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Writers & Schools

Our writers boast many titles and accolades. They have published novels, short story collections, and books of poetry. Their journal publications include: Arts & Letters, Portland Review, Indiana Review, Swivel, and Poetry Northwest. They are Slammasters, Richard Hugo House Writers, literary curators, screenwriters, performance artists, and award-winning storytellers. They are teachers not only for Writers In The Schools but also juvenile detention halls, the state psychiatric hospital, Monroe Correctional Complex, the University of Washington's Rome Program, and Youth Speaks Seattle. They hold MFAs and more titles than we can count. This year, they serve 25 schools in four school districts: Highline, Port Townsend, Seattle, and Shoreline. By encouraging students to write about what they know best––themselves––WITS writers-in-residence help students find their own, authentic voices.

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Samar Abulhassan BF Day Elementary, Blue Heron School & The Hutch School
Samar holds an M.F.A. from Colorado State University and worked in California public schools for seven years. Born to Lebanese immigrants and raised with multiple languages, she is a 2006 Hedgebrook alum and the author of two chapbooks, Farah and Nocturnal Temple.
Samar Abulhassan
Daemond Arrindell Broadview-Thomson K-8, HS3 High School, West Seattle High School

Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer, and teaching artist. He is currently a faculty member of Freehold Theatre and is co-facilitating (for the 5th year) a poetry and theater residency at Monroe Correctional Complex for men, in addition to working as a Writer-In-Residence through the Writers in the Schools Program. In the fall of 2012, he taught Seattle University’s first course in Slam Poetry. He has performed in venues across the country and has been repeatedly commissioned by both Seattle and Bellevue Arts Museums.

Daemond Arrindell
Emily Bedard McDonald Elementary School & Roosevelt High School

Emily writes poetry, fiction, and collaborative screenplays with her sister. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Montana and has taught students from preschool to college age. Her freelance work is in print and online, and her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Swivel, and elsewhere.

Emily Bedard
Margot Kahn Case Franklin High School

Margot Kahn Case writes creative nonfiction. She is the author of Horses That Buck, the biography of an old rodeo cowboy. Her work has appeared in the collections Night Lights: Stories and Essays by 22 Northwest Authors, What to Read in the Rain 2012, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere.

Margot Kahn Case
Aaron Counts Garfield High School

Aaron has written & read with professors, prisoners, dropouts & scholars. He is the co-author of Reclaiming Black Manhood and the lead artist with King County’s Creative Alternatives Program, which uses art to reduce the number of kids locked away in detention. His 1st publication appeared on a Kenmore refrigerator on 7th St. in Yakima and has recently appeared in Specter Magazine, Bestiary, Aldebaran Review and Rufous City Review.

Aaron Counts
Vicky Edmonds Broadview-Thomson K-8 School & Cascade K-8 Community School

Vicky Edmonds is a poet & teacher who uses poetry as a means of bringing our deepest truths to the page and to the world. She is the author of 5 chapbooks, has worked with writers of all ages for over 23 years and has compiled over 250 books of the writings from children & at-risk youth she has taught. 

Vicky Edmonds
Katy Ellis Whittier Elementary School

Katy E. Ellis grew up under fir trees and high-voltage power lines in Renton, Washington. She studied writing at the University of Victoria and at Western Washington University. She is the author of two chapbooks, and her poetry has appeared in many literary journals in the U.S. and Canada. Katy also teaches writing to home school children in West Seattle.

Katy Ellis
Karen Finneyfrock Lafayette Elementary School & Blue Heron Middle School

Karen Finneyfrock is a poet and novelist. She is the author of two young adult novels: The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door and Starbird Murphy and the World Outside, both published by Viking Children’s Books. She is one of the editors of the anthology Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls and the author or Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, both released on Write Bloody press. She is a former Writer-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House.

Karen Finneyfrock
Kathleen Flenniken View Ridge Elementary School

Kathleen Flenniken is the author of two poetry collections, Famous, named a Notable Book by the ALA, and Plume, winner of the Washington State Book Award. She was the 2012 – 2014 Washington State Poet Laureate.

Kathleen Flenniken
Laura Gamache Blue Heron Middle School, Hamilton International Middle School & TOPS K-8

Poet and educator, Laura has published work online; on the air; on buses, tee shirts, bikinis, and bookmarks; in journals, anthologies, and her chapbook, nothing to hold onto. Currently, she is at work on a book about teaching creative writing in a rural school.

Laura Gamache
Matt Gano The Center School
Matt Gano is author of Suits for the Swarm, a poetry collection from MoonPath Press, and has been writing and teaching professionally since 2004. Matt has toured poetry venues and worked as an artist-in-residence from New York to Hong Kong. He is a veteran of the Seattle writing community and founder of Youth Speaks Seattle’s famed program “The Writing Circle.”
Matt Gano
Rachel Kessler Washington Middle School & Blue Heron Middle School

Rachel Kessler is co-author of books Who Are We? (with 7" record) and TYPO, made as co-founder of poetry performance collaborations Vis-a-Vis Society and Typing Explosion, respectively. Her work has appeared in The Stranger, USA Today, Tin House, Poetry Northwest, Narrative and elsewhere. Inspired by everyday occurrences, she has performed poetry in parks, on buses, disguised as a tree, aboard water taxis, in phone booths, hair salons and public restrooms.

Rachel Kessler
Corinne Manning Catharine Blaine K-8 School

Corinne Manning received her MFA from UNC Wilmington. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Story Quarterly, Vol 1 Brooklyn,  Arts & Letters, Drunken Boat, The Oxford American and The Nervous Breakdown. Her story "Slow Steady Eruption" was published as a chapbook by Alice Blue Books in 2014. She's received grants and fellowships from Artist Trust, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and  was the Hub City Writer's Project Writer-in-Residence in 2010/2011. She co-coordinates The Furnace Reading Series, a long form prose reading series in Seattle.

Corinne Manning
Clare Meeker Whittier Elementary School

Clare Hodgson Meeker is an award-winning author of 11 children’s books, including the Smithsonian Notable Book Lootas, Little Wave Eater. Her new book, Rhino Rescue!, published by National Geographic Kids, was just awarded a 2016 Junior Library Guild Selection. Clare teaches writing in schools throughout the northwest and at conferences such as this year’s 2016 Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in July. She is a member of the Seattle7Writers collective.

Clare Meeker
Peter Mountford Blue Heron Middle School

Peter Mountford’s debut novel A Young Man’s Guide To Late Capitalism won the 2012 Washington State Book Award in fiction. His second novel The Dismal Science was published in 2014. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, Best New American Voices 2008, Boston Review, and elsewhere.

Peter Mountford
Sierra Nelson Seattle Children's Hospital

Sierra is a poet, cephalopod appreciator, and co-founder of performance art groups The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. Her lyrical choose-your-own-adventure with artist Loren Erdrich debuted from Rose Metal Press in Spring 2012 and chapbook “In Case of Loss” from Toadlily Press in Fall 2012.

Sierra Nelson
Nikkita Oliver Washington Middle School

Nikkita Oliver is a Seattle-based creative, teaching artist/mentor, and organizer. She was recently admitted to the WA State Bar Association to practice law and is completing a Masters of Education at the University of Washington. She is the 2014 Seattle Poetry Slam Grand Slam Champion. Her writing has been included in the South Seattle Emerald and the Christena Cleveland blog.

Nikkita Oliver
Michael Overa Broadview-Thomson K-8 School & TOPS K-8 School

Michael Overa was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and holds an MFA from Hollins University. A steadfast believer that clear communication opens doors, Michael has taught writing in a variety of venues, including at Cornish College of the Arts and the Tinker Mountain Online Writers' Workshop. His work has appeared in the Portland Review, Prime Number Magazine, Fiction Daily and the Denver Syntax, among others.

Michael Overa
Imani Sims Broadview-Thomson K-8 School

Imani Sims spun her first performance poem at the age of fourteen. She has gone on to teach performance poetry to youth and adults, publish her first collection of poetry entitled, Twisted Oak, on Requiem Press, and founded an interdisciplinary arts production company, Split Six Productions.

Imani Sims
Greg Stump Broadview-Thomson K-8 School & McClure Middle School

Greg Stump has been a regular contributor to The Stranger for more than a decade. He is the co-creator of the comic book series Urban Hipster, a former writer and editor for The Comics Journal, and the creator of the weekly alternative-newspaper comic Dwarf Attack. He teaches comics through a variety of schools and organizations in the Seattle area and recently completed his first graphic novel, Disillusioned Illusions.

Greg Stump
Ann Teplick Seattle Children's Hospital Education Department

Ann is a poet, playwright, and prose writer with an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. For twenty years she’s been a Teaching Artist in Seattle public schools; Hugo House; Coyote Central; and Pongo Teen Writing, at King Co. juvenile detention and the Washington State psychiatric hospital.

Ann Teplick
Anastacia Tolbert HS3 High School & Nathan Hale High School

Anastacia Renee Tolbert is a queer super-shero of color moonlighting as a writer, performance artist and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has received awards and fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook and VONA. She is the 2015-16 poet-in-residence at Richard Hugo House. Her chapbook 26 was published by Dancing Girl Press, and she is a 2015 Pushcart nominee. 

Anastacia Tolbert
Jeanine Walker Alki Elementary School & Leschi Elementary School

Jeanine Walker is a poet who holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Narrative, PageBoy, and Web Conjunctions. She has performed at many venues around town and is the host of the popular reading series Cheap Wine & Poetry.

Jeanine Walker