Dilruba Ahmed’s debut book, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf, 2011), won the Bakeless Literary Prize. Ahmed is the recipient of The Florida Review’s Editors’ Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference fellowship & scholarship, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her work has been anthologized in Becoming: What Makes A Woman (University of Nebraska), Another and Another (Bull City Press), Indivisible: Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas), and the Best of the Net Anthology (Sundress Publications). Ahmed’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Blackbird, Cream City Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, The Drunken Boat, The North American Review and elsewhere. Her writing has also appeared online with the Michigan Quarterly Review, The Kenyon Review, and the National Book Foundation. Her first book manuscript was a semi-finalist for prizes from Alice James Books, BOA Editions, and Tupelo Press.
A writer with roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Bangladesh, Ahmed holds a BPhil in English Writing/Poetry and an MAT in Instruction and Learning from the University of Pittsburgh. A former project coordinator with The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, she has worked in K-12 and higher education settings for many years. Most recently, she has served as a lecturer for Chatham University’s Low-Residency MFA program. She is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.
Lauren Feldman's plays include Amaneusis (Northwoods Ramah Theatre Company commission); Another Kind of Silence (Drama League New Directors/New Works Fellowship); The Egg-Layers (National Playwrights Conference Finalist, New Georges/Barnard College co-commission); A People (Jewish Plays Project NYC Residency); Fill Our Mouths (New Theatre, Carbonell Nomination); Grace, or the Art of Climbing (Denver Center Theatre Company, Nice People Theatre Company, ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award Nomination, Barrymore Nomination, The Kilroys’ “The List 2014”); several ensemble-devised works, including Lady M (Philadelphia Live Arts Festival); as well as a dozen short plays and an autobiographical solo piece. Feldman has been nominated for the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, Wendy Wasserstein Prize, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award, and she was a 2014-15 Jerome Fellowship Finalist. She was selected as an American playwright delegate for the Royal Court Theatre’s “Crossing the Borders” project, and she has been an artist-in-residence at numerous schools, universities and festivals.
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the New England Center for Circus Arts, Feldman is also a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a teacher of playwriting, and a creator/performer of theatrical circus (solo and duo static trapeze, handbalancing). She is in the midst of creating an evening-length ensemble theater/circus show called Tinder & Ash, and she is writing two new plays. Website: www.tinderandash.com.
262: Playwriting I
Tom Ferrick, Jr. is a journalist with 40 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist. He spent most of his career at the Philadelphia Inquirer and his assignments included City Hall bureau chief, national reporter, chief political writer, investigative reporter and poverty writer. He helped establish the paper's Computer Assisted Reporting unit. For nine years, he was an Inquirer metro columnist.
Ferrick is winner of a number of major local and national journalism awards, including a Polk Award for investigative reporting, a World Hunger Award for his reporting on the homeless, and a Pulitzer Prize as a member of a team of Inquirer reporters for coverage of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. He currently serves as senior editor of Metropolis (www.plmetropolis.com), an in-depth news and information web site based in Philadelphia.
ArtW 264: News and Feature Writing
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Cordelia Jensen's young adult novel in verse, SKYSCRAPING (Philomel/Penguin Random House) debuted in Summer 2015. SKYSCRAPING was voted a 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults book by the American Library Association, a Best LGBTQ Book for Youth by Booklist and a Los Angeles Public Library's Best Books for Teens. Her next YA verse novel entitled THE EXCAVATION OF LINCOLN MALONE is forthcoming from Philomel/Penguin Random House in 2018. Along with this YA, Jensen will be co-authoring a Middle Grade book with Laurie Morrison entitled EVERY SHINY THING, forthcoming from Amulet/Abrams also in 2018. Jensen was Poet Laureate of Perry County, PA, in 2006-2007. She runs a literary journal for young writers called the Mt. Airy Musers, teaches creative writing for kids at Germantown Friends School and at The Big Blue Marble Bookstore, where she is a writer in residence. Jensen graduated with a MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Masters in Education from Shippensburg University in 2004 and she graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in 1998. You can find her at
ArtW 269: Writing for Children
Annie Liontas' debut novel, Let Me Explain You (Scribner), was featured in the New York Times Book Review as Editor's Choice and has been selected by the ABA as a 2015 Indies Introduce Debut and Indies Next title. She is the co-editor of the anthology A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors and the recipient of a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her story “Two Planes in Love” was selected as runner-up in BOMB Magazine’s 2013 Fiction Prize Contest. Since 2003, Annie has been dedicated to urban education, working with teachers and youth in Newark and Philadelphia. She co-hosts the TireFire Reading Series in Philadelphia.
364: Longer Fictional Forms
Hilary Plum is the author of the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (FC2, 2013). Her book-length essay Watchfires is forthcoming in 2016. She has worked for a number of years as an editor of international literature and is currently managing editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas . She is a book-review editor with the Kenyon Review, and with Zach Savich she co-edits Rescue Press's Open Prose Series. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Seneca Review , Fence , Bookforum , the Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere.
265: Creative Non-Fiction
Cynthia Reeves’s novella, Badlands (MU Press 2008), was the winner of Miami University Press’s Novella Prize. Her fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Ontario Review, Potomac Review, the experimental prose anthologies Wreckage of Reason (Volumes I and II), and elsewhere. “A Letter to My Mother,” published in Ellipsis, was performed as part of the InterAct Theatre’s Writing Aloud series. Reeves has won numerous awards and honors, including several Pushcart Prize nominations and prizes in the Columbia Fiction Contest, the 2006 and 2008 DeMott Short Prose Contests (Quarter After Eight), New Millennium Writings Short Short Fiction Contest, and Potomac Review’s Fiction Contest.
A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. program, Reeves received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and spent a year studying economics and urban development at the London School of Economics.
J. C. Todd, a 2014 Pew Fellow in the Arts, is author of What Space this Body, a collection of poems described by MacArthur Award poet, Eleanor Wilner, as “a rare combination of daring material and meticulous intellect.” Todd has been a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H Winner Award (2015) and Lucille Medwick Memorial Award (2006). She has published two chapbooks, Entering Pisces (Pine Press, 1985) and Nightshade (Pine Press, 2000). Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner and The Virginia Quarterly Review, and her translations have been anthologized in New European Poets. As a contributing editor for The Drunken Boat, she edited and compiled translation features on contemporary poetry from Latvia and Lithuania.
The Alliance of Artist Communities 2015 Pew Fellow at the Ucross Foundation, Todd is also a recipient of fellowships and awards from The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Leeway Foundation, and the Latvian Cultural Capital Fund, the Ragdale Foundation, The Hambidge Center and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has been an international Fellow at the Artists’ House at Schloss Wiepersdorf in Germany and the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Sweden. She teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College and previously has taught creative and expository writing at The College of New Jersey and Kutztown University. She has been a guest lecturer in American Studies for various universities in Germany under the sponsorship of the United States Embassy in Berlin. Todd holds an M. F. A from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a BA in English Literature from Duquesne University.
Associate Professor and
Director of Creative Writing
Daniel Torday is the author of the novel The Last Flight of Poxl West,
winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award and a finalist for the
Edward Lewis Wallant Award. New York Times chief critic Michiko Kakutani
said the novel "announces Torday's emergence as a writer deserving of
attention," and in a cover review, The New York Times Book Review called
the book, “Expertly crafted... full of lyrical prose, superb Rothian
sentences that glide over the page as smoothly as a Spitfire across a
cloudless sky… utterly accomplished." John Green, author of The Fault in
Our Stars, says "Poxl [is] a lovely novel sentence-to-sentence, and it
gets at something deep about how we're all frauds, and all worthy of
Torday's novella,The Sensualist, won the National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. His fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in Esquire Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, n+1, Harvard Review and The New York Times. You can find more about him at: http://www.danieltorday.com/. Torday holds a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University, where he taught literature and writing.