2011 Emerging Voices Fellows


Hafeez Lakhani was born in India and grew up in South Florida. A graduate of Yale University, he has worked as a non-profit field worker, commodities trader, and high school teacher. He has studied at the Gotham Writers Workshop and is nearing completion of his memoir, The New-American Dream, a story of acculturation -- growing up Muslim in suburban America and stumbling onto Wall Street. Twenty-eight years old, he lives in New York City.


Eric Layer is the creator/curator of the podcast/reading series Hiccup: Stories with Soundtracks. He was born and raised in San Francisco, and received his BFA in Acting and Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. His stories have been featured in Penny Ante, Palehouse, and The Rattling Wall. He has also written and produced films and plays with his former group Piece of Meat. Eric currently resides in Los Angeles and is working on his first short story collection, Casual Encounters.


Lauren Marks is a Los Angeles native and an NYU, Tisch School of the Arts graduate. She spent a decade in professional theater and pursued a PhD at The Graduate Center at CUNY. She's been published in Brain World Magazine, and featured in the online publication Fresh Yarn. She has received grants from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA France, Ragdale, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Yaddo. At age 27, Lauren suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, which became the inspiration for her memoir-in-progress, A Stitch of Time: Portrait of a Mind in Construction.

Azarin Sadegh, a 2010 UCLA Kirkwood Award nominee, was born in Shahi. During the war with Iraq, she left Iran, studied computer science in France and took her first creative writing class in Los Angeles. Since 2007, her work has appeared in print and online, including in the Chicago Sun Times, Iranian.com, and Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles and is working on her second novel, Suicide Note.


Jamie Schaffner was raised in Portland, Oregon and earned a BA in economics from UC Santa Barbara. A 2009 UCLA Kirkwood Award finalist, her work appears in the anthology Best Lesbian Romance (Cleis Press, 2011). She is completing her first novel, Get the Girl, and lives in Los Angeles with her wife.