Rachel and David met in 2004 as Wallace Stegner Fellows studying poetry at Stanford. Since then, we've taught at half a dozen universities, roamed five continents, had two great kids, and published four books between us. Our newest and most exciting adventure is Left Margin LIT: a creative writing center serving writers of all levels in the East Bay. Because this side of the Bay deserves a great space for writers to generate, share, and improve their work.
Rachel Richardson is the author of two books of poetry, Copperhead (2011) and Hundred-Year Wave (2016), both selections in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University. Her poetry and prose appear in The New York Times, Guernica, New England Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA from the University of Michigan and an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught creative writing to elementary school kids, incarcerated adults, and university students around the country. She currently teaches in the MFA program at University of San Francisco. Rachel is a Berkeley native and, after 18 years away, now lives half a mile from where she was born.
David Roderick writes the poetry column State Lines for the San Francisco Chronicle. His first book of poems, Blue Colonial, won the APR/Honickman Prize and was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2006. The Pitt Poetry Series published his second collection, The Americans, in 2014. David’s writing has been awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, and the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. He has taught creative writing and literature classes at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and most recently at the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was an Associate Professor in Creative Writing. David lives in Berkeley and serves as the Commissioner of Old Man Basketball.
We choose our faculty for their excellent teaching as well as their excellent writing. All of our faculty members have published books and/or won major awards in the genre in which they teach.
Laleh Khadivi is a novelist and short story writer. Her projects include The Kurdish Trilogy, a series of books that follows the fate of three generations of Kurdish-Iranian men as they leave the land of their tribe and take on new identities in the rest of the world. The first book in the series, The Age of Orphans, received the Whiting Award for Fiction, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and was long listed for the Dublin IMPAC award. The New York Times commented about the second book of the trilogy, The Walking, " A successful novel needn’t set out to teach us something—to bend us morally—but the precision of Khadivi’s sentences, each with a gentle rhythm and a sure-footed intelligence, engenders deep sympathy for the miseries experienced by forced migrants." The third book of the trilogy, A Good Country, is forthcoming in 2017. Laleh is the recipient of a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a 2016 Pushcart Prize.
Helena Brantley is a publicist who specializes in promoting nonfiction books and events. She established Red Pencil Publicity and Marketing in 2011. Early in her career, Helena worked at public relations, marketing and advertising agencies in New York City and Washington, DC, where she promoted consumer brands. In 2005, Helena was recruited to work for HarperCollins in San Francisco, where she created and managed many book publicity campaigns, including a string of national and New York Times bestsellers. Today, Helena works from an office in Oakland, California, with a small team of subcontractors. She is hired by large and small publishers, and by authors, to promote nonfiction titles to television, radio, and print media. She also creates and promotes events, and she engages on social media as part of her work with and for authors and publishers.
Porter Shreve is the author of four novels. The Obituary Writer was a New York Times Notable Book. Drives Like a Dream and When the White House Was Ours were Chicago Tribune Books of the Year. And his latest, The End of the Book, published in 2014, was a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year. The Washington Post called The End of the Book "excellent... entertaining, insightful fiction." Porter has co-edited six anthologies and published fiction, nonfiction, Op-Eds and book reviews in many magazines and newspapers, and he writes a column on e-books for the San Francisco Chronicle. He has been interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition and the Diane Rehm Show, among other programs, and has taught at a number of universities, including the University of Michigan, the University of Oregon, Purdue, St. Mary’s, and the University of San Francisco.
Kate O'Shaughnessy writes middle grade fiction. Her debut novel, The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane, will be published with Knopf/Random House in spring 2020. She is a graduate of Yale University and an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). When she’s not writing, you can find Kate in her garden, eating good food, hiking with her dog, and chronically mispronouncing words she’s read but never heard said aloud.
Louis McKinnon is a current student at UC Berkeley studying English and Economics with particular focus on 18th to 19th century novels and literary theory. He has previously worked at Westerly, a literary magazine based in his hometown, Perth, Australia. Outside of the workplace, Louis is an avid fan of football and alpine skiing, and he aspires to be a creative short fiction writer.