2019-20 Teaching Fellow | Erica Berry

Erica Berry grew up in Portland, Ore., and went to Bowdoin College in Maine, where she worked at the student newspaper, eventually becoming the editor. She graduated with honors and a degree in English and environmental studies.

Journalism continues to influence her writing projects. “I began by writing fiction and poetry, but the genres inform each other. The skills of journalism — rigorous research, observing concrete details, being able to ask questions and think critically — are helpful in whatever I’m writing. Studying creative writing and journalism have helped me develop confidence and articulate myself both on and off the page. Every job you have, you’re always drawing back on those skills.”

After graduating from Bowdoin, Berry landed a job at a cooking school in Sicily, where she helped make a documentary, Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily, about endangered food traditions. She continues to teach a food writing course annually at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School.

While in Sicily, she applied to grad school and moved to Minneapolis to get her Master’s of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction at the University of Minnesota. While there, she taught creative writing to undergraduates, often with a focus on environmental issues. She spent this past July in Oxford, England, teaching journalism to teenagers on a New York Times Student Journeys trip. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, Rumpus, The Atlantic, Highcountry News and more. Learn more about Erica Berry.

Teacher – Sam Collier

Sam Collier is a playwright, poet, and theater artist. Her play Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King was a finalist for the O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwright Conference. Other plays include Silo Tree, Suit of Leaves, thing with feathers, and Quiet, Witches, which was produced in 2015 by the Berlin-Brandenberg International High School in Germany. Her work has also been developed by the Chicago Theatre Marathon, Theater Nyx, PTP/NYC, New Ground Theatre, the UNESCO Cities’ Play Festival, and the AWOI Little Festival of Iowa Legends. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Iron Horse, Mortar Magazine, The Puritan, Liminal Stories Magazine, Prompt Press, Guernica, and Pure Francis. She has taught writing with Cornell College, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Imagination Stage, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Combined Efforts Theater, and The University of Iowa. She has held fellowships and residencies with the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Theatre Institute, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Sam is a 2017-18 member of the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, and she holds an MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa.

Teacher – Teresa Scollon

The 2016-17 Teacher at Front Street Writers is Teresa Scollon, a poet, essayist, and recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry. She is the former writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy and Front Street Writers, and the first teacher for the Front Street Writers program at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District. She is the author of two poetry collections: To Embroider the Ground with Prayer, from Wayne State University Press, and the chapbook Friday Nights the Whole Town Goes to the Basketball Game from Michigan Writers Cooperative Press.  Scollon is an editor, educator, and a consultant in organization development. Alumna and former writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy, she is a member of the Michigan Writers collective, and the founder of a writing workshop for area veterans. Learn more about Teresa Scollon.

Writer-in-Residence, 2017
Mardi Jo Link

 Mardi Link is the author of five non-fiction books, including the New York Times bestseller, Wicked Takes the Witness Stand. She studied journalism at Michigan State University and has her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her memoir, Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm won the Bookseller’s Choice Award, the Housatonic Award for Creative Non-Fiction, and was named a Michigan Notable Book. Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weitz has optioned the film rights. Mardi’s work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press, the Minneapolis Star-TribuneTerrain, and Creative Nonfiction, among other places. She is the mother of three grown sons and lives in Traverse City with her husband, Pete, and her dogs, Gretchen and Olive, on the small farm profiled in Bootstrapper.

Former Teacher/Co-Director: Kerrey Woughter, 2012 – 2016

Kerrey Woughter was the teacher and co-director of Front Street Writers. In this capacity, Kerrey co-taught with the Writer-in-Residence, as well as provided a bridge between the two founding organizations, the National Writers Series and Traverse City Area Public Schools, to grow the program. Kerrey is the teacher-librarian at Central High School  (CHS) and can be seen on any given day, moving between the bustling library of CHS and the writing studio on Front Street, coffee in hand!

Kerrey earned her bachelors degree and teaching certificate from Central Michigan University. She began her teaching career in Flint, Michigan. In 1998, she returned to school at Wayne State University. Upon completion of a Masters in Library and Information Science, Kerrey was able to work and teach in her favorite room in the building, the school library. She was a school librarian in Flint before relocating to Traverse City and joining the TCAPS team. Kerrey has also earned a Masters in Organizational Management.

“The really interesting thing about this  position is that it allows me, for the first time, to use all of my education on a single front. I teach, I share my love for literature and writing, and I work with two amazing organizations to build something truly unique for our student writers. As an educator, I couldn’t ask for more.”