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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
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 Garfield High School & Washington Middle 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 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
Ryan Boudinot Shorewood High School

Ryan Boudinot is the author of the novels Blueprints of the Afterlife and Misconception and the story collection The Littlest Hitler. He teaches at Hugo House and has been leading an effort to get Seattle designated a UNESCO City of Literature. 

Ryan Boudinot
Sara Brickman Nathan Hale High School

Sara Brickman is a poet, nationally acclaimed performer, and community organizer. A mentor with Youth Speaks Seattle and the author of three chapbooks, her poems can be found in Bestiary and Hoarse. She curates The Hootenanny, a living room reading series.

Sara Brickman
Aaron Counts Chief Sealth High School

As an educator and counselor, Aaron has seen the transformative power of words. He has written, read, and taught with professors, prisoners, high school dropouts, and National Book Award winners. He is the co-author of Reclaiming Black Manhood and is the founding editor of Unblind Communications.

Aaron Counts
Vicky Edmonds Broadview-Thompson K-8

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
Karen Finneyfrock Nathan Hale High School & Blue Heron Middle School

Karen Finneyfrock’s young adult novel, Celia, the Dark and Weird, is due from Viking Children’s Books, a division of Penguin, in 2012. Her book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, is out on Write Bloody press.

Karen Finneyfrock
Kathleen Flenniken View Ridge Elementary

Kathleen’s first book, Famous, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and was an ALA Notable Book. Her second collection, Plume, about the Hanford nuclear site, will appear in 2012. 

Kathleen Flenniken
Laura Gamache Blue Heron 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 & Ingraham High 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
Nicole Hardy West Seattle High School

Nicole Hardy’s memoir Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin was published in 2013. Her non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times and selected as ‘notable’ in 2012’s “Best American Essays." Her poetry collections include This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl's XX Guide to Facial Profiling, a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Visit

Nicole Hardy
Eli Hastings Franklin High School

Eli Hastings is the author of Falling Room and Clearly Now, the Rain: A Memoir of Love & Other Trips. He was recently profiled in the Seattle Times. He holds an MFA from the University of NC at Wilmington, and is completing his MA in family therapy and clinical internship at Antioch University.

Eli Hastings
John Wesley Horton Port Townsend High School

John Wesley Horton (aka Johnny Horton) co-directs the University of Washington’s summer creative writing program in Rome. He’s received a Washington Artist Trust GAP grant and his poems appear in Poetry Northwest, Cutbank, Notre Dame Review, Borderlands, Los Angeles Review, and City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry.

John Wesley Horton
Rachel Kessler Ballard High School & Blue Heron Middle School

Rachel is a writer, educator, and performance artist. She is a founding member of the literary performance art groups The Typing Explosion and the Vis-à-Vis Society. Collaborative poems have appeared in Tin House, TATE, and USA Today. She is working on her own versions of favorite fairy tales. 

Rachel Kessler
Erin Malone Whittier Elementary

Erin Malone’s collection of poems, Hover, won the 2013 Patricia Bibby First Book Award and will be published by Tebot Bach Press in 2014. The recipient of grants from Washington’s Artist Trust, 4Culture and the Colorado Council of the Arts, she has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and at the University of Washington Rome Center in Italy.

Erin Malone
Corinne Manning Catherine Blaine K-8

Corinne Manning received her MFA from UNC Wilmington. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Arts & Letters, Drunken Boat, and online at The Oxford American. She 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
Peter Mountford Blue Heron Middle School & Shorecrest High 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 will be published in February, 2014. His fiction and nonfiction have been in The Atlantic Monthly, Granta, Slate, Best New American Voices 2008, Salon, 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
Michael Overa TOPS

Michael Overa is a Seattle native and holds an MFA from Hollins University. A steadfast believer that clear communication opens doors, Michael has taught writing throughout the Seattle area. His work has appeared in the Portland Review, Quiet, Pindeldyboz and the Denver Syntax, among others.

Michael Overa
Imani Sims Broadview-Thompson

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 found an interdisciplinary arts production company, Split Six Productions.

Imani Sims
Greg Stump McClure Middle School & Room Nine Community 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 eighteen years she’s been a Teaching Artist in schools; Richard Hugo House; Coyote Central; and with Pongo Teen Writing at King Co. juvenile detention and the state psychiatric hospital.

Ann Teplick