MFA Directors and Staff
Driskell is the author of the poetry collections Blue Etiquette: Poems, a finalist for the Weatherford Award; Next Door to the Dead, a Kentucky Voices selection by the University Press of Kentucky; Seed Across Snow, a Poetry Foundation national bestseller; Laughing Sickness and Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. Individual poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, North American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Greensboro Review, Rattle, and Mid-American Review, among others, and have been featured in anthologies and online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. Her awards include grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and she has received prizes from the Associated Writing Programs and Frankfort Arts Foundation. She serves as Vice-Chair for the Mid-Atlantic region of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and founded and served two terms as chair of the Low-Residency MFA Directors’ Caucus which meets annually at the national AWP conference. She received the Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award from Spalding University and is currently the faculty representative to the Spalding Board of Trustees. Driskell received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
San Jose, Californiakmann@spalding.edu
Mann is co-founder and administrative director of the low-residency Masters of Fine Arts in Writing, where she puts her varied past career experiences to good use. She has published two novels: The Woman of La Mancha and The Saved Man. She has an MA in Higher Education Administration and an MA with creative writing concentration from University of Louisville. Her bachelor's degree in English is from Indiana University. Karen’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in several anthologies. She was the managing editor for The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press from 1986-2016. She is the recipient of two grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and has served as a grant reader for the Indiana Arts Council. After having lived in the Indiana most of her life, Karen now lives near San Jose, Calif. Visit her website.
Associate Program Director, Poetry Faculty
Edwards is author of three full-length poetry collections, Covet, The Highwayman’s Wife and The Farmer’s Daughter, and the chapbook Kings of the Rock and Roll Hot Shop. Her short fiction and book reviews have appeared in New Madrid, Connecticut Review, Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Her poems have been featured on Verse Daily. As associate professor of English at Spalding, she directed and taught first-year writing as well as other creative writing and literature courses. Awards include the 2007 Al Smith Fellowship. She is a founding member of Louisville Literary Arts, serving as its president 2008-2013; she currently serves on its advisory board. She served on the Kentucky Women Writers Conference Board of Directors 2012-2017. Edwards holds the Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition as well as the M.A. with Creative Writing Thesis, both from the University of Louisville.
Associate Director for Communications and Alumni Relations
Yocom’s fiction, poetry, essays and journalism have appeared in Salon, The Louisville Review, decomP magazine, New Southerner, StyleSubstanceSoul, Louisville Magazine, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Her awards include the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and residencies at PLAYA, Crosshatch Hill House, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.
Coordinator of Admissions and Independent Study
Lichvar is the managing editor of The Louisville Review and is a poetry alum of Spalding’s MFA in Writing program. She was recently awarded an artist enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, BOAAT, The Journal, The Minnesota Review, Whiskey Island, Typo and others.
Coordinator of Student Services and Marketing
Aprile is the author and editor of nonfiction books, including two collaborations with fine-art photographer Julius Friedman. Her essay “Silence” appears in the anthology This I Believe, Kentucky. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies. Aprile was the recipient of the Al Smith artist fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is a recipient of a Hedgebrook Women Writers Residency and Washington State Artist Trust Writers Fellowship. As a journalist, she was on a team that won a staff Pulitzer Prize for the Louisville Courier-Journal and was an award-winning columnist. She is currently working on a family memoir. She holds an MFA from Spalding University.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Writing for children & young adults
Moscow, PennsylvaniaBartoletti has published seventeen picture books, novels and nonfiction for young readers. Her awards include the Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild award, the ALA Newbery Honor, ALA Robert F. Sibert Award for Nonfiction, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Nonfiction, and ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among others. Her nonfiction books include Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America and the YALSA honor-winning They Called Themselves the K.K.K: the Birth of an American Terrorist Group. Her latest novel is Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, 1871. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Binghamton University. Visit her website.
Beth Ann Bauman
Writing for children & young adults
New York, New YorkBauman is the author of the short story collection Beautiful Girls and the young-adult novels Rosie and Skate, a New York Times editors’ choice and Booklist’s top ten first novels for youth, and Jersey Angel, selected by Publishers Weekly, Boston Globe, and The Horn Book as a best summer book. She has received fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She earned her MFA from the University of Arizona. Visit her website.
Plainview, New YorkBrenner's screenplay Bethlehem was a winner of Final Draft’s Big Break Contest. He has also written Labyrinth for Walt Disney Pictures and Angelology for SONY/Columbia Pictures. His play Saving Throw Versus Love was produced as part of the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival and was selected for the Fringe Encore Series. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and WGA East. Brenner earned his MFA at Spalding and is a doctoral candidate in educational theatre at NYU.
Laguna Beach, CaliforniaBrickman is author of the novel What Birds Can Only Whisper and the story collection Two Deserts. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the North American Review, the Barcelona Review, Fireweed, International Journal of Women’s Studies, as well as other journals and the anthology States of Rage. Her honors include grants from the Canada Council, a writer-in-residence position at the Berton House in Yukon, Canada, and finalist status in the San Diego Book Awards. She earned her MFA from Vermont College. Brickman is also a clinical psychologist and spent seventeen years in private practice. Visit her website.
Ames, IowaCook's collection of linked stories Last Call won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in fiction. His novel, The Girl from Charnelle, won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction. His second collection, Love Songs for the Quarantined, won the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. His honors include the Grand Prize from the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Arts Series, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Fellowship, and residencies at MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He has an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a master’s in literature from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Visit his website.
Ithaca, New YorkDaniels’s first novel, Cleaning Nabokov’s House, was translated into four languages. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, New Ohio Review and The Florida Review, among others. She was the Walton Award visiting writer at the University of Arkansas. She worked previously as a literary agent in New York. She has served as the fiction editor for Green Mountains Review. She is on faculty at The Squaw Valley Writers Conference. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Visit her website.
Debra Kang Dean
Bloomington, IndianaDean is the author of two full-length collections: News of Home, which was co-winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motton Award, and Precipitates, a William Carlos Williams Award nominee. She has published three chapbooks. Her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily, and have been published in The Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner, among others. Her essays are included in The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World and Until Everything Is Continuous Again: American Poets on the Recent Work of W. S. Merwin. She earned an MFA from the University of Montana.
Gabriel Jason Dean
Brooklyn, New YorkDean’s plays have been produced or developed at New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Kennedy Center and American Theatre Company, among others. His play In Bloom was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award and received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Prize. His play for children, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño, received numerous awards including the American Alliance for Theatre & Education Distinguished Play Award. He is the recipient of the Essential Theatre New Play Prize and Austin’s 2013 B. Iden Payne Award for Best Original Script and Best Comedy for Qualities of Starlight. He has received multiple fellowships, including the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. He earned his MFA from the University of Texas-Austin. Visit his website.
Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaDuval’s novella Strange Mercies was published by Working Titles, an imprint of The Massachusetts Review. His collection, Rear View, won the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize and the Connecticut Book Award. Other awards include Grain Magazine’s Short Grain fiction prize and Florida State University’s World’s Best Short-Short Story. He is a recipient of two Connecticut artist grants. His work has appeared in Massachusetts Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Meridian, Witness and Appalachian Heritage,among others. He edits and designs books for Story Line Press. He holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from Boston University, a master’s in literature from the University of Illinois and a master’s in film studies from New York University.
Louisville, KentuckyGann is the author of Ghosting, a Best Book of 2012 by Publishers Weekly and Shelf Unbound, which has been translated into French. He is the author of the novels The Barbarian Parade and Our Napoleon in Rags. The latter was a finalist for the Kentucky Award in Literature and was named one of the top five novels published in 2005 by Frontiers Magazine. His stories have appeared in Ploughshares and Post Road. He is series editor of Bookmarked, a line of books in which authors wrestle with a book that has been fundamental to their writing, and contributed the first volume in the series, on John Knowles’ A Separate Peace. He holds an MFA from Vermont College. Visit his website.
Writing for Children & Young Adults
Harrisonburg, VirginiaGiles is an author, speaker, and founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. His YA novel Fake ID was nominated for a 2015 Edgar® Award and received the Virginia State Reading Association’s 2015-2016 Readers Choice Award. His second novel, Endangered, was a finalist for the 2016 Edgar® Award. His latest novel, Overturned, was called “an utterly compelling whodunit” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. He holds an MFA from Old Dominion University.
Los Angeles, CaliforniaHarper is the author of two novels: This Side of Providence and Brass Ankle Blues, a Borders’ Original Voices Award finalist and Target Breakout Book. Her work has been anthologized in Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness and Mending the World: Stories of Family by Contemporary Black Writers. Her one-act play, “Bluffing on a Queens Playground,” was part of the New Black Playwrights Festival in Atlanta, and a television pilot she co-wrote with filmmaker Sam Zalutsky, based on a novel by award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, was a Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab finalist. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. A graduate of Brown University, she earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. Visit her website.
Writing for children & young adults
Frederick, MarylandHemingway is co-author of two Civil War novels. Road to Tater Hill, a middle grade novel, won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and was listed on Bank Street College’s Best Books List. She served as a regional advisor of SCBWI. She is a member of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, and is a contributor to the One Potato…Ten! blog, a project of several children’s authors and illustrators. She received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Visit her website.
Creative nonfiction, fiction
Fairhope, AlabamaHoffman, a novelist and journalist, has worked as a professional writer for more than twenty-five years. His latest book is the novel Come Landfall. He is the author of Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations, the essay collection Back Home: Journeys through Mobile, and the novels Chicken Dreaming Corn and Almost Family, which won the Lillian Smith Award for fiction. His essays have appeared in Newsday andSouthern Living and have been anthologized in Best American Essays 2003. He was a long-time staff writer for the Mobile Press-Register and has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times. He received his MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Visit his website.
Berea, KentuckyHouse is the author of five novels: Same Sun Here (co-written with Neela Vaswani), Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, and Eli the Good; two plays, The Hurting Part and Long Time Traveling; and a work of creative nonfiction, Something’s Rising (co-written with Jason Howard). His work can be found in The New York Times, Oxford American and The Southeast Review, as well as in anthologies including New Stories from the South 2004. Silas is a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Book of the Year, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Appalachian Writer of the Year and the Lee Smith Award. He received his MFA in Writing from Spalding University.
Creative nonfiction, fiction
Johnson is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Loved Birds, and three books of literary nonfiction, most recently Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays. Geography of the Heart: A Memoir received American Library Association and Lambda Literary Award, while Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks received Lambda Literary and Kentucky Literary Awards. He has been featured Terry Gross’s Fresh Air and is a regular contributor to Harper’s Magazine, with four cover essays, most recently January 2018 (available, along with other writings and media, via Fenton's website). Johnson is on the faculties of the University of Arizona and Spalding University.
Calabasas, CaliforniaKriel is a screenwriter who writes for studios and independent producers and has worked in television as both a director and writer. Her plays Pigs on Passion, <Arachnid, andI Can’t Wait to Tie You to the Sofa premiered at the National Arts Festival in South Africa. She is the winner of the Steven Spielberg Dianne Thomas Award for her first screenplay, Virtuoso. Her film Kama Sutra was produced with director Mira Nair and released in 1996. Skin was produced by Elysian Films and won eight festival awards. In addition, she has created adaptations of Ahab’s Wife and Wuthering Heights, among others.
Fiction, creative nonfiction
Lippincott is the author, most recently, of Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell, and Rufus + Syd, a YA novel co-written with Spalding alum Julia Watts. He has also published the novels In the Meantime, Our Arcadia, and Mr. Dalloway, as well as a short story collection, The ‘I’ Rejected. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in more than thirty journals, including The Paris Review, Fence, American Short Fiction, Provincetown Arts and The Louisville Review, and his fiction has been anthologized in Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, M2M: New Literary Fiction, and Rebel Yell. For ten years he reviewed art and photography books for The New York Times Book Review. He has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. He lives in the Boston area, and in Florida.
Exeter, Rhode IslandJody Lisberger’s story collection, Remember Love, was nominated for a National Book Award. Her stories have appeared in Fugue and Michigan Quarterly Review, among others. She won third place in the 2003 American Literary Review fiction contest and was a finalist in the 2004 Quarterly West fiction contest. Her story “Bush Beating” was selected for the fiction anthology The Way We Knew It (2006), celebrating the first twenty-five years of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program. She has a Ph.D. in English and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.
Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University, where he was the Managing Editor of Booth a Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He has served as the Poetry Editor for Gold Line Press as well as one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His poems are featured on Poetry Foundation's website and have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Los Angeles Review, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in 2017. Visit Manuel's website.
Creative nonfiction, fiction
Bradford, PennsylvaniaMcCabe is the author of five books: a novel, Following Disasters, and four works of creative nonfiction, including From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood, After the Flashlight Man: A Memoir of Awakening, and the memoirs Meeting Sophie: A Memoir of Adoption and Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge: A Journey to My Daughter’s Birthplace in China. She has received a Pushcart Prize and been listed six times in the notable sections of Houghton Mifflin’s Best American series. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazine and journals. She also received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska. Visit her website.
Louisville, KentuckyMorehead has published five books of poetry: In a Yellow Room, Our Brothers’ War, A Sense of Time Left, The Melancholy Teacher, and Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, The California Quarterly and other literary journals. She served as Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2011–2012 and has won fellowships for her poetry from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She earned a PhD in English with a creative writing thesis from the University of Louisville.
Peaks Island, MaineMorse has published three novels: Chopin’s Garden, An Unexpected Forest, which won the 2008 Independent Book Publisher’s Award for best regional fiction and the 2008 Maine Literary Award, and White Dog Fell from the Sky, which was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week. A nonfiction book, Over the Mountains: Two Tibetan Girls Journey Toward Hope, was written in collaboration with two young women from Tibet and describes their escape into Nepal. She has received grants from the Maine Humanities Council. She received a Master of Arts in teaching from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Vermont College. Visit her website.
Writing for children & young adults
Northampton, MassachusettsNewman is the author of 70 books including the short story collection A Letter to Harvey Milk, the middle grade novel Hachiko Waits, the poetry collection I Carry My Mother and the picture book Heather Has Two Mommies, the first children’s book to portray lesbian families in a positive way. Her awards include poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award and the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement. Her novel-in-verse October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard explores the impact of Matthew Shepard’s murder and received the American Library Association Stonewall Award. She is a former Poet Laureate of Northampton, Mass. Visit her website.
Minneapolis, MinnesotaObolensky is a playwright with the theater Ten Thousand Things. Her plays include Vasa Lisa, Why We Laugh: A Terezin Cabaret, which premiered in two international festivals, Raskol, Cabinet of Wonders, Modern House, Lobster Alice, a Kesselring Prize winner, and Lune (pronounced loony). She is a Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships and grants from the Mellon Foundation, Henson Foundation and NEA, among others. Her novella “The Anarchists Float to St. Louis” won Quarterly West’s 2009 novella contest. She holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. She is a core writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.
Elaine Neil Orr
Creative nonfiction, fiction
Raleigh, North CarolinaOrr is a writer of fiction, memoir and literary criticism. Her book A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa received a starred review from Library Journal and is a SIBA Bestseller. Her memoir, Gods of Noonday, was a top twenty Book Sense selection. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah and Image Journal. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She earned a Ph.D. in literature and theology at Emory University. Visit her website.
Lexington, KentuckyJeremy Paden is the author of the chapbook Broken Tulips. His poems have appeared in Adirondack Review, Atlanta Review, Beloit Poetry Journal and California Quarterly. He was a 2013 finalist of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition. His translations of poems from the Spanish have appeared in Words Without Borders. His articles on Latin American and Spanish literature have appeared in Calíope: Journal for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry, Colonial Latin American Review, Review of International American Studies, and Romance Quarterly, among others. He received his Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American literature from Emory University.
Frankfort, KentuckyGreg Pape is the author of ten books, including Four Swans, Border Crossings, Black Branches, Storm Pattern, Sunflower Facing the Sun (winner of the Edwin Ford Piper Prize, now called the Iowa Prize), and American Flamingo (winner of a Crab Orchard Open Competition Award). Greg’s poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Iowa Review, The New Yorker, Northwest Review, and Poetry, among others. He has received the Discovery/The Nation Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, and the Richard Hugo Memorial Poetry Award. He served as Poet Laureate of Montana from 2007 to 2009. He holds an MFA from the University of Arizona.
Kiki Petrosino is the author of three books of poetry: Witch Wife (2017), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), all from Sarabande Books. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House and on-line at Ploughshares. She is founder and co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing Program. Her awards include a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat and research fellowships from the University of Louisville's Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She holds the MFA in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and the MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Visit her website.
Austin, TexasJohn Pipkin’s newest novel is The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter. His critically acclaimed debut, Woodsburner, was awarded the First Novel Prize by the New York Center for Fiction, the Fiction Award from the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner First Novel Prize and was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Christian Science Monitor. He was awarded fellowships at the Harry Ransom Center and from The Dobie Paisano Fellowship program. He received his Ph.D. in British Literature from Rice University. Visit his website.
Cleveland Heights, OhioSchmiedl’s plays for adult and family audiences have been produced by The Cleveland Play House, the Theatre Company of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and New Stages Theatre, among others. He is the recipient of a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (with the Denver Center), a Sloan Foundation Commission, a CAC Creative Workforce Fellowship, an Aurand Harris Fellowship and three Edgerton Awards for New American Plays. He is a member of the Cleveland Play House’s Playwrights’ Unit. He is a graduate of Kent State University and the University of Hawaii.
Washington, DCSchulman’s plays include The Birthday Present, The Ground Zero Club, Angel of Death, The Common Enemy, and Character Assassins, among others. His first musical, The Fartiste, was produced at The FringeNYC Festival (Outstanding Musical) and Off-Broadway at Under Sofia’s and at The Charing Cross Theater in London’s West End. He is a three-time winner of The Avery Hopwood Award for Drama from The University of Michigan. He is a recipient of The Charles MacArthur Award for comedy from The National Playwrights Conference, a Walton Fellowship from Arena Stage and the Paulette Goddard Fellowship from NYU. His television credits include three seasons as a writer for the Apollo Comedy Hour. He holds an MFA from New York University.
Montgomery, AlabamaThompson has published five collections of poetry: The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller, The Seasons Bear Us, White for Harvest: New and Selected Poems, Witness, which won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Publishers Marketing Association, and How to Enter the River. Her work has appeared in Antaeus, Crazyhorse, Ironwood, North American Review, New England Review, Southern Review and others. She has received fellowships from the Louisiana State Arts Council and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. She is director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum and holds the MFA from the University of Alabama.
New York, New YorkVaswani is the author of the short story collection, Where the Long Grass Bends and the memoir You Have Given Me a Country. She is co-author of the middle-grade novel Same Sun Here (with Silas House). She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize and the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, as well as a Grammy and an Audie Award for her audio book narration. She has an MFA from Vermont College and a Ph.D. in cultural studies. An education activist in India and the United States, Vaswani founded the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library. Visit her website.
Los Angeles, CaliforniaWalker is the author of the bestselling memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love, the novel Adé: A Love Story, and the editor of the anthologies To Be Real, What Makes a Man, One Big Happy Family, and Black Cool. Her writing has appeared online at CNN, The Root, Babble, and The Huffington Post, and in Marie Claire, Real Simple, Newsweek, and The Washington Post. A fellow at the LA Institute for the Humanities at USC, she is a recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo and the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Rebecca holds a BA from Yale and an MFA from Spalding. Visit her website.
Lexington, KentuckyWilkinson is the author of The Birds of Opulence; Water Street, which was nominated for the Orange Prize and for the Zora Neal Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award in Fiction; and Blackberries, Blackberries, which was named Best Debut Fiction by Today’s Librarian magazine. She is the recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and the Sallie Bingham Award for the promotion of activism and feminist artist expression. She is the co-editor of Mythium: A Journal of Contemporary Literature Celebrating Writers of Color and the Cultural Voice with Ron Davis, and together they own The Wild Fig bookstore in Lexington, Ky. She earned her MFA in writing from Spalding University.
New York, New York
Zalutsky recently completed his second feature, Seaside, a thriller set on the Oregon Coast, starring Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, The Donna Summer musical). For his first feature, You Belong to Me, a gay psychological horror story, Sam was shortlisted for the Independent Spirit Award’s Someone to Watch Award. The film is distributed by Wolfe Releasing and available on iTunes and Amazon, and won the Audience Award, Best First Feature at San Diego FilmOut. Sam has directed second unit on two true crime shows, Emmy-winner A Crime to Remember, and I, Witness (Discovery ID). His short film, How to Make it to the Promised Land, about a girl forced to play a Holocaust role-play game at summer camp, was funded by the Jerome Foundation and Kickstarter, has over 7,000 views online, and premiered on Shortoftheweek.com. He also directed and produced the comedy web series, The Go-Getters, three other short narrative films, as well as many short videos for non-profits. Sam is currently developing scripts for both film and TV. He has received residencies at the MacDowell Colony, VCCA, and Fundación Valparaiso. Sam earned his BA in studio art from Yale and his MFA in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is on twitter and instagram @zalutsky. Visit his website.