Zak is a fiction writer originally from the Chicago area. Before moving to California he worked as an ESL teacher in South Korea and a freelance reporter in Seattle. In California he worked in the Orange County recovery community as a speaker and a group facilitator in a drug and alcohol rehab. Although he is currently focused on writing short stories, he has aspirations to write a novel.
Thomas Warren Burke
Thomas Warren Burke is a second-year fiction student at UCI's M.F.A. Programs in Writing. He earned his B.A. at Harvard in 2020, where he studied English, writing a novella for his thesis with novelist Claire Messud as his advisor. His primary influence is Henry James and he is currently working on a novel and a few short stories.
Emma Cairns Watson
Emma Cairns Watson grew up in Los Angeles and studied English and neuroscience at Smith College. Since moving back to California, she’s taught creative writing workshops for kids, stocked shelves at the Container Store, and coordinated conferences on Judaism and Egyptology at UCLA. She likes noodles, folk ballads, baking, queer lit, and neat bugs.
Kathryn Campo Bowen
Kathryn Campo Bowen is a Miami-born Salvadoran American writer and third-year candidate in fiction at UCI. She is working on a novel.
Christie Craig is a queer French-American writer. She grew up in Connecticut and has spent all of her adult life (until now) in Paris, studying literature at the Sorbonne and teaching ESL. She's come to Irvine to work on a mystery novel/novel of consciousness set in and around a big box store. Some of her other interests include great apes, installation art, the Middle Ages, early Cher and DIY dentistry. She makes a mean gin cocktail.
Gabriel Garofano was born and raised in Los Angeles, but he sincerely hopes you will not hold that against him. Apart from full-body wincing while writing about himself in third person, he is looking to create work that gets at what it is to be alive, even if it kills him.
Lily Grimes is a third-year from Southern California. Before coming to Irvine's programs in writing, she lived in Seoul for five and a half years, teaching English and traveling the Korean peninsula. She is at work on a collection of mostly autofictional stories which explore the body's consciousnesses and "womanishness," and a short novel about 9-ball and mind reading.
Lawyer turned fiction writer. Crossword puzzle enthusiast. Proud immigrant. Dog and cat person. In the words of the great Sandra Oh, it’s an honor just to be Asian.
Hannah Liberman is a writer from the Southwestern United States. She has a B.A. in Political Theory and History from Columbia University. Prior to joining the Programs in Writing, she worked as a legal researcher at Columbia University and as an editor at Boston Review.
Flynn Mixdorf is a writer from Indianapolis by way of Chicago. His essays have appeared in F Newsmagazine and Citric Acid. He is at work on a novel set in the midwest.
Sehrish Ranjha is a Pakistani American writer. She has a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. Her short stories have appeared in West Branch, Juked, The Malahat Review, and the anthology New Moons: Contemporary Writing by North American Muslims.
Jaime Sandoval hails from Mexicali, Baja California, a city on the border of Mexico and the United States. Through the exploration of the borderland experience, their writing aims to bridge the divide between sexuality and religion, and queerness and conservatism. As an immigrant, Jaime is particularly interested in the voices of the alienated and socially displaced. Their work can be found in Westwind and Masque and Spectacle Journal.
Tonya Shenandoah (K^nikanlahtá:sa’)
Tonya is a member of the Oneida Indian Nation from Upstate New York, married to an artist/Onondaga Nation leader and the mother of four. She’s received degrees in education and American Indian Studies. She spends her leisure time gardening, hiking, rescuing animals and at opportune times, feeding crows. She’s working on a story collection and a novel.
Charlie Sorrenson is a queer, trans writer who grew up in Indiana and New Zealand. A third-year fiction candidate at UC Irvine, he was a 2023 Lambda Scholar and a finalist for the 2023 Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction. His work is published or forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review and Apogee, among other publications, and he is an alum of the Tin House and Clarion Writers’ Workshops. Find him on Instagram @charliesorrenson.