New York-based MAGDA BOGIN is the founder and director of Under the Volcano. Novelist, translator, poet and librettist, she has taught in the writing programs of Princeton, City College, CUNY and Columbia, where she designed and ran the Bank Street Writing Program, a weekend creative writing institute linking NYC public high school students with graduate writing students from the university.
As editorial writer and editorial page editor at El Diario/La Prensa, the Spanish-language daily in New York, she was selected as a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow and has also been the recipient of fellowships from the NEH, NEA, NYFA and NYSCA, the Russian writers’ colony at Peredelkino and, most recently, from Château Lavigny, in Switzerland. She is the author of the novels Natalya, God’s Messenger (Scribner) and Complicity, forthcoming. She has published numerous translations from both French and Spanish, including Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits.
Poet and performance artist SYDNEY VALERIO is a passionate classroom teacher and advocate for youth who will bring her unique energy and vision to our Young Writers Program.
A tenured high school English teacher at North Rockland High School in New York State, with twenty years of experience under her belt, VALERIO has a long track record of working with youth in leadership development across New York City, New York State and nationally.
In addition to her New York State Permanent Certification in English Language Arts, the Bronx-born VALERIO holds an MA in Technology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has expertise in the most current online applications, including Zoom and Google Classroom. She received her BA in Technology and Communication from Pace University and an MA in Creative Writing from City College, CUNY.
VALERIO is a 2020 alumna of Under the Volcano, where she was a member of master classes in both poetry and literary non-fiction.
NORA KIPNIS is a fiction writer and essayist from New York. She is a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall and Oberlin College, where she majored in psychology and minored in rhetoric and composition. Her work has appeared in The Southeast Review, DIAGRAM, Rivet, Al Jazeera, and other publications, and has been listed as notable in the Best American Essays. A 2019 fiction alumna of Under the Volcano, she has worked as a wilderness leader, camp counselor, ESOL teacher, TA for college-level writing classes and as a podcast production assistant for The Women, a production of iHeart Radio. This summer, she is excited to lead students through experiments in style, form, and performance, taking inspiration from iconoclastic writers and artists to bring new energy to the writing process.
REBECCA LEVI is a poet, writer, musician and educator based in the south of Chile. Originally from New York City, she studied comparative literature at Yale University and poetry with Robert Pinsky at Boston University. Her poems and translations have been published in journals such as Columbia Journal and No Tokens Magazine, by Princeton University Press and Broadstone Books, and in The Times Literary Supplement as a winner of the Mick Imlah Poetry Prize. Rebecca composes and performs music that crosses borders, as a soloist and with her Medellín-based band, Debarro. Her teaching, in music and creative writing, has taken her around the world, from Peru to Venezuela to India. She attended Under the Volcano in 2015 & 2016, working first on poetry and then on fiction.
KIRSTEN WASSON taught composition, creative writing and literature at Ithaca College for twenty-one years before fleeing the Northeast for warmer climes. For the past five years she has held the dual position of classroom teacher and college counselor at the MUSE school in Calabasas, California, working with middle and high school students. She holds an MFA from SUNY-Binghamton and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin and has numerous print publications to her credit—a book of poems, scholarly essays, travel writing, restaurant reviews and a monthly column for The Ithaca Times. Kirsten also performs as a storyteller and was the winner of the 2017 “Best of Shine” award at the Santa Monica Playhouse. She is currently finishing a memoir, an extract from which has a notable mention in the Best American Essays of 2019. She was a member of Under the Volcano’s memoir master class in 2018.