Meet our faculty of instructors! Every Wordsmith instructor is an expert in their field, either through experience and/or training. Their knowledge and wisdom is a valuable gift to the next generation of writers and we’re so excited for them to share their experience with Wordsmith Academy students.
Andrew Buckley is a traditionally published author of rather silly, yet enjoyable fiction for all ages. As an ex-pat Brit living in Canada, Andrew is a passionate nerd, movie-lover, avid reader, comic book geek, public speaker, podcaster, and dances a mean cha-cha. He’s also the co-founder and instructor at Wordsmith Academy, an online writing school.
Tiegen Kosiak is an LA-based producer of film, TV, and digital content. She previously worked in literary management at Untitled Entertainment and in development at Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures. She currently runs Tia Mowry’s production company as well as her own independent shingle (Dark Matter Entertainment) with producing partner Sasha Nonas-Barnes. She is a former English professor who has appeared on panels at ComicCon, FilmCon, NALIP, the Pasadena Film Festival, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. She is also an instructor/consultant for Stage32, Roadmap Writers, Screenwriters Network, and now Wordsmith Academy!
Mark Gottlieb is a prominent literary agent working at book publishing’s leading literary agency Trident Media Group in New York City. He has ranked highly among industry literary agents for overall deals and various categories. While at Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb represented New York Times bestselling authors and award-winning authors. He optioned and sold books to production companies and studios for film/TV adaptation. Mark Gottlieb enjoys working with authors to help manage and grow their careers with resources available at Trident Media Group.
Brian Bradley is a television writer and performer with over thirty years experience in a wide variety of entertainment worlds, ranging from live theatre to theme parks, to television and film. His TV writing credits include MADtv, SCRUBS, HAPPY ENDINGS and ABC’s UNCLE BUCK, which he created and executive produced. A veteran of the Hollywood development process, he is also the creator of numerous scripts and pilots that you will never see, despite his wife thinking all of them were “actually pretty good”. Most recently he was an Executive Producer for the reboot of HEAD OF THE CLASS for HBOMAX. Other than that, he mostly focuses on posting pics of his super cute English Springer Spaniel, Scout, with whom he shares a sincere love of snacks and a deep suspicion of squirrels.
Oksana Marafioti is an award-winning American writer. Her memoir, American Gypsy, was published in 2012 (FSG), followed by publications in Time, Slate, The Rumpus, Pilgrimage, storySouth, Telegraph, and several anthologies, including Immigrant Voices (Penguin Books, 2015). She was the 2013 Library of Congress Kluge Fellow and is the current recipient of the Picador Excellence in Literature of Diversity Award and Professorship at the University of Leipzig, Germany. She’s the founder of Las Vegas Writers Lounge, an online creative writing studio providing classes and workshops to writers of all levels and genres.
Jeff Chiba Stearns is an Emmy® nominated and Webby award winning filmmaker. He is also an accomplished author and illustrator. After graduating from the Emily Carr University with a degree in Film Animation, he founded Vancouver based boutique animation studio Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. in 2001. Jeff’s work has broadcast around the world, screened in hundreds of international film festivals and garnered over 40 awards. Jeff wrote and illustrated his first children’s book Mixed Critters in 2018 and just released his second children’s book Nori and His Delicious Dreams about a mixed Japanese Canadian boy who dreams of sleeping in foods from around the world. Jeff is currently working on his first graphic novel, an intergenerational Japanese Canadian story entitled On Being Yukiko, with famed Japanese Canadian artist Lillian Michiko Blakey.
A self-described type junkie, Tamara Cribley has spent most of her life around books. With an education in design and photography and love of order and details, Tamara is a hot-shot catalog designer turned layout mistress, taming wayward words into eye-pleasing shape. For the last 5 years, she has worked exclusively with indie presses and self-publishing authors, mentoring them through professional independent publication. At the end of the day, Tamara flees her computer to hike the gorgeous Colorado landscape or do her part to give back as a volunteer K-9 handler for the local Search and Rescue Team.
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy and science fiction are my genres of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of heroes, villains, and everything in between.
Speculative fiction provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way.
Rachel Huffmire is the author of Shattered Snow, a 2019 Whitney Award finalist, Deep Magic E-zine highlighted novel, and Swoony Award winner. She currently works as the marketing manager for Immortal Works Publishing, overseeing their catalog of 75+ novels and 50+ authors. Rachel lives in Southern California where she enjoys playing board games with her boys, snuggling her baby girl, and reading bedtime stories to her husband.