Bethany Hegedus—Creative Director
Bethany Hegedus, our Founder and Creative Director, is an award winning author and an in-demand writing instructor and international speaker. Bethany holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Her books include the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi and Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma, and illustrated by Evan Turk. The Grandfather Gandhi books join Bethany’s novels Truth with a Capital T and Between us Baxters in gracefully handling race, class and diversity issues. Forthcoming is Alabama Spitifire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, which hits shelves in January 2018.
Bethany loves creating programming to serve the needs of writers living a literary life. She is also our Porchlight Podcast host and regularly interviews award winning authors and New York Times best sellers on craft and creativity. She is thrilled to introduce you to the hard working team of creative minds and artistic hearts who make up The Writing Barn team.
Claire Campbell—Program Manager
Claire Campbell received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked over a decade with NYC-based nonprofits and has taught writing to students of all ages, including NYC public school students and adult writers suffering from early memory loss.
She was thrilled to discover the Writing Barn when she moved back to Texas—at the Barn she has studied with Matt de la Peña, A.M. Jenkins, and in private instruction with owner and founder Bethany Hegedus. Claire writes fantasy and fiction, and is thrilled to merge both sides of her personality—creative and community outreach—to expand The Writing Barn’s offerings to corporations and nonprofits.
Lucas McGill—Program Assistant
Lucas McGill was born in Dallas, Texas, but made the move to Austin as a teenager and never looked back. Falling in love with great stories and detailed universes at a young age, Lucas began immersing himself in stories from books, films, and video games whenever he could. Studying English at St. Edward’s University, Lucas began his college career with aspirations of being a novelist, but soon developed a passion for visual storytelling while taking a screenwriting class at St. Edward’s. Hoping to one day become a great storyteller, Lucas is grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by the talented and experienced people at The Writing Barn. For kicks, Lucas enjoys scouring Netflix for hidden gems, playing narrative driven video games, grooving to local tunes at the many music venues around town, and doing any of the three while consuming tasty craft beer.
WB Writing Fellows
April Jo Murphy – WB Writing Fellow
April Jo Murphy is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her writing has been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Sinister Wisdom, and Hippocampus, among other journals. She is currently working on a collection of essays. AprilJo lives in Austin, TX with her dog Roan.
Sonny Regelman – WB Writing Fellow
Sonny Regelman is a 20-year editorial professional. She began writing poetry in the 6th grade and was published frequently in her Pennsylvania hometown newspaper. She has a master’s degree in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. Her work recently appeared in the Di-Vêrsé-City Anthology 2016. She also serves on the board of the Austin Poetry Society.
Gayleen Rabakukk – WB Writing Fellow
Gayleen Rabakukk holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an undergraduate degree in journalism. She has published numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and two regional interest books for adults. Now she focuses her energy on inspiring curiosity in young readers through stories of hope and adventure.
Erin Sewell – WB Writing Fellow
Erin Sewell Erin Sewell earned her degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Over the last five years, she has studied from amazing authors, mentors, and publishing experts floating in and out of The Writing Barn. Erin is a middle grade/picture book writer and has found the secret to never growing up: write children’s books.
Rebekah Manley – WB Writing Fellow
Rebekah Manley After Rebekah studied Public Relations at Grand Canyon University, she worked for Carnival Cruise lines as a Social Hostess and an Assistant Cruise Director. She couldn’t shake the dream of writing to inspire and delight children and earned her Master of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature from Hollins University. Aside from her Children’s literature career, Rebekah is the Coordinator for the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission; under the Library of Congress. In Rebekah’s website, Brave Tutu, she hopes readers will “take courage in delight and discover power in small moments.”
Sophie Velasquez—WB Intern
Sophie Velasquez is studying English Writing and Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University with a specialization in Creative Writing. Originally from Amarillo, Texas, she moved to Austin to thrive off of the artistic energy. Sophie writes and is the Community Health Manager for the St. Edward’s Chapter of the Odyssey, an online publication allowing young writers to share their voice. Of all of her writing, Sophie is most passionate about poetry and creative nonfiction. In the future, she hopes to attend law school as well as share a memoir and other personal narratives.
Sydney Elizabeth Chandler —WB Intern
Sydney Elizabeth Chandler is studying Creative Writing and Rhetoric at Saint Edwards University. She is currently working on a middle grade series, and enjoys reading all things sci–fi and fantasy. Along with writing fiction, Sydney enjoys dabbling in the art of poetry and lyric essay. Her favorite pastimes include loving on her dog, biking around Austin, and reading Stephen King … over and over again.
McKinley Michalowski —WB Intern
McKinley Michalowski is a writing student at St. Edward’s University, with a focus on rhetoric and professional writing. While she thrives in writing rhetorical analyses, McKinley also writes poetry and short fiction. She is an avid reader, collector of vintage silverware, and William Carlos Williams enthusiast. On her days off, you will probably find her at the Greenbelt with her dog, Seymour Glass.
Melanie Sipko —WB Intern
Melanie Sipko is studying Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University with a specialization in Creative Writing, as well as Graphic Design. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she fell in love with Austin’s creative energy after spending a few summers in the city. She currently dabbles in all sorts of creative writing, from poetry to short fiction to novels. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s exploring the Greenbelt or kayaking down the Colorado River. She hopes to open up her own design studio and continue to explore all aspects of her creative writing.
Alie Dinger —WB Intern
Alie Dinger is studying English at Texas A&M University and has chosen to focus more on creative writing and Literature. There she works the rare books and archives library on campus and loves the atmosphere. She enjoys all things fiction, including writing some of her own. If she is not writing or reading, she is passionate about living out a noteworthy story through exploring new places and making memories with friends (including her dog Otis).