MFA Creative & Professional Writing


Associate Professor and MFA Coordinator Anthony D’Aries is the author of The Language of Men: A Memoir (Hudson Whitman Press, 2012), which received the PEN/New England Discovery Prize and an INDIES Gold Medal. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Boston Magazine, Solstice, Shelf Awareness, The Literary Review, Memoir Magazine, Silk Road Review, The Laurel Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, and elsewhere. His essays have been finalists for Fourth Genre’s Michael Steinberg Essay Prize and the Diana Wood’s Memorial Creative Nonfiction Award. In 2011, Anthony was selected as Randolph College’s Emerging Writer-in-Residence. He has served on the board of PEN/New England as a member of the Freedom-to-Write Committee, leading writing workshops in prisons, shelters, hospitals, and residential care facilities, and co-chairing the inaugural PEN Writing and Trauma Conference. Anthony received the 2014-15 Writers’ Room of Boston’s fellowship in nonfiction. In 2016, he was selected as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Fort Lyon Writer-in-Residence, where he taught writing workshops for homeless veterans. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essay, “No Man’s Land,” was listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2021. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories. 




Louisa Burns-Bisogno is an “O’Neill Playwright” and a winner at the National Playwrights Conference. She is an award-winning screenwriter, director, author, and international media consultant with over 100 on-screen credits. Her movies have been produced on cable TV and on all the major U.S. networks, as well as distributed internationally.  Among these are:My Body, My Child with Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon; Bridge to Silence, with Marlee Matlin; Mary Silliman’s War,  and Nobody’s Child, which netted an Emmy for Marlo Thomas. Louisa has trained professional writers in dramatic series techniques in Moscow, Dublin, and more recently in Rome where she is Head-Writer on a TV series in development. She has written story and scripts for popular American daytime series such as The Young and the Restless, One Life to Live and As the World Turns. She has had numerous plays produced including Angels and Infidels which she also directed. Seven of Louisa’s plays were selected by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for staged readings. She has produced and directed many of her students’ plays in this prestigious venue.



Leah Carroll lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and has written for publications including The New York Times, The Cut, The Atlantic, Billboard, and Guernica, among others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. She is the author of Down City: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Memory, and Murder.





Jane K. Cleland writes the multiple award-winning, bestselling, and long-running Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series, all published by St. Martin’s Minotaur and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Jane’s bestsellers about the craft of writing, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot and Mastering Plot Twists, both from Writer’s Digest Books (now Penguin/Putnam Random House), each won the Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. She is also a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest Magazine and the chair of the Black Orchid Novella Award (the BONA), a partnership between the Wolfe Pack, the literary society that celebrates all things Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout’s legendary detective, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. In addition, she is a member of the full-time faculty at Lehman College and a mentor at Western Connecticut State University’s low residency MFA in Creative & Professional Writing program. A frequent speaker at conferences, associations, and MFA residencies, Jane also offers free monthly webinars on the craft of writing. More information is available at




Brian Clements is the founding Coordinator of the MFA program and Professor of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Writing.  He is author or editor of over a dozen books of poetry, including A Book of Common Rituals (Quale Press), Disappointed Psalms (Meritage Press), and the anthologies An Introduction to the Prose Poem(Firewheel Editions) and the forthcoming Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence.  Prof. Clements also has worked professionally in technical communications, corporate communications, grant-writing, and nonprofit administration.





Oscar de los Santos is Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process.  Professor de los Santos is the author of Hard Boiled Egg (Fine Tooth Press, 2004) and Infinite Wonderlands (Fine Tooth Press, 2006.)







Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author or editor of 18 books including Not All Saints, winner of the 2019 Bitter Oleander Library of Poetry Prize.  His book The Second O of Sorrow (BOA Editions 2018) received both the Paterson Poetry Prize, and the Housatonic Book Award from Western Connecticut State University. He works as a caregiver and Med Tech for various disabled populations in Erie, Pennsylvania.









Ron Farina earned a B.A. in Creative Non-Fiction in 2015 from Central Connecticut State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing at Western Connecticut State University, (2020).  He served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967.

Ron is the author of the book, “Who Will Have My Back” a collection of short stories about caregivers to disabled American veterans, published by Lagrange Books, (October 2020). Other recent works include; “War Stories,” “Unsung Heroes,” and “Keeping Promises,” personal essays published by CT MAGAZINE. Ron’s story, “A Place More Kind than Home” is the featured story in the anthology The Odds Are Against Us, published by Liberty Island Media (February 2019).

“Out of the Shadows, Voices of American Women Soldiers,” the second book in the trilogy “Sacrifice” is scheduled for release in early 2022

Ron’s first novel, “At the Altar of the Past, a Vietnam Love story” is scheduled for release in April 2022.

Ron’s focus is Nonfiction, Fiction, and Narrative Journalism.


Penny Guisinger is the author of Postcards from Here, and the memoir Shift which is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Guernica, Solstice, The Rumpus, and others. Pushcart nominated, a Maine Literary Award winner, and three-time notable in Best American Essays, she is the director of Iota Short Prose Conference and Courses and a former assistant editor at Brevity. Penny is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Program.






Edward Hagan is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. His teaching grows out of his primary scholarly focuses on Irish Studies and on war literature. He teaches all levels of writing courses. His latest book is Goodbye Yeats and O’Neill: Farce in Contemporary Irish and Irish-American Narratives (Editions Rodopi, 2010).








Laura B. Hayden writes for Crain Communications. She is the 2016 recipient of the BMI Woody Guthrie Foundation Fellowship. Laura’s memoir Staying Alive: A Love Story(Signalman, 2011) has been recommended by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals. Follow her work at

Laura Hayden specializes in creative nonfiction, business and medical writing.











Gwen Jones is an Associate Professor of English at Mercer County College in West Windsor, NJ, and since 2009, a mentor in WCSU’s MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Kelsey Review, and The Connecticut River Review, and is the author of three books for HarperCollins Avon, the latest, The Laws of Seduction. A member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), she is the current vice-president of Liberty State Fiction Writers. A staunch supporter of the Oxford Comma, she lives with her husband, Frank, in New Egypt, NJ. Visit her at

Gwen Jones specializes in fiction, women’s fiction and romance, humor, literary fiction, and grant writing.






Kateri Kosek graduated from the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University in the genre of creative nonfiction. Her poetry and personal essays, which lean toward environmentally-conscious, place-oriented writing inspired by the natural world, have appeared in OrionCreative NonfictionTerrain.orgSouth Dakota ReviewCrab Orchard Review, and other journals. She reports for the Winsted Journal and writes a birding column for the Poughkeepsie Journal, and has taught English and writing at Marist College and Northwestern Connecticut Community College, among others. Last summer she was the recipient of a writing residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska.


Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning author of over 16 books for young people. She also wrote political opinion for fourteen years, with Hearst Newspapers and Her first novel, Confessions of a Closet Catholic, won the 2006 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers. Her novel Backlash won the Iowa Teen Book Award.  Anything But Okay released by Scholastic in October 2018, followed by Deep Fake in 2022.  Her latest book, Some Kind of Hate, is due out in November 2022.  Sarah also teaches at the Yale Writers’ Workshop. Visit her online at, and on twitter @sarahdarerlitt.








Mark Misercola is a corporate communications strategist who specializes in connecting business audiences with strategic goals and objectives. Mark has served in senior communications roles at Credit Suisse, Pfizer, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and Deloitte. A former speechwriter, Mark has written for senior executives at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Avon, IBM, NYNEX, Union Carbide and PepsiCo.  He began his career as a business reporter with the Buffalo News and former Courier-Express. Mark also teaches advertising, business communications, marketing communications and public relations as an adjunct professor at Baruch College, New York University and Manhattanville College.  He serves as a mentor in the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University.


Sonja Mongar is the author of the contemporary, upmarket novel, Two Spoons of Bitter, which won the 2019 Royal Palm Gold Award for literary fiction and was a finalist in the UK Wishing Shelf Awards. She’s a freelance journalist specializing in music and the arts and has also published numerous personal essays in Brevity, Saw Palm: Florida Literary & Arts Journal, Pink Panther Magazine, among others. Her memoir, The Last Spike – was recently published in Ghostline by Glenn Rudolph. Works in progress include Riders of the Dust (1920s Wester screenplay,) Harmonica Diaries (memoir,) and Love in a Field of Wheat, Dreaming Cora Paul – (an autoethnography based on her Montana great grandmother’s 1907 diary) as well as an oral history project. Her specialties includes creative nonfiction, memoir, personal essay, life narrative, hybrid/speculative/crossover genres, literary fiction, feature journalism, and writing for nonprofits and indie publishing.

She’s managed and published several digital and print literary and arts journal projects and was a tenured professor at the University of Puerto Rico for 13 years where she taught creative writing. She’s been a WCSU mentor since 2008.

She’s a blues harmonica player and songwriter.



Erik Ofgang is the senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, author of “Buzzed: Where to Enjoy the Best Craft Beverages in New England,” and “Gillette Castle: A History.” His next book is under contract with Penguin Random House. In addition he has written for the Associated Press, Thrillist and Tablet Magazine. A graduate of this MFA program, he was Poor Yorick’s first editor.

Erik Ofgang specializes in journalism, literary nonfiction, literary journalism, and PR writing.






Josh Pahigian is the author of several baseball travel guides, including The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out, and The Amazing Baseball Adventure. He has also written about baseball travel for and other print and online periodicals. Josh writes fiction, as well, having penned the Maine mystery novel Strangers on the Beach. A mentor is the WCSU program since 2012, Josh also teaches undergraduate writing and global humanities at the University of New England and writes for that university’s Office of Communications. He lives in Southern Maine.

Josh Pahigian specializes in travel writing, fiction, and speech writing.





David Rich wrote the feature film Renegades, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Philips.  He worked on other film scripts, for which he received a multitude of pats on the back in lieu of credit.  Rich wrote television episodes for MacGyverLegend and StarGate – SG1 and he has written three playsHe sat on the other side of the desk as Vice President of Development for George Englund Productions, based at Warner Brothers. Rich’s first novel Caravan of Thieves received advance praise from Kirkus Review and Publisher’s Weekly.



Mekita Rivas is a freelance journalist who primarily covers culture, style, and politics through the lens of gender, race, and ethnicity. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, and others. She is currently a contributing senior fashion editor at PopSugar and a contributing editor at Cosmopolitan. She also works as a creative consultant and editorial strategist. She lives in Washington, D.C. 









John Roche has been an award-winning newspaper journalist for twenty years. In addition to stints as an actor and stand-up comedian, he has taught journalism, media studies, English composition and writing at several colleges in the tri-state region, and was recognized as Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year in 2008 by Marist College. He writes fiction in addition to teaching and his work as a journalist.






Daniel Asa Rose is a former Writer in Residence in the MFA program and current MFA mentor. He is the author, most recently, of the world’s first (dark) comedy about medical tourism, “LARRY’S KIDNEY: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With my Black Sheep Cousin and his Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant … and Save His Life.” An NEA Literary Fellow, Daniel’s first short story was accepted by The New Yorker when he was 27, and he won an O. Henry Prize and two Pen Fiction Awards for the other stories in his first collection, “SMALL FAMILY WITH ROOSTER.” His first novel, “FLIPPING FOR IT,” a black comedy about divorce from the man’s point of view, was a New York Times New and Noteworthy Paperback. In 2002 he published “HIDING PLACES: A Father and his Sons Retrace Their Family’s Escape From the Holocaust” – a saga that intermingles a taut current-day search for the hiding places that saved his family in World War II with memories of the author’s own hiding places growing up in WASP 1950s Connecticut. He has served as editor for The Reading Room, arts & culture editor of the Forward newspaper, travel columnist for Esquire magazine, humor writer for GQ, essayist for The New York Times Magazine, book reviewer for The New York Observer and New York Magazine, and food critic for the past 20 pounds.




Onnesha Roychoudhuri is a writer, storyteller, and educator. A former fellow at the Center for Fiction, her work has appeared in outlets such as Rolling Stone, This American Life, Kenyon Review, n+1, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Boston Review, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, The Nation, The American Prospect, Salon, and Mother Jones. Onnesha has read and performed on stages for The Moth, Tedx, Lincoln Center, and more. She is the author of The Marginalized Majority: Claiming Our Power in a Post-Truth America, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year.




Lindy Miller Ryan is an award-winning author, editor, director, and professor. Prior to her career in academia, Ryan was the co-founder of Radiant Advisors, a business intelligence research and advisory firm, where as Research Director then Chief Operations Officer, she led the company’s research and data enablement practice for clients that included 21st Century Fox Films, Warner Bros., and Disney. Ryan is currently a full-time professor at Rutgers University, where her research focuses on the intersection of data science, visual analysis, and storytelling. In 2017, Ryan founded Black Spot Books, an award-winning independent small press, specializing in horror and dark fantasy, where she maintains her role as President after the company was acquired in 2019 by Vesuvian Media Group. Currently, she is the co-chair of the Horror Writers Association Publishers Council.


Ron Samul  is a college educator, writer, and mentor. His work has appeared in Liturgical Credo,Outside In Magazine, SNReview, Inquiring News, Library JournalDiveIN and other online media. He writes about politics, boxing, social commentary, books, and higher education. His short story Paper Thin won the 2005 Connecticut AWP Award in Fiction. His novel The Staff was shortlisted in 2017 Del Sol Press First Novel Press. He has presented at various conference and writing events including the Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference (2016) andHollihock Writers Conference in 2017.

Ron Samul specializes in short stories, novel-length fiction, and journalism.








Lisa L. Siedlarz is the author of, I Dream My Brother Plays Baseball (Clemson University Digital Press 2009) and What We Sign Up For (Pecan Grove Press 2011). Her poetry has appeared in The MacGuffin, Calyx, Rattle, War, Literature & the Arts, Louisiana Literature and many others. Her work is included in the anthologies, Warsaw Tales, and Battle Runes: Writings on War. Ms. Siedlarz facilitated a 16 week writing workshop with Vietnam veterans and edited a collection of their work called A Season of Now.

 Lisa Siedlarz specializes in poetry.








Ian M. Rogers is the author of MFA Thesis Novel (Vine Leaves Press, 2022), a satirical novel of academia. He lived and taught English in Japan for a number of years, most recently at Kanagawa University in Yokohama. He holds an MA in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BA from Bennington College, and his fiction and critical essays have appeared in The Millions, Great Plains Quarterly, The European Journal of American Studies, Eastlit, The Drunken Odyssey, Four Ties Literary Review, and elsewhere.  He lives in New Hampshire, where he works as a writer and editor.




Don J. Snyder was a fellow at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and received a James Michener Fellowship for his first novel. He has had ten novels and nonfiction books published by Little Brown, Random House, Doubleday, Alfred A. Knopf, and Simon & Schuster. His essays have appeared as cover stories for Harper’s and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He wrote the 2003 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, “Fallen Angel” that starred Gary Sinise and Joely Richardson Redgrave, and the original screenplay “The Christmas Journey” that is currently in development at White Stag Films in Edinburgh, Scotland.   He has also written an original screenplay based on his memoir, Of Time and Memory, published by Alfred A. Knopf that is in development in France with the director, Yann Samuel, who discovered the marvelous actress, Marion Cotillard. His new novel— The Tin Nose Shop— will be published by Legends Press Ltd. of London in July 2022. He is at work now on a six-episode series adaptation of the novel for a production company in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2019 Don established the world’s only Caddie School For Soldiers, to help soldiers from the UK, the US and Canada, rise above the darkness of their wars that haunts them. Don’s fondest memories as a writer and teacher were the winter residencies he spent at West Conn.


Paul Steinmetz is Director of WCSU University Relations and an adjunct faculty member of the Writing, Linguistics and Creative Writing department. He was editor of The News-Times, the daily newspaper that covers the region, for 10 years. He writes a blog, WCSU in the Age of Reason, for Hearst Connecticut Newspapers and lectures and provides written commentary on the news and public relations industries. He is a contributing editor for Tribuna Newspaper and wrote a chapter in the PRNews Media Training Guidebook. Paul holds an M.B.A. from WCSU and a B.A. in journalism from San Francisco State University.


Brian Thiem is a 2013 graduate of the WCSU MFA Program and the author of the Detective Matt Sinclair Mystery series (Red Line 2015, Thrill Kill 2016, and Shallow Grave2017), published by Crooked Lane Books. He retired as a Lieutenant from the Oakland Police Department, with years of experience as a homicide detective and commander of the homicide unit. He is also an Iraqi War veteran and retired from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. He’s a member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. He lives and writes in Hilton Head, South Carolina.


Gina Troisi is the author of the memoir, The Angle of Flickering Light (Vine Leaves Press, 2021), which won First Place for the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Award for Memoir. The book was also a Finalist for both the 2021 Independent Book of the Year Awards for Memoir and the 2021 Best Book Awards for Autobiography/Memoir, and received an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Paris Book Festival Award for Memoir, as well as an Honorable Mention for the 2021 New England Book Festival Award for Memoir. The book also received a Silver Medal for the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards for Nonfiction-Inspirational, 2021. Gina’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, The Gettysburg Review, Fugue, Under the Sun, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, and elsewhere. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2020.



A. B. (Anne Bryan) Westrick is the author of Brotherhood (Viking/Penguin Random House 2013), a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and winner of the Jefferson Cup, Housatonic, Jane Addams Honor, and NCSS Notable Trade Book Awards. Westrick has been a teacher, paralegal, literacy volunteer, administrator, and coach for teams from Odyssey of the Mind to the Reading Olympics. A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Divinity School, she holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and blogs monthly about the craft of writing. She and her family live near Richmond, VA.

Anne enjoys working with students who write in many areas of fiction, from YA and children’s to historical, literary, and thriller.



Baron Wormser is the author/co-author of sixteen books and a poetry chapbook. His recent books include Tom o’ Vietnam, a novel set in 1982 about a Vietnam War veteran who is obsessed with King Lear, and Legends of the Slow Explosion: Eleven Modern Lives, biographical pieces about eleven crucial figures from the second half of the twentieth century. Wormser has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 2000 to 2005 he served as poet laureate of the state of Maine.







Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues such as Weird Tales, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Fantastic Tales of Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.

Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, and most recently, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich on her blog at and on twitter @SWytovich


Karen Romano Young is a science writer, children’s author and illustrator. She has been involved with books and writing for as long as she can remember. The author of more than twenty books, including novels, nonfiction, and graphic novels, Karen has taken her work to the top of the world — the Arctic Ocean — and the bottom of the ocean — in a submarine. Recent work includes writing and drawing aboard an icebreaker, creating Humanimal Doodles — a science comic, and the children’s book Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles.