Founder & Executive Director

alexandra-headshot-edited Alexandra Kostoulas

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 Nick Mamatas

 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 StoriesYear’s Best Science Fiction and FantasyNew 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 Hollie Hardy

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.


(smaller) Ying Compestine (c) Ben Krantz 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 Daphne Gottlieb

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.


Paul Corman-Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts has coached many successful poets to publication, from chapbooks to singular poems to full-length collections. He is the author of four chapbooks and two full-length collections of prose poetry, including Bone Moon Palace from Nomadic Press in 2020. He is a four-time nominee for Pushcart, Best of the Web, and Northern California Book Award. He is an MA/MFA Graduate of the New College of California Poetics program where he studied with David Meltzer, Genny Lim, and Neeli Cherkovski.  In addition to teaching at SF Creative Writing Institute, he also teaches workshops for the Older Writer’s Lab at the San Francisco Public Library and works in the Oakland Unified School District.  He was a founder of the Beast Crawl Literary Festival in Oakland, California.

Preeti V Preeti Vangani

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.


Main_Image_Downing_KimShuck Kim Shuck

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.

Tongo Eisen-Martin
Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in San Francisco, California, and received an MA from Columbia University. He is the author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017) and someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), which was nominated for a California Book Award. Also a human rights activist and educator, he has taught at Columbia University and in detention centers across the country. He lives in San Francisco, California.


Gina Tron

Gina Tron has authored several books of poetry and memoir. Her 2014 memoir ‘You’re Fine.’ was selected by The Strand as a ‘best of the best’ book. Her upcoming memoir ‘Suspect’ won the Tarpaulin Sky Press 2020 book award. Her poetry has been published in Green Mountains Review, Hunger Mountain, Junto Magazine and Tupelo Press. She has contributed to publications which include the Washington Post, VICE, Daily Beast and Politico. I have an MFA in Writing and Publishing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She writes daily true crime content for


Sam Sax

Sam Sax is a queer, jewish, writer & educator. The author of Madness winner of The National Poetry Series and ‘Bury It’ winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. He’s the two time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion with poems published in The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, & Buzzfeed. He’s received fellowships from The Poetry Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and Stanford University.  

Manuscript Intensive Prose Mentors

Sandra Ruttan


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

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


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 2015and 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.


Jason Ridler
Jason S. Ridler is a writer, historian and retired sketch comedy/improv actor. He is the author of THE BRIMSTONE FILES for Nightshade Books, has sold over 60 short stories, and worked for Paizo Publishing and indie comics. He currently teaches military history at Johns Hopkins University and creative writing for the Google Arts/Theater program, and his book MAVERICKS OF WAR was praised by Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes as a “visceral page turner.” A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, he lives in Northern California. Find him on Facebook at


Sarah Bush is a dance artist excited by the intersections of art and community. Since 2007, she has been the Artistic Director of Sarah Bush Dance Project. In addition to her work with SBDP, Sarah was a dancer and choreographer for Page Hodel’s Club Q, was on the Dance Crew at Michigan Women’s Music Festival, and is a member of Krissy Keefer’s revolutionary Dance Brigade. Her work has been presented by National Queer Arts Festival, Global Women’s Rights Forum, National Women’s Studies Association, National Women’s Music Festival, National Center for Lesbian Rights, West Wave Dance Festival, and at the Wilsey Center for Opera and Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. She has danced with hip hop company New Style Motherlode; been a guest performer with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; and performed in the NBC/Lionsgate TV show, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”, choreographed by Mandy Moore (of La La Land). Sarah has choreographed commissions for Axis Dance Company, Destiny Arts Center, Mona Khan Company, and Dance Brigade’s SummerFeast at Dos Rios. Theater and film choreography credits include Shelley Doty’s We3 at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, The Kilbane’s rock opera Weightless at ACT’s Strand Theater, and the award-winning film Her Mother’s Daughter by Alejandra Cadena-Perez. Sarah served on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee and is the recipient of the 2019 Della Davidson Prize, a Dance Europe Critic’s Choice selection, and awards from Curve Magazine and Bay Area Dance Watch. She and her company are currently the 2020/21 Artists in Residence at Richardson Bay Audubon Center. 


Kim McMillon

Dr. Kim McMillon is a producer, playwright, and contributor to the anthology Some Other Blues: New Perspectives on Amiri Baraka (Ohio University Press, 2021). McMillon is the editor of Willow Books’ anthology Black Fire—This Time published March 15, 2022. She is also the host of Berkeley Community Media’s Bay Area Art Beat. McMillon produced the Dillard University-Harvard Hutchins Center Black Arts Movement 2016 Conference in New Orleans, and with UC Merced’s Center for the Humanities, ASUCM, and the Office of Student Life, Ms. McMillon co-produced the 2014 UC Merced Black Arts Movement Conference, Fifty Years On. McMillon edited the April 2018 special edition of The Journal of PAN African Studies on the Black Arts Movement and contributed a chapter on the Black Arts Movement to the Black Power Encyclopedia (1965-1975), a two-volume reference work that explores the emergence and evolution of the Black Power Movement in the United States. McMillon produced, wrote, and starred in her one-woman show, Confessions of a Thespian: When Spirit & Theatre Collide, directed by Margo Hall and staged at the Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley, CA in March 2000. McMillon also produced, wrote and directed Voyages, which premiered at the Nova Theatre in San Francisco in March 1986, and was produced at Zellerbach Playhouse in August 1987. In January 1988, Berkeley’s Black Repertory Group produced Voyages.  A musical excerpt from Voyages was staged at the Merced Multicultural Art Center in Merced, CA in February 2023.  

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

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