Kip Wilson Rechea
Editor in Chief 2016-17 & Poetry Editor
I have a Ph.D. in German Literature and wrote my dissertation on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry. Some of my accomplishments include a Fulbright teaching teens in Austria, several years working at language-learning and voice recognition software companies, and hundreds of thousands of words on paper. My work has been published in the “Timeless” and “Spain from a Backpack” anthologies, as well as in several magazines for children. I have a passion for languages, history, and diversity, and am drawn to poetry and gorgeous, lyrical prose.
I live in Boston with my cute and geeky Spanish husband and mischievous twin girls, and am hard at work on a historical novel for young adults. If I’m not writing or revising at my desk at 5am, I’m off doing countless laps in the pool.
Founder & Essays Editor
Writing stuff: I have an MFA from Columbia University, and some of my own writing can be found in Guernica, So To Speak, Midwest Quarterly, and Poets and Writers Online. I’ve been the recipient of the Carolyn Doty Memorial Scholarship to the Squaw Valley Writers Community, and for six years I was a writing professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. My YA writing memoir, “This is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World” came out with Writer’s Digest Books in 2013. I’ve been working on a novel about Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, fourth of the famed Kennedy kids, who goes and falls in love with a Protestant future duke on the eve of World War II. I’m represented by the marvelous Margaret O’Connor of Innisfree Literary.
Personal stuff: While I’m still a California girl at heart, the fact is I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong coast. My parents whisked me away to Massachusetts right after I was born, so I spent the first 8 years of my life there, before the family moved back to California. After graduating from UC Berkeley, I moved to Brooklyn, NY, where I spent 6 years doing various jobs to support my writing habit (working as a nanny, bookstore clerk, personal assistant, manager of an olive oil shop…). While in grad school, I met my now-hubby Mike and we moved to Greenwich, CT, where we lived for six years. In the summer of 2010, we moved to Weston, MA and had a baby girl named Elena. When I’m not hanging with Elena, writing, or YARNing, I’m probably reading, cooking, or with friends. I might also be gardening, wasting time on Facebook, or watching something from the ol’ Netlflix queue.
Laura Williams McCaffrey
Editor in Chief 2017-18 & Fiction Editor
Let’s see. I primarily write speculative fiction short stories and novels. I’m a YARN alum, most recently in 2016 when YARN published “Crow’s Face.” Also published by YARN — “Into the Vast,” which SCBWI awarded a 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction. Additionally, I’ve published stories in Cicada, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Soundings Review. In 2016, Clarion Books released “Marked,” my dystopian novel for teens with graphic novel-style vignettes. I’m also the author of two children’s fantasy novels, “Water Shaper,” selected in 2007 for the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and “Alia Waking,” an IRA Notable Book and a Teens’ Top Ten Books nominee. I teach at Solstice, the low-residency MFA program at Pine Manor College, as well as at Pacem School, an independent school for middle and high school students that also offers classes to homeschoolers. Essentially, I love reading, I love writing, and I love editing—working with writers so they can grow their ideas into stories.
I do most of my work in a little witch’s tower, a small corner room in my house in Vermont. My dog and my cat sleepily stand guard with one eye half-open for ghost and fairy visitors.
For more information about me or my work, you can visit my website: http://www.laurawilliamsmccaffrey.com
I earned my Ph.D. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill (GO TAR HEELS!). After 9 years in academia, I realized my professional passions lay outside higher education and since quitting my job as an associate professor I’ve never been happier. I now spend every day writing, reading, wandering, and dreaming. To read more about my wandering, check out my personal blog: www.genesispotentia.com.
I have a B.A. in English Language and Literature from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. I wrote for the campus’s newspaper and was co-editor of its literary magazine, Knightscapes. During my non-academic hours, I worked as an assistant to the Children’s Librarian at a New Jersey Public Library.
I moved to Uruguay at the tail end of 2011, where fireworks go off in December and Orion’s Belt engulfs the sky. I am currently attempting to learn the phonemic chart. Guys, it is not going well.
I’m a writer and a mountain hiker. I’ve found that the two are actually more similar than one might think, each requiring extended commitment, inner strength, and determination to complete. To hike a mountain, you have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to write a story, you have to just keep putting one word after another on the page. For neither is there a shortcut, but the reward upon reaching the end is incomparable, and truly, that’s what I enjoy most about both. I have an MFA from Solstice (my writing and heart’s home), I was a screenwriting professor when I worked in LA, and I was a creative designer, fantasy worldbuilder, and writer on the Story Team for the fantasy property, “Magic: the Gathering”—a popular trading card game. You can find some of the stories I’ve written for Magic on my archive page. If you’re interested in hearing us talk about Magic or worldbuilding and writing you can check out The Mary Sue, Gadgette, or the Zendikar Worldbuilding, Vo
Readers and Social Media Staff:
Justin Barisich, Poetry
Though I originally hail from New Orleans, I earned my poetry chops at Vanderbilt University (where I majored in English Literature and Secondary Education) in Nashville before moving to Atlanta. And as an inaugural member of Vandy Spoken Word, the school’s only performance poetry group, I grew from a mediocre poet (and a rather pitiful performer who knew absolutely nothing of stage poetry) into the group’s president in just 3 short years – all the while learning the art form from those wiser and more experienced. I’d go on to perform my poetry for over 6,500 folks; mentor more than 30 other collegiate poets; spearhead and formalize the creation and publication of the Baton Rouge area’s first-ever a city-wide anthology of youth poetry; and teach poetry workshops, organize events, and start a scholarship for many of Nashville’s Southern Word youth poets.
Outside of the mentoring, coaching, and organizing I now do with Atlanta Word Works and their youth poets, I run my own freelancing company, Little Writing Man, apply to MFA programs, and attempt to convince other literary journals to print my words.
My poetics have been influenced by various spoken word artists such as Rives and Rudy Francisco, and by poets such as W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, and Tyehimba Jess. I am forever learning from my writing – both about myself and about others. I hope that you do too.
Miriam Barquera, Fiction
I’m originally from Mexico City, but these days (for the past ten years, really!) I call Miami my home. My heart is usually in both countries at once, and so my life and interests reflect a rich combination of two cultures that I love and embrace. I love magic realism and speculative fiction, contemporary and historical novels. I read both in English and Spanish, and it’s always fun to discover books that do a good job of combining both.
I spend most of my time surrounded by stories—either reading them, writing them, or daydreaming about them. I’m currently working on my last semester of graduate school. Fingers crossed, I will soon get my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Hannah Dorr-White, Fiction
Hello! My name is Hannah Dorr-White, though most people call me Shadow. I am a tenth-grade writer/artist with a love for animals, a keen eye for spelling mistakes, and an insatiable need to acquire more books to read. I am also an avid equestrian, and the proud rider of a quirky western Quarter Horse named Tante. As might be expected, I love to read about horses as well as ride them; however, I was quite disappointed by the scarcity of good horse novels. In response, I began to write the sort of stories I’d been looking for, complete with equines, science, mythology, technology, and protagonists who just happen to get in the way.
I spend much of my time creating in-depth characters, hanging out with my beloved boy Tante, and fighting off writer’s block. I’m hoping to get my first novel published once it’s completed, which may be a while. I’m considering a career in aviation, and/or a job as a horse trainer, but my real aim is to create stories for a living.
I am new to YARN, but I am very excited about working with everyone here, and about getting to read lots of new stories! I’m so glad to have had this opportunity.
Mitzi Estes, Poetry & Facebook
My name is Mitzi Estes. I’m fifteen and I’ve lived in Massachusetts for twelve years. I grew up in Hingham with my brother, my two sisters, my mom. and my dad. I’m also a Type One Diabetic, and have been for seven years. Although it is a lot to manage, I like to push through and look at the positives in life I enjoy reading and horseback riding, as well as writing my own piety and short stories. My favorite book is Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I’ve read it about twenty times in the last five years! I enjoy working with children; in fact I work at a nursery school that has a summer camp too, so I spend my summers working eight-hour days with four to eight year olds, and loving every minute of it.
I’m a writer and a designer. I live in southern Vermont, where I share a house atop a hill with my husband and baby daughter, our dog Murgatroyd, (Heavens To), and our cat Minnie. I’m a writer, currently working on a new draft of my middle grade detective novel while flirting with the YA novel that’s been rattling around upstairs for a while. I have a BFA in Dramatic Writing from Purchase College and professionally, I have a background in screenwriting, ghostwriting (novels and non-fiction), and copywriting.
A little snapshot of my life outside of work: I love to embrace all that Vermont has to offer, from the Farmer’s Market and campfires (with s’mores) in the summer to cozy fireplaces and snowy views in the winter (and all of the beautiful leaves, pumpkins, and cider donuts in between). Other interests include picking wildflowers, cooking (I’m sure I’ll master the perfect coconut curry sauce, someday), and traveling.
Kori Johnson, Fiction
Hi everyone! I am a former middle school English teacher turned arts educator. I work to highlight underrepresented voices and connect communities through the creative arts. My bookshelves are filled mainly with contemporary YA fiction, although I am trying to get more into non-fiction. I admire the bravery and vulnerability of the characters I read about, and the writers who create them.
Other tidbits about me: I am a proud Maryland native. After living in several major cities, I have a newfound love of my simple, unassuming state. My favorite movie of all-time is Disney’s The Little Mermaid (The Sound of Music is a close second). I fully embrace my quintessential middle-child status. I am a part of a lovely writers’/artists’ group in Northern Virginia. The ocean fascinates me more than outer space.
I’m a wife and mother of three and I’m obsessed with reading and writing, with a particular passion for young adult fiction. Under my pen-name (K.C. Maguire), I write a regular column on YA lit for the Luna Station Quarterly blog as well as blogging regularly on my own website (kcmaguire.com) and for the Space City Scribes blog (Houston-based independent author collective). My flash fiction has appeared in publications including Writers Type, Delta Women, Tough Lit, Black Petals Magazine, Six Minute Magazine, Midlife Collage, Everyday Fiction, and Luna Station Quarterly. I’ve published three e-novellas with Seattle-based Books To Go Now: Destiny, Dear John, and Ivory Tower. I’ve also placed a couple of times in the Houston Writers’ Guild fiction writing contest, children and young adults category. My short story, In For A Penny, published in 2014 in the Space City 6 anthology placed in the Writers Type second quarter short story contest in 2014; and my YA short story There’s No Such Thing as Sleepskating received an Honorable Mention in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge in 2015. My debut YA novel, Inside the Palisade, was released in August 2015 by Lodestone Books in the U.K. I’ve has completed the Fiction Writing Certificate program at UCLA Extension and the Online Writing Certificate program at Stanford, and I’m currently a student in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. I’ve lived in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia (and now have a really weird accent!), but home is wherever my family is.
Jessica Kennedy Messier, Fiction
I have lived in Central Massachusetts my whole life (I grew up walking distance from Worcester. That’s WUH-sterr, not WORE-sess-TERR! Or wore-CHEST-err.), and have been writing stories since age nine. I majored in journalism and communications, and minored in music, with a concentration in piano. I received an MFA in creative writing, fiction, from the Solstice Creative Writing Program from Pine Manor College, where I studied under the incredible mentorship of Laura Williams McCaffrey, Robert Lopez and Sandra Scofield. My short story, “Only Skin” was published in Corium Magazine, and I’m in the final stages of editing a novel.
When I’m not writing I am running or doing yoga, reading or listening to books on CD (yup, I listen to books old school style) or playing with my pup, Buster. I also work as a public relations specialist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where I work with the media and help the institution tell its stories. I have the pleasure of working with WPI faculty – real life scientists – and learn about how their research is changing the world. Plus, it’s a gold mine of ideas for sci-fi stories (did you know that it’s possible to growing beating human heart cells on a piece of spinach?). While I’m new to YA, I am beyond excited to be a part of YARN.
I came to writing poetry late in my teaching career. If someone had said to me that I would become a poet, I’d say he was crazy. Yet, here I am completing my first manuscript of poetry, “Shadows Lie.” My poems have appeared in Poem, Wisconsin Review, Compass Rose, descant, Eureka Literary Journal, Eclipse, Green Hills Literary Latern, Painted Bride, Diverse Voices, and Pisgah. I stopped teaching academic and creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University in May, so that I could devote all of my time to my poetry. If truth be told, I also hope to explore creative nonfiction. I’ve completed three pieces and they are circulating the journal market now.
I am a teen writer, reader, visual artist, and Bananagrams champion from Massachusetts. I have loved fantasy and adventure for as long as I can remember and my interest in writing dates back to my elementary years. My first finished book was titled The Dragon Boy and was complete with hand-drawn illustrations and an eight-year-old’s creative spelling. Although I fear I peaked in second grade and may never top this creation, I continue to write whenever I can. Despite my love for composing short stories and novels, my true passion lies in poetry. Scarcely a day goes by that I haven’t recorded at least a wacky combination of words in the margins of a notebook. Although I love science and logic and I follow NASA on Instagram, a part of me still believes that my wardrobe will lead me to Narnia and that, if I focus hard enough, I will be able to perform legilimency on a passing squirrel.
Jennifer Strattman, Fiction
I’ve wanted to write since about age twelve, when I devoured stories of girls growing up. After taking a writing hiatus post-college for career and family, I’ve finally completed my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Pine Manor College’s Solstice Low Residency Program. While I often write realistic short narratives, my goal this fall is to test out the novel’s longer canvas. I’ve recently published a book review at Green Mountains Review On-line, and an interview of writer Renee Watson at the Solstice Website.
As a greater Boston resident since the mid-1990s, I’ve recently moved closer to my Vermont roots. I now live in a farmhouse outside of Cambridge, NY with my husband Eric and my two children, Matthew (age 7) and Lillian (age 4). We often spend our summer days wading in the White Creek and our evenings sitting on our porch watching the world go by. I love to knit and hope that one day I can convert one of our barns to a writing studio.
Fatima Toturgul, Fiction & Twitter
Hello, fellow YARNer! Like many of us here at YARN, I’m a longtime bookworm and have a background in history and literature, with a concentration in creative writing. As a graduate student, I’ve continued to study the awesomeness of books, particularly the benefits of reading graphic novels and comics. I am a big fan of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature, and in addition to pursuing my research interests through the liberal studies program at NSSR, I’ve continued to develop my writing through the children’s literature department at Hollins University. When I’m not reading or writing, I might be playing video games, drawing, or sprucing up my home with a Pinterest inspired DIY project.
A YARN Alum, I write stories about smartass outsiders on the cusp of adulthood–proud nerds channeling their inner rebels as they dynamite a place in the world. My story “Winterim” won the 2016 SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for Young Adult Fiction. My work has also been published by Georgetown Review, Quantum Fairy Tales, and Dogzplot, among others. I’m currently at work on a new YA novel about the 1969 moon landing. I live in Glen Ridge, New Jersey with my very patient husband, three adorably manic children, and two cats who bear a striking resemblance to Mr. Bigglesworth. To read my work or check out my current reading list visit me at www.lynnvandestouwe.com.
Rachael Conrad, Twitter
Hello fellow reading and writing enthusiasts! My name is Rachael and I recently graduated from Manhattanville College with an MFA in creative writing. I’m currently working as a book seller at an independent bookstore just outside of Boston. I’ve loved reading all of my life (especially fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries) and hope to one day see my own work on shelves next to my favorites. When I don’t have a book in hand I can be found spending time writing, listening to various podcasts, playing video games, or spending time outdoors.
Co-founder, Contributing Editor
My love of storytelling first took me down the path toward theater. I studied drama at the California State School of the Arts, San Joaquin Delta College, and Yale University prior to graduating from the University of California Los Angeles School for Theater, Film and Television. Then, I figured out that I would much rather write stories then act in them. So, I ditched theater to become a high school English teacher and married an astrophysicist/Math Dude. When I’m not reading, teaching, or traveling, I am writing. My recent screenplay, “Follow Me” placed in the semi-finals of the 2010 UCLA Screenwriting Competition.
Co-founding and co-editing YARN with Kerri in 2010/2011 was a dream come true! How many people get to work on a project they love, surrounded by literature they adore, with a person who has been a close friend for twenty years?! In August of 2011, I decided to enter the MFA in Creative Writing program at National University (while maintaining my job as a high school English teacher), forcing me to step back a bit from my YARN duties. (I’ve officially petitioned for more hours in the day–apparently, it’s a no-go.) I’m not leaving YARN entirely, however, I’ll be regularly blogging the ins-and-outs of an all-online MFA experience in the future!