Members of The Writers’ Room are poets, novelists, journalists, graphic novelists, translators, librettists, playwrights, memoirists, and historians. We pride ourselves not just on our vibrant creative diversity, but on our cultural and socioeconomic diversity, too. Below is a sample of our current members:
Mary Bonina is the author of My Father’s Eyes: A Memoir ( 2013) and the poetry collections Clear Eye Tea (2010), Living Proof(2007) published by Cervena Barva Press, and Lunch in Chinatown, a poetry chapbook inspired by teaching English to recent immigrants. Winner of the Boston Contemporary Authors UrbanArtsAward, her poem “Drift” is a public art installation in the City, carved in a granite monolith and permanently installed outside Green St. MBTA Station on the Orange Line, Jamaica Plain. Commissioned by composer Paul Sayed, she wrote a set of three poems, Grace in the Wind, which inspired Sayed’s composition for piano, cello, and soprano voice; the piece had its premiere November 2012 at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, Cambridge, MA. Bonina’s poetry and prose has been featured in Salamander, Hanging Loose, English Journal,Gulf Stream, The Worcester Review, in many other journals and anthologies, including Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo. Bonina has had a residency at Vermont Studio Center, and she has been a fellow at VCCA since 2001 when she was named finalist for the VCCA Goldfarb Fellowship in non-fiction. She works as a narrator for Talking Books for the Blind at the Clive V. Lacey Recording Studio at the Perkins School in Watertown, MA. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and she serves on the Board of Directors of the Writers Room of Boston, where she is at work on a novel.
Liz Breen is a writer of screenplays, short stories and flash fiction. She has worked for productions including WordGirl, Antiques Roadshow, Phantom Gourmet and CONAN, and her fiction has appeared in Columbia’s Catch & Release and Cleaver Magazine. Liz blogs for Grub Street and teaches writing at Cambridge Center for Adult Education. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Bachelor’s from Boston University. You can find her online at www.lizbreen.com and on Twitter @beinglizbreen.
Debka Colson was the 2013 Ivan Gold Fiction Fellow and is now the Program Director for the Writers’ Room. Debka writes fiction, poetry, essays and creative nonfiction. Her work has been published in a range of literary magazines, including: Folio, Slab, North American Review, GAMBAZine, Construction, and Roar, among others, and in two anthologies. Debka coordinates the Flash Fiction Contest for JP Reads, an annual community literary celebration in Boston and has taught creative writing at Emerson College, the Boston Public Library, Brookline Adult & Community Education, and the Urban Scholars Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She can be found at: www.debkacolson.com/
Robert Dall is a fiction writer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. His short stories have been published in Hunger Mountain, the Evansville Review, the Blue Moon Review, Acorn Whistle, and the Beacon Street Review. He received his MFA from Emerson College, has completed two residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, and has been a member of the Writers’ Room of Boston since 2001 (and a board member since 2009). Currently, he is working on new pieces of short fiction while hoping to find a home for his novel In the Box, the dystopian tale of a New England fishing town that decides to mix 17th-century punishments with 21st-century media saturation.
Alexander Danner is co-creator of the serial audio drama Greater Boston (www.greaterbostonshow.com). He also writes comics and prose fiction, with stories appearing in Event: Poetry & Prose, The Saturday Evening Post, and Fantasy Scroll Magazine, as well as the Machine of Death anthology. He is co-author of two textbooks about comics: Comics: A Global History, 1968 — Present with Dan Mazur (Thames & Hudson, 2014) and Character Design for Graphic Novels with Steven Withrow (Rotovision/Focal Press, 2007). His comics and other writing can be found at TwentySevenLetters.com. Alexander joined The Writers’ Room in 2005, and is a past recipient of the Ivan Gold Fellowship.
Camille DeAngelis is the author of the crossover-YA novel Bones & All as well as two novels for adults, Mary Modern and Petty Magic. She wrote and revised her forthcoming novel (tentatively titled Immaculate Heart, coming 2016) at the Writers’ Room. Camille is also a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator, and veganizing an 18th-century Scottish cookbook is one of her pet side projects. Camille also serves on the Board for the Writers’ Room.
Kate Gilbert is a children’s fiction writer with advanced degrees in medieval and Roman history. She works as a freelance editor specializing in works on premodern history and is the associate author of The Bayeux Tapestry and Its Contexts. Prior publications include a historic preservation activity workbook for children and an English village history. She is currently writing a middle-grade historical novel set in medieval Scandinavia and revising her first novel, a middle-grade fantasy/adventure. She has also worked as an AM-radio DJ, a janitor in an English boarding school, a children’s librarian, and a high school Latin teacher. Kate can be found at www.kategilbertwriter.com and as a blogger at www.readersunbound.com.
Jennifer L. Hollis is a music-thanatologist and the author of Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage (Praeger Publications, 2010). She has a master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Her work has appeared in the Christian Century, Word Riot, and Literary Mama and she is working on a memoir about her twin preoccupations: death and internet dating. You can connect with her at www.jenniferhollis.com
Geoff Kronik got his BA in 1983 and an MFA in 2012. He spent the twenty-nine years in between in a business career. His fiction and essays have appeared in Salamander, Opium, SmokeLong Quarterly, Litro, The Boston Globe and elsewhere. He is at work on a collection of short stories titled Vendor. Selected recent publications: “Haben Sie Schleim?” The Common, “A Second Bowl of Jook,” Litro (winner of “China” Flash Fiction Contest), “Three Thousand Lunches”, Boston Globe Magazine. All were written partially in the Room. Geoff joined The Writers’ Room in 2012.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is writing a book of combined family memoir and literary journalism about a Louisiana murder and death penalty case. An essay adapted from the book appears in the new anthology TRUE CRIME (InFact Books, 2013). In support of her book, Alexandria has received a Rona Jaffe Award and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts, among others. Currently, she lives just outside of Boston and teaches Grub Street’s new Memoir Incubator, an innovative year-long program in the memoir.
Rebecca Givens Rolland is a writer, educator, photographer and consultant. She has a doctorate from Harvard in Human Development and Education and is also a speech-language pathologist and learning specialist, with a focus on early childhood. She won the 2011 Dana Award in Short Fiction and has fiction published or forthcoming in The Literary Review, Slice, and Hobart. Her nonfiction has appeared in Brain, Child Magazine, The Harvard Education Letter, and is forthcoming in Education Week. Her first book of poetry won the May Sarton New Hampshire First Book Award and was published by Bauhan Publishing.
Amy Shea has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Her essays have appeared in Spry Literary Journal, Fat City Review, From Glasgow to Saturn, and her memoir-in-progress was long-listed for Mslexia’s 2014 Women’s Memoir Competition.
Laura van den Berg is the author of the novel Find Me, longlisted for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and selected as a best book of 2015 by Time Out New York and NPR, and two story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, both finalists for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her honors include the Bard Fiction Prize, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. She has taught fiction at institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. At present, Laura is a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge with her husband and dog.
Mariya Taher has worked in the gender violence field for over eight years in the areas of teaching, research, policy, program development, and direct service. She is also pursuing her second graduate degree, a MFA in Creative Writing, at Lesley University, where she received the 2014 Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences Dean’s Merit Scholarship. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has contributed articles on domestic violence and female genital cutting to Huffington Post, The Fair Observer, Brown Girl Magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine, Global Voices, The Express Tribune, The San Francisco Examiner, BayWoof, and the Imagining Equality Project – a Global Fund for Women and International Museum of Women joint project. Her fiction has appeared in Prism Review, Pulse Online Literary Journal, The Blue Minaret, Cecile’s Writers Magazine, The Flexible Persona, and her short story “American Daughters” was a finalist for the 2015 Editor’s Reprint Award at Sequestrum Literary Magazine. She received her Master in Social Work from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara. You can connect with her on Twitter @mariaytaher83.
Brent Whelan retired recently after many years of teaching high school English at Commonwealth School in Boston in order to devote himself to writing fiction. He joined the WROB in the fall of 2015, and has completed a very rough draft of a novel there, along with a number of short stories. He is married with three grown children. He also writes blogs on various political and cultural matters, most recently at whatsleft2016.blogspot.com.
Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of a full length book of poetry Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010), two chapbooks: Mementos (Finishing Line Press, 2007), Sonnet for a New Country (Pudding House Press, 2008) and her poems have appeared in Angle Poetry (U.K.), The Brooklyner, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Crannog (Ireland), Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review and 2Bridges Review among others. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.