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Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition(2019), which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry



Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of the forthcoming historical novel, The American Daughters. He is the recipient of the 2023 Louisiana Writer Award and the Black Rock Senegal Residency. He is also the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You (2021). The book was the 2023 One Book One New Orleans selection, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a finalist for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and longlisted for the Story Prize. His first book, We Cast a Shadow (2019), was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University.




Ann Pancake is a native of West Virginia.  She’s published two short story collections, Given Ground (UPNE 2001) and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley (Counterpoint 2015), and a novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint 2007), which was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, won the best Appalachian Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the Orion Book Award and the Washington State Book Award.  She has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, a Pushcart Prize, and the Bakeless Prize.  Her stories, essays, scholarly articles, and journalism have appeared in venues like Orion, The Georgia Review, Manoa, Poets and Writers, The Journal of Appalachian Studies, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best.   She lives in Preston County, West Virginia.   




photo credit: Woodberry Forest School

Jeff Goodell ’s latest book is The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet. He is the New York Times best-selling author of six previous books, including The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, which was a New York Times Critics Top Book of 2017. As a journalist, he has covered climate change for more than two decades and is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow.

Headshot of Jeff Goodell

Photo credit: Matt Valentine

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Children of the Land: a Memoir; Cenzontle, which was the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize; and Dulce, winner of the Drinking Gourd Prize. He is a founding member of the Undocupoets, which eliminated citizenship requirements from all major poetry book prizes in the U.S,  and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award. He was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at St. Mary’s University, and the Ashland Low-Res MFA Program, as well as poetry workshops for incarcerated youth in Northern California as the Yuba and Sutter County poet laureate.



Kerry Howley is the author of Thrown (Sarabande) and Bottom's Up and the Devil Laughs (Knopf). She is the screenwriter behind WINNER, a comic coming of age story adapted from her profile of an endearing young whistleblower. The film stars Emilia Jones, Connie Britton, and Zach Galifianakus, and will be released in 2024. In 2020 Howley left a professorship at the University of Iowa’s celebrated Nonfiction MFA program to join the staff of New York Magazine, where she has written about Jorie Graham, Britney Spears, and Larry Nassar. Her work has also appeared in The Paris Review, Best American Sportswriting, The New York Times Magazine, and Harper’s. A Lannan Foundation Fellow and three-time National Magazine Award nominee, she lives in Los Angeles.


Photo credit: Jordan Geiger

Sarah Viren is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of two books. Her essay collection Mine was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Her memoir To Name the Bigger Lie was an Editor's Pick by the New York Times. She teaches in the creative writing program at Arizona State University. 


Photo credit: Q'Mariha Lewis

Lyz Lenz's writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored, was published in 2020 by Bold Type Books. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Her third book, This American Ex Wife, will be published in 2024 year by Crown. Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Iowa with her two kids and two dogs. She writes a regular newsletter, Men Yell At Me, where she explores the intersection of politics and our bodies in red state America.


Photo credit: Pilsen Photo Co-op

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Prettiest Star, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Fiction, the Southern Book Prize, and the Weatherford Award, and selected as a Kirkus Best Book of 2020 and a Best LGBT Book by O Magazine. His debut novel The Evening Hour was adapted into a feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020. His writing appears in various publications, including The Kenyon Review, The Atlantic, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, and Guernica. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, MacDowell, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Carter is an assistant professor at North Carolina State University, where he teaches in the MFA program.




Amy M. Alvarez is the author of the poetry collection Makeshift Altar (2024) and the co-editor of Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology (2023). Selected as one of 2022’s Best New Poets, her poetry has appeared in nationally and internationally recognized literary journals including Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from CantoMundo, VONA, Macondo, VCCA, and the Furious Flower Poetry Center. In 2022, she was inducted as an Affrilachian Poet. Amy was born in New York City to Jamaican and Puerto Rican parents. She currently lives and teaches in West Virginia.  




Ariel Francisco is the author of the forthcoming All the Places We Love Have Been Left in Ruins (Burrow Press, 2024), Under Capitalism If Your Head Aches They Just Yank Off Your Head (Flowersong Press, 2022), and A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020), and the translator of Haitian-Dominican poet Jacques Viau Renaud’s Poet of One Island (Get Fresh Books, 2024) and Guatemalan poet Hael Lopez’s Routines/Goodbyes (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, he has published work in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, POETRY Magazine, The New York City Ballet, Latino Book Review, and elsewhere. He is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Hispanic Studies at Louisiana State University.



Maria Zoccola is the author of Helen of Troy, 1993 (Scribner, 2025). She has writing degrees from Emory University and Falmouth University. Her work has previously appeared in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She lives in Memphis.



Mildred Kiconco Barya is a Ugandan poet, prose writer, and associate professor at UNC-Asheville.  She’s the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently The Animals of My Earth School released by Terrapin Books, 2023.  Her prose, hybrids, and poems have appeared in Shenandoah, Joyland, The Cincinnati Review, Tin House, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.  She’s now working on a collection of creative nonfiction, and her essay, “Being Here in This Body," won the 2020 Linda Flowers Literary Award and was published in the North Carolina Literary Review.  She coordinates the Poetrio Reading events at Malaprop’s Independent Bookstore/Café.


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