JIYW Program Assistants (PAs) are advanced UMass undergraduates studying the literary arts. PAs provide participants with an introduction to college residential life and day-to-day support. PAs also facilitate morning and evening free-writing sessions, recreational activities in the residence halls, and field trips to area museums. As members of close-knit “pods,” participants develop intense and inspiring relationships with their PAs and each other.
Meet the Program Assistants for the 2013 Young Writers Institute:
Alex is a senior at UMass studying poetry and social thought. She writes poetry and does most of her work aboard a PVTA bus. Sometimes when there is traffic, she tries her hand at fiction. Besides writing, she also spends her time playing music and hiking. Some of her favorite writers include Bernadette Mayer, Flannery O’Connor, Eileen Myles, George Oppen, and James Baldwin.
Ben is working on completing an undergraduate thesis in creative writing at UMass-Amherst. He writes short stories that vary in genre and style, but all center around the concept of acceptance. He loves stories, movies, plays, myths, legends, novels, memoirs, and even more than the stories themselves, loves figuring out why he loves them, some bizarre forensic examination of narrative. His favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, Ernest Hemingway, Italo Calvino, William Goldman, Ursula Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gabriel García Márquez and Alexandre Dumas. After graduation, he hopes to continue his studies in an MFA or doctoral program. He can't wait for the 2013 Institute, and to meet everyone.
Jonah is a senior at UMass studying creative writing. He has recently been employed as a closed captionist for UMass Disability Services, a general busybody for several literary journals, and a program assistant in the 2011 Juniper Institute for Young Writers. He likes writing that’s proud to be weird. His list of favorite writers includes Samuel Beckett, Flannery O’Connor, Jose Saramago, and Grace Paley. In his free time he makes vegan gummy candy, plays basketball, and reads. He will always be happy to read your work if you ask him to.
Nicole is a senior at UMass studying poetry and visual art. Her favorite writers to date are H.D., Anne Carson, Frank O’Hara, Roberto Bolaño, and Julie Orringer. She is most excited by multimedia artwork, especially books that function as both literary and visual objects. She likes Ancient Greece. Her poems always mention food. She is a returning PA and can’t wait for another amazing week of Juniper!
Phoebe is a senior at UMass. She is interested in contemporary fiction and poetry, queer and feminist theory, the internet, sexuality, prison systems, and big mammals. She writes poetry and short fiction, often about dead animals. She thinks dead animals can be beautiful in the right context. Authors that wrote some of her favorite books are William Faulkner, Ben Marcus, Georges Bataille, Flannery O’Connor, Natalie Lyalin, Charlotte Brontë, Malcolm Braly, Mary Miller, Sylvia Plath, and Rachel B. Glaser.
Robin created her own “Writing Fiction” major through UMass Amherst’s BDIC program, and plans to pursue an MFA in writing after graduation. Her writing consists mainly of short stories, but she also enjoys experimenting with prose poetry and is working on a novel project. Much of Robin’s inspiration for writing comes from Amy Hempel, Raymond Carver, and Julio Cortázar. Robin’s own writing often explores themes such as the nature of love, figurative paralysis, and the destructive impact of the unknown.
Zack grew up in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, a small town famous for its historical reenactments. At seventeen, he attended the Champlain College Young Writer's Conference, where he placed third in the annual slam poetry competition, and was offered a position as a Peer Mentor at the program this past summer. He is creating his own major in computer science and creative writing at UMass. He reads voraciously and his favorite authors include Dennis Lehane, Gabriel García Márquez, Patrick Rothfuss, and Robert Heinlein. In his spare time, Zack enjoys playing guitar, acting, and working on his latest creative writing project. He hopes that we will enjoy the time we spend together during the Juniper Institute.