Best of Philadelphia Stories: Volume 2 – Author Bios

L. M. Asta has published fiction in Philadelphia Stories, Inkwell, Schuylkill, and Lemniscate, and her essays have appeared in Hippocrates and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Current projects include a novel set in a small motel and a collection of medical stories. A native of Bucks County, she trained at Temple University School of Medicine and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. She writes and practices in Northern California.



Colleen Baranich grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and currently resides in Palmyra, NJ. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from Rider University and an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from The College of New Jersey. She works as a speech therapist in a hospital in Gloucester County. Her work has also appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal.


Deborah Burnham is the Associate Undergraduate Chair of English at Penn where she teaches literature and writing. She has lived and gardened in Powelton Village since moving to Philadelphia. Her most recent publication is a chapbook, Still, from Seven Kitchens Press.


Angela Canales is a West Philly native born to Colombian immigrants. She holds a Master’s Degree in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph‘s University.

Barry Dinerman’s recent fiction has appeared in Lullwater Review (Emory University). His plays have been staged on the West Coast by A Contemporary Theater and on the East Coast by a variety of companies.  The Edward Albee Foundation helped to support many projects.  He is a freelance editor and teaches non-credit courses in creative writing at Temple University Fort Washington.


Marie Davis-Williams grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and continues to write stories inspired by her hometown.


Christina Delia received her BFA in Writing for Film and Television from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia. Her work can be found in the anthologies In One Year and Out The Other (Pocket books) and Random Acts of Malice: The Best of Happy Woman Magazine. She also writes the satirical wedding advice column "Bride Dish with Mags & Dags" for Happy Woman Magazine. Christina currently resides in central New Jersey with her husband, Robert.


Gwen Florio first worked in the West during the 1990s as a Denver-based national correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer. During her time at the Inquirer, she was also a member of Philadelphia?s Rittenhouse Writers Group. She has received two prose grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a residency from the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. Florio now lives in Missoula, MT, where she is city editor for the Missoulian newspaper. She is afraid of bears.


Emily Fridlund grew up in the Twin Cities and earned her M.F.A. in fiction from Washington University in Saint Louis. She has published work in Boston Review, New Orleans Review, Quick Fiction, The Portland Review, The Great River Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal, among others. She is currently studying fiction at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Leonard Gontarek has lived in Philadelphia for twenty years. He has taught and presented hundreds of poets through reading series in the area. He is the author of St. Genevieve Watching Over Paris, Van Morrison Can’t Find His Feet, Zen For Beginners and Deja Vu Diner (Autumn House Press, 2006). His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Joyful Noise! An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry, American Poetry Review, Blackbird, BlazeVox, Pool, Fence, Field, and as a tattoo.


Brian Patrick Heston grew up in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He has a Master’s in English and Poetry from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University. His poetry has appeared in Pennsylvania English, Confrontation, Slipstream, Cake Train, Poetry Southeast, West Branch, The Bitter Oleander, Many Mountains Moving, Philadelphia Stories, Portland Review, Gargoyle, and is upcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly and 5 A.M. He currently is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Rutgers University in Camden New Jersey and is an Assistant Editor with Many Mountains Moving Press.


Since his first published poem “Physics” appeared in Philadelphia Stories, Jason M. Jones has had his writing appear in a number of print and online journals, most recently Pear Noir!, Rosebud Magazine, and Gargoyle. In the meantime, he is nearly finished his first novel, Barcelona, which details the plight of an aspiring opera singer whose career ends when he contracts a terminal illness. An excerpt of this novel appeared in Slow Trains.


Autumn Konopka is a poet, teacher, amateur baker, sometime blogger, nonprofit devotee, democratic socialist, and ferocious Philadelphia Eagles fan. She lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband, wee son, and two very fickle cats.


Nathan Long has work in Story Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Indiana Review, The Sun and other journals. He has won awards including a Truman Capote Literary Trust Fellowship, Breadloaf scholarships, a Virginia Commission of the Arts grant, and a Mellon Foundation Fellowship. He teaches creative writing at Richard Stockton College in NJ and lives in Germantown, PA.


Marguerite McGlinn was an editor and writer until her passing in 2008. Her travel stories appeared in the New York Times, the Sun-Sentinel, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times. She edited The Trivium: The LiberalArts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric (Paul Dry Books, 2002). Her short story about an American child and her Irish relatives won second place in a national competition and was published in English Journal. Three of her short stories won places in “Writing Aloud,” a program of dramatic readings that matches contemporary fiction with professional actors. She was an adjunct instructor at Saint Joseph University in Philadelphia and the nonfiction editor of Philadelphia Stories from 2004-2008. We still miss her terribly.


Elisabeth Majewski is a native of The Netherlands. She has published poems and essays for Dutch and French journals. Her English poems are forthcoming in a Weldon Kees anthology and in “The Working Poet—Seventy-Five Exercises in Poetry Writing,” both published by Backwaters Press. She is an English instructor at Montgomery County Community College during the day and a freelance translator at night.


Helen W. Mallon received her MFA degree in Fiction Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is completing a novel, working title Quaker Playboy Leaves Legacy of Confusion. Her poetry chapbook, from Finishing Line Press, is titled Bone China.  Biology, a short story, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression. She has published poems, essays, and book reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kennesaw Review, Café Review, Drexel Online Journal, and Phoebe: A Feminist Journal, among others. She teaches short story writing at Cheltenham Adult School and works with private students. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Teresa Méndez-Quigley, a Philly native, was selected Montgomery County Poet Laureate by Ellen Bryant Voigt in 2004. Her poems have appeared in four volumes of the Mad Poets Review, Drexel Online Journal, Philadelphia Poets, California Quarterly, and more. She is passionate about health and the environment and feels compassion for living beings.


Eileen Moeller has an M.A. in Poetry from Syracuse University, and many years experience as a Storyteller. Her poems have appeared in Melusine, Umbrella, BlueFifth Review, The Wild, The Paterson Literary Review, Feminist Studies, and more. Her manuscript Body In Transit, is online at Her Blog And So I Sing is at


James (Jay) W. Morris grew up in Philadelphia and attended Central High School and LaSalle University, where he was awarded a scholarship for creative writing. His fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines and for a time he worked as a monologue writer for Jay Leno. Recently, his first play, RUDE BABY, was produced by the City Theater Company of Wilmington, Delaware. "Regalia" is the second story of Jay’s to appear in Philadelphia Stories.


Mary Kate O’Donnell is an English and biology major at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. This is her first published piece.


Margaret A. Robinson’s chapbook of poems, about breast cancer and love, is called “Arrangements” and is available at the Finishing Line Press website. Robinson teaches in the creative writing program at Widener University and lives in Swarthmore.


Myrna Rodriguez was born and raised in Philadelphia and currently resides in South Jersey. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in January 2007, and is presently an adjunct instructor at several local colleges.

Mary Rohrer-Dann grew up in Philadelphia and currently teaches at Pennsylvania State University at University Park when she is not slumming at the Jersey shore. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Cimarron Review, Sun Dog, Alembic, Antietam Review, Literary Mama, Atlanta Review, Sojourner, and other journals.


Ona Russell holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego. She writes and lectures nationally on the topic of Literature and the Law and is a published novelist. Ona was named a finalist for her latest historical mystery, The Natural Selection, in three 2009 book award contests: the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, historical fiction category; the San Diego Book Awards, mystery category; and the prestigious California Book Awards, fiction category. She is currently working on her third Sarah Kaufman mystery, set against the backdrop of the 1920s Los Angeles Oil Boom. She lives in Solana Beach, California with her husband and has two grown children. For more information, please visit


David Sanders has had his short fiction published in journals and anthologies that include Baltimore Review, The Laurel Review, Sycamore Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Philly Fiction, and others. He was a winner of the Third Coast national fiction competition and the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Autobiography Competition. His short plays have been produced at Brick Playhouse and at Inter Act Theatre Company, where David was founding director of the “Best of Philly” reading series, Writing Aloud. David lives in Queen Village with his wife, photo critic Nancy Brokaw.


Bernard J. Schaffer is a police detective in the Philadelphia Suburban Region. He is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County. His previous work has appeared in “American Police Beat Magazine,” “Comic Zone,” and “The Enemy Blog."


Marc Schuster is the author of two-and-a-half books, including The Greatest Show in the Galaxy and The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl. He teaches English at Montgomery County Community College.


As an attorney practicing consumer bankruptcy law in Lancaster, PA, Mitchell Sommers may be one of the few people in America to benefit from the economic policies of George Bush. Mitchell received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his law degree from Penn State Dickinson School of Law. He has had op-eds published in numerous Pennsylvania newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has had short stories published in Ellipsis and PHASE. He is currently fiction/non-fiction editor of Tatanacho, an online literary journal, and is working on a novel. He can be reached at


Ryan Teitman is an MFA student in Creative Writing at Indiana University in Bloomington. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Puerto del Sol, and Redivider.



Valeria Tsygankova is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania who studies English and works with print media and rare books. Her poems have appeared in The Wanderlust Review and Chantarelle’s Notebook and several campus publications. Valeria was born in Moscow and grew up in the Philadelphia area.


Gwen Wille graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2005, and now lives and works in the West Chester area. This is among her first poetry publications


Chad Willenborg’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Believer, City Paper, and First City Review, and has been nominated for Best American Short Stories. He is working on a new novel set in Philadelphia.


Tim Zatzariny Jr. is a veteran reporter and writer, covering South Jersey and its residents. He also is an adjunct professor of Writing Arts at his alma mater, Rowan University. He is at work on his first novel, set in his hometown of Vineland, N.J.


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