Guest Residency Faculty
Robin Benway is a National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young adults, including Audrey, Wait!, the AKA series, and Emmy & Oliver. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including a 2008 Blue Ribbon Award from the Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, 2009’s ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and 2014’s ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. In addition, her novels have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and have been published in more than twenty countries. Her newest book, Far From the Tree, won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and was published by Harper Teen on October 3, 2017. Robin grew up in Orange County, California, attended NYU, where she was the 1997 recipient of the Seth Barkas Prize for Creative Writing, and is a graduate of UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she spends her time hanging out with her dog, Hudson, making coffee, and procrastinating on writing.
Sarah Bowlin joined Aevitas Creative Management as an agent in 2017. Before becoming an agent, she spent a decade as an editor of literary fiction and nonfiction, first at Riverhead Books and most recently at Henry Holt & Company. She has edited many acclaimed writers including Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Sheila Heti, Salvatore Scibona, Helen Phillips, Ramona Ausubel, Rachel Khong, and Julie Buntin. As an agent, she is working with emerging voices Vanessa Veselka, Aysegul Savas, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Halimah Marcus, Luke Zaleski, and Kevin Nguyen, among others. She is interested in bold voices—specifically stories of strong or difficult women and unexpected narratives of place, identity, and the shifting ways we see ourselves and each other. Originally from the South, she now lives in Los Angeles.
Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, Soupy Leaves Home, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, and the Eisner nominated Odd Duck. In 2015 she co-authored Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. Out in 2018 is Don’t Cosplay With My Heart. She is currently writing Shade, The Changing Girl, an ongoing comic on Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint at DC Comics. Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint and Vertigo SFX: Slam! She is the Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two time Macdowell Fellow and the founding YA Editor at the LA Review of Books. She lives in Los Angeles.
Jade Chang is the author of The Wangs vs. the World, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and named a best book of the year by the New York Times (Editor’s Choice), Amazon, NPR, and Elle, was one of the most anticipated picks by Entertainment Weekly, a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick and Indie Next pick. She has worked as an arts and culture journalist and was recently an editor at Goodreads. Her first paying job after college was as a researcher for the J. Peterman catalog. (Yes, where Elaine worked on Seinfeld—it’s real!) Jade is the winner of the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and a nominee of the PEN/Robert W, Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. The Wangs vs. the World will be published in 12 languages. She lives in Los Angeles. She is at work on the adaptation of the The Wangs vs the World.
HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce lawyer turned bestselling author of more than 40 Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotic Romance books and novellas. A two-time RITA® Award finalist (for Mr. and Mr. Smith and Facing Fire) and a Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award winner in romantic suspense (for The Fixer), HelenKay is the president of Romance Writers of America. She lives in San Diego where she is working on her next series…or streaming a show on Netflix.
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.
Brian Evenson is the author of a dozen books of fiction, most recently the story collection A Collapse of Horses (Coffee House Press 2016) and the novella The Warren (Tor.com 2016). He has also recently published Windeye (Coffee House Press 2012) and Immobility (Tor 2012), both of which were finalists for a Shirley Jackson Award. His novel Last Days won the American Library Association’s award for Best Horror Novel of 2009. His novel The Open Curtain (Coffee House Press) was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an International Horror Guild Award. Other books include The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection), Dark Property, and Altmann’s Tongue. He has translated work by Christian Gailly, Jean Frémon, Claro, Jacques Jouet, Eric Chevillard, Antoine Volodine, Manuela Draeger, and David B. He is the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes as well as an NEA fellowship. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Greek Japanese, Persian, Russia, Spanish, Slovenian, and Turkish. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Critical Studies Program at CalArts.
Seth Fischer is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. His writing has appeared in Best Sex Writing, PANK, The Rumpus, Guernica, and elsewhere, and it has been listed as notable in The Best American Essays. He’s also been awarded fellowships and residencies by Lambda Literary, Jentel, and Woodstock Byrdcliffe, and teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles and Writing Workshops Los Angeles. Books and essays he has edited have received reviews and mentions in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Kirkus, The LA Review of Books, Library Journal, Booklist and more. HIs specialty is developmental editing, which he will be discussing at length this residency.
Suzy Fincham-Gray is a veterinarian and an author. Her first book, My Patients and Other Animals: A Veterinarian’s Stories of Love, Loss and Hope will be released by Spiegel and Grau on April 10, 2018. Suzy grew up on the English-Welsh border and, although she has lived in the States for almost twenty years, her accent is still strong enough for her to be recognized as a Brit most of the time. She is a board-certified small animal internal medicine specialist: She takes care of dogs and cats who’ve been referred by a family veterinarian for the treatment of complex medical problems. If you’d like to learn more about what specialist veterinarians do you can visit www.vetspecialists.com. Outside of the hospital, Suzy has earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Riverside, Palm Desert. Her writing explores the role veterinarians play in the human-animal bond and in the narrative of caring for those we love when they are sick. When she’s not writing or caring for patients she can be found spending time with her human and animal family, including three cats, a dog, a husband and a daughter. Naturally, the animals outnumber the people.
Samanta Helou Hernandez is a freelance multimedia journalist and visual storyteller. She covers food, culture, music, and Latinx issues using video, text, audio, and interactive elements to drive her narratives. Her work has been featured in publications such as LA Weekly, KCET, and Remezcla among others. She was recently an Annenberg Fellow at USC where she received her M.A. in Arts Journalism. Samanta currently resides in Los Angeles by way of San Diego by way of Mexico City. She has a passion for 35mm film photography. Her interests include travel, exploring cultural identity, intersectional feminism, and the way food informs our world. Samanta recently created @ThisSideofHoover, an Instagram account archiving the gentrification as well as the legacies of the Virgil Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. The project has been covered by L.A. Taco and Hyperallergic.
Matt Horwitz is a literary manager with Echo Lake Entertainment.
Carrie Isgett is a literary manager at Madhouse Entertainment.
Lia Langworthy MFA, TV writer, essayist; WGA member whose credits include, Soul Food, The Shield, General Hospital and Media. Ms. Langworthy has written for FX, Showtime, ABC and TvOne. She’s also the recipient of the ABC Daytime TV Writing Fellowship and the Fox Diversity TV Writing Fellowship.
Chris Levinson is a writer/producer whose credits include being co-executive producer of Law & Order, Lone Star, Touch, and Tyrant, co-producer of Charmed, supervising producer of Tru Calling, and a writer on shows such as Prey, Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, and countless others.
Ben Loory is the author of the collections Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day and Tales of Falling and Flying, as well as a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus. His fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, READ Magazine, and Fairy Tale Review, been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts, and performed live at WordTheatre in Los Angeles and London. They have also been translated into many languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, and Indonesian. Loory is a graduate of Harvard University and holds an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an Instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.
Kevin Matusow is an established producer with over 15 years of experience working in commercial advertising production and independent motion pictures. Kevin has traveled throughout the world producing creative content and has played a pivotal role in launching The Traveling Picture Show Company. As a founding partner he was actively involved in its expansion into a full-fledged production studio with divisions in film, television and commercial advertising. As co-CEO of TPSC Films, Kevin’s role is to guide the strategic direction of the company by overseeing day to day operations, aiding Steve Prince (President) in locating and developing new and future projects, and actively producing all films under the TPSC Films banner.
Eric Morago is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Moon Tide Press, a poetry press based in Southern California. He is also the author of the poetry collections What We Ache For and Feasting on Sky. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach, and lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Andrew Nicholls has written TV comedy for 40 years. He was Johnny Carson’s head writer from 1988-1992 and has written for Mickey Rooney, George Carlin, Joan Rivers and many others. With Darrell Vickers, his writing partner of nearly 50 years, he has sold over 70 pilot scripts, resulting in two dozen on-air sitcoms, reality and radio shows and animated series, including The Parent ‘Hood, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Debra, Casper’s Scare School, Wiil & Dewitt, and countless others. He is the author of Valuable Lessons, an autobiography of behind-the-scenes showbiz compromise, stupidity and failure.
James Pogue has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, the New Republic, and Vice, where he is a contributing editor. His work has been anthologized in n+1’s City by City. He lives in New Mexico. Chosen Country is his first book.
BJ Robbins opened her Los Angeles-based agency in 1992 after a multifaceted career in book publishing in NY. She started in publicity at Simon & Schuster and was later Marketing Director and then Senior Editor at Harcourt. Her agency represents quality fiction, both literary and commercial, and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, biography, narrative history, pop culture, sports, travel/adventure, medicine and health.
Olivia Taylor Smith is the Executive Editor of Unnamed Press.
Matthew Salazar-Thompson has been teaching in the Theatre Arts Department at College of the Desert since 2015. He currently heads the Playwriting Program at San Diego City College. He has taught theatre and film courses at UCSD, MiraCosta College and Southwestern College. He has directed professionally for The La Jolla Playhouse, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Coronado Playhouse, Compass Theatre, The Road Theatre, and Point Loma Playhouse. He is the former Artistic Director of Point Loma Playhouse, Compass Theatre and the Associate Artistic Director and Education Director for North Coast Repertory Theatre. Mr. Thompson has over twenty plays published through Dramatic, Heuer and Brooklyn Publishing respectively and he has been commissioned by The San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Point Loma Playhouse and Compass Theatre. He co-conceived and produced the play Who’s Afraid of Me, Myself & Edward Albee? with master playwright Edward Albee. His comedy The Complete History of Theatre (abridged) was work shopped with master playwright Mac Wellman through La Mama Theatre in Umbria, Italy. His latest play, The 146 Point Flame, about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, received notification as one of the top ten plays about immigration in Southern Theatre Magazine in 2018. His non-fiction has been published through Arcadia Publishing. As an actor he has worked at The La Jolla Playhouse, North Coast Repertory Theatre, The San Diego Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre and many more. He received his MA in Theatre Arts from San Diego State Univeristy and his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside.
Kristen Tracy grew up in a small Mormon farming community in Idaho. Tracy earned an MA in American Literature from Brigham Young University, an MFA from Vermont College, and a PhD in English from Western Michigan University. Tracy won the 2017 Emily Dickinson First Book Award for her manuscript Half-Hazard, which was previously a finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Prize and a semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award, and will be published this fall by Graywolf Press. Her poems have appeared in Southern Review, Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, The Sun, Agni, Hunger Mountain, North American Review, New York Quarterly, Seattle Review, Quarterly West, Greensboro Review, and elsewhere. She is also the author of over a dozen YA, Tween, and Children’s books, including Totally Crushed, Project (Un)Popular, Hung Up, and Death of a Kleptomaniac, among many others.
Laura Van der Veer is an editor at Amazon’s Little A imprint. Prior to joining Amazon, Laura was an associate editor at Spiegel & Grau.
Antoine Wilson was born in Montreal, Quebec, and later lived in Southern California, Central California, and Saudi Arabia. He attended UCLA and Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is a contributing editor of the Brooklyn-based literary magazine A Public Space. His debut novel The Interloper, published by Other Press, grapples with themes of family, crime, and revenge through the lens of an unreliable narrator. The Interloper was a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year and was named a Book of the Decade by The L Magazine. His second novel, Panorama City, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It spent seven weeks on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list and was widely praised. n The New York Times Book Review, Adam Ross noted a shift in Wilson’s focus: “If The Interloper was about lighting the way to hell, to paraphrase Milton, here the author’s gaze is directed heavenward, toward sanity and the good in all of us. Panorama City is about our struggle to remain open to one another in a world that categorizes and closes us off at every turn.” Panorama City was named a Best Book by The San Francisco Chronicle and an editors’ choice by The New York Times Book Review and was a finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award in 2013. In 2017, Panorama City won the inaugural San Fernando Valley Award for Fiction from the Friends of the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. Wilson’s short fiction has appeared in A Public Space, The Paris Review, Storyquarterly, Quarterly West, and The Los Angeles Times, as well as Best New American Voices 2001. His stories have received Special Mention in The Pushcart Prize XXX and XXXVII were a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Fiction.
Matthew Zapruder was born in Washington, DC. in 1967. He earned a BA in Russian literature at Amherst College, an MA in Slavic languages and literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied with Dara Wier, James Tate, and Agha Shahid Ali. Zapruder is the author most recently of Sun Bear, Copper Canyon, 2014, and Why Poetry, a book of prose about poetry, Ecco/Harper Collins, 2017. An Associate Professor in the MFA at Saint Mary’s College of California, he is also editor at large at Wave Books, and from 2016-7 held the annually rotating position of Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, California. He also plays lead guitar in the rock band The Figments, a Western Massachusetts based band led by songwriter Thane Thomsen. Zapruder’s other collections of poetry include Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). He collaborated with painter Chris Uphues on For You in Full Bloom (2009) and co-translated, with historian Radu Ioanid, Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu’s last collection, Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems (Coffee House, 2008). Come on All You Ghosts was selected as one of the year’s top 5 poetry books by Publishers Weekly, the 2010 Booklist Editors’ Choice for poetry, the 2010 Northern California Independent Booksellers Association poetry book of the year, and as one of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2011. His second collection, The Pajamaist, was selected by Tony Hoagland as the winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was chosen by Library Journal as one of the top ten poetry volumes of 2006. His first book, American Linden, was the winner of the Tupelo Press Editors Prize, and was published by Tupelo in 2002. German and Slovenian language editions of his poems have been published by Luxbooks and Serpa Editions; in 2009, Luxbooks also published a separate German language graphic novel version of the poem “The Pajamaist.” A collaborative book with painter Chris Uphues, For You in Full Bloom, was published by Pilot Press in 2009. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Open City, Bomb, Slate, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Tin House, Harvard Review, Paris Review, The New Republic, The Boston Review, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Real Simple, and The Los Angeles Times. His work has also appeared in many anthologies, including Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll; Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century; Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything; and Best American Poetry 2009, 2013, and 2017. His awards include a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, TX, and the May Sarton prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at New York University, The New School, the University of Houston, and at the University of California at Berkeley as the 2010 Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry. With Brian Henry, Zapruder co-founded Verse Press, which later became Wave Books. As an editor for Wave Books, Zapruder co-edited, with Joshua Beckman, the political poetry anthology State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). He was the editor of Tyehimba Jess’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning volume of poetry, Olio. Matthew is Writer-in-Residence at UCR Palm Desert.