The FreeBird Writing Workshop began when I first started to get serious about my own writing and needed the constant attention and direction needed for publication, but couldn’t afford to pay the fees of local workshops on my non-profit salary. So I started asking around…It turned out that many of my writer friends also had a need for this environment and embraced the idea of meeting once a week to be focused and literary. With the support of FreeBird Books and Goods owner, Peter Miller, who so generously allowed us to meet in the bookstore during off-hours, the workshop began to take shape:
We read plays. We got to the meaning of poems. We wrote and revised. And then suddenly, one of my stories got published!
It is my hope to encourage writers who can't seem to find the time to write; to guide anyone who doesn’t know how to finish what they’ve started; to ensure that our group is full of productive, proactive writers. There are thousands of writers recognized for their skills, why shouldn’t you be one of them?
Rachel Ephraim, founder and director of FreeBird Workshops, is also a professional writing teacher for Writopia Lab, a Manhattan based non-profit organization that teaches creative writing to young adults 8-18. After obtaining her M.F.A in creative writing at Columbia University, Rachel worked in the fiction department at The New Yorker where she read through the slush pile searching for treasure. Previously, Rachel was the managing editor of the Park Slope Reader, a Brooklyn based magazine, where she also ran a fiction column that highlighted local talent. She learned the mechanics of editing at Peter Lang Publishing as a production editor and now regularly contributes articles to online and in-print publications on food, music, movies, and nightlife. Rachel's short story, Please Send a Published Copy to 101 Harris Road, published in the Apple Valley Review is currently being taught at UCLA. Her fiction has also appeared in The Barcelona Review, Word Riot and Listen Party. In 2010, she received an artist's grant to attend La Muse (France). She also attended Vermont Studio Center in 2011 on a writer's grant, and will be a writer-in-residence at Milkwood International (Czech Republic) and Gowry Art Institute (India) in 2012. She is currently working on her first novel.
Holly Virginia Clark manages the FreeBird Writing Workshop San Francisco. After earning her MFA in creative writing with a concentration in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, Holly pursued continuing education courses in pedagogical theory and adolescent literacy in order to teach writing workshops to young adults in the NYC public schools. Such venues as Cornelia Street Café and the Ear Inn have invited Holly to participate in their reading series, and she has garnered the University of Cincinnati’s Academy of American Poet’s Prize and Elliston Prize in Poetry. Holly’s work was most recently anthologized in Poem, Revised, a publication of Marion Street Press.
Justin Bryant graduated with a B.A. in English from Elon University in 2001 and recently completed his M.F.A. in creative writing at New York University, where he did his thesis with E.L. Doctorow. His first short story was published in The Iconoclast in 1991. Since then, he’s had subsequent stories in The Chiron Review, Thin Air, and The Rockhurst Review. Two other shorts were anthologized in collections from Gorksy Press and Key Porter Books. In 2004, ENC published his first novel, Season Of Ash. Justin has recently completed a short story collection and is currently at work on his second novel.
Aaron Allen doesn't own a motorcycle. But he does think jumping on a random motorcycle and putting on a faraway look is a great pose for a writer. Aaron graduated with a BA in English from Brigham Young University in 2004, obtained his MA in American Literature (with a creative emphasis in poetry) in 2007, and has taught writing in BYU's graduate program. In 2007, he won the Hart Larsen Poetry prize and the 2007 Ann Doty Memorial Fiction prize and published his poetry in Inscape Magazine. Later, he got permission from the Guatemalan government to live at, and document life at, various archaeological sites in the Peten rainforest, experiences which inspired his collection of poems and stories, "True. Story." Aaron is currently an MFA candidate in Fiction at Columbia University. He can say with complete sincerity that he already likes you.
Jennifer Miller is the author of two books. "Inheriting the Holy Land: An American’s Search for Hope in the Middle East" (Ballantine, 2005) follows Israeli and Palestinian teenagers living through the second intifada. Her debut novel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, spring 2012) follows the unusual relationship between a quirky teenage journalist and a cynical microbiologist. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Men’s Health, Smithsonian.com, Salon.com, and Guernica.com. Her most recent article, “Girls With No Game,” is in the January 2011 issue of Marie Claire. Jen has over a decade of experience teaching writing. She is currently a writing instructor at Columbia University. Visit her website: http://www.byjennifermiller.com/
Hilary Leichter's work has appeared in the Indiana Review, The Barnes and Noble Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Her short story "Disaster Relief" was selected as a finalist in the L Magazines 2011 Literary Upstart contest. This spring, she received her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, where she teaches in the undergraduate creative writing program. She is a mentor with Girls Write Now and works at Random House. When she is not writing or teaching, she is singing jazz standards at her apartment in Brooklyn, NY.
David Varno received a B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College and an M.F.A. in Fiction at Columbia University, where he has led several creative writing workshops with undergraduate students and summer high school students. His short fiction has been published in the Brooklyn Rail, and he has written many essays and book reviews for BOMBLog, the Cleavland Plain Dealer, the L Magazine, and Words Without Borders, where he served as Dispatches Editor for three years. He lives in Brooklyn and has recently spent time writing in relatively foreign places such as Martha's Vineyard, where he is also not afraid to test the boat-holding capacity of a compact car.
Rebecca Hargraves holds degrees from Harvard and UC Berkeley in very sensible subjects. Most days she tries not to use them. She lives and writes in Brooklyn but will always be a California girl (even though she can't tan and doesn't believe in women being called girls).
A writer, teacher, and student of the world, Jonah Kruvant received his Bachelor's degree from Skidmore College, his Master's degree in Teaching from Fordham University, and his MFA degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College. He has taught in Japan, China, Costa Rica, and in the New York City public school system. He currently teaches creative writing at The Writer's Circle and New York Writer's Coalition. His debut novel, The Last Book Ever Written, was published by PanAm Books, and his work has appeared in Digital Americana, On the Verge, and LIMN Literary & Arts Journal. He is an unofficial expert on New York City pizza. Visit his website at www.jonahkruvant.com.