Founder & Executive Director
Alexandra Kostoulas has an MFA in Creative Writing and English from Mills College and a BA in Literature & Creative Writing from the College of Creative Studies at UCSB. She brought the Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program to San Francisco. She has over a decade of experience teaching English and Writing at the college level. She has been nominated for awards in fiction, poetry, and journalism and has won a few. She has performed her work on stage at readings both locally and nationally. She is currently at work on finishing up her novel, Persephone Stolen.
Nick Mamatas is the author of seven novels, over one hundred short stories, and dozens of essays and articles. His books include the novels I Am Providence and Hexen Sabbath, the short fiction collections The Nickronomicon and The Spook School, and the how-to guide for writing short fiction and non-fiction, Starve Better. Nick’s short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, New Haven Review, and many other anthologies and journals. He has written about writing for The Writer, Fine Books & Collections, and Wonderbook. His anthologies include the award-winning Haunted Legends (co-edited with Ellen Datlow) and The Future Is Japanese (co-edited with Masumi Washington), and the hybrid cocktail recipe/flash fiction title Mixed Up (co-edited with Molly Tanzer).
Hollie Hardy can teach you how to survive anything. Her first collection of poetry, How to Take a Bullet, And Other Survival Poems has titles ruthlessly appropriated from The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, and is available now from Punk Hostage Press (2014). She is an English instructor at Berkeley City College and seasonal lecturer at San Francisco State University, where she also received her Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry. An active participant in the local Bay Area literary scene, Hardy co-hosts the popular monthly reading series, Saturday Night Special, An East Bay Open Mic. She is a core producer and venue coordinator for the Beast Crawl Literary Festival in Oakland, curator of Litquake’s Flight of Poets, and a former Editor-in-Chief of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review.
Ying Chang Compestine
Award-winning author, and former food editor for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, Ying Chang Compestine is the multi-talented author of 20 books including fiction, picture books, and five cookbooks. She is the host of the popular TV cooking show New Ideas for Delicious Meals on Phoenix TV, and the spokeswoman for Nestle Maggi. Ying was also the spokesperson for Celestial Seasoning. Frequently sought after by the media, Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs, and is regularly profiled in prestigious news media outlets (The New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post); and has been named one of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by the Author’s Show. Ying has contributed to Cooking Light, EatingWell, Self, Men’s Health, Christian Science Monitor, and many other prestigious national publications. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into all of her writing– including cookbooks, novels, and picture books for young readers.Her highly acclaimed novel about her life growing up in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, has received over 30 national awards, and has been included in school syllabi globally. It was also selected for the One Book/One County reading program in Santa Clara California.
Daphne Gottlieb stitches together the ivory tower and the gutter just using her tongue. She is the winner of the Acker Award for Excellence in the Avant-Garde, the Audre Lorde Award for Poetry, the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, and a five-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Critics have praised her work as “fierce,” “unapologetic,” “scorching” and “deliriously gutsy.” She is the author of 10 books in print: 5 books of poetry, 1 nonfiction book, 1 graphic novel, 1 book of short stories, and 2 anthologies. She has been widely published in journals and her work has appeared in a number of anthologies. Gottlieb has taught at Mills College, California Institute of Integral Studies, New College of California, and has also performed and taught creative writing workshops around the country, from high schools and colleges to community centers.
Preeti Vangani is an Indian poet & essayist. Her work has been published in BOAAT, Buzzfeed, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Threepenny Review and elsewhere. She is the winner of the RL Poetry Award 2017 and her debut book of poems titled Mother Tongue Apologize was published by RLFPA Editions in February 2019. She owes her MFA to the University of San Francisco.
Kim Shuck is the 7thpoet Laureate of San Francisco. Kim Shuck was born in San Francisco, California, and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She received a BA in Art and an MFA in Textiles from San Francisco State University. Shuck is the author of Deer Trails, forthcoming from City Lights Books in October 2019), Clouds Running In (Taurean Horn Press, 2014), Rabbit Stories (Poetic Matrix Press, 2013), and Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press, 2005), as well as of the chapbook collection Sidewalk Ndn (FootHills Press, 2018). In 2019, Shuck was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. She currently runs a reading series called the Fire Thieves showcasing intersectional and intergenerational authors from the Bay Area.
Manuscript Intensive Prose Mentors
Sandra Ruttan has been hit by a car, had her foot partially severed, survived a car crash in the Sahara Desert and almost drowned. She has no idea how she’s still alive. Her crime novels include Harvest of Ruins and the Nolan, Hart and Tain series: What Burns Within, The Frailty of Flesh and Lullaby For The Nameless. She is represented by Allan Guthrie of The North Literary Agency, has a background in education and journalism, and is a full-time writer. Sandra has experience writing and editing crime fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and YA fiction.
Gabino Iglesias is a writer, professor, editor, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Zero Saints and Coyotes Songs, which won the Wonderland Book Award for Best Novel in 2019. His work has been published in five languages, optioned for film, and nominated to the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award. He recently edited Both Sides: Stories from the Border for Agora. His reviews appear in places like NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, Criminal Element, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He’s been a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards twice and has judged PANK Magazine’s Big Book Contest, the Newfound Prose Prize, and the Splatterpunk Awards. He’s a literary columnist for LitReactor and the book reviews editor for PANK Magazine. He is a public speaker who focuses on Otherness and diversity in publishing and offers a series of low-cost online writing workshops. He teaches creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University’s online MFA program. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias.
Molly Tanzer is the author of the Diabolist’s Library trilogy: Creatures of Will and Temper, the Locus Award-nominated Creatures of Want and Ruin, and Creatures of Charm and Hunger. She is also the author of the weird western Vermilion, an io9 and NPR “Best Book” of 2015, and the British Fantasy Award-nominated collection, A Pretty Mouth, as well as many critically acclaimed short stories. Follow her adventures at @molly_tanzer on Instagram or @wickedmilkhotel on Twitter. She lives outside of Boulder, CO with her cat, Toad.
Marc Anthony Richardson
Marc Anthony Richardson is an artist and novelist from Philadelphia, who specializes in visceral, avant-garde fiction. Year of the Rat, his autobiographical novel, won an American Book Award and a Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. Messiahs, a speculative novel, was a fiction finalist for the Big Other Book Award. The Serpent Will Eat Whatever is in the Belly of the Beast, a novelistic poem, is forthcoming from Deep Vellum/Dalkey Archive Press. Richardson also received an award from Creative Capital, grants from PEN America, and the Sachs Program, a fellowship from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and residencies from Art Omi and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Callaloo, Black Warrior Review, Western Humanities Review, 580 Split, and the anthology, Who Will Speak for America? He received his MFA from Mills College, taught at Rutgers, and currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently, he was an Andrew W. Mellon Scholar-in-Residence at Rhodes University in South Africa.
Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem
Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem holds a BA from California Institute of Integral Studies and an
MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. Her award-winning poems and
creative nonfiction have been published locally and internationally. In 2022, Nomadic Press
published Cassandra’s first poetry collection, Hot Thicket, and she is currently in the final stages
of editing a book-legth lyrics essay. Also the illustrator of Basho’s Haiku Journeys, a haiku
picture book, Cassandra derives her versatility through prolific creative experimentation and
cross-pollination between artistic disciplines and literary forms. Cassandra upholds values of
diversity and inclusion, and has taught workshops and classes at community centers, high
schools, colleges, and universities in Alaska, Hawaii, and California. In 2019, Cassandra led a
year-long literary reading series for women and non-binary writers at The Beat Museum in San