The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Piper Writers Studio Instructors

Expert writers with a passion for community

Our instructors are at the heart of what we do. 

To meet current instructors for the Piper Writers Studio, select a name from the list below.

For more information, you can meet past instructors or view upcoming classes and workshops

Meet Our Current Instructors

Picture of Corey Ann Haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is the author of young adult (YA) novels, OCD Love Story (Simon Pulse/S&S 2013, three starred reviews, Life By Committee (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins 2014), Making Pretty (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins 2015), and The Careful Undressing of Love (Dutton/Penguin, 2017) as well as the middle grade novels Rules for Stealing Stars (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins 2015, three starred reviews) and The Someday Suitcase (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2017, three starred reviews). Her seventh novel, the middle grade novel Eventown, is coming out in Winter 2019. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Haydu has been working in children’s publishing since 2009. In 2013, she was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s Flying Starts. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections, Romantic Times Top Picks, and Best Books of the Year by the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee. She has been teaching YA and middle grade (MG) novel writing since 2014.

Beth Staples is an assistant professor of English and editor of the literary magazine Shenandoah at Washington & Lee University. She has worked as an editor and publishing professional in a variety of jobs: as the assistant director of The Publishing Laboratory at UNC Wilmington, as editor of Lookout Books, as senior editor of Ecotone, and as the managing editor of Hayden's Ferry Review. (In her early professional life, she also dipped her toe into medical publishing at Elsevier and the print-on-demand publishing world at Xlibris.) In addition to teaching creative writing classes at W&L, she has taught classes in fiction writing, editing, and publishing at UNCW, Mesa Community College, and Arizona State University, where she earned her MFA in fiction writing.

Photograph of Stella Pope Duarte

Inspired to become a writer by a prophetic dream of her father in 1995, acclaimed author, activist and educator, Stella Pope Duarte, is named by critics as a “major, literary voice in America.” She is described as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and recognized as an “author who will enlarge humanity.” Her most current work is a biography entitled: Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power, which won the “Best Biography in English,” at the 2017 International Latino Book Awards in Los Angeles. Her many awards include, a 2009 American Book Award, Southwest Book of the Year Award, Arizona Book of the Year Award, and a Book Sense 76 Selection. She teaches creative writing at colleges and community centers, and is often a speaker and keynote presenter at writing conferences nationwide.

Photograph of Todd Mitchell with dog

Todd Mitchell is the author of several award-winning books for young readers and teens including The Last Panther (2018 Colorado Book Award Winner and Green Earth Honor Book Award winner), The Traitor King, The Secret to Lying (Colorado Book Award Winner), and Backwards (CAL Award Winner). He created the graphic series Broken Saviors (available on Comixology), and co-wrote the graphic novel A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, a YALSA "Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens"). Currently, he serves as Director of the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, dog, and two wise daughters. You can visit him (and learn about his squirrel obsession) at

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow 2019 Yi Shun Lai

Yi Shun Lai is the co-publisher and fiction editor for the Tahoma Literary Review, a thrice-annual literary magazine that promotes literary citizenship, transparency, and sustainable literature. She teaches workshops and classes on creative writing and publishing at the Claremont Colleges, the University of La Verne, and other educational institutions, and in Southern New Hampshire University’s online MFA program. Her debut novel, Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu, is in its fourth printing. It was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Thurber Prize in American Humor. She writes regularly for The Writer magazine on the art of publishing and the craft of writing. Find her online @gooddirt on Twitter and on the web at n

Photograph of Terese Svoboda

A Guggenheim fellow, Terese Svoboda is the author most recently of Professor Harriman's Steam Air-Ship (poetry, 2016) and Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet (biography, 2018), and Great American Desert (stories, 2019). She's won the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Prize for poetry, an NEH grant for translation, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, the O. Henry award for the short story, the Bobst prize for the novel, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay. Her opera WET premiered at L.A.'s Disney Hall. She's taught at Williams, Columbia School of the Arts, William and Mary, Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, New School, Davidson, the Universities of Tampa, Miami and Hawaii, as well as in Tbilisi, Nairobi and St. Petersburg for the Summer Literary Seminars.

Photograph of Saretta Morgan

Saretta Morgan is a writer and artist who uses text and objects to consider relationships between privacy and narrative forms. She is the author of the chapbooks, Feeling Upon Arrival (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018) and room for a counter interior (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2017) as well as a forthcoming full length collection Plan Upon Arrival (Selva Oscura/Three Count Pour). She was a 2016-2017 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Resident and has created interactive text-based projects for art institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and Dia Beacon. Her work has received support from the Jerome Foundation, Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, among others. Saretta received a B.A. in writing from Columbia University and an MFA from Pratt Institute. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.