Brooke Shaffner

Brooke Shaffner

Between the Lines NYC Founder and Director

Brooke Shaffner’s novel Country of Under was the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction runner-up and is is a finalist for Black Lawrence Press’s 2022 Big Moose Prize. The novel is represented by Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner Literary Agency and inspired, in part, by Brooke’s coming of age on the Texas-Mexico border, 13 years of college admissions work with immigrant students there, volunteer work with the New Sanctuary Coalition and Make the Road, and her experience of organizing an immigrant advocacy event with CUNY DREAMers. Brooke received her MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Dean’s Fellow. Her writing has been published in The Hudson Review, Lost and Found: Stories from New York, The Lit Pub, Marie Claire, and BOMB. She has been awarded artist grants from United States Artists and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, the Saltonstall Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Jentel Foundation, the I-Park Foundation, and VCCA France. She won the Asheville Writers’ Workshop Fiction Contest and the Charles Lloyd Writing Award and has been a finalist for the New Millennium Writing Award, the So to Speak Fiction Award, and a Breadloaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship.

In addition to Between the Lines NYC workshops, Brooke has taught writing and literature at Rutgers University, The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, Athens Academy, and the Globe Institute of Technology. She has created college essay workshops for College Strategies: Practical Skills for Powerful Results and GEAR UP. She has written English Language Arts curricula for Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta public high schools through Kaplan K-12 Learning Services and edited curricula for Achievement First charter schools. She lives in Brooklyn and some of her best ideas come to her in motion—while running, biking, or urban exploring.


Download an excerpt of Country of Under, Brooke’s novel, which was runner-up for the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and is represented by Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner Literary Agency.

Download Chapter 1 of Brooke’s memoir, Between That Body and This One.

“Letting Go”, a personal essay, appeared in Marie Claire.

“Sanctuary”, an excerpt of an early version of Brooke’s memoir, appeared in The Hudson Review.

Read Brooke’s essay on Madeleine is Sleeping.

“Origins” and “The Seed,” two personal essays, appeared in the anthology Lost and Found: Stories from New York.


Brooke ran the 2019 NYC marathon for Elizabeth Warren.

Brooke interviewed artist and urban explorer Julia Solis for BOMB.

Brooke edited the critical essays discussing the work of forty emerging artists and the current artistic climate in the Point Suite Art Book.