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Success: Andrea Guevara Publishes and Speaks at BinderCon

Former scholarship student and certificate graduate Andrea Guevara is on a roll. Last year Winter Tangerine Review published her piece “Male/Female” in their Summer 2015 Workshop Anthology. Then, she spoke at the 2016 LA BinderCon, moderating a discussion on entrepreneurship and writing. She rounded out her successful year when Role Reboot published her personal essay […]

Success: Oleguer Homs Wins Best Screenplay at the Los Angeles International Culture Film Festival

Oleguer Homs, a graduate of the Film and TV Comprehensive Certificate Program, won Best Screenplay at the Los Angeles International Culture Film Festival earlier this year for his supernatural thriller Samuel Colt. Oleguer wrote the script in John Doolittle’s Structure and Theme Rewrite: An Intermediate Workshop which he says helped take his script “to the […]

Success: Sam Polk Publishes For the Love of Money: A Memoir

If Sam Polk’s story – of Wall Street trader turned nonprofit founder – sounds familiar, you probably read his viral 2014 New York Times piece on wealth addiction. Now, Sam has published For the Love of Money: A Memoir, which Forbes calls “compellingly written…unflinchingly honest…a book that seems, on the surface, to be about finding professional […]

Success: Tantra Bensko Publishes New Novel

Online instructor Tantra Bensko published her new novel Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense last month. The book, which is about secret agents, was indie published by Insubordinate Books and is the first in Tantra’s new series called The Agents of the Nevermind. Tantra is teaching Fiction for Absolute Beginners in January. She says, “I adore teaching fiction writing […]

Success: Jonathan E. Lewis Edits and Publishes Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Tales

Student Jonathan E. Lewis has published his first book, Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Tales (Stark House Press, 2016). The anthology contains stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Tennessee Williams, and more. Publishers Weekly calls it “a satisfying mix of well known and less familiar works.” As the editor of this unique […]

Success: Judith Teitelman’s Novel Chapter Published in PoemMemoirStory 2016

Writers’ Program student Judith Teitelman has published the first chapter of her novel Guesthouse for Ganesha, “a magical realist tale of love, loss, devotion and spirit reclaimed,” in PoemMemoirStory 2016. Judith, a consultant specializing in nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, says that she has “benefited from every class I’ve attended in the Writers’ Program.” Congratulations, Judith! […]

Success: James Rogers III Headed to USC Peter Stark Producing Program

2014-15 Writers’ Program Scholarship recipient James Rogers III is headed to the top film school in the nation to pursue his MFA. James was recently admitted to the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. “These next two years will be challenging, fun, fulfilling, and exactly what I’m looking for,” […]

Success: Writers’ Program Summer Reading List – Natashia Deon’s Grace

Natashia Deon is a Writers’ Program alum, former insurance defense attorney, 2010 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow, an LA Weekly Most Interesting Person 2013, and founder of the nonprofit Dirty Laundry Lit. With the publication of her novel Grace (Counterpoint Press) this week, she can add “professional novelist” to her resume. Redbook Magazine calls Grace […]

Success: Cheryl Manning Wins SCBWI Mentorship Contest

Student Cheryl Manning has won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Contest, which provides a six-month mentorship with YA author Catherine Linka. During the mentorship Cheryl will work on her novel The Last Crane, about Kenji, a twelve-year-old living in Hiroshima in 1945. Cheryl workshopped The Last Crane in Mark Sarvas’ class, […]

Success: Nadine Nettmann Lands Three-Book Deal for Sommelier Mystery Series

Student Nadine Nettmann has received a three-book deal from Midnight Ink for her sommelier mystery series. Decanting a Murder, the first in the series, was recently published to positive reviews, with RT Book Reviews calling it “a fast, sophisticated ride with just enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the final confrontation.” Nadine […]

Success: Ellen Byron Adds Mystery Novelist to Her Resume

TV writer and former Writers’ Program student/instructor Ellen Byron can now add Lefty and Agatha Award-nominated mystery novelist to her resume. The first novel from her Cajun Country Mystery series, Plantation Shudders (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) was nominated for the 2016 Agatha Award for Best First Mystery and 2016 Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery. […]

Success: Glen Erik Hamilton Publishes Past Crimes

Mystery writer and WP student Glen Erik Hamilton has published his first novel Past Crimes (William Morrow, 2015), a Seattle-based mystery thriller about Van Shaw, a man raised to be a thief by his career criminal grandfather. The novel was published to positive reviews, and Kirkus calls it “a well-written modern rendition of the old-fashioned gritty noir.” […]

Success: Marc Morgenstern Pursues MFA at Warren Wilson College

Student Marc Morgenstern, who studied with Lou Mathews, Marisa Matarazzo, and Stephen Cooper, has been accepted into the Warren Wilson College low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. Like dozens of Writers’ Program students before him, Marc prepared for the MFA application process in Lou’s advanced short story workshops. “Lou’s passionate teaching, tireless critiquing of my […]

Success: Jocelyn Jansons Wins George R.R. Martin Grant!

Feature Film Certificate graduate Jocelyn Jansons has won the George R.R. Martin Science Fiction/Fantasy Screenwriter Grant for her coming-of-age story Wolf. Administered by the New Mexico Film Foundation, the grant is funded by author, screenwriter, and executive producer of Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin and will allow Jocelyn to continue working on her screenplay. Jocelyn says […]

Success: Wendy All Selected for Emerging Voices Group Show

Fiction Certificate student Wendy All recently participated in the 13th Annual Emerging Voices Group Show at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood. Wendy was selected by The New Short Fiction Series to read her short story “The Deluxe Package.” “After a debilitating illness, a doctor suggested writing as therapy, and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program […]

Success: Ana Maria Montoya Selected for 2016 Latino Screenwriting Project Lab

Ana Maria Montoya has been selected as one of four 2016 Latino Screenwriting Project Lab Fellows, and is headed to San Antonio to take part in the Sundance-sponsored 3-day workshop. Ana Maria, who won 2nd place in the 2011 UCLA Extension Feature Film Competition and who was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2012 Feature Film Competition, […]

Success: Certificate Grad’s Script Honored at Women’s Independent Film Festival

Ruthie Marlenée, a graduate of the Certificate Program in Fiction Writing, has received Honorable Mention in the Script Competition at the Women’s Independent Film Festival for her screenplay Agave Blues. Set in a rich, red agave field of magic, this is the story of Maya Miller, an ailing, stressed out Los Angeles attorney, suppressed artist, […]

Success: Certificate Grad a Finalist in Virginia Screenwriting Competition

Brenda Rezvan, a graduate of the Certificate Program in Feature Film Writing, was selected as a finalist in the Virginia Screenwriting Competition for her screenplay CH4. Brenda developed the script, about a small town man who tangles with Big Oil, in her WP classes. “I followed the Writers’ Program recommendations by taking Writing The First […]

Success: Debra Diamond Publishes Life After Near Death

Student Debra Diamond has published her book Life After Near Death: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Transformation in the Extraordinary Lives of People With Newfound Powers (New Page Books, January 2016). She was also featured in a recent Huffington Post article about her journey to publication. Debra says her Writers’ Program classes “were most helpful […]

Success: Silas Matthies Publishes in Iconoclast Magazine

Longtime Writers’ Program student Silas Matthies has published his story “A Dying Wish,” about violence erupting in a Victorville, CA trailer park, in Issue #111 of Iconoclast Magazine. (Disclaimer from Silas: “The story includes graphic sex, violence, and crude language, so it is definitely not for everyone.”) Silas, who has been taking Writers’ Program courses […]

Success: Thomas Reyes Lands Spot in Coveted Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop

Television Writing Certificate alum Thomas Reyes has been accepted into the prestigious Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop, which admits 10 participants out of nearly 2000 applicants each year. The ultimate goal of the program is to place participants as staff writers on WB shows. Thomas says his WP instructors taught him real-world skills in both […]

Success: Mentorship Alum Anna Lefler Publishes Preschooled

Student Anna Lefler has just published her debut novel Preschooled (Full Fathom Five, October 2015). Anna describes it as “a comic novel about an unsuspecting mom, a scruffy dad, and a perennially cranky headmistress who must each tackle an unexpected personal crisis while struggling to play nice in a snooty, dysfunctional Santa Monica preschool.”   […]

Success: Scholarship Recipient Headed to MFA Program

2014-15 Writers’ Program Scholarship recipient Tanya Adams has been accepted to the University of Tampa low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program. Tanya says she chose Tampa “because the work required from a low-residency program while living in the real world mimics the true life of a writer, not insulated in university life.” Tanya was first […]

Success: Ana Ottman Publishes Short Story

Student Ana Ottman recently published her short story “Second Fiddle,” about a young violinist navigating her way through college while uncovering a family mystery, in Eclectica Magazine. Ana says feedback from her instructors made all the difference in refining her work for publication. “Writers’ Program classes were invaluable in getting this story to publication. I’m […]

Success: Creative Writing: Short Story Leads to Publication for Helen Evans

Helen Evans has published her original Native American folktale “The Rodadora” in the August 2015 edition of Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. As Helen describes, “The Rodadora” tells the story of Roberto, “a young boy who assumes responsibility for his village against overwhelming odds.” She wrote the story in honor of her father “who encouraged me […]

Success: Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva Wins Indie Excellence Award

Former student Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva has won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award in Children’s Fiction-Chapter Books for Broccoli Chronicles, which follows Myrtle Beckle and her quest to cure cancer through broccoli. Broccoli Chronicles also received Honorable Mention for Juvenile Fiction in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Awards. Taneeka thanks Lynn Hightower for providing a foundation for her storytelling. “Lynn helped me to understand the structure of a novel and the basis for […]

Success: Chris LeGras Publishes First Novel

Former student Christopher D. LeGras, who we’ve featured before here, has published his first novel, Weather to Fly. Forthcoming in January from Rare Bird Books, Weather is the story of a group of aviators connected by the airplanes they fly. “The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program not only helped me refine my skills and habits,” says Chris, “but also […]

Success: Angela Featherstone Publishes in DAME Magazine

Writers’ Program student Angela Featherstone, who we’ve featured before here and here, recently published her essay “I Didn’t Realize I Was Being Sex-Trafficked” in DAME magazine. Then, in early August, Salon.com and MSN.com picked up the story, thus exposing it to an audience of 7 million readers! Angela has worked closely with instructor Shawna Kenney, […]

Success: Persistence Pays Off for Chelsey Drysdale

Chelsey Drysdale’s essay, “It’s Still Me,” which she workshopped in Shawna Kenney’s Writing the Personal Essay, was published in the summer issue of Black Fox Literary Magazine. But the road to publication was not easy. “After countless revisions and 21 rejections, I finally received a message that said, ‘We love it,’” says Chelsey. “I can’t […]

Success: Hannah Dennison Publishes Sixth Novel, with a Seventh On the Way!

Former Writers’ Program student and occasional instructor Hannah Dennison recently published her sixth novel, Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall, the second in her Honeychurch mystery series which follows ex-TV celebrity Kat Stanford and her mother Iris, aka international bestselling romance writer Krsytalle Storm. Check out the teaser for the series here. In November, Hannah will […]

Success: Lindy DeKoven Publishes The Secret Life of Wishful Thinking

Former student Lindy DeKoven, who we’ve written about before here, recently published her second novel, The Secret Life of Wishful Thinking (Lake Union Publishing). Lindy calls Secret Life “a fascinating spin on the Horatio Alger story — with female characters this time, finding their power through the workplace even as the nature of what it […]

Success: From the WP to NCIS New Orleans: Greta Gets Staffed!

We’ve written about Greta Heinemann before, first when she won 1stplace in the 2013 UCLA Extension Television Writing Competition TV Specs category for her Sons of Anarchy script and 2nd place in the TV Pilots category for her original Valleywood, then when she was selected for the CBS Writers Mentoring Program. Now, we are more thrilled than ever to announce that Greta […]

Success: Sharon Yablon Publishes in TAYO and The James Franco Review

It’s been a successful 2015 for Sharon Yablon, who has published her short stories “Perfidia” in TAYO and “The Caller” in The James Franco Review. Sharon workshopped both of the pieces in The Art of the Short Story: Advanced Workshop with Lou Mathews. “He is a wonderful, encouraging and truthful instructor,” says Sharon, who until […]

Success: Jan Moran Publishes Historical Fiction with St. Martin’s Press

St. Martin’s has published student Jan Moran’s Scent of Triumph, a historical novel about a female French perfumer/couturier during WWII. Jan has also published a nonfiction book, Fabulous Fragrances. “The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program was highly instrumental in helping me lay the groundwork for my career as a writer,” says Jan. “I took fiction, nonfiction, […]

Success: Aline Ohanesian Publishes Orhan’s Inheritance

Online student Aline Ohanesian has just published her debut novel, Orhan’s Inheritance, with Algonquin Books. An exciting accomplishment in itself, her novel has already garnered a Starred Kirkus Review, was selected by Amazon as a “Best Book of the Month,” and Barnes and Noble chose it for their “Discover Great New Writers” program. The American […]

Success: Stephanie Kegan Publishes with Simon & Schuster

Former student Stephanie Kegan’s novel, Golden State, was recently published by Simon & Schuster! As Stephanie describes, Golden State tells the story of “a California woman whose happy suburban life collapses overnight when she discovers her adored older brother may be responsible for a string of deadly terrorist attacks throughout the state.” Like many students […]

Success: Jacqui Lipton Pursues MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Publishes YA Novel!

Online Certificate in Fiction Writing graduate Jacqui Lipton has had an incredible year. After completing her certificate program last year, she was accepted into MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition, her YA novel, Inside the Palisade (written as K.C. Maguire) will be published by […]

Success: Student Pursues MFA and Publishes!

Former Writers’ Program student Katie O’Reilly is currently in the second year of her MFA program in nonfiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (ranked third nationally among nonfiction graduate programs). Katie began her memoir, which is now her MFA thesis project, in Alison Singh Gee’s Intermediate Creative Nonfiction. “I would not be where […]

Success: Certificate Graduate Accepted into Lesley University’s MFA Program (and gets published too!)

Margaret Chen, who completed her Certificate in Fiction Writing last year, will begin her full residency MFA program in fiction at Lesley University this fall.  If that wasn’t exciting enough, her story “The Zhangs and The Zumans,” which was nominated for the Kirkwood Prize in 2011, was published last month on The Carolina Quarterly’s Web-Exclusive Fiction […]

Success: Online Student Creates and Produces Web Series

Kameishia Wooten, who took Bill Taub’s Creating a Web Series (Online), launched her comedy series Man of the House last October. The pilot episode of the series, about “a young boy’s never-ending schemes to disrupt his mother’s love life” is available for viewing at http://youtu.be/thIiI32UVJo. Episodes 2 and 3 will be released in late April. […]

Success: Certificate Student Publishes Travel Piece in Topanga Messenger

Nora Slattery recently published her travel essay, “A Celestial Epiphany,” in the Topanga Messenger. Nora wrote the piece, “about a family trip to Hawaii [that] evolves into a reflection on personal redemption and the nature of grace,” in Steven Wolfson’s Discovering the Writer Within, and then workshopped it in Norman Kolpas’ Writing Short-Form Nonfiction: Your […]

Success: Suzanne Lummis Wins George Drury Smith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry

Congratulations are in order for longtime Writers’ Program instructor and LA poetry icon Suzanne Lummis, who has been awarded Beyond Baroque’s George Drury Smith Award which “honors influential and accomplished poets who are strongly associated with Los Angeles whose reputations extend well beyond this region and have brought new attention to the poetry of Los […]

Success: Former Student Goes on to NYU MFA (+ a Call for Submissions!)

Writers’ Program student Sarah LaBrie has a lot to be proud of. After she studied with Lou Mathews and Paul Mandelbaum, she went on to get her MFA in fiction at NYU. Her work has appeared in Epoch, the California Prose Directory 2013, Encyclopedia Journal and Joyland. And now she’s editing the California Prose Directory 2015, an annual anthology […]

Success: Caitlin Kazepis Writes and Produces The Pipeline

Screenwriting student Caitlin Kazepis, who studied with Margaret Oberman, Chris Webb, and Phil Kellard, has funded her short film The Pipeline on Kickstarter. Now in pre-production, her film “explores the relationships that evolved during the building of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline in the 1970’s and how those relationships shaped these people and their families.” Caitlin […]

Success: Lauri Taylor Publishes Debut Memoir

Writers’ Program student Lauri Taylor has published her first memoir, The Accidental Truth: What My Mother’s Murder Investigation Taught Me About Life (SelectBooks), due out in May. Lauri began her writing journey with longtime Writers’ Program teaching duo Judith Prager and Harry Youtt, and turned her story into memoir in Jennie Nash’s class. “I came […]

Success: Online Student Garners Accolades for E-book

Kelly K. Lavender, who studied online with Gordon Grice, has amassed quite a list of accolades and achievements since publishing her debut book Beautiful Evil Winter. These include an Eric Hoffer Award Honorable Mention (Commercial Fiction category); a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards Honorable Mention (Suspense category); placing as a finalist in the New Fiction […]

Success: J. Ryan Stradal Wins William Faulkner Competition + Publishes Anthology

J. Ryan Stradal, who we’ve featured before here and here, has had a pretty spectacular 2014. In addition to selling his debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, to Viking (due out in July, 2015), he has won the highly competitive 2014 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competitionfor Kitchens as well. And if […]

Success: Annette Münch Publishes YA Novel in Norway + Wins Literary Prize

Annette Münch has published her YA novel, Badboy (Cappelen Damm, September 2014) in her home country of Norway. If that wasn’t exciting enough, Annette then won The Brage Prize (Children and Young Adults category), one of Norway’s most prestigious literary prizes. Rights to the novel have also been sold to Denmark. She workshopped Badboy, about […]

Success: Elissa Matsueda’s Film Hits the Big Screen!

It’s a thrilling week for Writers’ Program student Elissa Matsueda, 1st Place Winner of the 2010 Screenplay Competition whose first produced film, Spare Parts, is out in theaters this Friday, January 16th. The movie, about four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who take on the MIT team at the National Robotics Competition, stars Marisa Tomei […]

Success: Joshua Staman Makes it to Second Round of Sundance Screenwriters Lab

Student Joshua Staman, a 2013-2014 Writers’ Program scholarship recipient, has made it to the second round of the highly competitive Sundance Screenwriters Lab with two of his scripts, Girl/Friend and The Funeral Girl. If selected, Joshua will spend five days at the Lab working with established writers. “The draft of Girl/Friend that I submitted was […]

Success: Darryl Webster Publishes Pride in Travel

Writers’ Program student Darryl Webster, who we’ve featured before here and here, has just published his first book, Pride in Travel: A Title-Winning Season Exploring the World of Manchester City (Pitch Publishing). The book is based on Darryl’s own experience travelling over 40,000 miles to visit Manchester City supporters’ clubs all over the world. Darryl […]

Success: Susan Oren Publishes in HuffingtonPost

Online student Susan Oren recently published her personal essay, “Liberal, Well-Meaning Mom Blows it When Her Son Comes Out–Then She Feels Blessed” in the Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. As she puts it, “We’ve all heard the right-wing and/or religious parents’ reactions; the intent of this essay is to present something different.” In the piece, which […]

Success: Certificate Graduate Wins Silver Prize in Hollywood Screenplay Contest

Sonja Adema (who we’ve featured before here and here), a graduate of the Certificate Programs in Feature Film Writing and Television Writing, has won the Silver Prize in the Television Spec Script category of this year’s Hollywood Screenplay Contest for her Modern Family spec script “Kissing Cousins.” She was also named a finalist in the […]

Success: Anna Maria Hong Awarded 2014 Clarissa Dalloway Prize

Online poetry instructor Anna Maria Hong, Visiting Creative Writer at Ursinus College and 2010-11 Bunting Fellow in Poetry at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is the winner of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s inaugural Clarissa Dalloway “everything but poetry” Book Prize for her novella “H & G,” a fantastical re-imagining of the story of […]

Success: Ana Maria Montoya a Contender for 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab

Ana Maria Montoya, a graduate of the Certificate Program in Feature Film Writing, is currently in the second round of consideration for the 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab with her screenplay 40 Winks–which she workshopped at the 2014 Writers Studio with instructor Michael Weiss. She is a former Nicholl Semifinalist and a second place winner of […]

Success: Former Writers’ Program Students Land NBC’s “Writers On the Verge” Fellowship

Alisha Cowan and David Ngo have both been named 2014 – 2015 NBC Writers on the Verge. The 12-week program, which focuses on “polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series” received more than 2000 applicants, and awarded 8. We’re very excited that former Writers’ Program students snagged two […]

Success: Television Writing Competition Winner Signed By CAA and Echo Lake Management

Aaron Rollins, who won first place in the 2013 Television Writing Competition/TV Pilots category for his one-hour drama Ordnung, was recently signed by CAA and Echo Lake Management! Aaron credits the Writers’ Program for not only providing him essential skills, but also exposure as a result of the competition. “I would highly recommend the UCLA […]

Success: Certificate Student a Creative World Awards Finalist

Anthony Moschetto, a student in the Feature Film Writing Certificate Program, was named a finalist in the Television (Existing Sit-com) category in this year’s Creative World Awards writing contest for his “The Big Bang Theory” spec script. Anthony is thrilled with his recent success AND his decision to join the Writers’ Program. “I’m really glad […]

Success: Certificate Student Pens Russian Miniseries

Liza Neniouc, an online student in the Certificate Program in Feature Film Writing, will have her four-episode TV miniseries produced by Russia’s largest TV network, Channel One. Liza is the writer of the original screenplay, a modern dramedy, which is set to begin production in October 2014. Liza says the certificate program transformed her life. “Not […]

Success: Scholarship Recipient Begins MFA Program this Fall

2013-2014 Writers’ Program Scholarship recipient Laura Picklesimer has been accepted to the MFA Program in Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach, where she will begin her studies this fall. During her program, she will focus on fiction and, in particular, finishing her first novel Kill for Love. Laura says her Writers’ Program instructors […]

Success: NPR Praises Alyx Dellamonica’s Latest Novel

Online instructor Alyx Dellamonica’s latest fantasy novel, Child of a Hidden Sea, has already gotten rave reviews from NPR. In his review, Amal El-Mohtar calls Alyx’s third fantasy novel, about a twenty-something adventurer who is transported to Erinth, the world of her birth parents, “rare and refreshing.” Congratulations are in order to Alyx, who teaches […]

Success: Canadian Student Successfully Pitches Game Idea

Online screenwriting student Linda Feuerhelm took Robert Bryant’s winter Writing for Video Games (Online) course and has already had some of her ideas accepted by A Thinking Ape Technologies. Some of Linda’s ideas will be included in a yet-to-be-revealed social mobile game, still in development. Writing for Video Games not only helped Linda learn to […]

Edan Lepucki

Colbert Shout-out Leads to “Insta-fame” for Instructor Edan Lepucki

Writers’ Program instructor Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, has quickly become one of the most preordered debut titles from Hachette Book Group and is the #1 bestseller on Powell’s Books bestseller list. California, about a couple who flees a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles for a life of survivalism in the wilderness, rose to the top of […]

Success: Online Student Publishes Picture Book

Writers’ Program student Julie Dillemuth just published her first picture book about a young raccoon who gets lost one night.  Lucy in the City (Magination Press, May 2015) “promotes spatial thinking skills in kids, namely retracing one’s steps and using landmarks to navigate,” says Julie. Julie wrote the book in Terry Pierce’s fabulous Introduction to […]

Success: Student Publishes Anthology and Gets Optioned Too!

Writers’ Program student Leonora Epstein recently published X vs. Y: A Culture War, a Love Story (Harry N. Abrams, March 2014) with her sister Eve. The anthology, Leonora explains, chronicles the experiences of the sisters, fourteen years apart in age, “through essays, lists, infographics, IM conversations, and illustrations.”  To make things even more exciting, X vs. Y […]

Success: Student Starts a Health Movement and Publishes How-To-Guide

Congratulations are in order for student Linda Fondren. Linda’s story is an inspiring one of personal and community empowerment. “After having transformed my life from poverty and disempowerment to success, I went back to my hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and created a movement that helped the people there shed a collective 15,000 pounds.” If that […]

Success: Enduring Success for Screenwriting Student

Former Writers’ Program student Tobias Iaconis recently landed on the much coveted Blacklist (2013) for his screenplay Elsewhere (co-written with Mikki Daughtry). In the years since he was a student, Tobias has been a working screenwriter, penning scripts for Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Vincent Newman Entertainment. Like thousands of other entertainment industry […]

Success: Nicholas Anthony Wins Best Original Half-Hour TV Pilot in Final Draft Contest

“The Writers’ Program was an amazing opportunity for me to not only sharpen my writing skills, but also meet and eventually work with professionals in the TV writing world,” says student Nicholas Anthony. He would know, having just won Best Original Half-Hour TV Pilot in the 2013 Final Draft, Inc. Big Break Contest for his […]

Success: Online Student Accepted into Djerassi Writers’ Retreat

Judith Duncan of Sydney, Australia, has been accepted into a writing workshop at The Djerassi Writer’s Retreat in June 2014 to work on her in-progress novel.  A long-time Writers’ Program student, Judith has taken both screenwriting and creative writing classes. She began her novel as a writing exercise in Alyx Dellamonica’s science fiction writing course, […]

Success: Student NYT Article Goes Viral + Book Deal!

Sam Polk’s writing career has exploded in a matter of months! First, a piece he began in Victoria Zackheim’s online Writing and Publishing the Personal Essay: Advanced Workshop called “Yuppies Watching Documentaries” was published in the HuffingtonPost. Then, another essay he started in that class, “For the Love of Money,” was featured on the front […]

Success: HUGE Success for Writers’ Program Student!

Writers’ Program student Barbara Stepansky first caught our attention when she entered the UCLA Extension Feature Film Competition. Her script, “Sugar in My Veins,” which she rewrote in Billy Mernit’s Master Class in Feature Film Writing, set itself apart with its provocative logline: A fourteen year old female prodigy finds companionship for the first time […]

Success: Samuel Gailey Publishes Deep Winter with Penguin!

Student Samuel W. Gailey, who studied with Leslie Lehr, just published his first novel, Deep Winter, with Penguin Books/Blue Rider Press (available February 20th). Samuel is also a screenwriter who has written and developed shows for Showtime and Fox. Esquire calls Samuel’s debut small town thriller “enthralling and suspenseful, like a Michael Connelly novel, but […]

Success: Deepa Swamy Publishes in Deccan Herald

Online certificate student Deepa Swamy has won third prize in the Deccan Herald Sunday Herald Short Story Competition ’13, for her story “Spices to Go.”  The Herald, a leading daily newspaper in Bangalore, India, says that Deepa’s story, “captures the local flavours beautifully.” “Working on my craft with the talented instructors at the UCLA Extension […]

Success: Personal Essay Students Develop Popular Blog

Kathleen Guthrie Woods and Lisa Manterfield met in Barbara Abercrombie’s Writing the Personal Essay class and, upon discovering they had fertility issues in common, decided to launch a blog about their shared experiences.  Called LifeWithoutBaby.com, the successful blog has been read by more than half a million people to date.  Recently, Lisa and Kathleen compiled […]

Success: Online Student Hits NYT Bestseller List!

Rob Reid, online mentorship student of Lynn Hightower, recently hit the New York Times E-books Bestseller List for his science fiction novel Year Zero, about a low-level entertainment lawyer who must save the world after pop music obsessed aliens accidently commit the biggest copyright infringement in history. Rob credits Lynn and the Writers’ Program with helping him […]

Success: April Halprin Wayland’s Poetry Featured on Poetryminute.org

Children’s book author and Writers’ Program instructor April Halprin Wayland’s poetry was recently featured on United States Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt’s website, Poetryminute.org.  The poem, “When Mom Plays Just for Me,” was originally published in Myra Cohn Livingston’s book, Poems for Mothers. “After taking my first class at the Writers’ Program in the early […]

Success: Feature in Production for Screenwriting Competition Winner

Elissa Matsueda won the Writers’ Program Screenwriting Competition in 2010, and now her first feature, La Vida Robot, is in production! Elissa wrote the script based on a Wired magazine article by Joshua Davis, about four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who take on the MIT team at the National Robotics Competition. The film stars […]

Success: Hank Nelken Sells Sister Whipped to CBS

Screenwriting instructor Hank Nelken (Saving Silverman), recently sold his comedy project Sister Whipped to CBS.  The project is based on Hank’s own life experience being raised by women. “I love teaching in the Writers’ Program.  The students are so passionate and eager to learn.  It’s very rewarding to help them bring their vision to life.” […]

Success: Amy Friedman Co-authors One Soufflé at a Time

Longtime Writers’ Program instructor Amy Friedman has co-authored Anne Willan’s One Soufflé at a Time, a story of one of the food-world greats and author of more than 30 cookbooks. Like her friends Julia Child, James Beard, and others, Anne changed how the world eats and made cooking fun. In this memoir (with 50 recipes), she writes about how […]

Success: Student Writes Huffington Post Column

In early October, the Huffington Post published student Elana Miller’s piece “Mindfulness and Psychiatry: The Next Fad or a New Revolution?,” and based on that article, asked her to be a regular columnist.  An MD, Elana writes about psychiatry, psychology, spirituality, meditation, and the integration of eastern philosophy into western medicine. You can read all […]

Success: Rochelle Jewel Shapiro Publishes Far and Wide

Online instructor Rochelle Jewel Shapiro has had a big year.  Last December, she published her second novel, Kaylee’s Ghost, about a psychic grandmother caught between her modern, matter-of-fact daughter, and her granddaughter who just might be psychic. Kirkus called it “an intriguing mix of family drama and contemporary fantasy,” and it was a finalist in […]

Success: Student Publishes Personal Essay in Brain, Child Magazine

Online certificate student Roberta King recently published her personal essay, “The Orders” in Brain, Child Magazine online.  Roberta wrote the piece in Victoria Zackheim’s Writing and Publishing the Personal Essay: Advanced Workshop (Online).  Victoria calls the piece “A poignant, honest, and very moving account of the one decision no parent should ever have to make.” […]

Success: Online Student Crowd-Funds Indie Film

Eric Boadella’s film Toastmaster, about the fine art of the “toast” at Armenian dinners, recently premiered at the 27th Wine Country Film Festival and the 5th Oakland Underground Film Festival.  Eric worked on the script in Tom Lazarus’s Advanced Rewriting Workshop. After crowd-funding the production through Indiegogo, he cut a trailer and used the trailer […]

Success: Lit Crawl LA featuring Writers’ Program Students and Instructors

On Wednesday, October 23rd, swarms of authors and readers will hit the streets of the North Hollywood Arts District for the free Lit Crawl L.A., an evening featuring readings at 11 locations, plus a pop-up bookstore and an after-party.  The event features Writers’ Program instructors Laurel Ann Bogen, Jim Gavin, and Lou Mathews, former students […]

Success: Laurel Ann Bogen Publishes Far and Wide

Longtime Writers’ Program instructor Laurel Ann Bogen recently published her poem, “The Pleasures of the Mind,” in the first issue of Miramar.  Two of her poems, “The Day I Had the Terrible Fear” and “The Door for Love and Death,” also appear in the anthology Ekphrastia Gone Wild, alongside Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska and our […]

Success: Michelle Markel Wins 2013 PEN/Steven Kroll Award

Writers’ Program instructor Michelle Markel has won the 2013 PEN/Steven Kroll Award for picture book writing for The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau.  As the judges put it, “Markel’s spare prose perfectly recreates Rousseau’s calling to paint, affinity for nature, creative process and determination even in the face of complete public rejection.” Michelle instills this […]

Success: Student Publishes New Lit Journal Six Three Whiskey

Writers’ Program student Chris Le Gras has founded and edited a new literary journal, Six Three Whiskey, which includes stories from fellow student Rob Roman and instructor Lou Mathews.  The first issue also includes William Faulkner’s first published story, “Landing in Luck.” Says Chris, “Six Three Whiskey exists in large part because of the people […]

Success: Tanya Ward Goodman Publishes Memoir

Writers’ Program student Tanya Ward Goodman’s memoir, Leaving Tinkertown, was recently published by the University of New Mexico Press.  In her memoir, Tanya tells the story of her experiences coping with her artist father’s early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  She began her memoir in class with Samantha Dunn.  “I can quite honestly say that without […]

Success: Student Publishes in Instructor-Edited Anthology

Instructor Shawna Kenney’s forthcoming anthology, Book Lovers (Seal Press, Spring 2014), will include an essay by student Chelsey Drysdale.  Chelsey was a student in Shawna’s winter Writing the Personal Essay course, and attributes her success to her Writers’ Program class: “Taking a UCLA Extension writing class was one of the best decisions I’ve made in […]

Success: Writers’ Program Student and Instructors Featured in LA Weekly Contest

Recently, LA Weekly held a tournament to name the Best L.A. Novel Ever.  As a part of that challenge, they asked 18 Los Angeles literary figures to pick their favorite L.A. novels to add to the running.  Those literary figures include Writers’ Program instructors Suzanne Lummis (who picked Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West) […]

Success: Prism Review

Mariya Taher, who we’ve written about before for her publication in Pulse Literary Journal, just published her short story “American Daughters” in Prism Review.  Mariya submitted the story while in David Borofka’s The Art of the Short Story: Advanced Workshop (Online).  “As a course requirement, we were asked to submit one of our stories to […]

Success: Student Publishes Memoir Excerpt

Angela Featherstone just published her memoir excerpt, “God Said No,” in Gargoyle Magazine’s summer 2014 issue.  Angela began her memoir in Shawna Kenney’s winter Writing the Personal Essay course, and workshopped the excerpt in her spring Intermediate Memoir Writing course. “Shawna’s guidance, wisdom and incredible support has made all of this possible. She is truly […]

Success: Enduring Success For Poetry Student

Robert Peake, who studied with Suzanne Lummis, has had incredible success in the years since taking Writers’ Program classes.  He has published in North American Review, Poetry International, Rattle, Iota, Long Poem Magazine and Magma Poetry; received commendation in the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Competition and the Indiana Review Prize; completed his MFA at Pacific […]

Success: Student Wins at International Latino Book Awards

Writers’ Program student Sandra Ramos O’Briant has won First Place for Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards for her novel The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old Blood.  A work of historical fiction, Sandra’s novel takes place in Santa Fe during the Mexican-American War.   Writing her novel was […]

Success: Student Natashia Deon Named One of LA’s Most Interesting People

Writers’ Program student Natashia Deon was recently included in LA Weekly’s People 2013 list, alongside LA icons like George Takei and Poet Laureate Eloise Klein Healy. After quitting her job as an insurance defense attorney, Natashia took Writers’ Program classes, was awarded a 2010 PEN USA Emerging Voices fellowship, and participated in the Bread Loaf […]

Success: Student Publishes in Boston Poetry Magazine

Writers’ Program student Marilyn Robertson recently published “How They Treat Brooklyn Umbrellas” in the online Boston Poetry Magazine.   Marilyn has also published in instructor Suzanne Lummis’ online journal www.speechlessthemagazine.org and in the anthology Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press). Marilyn praises the Writers’ Program and Suzanne for helping her along her writing journey.  “I have taken […]

Success: Daniel Stern Publishes Swingland

Writers’ Program student Daniel Stern has published his first memoir, Swingland: Between the Sheets of the Secret, Sometimes Messy, but Always Adventurous Swinging Lifestyle, forthcoming from Touchstone Books (October 1, 2013). Daniel credits the Writers’ Program  with helping him get published.  “I sought a group of serious, creative, and dedicated writers.  What I got, in […]

Jacqueline C. Kelley

Success: Student Publishes in Connotation Press

Certificate student Jacqueline C. Kelley recently published her story “Abe” in Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. You can read her story online here. “Writers’ Program instructors liz gonzalez (Writer as Witness to Life) and Gordon Grice (The Art of Creative Nonfiction) were very helpful as I made revisions to my story. Their perceptive feedback was […]

Success: Writers’ Program Students Take over NY Times Book Review

For the first time (to our knowledge), the New York Times has published a Sunday Book Review both written by, and featuring, former Writers’ Program students.  In her review, Marisa Silver–author of five books—profiles Jim Gavin, whose debut story collection, Middle Men, has been garnering rave reviews far and wide.  Marisa’s review is no different. […]

Where the Peacocks Sing

Success: Instructor’s Memoir Named Book of the Month

Writers’ Program instructor Alison Singh Gee‘s memoir, Where the Peacock Sings (St. Martins, Feb 2013), was just named a National Geographic Traveler’s Book of the Month! Don George of Nat Geo Traveler calls the memoir, about Alison’s journey from Hong Kong to rural India, “a revealing triumph.” Alison began her Writers’ Program life 10 years […]

Lisa Sanchez

Success: Student a Finalist in Narrative Magazine Contest

Creative Writing student Lisa Sanchez was selected as a finalist for Narrative Magazine‘s Fall 2012 Story Contest for her short story “The Medic’s Girlfriend.” Narrative, “dedicated to advancing literary arts in the digital age by supporting the finest writing talent and encouraging readership across generations, in schools, and around the globe,” is now accepting applications […]

Suzanne Lummis

Success: A Very Good Year for Suzanne Lummis

Longtime poetry instructor Suzanne Lummis had numerous successes in 2012.   In January, she was one of seven presenters invited to CSU Fresno to speak at a celebration honoring Philip Levine’s appointment as the 18th U.S. Poet Laureate.  In August, she reviewed John Banville’s The Untouchable for Bookmark This!, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ recommended […]

Success: Student Publishes in Anthology and Lit Journal!

Brandy French’s story “Mauschwitz” will be included in the Bete Noir anthology Seven Deadly Sins.  A second story, “Falling Off the Turnip Truck,” will be published in Calliope Literary Journal in 2013. “All my short story courses at UCLA Extension have so far been with Lou Mathews, who is an extraordinarily dedicated and generous teacher. […]

Success: “Words of Wisdom” Equal Publishing Success

Student Magdalena Edwards recently published her essay, “Playing Telephone with Emily Dickinson and Paul Legault” in online literary magazine The Millions.  In the piece, Magdalena explores Paul Legault’s translations of Emily Dickinson’s poems into contemporary English. “My experience taking Writers’ Program courses with Barbara Abercrombie has been phenomenal. I keep her words of wisdom close, […]

Success: Student Places in Creative World Awards

Writers’ Program student Sonja Adema’s 30 Rock spec “Match.com” placed as a finalist in the 2012 Creative World Awards Screenwriting Contest. Sonja wrote “Match.com” in screenwriting instructor Lisa Rosenthal’s course Writing the Half-Hour Comedy. Sonja says, “Lisa’s knowledge and experience combined with a supportive writers’ room environment, has been of great value to the script. […]

Success: Instructor Publishes Latest Picture Book

Onsite youth market instructor Michelle Markel’s latest publication is The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, a picture book account of the famous self-taught artist.  It received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, which called the writing “jaunty, confiding and affectionate” and praised the artwork of illustrator Amanda Hall. The book was also selected by the […]

Success: Instructor’s Collection Nominated for Award

Onsite creative writing instructor Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s third collection of short stories, Vigan and Other Stories, is a Finalist of the 31st National Book Awards of the Philippines.  Ceclia’s stories bridge time and place and center on a school girl, an older woman, a love-struck boy, a stolen child, and an underground revolutionary. She shares […]

Success: Student Publishes with Random House

Writers’ Program student Rob Reid’s novel, Year Zero,  was recently published by Random House. Year Zero, as Rob describes, is the story of a “vast alien society that’s so into American pop music that it accidentally commits the biggest copyright infringement since the Big Bang, thereby bankrupting the entire universe.” Rob says, “Year Zero was […]

Success: Student’s Second Mystery Novel Published

Writers’ Program student Bob Baty’s second novel, The Girl in the MGA,  was published recently by R.J. Buckley. “MGA” is the second in Baty’s Vintage Connor series, a classic car-themed mystery thriller series. In “MGA,” Baty describes, returning main character Ray Connor “gets more than he bargained for. A mobster hires him to find a […]

Success: Student Publishes (More) Short Fiction

Former onsite creative writing student Guy Prevost keeps the publications coming!  “Vermont Rocks,” a story of love, friendship, and lost illusions set in Hollywood in the mid-80’s recently appeared in The North Atlantic Review.  “Intervention,” a speculative science fiction piece about a time-traveling alien on a mission to assassinate Hitler and Stalin in 1913 Vienna, […]