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

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow 2019 Jabari Jawan Allen

Jabari Jawan Allen, a Chicago, IL native, has received fellowships and scholarships from Tin House, Community of Writers, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, VONA, among others. Along with Jari Bradley and Willie Kinard III, he is a member of the Black queer gospel trio The Upper Room Collective. A Pushcart nominee, Allen’s poems either appear or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Vinyl, Virginia Quarterly Review, Wildness, the anthology The Impossible Beast: Queer Erotic Poems, and elsewhere. An Arizona Commission on the Arts grant recipient, Allen currently lives in Phoenix. 

Photograph of Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron ( is the NY Times bestselling author of 17 books including 6 domestic suspense novels reviewers call “deliciously creepy.” Her recent "Careful What You Wish For" (Wm. Morrow), received a STARRED review, PW called it “outstanding.” In a review in TIME Magazine, Jamie Lee Curtis called it “thrilling and suspenseful.” Her "Never Tell a Lie" was made into a Lifetime movie. A five-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, her "Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel" (Writers Digest Books) was an Edgar Award finalist. Hallie is a popular presenter at events and writing conferences. She can be found daily on the Anthony-award-winning blog, Jungle Red Writers

Photograph of Leah Newsom

Leah Newsom is a fiction writer born and raised in Arizona. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and is the Founding Editor of Spilled Milk Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, JukedPassages North, and more.

Photograph of Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of the memoir In the Dream House and the short story collection Her Body and Other Parties. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. In 2018, the New York Times listed Her Body and Other Parties as a member of "The New Vanguard," one of "15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century."

Her essays, fiction, and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, GrantaHarper’s Bazaar, Tin House, VQRConjunctions, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The Believer, Guernica, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, Michener-Copernicus Foundation, Elizabeth George Foundation, CINTAS Foundation, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.