Workshop Staff

A shoulders-up photo of Nino Cipri. They are wearing black-rimmed glasses and a red scarf, and smiling at the camera.

Nino Cipri is a queer and trans/nonbinary writer, editor, and educator. They are a graduate of the 2014 Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and earned their MFA in fiction from the University of Kansas in 2019. A multidisciplinary artist, Nino has also written plays, screenplays, and radio features; performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer; and worked as a stagehand, bookseller, bike mechanic, and labor organizer.

One time, an angry person on the internet called Nino a verbal terrorist, which was pretty funny.

Nino’s story collection Homesick won the Dzanc Short Fiction Collection Prize, was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy Award, and was chosen as one of the top ten books on the ALA’s Over the Rainbow Reading List. Their novella Finna — about queer heartbreak, working retail, and wormholes — was published by in 2020, and its sequel Defekt will be out in April 2021. Nino’s YA horror debut, Burned and Buried, will be published by Holt Young Readers in 2022.


Essowe Tchalim is a writer of speculative fiction. He graduated from Brooklyn College, where he studied cultures and rituals of power in the Ancient Mediterranean. He currently works as a freelance Project Manager in NYC. When he isn’t writing or working, he is reading manga or trying to convince his friends to watch his favorite television shows.
His short story The Emperor Mantis was published in The Kaleidocast in 2018.

2021 Staff - Steph Grossman

Steph Grossman‘s fiction has appeared in Joyland, Hobart, and CRAFT (where her story, “Girl in the Forest of Fear,” was a finalist for the 2020 CRAFT Elements: Conflict contest). Her narrative nonfiction has appeared in Paste Magazine and in The Masters Review. Recently, a standalone excerpt of her novel-in-progress was a finalist for The Masters Review’s 2020 Flash Fiction Contest. She’s worked in NYC publishing at places like Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and JSTOR, but now lives in the Austin area where she’s pursuing her MFA at Texas State University, teaching College Writing, and serving as the PR Manager for Porter House Review. A devotee of horror and the gothic, she co-hosts the Basement Girls Horror and Whatnot podcast with poet Bianca Pérez.

Kilson Roque

Kilson Roque is a born-and-raised New Yorker, hailing from Queens. He’s a fan of folklore, mythology, urban fantasy, and dark fairy tales. These and other influences–like manga, anime, video games, and TCGs–help fuel his writing. After acquiring his MFA in Speculative Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, Kilson accepted an Editorial Assistant position in Children’s Publishing. He is currently working on an adult novel that incorporates mythology and superstitions from the Dominican Republic.

Sarah Hollowell - Staff @ Alpha Workshop 2021

Sarah Hollowell is a graduate of Alpha (2009/2010). Her debut YA contemporary fantasy novel, A Dark and Starless Forest, releases 9/4/21. Her work has appeared on The NoSleep Podcast, Fireside Magazine, Huffington Post, and in The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and the Fierce. She has two cats, listens to too many podcasts, and repeatedly makes the mistake of watching horror movies alone at night.


Morgan Suity is a Librarian in Pittsburgh, PA with a decade of experience offering engaging programming and enthusiastic reader’s advisory to teens. She has presented at the YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium, and written articles and book reviews for VOYA Magazine and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She has also been active in visual media and literary fandom communities for over 15 years. She writes original stories and fanfiction about finding love, family, and self-acceptance. Her favorite AO3 tags are “Arranged Marriage,” “Accidental Baby Acquisition,” and “Amnesia.”

A shoulders-up photo of Andrew Keahey, a black man with glasses and a beard. He is smiling at the camera.

Andrew Keahey is a blogger, horror analyst, and fiction writer from Austin, Texas whose work has been featured in Afropunk and The Black Youth Project. His current focus is on short stories while also working on his first full-length novel.

Shoulders up picture of Patrick Ropp smiling. Patrick is a white man in a gray jacket.

Patrick J. Ropp is an alumnus of the Clarion UCSD workshop, has a Master of Science in computational biology from Carnegie Mellon University, and works as a cybersecurity engineer in Pittsburgh. He likes cactuses, cats, and the things dredged up from the lightless depths.

AJ website photo small

AJ Lucy is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies the eggs of tiny fish. Someday she hopes to teach scientific researchers to write up their findings in a way that is pleasant to read. Her fiction can be found in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons.

Karuna Riazi - 2021 Writers Workshop Staff

Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker. She holds a BA in English Literature from Hofstra University, is an MFA candidate in Hamline University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and educator. Her work has been featured on Entertainment Weekly, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Book Riot and Teen Vogue, among others. She is the author of The Gauntlet and The Battle (S&S/Salaam Reads), as well as an adaptation of The Jungle Book for the Ghostwriter series (Sesame Workshop/Sourcebooks Wonderland).

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