Teachers & Staff

Lee Montgomery

Adjunct Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters


Lee Montgomery teaches nonfiction in the Atheneum. She is the author of The Things Between Us, A Memoir (Free Press, August 2006), Whose World Is This? Stories (University of Iowa Press, September 2007), and Searching for Emily: Illustrated (Nothing Moments Press, October 2007). The Things Between Us received the 2007 Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction and Whose World Is This? received the 2007 John Simmons Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award in Fiction in 2008.

Montgomery's fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Black Clock, Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, Story Magazine, Black River Review, the Santa Monica Review and the Antioch Review. Nonfiction has been published in the New York Times, Alaska Quarterly, the American Book Review, Boston Magazine, Travel Holiday, 'Scape, The Hollywood Reporter, Tin House, Paris Passion, Boston Phoenix, the Oregonian, Willamette Week, New England Monthly, the Antioch Review and the anthology The Honeymoon is Over (January 2007, Warner Books).

Montgomery is also an editor. For the last ten years she has been at Tin House as the associate publisher and editor of Tin House Books and an executive editor of the magazine. Also, while at Tin House, she founded the Tin House Writers Workshop in 2003 and directed it for three years. Previous to this, she was the fiction editor at the Iowa Review, the editor of the Santa Monica Review, and various anthologies including Transgressions: The Iowa Anthology of Innovative Fiction (University of Iowa Press), Absolute Disaster: Fiction from Los Angeles (Dove Books), Woof! Writers on Dogs (Viking Penguin, September 2008).

She lives with her husband, daughter, and two bizarre schnauzers in Portland, Oregon.

John Morrison

John Morrison

Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

John Morrison's book, Heaven of the Moment, won the Rhea & Seymour Gorsline Poetry Competition and was a finalist for the 2008 Oregon Book Award in poetry. He received his MFA from the University of Alabama. John's poetry has appeared in numerous national journals including the Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, and the Southern Poetry Review.

A former Attic Institute Studio for Writers participant, John has taught poetry for the University of Alabama, Washington State University, and in the Literary Arts Writers in the Schools program where he served as director from 2006-2009.

WHY I LIKE TO TEACH AT THE ATTIC INSTITUTE: "What makes teaching at the Attic special has an easy answer: the writers who are curious enough to climb the stairs and join a class or workshop. Whether novice or master — and I’ve had both in the same class — everyone shares a dedication to poetry and, very quickly and deeply, to each other. Often their talent brings them to the Attic. They know they can write. They’ve seen flashes of brilliance in their metaphors, images, and in the music of their lines. Now they want to know what to do to weather the challenges and risks and write at their potential. So the workshops are always home to energetic discussions of craft and of fresh, sharp poetry (who doesn’t love that?), and home to writers poised to explore and develop a practice that can sustain their artistic life and lift their poetry to its potential. These writers are what make the Attic so special to me: they inspire me to teach my best and encourage me to write my best."

Whitney Otto

Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

Whitney Otto is the author of five novels: How To Make an American Quilt, which was a New York Times Best Seller (as well as other bestseller lists) and NY Times Notable Book; nominated for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, and adapted into a feature film produced by Steven Spielberg. Now You See Her was nominated for an Oregon Book Award, and optioned for film. The Passion Dream Book was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, optioned for a film, and an Oregonian Book Club selection. A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity was a Multnomah County Library selection. Eight Girls Taking Pictures is being published by Scribner in November 2012. Her novels have been published in fourteen languages.

Her work has also appeared in anthologies, magazines and the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Oregonian. In 2006 she had an art exhibition of her shadow boxes at the Littman & White Galleries in Portland, OR.

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.