Mikhail Iossel, the Leningrad-born author of the story collection Every Hunter Wants to Know (W.W. Norton) and co-editor of the anthologies Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive, 2004) and Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (TinConcordia University in Montreal House, 2010), is a professor of English/Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the founding director of the Summer Literary Seminars international program. Back in the Soviet Union, he worked as an electromagnetic engineer/submarine demagnetizer and as roller-coaster security guard and belonged to the organization of samizdat writers, Club-81. He came to the US in 1986 and started writing in English in 1988. Among his awards are the Guggenheim, NEA and Stegner Fellowships. His stories, in English and in translation to a number of other languages, have appeared in NewYorker.com, Guernica, The Literarian, Agni Review, The North American Review, Threepenny Review, Interia, Boulevard, Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere.
Paula Whyman is the author of You May See a Stranger, a linked story collection that won praise from The New Yorker and a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Paula’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Ploughshares, VQR, and The Washington Post, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. Paula teaches in writers-in-schools programs through the Pen/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, DC and The Hudson Review in Harlem and the Bronx, New York. She is a fellow of The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and The Studios of Key West, and a member of The MacDowell Colony Fellows Executive Committee. Paula has been awarded a 2017 Hawthornden Fellowship. A music theater piece based on a story from her book is in development with composer Scott Wheeler. Before earning her MFA, Paula edited books for the American Psychological Association on topics ranging from the study of personality to PTSD among refugees.
Karen E. Bender is the author of the story collection Refund, which was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction in 2015 and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. She is also the author of the novels A Town of Empty Rooms and Like Normal People. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Granta, Ploughshares, Guernica, The Harvard Review, and Zoetrope and has been reprinted in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, and New Stories from the South; she has also won two Pushcart prizes. She is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University.
Mark Svenvold has published two books of poetry—Soul Data, which won the Vassar Millar Award and was published by the University of North Texas Press, and Empire Burlesque, which won The Journal Award and was published by Ohio State University Press. His poems have been published in The New Yorker, Crazyhorse, Agni Review, The Literary Review, Plume, The Portland Review, The North American Review, and elsewhere. He has written about bicycle nomads for Orion Magazine, wildcat oil geology for Fortune/Small Business, tornado chasing for NewYorker.com, and solar power and offshore wind power for The New York Times Magazine. His nonfiction books include Big Weather (Henry Holt & Co.), about tornado chasers and the culture of catastrophilia, and Elmer McCurdy: The Misadventures in Life and Afterlife of an American Outlaw (Basic Books), which unravels the bizarre career of a Long Beach, California, fun house mummy. He plays guitar, probably when he should be doing something else, and teaches creative writing at Seton Hall University.
Jodi Paloni is writer, teacher, and activist living in the state of Maine. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MS in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England Graduate School. Her debut story collection, They Could Live With Themselves, was runner up in the 2015 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. She was a finalist in the 2016 Maine Literary Award Short Works Competition. Other awards include the Short Story America Prize, and second place in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. Her stories and book reviews appear in a number of literary journals. Learn more about Jodi at www.jodipaloni.com.
Elisabeth Booze is originally from Colorado. She attended the University of Denver where she earned her B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She then went on to join Teach For America and teach three years of reading and writing to the founding class of a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. Booze then went on to earn her M.F.A. in Fiction from Hollins University and then returned to Kansas City to teach Creative Writing to her favorite high schoolers. She believes that writing, especially prose, is a medium through which stories that have long been silenced can be told, and that writing is (at best) an act of justice and love.
Ellen Louise Ray is the 35th Writer in Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, DC. In May of 2016, she earned her MFA from Hollins University’s Jackson Center for Creative Writing, where she served as a Teaching Fellow and held a Jackson Graduate Fellowship. She received her BA from Yale College in 2009 and her MA from the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English in 2016. Before attending Hollins, Ellen taught middle school English and coached high school speech and debate at her alma mater, The Lovett School, in Atlanta, Georgia. In April of 2015, she was runner up for the Andrew James Purdy Prize for Short Fiction, and in May of 2016 she won the Melanie Hook Rice Award in the Novel. She is currently at work on her first novel as well as a number of short stories, essays, and poems.
Heather Hughes is a Miami native relocated, to her unending surprise, to Somerville. Her poems appear in The Adroit Journal, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Vinyl Poetry, and Whiskey Island Magazine, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her chapbook was a 2016 finalist for The Atlas Review Chapbook Series. Heather is also a writer for Mass Poetry online, and her book reviews have been featured in venues such as The Rumpus. She MFA-ed at Lesley University. Heather can often be found using antiquated machinery to make inky letterpress messes. She is dedicated to hand-typesetting and blockcarving, and her printwork focuses on poetry postcards and broadsides, including commissions for the James Webb Space Telescope Art Project and the Cambridge Public Library Poetry Reading Series. She maintains an alternate life in academic publishing, and she never outgrew her science fiction and fantasy obsession. Find her online at birdmaddgirl.com.
Christine Mallon received her B.A. and M.A. in English (with a creative writing concentration) from Seton Hall University. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry and is currently an adjunct English professor at Seton Hall University.
Maddie Tavis, a native to both Baltimore and Toronto, spent her formative years working in restaurants, butcher shops, and gourmet cheese boutiques while longing for a book in hand. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a major in Women and Gender Studies and minors in English and Environmental Studies, Maddie decided to temporarily abandon her dream of combining meats and literature and became a freelance editor. She has worked on a range of books including historical nonfiction and memoir, though her greatest love is fiction. In 2016, Maddie graduated from the Columbia Publishing Course in Oxford, England. She currently lives in New York City.
Rachel León is a writer, activist, and social worker. She is a contributor for Chicago Review of Books and a Fiction Editor for Arcturus. She interns for a literary agent and is currently working on a novel.
Social Media Associate
Tessa Cheek is an MFA candidate and Teaching Fellow at Hollins University. She served as the 2014-2015 Alice Maxine Bowie Fiction Fellow at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado, where she also worked as a reporter for The Colorado Independent. Her stories, essays, and experiments can be found in print and online through her website, tessacheek.com. Follow her @tessacheek.
Website Design and Editorial Consultant
Will Amato is a website designer, animator and writer, living in North Hollywood, CA. After spending a chunk of his misguided teen years as staff writer for Slash Magazine, he edited and published a now-somewhat-legendary underground comic book called Hoo-Be-Boo, as well as Can-Can, a small-run literary magazine featuring such future luminaries as Jonathan Lethem, Gary Panter, Byron Coley and Shelley Jackson. Moving to the Bay Area in the early 80’s, he became Senior Editor of FRISKO, a “mainstream” literary and cultural journal, before moving back to LA in the late 90’s, taking up animation, and becoming Art Director at Flinch Animation Studio, where he gained some notoriety for co-writing, animating and art directing Tim Burton’s innovative animated web series, Stainboy. For the past decade or so, he has run his own website design studio, producing sites for Jonathan Lethem, Aimee Bender, Jayne Anne Phillips, Nicole Krauss, Padgett Powell, Molly Antopol, Dana Spiotta, Peter Heller, Calef Brown, Luc Sante, Julie Otsuka, among others. His website work can be found at willamato.com. He wishes, profoundly, that Donald Trump would cease to exist and/or otherwise disappear.
Francesca Phillippy received her MA in English with a concentration in Fiction writing in 2015 from Seton Hall University. She is the current Assistant Director of Project Acceleration and was a Production Manager for the student-run literary magazine Corner Pocket.