Aster(ix) Contributors

We at Aster(ix) are grateful to all our contributing writers. 

Mankwe Ndosi
Sheila Maldonado
Dowoti Désir
Aster(ix) Journal
Raven Jackcon
Michelle Be
Caitlyn Christensen
Soad Suliman
Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela
Dia Felix
Nalini Jones
Vanessa Pérez
Sampsonia Way
Katherinna Mar
Katie Gutierrez
Ayde Enriquez-Loya
Dawn Lundy Martin
Raina J. León
Olivia Walton
Rosamond S. King
Purvi Shah
Laura Sims
Melissa R. Sipin
Joanna Commandaros
Lucia LoTempio
Anthony Morales
Bushra Rehman
Qwo-li Driskill
Aisha Durham
H.N. Holder
Amy Sara Carroll
Irina Reyn
Patricia Engel
Francine Conley
Carolina Gonzalez
Yvette Benavides
Lauren Russell
Oscar Dario Gomez
Luivette Resto
Oindrila Mukherjee
Daniel Alexander Jones
Latasha N. Nevada Diggs
Sarah Hollows
Edwidge Danticat
Joshunda Sanders
Estella Gonzalez
Matt Richardson
Birgul Oğuz
Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe
Norma Cantú
Naima Coster
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Abigail Carl-Klassen
Michelle Yasmine Valladares
Courtney Desiree Morris
Emily Raboteau
Josina Manu Maltzman
Kim Dana Kupperman
Catalina Bartlett
Oonya Kempadoo
Rich Villar
Saudamini Deo
Jacqueline Bishop
Vanita Reddy
Myriam J.A. Chancy
Nelly Rosario
Radhiyah Ayobami
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Lorgia Garcia Pena
Elena Machado Saez
Andrée Greene
Audrey Peterson
Jasmine Johnson
Junot Díaz
Noah Turner Meyers
Fiona Cheong
M. L. Vargas
Fátima Portorreal
bell hooks
Michelle Lin
Brian Bwesigye
Marlin M. Jenkins
Erin Koehler
Janelle Poe
Gabrielle Rivera
Lucia Hierro
Leticia Hernández-Linares
Cynthia Manick
Shay Youngblood
Madhu Kaza
Junauda Petrus
Chika Unigwe
Ivelisse Rodriguez
Rachel Masilamani
Marlène Ramírez-Cancio
Arielle Greenberg
Kianny N. Antigua
Glendaliz Camacho
Tiphanie Yanique
Kelsey Valadez
Ana-Maurine Lara
Sarah Rifky
Karen An-hwei Lee
Araceli Esparza
Natalie Leger
Ani Kazarian
Allison Adrian
Jenelle Troxell
Nívea Castro
Christopher Carmona
Khadijah Queen
Gabrielle Civil
Grace Singh Smith
Ayse Papatya Bucak
Mira Kaufman
Keya Mitra
Daniel Alarcón
Alexandria Delcourt
Amy Elizabeth Bishop
Sue Rainsford
Adriana E. Ramírez
Cecca Austin Ochoa
Jose Araguz
Celeste Prince
Mine Gencel Bek
Cathy Guo
Shavonne Clarke
Cynthia Dewi Oka
Angie Cruz
Ada Limón
Carley Moore
Armando García
Antonio C. La Pastina
Didi Jackson
Champa Bilwakesh
Imani Uzuri
Daisy Hernández
Noel Quiñones
Tanya Pérez-Brennan
Sabreen Kadhim

Angie-12
Angie Cruz is a novelist based in Pittsburgh. She is the co-founder and editor of Aster(ix) Journal.

Adri-131
Adriana E. Ramírez is an award-winning nonfiction writer and performance poet based in Pittsburgh. She is the co-founder and publisher of Aster(ix) Journal. More information online at aeramirez.com


Allison AdrianAllison Adrian

Allison Adrian is an ethnomusicologist, particularly interested in the relationships between music and community building. She is currently Assistant Professor of Music, Women’s Studies and Critical Studies of Race & Ethnicity at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She was recently awarded a 2015-2016 Fulbright Fellowship to study indigenous music in Southern Ecuador. She is co-editing Voicing Girlhood in Popular Culture: Music, Performance, Activism with Jacqueline Warwick, a critical anthology to be published in the Routledge Series in Popular Music.

Daniel AlarcónDaniel Alarcón

Daniel Alarcón hails from Lima, Peru. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker and other magazines.

Karen An-hwei LeeKaren An-hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. Lee also wrote two chapbooks, God’s One Hundred Promises (Swan Scythe 2002) and What the Sea Earns for a Living (Quaci Press 2014). Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. She earned an M.F.A. from Brown University and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, Lee is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. Currently, she lives in San Diego and serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Kianny N. AntiguaKianny N. Antigua

Kianny N. Antigua She was born in the Dominican Republic in 1979, and lives in New Hampshire, where she works as Spanish Lecturer at Dartmouth College and directs the Spanish Playgroup for children at Howe Library. She has published: Mía, Esteban y las nuevas palabras / Mía, Esteban and the New Words (Children’s Lit., Alfaguara 2014), El tragaluz del sótano (Short Story, Artepoética Press 2014), Cuando el resto se apaga (Poetry, Proyecto Zompopos 2013), 9 Iris y otros malditos cuentos (Fiction, Editora Nacional 2010), & El expreso (Short Story, Argos 2004.) Her work also appears in several anthologies, textbooks, magazines and other media outlets. «Down- town», one of her short stories, won the Second Prize in Premio de Cuento Juan Bosch, Funglode 2011, and seven other short stories have won honorary mentions in this and other literary contests. Some of her stories have been translated into Italian, French and English.

Jose AraguzJose Araguz

A CantoMundo fellow, José Angel Araguz has had poems recently in Huizache and Salamander. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Cincinnati. Author of six chapbooks and the collection Everything We Think We Hear, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence.

Radhiyah AyobamiRadhiyah Ayobami

Radhiyah Ayobami - is Brooklyn-born with Southern roots. She holds a B.A in Africana Studies from Brooklyn College, a MFA in Prose from Mills College, and has received awards from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Currently, she lives with her teenage son in Oakland, California, where she is at work on her first novel and the trees give her poems.

Catalina BartlettCatalina Bartlett

Catalina Bartlett is a PhD Candidate in English at Texas A&M University. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Beneath the Shadow of the Red Rock is her first novel.

Michelle BeMichelle Be

A native of south Minneapolis, Michelle Be (Michelle Barnes) is a spoken word poet, visual artist, theater artist, and DJ. She uses her work to dive into many levels of introspection in order to reconfigure, heal, and progress. With a background in psychology, Michelle aims to bridge science and spirituality through her art: “I am most interested in connecting with audiences on a cerebral level. This allows me to remain authentic in expressing that which forms in my creative state of mind.” Michelle has performed her spoken word poetry at Pillsbury House+Theatre, Bedlam Theater, Intermedia Arts and Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN. She is a multi-disciplinary teaching artist, specializing in youth arts programming, and is an artistic director for RARE Productions, an organization supporting queer artists of color.

Yvette BenavidesYvette Benavides

Yvette Benavides is a professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University. She serves on the advisory and programming committees for the San Antonio Book Festival and is a book critic for the San Antonio Express News. She is a commentator for “Fronteras” and “Texas Matters” on Texas Public Radio. Her work has been published in a number of publications including, Latina, The Pedagogy of Pop, The Rivard Report, The Texas Observer, The Americas Review. Her short fiction has been published in Huizache magazine, the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, and the Belleview Literary Review.

Brit BennettBrit Bennett

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from
Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University
of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel. Her debut novel, The Mothers, was released in 2016.

Champa BilwakeshChampa Bilwakesh

Champa Bilwakesh was born in India, earned her MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her fiction has been published in Kenyon Review, Monsoon Magazine, Sugar Mule, and India Current where it won prizes in the Katha contest. Her story “The Boston Globe Personal Line” was nominated for the Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest, received honorable mention in the 2007 edition of Pushcart Prize, and has been translated into Italian for the online magazine, El-Ghibli. She lives in Andover, MA, where she produces TV shows for the community channel.

Amy Elizabeth BishopAmy Elizabeth Bishop

Amy Elizabeth Bishop is a recent graduate of the State University of New
York, Geneseo. She currently works as an assistant at Dystel & Goderich
Literary Management in NYC and reads for *Wyvern Lit *and *The Rumpus*. Her poetry has or will appear in *Gandy Dancer*, *The Susquehanna Review,* and *Dialogist*. You can find her on Twitter at @givealittlelove.

Jacqueline BishopJacqueline Bishop

The River's Song is Jacqueline Bishop’s first novel. She is also the author of two collections of poems, Fauna and Snapshots from Istanbul. Her non-fiction books are My Mother Who Is Me: Life Stories from Jamaican Women in New York and Writers Who Paint/Painters Who Write: Three Jamaican Artists. An accomplished visual artist with exhibitions in Belgium, Morocco, USA and Italy, Ms. Bishop was a 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow to Morocco; the 2009-2010 UNESCO/Fulbright Fellow; and is a full time Master Teacher in the Liberal Studies Program at New York University.

Rachel Ann BricknerRachel Ann Brickner

Rachel Ann Brickner is a writer from Pittsburgh. In a previous life, she lived and worked in New York City and San Francisco, editing political science and science textbooks. Her fiction has previously appeared in PANK, Corium Magazine, and Burrow Press Review. She's currently at work on a collection of short stories and is accepting that she really truly loves to draw.

Brian BwesigyeBrian Bwesigye

Ugandan Brian Bwesigye studied Law at Makerere University and was until recently an LLM (Human Rights) student at Central European University- Budapest. He is co-founder of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), which seeks to harness the abilities of African writers and artists in using culturally-grounded narratives to bring social change.

Glendaliz CamachoGlendaliz Camacho

Glendaliz Camacho is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee, 2014 Jentel Foundation Artist in Residence, and 2015 Caldera Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson, and Hedgebrook Artist in Residence. She is a 2015 Write A House finalist. Glendaliz is a proud Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) alum. Her work appears in Soulmate 101 and Other True Stories of Love (Full Grown People); All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press); The Butter; Saraba Magazine; and Kweli Journal, among others. She has work forthcoming in The Female Complaint (Shade Mountain Press, 2015). Glendaliz is currently working on a short story collection and novel.

Norma CantúNorma Cantú

Dr. Norma Cantú has published articles on a number or academic subjects as well as poetry and fiction. Her publications on border literature, the teaching of English, quinceañera celebration and the matachines, a religious dance tradition have earned her an international reputation as a scholar and folklorist. She has co-edited four books and edited a collection of testimonios by Chicana scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Her award winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera chronicles her childhood experiences on the border. She edits the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Culture and Traditions book series at The Texas A&M University Press. As Professor of Latina/Latino Studies and English at UMKC, Cantu’s duties include teaching, committee work, and the development of the Latina and Latino Studies (LLS) Program.

Abigail Carl-KlassenAbigail Carl-Klassen

Abigail Carl-Klassen’s work has appeared in Cimarron Review, Guernica, Huizache, and Post Road, among others, and is anthologized in New Border Voices (Texas A&M University Press) Goodbye Mexico: Poems of Remembrance (Texas Review Press) and Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a 9/11 World (Slough Press). She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets 2015. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso. Before becoming a college instructor she worked in community development and in the El Paso public schools.

Christopher CarmonaChristopher Carmona

Christopher Carmona was the inaugural writer-in-residence for the Langdon Review Writers Residency Program in 2015. His story, ³Strange Leaves,² was the third finalist in the Texas Observer Short Story Contest of 2014. He was also a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2013. He has been published in numerous journals and magazines including Trickster Literary Journal, Interstice, vandal., Bordersenses, & the Sagebrush Review. His first collection of short stories entitled, The Road to Llorona Park was published by Stephen F. Austin University Press in 2016. He has recently edited an anthology called Outrage: A Protest Anthology about Injustice in a Post 9/11 World for Slough Press and was a co-editor for The Beatest State In The Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writing. He was also co-author for a scholarly conversation book entitled Nuev@s Voces Poeticas: A Dialogue about New Chican@ Identities and he has two collections of poetry: beat and I Have Always Been Here. Finally, he is the Artistic Director of the Coalition of New Chican@ Artists.

Amy Sara CarrollAmy Sara Carroll

Amy Sara Carroll, Assistant Professor of American Culture, Latina/o Studies, and English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is the author of two collections of poetry SECESSION (Hyperbole Books, 2012) and FANNIE + FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post‐9/11 Pornography (Fordham University Press, 2013). Since 2008, she also has been a member of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, coproducing the Transborder Immigrant Tool. Currently, Carroll is completing her first critical monograph "REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era," under contract with the University of Texas Press.

Nívea CastroNívea Castro

Nívea Castro, J.D., is the curator of Sinister Wisdom; Out Latina Lesbians, published July 2015. A Nuyorican lesbiana activist, Nívea is also a writer, photographer, social justice attorney, martial artist, and educator. A Marge Percy Poetry Workshop participant and a VONA alum, her poems and writings have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently in Word, a Cave Canem chapbook, And Then, Kalyani, Best of Panic, and Stand our Ground. She has appeared and been featured in various venues, including NYC and Brooklyn Lit Crawl, Listen to Your Mother, a national series of live readings by local writers, Crack the Mic, Camaradas, Soul Sister Revue, BAAD!ASS Women Festival, La Pluma y Tinta, New Voices Reading Series, Canvas of Words, and Michfest. She is a member of the New York City Latinas Writers Group. Nívea lives in Brooklyn and is completing a poetry manuscript and an essay/photo chapbook on her recent travels to Cuba. She is working on her upcoming book, Coquito Man. You may read her work and view her photography at www.niveacastro.com. Reach her on Facebook or by email at niv@niveacastro.com.

Myriam J.A. ChancyMyriam J.A. Chancy

Myriam J. A. Chancy is a Haitian-Canadian writer who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and raised in Quebec City, Canada. She is currently a Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Fiona CheongFiona Cheong

Fiona Cheong is the author of THE SCENT OF THE GODS (W.W. Norton, 1991) and SHADOW THEATRE (Soho, 2002). Her shorter work can be found in CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE and TILTING THE CONTINENT: SOUTHEAST ASIAN AMERICAN WRITING. A native of Singapore, she presently teaches in the graduate writing program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Caitlyn ChristensenCaitlyn Christensen

Caitlyn Christensen is Associate Editor for Sampsonia Way. She studied Writing and History at the University of Pittsburgh. Caitlyn began working with Sampsonia Way in 2011 as an editorial intern, and joined the magazine’s staff in 2014.

Gabrielle CivilGabrielle Civil

Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist poet, conceptual and performance artist, originally from Detroit, MI. In summer 2014  she premiered “_____ is the thing with feathers” and reprised “Say My Name” (an action for 270 abducted Nigerian girls) at “Call & Response,” an innovative two-part festival of black women and performance that she organized at Antioch College. Other recent work includes: “Fugue (Da, Montréal)” at the Hemispheric Institute Encuentro in Montreal, Canada (June 2014); “Aide-mémoire,” at the AFiRiperFOMA Biennial in Harare, Zimbabwe (Nov. 2013); and a restaging of John Cage’s “How to Get Started.” Gabrielle is currently circulating Swallow the Fish, her critical/creative text on black feminist performance art practice. She is Associate Professor of Performance at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. The aim of her work is to open up space.
www.gabriellecivil.com

Shavonne ClarkeShavonne Clarke

Shaveonne Clarke writes: I’m a writer/editor and digital strategist living in the D.C. area. In 2013 I graduated from Purdue University’s MFA program in creative writing, where I spent two years as the nonfiction editor of Sycamore Review. My fiction has appeared in Aster(ix) Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Kenyon Review Online.

Joanna CommandarosJoanna Commandaros

JoAnna Commandaros is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she currently lives and works. Her drawings, sculptures, and installations are inspired by alchemy, cultural aesthetics, and ecological systems. Her work are reflective of her Greek and Syrian roots. She has participated in residencies and exhibitions nationally and internationally. For more information, visit her website.

Francine ConleyFrancine Conley

Francine Conley is a poet, performer, and director. She has a chapbook of poems, How Dumb the Stars, through Parallel Press, and was a founding and active member of Franco-American touring theatre company, Le Theatre de la Chandelle Verte 2001-2014. Over the years she’s written, produced and performed 8 one-woman shows in English. Her current one-woman multimedia show, The Narrow Road (2015), is the fruit of a year she spent traveling and taking video footage throughout the UK in 2011-2012. The show was designed after Matsuo Basho’s 17th book, In Narrow Road to the Deep North, where as a poet he saw journey as a great metaphor: Travel is life. Life is travel. There's no end to travel; you die on the road, you're born on the road. Otherwise, her manuscript of poems, Blue Mother, is in circulation. Her website, http://francineconley.com will have up-to-date info.

Naima CosterNaima Coster

Naima Coster is the author of Halsey Street, a novel about gentrification, family, and memory, set in Brooklyn, New York (Little A 2017). She is a graduate of the Columbia University MFA program and also holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from Yale University and Fordham University. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Arts & Letters, Kweli, The Rumpus, Guernica, and Cosmonauts Avenue, among other places. Naima has taught writing in a range of settings, from prison to after-school programs, summer camps, and universities. She tweets about literature, culture, and justice as @zafatista.

Kim Dana KuppermanKim Dana Kupperman

Kim Dana Kupperman is the author of the essay collection, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence, and, forthcoming in November 2016, The Last of Her: A Forensic Memoir. She is the founding editor of Welcome Table Press, a nonprofit independent press devoted to publishing and celebrating the essay. She is a guest faculty member at West Virginia Wesleyan's low-residency MFA Program and teaches in Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Writing Program.

Edwidge DanticatEdwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, The Dew Breaker, Create Dangerously , and Claire of the Sea Light . She is also the editor of The Butterfly ' ™s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She has written five books for young adults and children, Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou , and Mama's Nightingale, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir , Brother, I ' m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow. Her most recent books is Untwine, a young adult novel.

image: Lynn Savarese

Alexandria DelcourtAlexandria Delcourt

Alexandria Delcourt received her MFA from the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program in 2014. She is currently a Lecturer in the Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her work has been used in dance performances, read and taught internationally, and has appeared in Written River, Poetry Quarterly, As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, Kalyani Magazine, FULCRUM: An Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics, and other publications. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Saudamini DeoSaudamini Deo

Saudamini Deo is a writer and photographer from India.

Dowoti DésirDowoti Désir

Dowoti Desír is a human rights activist, scholar, and photographer. She is monitor of memorials, monuments and historic sites of the Maafa/Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Cynthia Dewi OkaCynthia Dewi Oka

Cynthia Dewi Oka is a poet and author of Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). A Pushcart Prize Nominee, her poems have appeared online and in print, including in Guernica, Black Renaissance Noire, Painted Bride Quarterly, Dusie, The Wide Shore, The Collapsar, Apogee, Kweli, As Us Journal, Obsidian, and Terrain.org. She is also a contributor the anthologies Read Women (Locked Horn Press, 2014), Dismantle (Thread Makes Blanket, 2014), and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016). Cynthia has been awarded the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, scholarships from the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writing Workshop and Vermont Studio Center, and the Art and Change Grant from Leeway Foundation. An immigrant from Bali, Indonesia, she is now based in South Jersey/Philly. Her second poetry collection is forthcoming in 2017 from Northwestern University Press.

Junot DíazJunot Díaz

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Qwo-li DriskillQwo-li Driskill

Cherokee poet, scholar, and activist Qwo-Li Driskill was raised in rural Colorado. Driskill earned a PhD from Michigan State University. Driskill’s poetry engages themes of inheritance and healing, and is rooted in personal Cherokee Two-Spirit, queer, and mixed-race experience. Walking with Ghosts (2005), Driskill’s first poetry collection, was named Book of the Month by Sable: The LitMag for New Writing and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Driskill co-edited, with Colin Kennedy Donovan, Scars Tell Stories: A Queer and Trans (Dis)ability Zine (2007), and has work featured in several anthologies, including Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics (2008, edited by Trevor Hoppe) and Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (2003, edited by Janice Gould and Dean Rader). The poet is the founder of Dragonfly Rising Press.

Aisha DurhamAisha Durham

Aisha Durham is a cultural studies scholar. Durham uses auto/ethnography, performance writing, and intersectional approaches honed in Black feminist cultural criticism to analyze representations of Black womanhood in hip hop media. Recent work on Black womanhood is featured in her new book, Home with Hip Hop Feminism: Performances in Communication and Culture. This book extends earlier discussions about hip hop culture, media representations, and the body in her co-edited volumes, Home Girls Make Some!: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology and Globalizing Cultural Studies: Ethnographic Interventions in Theory, Method & Policy. Durham’s cultural criticism has been featured in popular news media and sites, such as The New Yorker, Haaretz, Crunk Feminist Collective, NewBlackMan, and Ms. Magazine.

Patricia EngelPatricia Engel

Patricia Engel is the author of the acclaimed books, Vida and It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris. Her new novel, The Veins of the Ocean, is forthcoming from Grove Press in 2016.

Ayde Enriquez-LoyaAyde Enriquez-Loya

Chicana born and raised on the border between Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua
Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Earned PhD in English with an emphasis on
Cultural Rhetorics and Literatures of Color from Texas A&M University in 2012. Currently teaches courses in Composition, Cultural Rhetorics, Technical Writing, and Business & Professional Writing. Publications include, "The Calmécac Collective, or, How to Survive the Academic Industrial Complex through Radical Indigenous Practice." El Mundo Zurdo 3: Selected Works from the Meetings of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa. Eds. Sonia Saldívar-Hull, Larissa Mercado-López,
Antonia Castañeda. San Francisco: Aunt Lute (2013).

Araceli EsparzaAraceli Esparza

Araceli Esparza writes bilingual-bicultural picture books in between
parenting, teaching and saving words for later. Follow her @WI_MUJER for
diverse literature news and bookish things.

Dia FelixDia Felix

Writer and filmmaker Dia Felix is author of the Lambda-nominated experimental novel “Nochita,” published on City Lights/Sister Spit in 2014. Areas of interest include romance, celebrity, obsession, decadence, modernity, and rock and roll. She’s screened films and read at very many places including Segue, Radar Reading Series, The New Museum, and Albertine Books. She’s published recently with Ping Pong, a journal of the Henry Miller Library, The Feminist Wire, and Poetry Project Newsletter. She curates a pan-genre literary performance series, GUTS, at Dixon Place and founded and heads the maybe-fictional enterprise Personality Press. She’s from California and lives in East Harlem, New York.

Armando GarcíaArmando García

Armando García is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. He is completing his first book, Impossible Indians: The Native Subjects of Decolonial Performance, a study of theatre, performance and the consolidation of race from the colony to the present.

Lorgia Garcia PenaLorgia Garcia Pena

Lorgia García-Peña is an assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures and of history and literature at Harvard.

Mine Gencel BekMine Gencel Bek

Mine Gencel Bek is a professor at the Department of Journalism, Faculty of Communication, Ankara University. She completed her Ph.D. at Loughborough University in 1999 with the thesis Communicating Capitalism: A Study of the Contemporary Turkish Press. This analysis included the structural elements of the changing industry, news as texts, and the role of journalists in the news-production process. For that thesis, she conducted interviews with journalists and editors and investigated the news production process. Her publications have a wide range of issues: the political economy of Turkish media; the media policies in the European Union and Turkey; media professionals and textual analysis of news in press and TV on the issues such as tabloidization and representation of women and children. Common to all of her work is criticism of unethical practices of irresponsible media and the call for the democratization of societies for freedom and equality, and the democratization of the media, with a special focus on journalism. Her current research is on the comparative media systems, journalism practices, and technological innovations.

Oscar Dario GomezOscar Dario Gomez

Oscar Darío Gómez writes short, short stories and works as a publicist in Medellín, Colombia.

Carolina GonzalezCarolina Gonzalez

Carolina González is a recovering journalist and academic who keeps wanting to get back to the dissolute bohemian life she imagined for herself after she saw Jean-Jacques Beineix's film Diva in 1981. With Seth Kugel, she co-wrote the guidebook Nueva York: The Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs (St. Martin's Press, 2006). She never quite lost the 20 pounds she gained tasting street tamales and Cuban sandwiches for the book. Currently, she works in communications for the union SEIU Local 32BJ, and continues to work independently on storytelling and radio projects. "Tía Milena/Milena Tía" was originally written in 2007. Milena is now nine years old.

Estella GonzalezEstella Gonzalez

Estella Gonzalez was born and raised in East Los Angeles, which inspires most of her writing. Her work has appeared in Puerto del Sol and Huizache and has been anthologized in Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature published by Bilingual Press. She received a “Special Mention” in The Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses 2014 Edition and was selected a “Reading Notable” for The Best American Non-Required Reading 2011. Currently, she serves as a contributing editor for Kweli Journal.

Joshua GraberJoshua Graber

Joshua Graber is a Pittsburgh-based writer, translator, and educator. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, The New Guard Review’s BANG!, and Map Literary. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh.

Arielle GreenbergArielle Greenberg

Arielle Greenberg’s newest books are the poetry collection Slice and the creative nonfiction work Locally Made Panties. She is co-author, with Rachel Zucker, of Home/Birth: A Poemic, and co-editor of three anthologies, including the forthcoming Electric Gurlesque, co-edited with Becca Klaver. Arielle writes a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review, edits the series (K)ink: Writing While Deviant for The Rumpus, and lives in Maine. She teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA.

Andrée GreeneAndrée Greene

Andrée Greene is a graduate of Cornell (BA) and Columbia (MFA, fiction)
Universities. She lives in New York City where she teaches creative
writing, is a freelance editor, and recently completed her novel, *Nobody's
Doll*.

Rachel Eliza GriffithsRachel Eliza Griffiths

RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS is a poet and visual artist. Her fourth collection of poetry, Lighting the Shadow, will be published by Four Way Books in 2015. Currently, Griffiths teaches at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.

Alexis Pauline GumbsAlexis Pauline Gumbs

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, a prayer poet priestess and has a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. Alexis is a founder of Brilliance Remastered, a service to help visionary underrepresented graduate students stay connected to purpose, passion and community, co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project, a national experiential archive amplifying generations of Black LGBTQ Brilliance, and the community school Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind. Alexis was named one of UTNE Reader’s 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, was awarded a Too Sexy for 501-C3 trophy in 2011 and is one of the Advocate’s top 40 under 40 features in 2012.

Cathy GuoCathy Guo

Cathy Guo is a student and writer working on her first chapbook
project funded by Columbia University, which aims to present oral history
and poetry together in a dialogue on memory, landscape and diaspora in
modern Chinese history.

Katie GutierrezKatie Gutierrez

Katie Gutierrez believes that a well-told story can transcend what a reader “knows” to be real about the world—and thus change the world for that reader. With a BA in English and philosophy from Southwestern University, and an MFA in fiction from Texas State University, she has edited more than 50 fiction and non-fiction books by emerging and established writers.

Katie counts herself blessed to have learned under such writers as Tim O’Brien, Tom Grimes, Debra Monroe, Nelly Rosario, and ZZ Packer, among others. She has co-written numerous books with RTC, including"#JUMP", with Corey Blake and Annie Hart, and four books in the ORP Library including "Meltdown" and the companion comic "Melting Down", and "An Unlikely Trust" and the comic "Alina's Story", all with Dr. Jeff Krukar and James G. Balestrieri. Katie has contributed to or been profiled in People, Hispanic Executive magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Community Impact Newspaper, Narrative magazine, and more.

She can’t believe she’s lucky enough to do what she loves every day.

Daisy HernándezDaisy Hernández

Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism. She has written for The Atlantic, ColorLines, The New York Times, and NPR's All Things Considered and CodeSwitch, and her essays have appeared in the Bellingham Review, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, and Hunger Mountain. She teaches creative writing at Miami University in Ohio.

Leticia Hernández-LinaresLeticia Hernández-Linares

Leticia Hernández-Linares is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and educator, and the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tía Chucha Press, 2015). Widely published, her work appears in newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies, some of which include: U.S. Latino Literature Today, Street Art San Francisco, Pilgrimage, Huizache, and This Bridge We Call Home. She has performed her poemsongs throughout the country and in El Salvador. Active in Central American Art and Literature, she participated in the 2014 Encuentro Poético: Salvadoran-American Poets at the Smithsonian. She is the founder of an artist collaborative, Amate: Women Painting Stories, and a CantoMundo alumna and organizing committee member. A three-time San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist grantee, she lives, works, and writes in the Mission District, San Francisco—20 years strong. Visit her: joinleticia.com

Lucia HierroLucia Hierro

Lucia Hierro is an artist. She writes: My work explores the body as index(ical) i.e: (clothing, speech variety, table manners). I address these ideas across a broad platform of techniques that includes digital media, collage, and felt painting constructions.

My status as a bi-lingual female artist requires that I work across multiple media in much the same way I work across gender and culture on a daily basis.

Ellen Marie HinchcliffeEllen Marie Hinchcliffe

Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe says: “I am a poet, filmmaker, performer, loving mother, 85 auntie and daughter. My work is about ancestors, spirit, politics, contradictions, humor, confronting white supremacy and always about healing. My recent work includes the collection of poetry Fierce Shimmer- Poems for Mama, the film Thought Woman- The Life and Ideas of Paula Gunn Allen, and organizing “A Place at the Table (We Have Always Been at the Table),” an installation exhibition with film screening and performance at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. This March 2015 event celebrates women as leaders, creators and thinkers transforming our worlds. http://www.fierceshimmer.com/

H.N. HolderH.N. Holder

H. N. Holder was born in Trinidad and Tobago. She is the author of the short stories You can Always Tell; Keepsake; The Iridescent Blue-Black Boy with Wings, which won the 2nd prize in the 2011 Small Axe Journal Literary Contest; and Love Story No. 8: Jane and Phillip, a finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Sarah HollowsSarah Hollows

Sarah Hollows is an interdisciplinary artist focusing particularly on performance, relational and social practice. She is interested in both destroying white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, and investigating the invisible element that exists/is activated/comes to life once a relationship is initiated or a gesture is received. Recent work includes "HOLDING ON/LETTING GO" and "Settlements," both artistic collaborations with Kris Mason, and "Off the Menu" (not of the menu) an on-going relational experiment imagining and practicing an economy of kindness. Sarah is a graduate student in Intermedia at the University of Maine (Orono) where she also co-runs “Hide and Seek,” a collaboratively run coffee shop/ experimental art station on campus.

bell hooksbell hooks

bell hooks, noted cultural critic, commentator, and feminist, is Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, she has chosen the lower case pen name bell hooks, based on the names of her mother and grandmother, to emphasize the importance of the substance of her writing as opposed to who she is. She is the author of over thirty books, many of which have focused on issues of social class, race, and gender. In 2013, she published the award-winning poetry collection Appalachian Elegy and Writing Beyond Race.

Raven JackconRaven Jackcon

A native of Tennessee, Raven Jackson is a poet and filmmaker currently attending New York University’s Graduate Film Program. A Cave Canem fellow and a graduate of the New School’s Writing Program, her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, CALYX, Kweli, Phantom Limb, PANK, and elsewhere. Her first chapbook, little violences, is forthcoming from Cutbank Literary Magazine in early 2017. She's currently in production on her fifth short film, Nettles.

Didi JacksonDidi Jackson

Didi Jackson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Green Mountains Review, The Common, Café Review, and Passages North among other publications. Her chapbook, Slag and Fortune, was published by Floating Wolf Quarterly. She divides her time between Florida and Vermont teaching humanities at the University of Central Florida and Poetry and the Visual Arts at the University of Vermont.

Jasmine JohnsonJasmine Johnson

Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson is an Assistant Professor of African & Afro-American and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University. Currently, Johnson is completing her manuscript, Rhythm Nation: West African Dance and the Politics of Diaspora, while in residence as a Newhouse Center for the Humanities Fellow at Wellesley College. She writes about dance, black feminism and diaspora.

Marissa Johnson-ValenzuelaMarissa Johnson-Valenzuela

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela’s writing has been recognized by The Leeway Foundation, Hedgebrook and others. Her work has been published in Make/shift, The Rust Belt Rising, Apiary, Aster(ix) and is forthcoming in All About Skin: An Anthology of Short Fiction by Award-Winning Women Writers of Color. She is the founder of Thread Makes Blanket press, http://www.threadmakesblanket.com, which most recently published Dismantle, an anthology of work from VONA, an annual workshop for writers of color. As part of her teaching at Community College of Philadelphia, Marissa teaches in Philadelphia jails, develops Latino courses, and tries hard to get her students to love reading and writing. She is working on her first novel.

Nalini JonesNalini Jones

NALINI JONES is the author of What You Call Winter, a story collection set in a Catholic neighborhood of Mumbai. She is a recipient of an NEA fellowship, Pushcart Prize, and O. Henry Prize. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story and Ninth Letter, among others, and she has contributed to anthologies about siblings, HIV in India, and Miles Davis. She is currently at work on a novel.

Sabreen KadhimSabreen Kadhim

Sabreen Kadhim is City of Asylum’s poet-in-residence from Iraq. She has published poems widely in Iraqi magazines and newspapers, such as Al-Sabah, Al-Taakhi, and Al-Zamaan newspapers as well as Al-Esbuaya Magazine and Al-Hurra TV. She was the winner of the 3rd UNESCO Poetry Contest in 2011 and jointly won the Iraqi Youth Poetry Festival competition in 2012 (organized by the Culture For All Association). Her debut poetry collection, I Introduce Myself To Water, is awaiting publication.

Mira KaufmanMira Kaufman

A mother of four and a retired biology teacher, born in 1954 to parents who came from Romania and endured the sufferings of the Holocaust and the Second World War. Today she writes, sings in a choir, takes different classes and volunteers in school to help children with biology. Published two books of poetry and short stories.

Madhu KazaMadhu Kaza

Madhu Kaza was born in Andhra Pradesh, India and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She is currently an educator, writer and artist based in New York. Much of her work is informed by her astonishment at everyday life.

Ani KazarianAni Kazarian

Ani Kazarian writes essays, short stories, and screenplays, and is at work
on her first novel. Her research interests include literature, culture,
history, and trauma. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Oonya KempadooOonya Kempadoo

Oonya Kempadoo is a novelist who was born in the UK of Guyanese parentage.

Rosamond S. KingRosamond S. King

Rosamond S. King is a creative and critical writer, performer, and artist whose work is deeply informed by her cultures and communities, by history, and by a sense of play. Her poetry has appeared in more than two dozen journals and anthologies, and her manuscript Rock|Salt|Stone is forthcoming from Nightboat Books.
King has performed in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and throughout North America. She is an Associate Professor at Brooklyn College and author of the award-winning scholarly book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination.
Her goal is to make people feel, wonder, and think, in that order.

Erin KoehlerErin Koehler

Born and raised outside Rochester, New York, Erin Koehler graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2015 with a B.A. in English (creative writing) and a minor in Native American studies. Her poetry has been featured in Terrain, The Susquehanna Review, and Gandy Dancer, and was selected for the Adroit Journal Editor's List for the 2015 Prize for Poetry. Erin currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where she hopes to pursue a career writing children's literature.

Ana-Maurine LaraAna-Maurine Lara

Ana-Maurine Lara's poetry and short fiction has appeared in several literary journals including Blithe House Quarterly, The Encyclopedia Project, Sable LitMag and Torch Magazine. She has received awards from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Puffin Foundation, the Brooklyn Arts Council and PEN Northwest. Her debut novel, Erzulie's Skirt, was selected as a Lambda Literary finalist in 2006; her second (unpublished) novel, Anacaona's Daughter, won Third Place Prize in the National Latino/Chicano Literary Prizes.

Ana-Maurine is a Cave Canem Fellow and a member of The Austin Project, a collaborative workshop between artists, activists and scholars out of UT-Austin. She coordinates an oral history project documenting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender artists titled: We are the Magicians, the Path Breakers and the Dream Makers (http://themagicmakers.blogspot.com/) and is also co-author of bustingbinaries.com: a website dedicated to addressing binary thinking in U.S. based social justice movements. She is a graduate of Harvard University.
Currently she resides in Austin, TX.

Check out her website www.zorashorse.com and Blogspot: http://zorashorse.blogspot.com/

Visit: http://www.myspace.com/zorashorse
To view a short reading from debut novel: Erzulie's Skirt - A Novel

Natalie LegerNatalie Leger

Natalie M. Léger is an Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, CUNY. She completed a PhD in English Literature at Cornell University in the field of Caribbean and postcolonial literature and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Tufts University. Her research explores coloniality and anti-blackness in the Caribbean literary imaginary. Her current book project, Envision Otherwise: Haiti and the Decolonial Imaginary, concerns the theoretical and artistic importance of Haiti and the Haitian Revolution to to radical decolonial thought in the Caribbean.

Raina J. LeónRaina J. León

Dr. Raina J. León, CantoMundo fellow, Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006) and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has been published in numerous journals as a writer of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra : (dis)locate. She has received numerous fellowships and residencies including the Macdowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale. She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of LatinX arts. She is an associate professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California and a board member of ARISE High School in Oakland.

Ada LimónAda Limón

Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times. Her other books of include Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program, and the 24Pearl Street online program for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer splitting her time between Lexington, Kentucky and Sonoma, California.

Michelle LinMichelle Lin

Michelle Lin is a poet, editor, and activist. She earned her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and her BA in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. She has taught for the LEAPS summer program, Gluck Fellows Program for the Arts, Young Writer’s Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh. She has edited for journals Hot Metal Bridge, B. E. Quarterly, and Mosaic. She currently serves as Poetry Reader for Twelfth House Journal. She works for API Legal Outreach, a social justice non-profit serving marginalized communities in the greater Bay Area. Her full length poetry collection A House Made of Water is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in 2017.

Lucia LoTempioLucia LoTempio

Lucia LoTempio hails from Buffalo, NY and is currently an instructor and MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a sucker for tiny animals and tiny babies. She was a finalist for the Black Warrior Review 10th Annual Contest in Poetry and for the Winter Tangerine Annual Awards. Lucia counts for VIDA and is on the advisory board for Gandy Dancer.

Dawn Lundy MartinDawn Lundy Martin

Andrew Kenower
Poet and activist Dawn Lundy Martin earned a BA at the University of Connecticut, an MA at San Francisco State University, and a PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Her poetry collections include Discipline (2011), chosen by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Prize, and A Gathering of Matter/A Matter of Gathering (2007), which was selected for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize by Carl Phillips and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Precise, tender, and unflinching, Martin’s work is at once innovative and emotionally fraught. Fanny Howe described the poems in Discipline as “dense and deep. They are necessary, and hot on the eye.”

With Vivien Labaton, Martin coedited The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (2004). She also cofounded both the Third Wave Foundation and the post-theorist Black Took Collective. She has received the Academy of American Arts and Science’s May Sarton Prize for Poetry as well as grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Martin has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, The New School, and Bard College.

Marlin M. JenkinsMarlin M. Jenkins

Marlin M. Jenkins is learning how to love himself. Born and raised in Detroit, he is a poetry student in University of Michigan’s MFA program. His writings have been given homes by The Collagist, The Journal, Word Riot, and The Offing, among others. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.tumblr.com and @Marlin_Poet.

Elena Machado SaezElena Machado Saez

Elena Machado Sáez is a Professor of English at Bucknell University. She is author of Market Aesthetics: The Purchase of the Past in Caribbean Diasporic Fiction (University of Virginia Press 2015). She is also coauthor with Raphael Dalleo of The Latino/a Canon and the Emergence of Post-Sixties Literature (Palgrave Macmillan 2007).

Sheila MaldonadoSheila Maldonado

Sheila Maldonado is the author of one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press, 2011), her first book of poems. Along with Nelly Rosario and Macarena Hernández, she is part of collective of writers engaged in visual conversation, desveladas. She was born and raised in New York City. Her family hails from Honduras.

Cynthia ManickCynthia Manick

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press,
2016). A Pushcart Prize nominated poet with a MFA in Creative Writing
from the New School; she has received fellowships from Cave Canem,
the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Hedgebrook, Poets House,
and the Vermont Studio Center. She serves as East Coast Editor of Jamii
Publishing and is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue. Her
work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day
Series, African American Review, Bone Bouquet, Callaloo, Kweli Journal,
Muzzle Magazine, Sou’wester, Pedestal Magazine, Tidal Basin, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Josina Manu MaltzmanJosina Manu Maltzman

Josina Manu Maltzman writes:
“I am a carpenter by day, a production manager by night, a writer by passion, and a rabble-rouser by everything else. I’ve been writing short stories and essays for as long as memory provides, with the honor of being published in That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation in 2004. I have had also the pleasure of working with Ananya Dance Theatre as Production Manager for the company, since January 2013. This allows me to combine my organizational and creative efforts, working with a dance company rooted in values of social, racial and environmental justice — the same values that propel me in my personal endeavors. Currently I am working on a mytho-biography spanning multiple generations of a Jewish family, which relates historical trauma to cycles of violence, both intimate and global. I was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist’s Initiative Grant in 2014 to further this project.”

Katherinna MarKatherinna Mar

Katherinna Mar is a writer based in Chicago. She’s currently an MFA candidate at Bennington College.

Vanessa MártirVanessa Mártir

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC-based writer, educator, and mama. She is completing her memoir, Relentless, and chronicles her journey in her blog (vanessamartir.wordpress.com). A five-time VONA/Voices fellow, Mártir now serves as the organization’s Workshop Director and newsletter editor. Her essays have appeared in The Butter, Poets & Writers Magazine, Kweli Journal, and the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, among others. In 2011, Mártir created the Writing Our Lives Workshop, through which she’s led hundreds of writers through the process of writing personal essay. She has penned two novels, Woman’s Cry (Augustus Publishing, 2007) and The Right Play (unpublished); and co-wrote Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists (Workman Publishing, 2010).

Rachel MasilamaniRachel Masilamani

Rachel Masilamani has been making comics since 1997. Her first comics collection, RPM Comics #1, received a grant from the Xeric Foundation and was named “Best Comic Book” by the Baltimore City Paper. Since then, her comics have appeared in Meathaus, Street Runoff, Graphics Classics, The Indiana Review and other anthologies.

Aurora Masum-JavedAurora Masum-Javed

Aurora Masum-Javed is a poet, performer, and educator. She is currently completing her MFA in poetry at Cornell. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Jaggery, So to Speak, and Callaloo. She was recently a fellow at the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop.

Keya MitraKeya Mitra

Keya Mitra is currently an assistant professor of creative writing and
literature at Pacific University and graduated in 2010 with a doctorate from the University of Houston¹s Creative Writing Program, where she also earned her MFA. She also worked as an assistant professor of creative writing at Gonzaga University for three years. In 2008, Keya spent a year in India on a Fulbright grant in creative writing. Keya¹s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review (in 2011 and 2015), Arts and Letters, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Southwest Review, Slush Pile, Best New American Voices, Ontario Review, The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, Orchid, Event, Fourteen Hills, Torpedo, and Confrontation. She has completed a novel as well as a short-story collection and memoir.
Furthermore, one of Keya¹s novels has been a semifinalist for the Amazon
Breakthrough Novel Award, and her short story collection has been a finalist for the Bakeless Prize, the Flannery O¹Connor Short Fiction Award, and the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and a semifinalist for the Iowa Short Fiction Award. In 2005, Keya received a work-study scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writer¹s Conference. Keya also had the privilege of working as a fiction editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts for two years.

Carley MooreCarley Moore

Carley Moore is a feminist dreamer, kale lover, boot wearer, reluctant multi-tasker, writer, professor, ally, and mom. Her debut collection of essays, 13 Pills, is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions in 2017. You can find more of her work at her or follow her on Twitter @carleymoore2.

Anthony MoralesAnthony Morales

Anthony Morales is a writer/educator from the Bronx who has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry and toured the US and Puerto Rico. He is a VONA alum and facilitator of La SOPA workshops in NYC. He has been an English teacher in public schools for 15 years. He has published Story Avenue (2005) Chevere Cafre (2007) dice queso (2010) Hood Night (2011) So Far (2015) and soon to be released Ponerme Yo (2016). He still writes by the chessboard benches in Clason Point Gardens. He can be found at various cyphers and open mics and conferences spitting his Nuyorican Ghetto Gospels for the blocks, hoods, goons, goblins, and illiterati alike. Check him out at anthonymorales.blogspot.com.

Courtney Desiree MorrisCourtney Desiree Morris

Courtney Desiree Morris is an assistant professor of African American and Women’s studies at Pennyslvania State University and studies Black women’s social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. She received her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on Afro-Nicaraguan women’s political activism since the Sandinista Revolution and she is currently completing a book on this research. She is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship and a Fulbright.

Oindrila MukherjeeOindrila Mukherjee

Oindrila Mukherjee has an MFA from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in CreativeWriting from the University of Houston. Oindrila worked as a journalist in Calcutta before moving to the U.S. where she has worked as a fiction and review editor for Gulf Coast journal. Her fiction was most recently published in Indian Voices, an anthology of emerging Indian writers from around the world. She is an Assistant Professor at Grand Valley State University.

Mankwe NdosiMankwe Ndosi

Mankwe Ndosi is a singer/ musicmaker and a cultural catalyst who is studying her Tanzanian heritage, medicinal plants, and living simply and creatively with others. She works in the Twin Cities, Chicago and internationally. She weaves performance genres including improvised music, acapella rhythm and harmonies, hip-hop, afro soul, dance, performance art, and sung prayer/ritual. She infuses creative practice into healing, sustainable economic development, education, and new village community building.

Latasha N. Nevada DiggsLatasha N. Nevada Diggs

Interdisciplinary poet and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs was born and raised in Harlem. She studied at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and earned an MA at New York University and an MFA at California College of the Arts.

Diggs is the author of the poetry collection TwERK (2013) and several chapbooks, as well as the album Television (2003). She has been a poetry editor for the online arts journal exittheapple and, with writer Greg Tate, is a founding editor of YoYo/SO4 magazine. Diggs’s interdisciplinary work has been featured in exhibits at several New York museums, including the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art. Her additional honors include scholarships and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Cave Canem, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Harlem Community Arts Fund, the Jerome Foundation, the Eben Demarest Trust, Caldera Arts, Black Earth Institute, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation. She lives in New York City.

Idra NoveyIdra Novey

Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her poetry collection Exit, Civilian was selected by Patri­cia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into eight languages and she’s written for The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Con­sid­ered, and The Paris Review. She’s translated the work of several prominent Brazilian writers, most recently Clarice Lispector’s novel The Pas­sion Accord­ing to G.H.

Cecca Austin OchoaCecca Austin Ochoa

Cecca Austin Ochoa is a queer fiction writer of Salvadoran descent. Her
fiction has appeared in Art XX, MAKE: Literary Magazine, Nat. Brut,
Anthologized in Pariahs (SFA Press) and forthcoming in IMANIMAN
(Aunt Lute Press). Cecca serves as Managing Editor for Apogee Journal.
She is a 2014 Alumnus of Voices of Our Nation's Artists. In 2011, she
received the Astraea Foundation’s Lesbian Writers Award. She is currently at work on her first novel Desaparecida about a young woman adopted during the Civil War in El Salvador and raised in the United States.

Birgul OğuzBirgul Oğuz

Birgül Oğuz, a fiction and nonfiction writer from Turkey, was among the winners of the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature for her latest short fiction collection Hah (2012), now being translated into thirteen languages. A PhD candidate in English Literature at Bosphorus University, she lectures on literature at independent academic institutions and theater houses in Istanbul.

Janeil PageJaneil Page

Janeil Page’s poetry has been published most recently in Bridge Eight Literary Magazine, Bluffs Literary Magazine and as part of a collaborative poetry collection through Gold Quoin Press. She is a poet in a small town in Illinois and holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars.

Ayse Papatya BucakAyse Papatya Bucak

Ayşe Papatya Bucak teaches in the MFA program at Florida Atlantic University. Her prose has been published in a variety of magazines, including Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, and The Rumpus. Her short fiction has been selected for the O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes. She is a contributing editor for the literary journal Copper Nickel.

Vanessa PérezVanessa Pérez

Vanessa Pérez is an Associate Professor of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and the editor of Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement. She serves as an associate investigator on the City University of New York-New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (CUNY-NYSIEB), a collaborative project of the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS) and the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Tanya Pérez-BrennanTanya Pérez-Brennan

Tanya Pérez-Brennan is based in Boston and works as a Spanish interpreter/translator, specializing in medical and legal terminology. She is also a freelance journalist, having served as a regular contributor to Foxnewslatino.com and The Boston Globe, and as a former staff writer for The Orlando Sentinel and The Florida Times-Union. Her poems have been published in Zalacain, The Harvard Journal of Ibero America and in Liberation Poetry: An Anthology (Trilingual Press, 2012). Tanya has a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University and an MFA from Bennington College. She is finishing her first novel, a mother-daughter story set in Colombia.

Audrey PetersonAudrey Peterson

Audrey Peterson is a writer and editor, and the former editor of American Legacy, the magazine of African-American history and culture. She is completing a family memoir about her German and African-American roots that includes the search for the truth about her grandfather, a German officer in World War II, and the lynching of a young man in Alabama, who may or may not have been her relative. Audrey lives in New York City and works in the communications department at Brooklyn College.

Junauda PetrusJunauda Petrus

Junauda Petrus is a writer, aerialist, performance artist, runaway witch and soul sweetener. She has written for the page, stage and screen and loves to produce wild and powerful pieces with her experimental arts collective, Free Black Dirt, with co-creator, Erin Sharkey. She is grateful to be an artist in this lifetime and loves to create art that seeks to explore, expand and excite around the experience of Blackness and love and light. In March she directed her play “There Are Other Worlds,” a piece that uses aerial, movement and soundscape to tell the story of incarceration, blackness, motherhood and love.

Janelle PoeJanelle Poe

Janelle Poe is a writer, Harlemite, City College MFA student, DJ & digger who loves uncovering hidden gems and connections, finding this approach widely applicable. A background in International Studies and life as a black woman in America and abroad, she writes about the inherent intersectionality of injustice. A VONA participant, she is ever grateful for the leaders, including Aster(ix), crafting space for the expression and amplification of marginalized voices. Combining her poetry with images by Sheryl Oppenheim, the two recently published a zine to raise funds for Black Lives Matter entitled,”Black & White Studies” with Small Editions. Currently at work on a collection of short stories and essays, illustrious publications and titles are forthcoming. This is one. Following her dreams, she encourages you to follow yours. www.Elle-DJ.com.

Anzhelina PolonskayaAnzhelina Polonskaya

Russian writer Anzhelina Polonskaya is the author of eight poetry collections and one short story collection, published between 1994 and 2013. Her work has been shortlisted for the 2005 Corneliu Popescue Prize for European Poetry in Translation, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. She is a member of the Moscow Union of Writers and the Russian PEN Centre. She was forced to flee her country after Russian nationalists attacked her for her poetic contribution to an oratorio requiem for the KURSK submarine disaster, a taboo subject in Russia. Anzhelina Polonskaya is the current ICORN writer-in-residence of the City of Refuge in Frankfurt, Germany.

Fátima PortorrealFátima Portorreal

Antropóloga. Activista por los derechos civiles. Defensora de las mujeres y los hombres que trabajan la tierra.

Celeste PrinceCeleste Prince

Celeste Prince calls the city of Lakewood, CO home, has familial roots in Guyana, South America, and spent her college years in St. Paul, MN, at Macalester College. She is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a recipient of the Harry Schermann award for prose from the Macalester English department. She is currently a first year MFA student at the University of Houston. Her writing focuses on how contemporary people of color develop identity in predominantly-white spaces. In spare moments, she enjoys listening to Top 40 music, crocheting, and drinking different types of tea.

Khadijah QueenKhadijah Queen

Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Akashic Books 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011), Non-Sequitur (Litmus Press 2015) and Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015). Her fifth book, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, will be published in spring 2017 by YesYes Books. She teaches in the Mile-High MFA program at Regis University.

Noel QuiñonesNoel Quiñones

Noel Quiñones is an AfroBoricua writer, performer, and educator born and raised in the Bronx. He has received fellowships from Poets House, CantoMundo, and Brooklyn Poets. His poetry will be included in the forthcoming "¡Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets" published by Arte Publico Press, having already been published in Pilgrimage Press, Winter Tangerine Review, Asymptote, & elsewhere. Noel is the founder of Project X, an arts organization dedicated to uplifting the voice of Bronx and Latinx artists, and the co-founder of Piel Cafe Poetry, an AfroLatino Spoken Word Collective on tour throughout the United States. Visit him at www.elninoquinones.com or @NQNino322

Emily RaboteauEmily Raboteau

Emily Raboteau is the author of The Professor's Daughter and Searching for Zion, winner of a 2014 American Book Award and a finalist for the Hurston Wright Award. She co-directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at The City College of New York, in Harlem. She is at work completing her third book, a novel entitled Endurance.

Sue RainsfordSue Rainsford

Sue Rainsford is a writer and researcher based in Dublin.

Marlène Ramírez-CancioMarlène Ramírez-Cancio

Marlène Ramírez-Cancio is Associate Director, Arts & Media, at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Hemi connects artists, scholars, and activists working at the intersection of artistic practice and social transformation. She is also co-founder and co-director of Fulana, a Latina video collective in NYC that uses parody and satire as a critical tool to explore themes that are relevant to Latinxs in the US, making visible what we’re so often made to read between the lines. Fulana’s works have been shown internationally at film festivals, museums, galleries, universities and online at fulana.org.

Vanita ReddyVanita Reddy

Vanita Reddy is an Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M University. Her articles have appeared in the journals South Asian Popular Culture, Contemporary Literature, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, and the Journal of Asian American Studies. She is the author of Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity, and South Asian American Culture (Temple UP, 2016), one of the first books to consider beauty and fashion as a point of entry into an examination of South Asian diasporic public cultures. She is also co-editing an issue of Scholar and Feminist Online called “Feminist and Queer Afro-Asian Formations,” which is forthcoming in Fall 2017

Bushra RehmanBushra Rehman

Bushra Rehman grew up in Corona, Queens but her mother says she was born in an ambulance flying through the streets of Brooklyn. Her father is not so sure, but it would explain a few things.

Luivette RestoLuivette Resto

Luivette Resto was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico but proudly raised in the Bronx. She earned her bachelors in English Literature from Cornell University in 1999 and later her M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry in 2003 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Program for Poets and Writers. Her first book of poetry Unfinished Portrait was published in 2008 by Tia Chucha Press, whose editor is our current Los Angeles poet laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, and later the book was named a finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize. She has served as a contributing poetry editor for Kweli Journal, a CantoMundo fellow, and a member of the advisory board of Con Tinta. Her new book Ascension was published in April 2013 courtesy of Tia Chucha Press, and it was recently selected for the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence for previous finalists of the Paterson Poetry Prize. Some of her latest work can be read on Luna Luna Magazine, Toe Good Poetry, Upworthy, Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, and the Altadena Anthology 2015. Currently, she lives in Glendora with her three children.

Irina ReynIrina Reyn

Irina Reyn’s new novel The Imperial Wife will be published by Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press July 2016. Irina’s first novel What Happened to Anna K. was published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in August 2008. Irina’s work has appeared in some of the following publications: One Story, Post Road, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Town & Country Travel, Poets & Writers, The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, The Moscow Times. Irina was born in Moscow, and currently divides her time between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. She is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

Matt RichardsonMatt Richardson

Matt Richardson is Associate Professor in English and African and African Diaspora Studies. He is affiliated with the Center for African and African American Studies, and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies. He has published articles in The Journal of Women's History, Black Camera: A Journal Devoted to the Study and Documentation of the Black Cinematic Experience, Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of the NSRC and The Journal of Women’s History, as well as works of fiction in publications like Queer Codex and Does Your Mama Know: African American Coming Out Stories. He received the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship National Fellowship for Junior Faculty and the Dean’s Fellowship in 2009.

Sarah RifkySarah Rifky

Sarah Rifky is an Egyptian writer and curator. She is co-founder of Beirut (2012-2015) an art initiative and exhibition space in Cairo. She is the author of numerous essays of art and other speculative fiction. Currently she is pursuing her PhD in History, Theory and Criticism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a fellow of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.

Gabrielle RiveraGabrielle Rivera

Gabby Rivera is a writer, youth mentor, and editor of queer/trans POC content for Autostraddle. She works as an educator and manager of youth programming for GLSEN. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda-Award-winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City, OMG I'm Gay, a 'zine for queer youth, and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her writing and queer perspective have been featured on PBS, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, DapperQ, and at her family's dinner table over black beans and rice. Gabby's first novel is set to be published at the end of 2015.

Ivelisse RodriguezIvelisse Rodriguez

Ivelisse Rodriguez holds an MFA from Emerson College and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the English/Creative Writing program. She has had work published in the Boston Review, Migente.com, Latinostories.com, and other outlets. She is currently finishing her short story collection, which mostly focuses on adolescent Puerto Rican girls and their conceptions of womanhood. She has also begun work on a novel about the African Diaspora in Puerto Rico.

Elizabeth Rodriguez FielderElizabeth Rodriguez Fielder

Scholar of twentieth-century cultural activism with a focus on ethnicity and gender from the 1960s-today. Assistant Professor at University of Pittsburgh.

Nelly RosarioNelly Rosario

Nelly Rosario is author of Song of the Water Saints: A Novel (Pantheon, 2002), winner of a PEN/Open Book Award. Her work appears in various anthologies and journals, including Callaloo, Meridians, Review, Chess Life, and el diario/La Prensa. Rosario holds an MFA from Columbia University and was formerly on faculty in the MFA Program at Texas State University. At present, she does writing and research for the Blacks at MIT History Project and collaborates on desveladas, a writing collective engaged in visual conversations across the Americas. Rosario lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lauren RussellLauren Russell

Lauren Russell is the author of one previous chapbook, The Empty-Handed Messenger (Goodbye Better, 2009). Her poems and reviews have appeared in various places, including Eleven Eleven, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Harp & Altar, Lyre Lyre, Boog City, The Recluse, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She is an M.F.A. student at the University of Pittsburgh and counts the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, AmeriCorps*NCCC, and Goddard College among her alma maters.

Joshunda SandersJoshunda Sanders

Joshunda Sanders is a writer and journalist who has learned to make home wherever she can. She has written for Bitch, Salon, Gawker, BuzzFeed, Huizache, the Bellevue Literary Review and many other publications. Her book, How Racism and Sexism Killed Traditional Media: Why The Future of Journalism Depends on Women and People of Color was published by Praeger/ABC-CLIO in August 2015. She lives in Washington D.C.

Robin ScofieldRobin Scofield

Robin Scofield, author of And the Ass Saw the Angel and Sunflower Cantos (Mouthfeel Press), has poems appearing in The Malpais Review, The Texas Weather Anthology, and Pilgrimage. Her next full-length collection, Drive, comes out in 2016. She is poetry editor for BorderSenses and writes with the Tumblewords Project in El Paso, where she lives with her husband and her Belgian Shepherd.

Purvi ShahPurvi Shah

Known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter, Purvi Shah inspires change as a non-profit consultant, anti-violence advocate, and writer. She is curious about the power of language as inquiry and understanding, as a bridge between unknowns, as part of the dreamwork of transformation and justice. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices and experiences. In Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press: 2006), she plumbs migrations and belongings. Her new poetry chaplet, Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise (Belladonna*: 2015), explores the devotions and configurations of women. Recently she was selected for INKTank, a 12-week residency for playwrights hosted by the Rising Circle Theater Collective.

Laura SimsLaura Sims

Laura Sims is the author of four books of poetry: Staying Alive (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2016), My god is this a man, Stranger, and Practice, Restraint (Fence Books). In 2014 she edited Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson, a book of her correspondence with the celebrated experimental novelist (powerHouse Books). Her work was included in The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century, and individual poems have recently appeared in Black Clock, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, andGulf Coast. She has published book reviews and essays in Boston Review, Evening Will Come, Jacket, New England Review, Rain Taxi and The Review of Contemporary Fiction.

Grace Singh SmithGrace Singh Smith

Grace Singh Smith was born and raised in Assam, India; she currently lives in Santa Monica. Her short stories have appeared in the Santa Monica Review, and Cleaver Magazine. Smith is an MFA candidate at Bennington College, and is at work on her first novel. Her short story "The Promotion" (Santa Monica Review, Spring 2015) was listed as a Notable in Best American Short Stories 2016, edited by Junot Diaz.

Melissa R. SipinMelissa R. Sipin

Melissa R. Sipin is a writer from Carson, CA. She won Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open and ON-SQU’s Flash Fiction Prize. She co-edited Kuwento: Lost Things, an anthology on Philippine myths (Carayan Press 2014), and her work is in Guernica, Eleven Eleven, and Hyphen Magazine, among others. Cofounder of TAYO Literary Magazine, her fiction has won scholarships/fellowships from Kundiman, VONA/Voices, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and was shortlisted for the David Wong Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. As the Poets & Writers McCrindle Fellow in Los Angeles, she is hard at work on a short story collection and novel.

Soad SulimanSoad Suliman

Egyptian journalist and writer, Soad Suliman has written many novels and short story collections, including "Keda bi Basata" (Thus Simply), and the three novels "al-Mobah" (The Permissible), "al-Raqes" (The Dancer), and "Shahwet al-Malayka" (The Angels' Desire). She lives in Cairo.

Jenelle TroxellJenelle Troxell

Jenelle Troxell received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Film Studies at Union College. She is a co-editor of the journal Convolution and is presently at work on a book manuscript What Does She See When She Shuts Her Eyes: Transnationalism, Feminism, and the Cinematic Avant-garde.

Noah Turner MeyersNoah Turner Meyers

Noah Myers fell in love with the Spanish language and culture of Latin America growing up, of all places, in rural Missouri. During his BA, he studied in Mendoza, Argentina, and later taught English in Tunja, Colombia, before going on to complete his MA in Hispanic Literature from the University of North Carolina. He has published reviews and presented scholarly works about a variety of subjects, with particular interest in contemporary afro-descendent and indigenous writers of Colombia and the Caribbean. This is his first, and he hopes the first of many, literary translations.

Chika UnigweChika Unigwe

Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. She is the author of four novels, including On Black Sisters Street (2009, 2011 Jonathan Cape, UK and Random House NY) and Night Dancer (Jonathan Cape, 2012). Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Guernica, Aeon and many other journals. Her works have been translated into several languages. A recipient of several awards and fellowships, she has recently been awarded a teaching position at Brown University, Rhode Island.

Imani UzuriImani Uzuri

Vocalist, composer, cultural worker Imani Uzuri is an eclectic interdisciplinary artist who creates concerts, experimental theater, performance art, theater compositions, and sound installations in venues/festivals, including Central Park SummerStage, Joe’s Pub, The Kitchen, Blue Note Jazz Club, Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center, Performa Biennial, Festival Sons d’hiver, London’s ICA, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Uzuri has collaborated with a wide range of noted artists across various artistic disciplines, including Herbie Hancock, Wangechi Mutu, John Legend, Vijay Iyer, Carrie Mae Weems, Trajal Harrell, Sanford Biggers, and Robert Ashley. Her acclaimed new album The Gypsy Diaries draws on her rural Southern roots, as well as influences ranging from Sufi devotionals to Romany laments. Uzuri is currently composing a new musical GIRL Shakes Lose Her Skin, inspired by the works of Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez. Recently, Uzuri premiered her first orchestral composition Placeless at Ecstatic Music Festival, and was subsequently named by The New Yorker as one of the emerging “female composers edg[ing] forward.”

Kelsey ValadezKelsey Valadez

Kelsey is a freelance writer and editor based in Texas. She is currently working on a manuscript and literary journal. Her main interests are narratology, translingualism, and metafiction.

Michelle Yasmine ValladaresMichelle Yasmine Valladares

Michelle Yasmine Valladares is an immigrant born in India and raised in Kuwait. She is a poet and filmmaker and is the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at City College of New York in Harlem. Her first book is Nortada, The North Wind. Her poems have been widely published and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She won the Distinguished Documentary Achievement from the Independent Documentary Association for “El Diablo Nunca Duerme” co-produced with Lourdes Portillo and Best Latin American Film at Sundance Festival for “O Sertão das Memórias ” co-produced with José Araújo.

M. L. VargasM. L. Vargas

M.L. Vargas is a writer, educator and serves as poetry editor for Aster(ix) Journal. She was appointed poet in residence for the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) in 2014. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, most recently The Lake Rises: poems to & for our bodies of water. She holds an MFA in poetry from Drew University and lives in New Jersey.

Rich VillarRich Villar

Rich Villar is a poet, essayist, activist, and educator originally from Paterson, New Jersey. His first collection of poems, Comprehending Forever (Willow Books), was a finalist for the 2015 International Latino Book Award. He has been quoted on Latino/a literature and culture by HBO and The New York Times. He is an alum of the VONA/Voices Workshop (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He maintains his personal blog at literatiboricua.com and is a contributor to Latino Rebels and Sofrito For Your Soul.

Olivia WaltonOlivia Walton

Olivia Rose Walton is a writer from South Africa who lives in Istanbul.

Tiphanie YaniqueTiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which
won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix Dennis Prize for a First Collection. Tiphanie is also the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award. It was also listed by NPR as one of the Best Book of 2014 and became a finalist for the Orion Award in Environmental Literature and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. Tiphanie’s collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, won her a listing as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her writing has also won the Bocas Award for Caribbean Fiction, the Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is an associate professor at Wesleyan University. She lives in New Rochelle, New York with her husband, teacher and photographer Moses Djeli, and their three children.

Leslie C. YoungbloodLeslie C. Youngblood

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro and served as columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine. She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo's Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, 2010 Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. The first
novel excerpt was published Kweli Journal, 2014. Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends. Publication of her first novel, Love Like Sky, is forthcoming.

Shay YoungbloodShay Youngblood

Georgia born writer Shay Youngblood is author of the novels Black Girl in Paris and Soul Kiss (Riverhead Books) and a collection of short fiction, The Big Mama Stories (Firebrand Books). Her published plays Amazing Grace, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery and Talking Bones, (Dramatic Publishing Company), have been widely produced. Her other plays include Square Blues, Black Power Barbie and Communism Killed My Dog. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Pushcart Prize for fiction, a Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, an Edward Albee honoree, several NAACP Theater Awards, an Astraea Writers' Award for fiction and a 2004 New York Foundation for the Arts Sustained Achievement Award. Ms. Youngblood received her MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University and has taught Creative Writing to faculty and graduate students at NYU and has been Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi and Texas A&M Universities. She was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts sponsored Japan-US Creative Artist Fellowship for 2011.