Instructors

Let us introduce you to StoryStudio Chicago’s talented, creative, and encouraging faculty of writers. Our instructors are experts in their fields, published writers, and active players in Chicago’s literary scene. We also host visiting writers for single-session classes and retreats.

Scroll through instructor bios for our Creative Writing Classes, or see the Words for Work business storytelling and writing team.

  • Jill Pollack

    Jill Pollack

    ​is founder and director of StoryStudio Chicago, overseeing writing training for more than 1,200 students each year. She is a presenter on the power of stories read more...

  • Scott

    Scott

    Onak holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Idaho and has published stories in Mid-American Review, Willow Springs, and Quick Fiction. read more...

  • Abby Geni

    Abby Geni

    is the author of the short story collection The Last Animal, published by Counterpoint Press. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient read more...

  • Adam McOmber

    Adam McOmber

    is the author of The White Forest: A Novel (Touchstone 2012) and This New & Poisonous Air: Stories (BOA Editions 2011).  His work has read more...

  • Amanda Goldblatt

    Amanda Goldblatt

    is a fiction writer and essayist whose work has appeared most recently in The Southern Review, Hobart, FENCE, and American Short Fiction. She’s led writing workshops at read more...

  • Amy Bernhard

    Amy Bernhard

    holds a BA from The University of Iowa, and an MFA from the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. Her work appears or is forthcoming in VICE Magazine, The Toast, Ninth read more...

  • Anna Scott

    Anna Scott

    holds a degree in literary journalism from Boston University and a master’s in humanities and creative writing from the University of Chicago. She spent eight read more...

  • Annette Gendler

    Annette Gendler

    is a literary nonfiction writer. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Tablet Magazine, Bellevue read more...

  • Baird Harper

    Baird Harper

    ’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Mid-American Review, CutBank, Best New American Voices 2009 and 2010, and The Chicago read more...

  • Beth Nyland

    Beth Nyland

    is a communications consultant and founder of Spencer Grace LLC. Her employer/client list includes Accenture, Lands’ read more...

  • Blair Hurley

    Blair Hurley

    received her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. from NYU. She has stories published or forthcoming in Washington Square Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Descant, read more...

  • Dana Norris

    Dana Norris

    is the founder and host of Story Club, a monthly Live Lit show for stories. She performs around Chicago with Mortified, The Paper Machete, The Kates, Essay read more...

  • Denise Santomauro

    Denise Santomauro

    is a writer, storyteller, and performer. In addition to performing in a number of stage plays in Chicago, Denise has been seen in live lit shows around the city, including Story read more...

  • Elizabeth Schmuhl

    is a writer, dance maker, and illustrator whose work appears or is forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, [PANK], Big Lucks, Bodega Magazine and elsewhere. read more...

  • Frances Peebles

    Frances Peebles

    Frances de Pontes Peebles is the author of the novel, The Seamstress, (HarperCollins, 2008) winner of the Elle Grand Prix for Fiction, the Friends of read more...

  • Heather Cramond

    Heather Cramond

    H. V. CRAMOND is an RYT200 Hatha Yoga Instructor, Poetry Editor for and a Co-founder of Requited Journal for Innovative Art, and a read more...

  • Ian Belknap

    Ian Belknap

    is a Chicago writer/performer and founder/curator/host of WRITE CLUB, the world's greatest competitive reading series. WRITE CLUB has monthly shows in Chicago, Atlanta, and San read more...

  • Jack Helbig

    Jack Helbig

    is a theater critic, arts writer, and essayist for various publications. He regularly writes for the Chicago Reader and the Daily Herald. He is read more...

  • Jacqueline Loewe

    Jacqueline Loewe

    Jackie Loewe (business development and relationship building) is the founding partner of Sheridan Park Consulting, which provides relationship building training and read more...

  • Jamie Freveletti

    Jamie Freveletti

    is the internationally and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Emma Caldridge series. Her debut thriller, Running from the Devil, was chosen as a “Notable Book” by the read more...

  • Jen Finstrom

    Jen Finstrom

    Jennifer Finstrom is an instructor in the First-Year Writing Program at DePaul University, where she earned both her bachelor’s degree in English and her read more...

  • Jennifer Ann Coffeen

    Jennifer Ann Coffeen

    is a romance novelist and freelance writer. Her regency short story Five Golden Suitors spent two weeks in the top 100 regency romances on Amazon. She read more...

  • Jessica Handler

    Jessica Handler

    is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss (St. Martins Press, December 2013.) Her first book, Invisible Sisters: A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2009, read more...

  • John Biggers

    John Biggers

    is a screenwriter and dog enthusiast from Chicago. After teaching screenwriting at Northwestern University, where he also earned his MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage, John read more...

  • Joseph Scapellato

    earned his MFA in Fiction at New Mexico State University. His work appears in North American Review, Kenyon Review Online, Post Road, Unsaid, Harper Perennial's anthology Forty read more...

  • Juliet Bond

    Juliet Bond

    Juliet C. Bond is a writer and professor at Columbia College in Chicago. Her first picture book, Sam’s Sister, was published in 2005 and has sold over read more...

  • Keidra Chaney

     (keidrachaney.com)  is a freelance writer and editor that focuses on pop culture, music, and technology. She's been read more...

  • Keith Ecker

    Keith Ecker

    is a Vice President at a national marketing/PR agency. He formerly operated his own marketing/PR consultancy, providing services to such clients as Travelzoo, read more...

  • Kelsie Huff

    Kelsie Huff

    is the producer and host of the kates, has created three one woman shows and continues to tell stories and perform stand-up across the nation. Huff is a read more...

  • Kevin Davis

    Kevin Davis

    is a freelance writer and journalist in Chicago and author of three nonfiction books, including The Wrong Man, (Avon) and the forthcoming The Brain Defense (The Penguin read more...

  • Kevin Kilroy

    is a writer and a teacher living in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. His fiction has been published by Akashic, Fact-Simile, Hot Whiskey, Poets & Artists, Summer Stock, read more...

  • Kim Brooks

    Kim Brooks

    received her MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa where she was a Michener-Copernicus Fellow. Her fiction has read more...

  • Lori Rader-Day

    Lori Rader-Day

    ’s debut mystery, The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books, 2014), received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal and is a finalist for the Mary read more...

  • Nadine Johnstone

    Nadine Johnstone

    Nadine Kenney Johnstone received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago and teaches full-time at Loyola University. She recently completed her memoir about the risks and read more...

  • Patricia McNair

    Patricia McNair

    Patricia Ann McNair has lived 98 percent of her life in the Midwest. She’s managed a gas station, sold pots and pans door to door, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, worked on read more...

  • Paulette Livers

    Paulette Livers

    is the author of the novel Cementville (Counterpoint Press, 2014), winner of the Elle magazine Lettres Prize, finalist for the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel read more...

  • Rebecca Makkai

    Rebecca Makkai

    is the author of the new story collection Music for Wartime, as well as the novels The Hundred-Year House (a BookPage “Best Book” of 2014 and winner of the Chicago Writers read more...

  • Sarah Terez Rosenblum

    Sarah Terez Rosenblum

    ’s debut novel, "Herself When She's Missing,” was called “poetic and heartrending" by Booklist in 2012. She writes for publications and sites including read more...

  • Steve Trumpeter

    Steve Trumpeter

    ’s short story “Sky Boys” won the Chicago Reader‘s 2012 Pure Fiction contest. His short stories have also been published or are forthcoming in read more...

  • StoryStudio Chicago

    StoryStudio Chicago

  • Susan Messing

    Susan Messing

    , a New Jersey native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for over twenty-five years. She is an alumna read more...

  • Tadd Adcox

    Tadd Adcox

    is the author of a flash fiction collection, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge (Tiny Hardcore Press, 2012), and a novel, Does Not Love  read more...