The Mark Program

About The Mark Program

The Mark Program was a rigorous manuscript finishing school for Emerging Voices alumni. Each year, the program offered two cycles, one for fiction/non-fiction and one for poetry. Three to four applicants were selected for each cycle. Project Defense, Mid-Project Review, and Final Review were all mandatory components of the program. Each program cycle was taught by one instructor, and participant's projects were overseen by an advisor.
Workshop The Workshop met every other week for eighteen weeks for three hours in length. Mark participants are required to attend all nine Workshop meetings. In addition to revising their own manuscripts, Mark participants read their colleagues work and provided thoughtful written critique in each Workshop. Workshops adhered to the syllabus developed during the Project Defense stage.
Mid-Project Review All Mark participants were reviewed by Mark program faculty. Reviews re-addressed the goals set out in the Project Defense and examine the participants' progress.
Final Review The Mark faculty and program manager attended the Final Review. The participants presented their projects and the faculty gave their final feedback. The Mark faculty played a large role in this review, especially in regards to publishing and query advice.

Past Participants

2013 Fiction/Nonfiction

Eric Layer was born in San Francisco and has resided more or less in Los Angeles for more than a decade. He was a 2011 Emerging Voices Fellow and has received residency fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, and Foundation Obras in Portugal. His stories have been featured in The Rattling Wall, Palehouse, and The Medulla Review. He is working on his first collection of stories, tentatively titled Adults Only.

Natali Petricic was born in Long Beach, New York, shortly after her parents emigrated from Croatia. She received a BA from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Natali was a 2004 Emerging Voices Fellow. Her short stories have been published in Santa Monica Review, Rosebud, and Red Wheelbarrow. She is currently working on Leaf Boats, a linked short story collection. Natali lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.


Marissa Tinloy, a 2009 Emerging Voices Fellow, is from Alameda, California. She holds a BA in English and world arts and culture from UCLA. She has just completed her masters in English from UC Davis. Her fiction has been a semi-finalist in the Katherine Anne Porter Contest by Nimrod International Journal. Tinloy was a finalist in the Wordstock Ten Competition. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Rattling Wall and was the winner of the Elliot Gilbert Prize in Fiction. Marissa lives on a hill beside the ocean in Ventura with her husband. She is at work on her first novel, Look Away.

2012 Fiction/Nonfiction

Monica Carter, a Milwaukee native, currently resides in Los Angeles and was a 2010 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow and a 2010 Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging GLBT Voice. Her fiction has appeared in Strange Cargo: An Emerging Voices Anthology, Black Clock, The Rattling Wall, and in the forthcoming issue of Bloom. She is currently working on her novel, The Affair of 1936. She also curates Salonica, a website dedicated to world literature.



Shanna Mahin is a high school dropout who rallied late and has become optimistic about a strong finish, due in no small part to a 2008 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Norman Mailer Colony Fellowship, and a few summer residencies. She's currently working on completing her memoir, tentatively titled The Concerns of the Bourgeoisie. She asks that you make note of the word “tentatively.”



Carl Peel was born in Santa Monica, California, and currently lives in Los Angeles. He received a BA from UCLA in English literature and was a 1999 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. His fiction has appeared in BeWhich Magazine, Newport Review, and in the anthologies Wild Things: Domestic and Otherwise and Experienced: Rock Music Tales of Fact & Fiction. He is currently working on a novel, Lions & Ghosts, an early draft of which was shortlisted for the James Jones First Novel Award and was a semifinalist for the Virginia Center for the Book’s Great American Book Award

2011 Fiction/Nonfiction

Marytza K. Rubio is a writer from Santa Ana, CA. Her writing has been featured in Slice MagazineLos Angeles Times, and The Rattling Wall. She is a 2008 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow, the 2010 Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Scholar in fiction, and a 2012 VONA alum. Her story, Brujeria for Beginners, was a finalist for the 2012 Orlando Prize in Short Fiction. She is writing a novel, The Chicano Consulate.


Avi Lall is a writer living in Long Beach, CA. In 2007 he was a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. His work has appeared in The Asian-American Writers Workshop and Porcupine Literary Journal.



Eduardo Santiago was born Cuba and grew up in Los Angeles and Miami. He holds a BFA in film and television from California Institute of the Arts and was a 2004 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. He lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Lyon.



2011 Poetry

Mehnaz Turner was born in Pakistan and raised in Southern California. She holds degrees from the University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, and UC Santa Barbara. She is a 2009 Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her short story, "The Alphabet Workbook," appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as The Journal of Pakistan Studies, The Pedestal Magazine, and An Anthology of California Poets. An English teacher, she lives in Southern California.


Past Program Faculty

2012/2013 Fiction/Nonfiction:

Antoine Wilson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a contributing editor of A Public Space. He has been an instructor of creative writing at Iowa, Wisconsin, CSU Long Beach, UC San Diego, and UCLA Extension. His first novel is The Interloper, published by Other Press. Panorama City, Wilson’s second novel, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2012. He grew up in Southern California and continues to live and surf in Los Angeles. He’s online at and on Twitter @antoinewilson.
Rob Roberge's fourth book, the novel The Cost of Living, is forthcoming from Other Voices Books (spring 2013). He’s a professor at UCR/Palm Desert’s MFA and has taught at the MFA program at Antioch, Los Angeles, and at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing in 2003. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and have been anthologized several times. Previous books include the story collection Working Backwards From the Worst Moment of My Life and the novels More Than They Could Chew and Drive. He plays guitar and sings with the LA punk band The Urinals.


2011/2012 Fiction/Nonfiction:

Alan Watt is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and publisher. The 90-Day Novel, Watt’s nonfiction guide to writing, was published in 2010. His novel Diamond Dogs (Little, Brown) was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and was recognized in the New York Times list of “New and Notable Books.” Diamond Dogs has won numerous awards, including France’s 2004 Prix Printemps. Watt recently adapted Diamond Dogs for the French film company Quad. In 2002, Watt founded LA Writers’ Lab to help writers of all levels unlock the story within. His 90-Day Novel workshops in Los Angeles are now taught online to writers worldwide. Writers Tribe Books, his publishing venture, will release four works of literary fiction in the winter of 2012.

Samantha Dunn is the author of Failing Paris (Toby Press), a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Fiction Award in 2000; and the memoirs Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life (Henry Holt & Co.), a BookSense 76 pick; and Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex and Salvation (Henry Holt & Co.). Samantha’s work is anthologized in several places, including the short story anthology Women on the Edge: Writing from Los Angeles (Toby Press), which Dunn co-edited with writer Julianne Ortale. Dunn’s essays have appeared in numerous national publications including the Los Angeles Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Ms.; Redbook; and Shape. In 2000, Dunn received the Maggie Award for Best Personal Essay in a Consumer Publication. A widely published journalist, Dunn’s bylines are regularly featured in InStyle, Glamour, SELF, Men’s Health, and a variety of other consumer magazines. A writer-in-residence at the New York State Summer Writers Institute for many years, Dunn currently teaches at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Dunn lives in Southern California with her husband, musician/politico Jimmy Camp, and their son Ben.

2011/2012 Poetry:

Anna Journey is the author of the collection, If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems are published in American Poetry Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, and Shenandoah, and her essays appear in At Length, Blackbird, Notes on Contemporary Literature, Parnassus, and Plath Profiles. Journey holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, and she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. She recently received a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea 2005) and Apocalyptic Swing (Persea 2009), which was
a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. She is the recipient
 of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and
 Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman
Writer's Award and a fellowship to Civitella di Ranieri in Umbria. Her 
poems have been featured in the Washington Post and on Garrison 
Keillor's Poet's Almanac and in numerous journals. She is the poetry editor for The Los Angeles Review of Books and is on the advisory 
board of The Rumpus' Poetry Book Club. Along with gallerist Heather 
Taylor she curates the acclaimed reading series, Eating Our Words
 ( She lives in Los Angeles.

2010/2011 Fiction/Nonfiction:

Diana Wagman is a novelist and screenwriter. Her first book, Skin Deep, was heralded by the New York Times as a “brilliant debut.” Her second novel, Spontaneous, won the 2001 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction. Bump, her last novel, was short-listed for the Dublin Literary Prize. Most recently, she has published short stories in Los Angeles Noir, Black Clock, and the premiere issue of Electric Literature alongside Michael Cunningham and Jim Shepard. As a screenwriter, Wagman wrote DELIVERING MILO (2001) starring Albert Finney and Bridget Fonda. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The LA Weekly, and Poets & Writers. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
Mary Otis is an award winning writer whose short story collection Yes, Yes, Cherries was published in 2007 by Tin House Books. She has had stories and essays published in Best New American Voices, Los Angeles Times, Tin House, Berkeley Literary Journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, and Santa Monica Review. Her writing has recently been anthologized in Woof: Fiction Writers on Dogs (Viking) and Tales of Sex and Love (Tin House). Her story "Pilgrim Girl" received an honorable mention for a Pushcart Prize, and her story "Unstruck" was cited in 100 Distinguished Stories in the Best American Short Stories 2006. She is a Walter Dakin Fellow, and in 2009 was invited by the NEA in collaboration with la Fil to attend the Guadalajara Book Festival as a fiction writer. Originally from the Boston area, Mary is a fiction professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA Program where she is part of the core faculty.


alan watt
Carl Peel
Diana Wagman
emerging voices
gabrielle calvocoressi
mark participants
mark program
mary otis
Mehnaz Turner
Monica Carter
samantha dunn
Shanna Mahin
the mark
the mark program