Kenneth D. Ackerman has authored five commercially-published books of Americana (including his most recent, Trotsky in New York, 1917) plus dozens of articles, posts, and a recent screenplay. He has practiced law in DC since the 1970s, including senior posts on Capitol Hill and in two Administrations. He lives in Falls Church with his wife Karen.

Teaching Style: Interactive, combining presentations with group discussion.

James Alexander has more than 30 years experience writing professionally, including stints as a political speechwriter at the Cabinet level. After earning a B.A. in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he worked as a bylined newspaper reporter at The Charlotte Observer and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and also interned at The Washington Post. He later served on Capitol Hill as a U.S. Congressional Fellow and then worked as a Hill press secretary which involved writing lots of speeches and op-eds. As a ghostwriter, James penned dozens of op-eds for political figures with publications in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post, among others. He works full-time in media relations and still writes.

Teaching Style: James thrives on interactive learning and discussion.

Abdul Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping, the 2014 winner of the New Issues Poetry Book Prize. He has received fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Maryland Arts Council, and The Cave Canem Foundation. His work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He currently works as an Andrew Mellon Foundation Program Coordinator at the Community College of Baltimore County. More about him at:

Cheryl Somers Aubin has been writing and publishing for almost 25 years, and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Foundation Magazine and other newspapers, magazines, and online journals. She has a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Cheryl teaches memoir writing and is a featured speaker at personal history writing symposia, writing conferences and workshops. Her book, The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story, is available at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She presents about her book at book festivals, elementary and high schools, senior citizen group meetings and book clubs. The website for the book is Her non-fiction and fiction work can be seen on her website at

Naomi Ayala is the author of three books of poetry: Wild Animals on the Moon, This Side of Early (both published by Curbstone Press), and Calling Home: Praise Songs & Incantations (Editorial Bilingüe/Bilingual Press). She is also the translator of Luis Alberto Ambroggio’s La arqueología del viento/The Wind’s Archeology. Her most recent poems appear in Poetry Magazine (March 2020) and LatiNEXT (BreakBeat Poets, April 2020).


Mariah Barber is an author, certified health education specialist, and aspiring researcher who has been working in the field of public health for seven years. Barber holds a MPH in community, social, and behavioral health as well as a BS in public health with a concentration in community health and a BA in international studies with a concentration in Latin America. She has dual certifications in cultural competency and global understating as well as immediate language proficiency in Spanish. Barber’s greatest accomplishments to date includes being named the inaugural College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) National Haiku Slam Champion in 2014. She published her initial literary work, Of Mics & Pens & Gods & Other College Courses in 2017.

Khris Baxter is a screenwriter, producer, and co-founder of Boundary Stone Films ("BSF"). BSF develops, finances, and produces a wide range of projects for Film and TV. Baxter has been a screenwriter for two decades and has taught screenwriting since 2004, most recently at The MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University, and American University. He’s been a judge for the annual Virginia Screenwriting Competition since 2004.

Hildie Block has been a writing instructor for 20 years at places like American University and GW, and The Writer's Center. She's published many essays and articles as well as over 50 short stories. In the past year, her work has appeared in 0-Dark-Thirty, Gargoyle, and Redux, as well as in anthologies by Queer Sci Fi and Literary Taxidermy. Her book, Not What I Expected, debuted back in 2007. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Hildie believes if you feel called to page, then you are a writer. She helps you get those amazing stories out of your head and into the world through writing prompts, outside readings, direct instruction, and the workshop/peer review model.

Jennifer Buxton has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Virginia. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Puerto del Sol, and Blue Penny Quarterly, among other places. She has taught writing in a variety of venues, including the University of Virginia, and the UVa Young Writers Workshop.



Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, and Strange Horizons. She's the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe's Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium. She received her M.F.A. from American University in 2019. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Tara's approach is open and discussion-based. Writing and reading are subjective, and everyone has different tastes. The point is to be able to clarify why you react a certain way to a work--what techniques are effective, or conversely, where are the opportunities to make the piece even stronger?

Dana Cann is the author of the novel Ghosts of Bergen County (Tin House). His short stories have been published in The Sun, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Florida Review, and elsewhere. He’s received awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and The Sewanee Writers Conference. He also teaches in the M.A. in Writing program at Johns Hopkins.

Teaching Style: Dana believes that you become a better writer through lots of reading and lots of writing. You'll do both in his workshop. While Dana will provide some instruction, most of the class time will be spent generously, encouragingly, and constructively discussing participants' stories.

Nancy Naomi Carlson, an NEA grant recipient, is a poet, translator, essayist, and editor, and has authored 10 titles. Her work has appeared in APR, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry, and An Infusion of Violets was named “new & noteworthy” by The New York Times. More about her at:

Caela Carter is the author of seven novels for children and young adults including Forever or a Long Long Time and Me Him Them and It. She is a Charlotte Huck Award Honoree and has been listed on the ALA notable book list. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and a Masters in Education.

Susan Coll is the author of five novels, most recently The Stager---a New York Times and Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice. Her other books include Acceptance---which was made into a television movie starring Joan Cusack---Beach Week, Rockville Pike, and Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post,,, and The Millions. She worked as the Events and Programs Director at Politics & Prose bookstore for five years.


Katie Davis is a writer and broadcaster in Washington D.C. She has worked at NPR, contributing essays for All Things Considered and This American Life. Her last project was Anacostia Unmapped where she worked with three residents to learn and broadcast radio.

Teaching Style: Hands on. The class will dive into radio and edit participant stories.

Novelist and writing coach John DeDakis is a former editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." DeDakis is the author of five mystery-suspense novels. His fourth novel, Bullet in the Chamber, is the winner of Reviewers Choice, Foreword INDIES, and Feathered Quill book awards. In his most recent novel, Fake, protagonist Lark Chadwick is a White House correspondent trying to walk the line between personal feelings and dispassionate objectivity in the era of “fake news” and #MeToo. More about him at:

Teaching style: John's classes are seminar style with worksheet handouts and plenty of time for questions and discussion. There will also be some brief writing exercises.

Meg Eden's work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College and the M.A. program at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel Post-High School Reality Quest (2017), and the forthcoming poetry collection Drowning in the Floating World (2020). She runs the Magfest MAGES Library blog, which posts accessible academic articles about video games. Find her online at or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

Teaching style: Meg is relaxed and conversational as a workshop leader. Her goal is to cover the material most important to her students, so there are plenty of opportunities for questions, and focusing on questions and material students care most about.

Melanie Figg, author of the award-winning poetry collection, Trace, has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and others. As a certified professional coach, she offers women’s writing retreats and helps writers to finish projects, tame their inner critics, and add more ease and productivity to their creative lives. More about her at:

Teaching Style: With over 25 years of teaching expertise, Melanie is a skilled and generous instructor. Her classes are well-organized but flexible—and include an effective combination of discussion, lecture, and in-class exercises/workshops. She also offers detailed, helpful feedback on student work with clear ideas of how to proceed with revision. Melanie is determined that students leave her classes with new skills, a deeper understanding of craft, and a lasting excitement for writing and reading.

Laura Di Franco, MPT is the owner of Brave Healer Productions where she’ll help you share your story, build your business and change the world. With three decades of experience in holistic physical therapy, a third-degree black belt and eight books, she has a clear preference for being badass but she’s also the champion of entrepreneurs who want to grow their health-based practices. Her writing workshops, business strategy sessions, and online writing club are just some of the ways she helps talented professionals maximize their professional impact.

Teaching Style: Laura guides students with practical body awareness and writing exercises as well as focused discussion intended to inspire and support their writing.

Claudia Gary

Claudia Gary’s villanelles, sonnets, and other metrical poems appear in journals and anthologies internationally. (For examples online, see: .) She has chaired panels including “The Sonnet in 2016” and “Poetry and Science” (2019) at the West Chester University Poetry Conference, and panels on Poetry and Music at both the WCU and Frost Farm poetry conferences. Author of Humor Me (2006) and chapbooks including Genetic Revisionism (2019), Claudia is a three-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and a 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht award (Waywiser). Her poems have appeared in many journals including American Arts Quarterly, Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Antiphon, Chronicles, Light, Loch Raven Review, Mezzo Cammin, Poet Lore, The Rotary Dial, and String Poet; as well as anthologies including Villanelles (2012), The Great American Wise-Ass Poetry Anthology (2016), and Love Affairs at the Villa Nelle (2018). She is also a health science writer for, a composer of art songs and chamber music, and a former poetry editor. See @claudiagary.

Teaching Style: Claudia loves to see students have fun discovering something they never knew they could do. She starts with a close reading of good poems, then alternates among writing, reading, exercises, and so on, to keep the class session dynamic.

Marita Golden is the award-winning author of 17 works of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel is The Wide Circumference of Love. She has taught in the graduate writing programs at George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Johns Hopkins University. She is co-founder and President Emeritus of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. More about her at:

Patricia Gray, author of Rupture  from Red Hen Press, formerly headed the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center. Her work appeared recently in Oberon and in Endlessly Rocking. She has published short fiction, judged the national Poetry Out Loud recitation contest, and directed a Dylan Thomas play with 18 actors playing 60 parts. In 2016 she received an Artist Fellowship in literature from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Teaching Style: Interactive. Patricia likes to talk a bit about craft and then let participants experience it firsthand. Most people can write creatively when given a prompt to help them get into the creative, sometimes latent, parts of themselves.


T. Greenwood is the author of 13 award-winning novels including Keeping Lucy, Rust & Stardust, Where I Lost Her, and Bodies of Water. Bodies of Water was a finalist for a 2013 Lambda Award. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer's Ink, Grossmont College, and online for The Writer's Center.

Teaching style: Tammy's online workshops combine weekly "lessons" (along with exercises and supplemental readings/resources). Exercises are posted and will receive instructor feedback.

Hannah Grieco is the organizer of the monthly series "Readings on the Pike," the fiction editor at Porcupine Literary, and a freelance essayist. Her work can be read in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun, Your Teen, Today's Parent, The Rumpus, Cotton Xenomorph, Pidgeonholes, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and many more publications. She can be found online at and on Twitter at @writesloud.

Teaching Style: Warm and inclusive. Hannah believes that everyone can write and share their work.

Jennifer Hamady is a voice coach and therapist specializing in technical and emotional issues that interfere with self-expression, and the author of three books on musical and personal performance. Jennifer writes regularly for Psychology Today on matters of creative expression and frequently presents workshops and master classes on the same. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Jennifer is known for her warmth, loving approach, and her fun, transformative workshops.

Aaron Hamburger is the author of the story collection The View From Stalin's Head (Rome Prize), and the novels Faith for Beginners and Nirvana is Here. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Crazyhorse, Tin House, Poets & Writers, Boulevard, and O, the Oprah Magazine. He has taught writing at Columbia University, the George Washington University, and the Stonecoast M.F.A. Program.

Teaching style: As a writing student once himself, one of the things Aaron has learned over the years is that a writing career is a lifelong process that transcends any particular work. When he reads student writing, he's not only looking at how to improve the work at hand, but also trying to figure out which tendencies of word choice, characterization, detail, etc. need encouragement and which ones need sharpening.


Judith Harris, Ph.D., is the author of three books of poetry, Night Garden (Tiger Bark, 2013), Atonement (LSU, 2000) and The Bad Secret (LSU, 2006) and the acclaimed critical book, Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing, a study of psychoanalytic processes underlying literary perception. Her poetry has appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Slate, The New York Times blog, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, and the syndicated column “American Life in Poetry,” among many other anthologies and journals. Her critical work and interviews have appeared widely. She is a recipient of a Yaddo fellowship and multiple arts grants and has taught at several universities in the D.C. area and has been a resident seminar leader at Frost Place and the University of North Iowa.

2019 Pushcart Prize nominee Virginia Hartman has published work in the Hudson Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Potomac Review, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, among others. She is the co-editor of the literary anthology A More Perfect Union: Poems and Stories about the Modern Wedding (St. Martin’s Press). She holds an M.F.A. from American University and is on the creative writing faculty at George Washington University.

Teaching Style: Virginia works toward creating a fun atmosphere while personalizing the session to the participants. In this session we get to express our love for language and to work toward getting the most from what we put on the page.

GG Renee Hill is an author and advocate for self-discovery through writing. She has published a free verse memoir about heartbreak and healing, a book of short essays for quiet women who want to be heard, and a mindfulness workbook for self-reflection and personal growth. Find her work at

Teaching Style: GG encourages the writers she works with to dig up their stories, big and small, in order to find new meaning in the journey of their lives. Participants will be challenged to face their truth, hold it up to the light and transform it into power. GG's workshops provide a safe space for connection, inspiration, and accountability between writers.

Jodie Hollander, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England, and her poems have appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015. Her debut full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press (Pavilion Poetry) in the UK and Oxford University Press in the US.

Teaching Style: Jodie likes to foster an honest and nurturing environment where students feel safe to take risks and strike out of their comfort zone.

Kathryn Johnson's 40+ popular novels (nominated for the Agatha Award, winner of the Heart of Excellence and Bookseller's Best Awards), include historical fiction (e.g., The Gentleman Poet, wherein Shakespeare escapes to the New World aboard a ship bound for disaster) and contemporary suspense. The Extreme Novelist (nonfiction) is the text based on her courses at The Smithsonian Associates and The Writer's Center. More about her at:

Teaching style: Kathryn Johnson’s classes are lecture-based, information rich. Her courses are not of the workshopping variety (in which, participants critique one another) but, rather, offer practical advice on writing and publishing in the 21st century, based upon her ongoing experiences in the publishing world. Handouts on talking points provide an outline for each class. Kathryn enjoys answering students’ individual questions and concerns, and offering career guidance whenever possible. Her mentoring service is available to supplement course work.

A 30-year professional speaker and four-time bestselling author, Rob Jolles has traveled over 2.5 million miles delivering keynotes and workshops all over the world. He trains authors to promote their books and speak for some of the largest publishers in the country. More about him at:

Teaching Style: Rob mixes information, facilitation, motivation, and most important, fun.

Jacqueline Jules is the award-winning author of forty books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, Feathers for Peacock, and Duck for Turkey Day. She is also the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press.

Teaching Style: Jacqueline Jules is a former school librarian and frequent presenter at schools, conferences, and teacher workshops. Her presentations always involve discussion, writing models, and writing prompts.

Beth Kanter is the author of six books about Washington, DC, including her latest, No Access DC. Beth’s essays and articles have appeared in a range of national newspapers, magazines, and online publications. She earned her MSJ from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and has been leading Boot Camp for Writers for almost ten years.

Teaching style: Beth likes to create an environment where participants feel comfortable taking chances with their writing as well as a space where participants can share their work with a community of writers.

Christine Koubek’s award-winning essays and stories have appeared in The Washington Post; Poets & Writers; Brain, Child; Bethesda; Chautauqua literary journal, and more. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, as well as residencies from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Ragdale Foundation.

Teaching Style: This workshop is interactive, collaborative, and tailored to student's writing goals.

Con Lehane is the author of six mystery novels. The latest, Murder Off the Page, the third in The 42nd Street Library Mystery series from Minotaur Books, came out in November. He’s had stories in Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines and is the author of the Brian McNulty bartender mysteries.

Teaching Style: Con's teaching style is student-centered and participatory. He believes it's not always easy to develop the voice and craft you need to convey the story you want to write. But it’s absolutely impossible to do it if you don’t start writing—an unwritten manuscript can't be improved, a written one, however rudimentary, can be improved. Be prepared to do a lot of writing and not much sitting back listening. Expect nudges in the direction of some tried-and-true approaches to mystery and suspense writing, much encouragement, and some surprises at what you may come up with.

Lisa Leibow earned her master’s in writing with a concentration in fiction from Johns Hopkins University, and she currently teaches writing at several schools, including George Washington University and Northern Virginia Community College. Lisa is Faulkner-Wisdom Award Novel Finalist, a two-time merit-based grant recipient and resident at the Vermont Studio Center, and the winner of Pitchapalooza D.C. Her work as been published in CommuterLit, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, Folly, Griffin, Mulberry Fork, NoVA Bards, Pisgah Review, Red Rose, Rougarou, Sand Hill Review, and Sanskrit.

Bob Levey is a retired columnist for The Washington Post. His daily local column, "Bob Levey's Washington," appeared in The Post for more than 23 years and won numerous awards. Bob has also written dozens of magazine articles and four books. He has taught journalism and writing at six major research universities.

Teaching Style: Bob prefers a loose classroom--lots of Q and A and lots of interchange with and among students. This will never be a shut-up-so-Bob-can-lecture kind of experience.

Christopher Linforth holds an M.F.A. from Virginia Tech. His debut short-story collection--When You Find Us We Will Be Gone--was released in 2014. He has published fiction and nonfiction in dozens of literary magazines, including The Millions, Gargoyle, Southern Humanities Review, The Rumpus, Notre Dame Review, Denver Quarterly, and many others. He has been awarded fellowships and scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Peter Mandel is the author of eleven books for children including Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan), Zoo Ah-Choooo (Holiday House), Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster), Planes at the Airport (Scholastic), and Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays (Hyperion). He’s a regular contributor of essays and travel pieces to The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times. Learn more about him at


Pat McNees is a writer and editor who for 25 years has helped individuals tell their life story. A former editor in book publishing (at Harper & Row and at Fawcett), she is also past president of the Association of Personal Historians, and manager-scribe of the local Washington Biography Group. She received training in Guided Autobiography and has taught life writing at The Writer’s Center for several years. More about her at:

Ariel Mendez is an author/illustrator with a background in public policy and international studies. Her debut picture book, Fear and a Friend, was launched on Kickstarter and selected as a Kickstarter “Project We Love.” Upcoming titles include Hair Like Me (Heather Burris/Ariel Mendez) and Dear God (Reina Dovelier/Ariel Mendez). Ariel is a member of the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators, where she has presented on self-publishing and book marketing. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Ariel is engaging and interactive. Come ready with questions!

Marilyn Millstone's award-winning playwriting is rooted in her background as a news and feature journalist and essayist. Her full-length dramas, one-acts, ten-minute plays, and monologues have been produced by: Barrington Stage (MA), Birdhouse Theatre (GA), Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (OH), Dorset Players (VT), Fells Point Corner Theatre (MD), Silver Spring Stage (MD), Hudson Warehouse (NYC), the West Side Show Room (IL), the End of the Road New Play Festival (AL), and the Short & Sweet Festivals in Sydney and Dubai. Holder of an MFA in playwriting from Spalding University, Millstone’s first full-length play, the semi-historical drama The Sculptress, was produced by Baltimore’s Fells Point Corner Theatre and won two prizes at the 2011 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. Her ten-minute comedy, Compos Mentis, has been produced nine times (seven times in America and twice abroad) and won numerous awards. Two of her plays had world premieres in 2018: her one-act comedy, Birthday Girl, at the Silver Spring Stage One-Act Play Festival, and her ten-minute drama Play Date at the Rockford New Play Festival. Two of Millstone's monologues were selected for Best Women's Monologues of 2019, published by Smith and Kraus. Her full-length drama Proprioception recently won AACT NewPlayFest 2020; it will be produced by Rover Dramawerks in Plano, Texas, in April 2020 and published by Dramatic Publishing, see:

More about her at:
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Ofelia Montelongo is a bilingual writer originally from Mexico. She received a B.A. in accounting and finance, an MBA, and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Ofelia is a freelance writer and photographer and has collaborated with magazines such as Phoenix New Times, So Scottsdale, and Phoenix Magazine. She led creative writing workshops in Spanish at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore and was the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Superstition Review in the fall of 2016. She taught Spanish at Arizona State University and she is pursuing her M.A. in Latin American literature at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include Chicano and Latin American literature, theory of translation, borderlands, creative writing, and more. Her work has been published in Latino Book Review, Four Chambers Press, Los Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, and Ponder Review. She is currently reading for Potomac Review and she is the 2019 Undiscovered Voices Fellow at The Writer's Center.

Marianne Murphy is a Boston-based poet, animator, performer, and teaching artist. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Highlights for Children, LADYBUG, and CICADA. She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, where she studied visual poetry.

Teaching Style: Marianne always strives to create an encouraging, safe environment for students to experiment with new forms, methods, mediums, and genres. She values communicating with students individually so she can personalize the curriculum based on their interests and goals. In her workshops, Marianne likes to focus on process, openness, and self-expression through journaling, meditative writing, and visual art.


William O'Sullivan is an essayist and editor whose writing has appeared in Washingtonian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The North American Review, 100 Word Story, and others. His work has been cited three times among the notable essays of the year in The Best American Essays.

Laura J. Oliver, MFA, is an award-winning developmental book editor and writing coach, who has taught writing at the University of Maryland and St. John’s College. She is the author of The Story Within (Penguin Random House), named by “Poets and Writers Magazine” as one of the best writing books ever published. Oliver delights in teaching others to write successful short stories, novels, memoirs, creative nonfiction articles and personal essays. Oliver's own fiction and essays are published in national newspapers, magazines and top-tier literary reviews such as The Washington Post, Country Living Magazine, The Writer Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Baltimore Review and Glimmer Train. She guides writers through the submission process, editing successful query letters and proposals and many of her clients have landed book contracts with major traditional publishers such as Simon and Schuster. Co-creator of The Writing Intensive at St. John’s College, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, an Anne Arundel County Arts Council Literary Arts Award winner, a two-time Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For more information:

Katherine Pickett is the owner of POP Editorial Services LLC (, where she provides copy editing, proofreading, and developmental editing to authors and publishers across the country. She is also the author of the award-winning book Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro, the booklet Freelancing as a Business: 7 Steps to Take Before Launch Day, and several ebooks. Her personal essay “Dented” was published by Lowestoft Chronicle and selected for the 2011 Lowestoft Chronicle print anthology. Her articles have appeared on Publishing Perspectives,, Writer Beware, IBPA Independent, and elsewhere in print and around the web. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, Chris, and their two awe-inspiring daughters.

Teaching Style: Katherine believes in the collaborative approach to teaching. She will present information from all angles and support students as they make their own decisions.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 27 award-winning children's books including Pirate vs. Pirate, Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns, The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans, and Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods, and a popular presenter at schools and conferences. Mary also writes nonfiction for adults and children, including chapter books on amazing animal friendships and heroic dogs for National Geographic, and she teaches in the graduate program in writing for children and young adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Mary's work has appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, and Boys’ Life. More about her at:


Ann Quinn’s chapbook, Final Deployment, was published by Finishing Line Press (2018). Her poetry has appeared in journals including Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Broadkill Review. Ann holds an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University, and is poetry editor for Yellow Arrow Journal. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Ann brings the skill of close observation that enlivens her poetry to her work as a teacher, holding up a helpful mirror to each student’s unique gifts. In the words of a long-time student, “Ann leads her writers with the lightest touch. They do the work, but it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like love.”

Kathryn Ramsperger began her career as a journalist, for newspapers, National Geographic Society and Kiplinger. She headed publishing for the International Red Cross in Geneva. Now, as both a life coach and book coach, she helps her clients remove their own resistance and creative blocks. Kathryn is winner of the Hollins University Fiction Prize and several Hermes Creative Awards for her humanitarian reporting. Her novel The Shores of Our Souls placed in the Faulkner-Wisdom (debut novel), Readers' Favorite (multicultural fiction), and Foreword Indies (social issues) literary competitions. More about her at: and

Elizabeth Rees, M.A. is the author of the poetry collection Every Root a Branch (2014). Three of her four poetry chapbooks are award winners, most recently Tilting Gravity (2009). Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poems have been widely published in journals, including Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, and Agni. She has taught at Harvard University, Boston University, Macalester College, Howard University, the U.S. Naval Academy, and in the graduate program at Johns Hopkins University, among other schools. A workshop leader at The Writer’s Center since 1989, she has also been a poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council since 1994. She has served as a consulting writer and editor to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Museums’ Traveling Exhibitions, and PBS.

Teaching style: Liz is relaxed and interactive. She believes students learn best when they are actively involved and when the atmosphere is fun yet rigorous.

Gregory Robison (BA Yale University; MBA, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France) was Executive Director at The Writer’s Center for four years, and has offered versions of "Life Sentences" at Georgetown University and elsewhere. His began his illustrated journal, now at 108 manuscript volumes, almost 50 years ago, in the winter of 1969.

Teaching Style: Robison also teaches circle practices and therefore favors a participative, inclusive approach to teaching.

Lynn Auld Schwartz is a writer, story development editor for fiction and nonfiction works, and has ghostwritten three books. Her plays and staged readings have been performed in Atlanta and NYC, including Lincoln Center. She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading Series in NYC, has received two Individual Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and an Annie Literary Arts Award from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County. Her stories have appeared in literary journals and she produces and directs a Page To Stage series, which offers teen and adult regional writers the opportunity to perform their life stories on stage. A graduate of The City College of New York, Columbia University, and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, Schwartz has taught fiction, flash fiction, and memoir at St. John’s College, The Writer’s Center, and is a Writing Guest Artist for Anne Arundel County’s Performing and Visual Arts Magnet program. More about her at:

Teaching style: Lynn packs her workshops with relevant content — sharing specific techniques and illustrations designed to improve a participant’s writing. There is also ample time for questions, discussion, and in-class writing exercises that put technique into practice. Lynn feels it is important to create an inspiring, supportive, and fun environment.


Natasha Scripture is an author with a passion for transformational nonfiction. Her debut memoir Man Fast: A Memoir came out in June 2019, and was featured in The Washington Post as one of The 10 books to read in June. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times, The Telegraph, Glamour UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Boston Globe, The New York Post, Marie Claire, and The Atlantic, among other publications.

Lisa Jan Sherman is an actor and improvisational acting and cognitive skills coach and team-builder. She has been a member of AFTRA and SAG for over 35 years and has performed, on stage, television, film and radio. Lisa received a B.A. in Theatre and Speech from University of Maryland. She is a founding member of 'NOW THIS! the totally improvised, musical comedy troupe which had a 27 year run. Facilitating communication skills groups with children since 1995, and finding that the improvisational 'piece' created a natural basis for social skill development, Lisa co-developed the 'Act As If' program and with Laura McAlpine co-wrote 'ACT AS IF' (improvisational activities for better social communication).

Teaching Style: Flexible communicator-knowing we are all here to grow-and have fun!

Molly Spencer's recent poems have appeared in Blackbird, FIELD, New England Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. Her debut poetry collection, If the House, won the 2019 Brittingham Prize. A second collection, Hinge, won the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition. She teaches at the University of Michigan.

Danielle Stonehirsch is a writer of many genres with a particular interest in short fiction. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Bethesda Magazine, Washington City Paper, Montgomery Magazine, and two of her personal essays are included in anthologies.

Teaching Style: Danielle believes in learning by a process of reading, writing, and workshopping.

Timothy Tau is an award-winning writer, director and producer. He was named by Mic Magazine as one of "6 Young Asian-American Filmmakers Who Are Shattering America's Asian Film Bias."

Tau's short film Nathan Jung v. Bruce Lee (2016), which recounts the true story of veteran actor Nathan Jung meeting Bruce Lee for the first time on the set of the TV show Here Come the Brides (1968) in 1969, won Best Original Script and Best Comedy Short awards from the Asians on Film Festival and screened at a number of film festivals in 2018-2019. Tau is also known for Keye Luke (2012), a short film biopic he directed, produced and co-wrote with Ed Moy on pioneering Asian American actor and artist Keye Luke (portrayed by Feodor Chin), who played the first on-screen Kato in the 1940s Green Hornet decades before Bruce Lee and who was also the All-American "Number One Son", Lee Chan, in the popular Charlie Chan films of the 1930s. He received a Visual Communications "Armed with a Camera" Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists to make the film, and it has screened at over a dozen film festivals worldwide and has additionally won awards from the HollyShorts Film Festival (Audience Award) and the Asians on Film Festival (Best Original Score). Tau has also directed and written the black-and-white Film Noir/Sci-Fi/Horror genre-bender, The Case (2010).

Tau also won Grand Prize in the Hyphen Asian American Short Story Contest for his short story "The Understudy", which is published in the Winter 2011 Issue of Hyphen Magazine. His short story "Land of Origin" also won Second Place in the 2010 Playboy College Fiction Contest and Second Place in the 2016 ScreenCraft Short Story Contest, judged by Academy Award winning screenwriter Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain (2005)). He is developing both stories and other scripts into feature films. For instance, a screenplay version of "Land of Origin" named "Kaohsiung" was a Quarterfinalist in the 2017 Zoetrope Screenplay Contest judged by legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. "Kaohsiung" and another screenplay he wrote for a surreal Western film entitled "Welcome to Eden" were also Quarterfinalists in the 2017 Scriptapalooza contest as well. A screenplay adaptation of "The Understudy" entitled "Under/Study" also made it past the Second Round in the 2016 Sundance Screenwriter's Lab and Asian American Fellowship.

He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles or UCLA, University of California Hastings College of the Law, and the University of California Berkeley School of Law. He has also graduated from the Professional Programs in Screenwriting and TV Writing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Sue Ellen Thompson is the author of five books of poetry, including This Body of SilkTheyThe Golden Hour, and The Leaving: New and Selected Poems, as well as other publications. She is also the editor of The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry. Her work has been included in the Best American Poetry series, read on NPR by Garrison Keillor, and featured in U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s nationally-syndicated newspaper column. She taught at Wesleyan University, Middlebury College, Binghamton University, and Central Connecticut State University before moving to the Eastern Shore in 2006. She was awarded the 2010 Maryland Author Prize from the Maryland Library Association. More about her at:

Teaching style: I am very serious about craft--what I can teach adult students that will help them write better poems. As a result, I tend to be very organized in my approach to teaching a workshop and averse to letting the discussion wander off-target. Many poets, even those with graduate degrees, lack formal education in areas such as metaphor, line breaks, revision, tone, syntax, and organizing a manuscript. My goal is to fill in the gaps and give poets the tools they need to writing moving, well-crafted poems.

Alexandra Viets is a screenwriter and journalist who received her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her first feature-length screenplay, Cotton Mary, was produced by Merchant Ivory. Her most recent screenplay, Ask Me No Questions, won Best Screenplay for 2018 at the Auckland International Film Festival. She teaches at Johns Hopkins University. More about her at:

Hank Wallace, a Columbia Law School graduate, was a government reporter for New Jersey's Middletown Courier and Red Bank Daily Register, and the assistant director of law-school publishing for Matthew Bender. He wrote the FCC's plain-language newsletter and newswriting tips for the Radio Television Digital News Association. For more information about Hank Wallace, visit his website at:

Teaching style: "'Concise as news, precise as law' is the goal, building on the many values of conventional business writing. We'll focus on reasons, not just rules. I call on volunteers solely and, minus the stereotypical Paper Chase bullying, I train with law school's Socratic method and case method. The cases here are news excerpts from the Web, print, and TV. I ask questions and encourage rigorous reasoning. Yield: Beyond our Writer's Center workshop's eight journalism skills, you'll reason your way, around writer's block if necessary, to an effective writing strategy whatever the situation." Preview more about how you'll learn:

Richard Washer is a playwright and director, and serves as Associate Artistic Director and First Draft Resident Playwright at The Rose Theatre Company. He holds a B.A. (University of Virginia) and an M.F.A. (American University). His work has been produced at venues including Charter Theatre, Earl Hamner Jr. Theatre, Source Theatre, The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, New Works Theatre among many others. In March of 2020 First Draft at Rose Theatre Co. will present a staged reading of Dubliners in Exile, a work inspired by the life and works of James Joyce. More about him at:

Teaching style: Richard's goal every workshop is to create a community for writers where everyone involved can explore, develop and stretch their writing skills. This involves not only providing an opportunity to practice writing but to learn how to give and receive feedback in a way that is meaningful to the writer. His hope is that writers find the workshop environment a safe place to learn and explore the craft of writing and that they acquire tools and skills they can apply to the development of their work after the workshop ends.

Sheila Wenz is a comedian and comedy writer who has appeared on NBC, A&E, Comedy Central and The Lifetime Network. In Los Angeles she worked on a variety of television series and films at CBS, ABC, Columbia Pictures, MGM, Warner Bros., Disney and on the writing staff at NBC's Stage One on "The Tonight Show." Since coming to the DC area just a few years ago, she founded her own comedy school, “Stand-Up Studios” and has conducted more than 100 comedy workshops and produced 200 live stand-up shows.  She introduced her comedy writing and performance programs to Montgomery College and is now a part time faculty instructor at various campuses. She also introduced the first comedy youth program for Montgomery County and is a guest artist at the Screen Actors Guild. More about her at:

Sarah Ann Winn’s Alma Almanac (Barrow Street, 2017), won the Barrow Street Book Prize. She’s the author of five chapbooks, most recently, Ever After the End Matter (Porkbelly, 2019). Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.

Teaching Style: Sarah's workshops are creativity labs which use readings to represent a variety of voices from our wonderfully diverse community of writers. She also frequently provides resources from other creative fields and items not normally considered "writerly" to inspire new work and new ways of thinking about the creative process. Feedback in Sarah's workshops focuses on the positive and the particular of what's working, especially in courses generating fresh drafts.

Michele Wolf is the author of Immersion, Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Prize for Poetry), and The Keeper of Light. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, North American Review, The Southern Review, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies, as well as on, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Wolf serves as a contributing editor for Poet Lore. More about her at:

Teaching Style: Michele is supportive, approachable, and inclusive. Her aim is to provide tools and tips for success.