Past and Current Writing Fellows

Writing Fellows at the Attic Institute

Writing Fellows include some of the best emerging and established writers in the Portland area, as well as periodic out of town writers. Writing Fellows offer Attic students a fresh literary experience geared to your writing and writing goals.

Learn about applying to become an Attic Institute Writing Fellow


Past and Current Fellows

Brian Benson: Brian Benson is a proud alum of the 2011-12 Attic Atheneum. A former Spanish instructor and nonprofit organizer, he has taught extensively in classroom and experiential settings. His first book, Going Somewhere, a memoir about a cross-country bike trip and the search for personal direction, will be published in early 2014.

Paula Bohince: Paula Bohince is the author of two poetry collections, both from Sarabande Books: The Children and Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, which was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems appear in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The TLS, Poetry, Granta, The Nation, Slate, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review, Raritan, Salmagundi, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She received the 2013 George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She served as the 2012 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place, the 2010-2011 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholar, a 2009 Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 2008 Amy Clampitt Resident Fellow. She has received the "Discovery"/The Nation Award and the Grolier Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the New School, and elsewhere.

Catie Bull: Catie Bull is a Portland poet with recent or forthcoming work in FIELD, Beatdom, and The Broken City. She has a B.A. in Poetry from Oberlin College and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from U.C. Davis, and she writes about poetry and poetics, plus film reviews, at

Nathan Wade Carter: Nathan Wade Carter is a Portland-based illustrator, writer, musician, zine and sketchbook maker. Learn more

M. Allen Cunningham: M. Allen Cunningham is the author of six books. His debut novel, The Green Age of Asher Witherow, awas a #1 Indie Next Pick, a "Best Books of the West" selection in the Salt Lake Tribune, and called "a feat reminiscent of William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness" by Foreword Reviews. Cunningham's Lost Son, a biographical novel about Rainer Maria Rilke, was one of the Oregonian's Top 10 Books of the Northwest. His other works include The Honorable Obscurity Handbook. His writing has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Tin House, and Alaska Quarterly Review. Cunningham is the founder and publisher of the independent literary press Atelier26 Books.

Susan DeFreitas: Susan DeFreitas’s work has appeared in The Utne Reader, The Nervous Breakdown, Story Magazine, Southwestern American Literature, and Weber—The Contemporary West, along with more than twenty other magazines, journals, and anthologies. She is the author of the novel, Hot Season, and the chapbook Pyrophitic, as well as a regular contributor at She holds an MFA from Pacific University and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she serves as a collaborative editor with Indigo Editing & Publications.

Edward Derby: Edward Derby's poems have appeared in Cloudbank, Field, Mud Season Review, Prairie Schooner, and Right Hand Pointing. He was a fellow at the Paris American Academy in 2015. He earned a master's in poetry writing from the University of Florida and served as an assistant editor for Poetry Northwest. He also makes short films.

Jennifer Dorner: Jennifer Dorner was a 2013-2014 Atheneum Fellow. Her poetry has appeared in The Timberline Review, VoiceCatcher, and is forthcoming in Verseweavers, and she has received literary awards from Willamette Writers, Oregon Quarterly, and the Oregon Poetry Association. Jennifer earned her B.A. in English from the University of Oregon. She coordinates the Attic Institute's popular monthly all-genre open mic, Fridays on the Boulevard, and co-founded the Vault Voices reading series.

Patrick Dundon: Patrick Dundon is currently an MFA candidate at Syracuse University and serves as a poetry editor for Salt Hill. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Birdfeast, DIAGRAM, Word Riot, Poor Claudia, Smoking Glue Gun, and elsewhere.

Caitlin Dwyer: Caitlin Dwyer is a freelance writer from Portland. Her travel writing has been published online and in print in Asia and America, and she has just finished her first book, a memoir of circumnavigating the globe in 2010. She focuses on narrative nonfiction, dabbles in radio, and also publishes poetry. For the last three years, Caitlin has been teaching and writing in southern China.   She received her B.A. in English from Pomona College and just completed her Master of Journalism degree at the University of Hong Kong.

Art Edwards: Art Edwards's third novel, Badge, (2014) was named a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association's Literary Contest. His second novel, Ghost Notes, released on his own imprint Defunct Press in 2008, won the 2009 PODBRAM Award for best work of contemporary fiction. His first novel, Stuck Outside of Phoenix, re-released on Defunct Press in 2008, was made into a feature film. He also released his first audio book, Ghost Notes, a unique combination of music and spoken word, in 2009. His shorter work has appeared in The Writer, Writers' Journal and Salon, among others.

Carol Ellis: Carol Ellis has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has a history of writing and publishing in a variety of journals and books, and is an gifted teacher of writing in all genres to a vast diversity of writers.

Peter Field: Peter Field is the founding co-editor of The Timberline Review. A former story analyst for Miramax Films and New Line Cinema in New York, Peter is an MFA Candidate in Dramatic Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Peter has been accepted into the Yale Publishing Center for 2016, an intensive course which offers advanced leadership training for book and magazine media professionals from all over the world.

Heather Jo Flores: Heather Jo Flores is a Portland native and the author of Food Not Lawns; How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community. She has taught permaculture, visual arts, consensus group process, and Flamenco in colleges and and communities around the country. A dedicated practitioner of yoga, Heather believes that physical fitness is a key element to sustainable creative practice. She is also a musician, a dancer, and a visual artist, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.

Franny French: A writer since childhood, Franny French first won distinction—and an ice cream sundae—for a short story about a scarecrow. She has since received Portland State University’s Burnham Award for Fiction and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in national and international literary journals such as The Ledge, St. Petersburg Review, Enizagam and the Burnside Reader. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her short story “Dead Fish.” Currently, she is at work on a collection of short stories, a book of poems and an experimental play.

James Bernard Frost: James Bernard Frost is the author of three novels: World Leader Pretend, A Very Minor Prophet, Harold's Ark

Dave Jarecki: Dave Jarecki leads the Summer Writing Camp for high school and middle school students each summer. Learn more about Dave and his program.

Zahir Janmohamed: Zahir Janmohamed is a journalist based in Portland, Oregon and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, Boston Review, Guernica, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Nation, Racialicious, and many other publications. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Anne Cox Chambers fellowship for long-form journalism, as well as from the VONA workshop for writers of color. He previously worked in the United States Congress, where he was a senior foreign policy advisor, and at Amnesty International, where he was one of the organization’s youngest directors. He currently co-hosts a podcast about race and food in Portland called “Racist Sandwich.”

Liz Lampmann: Liz Lampman writes poetry and nonfiction and is the author Another Fortune & Other Poems (Buckmxn Publishing) and winner of Reed Magazine's Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Portland Review, Rattle, Great River Review, and others. Liz holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Oklahoma State University, is an alum of the 2013-14 Attic Atheneum program, and has served as an editorial assistant to Tin House Books, Cimarron Review, and Gold Wake Press. Learn more at

Carolyn Moore: Carolyn Moore's book-length manuscript, What Euclid’s Third Axiom Neglects To Mention about Circles, won the White Pine Poetry Press Prize and will be published in late 2013. She is also the author of four chapbooks. She taught creative writing, nature writing, and literature courses at Humboldt State University and now spends her time writing poems and studying poetics.

Carolyn O'Doherty: Carolyn O'Doherty is a former Hawthorne Fellow at the Attic Institute. In her twenties, Carolyn O'Doherty didn’t think a writing career was practical, so she instead got a degrees in Psychology and City Planning. She spent the next two decades working in social service and developing affordable housing. All of which ended up being excellent training for creating layered fictional characters living in real worlds. Now the holder of an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast, Carolyn is working on her third novel, a young adult urban fantasy about kids who can freeze time. Carolyn lives in Portland with her family.

Jessica Olien: Jessica Oline's writing has been published in Slate, Salon, Bust, The Atlantic, Jezebel, Nerve, Marie Claire, Budget Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, xoJane and Pacific Standard. Her stories have been cited by The New York Times, The Economist, Foreign Policy and many others. She has also appeared on various television and radio programs, including Talk of the Nation on NPR, to discuss her work.

Sara Rivara: Sara Quinn Rivara has taught undergraduate creative writing as a tenured professor in Kalamazoo, Michigan to students of all ages and experience levels. Her students have been finalists for the Man-Booker prize, featured at the Kalamazoo Poetry Festival and many have gone on to earn their MFAs in creative writing. Currently the Dean of the Humanities Division at Mt. Hood Community College, she helps to oversee the Mouths of Others Writing Series, which has brought writers such as Jess Walter, Willy Vlautin, Tom Spanbauer and many others to East County. Her first chapbook is Lake Effect (Aldrich Press, 2013), and her first full-length collection is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in July 2017. Her work has earned the Lake Prize from Midwestern Gothic and has appeared in the following literary journals: 32 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, The Cortland Review, Blackbird, Bluestem, Cream City Review, Midwestern Gothic, Poemeleon, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Nashville Review, Word Riot, Split Lip Magazine, The Fem, Herkind, Devil’s Lake Journal, and Literary Mama. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College.

Claudia Savage: Claudia F. Savage has been a chef for people recovering from illness, a book editor, and a teacher of poetry. Her poems and interviews have recently been in CutBank, The Denver Quarterly, Iron Horse Review, The Buddhist Poetry Review, Cordella, and Bookslut. She's been awarded residencies at Ucross, Jentel, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts where she met her husband, an experimental jazz flutist and saxophonist. Their duo, THrum, creates and performs throughout the Pacific Northwest and is part of THrum Recordings, a label that promotes poets and musicians. She was recently awarded a grant by the Regional Arts and Culture Council in Portland, OR to support this work. Musings and collaborations can be found at and in her column about balancing parenting and art-making, "Leave the Dishes," at

Natalie Serber is a fiction writer, essayist, and educator. She is the author of the story collection Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times 100 “Notable Books” of 2012, a summer reading pick from O, the Oprah Magazine and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest for 2012. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. Essays and reviews have appeared at The Rumpus, The New York Times, and Salon. Her awards include The John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, HE Francis Award, all for fiction, and an honorable mention for the Annie Dillard Award for Non Fiction. Natalie received her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and she is currently working on a novel set in Boring, Oregon. 

Carter Sickels: Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, a Finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award, the Lambda Literary Debut Fiction Award, and the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. Carter is the recipient of a 2013 artistic grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Carter has taught creative writing classes for IPRC, Hugo House, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He is currently Visiting Faculty for West Virginia Wesleyan 's Low Res MFA Program. 

Dao Strom: Dao Strom was born in Saigon, Vietnam and grew up in the hills of northern California. She is the author of Grass Roof, Tin Roof, a novel, and The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys, a book of stories. Dao is also a writer of songs who makes songs as The Sea & the Mother, with several independent releases, including Send Me Home and Everything That Blooms Wrecks Me. The New Yorker described Dao's latest book, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (2006), as being "filled with social observation of contemporary...culture and indie sensibility," "quietly beautiful," and "hip without being ironic." She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship, the Nelson Algren Award, the James Michener-Paul Engle Fellowship, and other honors. Her stories have been anthologized in Still Wild: Short Fiction of the West, compiled by Larry McMurtry, as well as Charlie Chan Is Dead 2, an anthology of Asian American fiction edited by Jessica Hagedorn, and Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose, published by the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Kelly Wallace: Kelly Wallace was a student in the Attic Institute's Atheneum program in 2013-2014 and the Hawthorne Fellows program, and she has been a Summer Fishtrap Fellow. She is finishing a memoir tentatively titled The Yellow Blanket and at work on a shorter, untitled follow-up memoir. She has studied with Judy Blunt, Joanna Rose, Steven Allred, Karen Karbo and Lee Montgomery. 

Kristin Walrod: Kristin Walrod's stories and essays have appeared in Literal Latte, Nervy Girl, Stringtown, Storyglossia, Columbia Gorge Magazine, and elsewhere. She has a MFA from Antioch LA. With a focus on prompts, flash fiction, and novel writing, she teaches creative writing to adults through community college classes and is a frequent as a writer-in-residence in middle and high schools. She is currently writing a novel. She’s had stories shortlisted for the 2016 Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize and the Masters Review 2016 Anthology.

Emily Whitman: Emily Whitman writes books for children and teens. Her YA Wildwing won the 2012 Oregon Book Award for Young Adult Literature and was a Bankstreet College Best Children’s Book. Radiant Darkness was #1 on the IndieBound Kid’s Next List, selected by independent booksellers, and was an Oregon Book Award finalist. Emily has taught at writing conferences including the Pacific Northwest Children’s Book Conference and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Oregon Conference, and she writes poetry, prose and nonfiction for educational publishers. She’s currently at work on a Middle Grade novel.

A Statement of Our Values

The Attic Institute of Arts and Letters opposes the legitimation of bigotry, hate, and misinformation. As a studio for writers, we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. We embrace and celebrate our shared pursuit of literature and languages as essential to crossing the boundaries of difference. To that end, we seek to maintain a creative environment in which every employee, faculty member, and student feels safe, respected, and comfortable — even while acknowledging that poems, stories, and essays delve into uncomfortable subjects. We accept the workshop as a place to question ourselves and to empathize with complex identities. We understand that to know the world is to write the world. Therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to literary pursuits and shared understanding by affirming diversity and open inquiry.