Writer to Writer’s Fall 2018 Mentees

AWP celebrates the twenty-six writers selected to participate in the Fall 2018 session of Writer to Writer. We received hundreds of applications for this session. Mentors were each given several strong applications to choose from and selected their own mentees.

If you would like to apply for a mentor, mentee applications for the Spring 2019 session will be accepted January 1–12 via Submittable.

  • Helen Armstrong

    Helen Armstrong


    Helen Armstrong graduated from Arcadia University with a BA in Media and Communications and Creative Writing. She held the position of Editor-in-Chief at her school's lifestyle magazine Loco Mag, serves as a reader and editor for Cleaver Magazine, and has been published in Catfish Creek and Quiddity. She presented a paper on queerness in media and fandom at the 2017 Console-ing Passions conference and is a freelance writer for Out Front magazine. She lives with her girlfriend and her cat Percy in Colorado and hopes to return for her MFA within the next couple of years.You can read more about Helen at helenarmstrongwrites.com

    Helen is working with the writer Sarah Leamy.

  • Amy Blakemore

    Amy Blakemore

    Creative Nonfiction

    Amy Victoria Blakemore is an emerging writer based in Hartford, Connecticut. Originally a student of poetry, Amy began translating her failed drafts into short fiction in 2013, after which she went on to win the 2014 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize and the 2017 WritingxWriters Short, Short Fiction Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, [PANK], wigleaf, and Paper Darts, and her nonfiction has appeared in the Indiana Review and Redivider. She is currently at work on her first collection of essays, a meditation on anorexia, bisexuality, and bad dreams. 

    Amy is working with the writer Keena Roberts.

  • Lauren K. Carlson

    Lauren K. Carlson


    Lauren K. Carlson is a writer and poet living in rural Dawson, Minnesota, with her husband and three children. As a COMPAS roster artist she offers artist-in-residence programming for schools and nursing homes. Her work has been published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Windhover, Heron Tree, and Bearings Online among others. She will enter the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College in January 2019. You can read more about her at http://laurenkcarlson.com.

    Lauren is working with the poet Allen Braden.

  • Regina Chiuminatto

    Regina Chiuminatto


    Regina Chiuminatto is a comparatist, essayist, and poet, formed by Wisconsin, New York State, and Brittany, and currently living in Silver Spring, Maryland. She studied Classics and French at Union College in Schenectady, with a focus on drinking songs, love poems, and the history of metrical forms. She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin, and in Madison she was trained in continental philosophy while studying and translating poetry from Ancient Greece, Rome, Germany, Russia, and medieval Europe. Her lifelong project is learning a living poetics from the dead.

    Regina is working with the poet Jason Gray.

  • Sarah Dalton

    Sarah Dalton

    Creative Nonfiction

    Sarah Dalton was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay where she has been a high school teacher for eleven years. Her work has been published in the “Readers Write” section of The Sun and in River Teeth’s weekly column Beautiful Things. She is a first-year student in the MFA program at San Jose State University, and in January 2019 will attend her first artistic residency at Hypatia-in-the-Woods. She enjoys belting out songs from Moana, playing “Star Wars” with her 3- and 5-year-old sons, and exploring Northern California with her husband and family.

    Sarah is working with the writer Alex Lemon.

  • Lauren Dostal

    Lauren Dostal


    Lauren Dostal is a native Floridian currently residing in a steamy suburb of Tampa. She graduated from Florida State University and is an assistant poetry editor at Pithead Chapel. Lauren uses the medium of science fiction to explore women’s issues, power dynamics, and the politics of beauty. She is currently working on a novel about a far future police state and a blind female assassin. Lauren’s most recent work can be found in EntropySplit Lip, and (forthcoming) Hotel. You can find her on Twitter at: @ell_emm_dee.

    Lauren is working with the writer Steph Post.

  • Elyse Durham

    Elyse Durham


    Elyse Durham studied fiction at Kalamazoo College. She has worked in higher education, Montessori schools, and public radio, where a goat once ate her shirt while she was recording an interview. She lives and writes in Detroit with her husband.

    Elyse is working with the writer Zeke Jarvis.

  • Ann Feldman

    Ann Feldman


    Ann Feldman has created, produced, and written scripts for award-winning radio and TV documentaries on women’s issues and music, interfaith after 9/11, and the global water crisis. Her documentaries were distributed in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Spain, New Zealand, China, and India. Ann has been a Visiting Scholar in Gender Studies and Sexuality at Northwestern University for twenty years. Her experience with the documentaries, a published article and book, four writing fellowships at Ragdale, a PhD in Cultural History from University of Chicago, and her role as an educator led her to write The Copyist.

    Ann is working with the writer David Rocklin.

  • Tahirah Alexander Green

    Tahirah Alexander Green

    Creative Nonfiction

    Tahirah Alexander Green is a storyteller driven to craft nuanced works that reflect the complexity of identity. She currently lives in her hometown of Washington, D.C. 

    Tahirah is working with the writer Sassafras Lowrey.


  • China Hill-LoBue

    China Hill-LoBue


    China Hill-LoBue was born and raised in Chicago, and her writing is inspired by the resonant voices of those from urban communities. China holds a Master of Arts in Writing from DePaul University and has taken creative writing courses through the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Newberry Library, and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Writers Series. In addition to writing, China works as a counselor and adult education instructor in the Chicagoland area. She currently lives with her husband in Berwyn, Illinois.

    China is working with the writer Mira T. Lee.

  • Romana Iorga

    Romana Iorga


    Romana Iorga was born in Chisinau, Moldova, and earned a BA in Romanian and English Literature from the University of Bucharest and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She published two poetry chapbooks in her native Romanian, Poemul sosirii (Poem of Arrival) and Auz simplu (Simple Hearing). Her work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Journal of PoetrySwimming with ElephantsSaltfrontBorderlands, the Chicago Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She currently scavenges for poems in the multilingual forests above Lausanne, Switzerland. Some of these poems make their way to Romana’s blog: clayandbranches.com.

    Romana is working with the poet Erin Hoover.

  • Jarika Johnson

    Jarika Johnson


    Jarika Johnson graduated from Louisiana State University with a BA in English-Creative Writing. She works in management, writes during her free time, and directs a short film once every blue moon. Two of her greatest passions are reading and traveling. And tea. Math obviously isn’t. She recently finished writing her first completed novel, GENIGMA. She is currently working on her second novel, set in the New Orleans and New York jazz scenes during the Civil Rights era. She can be found on Twitter @jarikajohnson, Instagram @lovejarika, or at jarikajohnson.com.

    Jarika is working with the writer Tom Stern.

  • Olivia Katrandjian

    Olivia Katrandjian


    Olivia Katrandjian is an Armenian American writer and journalist with a background in print reporting and documentary filmmaking. She has worked in Thailand, Armenia, and New York, and her reporting has appeared in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC, ABC News, and Quartz. In 2016, she moved to Luxembourg to write a historical novel based on the Ghost Army, a top-secret group of artists who used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and fake radio transmissions to deceive the Germans in the Second World War.

    Olivia is working with the writer Jennifer Steil.

  • Laura Laing

    Laura Laing

    Creative Nonfiction

    Laura Laing is a recent graduate of Goucher College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction. A freelance writer since 2000, her essays have been published in The Rumpus, Full Grown People, Consequence, and Creative Nonfiction, and her long-form, literary journalism has been published in Baltimore’s City Paper. She is on the board and serves as the publications chair of the American Society for Journalists and Authors. She is currently working on a memoir incorporating narrative structure with explorations in abstract mathematics. See her work at lauralaing.com.

    Laura is working with the writer Erica Trabold.

  • Christine Madsen

    Christine Madsen


    Christine Terp Madsen is an editor and writer who lives in Moretown, Vermont, where she writes fiction and poetry, and hunts wildflowers. She can play handbells, French horn, and a rototiller. Her work has been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Creative Colloquy, Cold River Anthology, and Shark Reef. She has written a novel called Let Me Take You Home and a memoir entitled Sufficient Grace: How Christian Science Saved Me from Christian Science, which tells the story of her employment and firing from the Christian Science Monitor because she is a lesbian. Her partner and their son keep life interesting.

    Christine is working with the writer Hilary Zaid.

  • Mel McCuin

    Mel McCuin


    Mel McCuin is a biracial, bisexual, genderfluid poet from Phoenix, Arizona. She received her MFA in creative writing from Northern Arizona University in 2014. She currently lives in Newark, New Jersey, where she works as a program coordinator for the LGBTQ and Intercultural Resource Center at Rutgers University–Newark. She is currently working on a book of poetry. 

    Mel is working with the poet Geffrey Davis.

  • Ainsley McWha

    Ainsley McWha

    Creative Nonfiction

    Ainsley McWha, originally from Nepean, Ontario, Canada, now lives and writes in a hundred-year-old house in southeast Idaho—a state she had never visited before moving there in April 2014 from New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and xoJane, and is forthcoming in the Tahoma Literary Review. In Idaho, Ainsley and her husband look after thirteen animals: two dogs, six cats, two bunnies, and three chickens. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and currently teaches writing through the College of Eastern Idaho Outreach program.

    Ainsley is working with the writer Chris Dombrowski.

  • Nelle Mills

    Nelle Mills

    Creative Nonfiction

    Nelle Mills is an Affrilachian playwright, essayist, and educator. She was the 2018 Scholastic Awards Alumni-in-Residence. Nelle received her BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University. Her work has recently been anthologized in UnCommon Bonds. Currently, she sits on the editorial board of LIES Journal and teaches creative writing to teenagers in New Orleans, where she lives with her cat named Jack.

    Nelle is working with the writer Jessica Wilbanks.

  • Brenda Joyce Patterson

    Brenda Joyce Patterson


    Brenda Joyce Patterson is a poet, writer, librarian, and lover of short writing forms. She writes a column, Writing Small, for DIYMFA.com extolling poetry and short stories, literature's mild-mannered superheroes. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published in Vayavya, Gravel, and Melancholy Hyperbole. Along with works by Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Alice Walker, her travel essay, “The Kindness of Strangers,” appeared in Go Girl: The Black Woman's Guide to Travel and Adventure.

    Brenda is working with the poet Callista Buchen.

  • Natalia Reyes

    Natalia Reyes

    Creative Nonfiction

    Natalia Reyes is a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she is pursuing her MFA in English and a certificate in pedagogy. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Daily CalifornianLatin American Literature Today, Iowa Public Radio, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and the Rivard Report. She has received scholarships from the California Alumni Association, Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, and The Sun, among others. She holds a BA in Rhetoric from University of California, Berkeley and is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. Born in Indio, California, she lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

    Natalia is working with the writer Norma Cantú.

  • Clare Sanders

    Clare Sanders


    Clare Sanders is a writer and visual artist living in Escondido, California, with her husband, two-year-old son, and a small flock of unruly chickens. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in studio art and has worked since then in art education and marketing. Though she has pursued many interests, writing has been a much-needed constant and source of fascination. Clare is working on a collection of short stories and a novel. She is excited to be a part of the Writer to Writer program and thankful to AWP for the opportunity.

    Clare is working with the writer Allegra Hyde.

  • Joyce Schmid

    Joyce Schmid


    Joyce Schmid’s first publication was in the The Advocate when she was an undergraduate at Harvard, and she won prizes for poetry translation as a graduate student at Columbia. Three years ago, after decades of raising children, working as a psychotherapist, and writing only for herself, she began taking poetry workshops, writing intensively, and submitting her work to journals. Over that time, her poems have appeared in Missouri ReviewPoetry DailyNew Ohio ReviewAntioch Review (forthcoming), and other journals and anthologies. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband of more than half a century—too far from her grandchildren.

    Joyce is working with the poet J. Kates.

  • Laura Steadham Smith

    Laura Steadham Smith


    Laura Steadham Smith grew up on the edge of the Mobile–Tensaw delta in southwest Alabama. Her work has appeared in the Gettysburg Review, Post Road, Beloit Fiction Journal, and other magazines. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Project award, the George M. Harper Award, and the Hamlin Garland Fiction Award for the Short Story. She holds an MFA from Florida State University and has attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Laura currently lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she teaches AP Language and American Literature at The Dunham School. She is currently writing her first novel.

    Laura is working with the writer Chris Cander.

  • Monica Villavicencio

    Monica Villavicencio


    Monica Villavicencio is a writer and video-maker currently living in San Francisco, California. Her previous work has appeared in Waking Up American, USF Magazine, and on National Public Radio. The daughter of Nicaraguan and Filipino immigrants, Monica explores the immigrant experience, class issues, and faith in her stories. When she is not writing, Monica enjoys filmmaking, yoga, and travel.

    Monica is working with the writer Lilliam Rivera.

  • Jennifer Wholey

    Jennifer Wholey


    Jennifer Wholey is a poet, journalist, and editor. She is a reader for Palette Poetry, and has new work published in Panoply and Sheila-Na-Gig's “Under 30” collection. She earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in communication (and medieval studies) from Cornell University. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two dogs.

    Jennifer is working with the poet Chris Tonelli.

  • Annette Wong

    Annette Wong


    Annette Wong is a writer, mindfulness coach, and lawyer. She is working on a first collection of poems. Her poems grapple with language, family, and loss. Annette attributes much of her growth as a poet to time spent in workshops, including the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, VONA, and her home base, Writing Workshops Los Angeles. Although born in Los Angeles, Annette grew up in Beijing and Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and French. She holds a BA from Yale University and a JD from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

    Annette is working with the poet Neil Aitken.

Previous Participants

See lists of previous Writer to Writer participants.