Humera Afridi, a returning fellow at the Writers’ Institute, is a New York-based writer of Pakistani origin. She spent her early years in Karachi, and left Pakistan at twelve with her parents for the United Arab Emirates. She earned her degrees in the United States at Mount Holyoke College and Carnegie Mellon University, and was the recipient of a New York Times Fellowship at New York University where she earned an MFA in creative writing. Her work has appeared in Granta (online), The New York Times, and several anthologies, including Leaving Home (Oxford University Press, 2001), 110 Stories: New York Writes after September 11 (NYU Press, 2003), and And the World Changed (The Feminist Press 2008). She has taught creative writing and English in New York City, Dallas, Dubai and Jeddah. Currently, as an Open City Fellow at the Asian American Writers Workshop, Humera writes about Jackson Heights–the lives, dreams and pet peeves of the people who call it home—and pulls the veil on the alluring dissonances that exist in the multi-ethnic neighborhood.
Sulai Akbary is the quintessential nomad. Thirsty and leathered by the sun, he has crossed the globe from Kabul to Berlin and from Paris to New York, in search for the source of the mirage, the flickering of the air. When he is not living the life of a polyglot vagabond, he teaches at the university, dabbles in corporate life, works for non-governmental organizations and brings people together using his skills as both a story-teller and a communications major. Aside from looking for Flaubert’s perfect sentence, he never grows tired of shaking his fists at his favorite, overpriced coffee: the tell-tale signs of a real caffeine addict.
Kelly Aronowitz (Kelly A.K.) has lived most of her life in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Jerusalem. Last year she joined the Graduate Center’s PhD program in Comparative Literature as well as the Writer’s Institute. She has a B.A. in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a M.A. in Critical Theory. She has also served as the information coordinator and co-host on “La oveja eléctrica,” the science and culture program on Channel 22, the Mexican equivalent of PBS. She also works as a freelance translator. Kelly was awarded the prestigious Government of Mexico FONCA young creative scholarship 2009-2010 to write her first novel. Her first book, an erotic essay La espera: Seducción de las bellas durmientes, is in its second edition and has been adopted as a text by universities in both Argentina and Mexico. Kelly has published extensively in Spanish-language magazines across the spectrum, from the most popular to the scholarly. Her second book Estío en la canícula, a narrative poetry work, will be published this August. She currently works as the New York anchor for MVS Radio to be broadcast over its 118 affiliates in Mexico and the Latin community in the USA. Kelly has a yellow belt in Krav Maga and is a Reiki Master. She is also a serious knitter. She joins the Writer’s Institute for a second year to improve her craft and engage in audacious narrative adventures.
Denise Carvalho, born in Rio de Janeiro, began her career as a painter, moving to New York via Toronto in the mid 1980s. She has also lived in Stockholm and California, and later returned to her adopted city, New York. She also traveled extensively through Latin America and Central Europe, and twice she traveled across the US by car. Not limiting herself to one art form, she played the accordion, wrote poetry and prose in her native Portuguese, sang 17th century Renaissance music, acted in plays and musicals, and performed the leading voice of many Brazilian films and commercials. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, an M.A. in anthropology from Hunter College, two other Masters in art history and in cultural studies, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies from UC Davis. In the last fifteen years, her artistic career has bifurcated into critical writing and curating. As an art critic, she published in art magazines, such as Art Nexus, Art in America, Flash Art, and Sculpture, as well as in journals and artists’ catalogues. She is now attempting to switch her focus to fiction by incorporating contemporary art, theory, concrete poetry, and her reminiscences of the art world and of Brazil.
Navdeep Singh Dhillon was born in England, and raised in Nigeria, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. He has worked as a linguist for the U.S. Navy, taught ESL in China, and traveled extensively throughout South East Asia, especially India, Tibet, and China. His novel-in-progress, Men With Beards, and a collection of short stories (not yet titled), center on the concept of home as it is shaped by conflict, history, displacement, and the notion of identity. Navdeep holds an MFA in creative writing from California State University, Fresno, and has a framed, personalized rejection letter from Nathaniel Rich, former Fiction Editor of The Paris Review. Navdeep has been known to clear entire dance floors with his crazy-fresh bhangra dance moves. In his spare time, Navdeep teaches English literature and creative writing in New York City and New Jersey. When not designing websites for his fellow writers at PatakaDesign.com, Navdeep blogs about his adventures in writing at www.NavdeepSinghDhillon.com and travel at www.IshqInABackpack.com.
Andra Fenton is from Mexico City. She’s lived in suburban Minnesota, Tuscany, Rio de Janeiro, and other places. New York City is home for now. Following degrees in Political Science and International Relations, Andra moved to Washington, D.C. where she lobbied on Capitol Hill for political action against human rights abuses in repressive regimes. She co-led a delegation to the United Nations in Geneva to advocate for the release of imprisoned journalists, most of whom were freed later that year. She has continued her work in human rights by focusing on public health, organizing the first regional coalition against women’s cancers in Latin America. She speaks and writes in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, and is a certified yoga instructor. In her fantasy life, she is a bike messenger.
Yu-Yun Hsieh was born in Taipei, Taiwan. After earning a B.A. in English from National Chung Hsing University, she went on to pursue her M.A. in English at National Taiwan Normal University (though she wrote her thesis on a Czech writer who wrote in French). She consciously started writing after misreading Lolita when she was a preteen. Her short stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in several newspapers and literary magazines, including Ink Literary Monthly, Youth Literary, UNITAS: A Literary Monthly, and China Times. She received the UNITAS Literature Award in 2004 and the Taipei Literature Award in 2009. She had almost completed the coursework for her PhD in English when she came to New York in the summer of 2010. She is currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is also a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Hunter College.
Nadia Ibrashi is a native of Egypt. Her first exposure to English were the cartoon features and the Hollywood movie “du jour” at the open air cinema in a suburb of Cairo, followed by an introduction to Shakespeare and Erica Jong when she arrived in Buffalo, NY as a teenager. She practiced medicine in Egypt and in the U.S., and retired a few years ago. Her poetry and fiction won prizes in several competitions. Her work appears in Narrative, The Southeast Review, The MacGuffin, The Whirlwind Review, Rosebud, and Tidal Basin Review. She works as assistant editor at Narrative magazine and is editing a novel and her memoirs. She collects stamps, and has to get over her fear of flying to get to New York every week.
Joe Jablonski holds a B.S. from the US Maritime Academy at Kings Point and a Master’s in International Management from Portland State. As captain of a large container ship, he visited ports in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America before partnering up with his son to become a Harlem landlord. Joe’s coming-of-age novel, Three Star Fix, was published in 2002. He divides his time between New York City and Portland, has a passion for travel, cooking and good movies and would like to be better at tennis and scrabble. Like sailors everywhere, Joe loves sea-stories, most of which have only a passing relationship with the truth.
Don Kelly was a shy boy who decided, strangely enough, that he wanted to tell stories. Comic books, horror novels, fantasy, and science fiction stories began to ruin his mind at a very early age, and his parents, civil servants who did their best to raise their children well in Levittown, NY, knew he had sat too close to the television the day young Don announced his intention to become a writer. Undaunted, he set out on an adventure of words and performance that led to screenwriting and Los Angeles. For twelve years he foraged there among the dreamers until his future wife appeared at the conclusion of a fateful trip to New York. She showed him a new world, Egypt, France, England, and he offered her love stories in exchange. To this day she says it’s been a fair trade, and it is because of her that he applied to The Writer’s Institute after finishing his B.A. in Media Studies at Queens College. As always, she was right when she said he would be accepted, and he is thrilled to attend.
Dmitry Kiper was born in Russia. Soon after the Soviet Union broke up, he and his family immigrated to San Francisco, which is where he grew up. Dmitry holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of California at San Diego and an M.A. from the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. He was a Writers’ Institute non-fiction fellow during the 2011-12 academic year. As a freelancer, he has written for The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, The Brooklyn Rail, The Onion (A.V. Club), New York Press, and Contrary. As a regular contributor to Current Biography magazine, he has profiled a variety of fascinating people, including pianist Robert Glasper, science writer Mary Roach, neuroscientist David Eagleman, and New Yorker magazine cover artist Eric Drooker. Last year he finished doing a substantial amount of research for pop-culture critic Chuck Klosterman’s upcoming book about villains. Dmitry also paints, draws, takes photos, writes short stories, poems, songs and plays guitar. The latter is part of a lo-fi music recording project called “The Harlem Basement Tapes.”
Lloyd Lynford is returning to the Writers’ Institute after being a member of the inaugural class of fiction writers in 2010-2011. He received his B.A. magna cum laude in English and American Literature and Theatre Arts from Brown University. Originally a director working in the theatre in Poland and New York, Lloyd became an entrepreneur in the 1980s and is currently the CEO of a public company. As a writer, he has published pieces in Playboy and is currently at work on a novel. For many summers he has been a member of Marilynne Robinson’s master class in fiction at the New York State Writers’ Institute at Skidmore College. He lives in Manhattan.
Rasha Refaie was born in Kansas City to a German mother and an Egyptian father, while French friends in the neighborhood babysat her German-born sister. They moved to California before her first birthday. She received her B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington before moving to New York. Rasha has written for Newsday, New York Press, and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, has worked in post-production on documentaries and television, and is currently at work on a novel. She loves how her Egyptian relatives react when she tells them how much a falafel sandwich costs in New York City.
Tom Ribitzky hosted a weekly radio show in college called “Soundtracks to Bookstacks,” pairing contemporary music with his favorite classic literary works. After earning two undergraduate degrees, one in English and the other in International Affairs, he worked a number of odd jobs, many at the same time. While teaching an evening literature course, working as a part-time barista, and holding a full-time retail job, he wrote his unpublished novel Treasury, which brought him to the annual BookExpo America Conference in New York City. But just a visit to the greatest city in the U.S. was not enough, so he applied to the Comparative Literature department at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is now enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate. His nonfiction work will appear in the upcoming Brooklyn-based publication It’s Complicated: A Feminist Zine on Loving Misogynist Art (Fall 2012). He also has an undying obsession with German trance music.
Tracey Rose is a writer living in Brooklyn. She received her B.A. from Howard University, where she studied film production and English. As an interactive producer, she’s worked in educational media and advertising for the past 10 years. Her short fiction has been published in Elimae, Pank Magazine, Vandal Journal, and the hip-hop feminist anthology, Homegirls Make Some Noise. She’s a Callaloo fellow and has won an Artist Fellowship from the D.C. Commission of the Arts.
Sanjay Sharma is the Chief Risk Officer of Global Arbitrage and Trading at RBC Capital Markets. Previously he held investment banking and risk management positions at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Moody’s, and Citigroup spanning over two decades. Prior to his career in the financial services industry, he worked as a marine engineer with Asian and European shipping companies on cargo ships and supertankers, and received the Chief Engineer’s certificate of competency. He holds a Ph.D. in Finance from NYU and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He has undergraduate degrees in Physics and Marine Engineering from St. Stephen’s College (Delhi University) and Marine Engineering College respectively. He is the Founder and Board Member of Green Point Global – a publishing, technology, legal services firm with operations in the US, Israel and India with 400 employees, and of Tomorrow’s Genius – a provider of online education. Sanjay has published several articles related to the financial services industry in journals and other publications, and is currently completing a book Risk Transparency forthcoming in October 2012.
Danny Wynn grew up in Syracuse, New York, and earned various university degrees from Syracuse University, SUNY at Buffalo and NYU. He practiced as a lawyer a long time ago, and worked in the music business for 25 years before retiring to devote himself to full-time fiction writing. He is now 58 years old and lives in the West Village with his family. In addition to New York City, he has lived and worked in London and Los Angeles. He has completed two novels, is currently at work on a novella, and is struggling mightily to become a better writer.
Beth Aviv graduated from the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Harvard University (M. Ed.), and since then has taught high school English and the occasional college composition class. Her short stories, essays and book reviews have appeared in the University of Windsor Review, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, Seventeen Magazine, and Salon. She’s now working on a memoir of her friendship with Detroit artist Cay Bahnmiller.
Dale W. Eisinger is a writer, photographer, musician, and fly-fisherman from Idaho. He came to New York City in 2009 to attend the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Since then, he’s published hundreds of articles on music, culture, and the arts, with bylines spread across New York Press, NBC New York, The International Business Times, Impose Magazine, Altered Zones, Out Magazine, City Arts, Overflow Magazine, Consequence of Sound, and elsewhere. As a multimedia reporter, Dale’s work has appeared variously on DNAinfo, The New York Times City Room, amNY, City Limits, and elsewhere. In 2011, the National Council on Contemporary Families gave an Emerging Journalists Award to a team for which Dale reported on education issues relating to homelessness. During his undergraduate English, communications, and journalism studies in Boise, he was given an Idaho Press Club award for review writing. Behind the camera, Dale stops his F at 1.2; on the drums, he employs a Flamacue; in the river, he barrel casts a Royal Wulff to snag elusive brook trout.
Susan Farkas is a veteran radio and television broadcaster, who started her career in her native Canada. She’s worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC News and the United Nations as head of their Radio and Television Service. Susan has written and edited loads of television scripts and she teaches broadcast writing at the CUNY Journalism School. But now the question is: can she write for print, or have all those years of sentence fragments and heavy-handed foreshadowing deformed her writing style forever?
Joanna Clapps Herman’s memoir, The Anarchist Bastard (SUNY Press) begins WITH, “I often say that I was born in 1944 but raised in the 15th Century because although I was born in Waterbury, CT, in a New England factory town, in post-WWII, I grew up in a large southern Italian family where the rules were absolute, and customs antiquated.” She has co-edited two anthologies: Wild Dreams and Our Roots Are Deep with Passion. She is currently writing After the Manner of Women, (forthcoming, Fordham Press, 2014) She has published fiction, poetry and essays in literary magazines and anthologies. She teaches at CCNY, The Center for Worker Education and is on the MFA faculty in writing of Manhattanville College. Reading, writing and teaching are just as important as cooking, eating and drinking good wine are to her. www.joannaclappsherman.com
William (Bill) Hood is a Professor of Art History, now retired from Oberlin College and living in New York. In New York he has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. He has published a number of scholarly articles on topics of Italian Renaissance art as well as a book-length study of the fifteenth-century Florentine painter Fra Angelico. During his year at The Writers Institute he hopes to complete a manuscript on the male nude from Michelangelo to Mapplethorpe, and to begin writing a book about growing up as a white Southern man in the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement.
Charlotte Lucy Latham left her training in philosophy to study literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. The years between these academic pursuits were filled by running a small arts school in Santa Fe, NM, followed by working as Publications Director for a medical publishing house in New York City for which she eventually launched a medical education division, Candeo Clinical/Science Communications. She then founded Script and Type where she works with artists to develop documents that actually support the content of their visual portfolios. That work keeps her thinking practically as she produces a Ph.D. relating ekphrasis to the imagination. She is currently working on a series of essays about the intersection of art with her life. When she is not reading, or writing, or editing, she responds to emails. When the lights go out she dances.
Erica Lipper was born in New Jersey and has been on the run ever since. She worked for several years as an English teacher and had various office jobs before returning to graduate school to study counseling psychology. Her writing interests include jobs and work , immigration, geography, the natural world, and funny people. She does not like culture-journalism pieces about the internet, dating, or elite college graduates working on farms. Along with writing, she hopes to work clinically in the field of international trauma studies. She lives in Brooklyn.
Kevin Lynch is an Irish-born freelance writer who has lived in New York since 1994. He has studied Journalism & Creative Writing at Baruch College and has worked in various sectors such as: Real Estate, Sports Media Services, Investment Banking and Publishing. He has contributed pieces to New York Press, Queens Chronicle, and The Periscope Post. An avid runner who has run marathons in the United States and Europe. He isn’t shy when it comes to grabbing the microphone at any karaoke event.
Janelle Lynch is a working artist/photographer with an active international exhibition record. In 2011, Radius Books published her first monograph, Los Jardines de México. In 2013, they will publish another book, which will include four years of work from Barcelona. She loves to write as much as she loves to make photographs. She has written freelance in Spain and the US about photography and photography books, and is also interested in the personal essay. After seven years abroad, she now lives between the West Village and the Catskills, in a renovated red hay barn built circa 1865.
Joshua Mack, a native New Yorker who has always lived between the East and Hudson Rivers, has a B.A. from Columbia and an M.A. from NYU, both in Art History. He works as an independent curator and since 2004 has written about contemporary art, politics, and opera for Modern Painters, Time Out New York, and Art Review. Prior to writing regularly, he cared for his beloved and aged grandmother and worked as an art dealer. Rarely more than a few days and a subway ride from his next psychiatrist appointment, he lives in Chelsea with his boyfriend, Ron, and 2000 sock monkeys.
Alexandra Redgrave found her calling as a writer, editor and media mogul when she launched Redgrave Opinion from her Nova Scotia bedroom at the age of seven. Before attending the Writers’ Institute, she served as associate editor at the monthly travel magazine enRoute. A trained dancer, Alex completed her B.A. in Journalism and Western Society and Culture at Concordia University in Montreal, followed by editorial internships at The Walrus magazine and the Canadian International Development Agency in Burkina Faso. Her writing is featured in the 2011 anthology New English Writing from Quebec (Véhicule Press). Alex’s short documentary Literacy Through Hip Hop appears on the National Film Board of Canada’s CITIZENShift website and was screened by Cinema Politica. None of that prepared her to drive an electric green 37-foot RV across the U.S. as part of the PBS series Road Trip Nation. Good thing she got her license three days before departing.
Anya Sacharow is a professionally trained cook, writer and mother. Her B.A. in Comparative Arts is from Washington University, St. Louis, and she studied cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. She has lived in London, Paris, Singapore and Oaxaca, Mexico, but only for two months in Mexico, which was still long enough to pick up a terrible stomach bug. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Her writing has appeared in Mediaweek, Endless Vacation, New York, Time Out, Lexus magazine, and there were a couple of pieces in GQ. And something about Hong Kong in Travel & Leisure. She also published many Internet market research reports as an Internet media analyst at Jupiter Communications in the late 1990s. You can find her on Facebook and foursquare, but not on twitter.
Adi Schwartz is an Israeli independent journalist, based in his favorite city Tel Aviv. After working ten years as a staff writer and a senior editor for the daily Haaretz newspaper, he decided that it was time to go his own way. He currently works as freelance and has written for Monocle, The Jewish Chronicle, Il Foglio, Maariv, Globes, and others. Aside from dealing with supposedly serious issues, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, he likes to write about culture, arts and history. He teaches journalism and is working (rather slowly) on his PhD in Communications. His dream is to travel one day along the Mediterranean coast.