agency in London and New York, and in publicity at Houghton Mifflin in New York.


Andrew Winer. Andrew Winer is the author of the novels The Marriage Artist and The Color Midnight Made. A recipient of a NEA Fellowship in Fiction, he occasionally writes about artists, composer, thinkers and other writers. He is working on a new novel about religion and politics. He is the Chair of the Creative Writing department at the University of California, Riverside


Matt Witten is the author of four novels, Breakfast at Madeline’s, winner of the Malice Domestic Award, Grand Delusion, Strange Bedfellows, and The Killing Bee. He’s served as a writer/producer on The Glades, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, Supernatural, House MD, JAG, CSI:Miami, and written episodes of Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, Judging Amy, Homicide and many other shows. His plays include The Deal, Washington Square Moves, and The Ties That Bind. His film Drones, directed by Rick Rosenthal and starring Matt O’Leary and Eloise Mumford, premiered in October and November of 2013 at the London Film Festival; the Austin Film Festival; and the AFI Fest.


Matthew Zapruder. Matthew Zapruder is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon 2010), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Sun Bear (Copper Canyon, 2014), as well as a book of prose, Why Poetry, forthcoming from Ecco Press in 2015. He is also co-translator from Romanian, along with historian Radu Ioanid, of Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu (Coffee House Press, 2007). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Bomb, Slate, Poetry, and The Believer. He has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, TX. An Assistant Professor in the St. Mary’s College of California MFA program and English Department, he is also Editor-at-Large at Wave Books and Writer-in-Residence at the UCR Loa Residency MFA. He lives in Oakland, CA.

By |May 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Announcing The Guest Faculty For Our Spring Residency!

Welcome Spring 2015 Cohort: Student Bios

Travis Burkett1

Travis Burkett was born and raised in dusty West Texas.  You can still find him there, working on a cotton farm and writing about things.  Short stories are his specialty, but he looks forward to the opportunity to branch out at UCR. Hobbies include reading, playing guitar, and watching his beloved Cowboys and Mavericks.  He is excited about working in this program, and feels weird writing about himself in third-person.


Michelle Castillo: Traveling everywhere with her musician mother, she became a child of the road playing in studios and sleeping in makeshift beds. Taking up piano, violin and voice at an early age Michelle fell in love with the world of creative expression. When it came down to choosing a profession she went into teaching to fulfill her passion for cultivating arts and diversity amongst the youth. While teaching, she did freelance writing for an alternative weekly her articles focused on the underground DIY arts and culture community blossoming in her hometown of Coachella Valley. She is now one of the facilitators for the progressive artist collective Desert Writers, Artists and Musicians, in which they have been throwing a monthly pop-up reading series at Koffi featuring poets and writers. Recently, Michelle collaborated with The Coachella Valley Art Scene to present CONNECTED. She is excited to be part of this program and hopes it will allow her to flourish as a writer. Her genre of choice is poetry, yet she is curious to tap into creative nonfiction. In her free time you may find her at a dinner party with friends, painting at a park, having lunch at Lola’s or advocating for social change.


Theresa Corigliano has spent most of her professional career as a television publicity executive and writer. At the request of the CBS Television Network, Corigliano relocated from New York to Los Angeles, where she served as vice president of communications, during which time she supervised publicity campaigns for all of the Network’s primetime series. After leaving CBS, Corigliano worked for six years as a publicity consultant, launching the Emmy-nominated CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and promoting other primetime and syndicated television shows, TV movies and indie films. She holds several honors for her campaigns by the Publicists Guild of America. Also a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, Corigliano is a produced television writer, who began her career in one-hour drama. She was a semifinalist for her episodic work at the Austin Film Festival, and she was also a quarterfinalist in the Writers Network screenwriting competition. As a sportswriter, she has covered the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings for the NHL’s GOAL Magazine and other national sports magazines, and also served for two years as the publicity manager of the Phil Esposito Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that administered career counseling and drug and alcohol rehabilitation for professional hockey players. Corigliano has been a guest instructor at UCLA School of Continuing Education in the area of television publicity, and a guest speaker at USC. Currently, she is a contributing editor at and Outside of television, she volunteers in Emergency Department of Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and in the Education Department of Aquarium of the Pacific. She lives in Los Angeles.


Catherine Darby’s work has been published in The Muse Strikes Back: A Poetic Response by Women to Men, The Temple, The Long Island Quarterly, 5 x7: A New York Anthology, and San Diego Writers Ink.  She was a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference participant, grant recipient of the Italian-American Foundation and an editor for Vox Populi Anthology of the Seattle Poetry Festival. In1995 she moved to Seattle and began hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail southbound, and with her artist husband, started CHAM (Capital Hill Art Militia).  Now, she and her family hike northbound from San Diego where they live; in about nine years, they will complete the trail, somewhere in the middle.


Corrie Dibble is coming to UCR from Oregon, graduating in 2012 from Portland State University. Inspired by authors like Poe and Patterson she has chosen to pursue a life in writing. Corrie is a dreamer, traveler, and will stop to listen to any stranger’s story, then write about it. Her theme song in life is “Nobody’s Gunna Break My Stride” or “Another One Bites The Dust” — depending if there is a break-up. Corrie loves to eat french fries and confesses that she will run an extra mile in order to justify an extra large order of them drizzled in truffle sauce. She is an avid animal lover, maybe more than humans, and her 9 year old mutt, Stoli, rules her world.


John Flynn-York writes fiction and criticism. He grew up in the San Francisco bay area and studied politics and philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. He’s worked as a script reader, a lifeguard, a teacher, and a butcher. When not writing, he enjoys taking rambling walks through Los Angeles and baking pies and bread.



My name is Kathy Hansler and I am looking forward to rediscovering my writer’s voice. I have spent the past thirteen years helping university students find their writer’s voice, as a professor at California State University San Bernardino, where I teach English composition, news writing, and publication layout and design. Prior to teaching, I worked as a staff reporter and columnist for twenty-three years, including four years at the Orange County Register and sixteen years at The (San Bernardino County) Sun. I earned my master of arts in English Composition at CSUSB and bachelor of arts at UC San Diego. I live in Redlands, Calif., with my husband and two dogs, and I have two grown children prospering in their own careers.



Jenny Hayes grew up in Berkeley, California, and graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley a rather long time ago. In 1996 she moved to Seattle, where she began dating the guy who worked at the record store down the street. They eventually got married, bought a house, had a daughter, and adopted a cat. Jenny makes her living writing technical content, and for many years she blogged about the bizarre world of yard sales, but fiction is her favorite thing to write. Her stories appear in various intriguing publications, including a chapbook with an illustrated story about junior high and David Bowie, and she’s read her work in locations ranging from dive bars in the mountains to mansions by the sea.



Lia Langworthy is a UC Berkeley graduate (1992), a published poet, a produced TV writer (credits include The Shield and Soul Food) and recipient of The Fox Diversity Writing Fellowship and ABC’s Daytime Writing fellowship. During her time at UCR Lia will write two TV pilots and a memoir. Lia lives with her daughter and two cats in Studio City, CA.



Nicky Loomis is a fiction writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2005 with a BA in English and Creative Writing. She additionally holds an MS from Columbia Journalism School in print journalism and an MA in specialized journalism from USC. She writes features relating to arts and culture for various publications including the Los Angeles Times. She additionally writes a longstanding human interest column for her hometown paper, the Pasadena Star News. She spent 2011-2012 in Budapest, Hungary as a Fulbright scholar in creative writing. She conducted research and interviews focusing on the political climate in Hungary from 1948 to the present in order to better understand how memory – both private and collective – is lost during times of pain, and how this loss has affected cultural identity in post-Communist Hungary and personal identity abroad. In this process, she completed a first draft of a novel. Her fiction has appeared in Driftwood Literary Journal, Inside Out Literary Magazine, and the Hawaii Review. She is a PEN Center member and has received fellowships to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Summer Literary Seminars, and a Long Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.


Jeff Meyers is currently a New York-based filmmaker and screenwriter. He is also an award-winning film critic at Detroit’s Metro Times, and a contributing writer for Moviemaker Magazine. In the early aughts, Jeff was the Creative Director for StageDirect (Portland, OR) and the co-founder and former artistic director of Theatre Vertigo (Portland, OR). Before that he spent 10 years working as a microbiologist. In 2000, he was a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards for poetry.



Pam Munter is a professional has-been, having been an actor, singer, producer, musician, bandleader, professor, political activist and shrink.  All these pursuits (and a few more) involved writing in some form.  She has had two books published and contributed to several others along with two dozen lengthy articles on (usually) dead movie stars.  Being accepted into the MFA program is likely to provide a stimulating Act Three in an already eventful life.



David Nestor

David Nestor is a 2014 Cal State Long Beach graduate where he obtained his BA in English. He not only shares his birthday with Edgar Allen Poe, but also an affinity for horror and all things disturbed. During the final semester of his undergraduate program David interned for Nortia Press, a local publisher, as an editor. He hopes to complete and publish his first novel during his time at the UCR low residency MFA.




Clarinda Ross made her film debut in Blue Sky (last film directed by Sir Tony Richardson) with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones.  Her television credits include: The United States of Tara, Medium, The District, The Drew Carey Show, Judging Amy, E.R., The Client, NewsRadio, Days of Our Lives, In The Heat of The Night, I’ll Fly Away and several television movies most notably the Emmy Award winning Stolen Babies with Mary Tyler Moore. Ms. Ross has authored two plays, From My Grandmother’s Grandmother Unto Me and Spit Like A Big Girl for which she was named a 2014 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. She is married to the actor Googy Gress.  They have three children Clara, Frank and Gus. She served for many years on the National Council of AEA and is currently a L.A. delegate to SAG.AFTRA. She is a proud member of The Dramatist’s Guild of America.


Deedie Runkel

Donnan Beeson Runkel (Deedie) Writing has always had to fit between the cracks of a life made busy doing what was expected of me – work, family, friends, causes, and communities. My professional career’s included everything from advocating for older people to helping Congressional spouses prevent nuclear war to being a top official for the Peace Corps, both in headquarters and overseas to, most recently, being an innkeeper in Ashland, Oregon. Central to my success in all these endeavors was my ability to express myself and my mission in the written word. Without realizing it, I was proving Garrison Keillor right — there’s hardly anything we English majors can’t do when we put our minds to it. My 2010 memoir, BOXES Lifting the Lid on An American Life, laid the groundwork for what’s to come.



Eli Ryder is a fiction writer from Lancaster, CA, a windy desert town about an hour north of Los Angeles.  Eli earned a Master’s Degree in English from CSU Northridge in 2014, teaches composition at a small private university in the Antelope Valley, and occasionally endures the torture of High School Substitute Teaching.  When hunched over his laptop, searching for a better turn-of-phrase, he is watching the Dodgers or the Packers and enjoying (or not, as the case may be) a craft beer at the local brewhouse.


By |March 31st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Welcome Spring 2015 Cohort: Student Bios