Johnna Schmidt (Director) is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at University of Maryland. Johnna has been at the Writers' House since its inception in 2002, and has over ten years experience teaching creative writing. Johnna got her start in writing through an interest in theater, and has performed original work across the U.S., mostly in San Francisco and New York City. Her work has been published in Beltway Journal for the Arts and Like Water Burning. Awards include the American Writer's Program Intro to Journals Nomination in Fiction. Johnna resides in Hyattsville with her husband and two sons.
Vivianne Salgado (Assistant Director) is a native of Chile, and studied fiction for four years with Pia Barros at Ergo Sum, one of the most prolific literary workshops during Pinochet's dictatorship. Vivianne received an M.A. in Contemporary Latin American Literature from University of Maryland and is currently working toward her Ph.D. Vivianne is a fiction instructor at The Writers' House as well as the Young Scholars Program.
Zein El-Amine (Poetry Instructor) was born and raised in Lebanon and has lived in the U.S. since 1987. A graduate student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing, his poems have appeared in GYST, Pnumbra, DC Poets Against the War anthology, and Joybringer. He received first prize in the the Tallahassee Writers' Association Annual Poetry and Haiku Contest. He is a regular contributer of political essays to Left Turn Magazine which he co-founded and his editorials have appeared in the Washington Post and the Washington Spark. Zein is a poetry and fiction instructor at the Writers' House as well as the Young Scholars Program.
Sara Burnett (Graduate Assistant) lives in Takoma Park, MD and is a graduate student in poetry in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at The University of Maryland. She has taught public high school English and college English, worked in textbook publishing, and continues to design curriculum for use by teachers and students in public and private schools. Of Cuban heritage, her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Hinchas de Poesia, PALABRAS: A Literary Magazine of Chicano & Latino Literary Art and Poet Lore. She received her MA in English from the University of Vermont and her BA in English and Economics from Boston College. Sara coordinates the Writers Here & Now series and is a poetry instructor at the Writers’ House.
Jesse Brooks (Graduate Assistant) is a graduate student in fiction in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He received a BA in English at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Jesse is the recruitment coordinator for the Writers' House and is a fiction instructor at the program as well.