Alix Strauss

Meet the wonderfully talented contributors

Karen Alexander is a writer living in Berkeley, California

Tara Bahrampour is is a staff writer at The Washington Post and the author of the memoir To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), which traces her family's migrations between Iran and the U.S. and her own journey back to Iran as an adult. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The American Scholar, and other journals. She lives in Washington D.C.

Lois Barth is the thinking woman's stand-up philosopher, using life as a classroom for laughter and learning. Ms. Barth is a personal coach (specializing in relationship and work/life balance)/workshop leader and writer. She is the life coach for Fitness Magazine's, Fitness Makeover, and has conducted workshops all over the country on topics as varied from Conscious Relating; Pursuit of Luscious Life Partnership, Scintillating Self-Care, The Humor Playshop, and Loving Yourself Back to Fitness. As a stand-up comedienne she performed in clubs and single events, and her one-woman show, "1001 Dates from Hell...And the Woman Who Lived Through Them" that she wrote and performed, received a Poets and Writers Grant. She has been published in The New York Times, Massage Magazine and Classical Singer's Magazine. Having gone from ludicrous no night stands to luscious life partnership, she is a grateful retired serial dater. She can be reached at: www.1Dreamatatime.com

Sara Barron is the author the forthcoming essay collection People Are Unappealing (Three River’s Press, 2008). She has published humor and non-fiction in the anthology Mortified: The Big Book of Angst (Simon Spotlight, 2006) and on-line in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. As a performer, her solo shows have appeared at various colleges across the country, as well as at the HBO Comedy Festival, the UNO Festival for Solo Performance, and The People’s Improv Theatre in New York City. Barron is a host and three-time winner at The Moth: Urban Storytelling. She teaches Humor Writing at Gotham Writer’s Workshop and holds a B.F.A. from NYU.

Rebecca Bloom: Author and Editor at Large for Los Angles Confidential Magazine, Rebecca Bloom graduated Brown University, studied to be a chef in Paris, then changed course professionally in favor of writing. Rebecca devotes her time to LAXART, a new contemporary art based non-profit organization in LA which focuses on a renewed vision for the potential of independent art spaces for which she is on the board. Rebecca's debut novel, Girl Anatomy, (Harper Collins, 2002) And her second, Tangled Up In Daydreams (Harper Collins, 2003) were both featured in numerous national and regional publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, In Style, Angeleno, Brentwood, Hollywood Reporter and Variety in addition to various electronic outlets including EXTRA, Good Day Live and Dallas Morning News. She has just completed her third novel and she can be reached at: www.rebeccabloom.com

Annie Downey lives in Burlington, Vermont with her two children and doggie. Her work has appeared in Hip Mama, UTNE Reader, Vermont Woman, and Harpers Margazine. She has also been a commentator for Vermont and National Public Radio. Currently, she is studying for her M.F.A in Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel, "Hot and Bothered" (Algonquin Books) is now in stores. She can be reached at: www.hotandbothered.info or www.anniedowney.com.

Benita Gold is the President of Benita Gold Public Relations and her eclectic client base has ranged from a neuro-oncologist to Woody Woodpecker. Benita Gold has told her dating stories in comedy clubs around New York and at the Toyota Comedy Festival and the Fringe Comedy Festival. She has written for numerous publications including New York Magazine, New York Daily News and More Magazine. Her story “My Boyfriend Peter Jennings” is currently being made into a short film.

Shari Goldhagen is a native Ohioan who holds a lot of writing degrees from Big Ten Schools in the Midwest: A journalism degree from Northwestern and an MFA from Ohio State. While writing Family and Other Accidents, Shari stalked celebrities for The National Enquirer, Life & Style and Celebrity Living Weekly. She also received generous fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell and the Ohioana Library Association. Shari currently lives in New York City where she teaches fiction and works as a freelance writer. She can be reached at: www.sharigoldhagen.com

Melissa Hantman Pheterson is a freelance writer based in Rochester, NY, where she contributes to Rochester Magazine and the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. She has written for Salon.com, Psychology Today and the Jerusalem Post. After graduating from Cornell University in 2001, she moved to New York City and earned a master's degree in journalism from New York University in 2005. She worked as the Editor of Publications for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital before moving to Rochester. Most recently, she served as the Director of Communications for the Town of Brighton, a Rochester suburb.

Anita Kawatra is a communications and public affairs executive in New York specializing in crisis management and organizational turnarounds. Previously, Anita held senior communications and policy positions in government and politics, including media relations and speechwriting for New York Governor Mario Cuomo and New York City Mayor David Dinkins. She is a board member of Sanctuary for Families, the domestic violence organization, and past president of Lotus Music and Dance, the cultural organization. Anita is an adjunct professor of writing at New York University. She holds a B.A. from Yale College and an M.A. from Columbia University, where she was founding chair of the Conference on American Studies. She is working on a novel.

Adina Kay is a nonfiction writer living in New York City. She is currently finishing her MFA at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and working on a nonfiction novel about growing up and getting caught amidst life, love and landscape in New York and Jerusalem. Her creative writing has been published in the Blood Orange Review and 580 Split. She loves her mother very much despite that crazy set-up.

Leora Klein is a freelance writer who teaches eighth grade English in Manhattan. Her essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Sun, The New Jersey Jewish News, The Pennsylvania Gazette, and Yad Vashem's Martyrdom and Resistance Magazine. She received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in English Literature and Theatre Arts and a MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in New York City and no longer accepts her parents' romantic introductions.

Eve Lederman is the author of three business titles, two humorous gift books and a memoir entitled Letters From My Sister: On Love, Life and Hair Removal which earned an endorsement from the The New York Times' City section editor as "a warm slice of life on the edge, with an edge." (LettersFromMySister.com) She also co-directed A Good Uplift, a short documentary about a bra shop run by a Jewish mother and son which premiered on the PBS Reel New York series in 2004. In addition, Eve performs monologues with The Moth storytelling group; she can be heard on audible.com

Samantha Levy a Ph.D. candidate studying fiction at Florida State University, is originally from southern New Jersey. She received her BA in literature from Rowan University and an MA in creative writing from FSU. She is the nonfiction editor of the Southeast Review, and her fiction has been published in The Chattahoochee Review. She is currently working on her first novel and lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Samantha can be reached at SBLevy3@aol.com.

Jennifer Ludovici grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, where her mother currently resides. As an enthusiast of international education, she has traveled, worked and studied in multiple countries around the world. She holds a BA in History and a Masters degree in Education from James Madison University. When the date in question occurred, she was the director of the study abroad and international exchange programs for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Currently she and her husband live and work New York City.

Rachel Pine is the author of "The Twins of Tribeca," a satirical novel that Time Magazine named to its list of "5 Fantastic First Novels." She recently contributed to the anthology "This is Chick Lit" and the monologue show, "Love & Israel." She is currently working on her first non-fiction project, "Dogs on Management," a business/humor book. Pine is the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications for Doubledown Media. She lives in New York City and Southampton. She can be reached at: www.rachelpine.com

Molly Prather is a writer/performer who has written and performed for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Moth, The New York Fringe Festival, Second City NY, Gotham City Improv, and Time Out NY. She lives in New York and LA.

Heather Robinson is a Senior Writer for The New York Daily News' Big Town Big Heart section, in which she profiles New Yorkers who are making a difference via charitable or humanitarian work. She has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, New York magazine, Time Out New York, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Daily News.

Brenda Scott Royce is the author of Monkey Love, a romantic comedy about a stand-up comedienne who becomes the temporary guardian of a mischievous monkey. A former book editor, she is currently Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Zoo and editor of the quarterly magazine Zoo View. Now happily married, she looks back fondly on her myriad dating disasters and incorporates them into her fiction writing whenever possible. Her next book, Monkey Star, was released in August 2007. Web site: www.brendascottroyce.com

Rachel Sklar is the Media & Special Projects Editor for the Huffington Post and is the editor of the site's Eat The Press page. She has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Glamour, New York Magazine, The Financial Times and numerous publications in her northern homeland of Canada, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, as well as occasional turns on other programs and networks. She is the author of A Stroke of Luck: Life, Crisis and Rebirth of a Stroke Survivor (with Howard Rocket, Canada: 1998) and published Jew-ish, a humorous book about cultural identity, in October 2007. She was formerly a corporate lawyer in New York and Stockholm, where she never learned to like herring.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s novel, Miriam the Medium, (Simon & Schuster, 2004) was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award will be published in Holland. She's published essays in NYT (Lives) and Newsweek, My Turn and have had articles published about her in Redbook, NYT Long Island Section, The Jerusalem Post, Jewish Week, et. al. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in many literary magazines such as The Iowa Review, Negative Capability, and in anthologies such as Father, Pocket Books, 2000. That story will be reprinted in educational tests for high School students nationwide. She teaches Writing the Personal Essay at UCLA online and reviews books for Kirkus. You can reach her at: www.miriamthemedium.com

Leanne Shear grew up in Buffalo, NY, attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and now resides in New York City, where she is a writer and Master's degree candidate (studying Politics and Culture) at NYU. The Perfect Manhattan—a novel she co-authored with Tracey Toomey—is loosely based on their experiences bartending in Manhattan and the Hamptons and highlights some of the class and societal issues they encountered while straddling the fence between the working and “glamour” classes (http://www.theperfectmanhattan.com). Leanne has also written for such eclectic publications as New York magazine, City Limits, PopAndPolitics.com, WireTap, Glamour and Life & Style.

Hemmy So is a staff writer at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She has written for the Los Angeles Times as part of the Minority Editorial Training Program, the Poughkeepsie Journal, New York Observer and Yin Magazine. Prior to becoming a journalist, she worked as an attorney. She is a graduate of Rice University and New York University School of Law.

Tracey Toomey: After graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Tracey appeared on All My Children, Law and Order: SVU, and in several films and theater productions. Along with her writing partner, Leanne Shear, she co-authored the novel, The Perfect Manhattan, the non-fiction advice book, Cocktail Therapy as well as the essay "Girls Can Do Anything" in the anthology, "It's a Wonderful Lie: The Truth About Life in Your Twenties." Currently she freelances at Life & Style, Runner's World, Glamour, and writes the Imbibe column for Hamptons magazine. She can be reached at: www.theperfectmanhattan.com

Aury Wallington’s television writing credits include Sex and the City and Veronica Mars. Her novel, POP! (Razorbill Books), was named one of the New York Public Library’s 2007 Books for the Teen Age. Aury lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Tuesday. Visit her website at www.aurywallington.com

Katherine Wessling has been everything from a bicycle courier to a fashion stylist at a magazine, but she’s happiest when she’s writing or acting. Her personal essays have been published in Swing and Speak magazines and heard on WNYC’s broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition. She’s written various other bits and pieces for Marie Claire, CosmoGirl, Elle (UK), Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, (ai) performance for the planet, and Plumb. She also wrote the young reader’s book, Backstage at a Movie Set. Katherine’s short plays have been produced in New York City, where she’s lived for many years.