Meet the Writers in Progress Instructors
Dori Ostermiller, MFA, is the founding director of Writers in Progress. Her debut novel, Outside the Ordinary World (MIRA, 2010) was an Indie Best pick and an MLA must-read. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Bellingham Review, Alligator Juniper, Bellowing Ark, Peregrine, Calliope, Roanoke Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, The American, The Massachusetts Review and Rumpus, among others. Dori has worked for over two decades as a professional editor, and has taught literature and writing at many area colleges and universities. She is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Fellowship and a Tobias Wolf Fiction award, among others. More about Dori here.
Emily Lackey is Writers in Progress’s Assistant Director. Her stories and essays have been published in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, The Literary Review, Longreads, The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, and The Huffington Post, among others. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and an artist-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Newnan ArtRez. After receiving her MFA from the University of New Hampshire, she taught writing at the University of New Hampshire and in the graduate writing program at Southern New Hampshire University. Find out more at http://www.emilylackey.com
Sarah Browning is the author of two books of poems, Killing Summer (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017) and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden (The Word Works, 2007). She is co-founder and for 10 years was Executive Director of Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation & Witness. She is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and recipient of the Lillian E. Smith Writer-in-Service Award as well as of fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Yaddo, Mesa Refuge, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been guest editor or co-edited special issues of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Delaware Poetry Review, and three issues of POETRY magazine. She has an MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Rutgers University Camden and lives in Philadelphia. For more info: www.sarahbrowning.net
Susanne Dunlap is the author of nine historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult novel The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Bankstreet Children’s Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Readers Prize and the Utah Book Award. Her latest novel, Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire are the first volumes of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa. Listen to the Wind is a semi-finalist for the Chaucer Awards for Pre-1750 Historical Fiction and a Distinguished Favorite in the NYC Big Book Awards. Susanne has a PhD in music history from Yale University. More about Susanne here: http://www.susanne-dunlap.com.
Jonathan Escoffery’s writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Paris Review, AGNI, ZYZZYVA, Pleiades, Salt Hill, The Caribbean Writer, Creative Nonfiction, Solstice Literary Magazine, Pangyrus, and elsewhere. His most recent honors include the 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship, the 2020 National Magazine Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors, a 2020 Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico grant, and a 2019 Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellowship. He has received awards and honors from The Best American Short Stories anthology, Prairie Schooner, Passages North, the Somerville Arts Council, The Writers’ Room of Boston, Kimbilio Fiction, the Anderson Center, Wellspring House, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Jonathan earned his MFA in Fiction from the University of Minnesota where he was a DOVE Fellow, a COSP Fellow, and the Fiction Editor at Dislocate magazine. He attends the University of Southern California’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program as a Provost Fellow.
Emily Everett is managing editor of The Common, a biannual literary magazine publishing stories, essays, poems, and images with a modern sense of place. With other editors, she selects pieces for the magazine, and edits and develops that work with authors prior to publication. Her fiction is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and Electric Lit, and has appeared in Tin House and The Tishman Review. Her nonfiction appears online for The Common and Take Magazine. She studied Literature at Smith College and Queen Mary University of London. Find out more at https://www.emily-everett.com/
Tzivia Gover is the author of The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep and Joy in Every Moment. She is a writer, educator, and certified dream therapist and the director of the Institute of Dream Studies. Gover has led numerous workshops and panels about dreams, mindfulness, and writing, and she holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. She is an active member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and the founder of 350 Dreamers, an international network of people who dream together for global healing. Find out more at http://tziviagover.com/
Donna Jenson is author of Healing My Life from Incest to Joy and playwright of “What She Knows: One Woman’s Way Through Incest to Joy.” She has been leading writing workshops since 2008 both in person and, more recently, online. Being a feminist activist since 1971, she has found writing to be a fabulous way to strengthen her voice, sharpen her thinking, and open her heart.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts MFA program, Don Lesser has been a professional writer, trainer, and programmer for 30-(sometimes very) odd years. He has written technical manuals and corporate training materials for the Fortune 2000, as well as cooking articles and restaurant reviews for Hampshire Life and Edible Pioneer Valley. His work received the James Peterson Scholarship and honorable mentions for the Greenbrier and Apicus scholarships at the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers. In 1990, he founded Pioneer Training to deliver computer training and programming to Western Massachusetts and beyond. He is currently at work on a novel.
Cathy Luna, PhD has published excerpts from Missing Lessons, hermemoir-in-progress, in Lunch Ticket, CONSEQUENCE, and The River Teeth Journal. A former faculty member at UMass Amherst, Cathy has taught writing for more than thirty years. Since 2010, she has been a writing consultant and writing coach for Five College faculty writers.
Michael Mercurio, MFA, lives and writes in the Pioneer Valley, where he serves on the steering committee for the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly Amherst Poetry Festival) and is the associate editor of the Naugatuck River Review. A graduate of the Lesley University low-res MFA program, his poetry has been published in Rust + Moth, Crab Creek Review, and The Indianapolis Review, and is forthcoming in Sugar House Review and Palette Poetry. Michael also has had critical reviews published in The Lily Poetry Review.
Randy Susan Meyers is the author of five novels: The Murderer’s Daughters (a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award), The Comfort of Lies, Accidents of Marriage, The Widow of Wall Street, and recently, the critically acclaimed, Waisted. Meyers lives in Boston and teaches writing at Grub Street and Writers in Progress. Find out more at https://www.randysusanmeyers.com/
Emily Nagoski is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers, Come As You Are, and Burnout, about women’s sexuality and wellbeing. She began her work as a sex educator at the University of Delaware, where she volunteered as a peer sex educator while studying psychology. She went on to earn a M.S. in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Health Behavior, both from Indiana University, with clinical and research training at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. After eight years working at Smith College, Emily is now a full-time writer. She writes and teaches at Writers in Progress. Find out more at http://www.emilynagoski.com/
Cleyvis Natera is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, raised in Harlem. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University. She’s received awards & fellowships from PEN America, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Kenyon Review’s Summer Workshop, among others. She’s published fiction in Kenyon Review, Asterix Journal and Kweli. Follow her on instagram @cleyvisnatera.
Meghan Nesmith’s work has appeared in numerous print and digital publications, including Teen Vogue, Bon Appetit, the Globe and Mail, the Guardian, Man Repeller, and more. A former editor for The Billfold, she has also worked as a content strategist and consultant for brands such as Spotify and Slack. She received her MFA from American University and now lives in Boston, where she is at work on a novel.
Jessica Papin is a literary agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, LLC. She first joined DG&B in 2003, after spending eight years as an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central). In 2004, she moved to Egypt, where she spent three years working for the American University in Cairo Press. Upon her return to the United States, she rejoined DG&B. With a background on both sides of the desk, she loves working collaboratively with clients to shape and refine their work.
Kenneth R. Rosen, a finalist for both the Livingston Award for international reporting and the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, won a Clarion Award in 2018 for his reporting from Iraq. He is a senior news assistant at The New York Times, a Robert Novak Fellow, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and a 2018 John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Justice Reporting Fellow. His first book is forthcoming from Little A in 2020. Find out more at https://www.kennethrrosen.com/
Arya Samuelson is the winner of the CutBank’s 2019 Montana Prize in Non-Fiction, awarded by Cheryl Strayed. Her work has also been published or is forthcoming in Bellevue Literary Review, Columbia Journal, New Delta Review, Entropy, The Millions, The Manifest-Station, and elsewhere. She is a proud graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program from Mills College and has been studying at Lidia Yuknavitch’s school of Corporeal Writing since 2017. She teaches with LitReactor, Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop, and through her own teaching series, Writing as Ritual. Arya writes across all genres and is currently working on a novel. Her website is www.aryasamuelson.com.
Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world. Find out more at http://www.jacquelinesheehan.com/
Kris Waldherr is the author of numerous books for adults and children including Bad Princess, Doomed Queens, The Book of Goddesses. Her debut novel The Lost History of Dreams (Atria Books) received a Kirkus-starred review and was named a CrimeReads Best Book of 2019. She is also the creator of several tarot and oracle decks including The Goddess Tarot, which has over a quarter of a million copies in print. Waldherr has been working with the tarot for over thirty years. Learn more at KrisWaldherr.com.