The Writers Studio Meet our resident writers
Neema Avashia was born and raised in southern West Virginia to parents who immigrated to the United States. She has been a middle school teacher in the Boston Public Schools since 2003. Her essays have appeared in the Bitter Southerner, Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. Her debut book, Another Appalachia, (published by WVU Press in March 2022) examines both the roots and the resonance of her identity as a queer desi Appalachian woman, while encouraging readers to envision more complex versions of both Appalachia and the nation as a whole. With lyric and narrative explorations of foodways, religion, sports, standards of beauty, social media, gun culture, and more, Another Appalachia mixes nostalgia and humor, sadness and sweetness, personal reflection and universal questions. www.neemaavashia.com/
Lisa Sullivan Ballew is a recovering attorney, a wife, and a mother of two irrepressible youngsters. She has previously been published in The Boston Globe, WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog, Women’s Running, and Defenestration Magazine online. Somewhere, right now, she is working hard on her first novel.
Shaun Bossio is a fiction writer born and bred in Boston. He holds a BA in English from Boston University and an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is the former Fiction Editor of Redivider, and his short stories have appeared in Typehouse, Firewords and Palooka. He is currently at work on his first novel
Matt Butterfield is a teacher and writer. He is on the faculty at Boston University, where he is an instructor of professional communications at the Questrom School of Business. His own writing is ever a work in progress, though his current work is on a fantasy novel of growing scope. Matt holds an M.A. in English Literature from Clark University and a B.S. in Secondary Education from Penn State University. He currently lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.
Elizabeth Christopher volunteers as the Writers Studio Coordinator at FYACS. Her stories and essays have appeared in HuffPost, The Writer, Bacopa Literary Review, Obelus Journal, The Boston Globe Magazine, and elsewhere. Elizabeth also writes for the tech industry, universities, and non-profits and is working on a historical novel. www.elizabethchristopherwriter.com
Cameron Dryden is a graduate of Grubstreet’s Novel Generator and Incubator programs. He’s published in Dead Darlings and received an award in the 2018 Writer’s Digest 88th National Annual Writing Competition. He’s written contemporary parables that he’s shared as a lay preacher at The Italian Home for Children, and his blog includes articles on writing craft and a dialogue on race with Sea Stachura, a 2021 Edward R. Murrow Journalism award-winner.
Inspired by true events, his current manuscript tells of a 1st-century slave who escapes, travels 1,100 miles to Rome and lives with Christian apostles Paul, Luke, and Timothy. When his fugitive status is discovered, he must choose between life or remaining true to his newfound family. Having researched 200+ books and traveled to Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, and the Aegean Sea, Cameron is “smarter than the average bear” concerning 1st-century Christianity, Roman, and Greek culture, including the joy of eating snails. www.origenes.org/
Jane Roper is the author of a memoir, Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins, and a novel, Eden Lake. Her novel The Society of Shame, will be published by Anchor Books in 2023. Jane’s writing has appeared in Salon, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Cognoscenti, Writers’ Digest and elsewhere, and has been included in the anthology Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers. www.janeroper.com
Brad Wall is a librarian and writer living in Melrose, MA. He is a lover of words and art. He received his Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kymm Welle worked as a technical writer for more than 20 years and is now a writer of children’s books. She self-published a counting board book and is currently writing a series of interactive picture books, based on a character her daughter drew when she was 4 years old.
Tug Yourgrau is an award-winning playwright, director and TV producer. His ﬁrst full-length play, The Song of Jacob Zulu, opened at Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre in March, 1993, earning 6 Tony Award-nominations, including Best Play, and Best Score with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 1994, Tug’s second play, Shooting in Madrid, ran at The Signature Theater in Arlington VA. Family of Origin was workshopped in 2005 at HB Playwrights Unit in New York, where Tug was a member for eight years. He also wrote nine short one-act plays: After Sunset; Higher Power; Homer Falls; Just The Two Of Us; Lost In New York; Cries From The Cockpit; Th_; Peanuts; and Midlife, published in HB Playwrights Short Play Festival: Anthology, (Smith and Kraus Publishers Inc, New York. 1997- 2005). All three were produced at HB Playwrights Theatre and some at the Boston Theatre Marathon of 10-Minute Plays.
Tug’s journalism credits include A Native Son Returns To South Africa, 4-part feature series for The Chicago Tribune, July 1994; and, with Joel Olicker, the documentary ﬁlm, The New South Africa: A Personal Journey, broadcast on PBS stations in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in 1994. Tug’s radio play, Life in the Iron Mills, adapted from the novel by Rebecca Harding Davis, was broadcast on NPR’s The Spider’s Web in 1977.
From 1994-2014, Tug served as President (and co-founder) of Powderhouse Productions, the largest independent producer of prime-time programming in New England for basic non-ﬁction networks including Discovery Channel, History, Animal Planet; and for PBS. Tug was born in South Africa. He is an avid singer. His wife, Beth, and he are the parents of grown woman-man twins. (Not yet grandparents.)