Board of Directors


Timothy Ballenger

Timothy Ballenger is an investment consultant with Allianz Global Investors, a diversified active investment management firm.  Prior to that role, Timothy worked in a marketing capacity for a public finance investment bank and as a paralegal for one of New York’s top white collar criminal defense firms. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and a native of East Texas. Timothy’s interests include lifestyle, travel, food, men’s style and blogging. He is currently testing recipes and ideas in hopes of producing a work in the nouveau Southern cuisine category.



Tamiko Beyer

Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist) and the chapbook bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poems have been published in The Volta, Tupelo Quarterly, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. She is a former NYWC workshop leader, a former mentor for Girls Write Now, and a founding member of Agent 409, a queer writing collective in New York City. More



Louise Crawford

Louise Crawford, Secretary

Louise Crawford is the founder of Brooklyn Social Media, a firm devoted to PR and social media for authors, artists and entrepreneurs. Since 2004, she has published the popular Brooklyn blog Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. She is also the founder of the Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual networking event for bloggers, and Brooklyn Reading Works, a monthly thematic reading series at the Old Stone House in Park Slope now in its ninth year. More



Atiba Edwards

Atiba Edwards

Atiba T. Edwards is the co-founder and executive director of FOKUS. Born on the island of St. Vincent, he grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  After receiving his Bachelor’s in Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, he returned to NYC and spent several years working in the Investment Bank division of JPMorganChase and Nomura Securities as a Fixed Income Research Analyst. Atiba currently co-leads a middle school in Prospect Heights where he serves as the Director of Operations. He currently serves on the board of an elementary school.

He also runs FOKUS, a not for profit arts organization that increases public access to the arts and uses the arts to build communities which he also co-founded while in college. Additionally, Atiba is a hobbyists in photography, poetry and DJing.


Marian Fontana

Marian Fontana, Chair

Marian Fontana has been a writer and performer for over twenty-five years. Her articles have appeared in The New YorkerVanity Fair, The Guardian and more.

Her memoir, A Widows Walk (Simon and Schuster, 2005), was included in People magazine’s Top Ten Great Reads of 2005 and the Washington Post’s Book Raves of 2005. A Widows Walk was also on the New York Times best-selling biography list and was nominated for the Books for A Better Life Award.  More


ben groom_cropped

Ben Groom

Ben Groom is a blogger and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and has been published by professional services firms. A trained lawyer and economist, Ben is a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, where he specializes in social impact work. He has advised many non-profit and humanitarian organizations including the United Nations World Food and Environment Programs, the United Nations Global Compact,  and the Australian Red Cross.


Susan Karwoska is a writer, editor, and teacher. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fiction Fellowship in 2012; a year-long residency at Workspace, a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council program to help develop the creative practice of emerging artistsand writing residencies at the Ucross Foundation, and Cummington Community of the Arts. For ten years she was the editor of Teachers & Writers Magazine, where she currently serves on the editorial board. She is also a member of the artist advisory board at NYFA, representing fiction. She received an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a BA in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and is currently at work on her first novel, The River from Nothing. She has three college-age children and lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.


Sophie McManus

Sophie McManus is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates, which was a Barnes & Noble 2015 Great Writers Discover Award winner, shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, long listed for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a notable book or must-read by The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Paste, and Time Out (New York). Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, O, Tin House, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.

She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing in the MFA programs at Sarah Lawrence College and St. Joseph’s College.


Alexis Nixon

Alexis Nixon has over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She is currently the Assistant Director of Publicity for the Berkley Publishing Group. Alexis began her career as an International Sales and Marketing Assistant for Macmillan Publishers. In 2010, she transitioned to a publicity role for Tom Doherty Associates, LLC and lead campaigns for several science fiction/fantasy, young adult, and mystery/thriller titles under the Tor, Tor Teen, and Forge imprints.

In 2013, Alexis joined the publicity department of the Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. In her current role as Assistant Director of Publicity, Alexis leads campaigns for all Ace, Roc, and DAW Books titles and has worked with several notable New York Times bestselling authors. In addition to her professional work, Alexis has spent numerous hours as a volunteer for New York City organizations. She was a member of the Board of Directors and a Marketing Committee Chair for Unleashed. Prior to that, she was an Adoptions volunteer at the ASPCA.

Alexis is originally from Florida and has a BA in English from the University of South Florida.


Aaron Zimmerman

Aaron Zimmerman founded NYWC based on the success of the workshops he began in April 2000 at The Prince George, a supportive housing community for low-income, formerly homeless and special-needs populations. He has been leading creative writing workshops since 1997 through Manhattan Writers, a writing workshop program he founded. In that time, he has worked with hundreds of writers of all genres, ages and backgrounds. More