Program Staff

A teacher explaining a concept to their class during the Summer Residential Program

Teachers and counselors at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio are chosen, with rare exceptions, from among the students and graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, founded in 1936, was the first graduate creative writing program in the United States and is still regarded as one of the finest. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop typically accepts 25 fiction writers and 25 poets every year from an application pool of over 1,500. Teachers and counselors for the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio are thus by default not only extraordinarily accomplished writers in the early stages of their careers, but have had the opportunity to acquire extensive teaching experience while studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, in many cases teaching creative writing to undergraduates. It is for their teaching experience, enthusiasm, and expertise that we hire them to work at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. In short, the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio offers young, passionate, high school-age creative writers the opportunity to study with some of the finest writers and teachers in the country.

Current & Recent Staff

Adeniyi Ademoroti

Adeniyi Ademoroti
Adeniyi Ademoroti is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria. He’s an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his work has appeared in The Southern Review, AGNI and Hobart.

Ren Arcamone

Ren Arcamone
Ren Arcamone is a writer from Sydney, Australia. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Her work is published or forthcoming in Gulf Coast and HEAT. She lives in Iowa City, where she writes about ghosts, monsters, cyborgs, sentient plant life, distant galaxies, and queer ladies with big feelings. Currently, she’s at work on a short story collection and a novel.

Madison Archard

Madison Archard
Madison Archard attended the Johns Hopkins University, where she became interested in queer feminist poetics, the visual language of film, and the social efficacy of the written word. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She believes that poetry—and by extrapolation literature—is more than a mirror for the disordered subconscious. It is our greatest hope for finding one another, for seeing and being seen, for speaking to the world around us. She is currently a graduate student in English Literature at the University of Buffalo.

Ellen Boyette 

Ellen Boyette
Ellen Boyette received her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Alberta Kelley Fellow and Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her first book of poems, BEDIEVAL, was a finalist for the Slope Editions 2019 Book Prize judged by Solmaz Sharif as well as the CSU 2021 Lighthouse Series Book Prize judged by Shane McCrae. Her work can be found at jubilat, Prelude, poets.org, The Columbia Review, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. She is originally from Asheville, NC, where she enjoys hiking, live music, and playing with her two cats. 

Adbeel Cardoso

Adbeel Cardoso
Adbeel Cardoso was born in Ciego de Avila, Cuba on September 11, 1993. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 7, a mind-bending experience he is still trying to work through in his writing. From that point on nothing much of note happened, so we can pretty much skip to when he graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2019. He is currently working on his first novel, a mixture of surrealism & sci-fi. It features a protagonist named Izsaac who, unsurprisingly, lives both in a futuristic United States and in contemporary Cuba at once, sort of like Schrödinger’s Cat, which lives in two different quantum states at once. Aside from his passion for creative writing, he sucks at playing guitar and oil paintings. He also wanted me to say that every writer is in reality a ghost-writer.

Abigail Carney

Abigail Carney
Abigail Carney is a screenwriter, playwright, and fiction writer. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and her BA from Yale University. Her plays include SUNDAY MORNING (The Road Theatre), THE GLOAMING (The Young Playwrights Festival at the Lucille Lortel Theatre), TAXIDERMY (The LIC One-Act Play Festival), and DUST CAN'T KILL ME (the New York Musical Festival and NYC Fringe). She grew up in rural Ohio and now lives in Los Angeles. 

Samantha Xiao Cody

Samantha Xiao Cody
Samantha Xiao Cody is a former mediocre Physics major with too many hobbies. She currently enjoys knitting and bouldering, but it could be something new in a few months. You can find her in Best Small Fictions 2021, The New England Review, the Missouri Review, and elsewhere. 

Moriana Delgado

Moriana Delgado
Moriana Delgado (she/her) is a writer currently living in Iowa City, where she is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in poetry. She composes poems both in English and Spanish, which have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry Foundation, Punto de Partida, and others. She was a fellow at the Foundation for Mexican Literature, and the National Fund for Arts and Culture. Besides writing poems, she likes essaying Chinese in its simplified form.

Drue Denmon

Drue Denmon
Drue Denmon is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she has been working on a novel about young classical musicians in Pittsburgh. She loves her really exhausting and complex coffee making routine and taking pictures of the same sunset every day. 

Scott Ditzler

Scott Ditzler
Scott Ditzler is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Capote Fellow and a Teaching Writing Fellow.  His fiction has appeared in Crazyhorse, December, and Puerto del Sol.  His articles and reviews have appeared in The Kansas City Star.  Scott currently lives and teaches in Iowa City, where he is working on a novel about working on a novel.  When he isn’t busy worrying about writing, he enjoys distance running and organic gardening. 

Indya Finch

Indya Finch
Indya Finch is from rural East Texas. She received her BA in Film from Sam Houston State University and her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her work has been published in The Oxford American and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. When she's not being a teacher, she loves to watch movies and refuses to stop talking through them because she believes movie watching is a communal activity. Her favorite thing in the whole world is her beautiful orange cat Pablo who she named after Pablo Picasso. They both live in Iowa City. 

Celine Fitzpatrick

Celine Fitzpatrick
Celine Fitzpatrick is a writer who grew up between Chicago and Moscow. This upbringing is the subject of much of her realistic fiction, and a mentor once told her that her stories were concerned with “unearthing generational silences.” Sometimes she likes to take a break from all that stuff by writing silly, fantastical screenplays about witches, amateur necromancers, and wild west outlaws. She is currently an MFA candidate in Fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and working on a historical fiction novel titled The Thaw, which follows the relationship of an actress and her dressmaker in 1960s Soviet Russia.

Logan Hoffman-Smith

Logan Hoffman-Smith
Logan Hoffman-Smith is a queer trans Chinese American Adoptee located in Iowa City. They are an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Iowa and a Kundiman Fiction Fellow. In their free time, they enjoy bouldering, roller skating, researching the habits of ocean creatures, and picking up unknown neighborhood cats.

Jane Huffman

Jane Huffman
Jane Huffman's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Nation, POETRY, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She was a 2019 recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Jane is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Guesthouse (www.guesthouselit.com), an online literary journal. She currently works as an instructor at the University of Iowa Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and as a grant writer at the Iowa Youth Writing Project. Beginning in Fall 2022, she will be a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Denver. Jane currently lives in Iowa City with her poodle, Gromit.

Aaron Hwang

Aaron Hwang
Aaron Hwang is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He also graduated Yale with a Writing Concentration, but doesn’t really like to talk about it. He has never been a dragon or dipped his hand into the emptiness beyond the rim of the universe. He is perpetually losing things, and forgetting things, and running late. He turned this bio in late. He is not and has never been fancy. Please do not bully him.

Gilad Jaffe

Gilad Jaffe
Gilad Jaffe is an Iowa Arts Fellow and MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Originally from New York City, he holds a BA in Written Arts from Bard College where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize, and has served on staff with the John Cage Trust, Conjunctions, and AmeriCorps at the Providence Children's Museum. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Colorado Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Iowa Review, [PANK], Salt Hill, and TriQuarterly, among others. Gilad has received generous support from the Abrons Arts Center, PEN America, and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

Micah Ariel James

Micah Ariel James
Micah Ariel James is a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist based in Iowa. She is also a community engagement specialist who develops, supports, and facilitates programs with an eye toward building communities that are welcoming, inclusive, and equitable. Micah received an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from the University of Iowa and a BA in Playwriting from Columbia College Chicago.

Jeremiah Jenkins

Jeremiah Jenkins
Jeremiah Jenkins is a fiction writer by day and a sleeping fiction writer by night. He was born in Canada, which is a large country just north of the Canadian border. He used to be ambidextrous but he recently forgot how.

Jing Jian

Jing Jian
Jing Jian (JJ) immigrated from Wuhan, China to Long Island, NY when she was thirteen. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is working on a first novel. Before coming to Iowa, JJ studied math at MIT and worked as a software engineer. She practices aerial dance in her spare time. 

Matthew Kelley 

Matthew Kelley
Matthew B. Kelley is a writer from Atlanta, GA. He holds degrees from Morehouse College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow in fiction. He has received fellowships from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and Kimbilio Fiction. He is an assistant professor of English at Emory & Henry College.

Gwyneth Kelly

Gwyneth Kelly
Gwyneth Kelly is a writer from Silver Spring, Maryland. She studied at Northwestern University and University College London before getting her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; she was also a 2020 University of Iowa Writers’ Room Fellow for television writing. Her work, which has appeared in the Barcelona Review, The Washington Post, The American Scholar, and The New Republic, features lots of weird history, sisters, ghosts, and outlaws, and she is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America.

Joan Li

Joan Li
Joan Li is Chinese-American writer from southeastern Connecticut. Her work has been published in The Rumpus, New England Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. Prior to attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to work on her fiction, she graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and cosplayed as brand strategist for Big Milk among other breakfast foods. She loves reading novels with tender details and complex relationships, but she also can’t resist saccharine manga. She is taking recommendations for period dramas and K-dramas to watch.

Anna Magavern

Anna Magavern
Anna Magavern is a translator from the French pursuing her MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. She likes prose about poetry and poetry about prose. In addition to translating, reading, and talking about translating and reading, she loves to dance (any style), cook breakfast food (eggs over easy), and watch movies (preferably starring Cher).

Maya Mahony

Maya Mahony
Maya Mahony grew up in the Bay Area of California and is currently an MFA student in fiction at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her stories have appeared in literary journals such as The Antigonish Review, Scrivener Creative Review, and Terrain.org, among others. Maya has taught creative writing to elementary, middle, and high schoolers, and values creating warm and generative classroom spaces. She writes young adult and middle grade novels, as well as adult short stories, and loves blurring the lines between literary fiction and other genres such as fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. When she's not writing, she can be found playing guitar, hiking, and dancing. 

Ian McMurray

Ian McMurray
Ian McMurray recieved his BA in Writing and Film/Media Studies from Johns Hopkins University and his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop (fiction track). He writes short stories, critical essays, and long-form journalism. He's particularly interested in how and why various cultures prioritize different writing voices. In his free time he enjoys playing with his dog, reading, running, listening to podcasts, and going to the movies. Some of his favorite creative writers are Adam Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, Andrew Sean Greer, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Anthony Marra, Denis Johnson, and Karen Russell. Some of his favorite critical writers are Alex Tizon, Rachel Aviv, Emily Nussbaum, and Katy Waldma.

Nora Claire Miller

Nora Claire Miller
Nora Claire Miller is a poet and multidisciplinary artist and the author of the chapbook LULL (2020). Nora’s poems can be found Bennington Review, Hobart, Prelude, Tagvverk, and other places. Recently, Nora’s poem “In the Far Present” was selected by Douglas Kearney as runner-up for the 2021 Quarterly West Poetry Contest. In 2020, Nora was the winner of a Bat City Review Editor’s Prize. Nora is currently based in Western Massachusetts, where they serve as editor-in-chief of Ghost Proposal, a chapbook press and journal. In their spare time, Nora enjoys listening for owls in the woods, hanging out with their cat Ramona, repairing vintage lava lamps, and deep-frying poems. Nora holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BA from Hampshire College. 

Melissa Mogollon

Melissa Mogollon
Melissa Mogollon is a fiction writer and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. A big fan of Rihanna and ceviche, she spends most of her time drinking lattes and skating with her partner and dog. Born in Colombia and raised in South Florida, Melissa is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has a background in communications and education. She holds a BA in Political Science from GWU. Her writing can be found in The Bare Life Review, Thought Catalog, Best Buds! Collective, and more. Her debut novel OYE is forthcoming from Hogarth Books.

Nina Morrison

Nina Morrison
Nina Morrison is a playwright, screenwriter, director and teaching artist. She has presented work in New York City at Dixon Place, Fordham University, the HOT! Festival of Queer Performance, the NY International Fringe Festival, and the Little Theatre series, among others. Nina is working with Sita Girl Productions as a writer’s assistant and story consultant. Her play Féminaal was produced by the Grumble Theater in the Twin Cities. Nina was the Provost’s Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Playwriting 2019-2020 at the University of Iowa. She was also the recipient of an artist’s residency at Dixon Place and a WORKSPACE writer’s residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. In addition to teaching at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, she teaches playwriting at Chicago Dramatists, she is a lecturer in the University of Iowa’s Link Program and a creative writing instructor for the Belin-Blank Honors Center Summer Writing Residency. MFA Directing, MFA Playwrights Workshop from the University of Iowa. www.ninamorrison.com

Liam Morrissey

Liam Morrissey
Liam Morrissey was born and raised in Chicago. He has spent most of the past decade living in Los Angeles and working in film and television production. He is currently a second year MFA candidate in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he teaches courses on literature and creative writing. He was recently named a 2022 Tin House Scholar. 

Carl Napolitano

Carl Napolitano
Carl Napolitano is a writer, ceramicist, and drag performer from Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a BA in English-Creative Writing and Studio Art from Hendrix College and is a recent graduate Iowa Writers' Workshop in fiction. His work has appeared in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, CRAFT Literary, and The Rumpus, among other places. He has served as an associate editor for Sibling Rivalry Press and an artist-in-residence at the Iowa Ceramics Center. He is currently working on his first novel, a literary fantasy queer coming-of-age horror/romance, and lives in Arkansas with his cat Sir.

Cindy Juyoung Ok

Cindy Juyoung Ok
Cindy Juyoung Ok, a former public high school teacher, is currently a creative writing lecturer at UC San Diego and an assistant editor at Guernica Magazine. Cindy’s writing has been supported by fellowships from organizations like Hambidge Center, Banff Centre, and VONA, and published in journals including The Yale Review, Black Warrior Review, and Poetry, with a chapbook, House Work, forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse. 

Karen Parkman

Karen Parkman
Karen Parkman received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Hanging out in a classroom with other people who love writing is one of the great joys of her life. In addition to teaching for the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, she's taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, and White Bear Center for the Arts, where she is also Outreach Coordinator. Her writing appears in Joyland, Witness, and Michigan Quarterly Review, and has earned fellowships from the Sozopol Fiction Seminars and MacDowell. She currently resides in Minneapolis, but has previously lived in West Virginia, Boston, New Zealand, and of course her beloved Iowa City.

Anna Polonyi

Anna Polonyi
Anna Polonyi is a trilingual writer who usually gets her proverbs wrong and reads books about punctuation for fun. A fiction graduate from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is at work on a novel about a mythical creature called the Beast of the Gévaudan. When not in Iowa, you can find her in Nantes, France, rowing with an 8-person crew or learning how to identify clouds. 

Eliana Ramage 

Eliana Ramage
Eliana Ramage is a fiction writer, a writing teacher, and a college mentor at a non-profit for youth. A Cherokee Nation citizen from Nashville, she is at work on a novel about an aspiring astronaut from her tribe. Her stories have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, CRAFT, The Baltimore Review, and The Masters' Review Anthology. She loves dance parties, making elaborate to-do lists, and (more recently) watching little videos on the Tiktok. Eliana is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

Rasheeda Saka

Rasheeda Saka
Rasheeda Saka is a Nigerian American writer, and her short stories have appeared in Joyland Magazine, Triquarterly, and Epiphany Magazine. A graduate of Princeton University, she was Literary Hub’s 2020 fall-winter editorial fellow and the assistant editor of Alta Journal’s California Book Club, for which she was awarded a 2021 Eddie & Ozzie Award for Best Newsletter. She loves biking, drinking chai lattes, and eating fried plantains (not at the same time!). Her favorite writers include Edward P. Jones, Namwali Serpell, Yiyun Li, and Ottessa Moshfegh.

Santiago Jose Sanchez

Santiago Jose Sanchez
Santiago Jose Sanchez is a queer, Colombian-American writer based in Grinnell, Iowa, where they spent the 2021-22 academic year teaching writing at Grinnell College. Their stories have been published in McSweeney's, ZYZZYVA, Subtropics, Joyland, as well as distinguished in the Best American Short Stories 2020. They have received fellowships for their writing from the University of Iowa and the Lambda Literary Writers' Retreat, where they were a 2017 Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow.

Erin Sherry

Erin Sherry
Erin Sherry is a fiction writer from the post-apocalyptic part of Pennsylvania where the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road was filmed. Prior to joining the Iowa Writers' Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow in fiction, Erin served as a publishing specialist for 826 Boston, a nonprofit youth writing organization. She holds a BFA in fiction writing from Emerson College and is currently at work on a collection of stories about, among other cosmic concerns, a woman with a black hole in her belly, a ghost baby on the moon, fathers who bottle stars and daughters who eat them. Her stories have appeared in the Adroit Journal, Groupie Mag, and the Emerson Review. 

Ryan Tucker

Ryan Tucker
Ryan Tucker is a ceramicist and writer whose research includes theories of material engagement, including the materiality of language, ecopoetics, and politics of the body, specifically in relationship to nostalgia, illness, and pain. His ceramic work looks to find an intersection between the permanence of fired clay and the shifting points of understanding inherent in language. Pluto’s Red, his most recent collection of poems, is being submitted for publication and thinks about the relationship between memories of intimacy, the space race, surveillance, and cartoon dogs. He is a recipient of the Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize, was a Provost’s Visiting Writer at University of Iowa, and has been published in BOMB Magazine. Currently, he teaches poetry, composition, and literature courses at the University of Iowa and Augustana College.

Danielle Wheeler

Danielle Wheeler
Danielle Wheeler was the 2010-2011 Rona Jaffe fellow in poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she teaches writing and literature--these days mostly online. Her first chapbook, Teenage Exorcists, was released in 2015.

Connor White

Connor White
Connor White is from Long Island, New York and is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated with a BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and worked for several years as a film director, producer and editor before coming to Iowa City.

 

Former Staff

Writers who have taught or counseled at the Iowa Young Writers' Studio since its founding in 2000 include Daniel Alarcón, Alexia Arthurs, Andy Axel, Katherine Bell, Amy Bernhard, Catherine Blauvelt, Shane Book, Sarah Braunstein, Marion Bright, Jamel Brinkley, Thea Brown, Suzanne Buffam, Austin Bunn, David Busis, Amy Butcher, Scott Butterfield, Greta Byrum, Marjorie Celona, Daniel Cesca, Ashley Clarke, Harriet Clark, Lindsay Coleman, Arda Collins, Ben Doyle, Nick Dybek, Janelle Effiwatt, Jason England, Michelle Falkoff, Dana Fang, Joe Fassler, Sarah Fay, Adam Fell, Jorge Guerra, David Gorin, Jane Gregory, Jill Haberkern, Ben Hale, Meg Hartmann, Amy Hassinger, Mary Hickman-Fernandez, Nate Hoks, Naomi Jackson, Evan James, Leslie Jamison, Rebecca Johns, Nimo Johnson, Riley Johnson, Amanda Kallis, Daniel Khalastchi, Sally Keith, Kristin Kelly, Justin Kramon, Josh Kryah, Kerrie Kvashay-Boyle, Nam Le, Anna Lewis, Jason Lewis, Jane Lewty, Jack Livings, Claire Lombardo, James Longley, Carmen Maria Machado, Samantha Macpherson, Alex Madison, Dora Malech, Steve Marlowe, Anthony Marra, Peyton Marshall, Aaron McCollough, Madeline McDonnell, Sara McGuirk, Elyse Mele, Nancy Mendoza, Andrew Milward, Fatima Mirza, Kevin Moffett, Paula Morris, Anna Morrison, Becca Myers, Andrew Nance, Thisbe Nissen, Derek Nnuro, Emily Pettit, Daniel Poppick, Margaret Reges, Alex Ruskell, Lewis Robinson, Dan Rosenberg, Margaret Ross, Anjali Sachdeva, Sanjena Sathian, Christian Schlegel, Lauren Shapiro, Vivian Shotwell, Nina Siegal, Lucy Silag, Will Smiley, Jared Stanley, Kate Sullivan, Michelle Taransky, Tim Taranto, Catherine Theis, Vu Tran, Justin Tussing, Christine Utz, Kelsi Vanada, Anya Ventura, Cara Wall, Keenan Walsh, Patricia Walsh, Malena Watrous, Elizabeth Weiss, Lisa Wells, Monica West, Julia Whicker, Vinnie Wilhelm, Antoine Wilson, De'Shawn Winslow, Rachel Yoder, Ada Zhang, C. Pam Zhang and Jenny Zhang.