Birds & Muses Team


Kate Moses, Muse-in-Chief

Kate is the author of the internationally acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath, published in sixteen languages, and Cakewalk: A Memoir, chosen by National Public Radio as one of their favorite memoirs of 2010. Recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Best Fiction by an American Woman, an American Book Award, and a Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Kate is also co-editor of two bestselling anthologies of essays on motherhood, Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves. A founding editor of Salon, her literary essays and food writing have appeared in many publications in the U.S. and U.K. Learn more about Kate and her projects here.


Wesley Olivia Cohen, Assistant Muse

Wesley is a writer and editor from Northern California. Her work has been featured by Joyland Magazine, Entropy, Jellyfish Review, and some other places. She was a 2017 Writing By Writers Newberry fellow. She currently serves as prose editor of Foglifter Journal, and runs the Queer Syllabus in coordination with The Rumpus. Wesley's work lives at


Guest Faculty and Retreat Leaders

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Kate Christensen, guest faculty and retreat co-leader

Kate is the author of seven novels, including The Great Man, which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, and The Last Cruise, published by Doubleday in July 2018 to rave reviews. She is also the author of two food-centric memoirs, Blue Plate Special and How to Cook a Moose, which won the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Memoir. She has taught fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as short workshops in both memoir and fiction at several residencies and MFA programs. She has published essays and articles in many magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Bookforum, O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, and Food & Wine. She lives in Portland, Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her husband. Visit Kate at and on Twitter @aquavita.

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Mary Pols, guest faculty and retreat co-leader

Mary is a Maine-based author and award-winning journalist. Her memoir, Accidentally on Purpose, was turned into a CBS sitcom starring Jenna Elfman. Her literary book criticism appears regularly in national publications, including The New York Times and People. Mary was a film critic for more than a decade, first for newspapers in the San Francisco area and then for Time Magazine. A member of the National Society of Film Critics, she’s been a staff writer at the Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Daily News. Her writing has appeared in magazines ranging from the late great Gourmet to Marie Claire and Parenting.