Teachers & Staff

Paulann Petersen

Paulann Petersen

Senior Fellow in Poetry at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Paulann Petersen’s books of poetry are The Wild Awake, Blood-Silk, A Bride of Narrow Escape, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and most recently Kindle. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the recipient of the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts, she serves on the board of Friends of William Stafford, organizing the annual January Stafford Birthday Events. She’s been on the faculty for Summer Fishtrap, and has given workshops for Oregon Writers Workshop, Oregon State Poetry Association, Mountain Writers Series, OCTE and NCTE Conferences, and the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College. From 2010-2014 she was the Oregon Poet Laureate.

Stephen Phillips

Teaching Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Stephen Phillips is a writer and critic. He has written for The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Economist, Times Higher Education, South China Morning Post, The Oregonian, Sight & Sound, Wall Street Journal, The Dublin Review of Books and other publications. His monthly “Bit by Bit” roundup of the latest tech books appears in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Betsy Porter

Web Editor

Betsy Porter is editor of the Attic Institute's website. Her short story, "The Sound of Everything Settling," which she originally wrote as a student in Merridawn Duckler's class at the Attic, appears in the Summer/Fall 2017 edition of The Timberline Review. Her story, "A Tragedy, A Process, an Adjustment," which she wrote for David Ciminello's class at the Attic, was performed by The Liar's League and has been selected as a Finalist for the 2017 Lascaux Prize in Flash Fiction. In 2014-15, Betsy was an Atheneum Fellow in Fiction at the Attic. In her free time, she volunteers as a facilitator of creative writing workshops for Write Around Portland. 


Emilly Prado

Writing Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Emilly Prado is a writer and library assistant living in Portland, Oregon. As a freelance journalist, her writing has appeared in nearly two dozen local and national publications including NPR, Marie Claire, The Oregonian, The Portland Mercury, Bitch Media, and more. Using an intersectional feminist framework, her journalism typically focuses on amplifying the stories of people from marginalized communities in music, culture, activism, and art. In 2016 she was the recipient of a Spectrum Scholarship through the American Library Association and a professional development grant through the Regional Arts and Culture Council. In 2017, she was named one of Remezcla's 15 Latinx Music Journalists to Read. She is in the process of writing a body of personal works about the intersections of her experiences with identity, trauma, biculturality, systems of oppression, and family history as the foundation for a future book. When not writing or working, Emilly makes zines, sells homemade pinback buttons, and travels as much as possible.

Jon Raymond

Adjunct Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Jon Raymond is the author of the novels Freebird, Rain Dragon and The Half-Life, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2004, and the short-story collection Livability, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of the Oregon Book Award. He is also the screenwriter of the film Meek’s Cutoff and cowriter of the films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy, both based on his short fiction, and the film Night Moves. He also cowrote the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, winner of five Emmy Awards. Raymond’s writing has appeared in Playboy, Zoetrope, Tin House, Bookforum, Artforum, and other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.



Natalie Serber

Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir, Community Chest, and the story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, a summer reading selection from O, the Oprah Magazine, and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, Inkwell, and Hunger Mountain and is forth coming in Zyzzyva. Essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, The Rumpus, Salon, and Fourth Genre. Natalie has received the John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, and H.E. Francis Award, and has been short listed in Best American Short Stories. She teaches fiction and the personal essay in and around Portland, and at various conferences including Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Natalie received her MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Joel Shupack

Teaching Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Joel Shupack is an independent radio and podcast producer, sound designer and audio storyteller. He began telling stories in sound in 2013 with a project called CommonPlace - a podcast chronicle of a cross-country bike trip and the stories he came across. Later, he was lead writer with the Steam Radio Syndicate, helping to produce a live variety show inspired by American folk songs. He was also the audio editor for The River Signal, a serialized radio drama. He currently produces his own podcast called SquareMile where each episode is a poetic exploration of a different square mile of land. His work has also been featured on the Out There podcast and KNKX's Sound Effects.

Ed Skoog

Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Ed Skoog is the author of two collections of poems, Mister Skylight (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) and Rough Day (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). His poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewParis ReviewThe New RepublicPoetryNarrativePloughsharesTin House, and elsewhere. His work has received awards from the Faulkner Society and the Poetry Society of America. Skoog has taught at the Idyllwild Arts Foundation in Idyllwild, California, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and Tulane University. He has been the Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington at George Washington University and writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House. 

Cheryl Strayed

Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Wild, was published by Knopf to great acclaim in 2012. Her novel, Torch, was published by Houghton Miflin in 2006 and was selected by the Oregonian as one of the top ten books of the year by writers living in the Pacific Northwest.

Cheryl's personal essays have appeared in The New York Times magazine, The Washington Post magazine, the Sun, Allure, Self, Brain, Child, and other places and have twice been included in the Best American Essays. 

On Valentine's Day in 2012, in San Franscisco, Cheryl announced that since 2010 she has been the anonymous writer, "Sugar," of the Dear Sugar advice column on the Rumpus. 

Vanessa Veselka

Adjunct Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Vanessa Veselka is the author of a novel, Zazen, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and won the 2012 PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize for debut fiction. Her stories have appeared in Tin House, Zyzzyva, and SWINK. Her long form nonfiction can be found in GQ, The Atlantic, The American Reader, and Salon. She has also been, at times, a teenage runaway, a union organizer, a student of paleontology, a train-hopper, a waitress, and a mother.

"Often, authors fall into two distinct camps: those who write gorgeous sentences, but who can’t spin conflict-driven yarns, direct storytelling taking a backseat to narrative navel-gazing; on the other side are the ones who emphasize plot, building much more filmic stories, yet those authors never take the time to make each sentence stand on their own as pieces of art. The lucky few are able to do both of these things simultaneously—think Denis Johnson, John Fante, Lynda Barry—and Veselka is one of thEM. —Joshua Mohr / The Rumpus

"Veselka's prose is chiseled and laced with arsenic observations."  — Publisher’s Weekly