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Education & Professional Training

Education

I completed all my coursework for a Doctorate in Comparative Literature, specifically in African and Caribbean Literature, and Postcolonial Studies at New York University, but I found that my desire to write fiction won out over my desire to write a dissertation. I previously earned a Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing from New York University as well, a Bachelor’s in Spanish from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Brooklyn College the first time around.

Professional Training

My professional training has been extensive, and given me profound resources. My doctoral studies at New York University have included close work with world-renowned writers Kamau Brathwaite from Barbados, and my adviser Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Kenya. Under scholarship from A Room of Her Own Foundation, I studied character development and dialogue with playwright Ellen McLaughlin at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Through the annual writers’ workshop conducted by the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, I participated in a series of master classes in fiction and poetry with Stratis Haviaras, Tim O’Brien, Larry Heinemann, and Claribel Alegria, as well as single workshops with Robert Creeley, Carolyn Forche, Grace Paley, Yusef Komunyaaka and others. While studying for my Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing, I studied with Michael Ondaatje, Galway Kinnell, Ruth Stone, David Ignatow, and Louis Simpson.

I have also attended professional workshops through the International Women’s Writing Guild, and fiction workshops at the Writers’ Studio in Manhattan, an institute directed by Philip Schultz, with whom I had earlier participated in colloquia on the teaching of creative writing while I was teaching and studying for my masters at New York University. I also attended seminars and workshops on teaching creative writing to schoolchildren through the COMPAS Writers-In-The-Schools Program in St. Paul, Minnesota. I received acting and performance training through the Writers on Stage project of the Loft in Minneapolis, and studied acting at the Hagen-Berghdof (HB) Studios in Manhattan. My other teachers have included Stephen Berg through the Writers’ Community in New York, Karen Swenson at City College in New York, and Alix Kates Shulman at New York University.