Judith Lindbergh, Founder & Director | Michelle Cameron, Co-Director
Mike Allegra | Katie Barasch | Mally Becker | Mike Bell | Scott Caffrey | Colby Cedar Smith | Libby Cudmore | Kathy Curto | Chip Davis | April Darcy | Vinessa DiSousa | Catherine Doty | Darcey Gohring | Lillie Hannon | Jared Harél | Christopher Healy | Christina Kapp | Katya Kazbek | Rebecca Kilroy | Livvy Krakower | Colleen Markley | Jill Smolowe | Kris Waldherr | Helen Wan
TWC Founder & Director Judith Lindbergh
Specialties: Fiction, Novel Writing, Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, Adult Writers Circle, Children, Teens
Judith Lindbergh’s new novel, Akmaral, about a nomad woman warrior on the ancient Asian steppes in the 5th c. BCE, is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing in spring 2024. Her debut novel, The Thrall’s Tale, about women in Viking Age Greenland, was a Booksense (IndieBound) Pick, a Borders Original Voices Selection and praised by Pulitzer Prize winners Geraldine Brooks and Robert Olen Butler. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including in Zibby Magazine, Next Avenue, Writer’s Digest, Edible Jersey, Archaeology Magazine, Other Voices, and UP HERE: The North at the Center of the World published by University of Washington Press. She also contributed to the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition Vikings: The Norse Atlantic Saga and was an expert commentator on the History Channel’s documentary series MANKIND: The Story of All of Us.
Since 2006, Judith has mentored adult writers through the Writers Support Circle at the South Orange-Maplewood Adult School. In January 2010, she created The Writers Circle, extending her workshops to children and expanding her offerings for adults. She traces her teaching approach to her background as a professional dancer and actress, and from the lessons learned from one of her greatest writing mentors, Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time. Judith believes in the uniqueness of each writer’s voice. All writers have something valid to say. Judith’s approach aims to coax that pure, honest expression from each of her students. Learn more at www.judithlindbergh.com.
TWC Co-Director Michelle Cameron
Specialties: Novel Writing, Poetry, Children, Teens
Michelle Cameron’s Babylon: a novel of Jewish Captivity was published by Wicked Son Books in September 2023. The Jerusalem Post said: “In the spirit of Anita Diamant’s groundbreaking The Red Tent...Cameron skillfully blends themes of intermarriage and assimilation, idol worship, the subjugation of women, and palace intrigue into one lavish story.“ Beyond the Ghetto Gates, set during Napoleon’s incursion into Italy when he demolished that country’s ghetto gates, was published by SheWrites Press in April 2020 and awarded the Silver Medal in Historical Fiction by the Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPYs). In advance praise, international bestselling historical novelist, Michelle Moran, called the novel “Beautifully written and completely engaging!”Previous work includes The Fruit of Her Hands: the story of Shira of Ashkenaz, which relates the life of the author’s 13th Century ancestor, Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg. Publisher’s Weekly praised the novel’s “powerful immediacy” and Library Journal its “rich details.” Her full-length novel in verse, In the Shadow of the Globe, was named the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 2003-4 Winter Book Selection.
Specialties: Children, Writing for Children, Playwriting, Teens
Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Pirate and Penguin (Page Street, 2023), Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street, 2022), Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.
Mike’s essays have appeared in The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and various anthologies. He has also received an Independent Artist Fellowship for playwriting from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Mike lives in Scotch Plains with his wife, Ellen; son, Alex; and a pair of neurotic gerbils, Dusty and Oreo. He also juggles, watches silent films, and plays the banjo—yet still can’t understand why he isn’t invited to more parties.
Caitlin (Katie) Barasch
Specialties: Children, Teens, Fiction
Caitlin Barasch‘s debut novel, A Novel Obsession (Dutton/PRH, 2022), was featured as a Good Morning America “Buzz Pick” and named a “Best Book of Summer” by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as translated into Russian and Portuguese. Born and raised in New York, Caitlin earned her BA from Colorado College and her MFA from New York University, where she had the unique pleasure of teaching undergraduate creative writing courses at each of her alma maters. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Amazon’s Day One, Jellyfish Review, Hobart, The Forge, and Atlas and Alice, among others, and she has also been nominated for Best Small Fictions. When not writing or reading, Caitlin enjoys hiking, bouldering, horseback riding, and playing with her cat.
Mally Becker is the twice Agatha Award nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow and The Counterfeit Wife, books one and two in her Revolutionary War mystery series. Her series continues with The Paris Mistress, which will be published by Level Best Books in early 2024. Mally teaches mystery writing at The Writers Circle Workshops, interviews authors for the Historical Novel Society website, co-hosts Guns, Knives & Lipstick, a crime fiction Podcast, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America. She was an attorney until happily becoming a full-time writer.
Mike Bell is a writer and educator from Bergen County. With forays into fantasy, horror, and science fiction, his short speculative fiction appears in Shimmer, Apex, and Fusion Fragment magazines, among others. He joined the Apex Magazine team as a slush editor in 2017, reading story submissions and making recommendations for publication. A tireless reader and writer since childhood, Mike also has 20 years’ experience as a teacher and administrator, with his Masters in Education from Harvard. In addition to writing, Mike works as a learning specialist and education consultant for adolescents with a variety of processing styles.
Specialties: Children, Sports Writing
After working in educational publishing for a decade, both as a writer and editor, he changed course to his current profession as a high school history teacher.
Scott holds a Journalism degree from St. Michael’s College and a Political Science degree from Kean University. He lives in Summit with his wife and two children. Within his family, Scott is known as a weaver of tales, and is at work on a series of fictional children’s books.
Colby Cedar Smith
Specialties: Poetry, Children, Teens
Colby Cedar Smith is an award-winning poet, novelist, and educator. Colby has spent the last twenty years teaching creative writing and storytelling workshops in elementary and secondary schools, art museums, nature centers, community centers, and corporations. Her poetry has been a finalist for over twenty poetry prizes including The Iowa Review Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry; and a semi-finalist for the 92Y “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. In 2020, Colby received a New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Colby’s debut novel in verse, Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit (2021) has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection Standard Selection; an American Booksellers Association Kids’ Indie Next Pick; a Cybils Award Poetry Finalist; a 2021 Goodreads Choice Best Poetry Nominee, A Kid’s Book Choice Finalist for Stellar Storytelling; a 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver medal for YA Fiction; a 2022 Silver Nautilus Award for Lyric Prose; and a 2021 Michigan notable book. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from Colorado College, and an Ed.M in arts in education from Harvard University.
Specialties: Mystery and Crime Writing
Libby Cudmore‘s debut novel, The Big Rewind, received a starred review from Kirkus and praise from Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly and USA Today. Her short fiction, poetry and essays have been published in PANK, The Stoneslide Corrective, the Barrelhouse blog, The Big Click, Big Lucks, The Writer and Writer’s Digest, and the anthologies Welcome Home, Mixed Up and the Locus-nominated Hanzai Japan, where her story, “Rough Night in Little Toke” was singled out as a “polished gem” by the Japan Times.
She is the managing editor for the Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta, newspapers, as well as a regular columnist for SleuthSayers. As a music journalist, a frequent contributor to Vinyl Me Please, Albumism and Paste, and hosts the weekly #RecordSaturday live-tweet on her Twitter, @libbycudmore.
She is a mentor in the low-residency MFA program at Western Connecticut State University and has taught writing for Education Unlimited, as well as at the Pen in Hand Young Writers Conference and the Young Writers Conference at Colgate University.
Specialties: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir
Kathy Curto teaches at Sarah Lawrence College/The Writing Institute, Montclair State University and The Writers Circle as well as several nonprofit organizations and community centers in the metropolitan area. She is the author of Not for Nothing-Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, on NPR, in the anthology Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, and in Barrelhouse, Toho Journal, The Mom Egg Review, Drift and Talking Writing among others. Her piece, “Still Cooking Side by Side” considered a “Modern Love in miniature” by The New York Times, was included in The Best of Tiny Love Stories in August 2021. Kathy lives with her family in the Hudson Valley. Please visit: www.kathycurto.com.
Specialties: TV Writing & Series Development, Playwriting, Pitching & Public Speaking
Chip Davis has worked in both theatre and television for the past thirty years. An alumnus of The Juilliard School’s Drama division, he has acted, written and directed in numerous mediums including Off-Broadway, online, and a few other off-and-on places. His project, Resonant Pitch, is an online web/blog drama. Chip’s most recent venture is into audiobook narration, voice acting, and podcast production. Learn more at www.chipdavis.net.
Specialties: Short Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
April Darcy‘s fiction can be found in Shenandoah, where she was the recipient of the Shenandoah River Fiction Prize, and her nonfiction can be found in Cutleaf and in North American Review, where she was a finalist for the Torch Nonfiction Prize. She was a finalist for the 2023 Robert Day Award in Fiction at New Letters, and a semifinalist for the 2023 Key West Literary Writers Emerging Writer Award, the 2022 Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize, and the 2022 Sewanee Review Fiction Prize. She received a 2020 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and a 2022 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, both in support of a novel in progress.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Catherine Doty is the author of Wonderama, a collection of poems that captures 1960s Paterson, New Jersey, as experienced by the poorest, most vulnerable children living there. She is also the author of an earlier volume of poems, Momentum, and Just Kidding, a collection of cartoons. She is widely published in journals and anthologies, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.
Specialties: Memoir, Essays
Darcey Gohring has 25 years of professional writing and editing experience. She is Host of the Zibby Media Writing Community, a group of over 350 writers from all over the world. For six years, Darcey was the managing editor of a lifestyle magazine and has held almost every position in the editorial field. She is a writing instructor, who specializes in personal narrative and memoir. In her workshops, Darcey helps writers find their unique voices to craft meaningful personal stories. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, HuffPost, Insider, Scary Mommy, New Jersey Monthly, among others. She was a contributing writer for the anthology, Corona City: Voices From an Epicenter, where she shared her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the first few weeks of the pandemic. Darcey leads writing workshops and has served as the keynote speaker for conferences all over the United States.
Lillie Hannon received her Master’s in Education from Rutgers University and has taught creative writing to students in grades 3-8. Her favorite genres are magical realism, comedy, and children’s literature, of course. Her published works include a non-fiction essay for Listen to Your Mother and her short story Cursed, which won first place for the Evelyn Hamilton Award. Lillie lives in Jersey City with her dog Sadie and her many, many plants. Lillie also provides academic tutoring at www.lilliehannontutoring.com/.
Specialties: Poetry, Fiction
Jared Harél is the author of Let Our Bodies Change the Subject, which was selected by Kwame Dawes as the Winner of the 2022 Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry (University of Nebraska Press, 2023.) He’s been awarded the ‘Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize’ from American Poetry Review, the ‘William Matthews Poetry Prize’ from Asheville Poetry Review, and two Individual Artist Grants from Queens Council on the Arts. Harél’s writing have recently appeared in such journals as 32 Poems, Electric Literature, New Ohio Review, Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, The Southern Review and The Sun. He teaches writing, plays drums, and lives in Westchester, NY with his wife and two kids.
Christopher Healy is following through on the promise he made to his seven-year-old self to become an author someday. So far, he has written eight books for young readers, including The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (HarperCollins, 2012), which appeared on Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, Kirkus’s Best Young Adult Books, the IndieBound Indie Next List, and the New York Times Notable Books list. He is also the author of the Perilous Journey of Danger & Mayhem trilogy (HarperCollins, 2018–2020), No One Leaves the Castle (HarperCollins, August 2023), the picture book, This Is Not That Kind of Book (Random House, 2019), and two sequels in the Hero’s Guide series.
His work has also appeared in anthologies (Guys Read and Out of the Ordinary), educational texts (Houghton-Mifflin’s Into Reading), and numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, Glamour, Parenting, Parents, Child, Time Out New York, Common Sense Media, and a bunch of other places that sadly no longer exist (though not because of Chris!).
Specialties: Fiction, Poetry, Adult Beginners
Christina Kapp specializes in teaching writing practice and craft to beginner writers and short story/flash fiction writers for The Writers Circle, where she also serves as their Outreach and Development Coordinator. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications including Passages North, Hobart, The MacGuffin, Forge, PANK, Gargoyle, Blood Orange Review and has been nominated for numerous Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. Her creative nonfiction is forthcoming in fall 2023 in Rooted 2: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction.
In addition to her creative work, Christina loves working with college students and has taught in the Writing Program at Rutgers University—Newark for the last ten years. She has also worked in a range of administrative and teaching roles at universities including Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University – Teachers College, and New York University. She welcomes you to follow her on Twitter @ChristinaKapp and visit her website: www.christinakapp.com.
Specialties: Fiction, Translation, Editorial
Katya Kazbek is a writer, translator and editor, who lives and works in New York City. She writes about the world’s cultures for supamodu.com and elsewhere. Katya graduated from Columbia University’s MFA and University of Oxford’s writing MSt program. She is now an assistant adjunct professor at Columbia, and has taught at Catapult and organized community workshops in NYC, before joining The Writers’ Circle.
Katya’s first novel “Little Foxes Took Up Matches” is a coming-of-age story set in Moscow right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It received a starred review from Kirkus, and praise from The New York Times, Vogue, Buzzfeed, Publisher’s Weekly, and others.
Katya is interested in translated literature, foreign film, and world music and art that focus on social and working class issues. She likes moles, and exploring the natural and industrial wonders of the East Coast and wherever she gets to travel with her partner.
Rebecca Kilroy has been part of The Writers Circle for eight years a student, intern, teaching assistant, program coordinator, and now instructor. She is a novelist and short story writer specializing in historical fiction, fantasy and magical realism. Her work has been published in oranges journal, Fatal Flaw, StreetLit and others. Her latest work is forthcoming from Haunted Words Press. She is also the founder and managing editor of Thanatos Review. When not writing or teaching she enjoys reading, hiking, and challenging her friends to games of Ultimate Frisbee.
Specialties: Experimental Forms
Livvy Krakower (she/her) is passionate about redefining what writing is. Her work focuses on experimental and hybrid forms. She has been published in Jewish Women of Words, Blue Marble Review, JGirls+ Magazine, Jabberwocky, Roadrunner Review, Wrongdoing Magazine, and elsewhere. Her latest pieces are forthcoming in The Washington Square Review, Writers Resist, and Duck Duck Mongoose Magazine. She was nominated for the Sonder Press Best Small Fiction and won an honorable mention in the Roadrunner Review Fiction Prize. When not writing, Livvy enjoys dancing, basketball, and always a good cup of tea.
Specialty: Memoir, Humor
Award-winning writer Colleen Markley’s path traveled through the hallowed studios of Jim Henson Pictures and Thirteen/WNET, NYC’s public television station. Named the June 2021 winner of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop Humor Writer of the Month, Colleen attempts to be funny every month as a regular contributor riffing on the zodiac for Dharma Direction. Her essay (“Unflappably Calm, Occasionally Furious, Ready and Willing to Hide the Bodies,”) was awarded the Nickie’s Prize for Humor, and published in an anthology entitled Sisters! Bonded by Love and Laughter. Colleen’s essays and humor have appeared in multiple anthologies in print and various magazines online, including The Order of Us, Goldfinch, Grown & Flown, Ignatian Literary Magazine, Apricity Magazine, and The Writing Cooperative. Exploring serious topics with the lens of humor is Colleen’s passion, along with genre-bending feminist fiction. Her latest project, Lilith Land, is a story about a pandemic virus and the end of the world where only the women survive. (It’s a novel, not an action plan).
Specialties: Memoir, Essay, Magazine Journalism
Jill Smolowe is the author of the memoirs Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in a Time of Grief and An Empty Lap: One Couple’s Journey to Parenthood, and co-editor of the anthology A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents. An award-winning journalist, she clocked 35 years as a foreign affairs writer for Time and Newsweek, and a senior writer for People. Jill’s essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, among them the New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, More, Money, Time, Adoptive Families and the Reader’s Digest “Today’s Best NonFiction” series. She has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC and NPR. A Princeton grad and a Duke Visiting Journalism Fellow, Jill has guest-lectured at several of the area’s journalism schools. She ran a writing workshop in Ridgewood for two years before joining the Writers Circle in 2020 as a memoir instructor. .
Specialties: Novel Writing, Romance, Tarot Creativity
Kris Waldherr is an author, illustrator and tarotist whose debut novel The Lost History of Dreams received a Kirkus-starred review and was named a best book of the year by CrimeReads. Her fiction has won fellowships from the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts and a works-in-progress reading grant from Poets & Writers. Waldherr has also authored numerous nonfiction books for adults and children including Doomed Queens, which The New Yorker praised as “utterly satisfying.” She is the creator of The Goddess Tarot, which has over a quarter of a million copies in print, and has been working with the tarot for over thirty years. Upcoming publications include Unnatural Creatures: A Novel of the Frankenstein Women.
Specialties: Fiction, Essays, Opinion
Helen Wan is a novelist. She writes and consults on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, especially relating to women and minorities on the career ladder and the complicated pursuit of success. Her novel, THE PARTNER TRACK (Macmillan, 2013), about a young woman of color up for partnership at a powerful law firm, was a Book Club selection of REAL SIMPLE and The National Association of Women Lawyers, and became the subject of a Washington Post Magazine cover story on glass ceilings. It was made into a Netflix series in 2022. She has written for The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post. Previously, Helen was a media lawyer in New York.
Helen lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband, their son, one fish, and a lot of Matchbox cars. Her author website is helenwan.com.