The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Creative Writing Instructors

Creative Writing Instructors

Juniper's Creative Writing Instructors are professional teachers, published authors, and graduate students pursuing their PhD or Masters of Fine Arts degrees in creative writing at UMass Amherst. Below are the fantastic and brilliant Instructors for our summer programs, Juniper Young Writers Online and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers.

Rutendo Chidzodzo

Rutendo Chidzodzo (she/her)

Rutendo Chidzodzo is an Afrosurrealist writer with roots all over. She is Zimbabwe-born, Botswana-raised, and American-lived. She graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and Film Studies in Iowa and was the recipient of the 2020 Ladies' Literary Club award and the Paul Engle Memorial Prize for Creative Writing. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she is the recipient of Ocean Vuong's Rose Fellowship. Her work has been supported by the Voodonauts Workshop, Tin House Workshop, REAL Fellowship, amongst others. Rutendo currently teaches in the Writing Program at UMass.

Rutendo will be teaching at Juniper Young Writers Online this summer!

Larry Flynn

Larry Flynn (he/him)

Larry Flynn is a teaching associate and MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conferences, Columbia University’s Klingenstein Institute, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and has attended workshops at Tin House and The Kenyon Review. His writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is published or forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, New Letters, West Branch, StoryQuarterly, The Greensboro Review, The Normal School, Portland Review, Sports Illustrated, several Massachusetts newspapers, and others.

Larry received degrees from Villanova University (BA) and Northwestern University (MS), where he reported and produced a documentary selected as a finalist for a Midwest/Chicago Emmy. He has taught in various year-round and summer programming at UMass Amherst, Culver Academies, Northfield Mount Hermon, Phillips Academy Andover, and Villanova University.

As a teacher, Larry enjoys cultivating generative and generous classroom spaces. As a writer, he often situates nature, education, history, and family dynamics at the heart of his work. Read his work at

Larry will be teaching at both Juniper Young Writers Online and the Juniper Institute for Young Writers this summer!

Sara HetheringtonSara Hetherington (she/her)

Sara Hetherington grew up in Florida and has lived in Western Massachusetts and NYC. She holds a B.A. from Williams College and is currently enrolled in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst, where she also teaches College Writing. She is working on a collection of linked short stories.

Sara will be teaching at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers this summer!

Dyala Kasim (she/her)Dyala Kasim

Dyala Kasim earned her BA in English and Communication from Villanova University and MA in American Studies from Columbia University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the English Department and a Teaching Associate in the Writing Department at UMass Amherst. Dyala’s research focuses on contemporary Arab American fiction, Postcolonialism, hyphenated-American identity and homeland. She also has previous pedagogical experience, having taught English and Social Studies to bilingual elementary school students, a weekend museum course on immigration, identity and the census in New York City and weekly lessons to English Language Learners. You can read more about her research and pedagogical work here.

Dyala is also a voracious reader (shocker!), and especially enjoys the genres of realistic fiction, thriller and memoir. Some of her favorite authors include (but are definitely not limited much time do you have?) James Baldwin, Elif Shafak, Sayaka Murata, Dolly Alderton, Sally Rooney, Hanya Yanagihara and Lisa Jewell. When she isn’t on campus, you can find her admiring her houseplants and her cat, Val. She is also one half of the book review instagram: @textualrelation.

Dyala will be teaching at Juniper Young Writers Online this summer!


Noelle Mrugała-ParaanNoelle Mrugała-Paraan (she/her)

Noelle Mrugała-Paraan is a poet from Wiesbaden, Germany – the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines and Germany. She has worked as an editor, open-mic host, bookstore manager, event coordinator, graphic designer, and educator, living in Boulder, CO before coming to Western Massachusetts. She reads mostly poetry in translation, and will study anything that seems worth knowing. She is a REAL Fellow, a Juniper Fellow, recipient of the Rose fellowship, and doesn’t publish much. When she isn’t working on her three manuscripts, you’ll probably see her reading thirty books at the same time while waiting to go to the movies (over-caffeinated).

Noelle will be teaching at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers this summer!

Joan Tate (she/it)Joan Tate

Joan Tate is a trans writer from Virginia whose often maximalist work deals with the grappling of the human spirit with its own impermanence, growth, and ecstasies. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University in Creative Writing Poetry and is currently studying at UMass Amherst’s MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Its work has been featured in Ratrock, Quarto, 4x4, and The Gadfly. When she’s not too busy watching horror movies and yearning for a good New York bagel she can be found walking the graveyards of Western Massachusetts, reading to whatever entities reside therein.

Joan will be teaching at Juniper Young Writers Online this summer!


Ide ThompsonIde Thompson (he/they)

Ide Amari Thompson (he / they) is a poetry MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. His written work has appeared in the PREE online journal, in Onyx magazine a creative journal for diasporic black writers based in the UK and in the NE9 exhibition “The Fruit & The Seed” and “REFUGE” (2019) both exhibited by the National Art Gallery Of the Bahamas.

Ide will be teaching at Juniper Young Writers Online this summer!

Scout Turkel (she/they)Scout Turkel

Scout Katherine Turkel was born in California. Scout holds a degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Scout’s work can be found in Annulet, Oversound, Tagvverk, bæst: a journal of queer forms & affects, and elsewhere. It is often about reproduction, nature, and love.

Scout will be teaching at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers this summer!