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Creative Writing Instructors

Meet our summer 2018 Creative Writing Instructors!

Christopher Ayala author photo

Christopher Ayala

Christopher Ayala is from Milford, MA. He is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at UMass Amherst where he teaches composition and creative writing.

Sean Bates author photo

Sean Bates

Sean Bates is a poet and MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. He attended undergrad at Oberlin College in Ohio, but grew up working in various restaurants throughout upstate New York. He currently lives in Northampton with his partner Elizabeth and their cat Smudge.

Ell Davis author photo

Ell Davis

Ell Davis is a writer from central Ohio. They are currently pursuing an MFA at UMass Amherst, where they also teach composition. Sometimes they post their work here:

Emmalie Dropkin author photo

Emmalie Dropkin

Emmalie Dropkin is pursuing an MFA in fiction at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also teaches. Her writing has been published by the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Electric Lit. She lives in the mountains of northern Massachusetts with her extroverted dog and introverted cat and writes with literary and speculative intentions.

Otto Leinsdorf author photograph

Ben Parson

Ben Parson is an MFA candidate studying fiction at UMass Amherst, where he also received his BA degree in English and a certificate in creative writing. He has served as assistant editor for two independent literary magazines which focused on promoting unusual and provocative writers and visual artists. Italo Calvino, Joan Didion, Neil Gaiman, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and Kiran Desai are several of his favorite authors. He is also an avid reader of folklore and mythology and is often told that his fixation on Joseph Campbell’s theory of the monomyth is altogether "unhealthy."

Jay Ritchie author photo

Jay Ritchie

Jay Ritchie is the author of the poetry collection Cheer Up, Jay Ritchie (Coach House Books, 2017) and the former assistant editor for Metatron Press. His work has appeared in Powder Keg, carte blanche, The Puritan, Spork, Vallum, glitterMOB, Everyday Genius, Matrix, Joyland, and other places. He is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at UMass Amherst. Read a poem about Joan Didion here and a poem about crying in public bathrooms here.

Rebecca Valley author photograph

Rebecca Valley

Rebecca Valley is a poet from Saint Albans, Vermont, and a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst. Before she came to UMass, she worked as a middle school librarian in the Pacific Northwest, which resulted in a soft spot for rainy days and books about talking animals. She has work in Black Warrior Review, Rattle, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. Her first chapbook, The Bird Eaters, was published by dancing girl press in 2017. Read some of her poems in Glass and Pontoon Poetry.

Ann Ward photograph

Ann Ward

Ann Ward is a writer, editor, and breakfast sandwich enthusiast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in No Tokens, Minola Review, This Magazine, Peach Mag, Powder Keg, CV2, Washington Square Review, GlitterMOB and elsewhere. Ann is an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. You can stalk her easily at