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Michael Luongo Wins LGBT Journalist of the Year

Michael Luongo

Congratulations to Michael Luongo, who was awarded the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for LGBT Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association and the Grand Prize in Travel Journalism from the North American Travel Journalists Association for his pieces on the Middle East.

Michael’s advice to writers: “Be patiently and politely persistent, and thick-skinned, which is hard for writers. Always be curious, bold, and courageous.”

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Kelsey Miller Lands Columnist Job with

Kelsey Miller landed a job as a humor columnist for “On the Couch” on

Kelsey says, “I think one of the most valuable things I gained from my course was the ability to edit and pitch my work effectively, including learning to pick the right venue first, then create something tailored to it.”

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Crown Picks Up Scott Wallace’s First-Person Account of the Amazon

Scott Wallace‘s nonfiction book, The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes, was picked up by Crown and will be published this October.

Scott says, “I was surprised that I was able to apply my course’s lessons so directly, using the proposal I developed in class to secure a book contract with a major publisher.”

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Shannon Krause’s Travel Piece Published

Shannon Krause‘s travel piece, “Off The Brochure Travel Guide: Schenectady, New York,” was published on, just a month after completing Intro to Travel Writing. She also started a travel blog, TravelingOlive.

Shannon says, “Once the class was over, the class exchanged contact information – just like summer camp – so we could stay in touch. It’s great to have a group of people to lean on if you have a writing question, need feedback or just want some encouragement. We’ve all been really great at helping one another take the next step in travel writing. Not only did I learn the fundamentals of travel writing but I gained a support group and an amazing mentor!”

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Sarah Skilton Lands Book Deal for Young Adult Novel Bruised

Sarah Skilton landed a book deal with Amulet Books for her young adult novel, Bruised.

Sarah says, “I was more motivated to turn in assignments on time and participate in the online discussions because I wanted to get the most I could out of the 12 weeks. When the course ended, a classmate of mine started a Google Group so we could keep our critiques going.”

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Naheed Elyasi Shares Stories in Cultural Anthologies

Naheed Elyasi‘s short story and poem were published in One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature. A second short story will be published in Love InshAllah, The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women next year.

Naheed says that she was surprised by the “lasting connections and friendships I made with other writers” in her class.

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Emily Rubin’s Stalina Recognized at International Book Awards

Emily Rubin‘s novel, Stalina, was recently picked up by Houghton Milfflin Harcourt for publication in the fall. Additionally, it was chosen as a finalist in the literary fiction category of the International Book Awards.

Emily was previously nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was the first recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award.

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Amelia Blanquera’s Personal Essay Published in Modern Love Column of The New York Times

Amelia Blanquera‘s essay “About that Rustle in the Bushes” was published in The New York Times‘ Modern Love column June 2011.

Amelia advises writers, “Keep editing and submitting your pieces. I didn’t submit to a specific person at The New York Times — I’m proof that editors do read the submissions sent to the general email address.”

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Sabrina Paradis’ Essays Included in Purple Leaves, Red Cherries

Sabrina Paradis‘ two personal essays on motherhood she crafted during a one-day workshop were published in the anthology Purple Leaves, Red Cherries on May 2, 2011.
Sabrina says, “I was surprised how much we were able to accomplish in just a 3-hour workshop. I left the course with my ‘next step’ toward publishing my essays, including contact names and places.”

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Martina Clark’s Social Media Campaign Brings in Traffic

Upon completing our first Social Media Marketing Boot Camp, Martina Clark launched a social media campaign for Stigma Fuels HIV using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. In the campaign’s first week, her site had 170,000 hits.

After creating the hashtag #bestigmafree, their followers increased by 75%. The campaign caught the attention of Annie Lennox and the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon, who both wore the campaign stickers that were given out.

From the boot camp, Martina says she gained “a good overview of the tools available and the best techniques to use them effectively. The online sessions with the social media gurus can’t be beat.”

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