Our Fall Visiting Faculty

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coachshadowWe’re only a few weeks away from our fall residency — December 5th-14th, at the lovely Rancho Las Palmas resort — but we’re already pretty excited. We’ll announce our full schedule in just a few days, but for the meantime, take a look at who will be coming to visit as part of our visiting faculty…along with, of course, our esteemed core faculty…not a bad group of people to spend 10 days with at a spa in the desert.  If you’re a prospective student and interested in visiting for a day of residency, please contact Agam Patel at 760-834-0926 or at agam.patel@ucr.edu

Larry Biederman has directed many critically acclaimed productions throughout Los Angeles, including The Autumn Garden (Antaeus), Dark Rapture (Evidence Room), No Mercy (24th Street Theatre) and two Mickey Birnbaum plays,  Big Death and Little Death (Road Theatre) and this year’s world premiere of Backyard (Echo).  Other world premiere productions include Crumble (Moving Arts), Farewell Miss Cotton (Black Dahlia), and Wirehead (Echo), which earned seven LA Weekly Award nominations including Best Direction.  His production of La Ronde was part of the 2009 NY International Fringe Festival where, in addition to critical acclaim and oversold houses, both actors received Best Actor awards for the entire festival.Earlier this year, Biederman’s premiere production of Assisted Living moved from the Odyssey Theatre to the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. The play was written and performed by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman, with whom he has collaborated before, as with the TV series Huge, created by Holzman and Savannah Dooley.  Biederman came to L.A. after seven seasons at A.C.T. in San Francisco, where he directed and taught, as he has across the country, from the Williamstown Theatre Festival to the Old Globe.  He continues his private coaching and classes and serves on the Directing and Acting faculty at Cal State Northridge.

Cynthia Bond.  Writer and educator Cynthia Bond has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for over fifteen years. Cynthia attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism on an academic scholarship, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cynthia acted for many years in in New York with the Negro Ensemble Company. A PEN Rosenthal Fellow, Cynthia founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. At present, Bond teaches at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. Her novel RUBY was published by Hogarth Press, a division of Random House in April 2014 and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.


Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her Home and Beware Beware, the popular Juniper Song mystery series. Her writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Trop Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, she lives in her native city of Los Angeles, California.

Bernard Cooper has written two collections of memoirs, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum, as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again. His work has appeared in Granta, Story, Ploughshares, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and The New York Times Magazine. His work has been included in five volumes of The Best American Essays, and in anthologies such as The Oxford Book of Literature on Aging, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles. He is the author of The Bill From My Father: A Memoir (paperback 2007).  His next collection of essays is entitled My Avant-Garde Education: A Memoir (Winter / 2015). In February 2015, Miami-Dade College Museum of Art and Design will present an exhibit of Bernard Cooper’s digital montages. Bernard Cooper has won numerous awards and prizes, among them the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been read on This American Life and Selected Shorts from Symphonyspace. For many years, Bernard Cooper was the art critic for Los Angeles Magazine.  He has taught at Antioch/Los Angeles, for the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC, and at the UCLA Writer’s Program. He has been a core faculty member in the MFA Writing Program at Bennington College. In 2014 he was appointed the Distinguished Visiting Writer at The University of Iowa.

Jay Paul Deratany is a writer and actor who recently obtained his MFA from the University of California Riverside for Screenwriting. He has written several plays including “Haram Iran” which has been produced in Chicago, Los Angeles, and soon London. Haram Iran was nominated for a GLAAD award for best theatrical play of 2011, and Jay Paul received a grant from the London Arts Counsel to further develop the play for London audiences. In addition Jay Paul has written “Lincolns Dilemma” a novel; multiple articles advocating for human rights and is a well known human rights lawyer in Chicago. In 2008 Permoveo Productions was incorporated to serve as Jay Paul’s production company. His first feature, Saugatuck Cures, has just hit the festival circuit, recently earning Festival Favorite at the Palm Springs Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

Rob Edwards is an American television and feature film screenwriter and producer. His writing includes the Disney animated feature films Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog, both of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2009, along with Ron Clements and John Musker, Edwards was awarded the Best Screenplay award from the African-American Film Critics Association for The Princess and the Frog. After writing for the long-running ABC-TV series Full House, Edwards went on to become a writer, story editor, and consultant for several prime time series including Bill Cosby’s A Different World and the Golden Globe nominated The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Edwards was also an Emmy Award nominee for the long-running sketch comedy show In Living Color, created the NBC sitcom Out All Night and, throughout the 1990s, Edwards wrote and produced for television networks and on series including Roc, The Parent ‘Hood, and In the House. Edwards next shifted his focus to feature films and joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as a writer. His first film, Treasure Planet, was released in 2002 and starred a voice cast that included Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Martin Short, Emma Thompson, Patrick McGoohan, as well as famed voice-over actors Corey Burton and Tony Jay earning eight Annie Award nominations and an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. Edwards returned to the screen with 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, a critical and box office success. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Animated Feature Oscar. His other work includes the adaptation of the popular graphic novel series Amulet, the upcoming holiday feature The Life and Times of Santa Claus.

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of two novels, Ether (Counterpoint, 2011) and The Suitors (City Lights, 2006). His journalism and essays have appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, and many other publications. In 2011, he was the winner of a National Magazine Award in feature writing. He is currently working on a nonfiction book based on his reporting from the West Bank.

Dara Hyde Before relocating to Los Angeles and becoming a literary agent, Dara Hyde spent over a decade in publishing, working as an editor and later the permissions and rights manager at Grove Atlantic in New York. During her time at Grove, she had the pleasure to work with award-winning and best-selling authors including Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Ames, Tina Cassidy, Sheri Holman, Frances Itani, Stephanie Kallos, Neil LaBute, Legs McNeil, Ana Menéndez,  Sabina Murray, Amanda Prantera, Michael Thomas, and Tricia Wastvedt. Dara’s tastes are eclectic and she’s interested in representing literary and genre fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels, memoir and the occasional young adult novel. A graduate of Bard College, Dara has always balanced her love of film and literature. Post-graduation she took on work as a production assistant and videographer before becoming an editor and rights researcher at a stock film library.

David Hyde. David began his publicity career at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, one of the legendary independent bookstores in the United States, where he learned about the importance of building—and nurturing—a local community. In 1998, he moved to New York City with his college sweetheart, two cats and two bags for the opportunity to work at Vintage Books, the prestigious paperback imprint in the Knopf Group at Random House. At Vintage Books, David worked on publicizing acclaimed literary writers like Alexander McCall Smith (The # 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY), Jonathan Lethem (MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN), Richard Russo (The Pulitzer Prize­winning EMPIRE FALLS) and James Ellroy (THE COLD SIX THOUSAND); as well as bestselling nonfiction books including Erik Larson’s ISAAC’S STORM and Gary Kinder’s SHIP OF GOLD IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA. As a lifelong reader, he was blessed to have worked at one of the great and historic publishing houses, but he left after five years for the chance to work on behalf of the world’s greatest superheroes and some of the most talented writers and artists creating graphic novels and comic books today. At DC Comics, David brought unprecedented sustained mainstream attention to the art form with regular exposure in the ASSOCIATED PRESS, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, HUFFINGTON POST, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, THE NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY, while also working with corporate communications, movie productions and toy launches tied into the comic­ book line.

Rachel Kann. TEDx poet Rachel Kann is a modern-day mystic: irreverently reverent and exuberantly human.She’s a Write Club Los Angeles champ and resident writer for Hevria. Her poetry has been featured as The Weather on the podcast phenomenon, Welcome to Night Vale. Her poetry and short story collection, 10 For Everything, is available from Orange Ocean Press. Her writing (poetry and fiction) also appears in journals such as Eclipse,PermafrostCoe ReviewSou’westerGW ReviewQuiddity, and Lalitamba. You can find her work in anthologies including A Poet’s HaggadahWord Warriors from Seal Press,His Rib from Penmanship Press, and Knocking at the Door from Birch Bench Press. She has two albums, Ptolemaic Complex and Word to the WHY?S, and collaborates with producers such as End.User, Tack-Fu, and conductor/composer Gee Gee Gallegos.She’s performed her poetry with artists and leaders such as daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, Marianne Williamson, Sage Francis, Saul Williams, and Rahzel, at venues such as Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall, The Broad Stage, The San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, and the Vans Warped Tour, as well as spiritual and sacred spaces like Jewlicious Fest X aboard The Queen Mary, Agape Spiritual Center and Sinai Temple. Her work has received accolades from the James Kirkwood Fiction Awards (short story), Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Awards (micro-fiction), LA Weekly Awards (best supporting actress) Backstage West Garland Awards Critic’s Picks (best supporting actress) and both the audio and video award for the International Slam Idol (poetry). Rachel was commissioned by The Broad Stage to write and perform a contemporary retelling of Peter Pan from Tinker Bell’s perspective, accompanied by Maestra Rachael Worby’s 18-piece orchestra, Muse/Ique. Rachel’s music video, created with collaborator and choreographer Keith Johnson, “Lie Down Beside You,” has received screenings at the 4 The Camera Film Festival and Landlocked Film Festival. Rachel was invited to perform her poetry at TEDx UCLA and in Flight 18 (where she was the DJ and Dance Captain as well) at 3LD Technology in New York City. She teaches poetry and fiction workshops through the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.


Michelle Knudsen is a manager and producer at MXN Entertainment. After graduating from Columbia University, she got her start working for agent Sarah Self before moving with Sarah to LA. She next went to work with manager/producer Mason Novick, and has since built a client list of feature and TV writers. In 2013, Michelle was a co-producer on Jason Bateman’s BAD WORDS, as well as a co-producer on HIDDEN, directed by The Duffer Bros and produced by Roy Lee, Mason Novick and Lawrence Grey, and an associate producer on Diablo Cody’s directorial debut PARADISE. Most recently Michelle produced the music documentary, NO CAMERAS ALLOWED, along with Fake Empire. The film premiered on MTV at the end of August. The film, described as a “real life ALMOST FAMOUS,” has garnered rave reviews in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Currently in development is the independent comedy WHEN WE FIRST MET, written by John Whittington, with Adam Devine attached to star. Michelle is producing this along with Mason Novick, Footprint Pictures and McG’s Wonderland. Also in development is the low budget comedy F*CKING PEOPLE, written and to be directed by Theresa Bennett.

Brad Listi is an author and the founder of The Nervous Breakdown, an online culture magazine and literary community that now includes TNB Books, an independent press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. His debut novel, Attention. Deficit. Disorder., was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He is the executive producer of The Nervous Breakdown’s podcast series, and the host of Otherppl with Brad Listi, a twice-weekly podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading authors. His latest book, Board, co-authored with Justin Benton, was published in November 2012. Board is an experimental work of nonfiction literary collage, the contents of which are derived entirely from the comment boards at The Nervous Breakdown.

Cari Lynn is a journalist and the author/co-author of four books of narrative nonfiction.  Her historical fiction debut, Madam: A Novel of New Orleans (Penguin/Plume, 2014) is based on the true story of New Orleans’ experiment with legalized prostitution in the late 1800s. Previously, Cari wrote Kathryn Bolkovac’s memoir, The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice (Palgrave Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press, 2011), the true story of a police officer who blew the whistle on a human trafficking ring. The Whistleblower received international attention and press, including book events at the United Nations and The Hague, as well as Cornell, Columbia, Loyola Law School, Brandeis, Vanderbilt, Brown, and numerous other universities.  An excerpt of the book appeared in the weekend magazine of The Guardian, and Kathryn Bolkovac has been interviewed on numerous shows, including NPR, Fox Business News, and The Diane Rehm Show. The Whistleblower major motion picture starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave premiered in 2011.  ​​Cari wrote the nonfiction book Leg the Spread: A Woman’s Adventures Inside the Trillion-Dollar World of Commodities Trading (Broadway Books/Doubleday, 2004) after spending two years undercover in the vicious, open-outcry trading pits of Chicago.  The book received a starred Kirkus review and was featured in numerous publications, from The Economist to Oprah’s Magazine.  The book was named Readers’ Choice by Elle magazine. Cari was featured on CNN, PBS and NPR, and FOX 21 optioned Leg the Spread for TV/film adaptation. Other books include co-writing the story of a doctor who rescued orphans from third-world countries, and the story of a real-life Dr. Doolittle. Cari has also ghost-edited two celebrity books.  Cari has written for numerous magazines and newspapers, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Health, Good Housekeeping, The Chicago Tribune, and England’s The Guardian, and she profiles Oscar and Emmy nominees for Deadline Hollywood and Awardsline. Cari received her M.A. in Writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland.  She completed a fellowship in Business Journalism at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.  A long-time Chicagoan, she now lives in Los Angeles.

Michelle Meyering  is the Executive Director of PEN Center USA and founding editor of The Rattling Wall, a literary journal. Michelle has produced over 200 literary events across Southern California and was named a 2013 “Face To Watch” by the Los Angeles Times. She currently teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles.

Wendy C. Ortiz is a Los Angeles native. Her first book, Excavation: A Memoir, was published by Future Tense Books in July 2014. Her second book, Hollywood Notebook, is forthcoming from Writ Large Press in spring 2015. She wrote the year-long, monthly column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” about medical marijuana dispensary culture in Southern California for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. A Writer-in-Residence at Hedgebrook in 2007 and 2009, Wendy is also co-founder and curator of the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series at the Good Luck Bar in Hollywood. She has read at various venues, including Secret City in Los Angeles, RADAR Reading Series (San Francisco), LitCrawl L.A.: NoHo, the West Hollywood Book Fair (Los Angeles), The Knitting Factory (Los Angeles), World Stage (Los Angeles), the Echo Park Poetry Festival (Los Angeles) and the first Ladyfest in Olympia, Washington in 2000. Wendy has written op-eds for The Olympian and the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous articles for Works In Progress in Olympia, Washington. Wendy is an adjunct faculty in creative writing and has also facilitated creative writing workshops with Los Angeles youth in juvenile detention facilities. While living in Olympia, Washington, she was a mudwrestler, library worker, and editor and publisher of 4th Street, a handbound literary journal. Wendy received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College in 1995 and lived in Olympia, Washington for eight years before returning to Los Angeles. Wendy is at work on a book based on her Modern Love essay published in The New York Times, as well as an essay collection. She writes, parents, and works as a marriage and family therapist intern in Los Angeles.

Carey Rossi is a health journalist and former award-winning editor. Her work has appeared in Dr. Oz’s The Good Life, Fitness, Fit Pregnancy, Glamour, Health, Self, Shape, as well as many other mainstream publications. Previously, she was one of the founding editors, and later the executive editor, of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine (which won the Western Publishing Association’s Maggie Award for Best Quarterly in 2000); held the position of editor in chief at Better Nutrition magazine and atConsumerSearch.com; and was mostly recently the senior editor overseeing news forPrevention magazine and Prevention.com. Carey has built a career on revamping how publications and websites speak to their readers. She enjoys the process of finding new and exciting ways to tell the same timeless stories. She’s known to visualize a story on the page or screen before writing it; so don’t be surprised if she sketches out a layout for an idea you may brainstorm with her.

Jim Ruland is the author of the novel Forest of Fortune, the short story collection Big Lonesome and co-author with Scott Campbell, Jr. of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch of Giving the Finger.  He is the books columnist for San Diego CityBeat and a contributor to the Los Angeles Times and Razorcake, America’s only non-profit independent music zine. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The Believer, Esquire, Granta, Hobart and Oxford American Magazine. His work has received fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf, Canteen, Reader’s Digest and the National Endowment for the Arts. He runs the Southern California-based reading series Vermin on the Mount, now in its eleventh year.  Ruland is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and has worked as a copywriter and creative supervisor for advertising agencies, entertainment enterprises, and Indian casinos. He lives and works in Southern California.

Pilar Savone. Independent producer Pilar Savone recently completed production on RUN THE TIDE, starring Taylor Lautner, Johanna Braddy and Constance Zimmer.   Directed by Soham Mehta, RUN THE TIDE follows the kidnapping of a young boy by his older brother following their mother’s release from prison. Prior to RUN THE TIDE, Savone produced Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED, which grossed over $425 million worldwide and garnered five Academy Award nominations, with wins for best screenplay (Tarantino) and for Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz). Savone was an associate producer on Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.  Filmed in Berlin and Paris, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS grossed over three hundred million dollars worldwide, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards.   Savone was also an associate producer on DEATH PROOF, which was released domestically as part of GRINDHOUSE, a double feature that included Robert Rodriguez’s PLANET TERROR as well as a group of trailers from Rodriguez, Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, and Edgar Wright.  DEATH PROOF was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Savone’s relationship with Tarantino began when she was an assistant director on JACKIE BROWN.  She went on to work with the director as his assistant on KILL BILL.  Savone’s additional assistant directing credits include SPY GAME, COMPANY MAN, ARLINGTON ROAD, THE MINUS MAN, THE LAST TIME I COMMITTED SUICIDE, and NOWHERE. A graduate of Syracuse University, Savone resides in Los Angeles.

Marisa Silver is the author, most recently, of the novel, Mary Coin, a New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Southern California Independent Bookseller’s Award. She is also the author of two previous novels, No Direction Home, andThe God of War, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. Her first collection of short stories, Babe in Paradise was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. When her second collection, Alone With You was published, The New York Times called her “one of California’s most celebrated contemporary writers.”  Silver made her fiction debut in The New Yorker when she was featured in that magazine’s first “Debut Fiction” issue. Winner of the O. Henry Prize, her fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as other anthologies.

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, and Tod Goldberg.

Olivia Taylor Smith is an Editor and the Director of Publicity and Marketing at the Unnamed Press. A native of Los Angeles, Olivia graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with degrees in French Literature and Film and Media Studies. Previously, Olivia helped launch the Los Angeles Review of Books and acted as its Publicity Director until 2014.

Noelle Valdivia is a television writer and playwright. She is best known for her work on the Showtime drama Masters of Sex, and the NBC musical Smash. Until 2012 Valdivia worked as a journalist and playwright. After graduation from NYU she began her television career working on the NBC drama Awake, where she wrote three episodes of that series. She wrote on the season 2 of the musical drama Smash and as of 2013, she is currently working on the Showtime drama Masters of Sex where is nominated for a 2013 WGA Award. As a playwright, she wrote the stage productions Oh, William (2003), Ring of Fire (2004) and Where It Went Wrong (2006).

William Weissbaum has worked in the video game industry for the better part of a decade on such AAA titles as God of War II and God of War: Ascension, including being nominated for a WGA Award for his writing on God of War III. Currently, he has joined the team at Cloud Imperium Games writing on the upcoming title Star Citizen (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/) which is presently the Guinness World Record holder for being the most crowdfunded project in history.

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 writers 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

Kim Young is the author of Night Radio, winner of the 2011 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize (The University of Utah Press) and the chapbook Divided Highway (dancing girl press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in Los Angeles Review, MiPOesias, No Tell Motel, POOL and elsewhere. She holds an MA at Cal State University Northridge and an MFA at Bennington College, where she received a Jane Kenyon Scholarship in poetry. She was born in Los Angeles and lives in LA with her husband and daughter.

By | 2017-05-18T16:48:16-07:00 November 16th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Our Fall Visiting Faculty

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