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Randall Albers

Randall Albers is Professor/Chair Emeritus in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, was founding producer of the Story Week Festival of Writers and is a recipient of Columbia’s Teaching Excellence Award. His work appears in Writing in Education, TriQuarterly, Writer’s Digest, Brevity, and elsewhere. Two chapters from his novel-in-progress, All the World Before Them, have been nominated for Pushcart prizes.

Lauren Cowen

Lauren Cowen is the author of three essay collections, including the New York Times Bestseller Daughters and Mothers, and a host of pieces in publications such as Chicago magazine. Her work has also been featured on NPR.

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is an award-winning journalist who has written for Utne Reader, Chicago magazine, The Rumpus, Writer’s Digest, and Crain’s Chicago Business among others. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Defending the Damned and The Wrong Man.

Gina DiPonio

Gina DiPonio is Program Manager of the Writer’s Studio, Senior Writing Advisor for the Master of Liberal Arts Program, winner of the 2011 David Friedman Memorial Award for an excerpt of her memoir in progress, and a long-time writing instructor. Her work, including fiction and nonfiction, appears in Hair Trigger, Contrary, The Sun, and elsewhere.

Dina Elenbogen

Dina Elenbogen has published a memoir, Drawn from Water: an American Poet, an Ethiopian Family, an Israeli Story; a poetry collection, Apples of the Earth; as well as award-winning nonfiction pieces and poems. She is the recipient of the 2012 Graham School Excellence in Teaching Award for the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences.

Eileen Favorite

Eileen Favorite is the author of the novel The Heroines, which has been translated into Finnish, Italian, Russian, and Korean. Her poetry and prose has appeared in many publications, including The Toast, Triquarterly, Folio, the Chicago Reader, Poetry East, and Diagram. Connect with her at

Mary Fons

Mary Fons is a nationally-ranked slam poet; proud Neo-Futurist; founding editor of Quilty; and co-host of Love of Quilting. Mary’s publications include Make + Love Quilts: Scrap Quilts for the 21st Century; and essays in the Write Club Anthology and Madonna & Me. See more at

Stephanie Friedman

Stephanie Friedman has had work published in Michigan Quarterly Review, among other venues. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MA in English from the University of Chicago.

Hannah Gamble

Hannah Gamble is a poet, essayist, editor, and educator. Her first book, Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast, won the National Poetry Series in 2011. You can find her writing on the Poetry Foundation website and in magazines such as The Believer, jubilat, Fanzine, and the American Poetry Review.

Julie Ganey

Julie Ganey is a storyteller, teaching artist, and performer who has appeared on stages all over Chicago. She is a company member at 2nd Story, and her piece “When the Fairies Came” appears in their anthology, Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck.

Alice George

Alice George has publications that include the poetry collection, This Must Be the Place. She received the 2011 Paladin Award for "extraordinary long-term contributions to the quality and progress of poetry in Illinois" from the editors of RHINO.

Esther Hershenhorn

Esther Hershenhorn serves on the board of advisors of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her publications include Chicken Soup by Heart (winner of the Sydney Taylor Award) and The Confe$$ion$ and $ecret$ of Howard J. Fingerhut.

Susan Hubbard

Susan Hubbard is an award-winning screenwriter whose work has screened internationally. She co-wrote feature film Realization, and has pitched to Hollywood executives. She holds an MFA in cinema art & science. Her play, Thundersnow, was produced in Chicago in 2015.

Paul McComas

Paul McComas is the author of two novels and two short-story collections, and the co-author of a novella, a short-plays collection, an in-process scholarly film book, and—with Maya Kuper—the alt-rock musical “Unplugged”: A Survivor's Story in Scenes & Songs. He has won teaching awards from Northwestern (in continuing ed) and National-Louis universities.

Jennifer McDonald

Jennifer McDonald, a freelance editor and writer, was formerly an editor for The New York Times Book Review, the national desk of The Times, and The Washington Post; and a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, at Harvard University. Connect with her at

Stephanie Wilson Medlock

Stephanie Wilson Medlock co-founded Indigan Storyteller and helped launch the International Storytelling Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her novel, The Lives of Things, was optioned by Totem Films. Her work appears in Feathered Flounder, Still Crazy, Persimmon Tree, Tues/Night, and Celebrating Animal Rescue.

Ariana Nadia Nash

Ariana Nadia Nash won the 2011 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry for her poetry collection Instructions for Preparing Your Skin, wrote the chapbook Our Blood Is Singing, and received a Helene Wurlitzer Fellowship and a Macdowell Colony residency. Her work appears in Painted Bride Quarterly, Southeast Review, and Cimarron Review, among other journals.

Bayo Ojikutu

Bayo Ojikutu won the Great American Book Award for his first novel, 47th Street Black. His second novel, Free Burning, is forthcoming. He was included in the “New City Lit 50,” a list of Chicago’s most renowned writers and literati.

Cecilia Pinto

Cecilia Pinto has had her poetry and prose published in a variety of journals, including Quarter After Eight, Fence, The Seneca Review, Triquarterly, and RHINO. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry and has won the Esquire short fiction contest. She is a 2009 CAAP grant recipient.

Alexis Pride

Bio coming soon.

Mark Rader

Mark Rader has had stories appear in Glimmer Train, Epoch, LIT, and The Southern Review, and been short-listed for a Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, and inclusion in the Best American Non-Required Reading anthology. He holds an MFA from Cornell University.

Sarah Terez Rosenblum

Sarah Terez Rosenblum’s debut novel, Herself When She's Missing, was called “poetic and heartrending” by Booklist. She writes for publications and sites including Salon, The Chicago Sun Times, Curve Magazine, and Pop Matters. She was a 2011 recipient of Carve Magazine's Esoteric Fiction Award, 1st runner up for Midwestern Gothic's 2015 Lake Prize, and a finalist for Washington Square Review’s 2016 Flash Fiction Award. In addition, she was shortlisted for Zoetrope All Story’s 2016 Short Fiction Contest, receiving an honorable mention. In 2014, she founded the Truth or Lie Live Lit Series.

Linda Smith-Brecheisen

Linda Smith-Brecheisen is associate director of the University Writing Program at the University of Chicago, where she teaches academic and professional writing and supervises and trains a staff of writing instructors in the humanities and professional schools.

Natalie Tilghman

Natalie Tilghman was a recipient of a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award for her novel-in-progress Home Remedies. She co-authored A 52-Hertz Whale, a young adult novel recently released by Carolrhoda Lab (Lerner). Additionally, her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Santa Clara Review, Cicada magazine, and Sudden Flash Youth, a fiction anthology by Persea Books. Other honors include first prize for fiction in The Atlantic's Student Writing Contest and a Magazine Merit Award from The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She received a MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop. She lives in Glenview with her husband and two children.

Tracy Weiner

Tracy Weiner is senior associate director of the University Writing Program at the University of Chicago, where she teaches academic and professional writing and supervises and trains a staff of writing instructors in the humanities and professional schools. Weiner received the 2009 Graham School Excellence in Teaching Award.

Sandi Wisenberg

Sandi Wisenberg is the author of The Sweetheart Is In; Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, & Other Obsessions; and The Adventures of Cancer Bitch.