Joanne Chin is a second-year fiction student. She grew up in the greater Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area of Malaysia. She graduated with a BA in English and Psychology from Towson University and then worked as a research assistant for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. At Rutgers-Newark, she is working on a collection of stories set in the 1940s and 1950s Malaya. In her spare time, she teaches English Composition at Rutgers and dances. Her work has appeared in Urban Odysseys: KL Stories.



Amanda Marie Whiting is a second-year student in fiction at Rutgers. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from Williams College and lives in London where she arranges to have awkward encounters with notable writers. This morning Amanda saved a baby opossum.


Chris Caruso, our veteran R-N M.F.A. blogger, received his B.A. in English with a Creative Writing focus from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he graduated with honors and completed a Senior Creative Thesis.  While living in Denver, CO he was involved in several community charities; most notable an art auction/poetry reading he organized that raised money for Denver’s homeless. He currently is a second-year poetry student working on creating a more challenging and abstract poetic style. You can read his blog at  After his M.F.A. he plans to teach in Europe and Japan before pursuing a PhD concentrating on Modernist Literature with a focus on DADA.   His poetry has appeared in Matter, Rio Grande Review, Lilliput, and several anthologies.


JJ Koczan writes as much as he can, so please stop making him feel guilty for not writing more. He’s going into his second year of his Rutgers M.F.A. and when he’s not penning stories about talking bananas or traveling in time, he reviews obscure rock albums on his blog, The Obelisk, and “sings” in the bands Maegashira and Ogima. Yes, his beard is awesome. He’s lived in Jersey all his life and has worked as an editor since he was an undergrad. He drinks like a fish, curses like a sailor and is terrified of the sea. Go figure.


Kiira Alessandra Mancasola received her B.A. in English from Stanford University where she learned how to pronounce “Coetzee,” and “Goethe,” and otherwise undo some of the damage from her homeschooled upbringing. Kiira has worked as an editor for SOMA Magazine and, and is currently an Associate Editor with Narrative Magazine. When she returns for her second year in the M.F.A. program, Kiira plans to live on either the Upper East Side, or the 5th story of a rat-infested Brooklyn walkup.  She promises to report back on the frustrations and joys of commuting to campus from NY. She hopes to one day publish a work in everyfiction genre, but would be happy writing plot-lines for video games instead.


Priscilla Mainardi, born and raised in New Haven, has an undergraduate degree from the University ofPennsylvania. She moved to New Jersey in 1983, raised her family, and then went back to college for anursing degree. She once wrote a 175 page novel called The Box of Money in one month, and recently edited an article on bee-keeping for Edible Boston.




Saeed Jones is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing (emphasis in poetry) at Rutgers-Newark. He also teaches composition courses in the Writing Program and works with the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. Saeed received his BA in English at Western Kentucky University. While at WKU, he won the Jim Wayne Miller Award for poetry. His work has appeared in storySOUTH, Barnwood, OCHO, The Adirondack Review, Splinter Generation, and Umbrella. He has his own blog – For Southern Boys Who Consider Poetry.



Moira Moody is a writer from Philadelphia and a student in the
Rutgers-Newark MFA program in fiction.  At Rutgers-Newark, she teaches
in the Writing Program, and interns at StoryQuarterly.  Prior to
coming to Newark, she has worked as a proofreader in a corporate firm,
and a community service coordinator at a high school for at-risk youth
(  She has written fiction, poetry, and
non-fiction for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Gazette,
and the Battered Suitcase.  As the Kelly Writers House Junior Fellow
in 2008, she designed a website that used local historical artifacts
to spur creative writing.



Maria V. Luna is a second year fiction writer in the Rutgers Newark MFA program. She received her B.A. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus. During her undergraduate career her work has been published in Caellean-The Progressive Magazine of Douglas College, and Anthologist Literary and Fine Arts Journal. She has held account management and assistant buyer positions for companies like Coca-Cola and Chanel. Most recently she has been selected as a finalist for Prism Literary Journal of Centenary College.  Visit her blog: