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's 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, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 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.
Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Isako Isako, a California Book Award finalist and winner of the Alice James Award, the Nautilus Gold Award, a National Indie Excellence Award, and a Maine Literary Award. Her chapbook, Notes from the Birth Year, won Bateau's BOOM Chapbook Contest and was published in 2022. Mia is the recipient of the Hawker Prize for Southeast Asian Poetry and the Singapore Poetry Prize, and she holds creative writing degrees from Stanford University and the University of Washington.
Mia's poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Yale Review, Indiana Review, and Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience.