Residency News: Guest Residency Faculty

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Our fall residency is just around the corner — December 7-16th — and our guest faculty is all confirmed…here they are. (And if you’re a prospective student and are interested in visiting the program for a day during our residency, we’d love to have you. Simply email Agam Patel at

Kim Addonizio has been called “one of our nation’s most provocative and edgy poets.” Her latest books are Lucifer at the Starlite, a finalist for the Poets Prize and the Northern CA Book Award; and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, both from W.W. Norton.  Her novel-in-verse, Jimmy & Rita, was recently reissued by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Kalima Press  published her Selected Poems in Arabic. Addonizio’s many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and Pushcart Prizes for both poetry and the essay. Her collection Tell Me was a National Book Award Finalist. Other books include two novels from Simon & Schuster, Little Beauties and My Dreams Out in the Street. Addonizio offers private workshops in Oakland, CA, and online, and often incorporates her love of blues harmonica into her readings. 

Patrick Brown is the Community Manager at Goodreads. He’s responsible for all sorts of things, including being a head librarian, working with authors to grow the Author Program, answering member questions, and growing the Goodreads community. Before coming to Goodreads, Patrick was an independent bookseller, working at Book Soup and Vroman’s Bookstore. He has a B.A. in Cinema & Media Studies from the University of Chicago and an MFA in film production from USC. Go figure. He likes books that challenge his own world view, as well as books that make him laugh.

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, First Day on Earth and The Year of the Beasts.  Her picture book, Grandma’s Gloves, won the California Book Award Gold Medal.  Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, YARN,, and various anthologies including, Teeth, After and Interfictions 2.  She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus and a two time Macdowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

Lamar Daman began his career in reality TV as a story editor on MTV’s “Road Rules”.  Since then, he has produced dozens of hours of television and launched several new series, including the WB’s “The Surreal Life,” MTV’s “Eight & Ocean,” Bravo’s “The Rachel Zoe Project,” TLC’s “All American Muslim”, and most recently, VH1’s “Hollywood Exes.”  Additionally, he has written several feature films, including “Slap Her, She’s French” (aka “She Gets What She Wants”) and is original creator of “Strut,” now known as “Bunheads”, on ABC Family.  He is currently developing a scripted series and producing “Hollywood Exes 2”, both for VH1. 

HelenKay Dimon is a former trial attorney and partner in a Washington DC area law firm who now writes full time. Since selling her first book in 2005, she has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin Berkley. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in Cosmopolitan magazine several times, the Chicago Tribune and other venues. Her work has been translated and sold in twelve languages and featured in the Book-Of-The-Month Club and the Rhapsody Book Club. HelenKay teaches popular fiction writing and women’s fiction writing at MiraCosta College and the UC San Diego Extension Writing Program.


Chad Kultgen graduated from the USC school of cinema/television in 1999 and has since written for the now defunct Weekly World News, published 3 novels, The Average American Male, The Lie, and Men, Women & Children, sold several TV shows, 2 of which were made as network pilots, none of which ever made it to series and has sold several movies, the first of which, The Incredible Bruce Wonderstone, will be released in 2013 starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. His fourth novel, The Average American Marriage, will be released in 2013.

Stefanie Leder L.A. native Stefanie Leder did her studies at UC Berkeley and the University of San Jose in Costa Rica.  After graduation, Stefanie worked as a union organizer, community organizer, and ESL teacher.  Stefanie’s TV work includes being on the staff of ABC Family’s “10 Things I Hate About You,” Nickelodeon’s “Victorious”, TBS’s “Men at Work” and ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey”.  Stefanie is currently producing a screenplay, “I Dismember Papa,” with co-writers Reuben Leder and director Mimi Leder.

Dinah Lenney’s memoir Bigger than Life was published in the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and excerpted in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Los Angeles TimesPloughsharesBrevity, Creative Nonfiction, AGNI and elsewhere, and she received special mention in the 2010 Pushcart Anthology for a piece published in the Water~Stone Review. Co-author of Acting for Young Actors, Dinah has played in theatre, film, and in countless episodes of prime time TV. She teaches nonfiction in the Bennington Writing Seminars, the Rainier Writing Workshop, and the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California.

Edan Lepucki is the author of the novella If You’re Not Like Me Yet originally published by Flatmancrooked, and recently re-released by Nouvella Press.  Her novel, California, will be published by Little, Brown in the spring of 2014. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her short fiction has been published in Narrative Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Meridian,  FiveChapters, and McSweeney’s, among others. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and teaches creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and for Writing Workshops Los Angeles, which she founded. In 2009 she won the James D. Phelan Award for her recently-completed novel, The Book of Deeds.  In March of 2011, she won second place in the 3 Quarks Daily Arts and Literature Prize for her essay, “Reading and Race: On Slavery in Fiction.” She lives in Los Angeles–where she was born and raised–with her husband Patrick, their dog Omar Little, and their son Dixon Bean.


Sara Levin is the author of the novel Treasure Island!!! (Europa Editions) and the short story collection Short Dark Oracles (Caketrain Press).  She has a PhD from Brown University and an interest in unpopular short prose forms, such as the character and the aphorism. Her essays have been anthologized in The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction,  A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years, and Understanding the Essay. She has taught in the MFA in Nonfiction Program at the University of Iowa and now directs the Writing Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Ben Loory lives in Los Angeles, in a house on top of a hill. He was born in Dover, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Harvard College. In November 2008, his story “Photographs” was a finalist in theGlimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers Contest. Since then his fables and tales have appeared online and in print in journals and magazines of all shapes and sizes, ranging from literary to fantasy, humor to horror, young adult to SF to sports-related and more. His story “The TV” was featured in The New Yorker, and was named a Distinguished Story of the Year in The Best American Short Stories 2011. In 2012, his story “The Duck” was featured on the Valentine’s Day episode of NPR’s This American Life (“What I Did For Love”). His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) is now in its fourth printing. It was chosen as a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program and the Starbucks Coffee Bookish Reading Club, and was named one of the 10 Best Fiction Books of the Year by the Hudson Booksellers retail chain. As a screenwriter, Ben Loory has worked for Jodie Foster, Alex Proyas (director of Dark City and The Crow), and Mark Johnson (Academy Award-winning producer of Rain Man). He is a member of the Writers Guild of America west, and holds an MFA from the American Film Institute.

Orli Low is the Managing Editor of the literary journal Black Clock and previously was the Assistant Book Editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Michelle Meyering is the Director of Programs and Events at PEN Center USA and editor of The Rattling Wall, a literary journal she founded in 2010. She graduated from the University of Redlands in 2005 with a BA in English. She received her MFA from American University in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals in the US. Michelle currently teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles.

Robert Mitas is the Executive Vice President of Furthur Films, the production company of Academy-Award winning actor and producer Michael Douglas.  Robert is responsible for the day-to-day operations, acquiring and developing material, packaging projects and securing financing.  Pictures produced by Furthur include The SentinelSwimfanThe In-LawsDon’t Say a Word and One Night at McCool’s.

Teresa Rhyne’s debut The Dog Lived (and So Will I), a memoir of her (and her beagle Seamus’s) fight with a terminal cancer diagnosis, was just released. More called it “A rollicking tale of how hound and owner beat the odds and thrived” while Publishers Weekly raved that it as an “encouraging tale of finding love and hope in unexpected places is full of small yet valuable life lessons” and Booklist said, “This breezy, heartfelt, and funny memoir walks the reader through all of the emotional and medical stages of cancer, both canine and human, making an awful situation infinitely readable and hopeful.” In her day job, Teresa is the Principal of the Teresa Rhyne Law Group and devotes much of her time to animal and cancer advocacy.

Robin Russin is a professor of screenwriting at the University of California, Riverside, where he serves as Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. He has written, produced and directed for film, TV and the theater, including the box office hit On Deadly Ground; America’s Most Wanted on Fox; and Vital Signs on ABC. Most recently, he directed Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Charles Evered’s Class for 3Theatre Group and the Riverside Arts Council. Robin is co-author of the books Screenplay: Writing the Picture and Naked Playwriting. His stories, articles and reviews have been appeared in Script Magazine, Verdad Magazine, Connotation Press, RivetsLit, Harvard Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The American Oxonian, and elsewhere. A Rhodes Scholar, he received his A.B. from Harvard, and graduate degrees from Oxford University, Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA.

Mark Sarvas’s debut novel, HARRY, REVISED, has been published in more than a dozen countries around the world. A finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s 2008 Fiction Award and a Denver Post 2008 Good Read, HARRY, REVISED has been called “A remarkable debut” by Booker Prize winner John Banville, and was compared to John Updike and Phillip Roth by the Chicago Tribune. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, The Philadelphia InquirerBookforumThe Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Barnes and Noble Review,TruthdigThe Modern Word, Boldtype and the Los Angeles Review of Books (of which he is a contributing editor).  He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN/America. He is best known as the host of the popular and controversial literary weblog “The Elegant Variation”, a Guardian Top 10 Literary Blog, a Forbes Magazine Best of the Web pick, and a Los Angeles Magazine Top L.A. Blog.  It has been covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles TimesThe ScotsmanSalon, theChristian Science MonitorSlateThe Village Voice, New York Newsday, The New York Sun, NPR’s Day to Day and All Things Considered, and others. His short fiction has appeared in Troika MagazineThe Wisconsin Review, Apostrophe, Thought Magazine, Pindeldyboz and as part of the Spoken Interludes, Vermin on the Mount and Swink reading series in Los Angeles.  He lives in Pacific Palisades, where he is working on his second novel, MEMENTO PARK.

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman and Associates, a Los Angeles-based literary agency. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books as well as life rights. Ken’s clients include David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, Tawni O’Dell, whose screenplay of her international bestselling, Oprah Book Club first novel, Back Roads, is about to become a major, Adrian Lyne movie (starring Spiderman Andrew Garfield), Anne Perry, the world’s best-known Victorian murder mystery writer and author of 60 books, and Starhawk, considered the best-known witch in the world.David Cronenberg’s movie, A Dangerous Method, released last October, is based on client John Kerr’s book. Ken also represents the estates of Luis Buñuel, John Hersey, and Simon Wiesenthal. Ken has lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola University in both New Orleans and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, Maui Writer’s Conference, University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experimental College, Santa Fe Writer’s Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference/San Diego, San Francisco Writer’s Conference, Aspen Institute, and The Aspen Summer Words Writer’s Conference. Since graduating from the UC-Berkeley as a psychology major, Ken has taught his course, The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and Publishing, at both USC and UCLA for more than six years. Ken maintains strong community involvement, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner in the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA) and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.

Dan Smetanka has worked in various aspects of the publishing industry for over eighteen 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 adaptation. He currently serves as Editor-at-Large for Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. His projects include Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank, Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide by Linda Gray Sexton, This River by James Brown, The Adjustment by Scott Phillips, The Silver Lotus by Thomas Steinbeck, and Mistaken by Neil Jordan.

Claire Vaye Watkins was born and raised in the Mojave Desert. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, Claire earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011Best of the Southwest 2013, and elsewhere. Claire has received fellowships from the Writers’ Conferences at Sewanee and Bread Loaf. Her collection of short stories, Battleborn (Riverhead Books), won a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and earned Watkins inclusion on the National Book Foundation’s list of “5 Under 35.” An assistant professor at Bucknell University, Claire is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a non-profit creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

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). She is the founding editor of Chaparral—an online journal featuring poetry from Southern California. 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 teaches creative writing at California State University Northridge and lives in LA with her husband and daughter.

Charles Yu is the author of Sorry Please Thank You, which the Wall Street Journal called “a brilliantly manic ride” and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine, as well as Third Class Superhero, for which he received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, and which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. His work has been published in The New York Times, Playboy, and Slate, among other periodicals. Yu lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Michelle, and their two children

By | 2017-05-18T16:48:28-07:00 November 13th, 2012|Categories: Program News, Residency|Comments Off on Residency News: Guest Residency Faculty

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