Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mark Magoon

Mark Magoon is a student at Roosevelt University and a member of RU's Creative Writing MFA Program.  Magoon writes poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  When he is free from work as a semi-professional dog janitor he pets his own dogs, rereads Raymond Chandler novels, enjoys his own brand, and hides out in the Porcupine Mountains where he is likely planning his next robbery.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ukaisha Al-Amin

Ukaisha Al-Amin Graduated from Columbia College Chicago in '08 with Honors with a B.A in Fiction Writing and  minor in Playwriting. She is currently studying creative writing with a Fiction concentration in the MFA program at Roosevelt University. Her Flash Fiction piece 'The Stairwell' won first place in the Writing Center's First annual Flash Fiction Contest. Her play 'Rooms For Breathing' was workshopped and a staged reading directed by Lisa Di' Franza was performed in the theater department at Columbia College. Her other plays 'Jerry Trauma' and 'Without Mother' were performed during Columbia's annual Story Week Festival.

Ukaisha has lived in Chicago most of her life but she loves to travel and visiting family in China is a plus. She loves to read and write Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels and is amazed by writers who have mastered the short story. Realistic Fiction is not her forte but she happens to have more stories in that category than the later. What?! Her library at home is so random. She has books from Roald Dahl to Susan Lori-Parks, Anne Rice to John Green, and Aimee Bender to Shakespeare back to Suzanne Collins. Yes, she reads them all.
She is currently trying to build her platform, work on her thesis, and master the Force all with the help of Master Yoda.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dee Hogan

Dee Hogan was born and raised in a Suburban Kansas Town where she spent her days doing Suburban Kansas Things, such as going to school, playing basketball, and wondering what hills look like. She graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in English and East Asian Studies, both subjects branding her as the sort of nerd that other nerds shove into lockers. She now lives in Bucktown, Chicago, where she has fabulous misadventures with her roommate and their exceptionally fat cat.

Since Dee has genre ADD, she likes to fiddle with fiction styles, bouncing between prose pieces, screenplays, graphic novel scripts, and the occasional stage play. Basically, she wants to be Neil Gaiman when she grows up. Other modern writers she enjoys include Tamora Pierce, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami, and Mark Danielewski. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy has been her favorite series since she was thirteen, though she is unashamed to admit that it is closely followed by the Redwall books.

Between class and work, Dee collects hobbies, such as drawing Noses Off! comics, translating Japanese songs and stories, and scouring the streets of Chicago for cheap places to eat, drink, and watch KU basketball games. She intends to launch a blog just as soon as she has the time to write in it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

N'Kyenge Ayanna Brown

I am N’Kyenge Ayanna Brown

Definition: Brilliant First Born Brown, I was given a West African tribal name, a legacy. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago (CCC): honors B.A. in Poetry. I also served on the editorial board of: CCC Poetry Review. I passionately explore expression through writing. My creative flows are immersed in absolute realistic everyday occurrences, feelings and emotions. I write everywhere about everything for everybody. My intent:  to captivate and intrigue my audience in a manner they have yet to experience; to allow you to hear my voice even in silence. My work is published in the book Word Curves by Poetry in the Round. My writing style is an explosion of lyricism, musicality and creative layers. It is eccentric as I am unpredictable. I have recently completed my first manuscript: “AfroSoul Volume I: a collaboration of Poetry and Poem stories” and am in the process of publication. I am now working on a collection of short stories as well as a children’s book.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

James Orbesen

James Orbesen has lived in the Chicago area all his life and thinks that pretty grand. In 2010, he received his B.A. from Roosevelt in English and was so pleased with the school that he returned for his MFA, specializing in fiction. James has worked in warehouses and pizza kitchens but finally found fulfillment first as a writing tutor and now as a freelance writer.
James has written for publications such as CollegeNews, PopMatters and Gapers Block. A smattering of his fiction can be found online, conveniently linked to his semi-regular blog (
James likes blizzards, craft beer and Grant Morrison. He also fancies himself a comic book writer and is currently working on two graphic novels with two very talented artists, a submission to 215 Ink's 2011 Anthology and is writer and co-creator of the webcomic, The Breakouts (

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heather Cox

Heather Cox was born in the flatlands of northeast Texas and raised in a small town in southwest Arkansas where cattle outnumber citizens exponentially. She received her B.A. in Writing from the University of Central Arkansas, where she was the recipient of The Margot Trietel Award for Excellence in Creative Writing.

Heather is the founding editor-in-chief of Ghost Ocean Magazine, a literary magazine that publishes poetry and flash fiction online and, beginning fall 2011, print chapbooks. 

Heather's poems have appeared in literary journals such as Pyrta, Psychic Meatloaf, Dark Sky Magazine, and Pear Noir!, among others. Her favorite writers are Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Matthew Rohrer, Joshua Poteat, and Blake Butler.If she's not consuming or creating poetry, Heather is likely getting copper stains from pinching pennies.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bernard Cox

Bernard M. Cox has been transplanted many times and is now considered an invasive, though naturalized, species. His recent transplantation was from Philadelphia to Berwyn, IL. It was originally planned as a cutting but no one was willing to propagate him.

He likes to write, a lot, sometimes. Other times he may play music or sing songs. He likes kitty cats and the color yellow. His food pyramid consists of black licorice, sriracha, and ginger. He likes to read, a lot, most of the time. He likes books that are written by people and non-people. His writings are popular with scutigera coleoptrata, octopi, stomatopods, cardinalidae and human people whose first names begin with the letters A, B, C, D, I, K, M, R, S, X, Y and Z.

When he is not writing, making music, or reading, he is often wandering the remnant prairies of Illinois, looking for insects, and dreaming about the soils of Philadelphia. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arielle Nelson

Arielle is not a mermaid, nor does she play one on T.V. She went to Saint Mary’s College for her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications and English Writing. Her favorite writers at the moment are Laurie Sheck, Jonathon Safran Foer, Audrey Niffenegger, Susan Stewart, and James Galvin.
Arielle is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Roosevelt’s own Oyez Review. Her most recent work can be found in Ghost Ocean Magazine (November 2010) and Pyrta (December 2010). She enjoys brains, rats, murder mysteries, and all things creepy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore is an army brat and has traveled all across the United States. He remembers standing high on a glacier in Alaska, swarms of grasshoppers slamming against windows in Arizona, seemingly endless car rides from one part of the country to the next.

He went to undergrad in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts for screenwriting. He's wanted to write fiction of all kinds since his father picked him up a Batman comic at age six. His favorite writers right now are Tao Lin, Amelia Gray, Lindsay Hunter, Albert Camus, Jonathan Swift, Christian Tebordo, Blake Butler, and Patrick Sommerville. He is currently an editor at the online Ghost Ocean Magazine. He also blogs feverishly at He is cool and has nice facial features, like his birthmark by his left eye.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jenna Tackett

Growing up in an artsy town in Arkansas (paradox?), there wasn’t much to do other than write and be in marching band. Jenna did both, though never at the same time. Before starting her MFA in fiction, she proofread grammar textbooks, tutored in writing, worked briefly at the only bookstore in her hometown, and tried her hand at layout-editing.

When she’s not writing, she is busy imitating Gilmore Girls, watching 80s movies,reading young adult fiction (particularly John Green), singing loudly, hanging out with friends, talking to family, making vlog (and blog) posts, and drinking coffee.

In the future she plans to edit, teach, write, and conquer the world, all while drinking a never-ending glass of iced tea.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zander Stachniak

Zander Stachniak was born and raised in SC. There is some confusion as to whether or not he was also born and raised in the SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism. Go ahead, Google it.
When he graduated from the tunic, he attended Notre Dame, where he got his BA in English. Zander writes poetry, but branches into fiction and non-fiction to keep it fresh.

Zander has the worst taste in music he’s ever heard. Thankfully, he does not engage in any form of minstrelsy. He enjoys long walks on the beach and books of literary theory.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cecilia Villarruel

Cecy loved being on her high school stage crew, blasting Nina Simone after setting up for shows, alone in that huge auditorium. She digs Lewis Nordan, Clint Eastwood, Frida Kahlo, and men who can fix things.

In 2006 she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a teacher in a Namibian village for two years. She loves hitchhiking and is thankful for every person who ever gave her a ride, bus or plane ticket, meal or place to sleep; they carried her across Africa and she carries them in her heart and in her stories.

She was an editor on IZIT? – A Magazine for the Namibian PCV. Her work has been published in Gallery 37’s anthologies Alchemy and Paper Atrium. She’s got a building named after her in Namibia. She currently volunteers at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Esley S.

Esley is originally from the city of Chicago and graduated from UIC with a BA in Criminal Justice. After far too many years in the real world as a paralegal, she decided to return to school to focus on her writing; creative nonfiction to be specific.

Her favorite song is Eric Cartman's rendition of Lady GaGa's "Pokerface." Growing up two blocks from Wrigley Field, she was cursed with becoming a lifelong Cubs Fan. She is a founding member of Annette, the hottest pop trio since Destiny's Child. Jack Kerouac, Tom Petty, and Barney Stinson are her heroes. Being awesome is her number one priority.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meghan Lamb

Meghan Lamb lives in Oak Park with her husband and a small gray cat. Her cat is a Hurricane Katrina refugee and still has an affinity for running water.

Her current favorite writers incude Janet Frame, Susan Sontag, Shirley Jackson, Dierdre Madden, Osamu Dasai, and Yasunari Kawabata. Her favorite things include long mornings, coffee, vinegar, loose tea, old leather couches, burning leaves, and colored pencils. She is afraid of strange smells and screwing lightbulbs into sockets. She is not afraid of spiders, mice, or sad old men. She may or may not be blind in her left eye. She may or may not have a false arm.

Meghan's fiction has recently been featured in Prick of the Spindle, Thieves Jargon, Rumble, Titular, and other online magazines.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Brittany Turski

Brittany is a native of Toledo, OH and has lived in Chicago for the past seven years. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in English and a B.B.A. in Finance and International Studies. After a short life as a writer/editor at an investment bank, she decided to pursue her dream as a fiction writer and returned to school to get her MFA at Roosevelt. She is currently an assistant manager of a textbook store in downtown Chicago.

She primarily focuses on longer novel pieces, although she has always dabbled in poetry. Authors that have most influenced her are Nadine Gordimer and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Her passion for foreign writers stems from her love of different cultures and travel. Brittany believes it's the best way to add to her life experience and accumulate material for the next creative work sleeping inside her. In her free time, her two favorite things to do are to laugh and dance.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Katie Leimkuehler

Katie is from Cleveland, Ohio and a graduate from Miami University of Ohio with a B.A. in creative writing and journalism. She works for the Chicago Tribune's newest initiative Triblocal that focuses on community journalism in the suburbs. 

Her creative influences include Jon Krakauer, Phillip Pullman, Paulo Coelho, Catherine Gildiner and C.S. Lewis. She likes to write short stories and fiction novels for young adults.

Her hobbies include traveling to new places (especially ones with mountains and untouched powder for the perfect ski run), tennis, photography, wake boarding and karaoke.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kim Robbins

Kim is a native Chicagoan who spent four years in Los Angeles and now lives in the Waukegan. For those who don't know, it is right by Six Flags Great America and about ten minutes from the Wisconsin border. She is a high school teacher at Grayslake Central High School where she teaches film, creative writing, and several classes for at-risk children. Grayslake is a town Kim had never heard of before the day of her interview. If anything, Lake County has a lot to offer by way of local music.

She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in screenwriting and earned her teaching certificate from California State University - Los Angeles. Kim's favorite writers include Tim O'Brien, John Irving, and Christopher Moore. Anyone who knows Kim has heard her say she loves The Things They Carried "more than a friend." Her favorite movies are Good Will Hunting, Stand by Me, and All the Real Girls.

Kim traveled to Europe for the first time last summer and now hopes to visit Iceland and Sardegna.

Alexander York, alum ('10)

Alexander York was born and raised in a small Ohio town, but currently lives in the city of Chicago. He received his BFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University, where he was the winner of The Grandma Goda Poetry Award from Prairie Margins.

Alexander combines both experiences of subways and skylines with cornfields in his writing. Poetry is his main focus, but he often enjoys working on screenplays since film is big inspiration. His writing is also encouraged from food, animals, animals made of food, and the idea of home. Some of favorite poets include: Jeffrey McDaniel, Russell Edson, Jason Bredle, Charles Simic, Brenda Hillman, Zachary Schomburg, and Matthew Zapruder.

Alexander’s work can be found or will soon be appearing in Word Riot, Another Chicago Magazine, Oyez Review, The Madison Review, Strange Machine, Dogzsplot, and The Red Rock Review. When he isn’t seen in the kitchen, Alexander spends most of his time on an 8-track recorder, or riding his bike until the pedals fall off.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Melanie Hoyt

Melanie loves telling stories, whether it's through words, pictures, or music. She began her undergraduate studies as a music major, but then found that her love for words was greater than her love for giving horn recitals. She's recently discovered how to tell stories through photography and is enjoying the challenges of learning a new medium.

Raised in the Chicago suburbs, Mel was unable to resist the pull of the Windy City and has returned home in July 2008 after spending 2½ years in central Michigan, where she earned a B.A. in English at Olivet College. Mel is primarily a writer of creative nonfiction, but she has also started to explore young adult fiction. Her favourite authors include Will Ferguson, Bill Bryson, Margaret Atwood, and—because she can't say no to a delightful romance—Jane Austen.  In her spare time and as often as she can afford the travel, Mel works as a photographer and journalist at figure skating events. She is on staff at and has freelanced for several other publications.  She has been a fan of the sport since age 7, when she thought that Kristi Yamaguchi ruled the world.
Mel loves taking the train, eating warm chocolate chip cookies dipped in milk, spending time with her younger cousins, and road tripping with her best friends. In summer 2010, she plans to begin her thesis by driving across Canada from St. John's, NL, to Victoria, BC.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yvonne Strumecki

Yvonne is a classically trained opera singer from Vero Beach, Florida. After getting her undergraduate degree in vocal performance from Stetson University, she spent a year singing in Europe. Yvonne has sung with Sarasota Opera, Light Opera Works, and Bowen Park Opera. She also spends her summers singing with the Grant Park Chorus in Millennium Park.

Some of her favorite authors and poets include Hemingway, Tolkein, Neruda, Shakespeare, and Chicago local Jen Lancaster. Favorite books include The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle by Edgardo Vega Yunque, Wicked by Macguire, and the Harry Potter series. Yeah, she's kind of a dork.

She is also a lover of all things Ikea, outdoor grilling, pop culture, and at one time was also an accounting major. She has now finally settled into this great MFA world of writing with a non-fiction concentration (though she's finding she also has a poetic soul).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Marynia Kolak

Marynia is a writer from Chicago with an arts and science background. In writing, she works with experimental nonfiction and the lyrical essay, though she continues to write occasional short stories and prose poems. She has a B.S. in geology from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and has worked at both Illinois and United States Geological Surveys as a geological intern, picking microfossils and making maps. Marynia is interested in multidisciplinary studies and genre blending, with a dedication towards active social commitment and environmental awareness.

Dustin Flickinger, alum ('10)

Dustin grew up on Cocoa Beach, a small barrier island in sunny Florida. He studied film at the University of New Orleans, where he received his Bachelor of Arts. He then studied screenwriting at the Graduate level at Chapman University, in Orange County, California.

He's worked on films of all types and budgets, from one guy with a Super 8 to $60 million Hollywood ventures. He's checked the gate, hung lights, recorded sound, and gotten coffee more times than he can recall. He's also worked as an actor and recently starred in James, which won Best Dramatic Short at the Melbourne Independent Film Festival.

Dustin writes fiction almost exclusively and draws from his inspirations in the film world, such as David Lynch, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Wes Craven (early work only). His favorite authors are too many to name, but some that standout are Sherman Alexie, Katherine Dunn, Jerzy Kosinski, and Frank Herbert. His favorite book is Geek Love.

In addition to writing, Dustin enjoys surfing, art history, boating, walking aimlessly around big cities, and social activism regarding civil rights legislation.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lauren Stacks

Lauren Stacks is from a small town in Michigan. (If you'd like, she could point out the location for you on her hand.) She received a BA in Psychology and Creative Writing from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. While she has worked as an old-fashioned candy scooper, a waitress, and a magazine reporter, she is currently nannying in Chicago (she gets paid to build forts and make origami cranes).

Lauren mainly writes longer fiction, although she tries to dabble in memoir and poetry as well. Her influences include Jack Ridl, Heather Sellers, Abigail Thomas, Ernest Hemingway, and Lorrie Moore. She enjoys writing in the second person, and likes to think that she writes scenes rather than plots.

When she isn't working or in class, Lauren enjoys organizing, cooking, exploring Chicago, and spending her (loan) money on coffee and bakery treats.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Jamie Winger

Jamie Winger is from Dallas Center, Iowa where he majored in Medieval History. He likes writing historical fiction, speculative fiction, and satire.

His favorite authors are Umberto Eco, Neal Stephenson, Kurt Vonnegut, Lewis Carrol, and Edgar Allen Poe.

His first job was digging graves in the desolate churchyards of rural Iowa, but he currently works as a retail slave. He loves running by the lake, going to the beach, dancing at the Hideout, going to readings, visiting Chicago museums on free-admission days, and freezing his tail off in winter.

Adam Morgan

Adam hails from the mountains of the Carolinas, where he double-majored in Philosophy and Religion at Furman University. He writes literary speculative short stories, novels, and screenplays. In Chicago, he also tutors students for the No Child Left Behind program and reviews for Publishers Weekly, Bookslut, and

Adam's greatest creative influences are Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho, Joseph Campbell, Jeffery Ford, JJ Abrams, and Stanley Kubrick.

He loves animals, autumn, hiking, photography, Spanish guitar, and getting his hands dirty. Literally, not metaphorically.