Virtual Master’s Class in Fiction

Faculty & Guest Speakers

  • Mona Awad
    Mona Awad is the author of the novels Bunny and 13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl. Bunny (Viking 2019) won the Ladies of Horror Fiction Best Novel Award and was a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror and for the New England and the Massachusetts Book Awards. Mona’s first novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, published in 2016 by Penguin Books won the Amazon Best First Novel Award, the Colorado Book Award and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her writing has appeared in Time, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, and VICE. She earned an MFA in Fiction from Brown University and a PhD in Creative Writing and English from the University of Denver. Currently, she teaches fiction writing at Syracuse University and her third novel, All’s Well, is forthcoming with Simon & Schuster in fall 2021.
  • Polina Barskova
    Polina Barskova is a poet and a scholar. An author of twelve collections of poems and two books of prose in Russian, she’s also an editor of an anthology Written in the Dark (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016) and has three collections of poetry published in English translation: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press), The Zoo in Winter (Melville House), and Relocations (Zephyr Press). Beginning in fall 2021, she will be teaching Russian Literature at the University of California at Berkeley; prior to that she taught at Hampshire College, Amherst College and Smith College. Her collection of creative non-fiction prose Living Pictures received the Andrey Bely Prize in 2015 and is coming out in German with Suhrkamp Verlag in 2020 and in English with NYRB in 2022. Barskova taught a course on urban imagination and translation for SLS in Tbilisi in 2019--and it was one of her wildest urban literary adventures ever.
  • Ru Freeman
    Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan-born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally. She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl (2009), and On Sal Mal Lane (2013), a NYT Editor’s Choice Book. Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese. She is the editor of the anthology Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine (2015), a collection of the voices of 65 American writers speaking about America’s dis/engagement with Palestine, and co-editor of Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (2018). She is working on a collection of essays, Memory, Loss: Essays on Life, Books & Politics, and a collection of poetry, Open Carry. She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review. She teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Columbia University.
  • Dawn Raffel
    Dawn Raffel is the author of five books, most recently The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies. Previous books include a memoir, The Secret Life of Objects, a novel, and two critically acclaimed story collections. Her work has been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, BOMBNew Philosopher, Conjunctions, NOONThe Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and many other anthologies. She served for many years as a senior-level magazine editor, most notably at O, The Oprah Magazine. She now works as an independent book editor and teaches at the Center for Fiction in New York.
  • Kadija Sesay
    Kadija Sesay FRSA is a literary activist. She published SABLE LitMag for 15 years until 2015. She is currently the Publications Manager for Inscribe, a Black British writer development program for Peepal Tree for whom she has commissioned a series of poetry and fiction anthologies with editors Nii Parkes, Jacob Ross, and Kwame Dawes. In 2021 Inscribe publishes the first anthology of Black British speculative fiction edited by Leone Ross. She edited the first book of plays by women of African and Asian descent, Six Plays by Black and Asian Women Writers, and the first book of critical essays on Black British writers, Write Black, Write British. She has co-edited anthologies with novelists Helon Habila and novelist/scriptwriter Courttia Newland. Kadija is the resident judge for the SI Leeds Literary Prize for Black and Asian women writers and Chair of Judges for the Wasafiri Magazine Writing Competition (2020).
  • Laurie Stone
    Laurie Stone is the author of five books of fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid writing, most recently Everything is Personal, Notes on Now (Scuppernong Editions, January 2020) and My Life as an Animal, Stories (Northwestern University Press/Triquarterly Press, 2016).She was a longtime writer for the Village Voice, theater critic for The Nation, and critic-at-large on Fresh Air. She won the Nona Balakian prize in excellence in criticism from the National Book Critics Circle and two grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has published numerous stories in such publications as n + 1, Waxwing, Tin House, Evergreen Review, Electric Lit, Fence, Open City, Your impossible Voice, Threepenny Review, and Creative Nonfiction. Stone's website is