JENNIFER N. BAKER is a publishing professional, creator and host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast and contributing editor to Electric Literature. She works with the nonprofit I, Too Arts Collective and is a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow and Queens Council of the Arts New Work Grant winner. She is editor of Everyday People: The Color of Life—A Short Story Anthology and has published in Newtown Literary (her story was nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Longreads, and Poets & Writers magazine, among other print and online publications. Her website is jennifernbaker.com.
MICHELLE BOROK is a Korean American writer living in Darkhan, Mongolia, with her husband and daughter. She moved to Mongolia from Los Angeles in 2012. She has written about her life in Mongolia for Giant Robot, Roads & Kingdoms, and other arts and culture websites.
LUCILLE CLIFTON (1936–2010) was a prolific poet and author. She served as the Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1979 to 1985. In 1988, two of her books, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969–1980 and Next: New Poems, were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists in the same year. In 2000, she was awarded the National Book Award for Poetry for her collection Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988–2000. In 2007 she won the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors a living U.S. poet whose “lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition.”
SIDNEY CLIFTON is the daughter of the late poet Lucille Clifton. She provides mentorship to young artists from her experience as an Emmy-nominated producer, director, executive producer, video game and animation studio recruiter, writer, speaker, and animation studio executive.
TAIYON J. COLEMAN is a Cave Canem and VONA fellow. Her writing has been published in Bum Rush the Page, Riding Shotgun, The Ringing Ear, Blues Vision, How Dare We! Write: A Multicultural Creative Writing Discourse, and A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota. “Mapping Our Potential: A Poem as a Spatial and Temporal Mapping of Human Experience” is her TEDx talk. Her book Working toward Racial Equity in First-Year Composition was published in 2019. She is assistant professor of English literature at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
ARFAH DAUD was born in Malaysia but has made California her home. She began writing more than twenty years ago, after her children were grown. Her work has been published in Susan B and Me, Byzantium, The Mom Egg, Spillway, Sin Fronteras, New Plains Review, SoloNovo, Apple Valley Review, and Watershed Review. Her poem “Looking Back” was nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she teaches high school.
RONA FERNANDEZ is a writer, fund-raiser, activist, dancer, wife, and #stillmother who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her writing has been published in the Devilfish Review, Philippine News, The Rumpus, Yes! Magazine, and other publications. She is an alumnus of the VONA Voices Workshop for writers of color and the Macondo Workshop. She is grateful to her husband, Henry, for his ceaseless support of her writing. You can find more of her writing at ronafernandez.com.
SHANNON GIBNEY is a writer, educator, and activist. Her first novel, See No Color, drawn from her life as a transracial adoptee, won a Minnesota Book Award, as did her second novel, Dream Country, which chronicles five generations of a Liberian and Liberian American family. She lives in Minneapolis with her children.
SARAH AGATON HOWES is an Anishinaabe mother, artist, designer, teacher, and community organizer from the Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota. She is recognized across the region for her contemporary Ojibwe design and for teaching Makazinikewin (moccasin making). She is an Inspired Native Collaborator creating Ojibwe floral design through her business House of Howes. Her writing is an attempt to convey her raw truth and her grandmother’s truth, and to elevate the truths of Indigenous people.
HONORÉE FANONNE JEFFERS is a fiction writer, poet, and critic. Her essays, poems, and short stories have been published in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Callaloo, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She has written four poetry volumes, most recently The Glory Gets. She has received fellowships from the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Witter Bynner Fellowship through the Library of Congress, as well as an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, a lifetime achievement award. She is critic-at-large for The Kenyon Review and teaches at the University of Oklahoma.
SONIAH KAMAL is an award-winning essayist and fiction writer. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and the KLF French Fiction Prize. Unmarriageable: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan is a People Magazine’s Pick, a Library Reads Pick, and an Amazon Best Books Pick. Her TEDx talk, “Redreaming Your Dream,” is about regrets, second chances, and redemption. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Guardian, BuzzFeed, and Literary Hub. Visit her at www.soniahkamal.com.
DIANA LE-CABRERA is a first-generation Vietnamese woman and ever-dreamer. Her parents instilled a passion for learning and creativity early. She earned her master’s degree in health sciences, and her work experience is with people of all ages across various industries, from health care to tech to education. Married to her love, Luis Cabrera, she is grateful for her family and hopes to make their children proud.
JANET LEE-ORTIZ is a mother of three: her sunshine, her angel, and her long-awaited rainbow. Her husband is a stay-at-home father and an incredible life partner. Her primary passion is education; she has served as a teacher in Los Angeles Unified School District since 2003. She is a fierce advocate for social justice and engages in activism as a mother. Her hobbies include soccer, snowboarding, hiking, family travels, Korean drumming, and blogging and vlogging. After struggling with fertility, at the time of this writing the family was welcoming the newest member of their family—a daughter.
JAMI NAKAMURA LIN is a Chicago-based writer and library assistant. She has received an inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books and a Creative Artists’ Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Japan–U.S. Friendship Commission. Her stories and essays have been published in The Baltimore Review, Passages North, [PANK], Bat City Review, and other publications. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The Pennsylvania State University. Her website is jaminakamuralin.com.
MARIA ELENA MAHLER’S poems and short stories are published internationally in English and Spanish journals and anthologies. Her first bilingual poetry collection, Sweeping Fossils, was published in 2016. She was a finalist for the 2011 San Francisco–based Primer Concurso de Poesía Latinoamericana en Español and a finalist in the BorderSenses poetry competition in 2015. She coauthored the nonfiction book The Heart of Health and was editor of the poetry anthology Woman in Metaphor. She was raised in the south of Chile and, after living and working in Mexico and Canada, now resides between the woods of Northern California e o mato do Brasil.
CHUE MOUA is Hmong American and a refugee from Laos. She is the mother of seven living children and seven dead. One of the first girls in her village to attend school, she is among the first Hmong women of her generation to be literate. She speaks Hmong, Thai, Lao, and some English. She has spent her life in America in the factories of Minnesota, keeping pace with the moving assembly lines. A lifelong gardener, she cares for beautiful flowers in her house across all seasons and a bountiful organic garden during the summer.
JEN PALMARES MEADOWS earned her master of arts in creative writing from California State University Sacramento. Her writing has been published in Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Fourth Genre, Brevity, and The Los Angeles Review. She is a 2018 Millay Colony Fellow and is completing a hybrid collection of gambling essays.
IN THE eight hours for what we will, DANIA RAJENDRA prefers to argue politics while knitting something deliciously complicated and drinking something velvety.
MARCIE RENDON is an enrolled citizen in the White Earth Nation. Her debut novel, Murder on the Red River, won the Pinckley Women Debut Crime Writers Award and was the Spur Finalist in the Western Writers of America contemporary novel category; it has been followed by the second book in the series, Girl Gone Missing. Among her nonfiction children’s books is Pow Wow Summer. With four published plays, she is the creative mind behind Raving Native Theater productions. She received the Loft’s 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship with poet Diego Vazquez for work with incarcerated women and was honored as one of 50 over 50 in the Pollen/AARP awards in 2018.
SEEMA REZA is a poet and essayist and author of When the World Breaks Open and A Constellation of Half-Lives. Based outside Washington, D.C., she is executive director of Community Building Art Works, an arts organization that encourages the arts as a tool for narration, self-care, and socialization among a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries. An alumnus of Goddard College and VONA, her writing has appeared online and in print in Bellevue Literary Review, The LA Review, The Feminist Wire, The Offing, and Entropy.
신 선 영 SUN YUNG SHIN was born in Seoul, Korea. She is author of the poetry and essay collections Unbearable Splendor (winner of a Minnesota Book Award), Rough, and Savage, and Skirt Full of Black (which received an Asian American Literary Award). She is editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, coeditor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and author of the bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. With poet Su Hwang she cofounded and codirects Poetry Asylum, a poetry-centered organization that creates platforms and spaces for marginalized voices, operating under three commitments: all language is political, no one is illegal, and poetry is a human right. She lives with her partner and children in Minneapolis.
KARI SMALKOSKI is the co-founder of Minnesota Youth Story Squad, a University of Minnesota initiative that partners with public schools to amplify the voices of youth. She is author of the forthcoming book American Dream Disrupted: Reframing Narratives on Asian American Youth, Gender, and Inequality in Schools. She has worked as a teacher with high school and college-aged youth for almost two decades and is a proud Minneapolis Public Schools parent. Learn more about her work at her website, youthstorysquad.org.
CATHERINE R. SQUIRES is an author and professor at the University of Minnesota. She has published multiple books on the politics of race, gender, and media, including The Post-racial Mystique and the edited collection Dangerous Discourses: Feminism, Gun Violence, and Civic Life. She lives with her partner and children in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she is always on the lookout for interesting birds.
Philippine-born and LA-raised, ELSA VALMIDIANO is a writer and poet who calls Oakland home. A former reproductive rights activist, she incorporates her activism into her literary endeavors. Her writing has been published in TAYO, make/shift, As/Us, Literature for Life, Mud Season Review, Yes, Poetry, and Northridge Review, as well as in the anthologies Field of Mirrors, Walang Hiya, and Circe’s Lament. She is an alumna of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon as well as Summer Literary Seminars hosted in Tbilisi. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Mills College and has performed readings at Artists Against Rape, Kearny Street Workshop’s APATURE, Scriptorium, Litquake, and Lark Poetry Series. You can read more about her work at slicingtomatoes.com.
KAO KALIA YANG is a Hmong American writer. She is author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, winner of the Minnesota Book Award in creative nonfiction and memoir and Readers Choice, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction. Her second book, The Song Poet, also won the Minnesota Book Award in creative nonfiction and memoir, as well as being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. Her first children’s book, A Map into the World, about refugees in America, is forthcoming.