Erika Abad has been a professor for the University of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies since the fall of 2016. She recently organized the Academic Lab at ClexaCon, a lesbian, bisexual, and queer women fan convention. Aside from following queer fandom and women's of color roles in community-building, Erika's been following how social media movements, like #MeToo, (dis)empower women of color experiences. She's contributed to local LGBTQ magazine, Spectrum, and a #MeToo inspired poem, "Writing the Wound," is being featured in the Women in Transition exhibit at the Left of Center Art Gallery.
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of The Crown Ain't Worth Much (2016), nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017), named a best book of 2017 by NPR, Pitchfork, Oprah Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Slate, Esquire, GQ, and Publisher's Weekly, among others. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine, and a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing. Abdurraqib has multiple forthcoming books including a book on A Tribe Called Quest titled Go Ahead In The Rain (2019), the new collection of poems A Fortune For Your Disaster (2019) and a history of Black performance in the United States titled They Don't Dance No Mo' (2020).
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. She has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, a National Magazine Award, and won the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GRANTA, and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation and MacDowell, among others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” and her debut collection What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize and the 2017 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Minneapolis and is working on a novel about you.
Catherine Barnett was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied at Princeton University and at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Barnett is the author of Human Hours (2018); The Game of Boxes (2012), which was the recipient of the 2012 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced ( 2004).
Rita Bullwinkel is the author of the story collection Belly Up. Her writing has been published in Tin House, Conjunctions, BOMB, Vice, NOON, and Guernica. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Hawthornden Castle, and The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Both her fiction and her translation have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She lives in San Francisco.
Natalie Diaz was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community. She earned a BA from Old Dominion University, where she received a full athletic scholarship. Diaz played professional basketball in Europe and Asia before returning to Old Dominion to earn an MFA. She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Diaz lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she has worked with the last speakers of Mojave and directed a language revitalization program.
Francisco Donoso was born in Quito, Ecuador and grew up in Miami, Florida. After attending the prestigious New World School of the Arts, he received his BFA in Painting & Drawing from Purchase College, SUNY. In 2012 he was a fellow at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies and in 2013 a Van Lier Fellow at Wave Hill. He was also the Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University and named a Hot Picks artist by Smack Mellon in 2014 & 2018. In 2018 he participated i in the Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum. Francisco has exhibited throughout NY, Berlin, and Miami and continues to work and exhibit in NYC. He is also the Program Coordinator for the Parsons Scholars Program, where he explores the intersections of art, education and social justice.
Justin Favela is a Las Vegas native working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and performance. His work draws from art history, popular culture and his Guatemalan/Mexican heritage. He has participated in exhibitions and artists residencies across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Favela has curated many shows throughout southern Nevada, at spaces such as UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art to El Porvenir Mini-Market in North Las Vegas. Recent exhibitions of note include Unsettled at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, featuring site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West at the Denver Art Museum, and the group exhibition Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness touring the United Kingdom. FavyFav is also the 2018 recipient of the Alan Turing LGTBIQ Award for International Artist. To view Favy's work please visit, justinfavela.com.
Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and an author of ten books of nonfiction, including The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, which won the 2017 National Book Award.
Eryn Green holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Utah and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Denver. His first book, Eruv, was selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and published by Yale University Press. His second book, Beit, was selected for the 2019 Editor's Choice Award at New Issues Press and will be published in 2020. Currently an Assistant Professor in Residence in the English Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Eryn lives with his wife, the poet Hanna Andrews, and their daughter Aya, near the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area.
Lolita Hernandez is the author of two collections of short stories: Making Callaloo in Detroit, a 2015 Michigan Notable Book, and Autopsy of an Engine and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant, winner of a 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in a wide variety of literary venues. She is also a 2012 Kresge Fellow. After over thirty-three years as a UAW member at General Motors and twelve on the faculty of the University of Michigan Creative Writing Department at the Residential College, she recently retired to Las Vegas, Nevada from her native Detroit, Michigan.
Mira Jacob is the author of the graphic memoir Good Talk, and the novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, and longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. In addition, it received an honor from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions.
Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Guernica, Vogue, the Telegraph, Buzzfeed, and Tin House, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She has appeared on national and local television and radio, and has taught writing to students of all ages in New York, New Mexico, and Barcelona. She is currently at The New School and is a founding faculty member of the Randolph MFA Program.
Jari Jones is a Black Transgender Actress, Curve Model, Activist and Creativ. With her career start in theater, Jari has graced some of New York's greatest stages, such as The Public Theater's Production of Elizabeth Swado's " The Runaways", Here Art Center's "The Sex Myth: A Devised Play " and Lin Manuel's In The Heights. Jari later shifted her career into TV & Film , featured in Primetime Television’s hot ticket POSE , Sundance nominated film “Adam” and the highly anticipated “Transparent : Musical Movie Finale” . After building a successful career as a fashion and editorial photographer, Jari jumped on the other side of the lens and into the magazines and New York billboards , quickly becoming internationally recognized as a Trans and Body Positive model and influencer. Jari has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Allure and recently in PAPER Magazine Predictions : 100 people taking over 2019, with her insight on fashion within politics, body positivity, and LGBTQ community building and relationships. Jones is one of the new faces of the acclaimed and inclusive fashion empires Universal Standard, making her the First Transgender model of the brand.
janaya khan is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada and has become a leading voice in the global crusade demanding social transformation, justice, and equality. Known as future within the BLM movement, khan is a Black, queer, gender-nonconforming activist, staunch Afrofuturist, boxer, and social-justice educator. Khan’s dedication and bold approach to social justice work has created opportunities to contribute to academic and frontline community dialogue engaging audiences on the global impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement. An accomplished lecturer and author, their writings have been featured in The Feminist Wire, The Root, Huffington Post Black Voices, and Al Jazeera.
Josh Kun received a B.A. (1993) from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (1999). In addition to being a frequent contributor to newspapers, journals, and radio, he is the co-editor of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies(2012) and Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border(2012). Kun has curated exhibitions and installations at such venues as the Getty Foundation, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Skirball Center, and the Grammy Museum, among others, and in 2005, he co-founded the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, through which he has co-produced albums and organized several concerts of Jewish American music. He is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and the winner of a 2018 Berlin Prize and a 2006 American Book Award. He is currently a professor of communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and director of the Popular Music Project in the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his sharply observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His latest work, Heavy: An American Memoir, is a winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. Heavy was named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and more. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible Audiobook of the Year. He is also the author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, a collection of lacerating essays on race, violence, celebrity, family, and creativity; and the novel Long Division. Laymon has written for Gawker, Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, NPR, Colorlines, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Ebony, Guernica, and The Oxford American, among others. He teaches at the University of Mississippi, and has taught at Vassar College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His next novel, And So On, is out in 2020.
Andrew Leland hosts and produces the Organist, an arts-and-culture podcast from KCRW and McSweeney’s. He’s been an editor of the Believer magazine since 2003, and has edited books for McSweeney’s, Chronicle, Vintage, and elsewhere. He’s written and produced audio for a buncha places, and his writing has appeared in the New York Review Daily, McSweeney’s, the San Francisco Chronicle, BOMB, the catalog for the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and elsewhere. He’s taught writing, radio and digital storytelling at UMass-Amherst, Smith College, the University of Missouri, and elsewhere.
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.
Marivel Luna Simms
Marivel Luna Simms is a mother, wife, and singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona. She has been performing Mariachi music from the age of 8 and continues to bring traditional musical forms into her songs. She currently writes and performs with her husband under the name Revizor.
Ahmed Naji is an Egyptian novelist and journalist born in Mansoura in 1985. He is the author of three books, Rogers (2007), Seven Lessons Learned from Ahmed Makky (2009), and The Use of Life (2014), as well as numerous blogs and other articles. He was also a journalist for Akhbar al-Adab, a state-funded literary magazine, and frequently contributed to other newspapers and websites including Al-Modon and Al-Masry Al-Youm. Naji has been a vocal critic of official corruption under the rule of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Thao Nguyen, whose songwriting tends toward the musically playful and lyrically heavy-hearted, was raised in the City of Falls Church, Virginia. Nguyen took up the guitar and songwriting as a pre-teen, and was part of a country-pop duo in high school. In 2005, she released a solo album, Like the Linen, which revealed her somewhat raspy, punky voice and folky indie pop style. She subsequently collaborated on a single with tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus under the name Merrillthaocracy, and formed Thao & the Get Down Stay Down with Like the Linen producer Frank Stewart and her fellow College of William and Mary students Adam and Willis Thompson in 2006. In 2011, having relocated to San Francisco, Nguyen released the album Thao & Mirah, a project with her singer/songwriter friend Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn that was co-produced by Garbus.
Tig, a Grammy Award-Nominated stand-up comic and writer, was born in Jackson, MS. This year, Tig and her wife/writing partner Stephanie Allynne sold the screenplay First Ladies to Netflix, with Jennifer Aniston attached to star as the first female President of the United States, and Tig starring as the First Lady. For two seasons, Tig wrote, produced, and starred in the critically acclaimed semi-autobiographical Amazon series One Mississippi. Her memoir, I’m Just a Person, is a New York Times Bestseller.
Meghan O'Gieblyn is the author of the essay collection Interior States. Her essays and criticism have appeared most recently in Harper's Magazine, n+1,The Believer, The Paris Review, The Guardian, and The Point. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and her work was included in the Best American Essays 2017.
Tommy Orange is the author of There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. One of The New York Times'top books of 2018, There There shows us violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. Orange is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.
José Orduña was born in Córdoba, Veracruz and immigrated to Chicago when he was two years old. His work explores the ways power has determined his and others' existence as racialized subjects of the United States. His first book, The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Immigration and Displacement was published in 2016 by Beacon Press. He is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Anita Sarkeesian is an award-winning media critic and the creator and executive director of Feminist Frequency, an educational nonprofit that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.
She has been a panelist at the United Nations and was named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in the world in 2015.
Jill Soloway is an artist and activist who created the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning Amazon streaming program Transparent. Jill also co-created and directed I Love Dick and wrote and directed the feature film Afternoon Delight, which won the 2013 Directing Award at Sundance. Jill founded TOPPLE, an intersectional brand for the revolution to create TV and film content as well as TOPPLE BOOKS, an imprint of Little A. Jill has published two memoirs, She Wants It - Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy and Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants. Jill cofounded 5050by2020, an artist empowerment network and strategic initiative of Time’s Up, as well as the community organization East Side Jews and the spoken word seriesSit n’ Spin. Jill also co-created theatrical experiences The Real Live Brady Bunch and Hollywood Hell House. Jill lives in Los Angeles with their family.
Reggie Watts is an internationally renowned vocal artist/ beatboxer/ musician/ comedian who wows audiences with his live performances which are 100% improvised. Using his formidable voice, looping pedals, and his vast imagination, Reggie blends and blurs the lines between music and comedy. No two performances are the same and to that end, ”genius” is the word most often used to describe Reggie Watts. LA Weekly crowned him ”the most wildly inventive new talent of the past five years” while New York Magazine hailed Reggie as“Spectacularly original,” Rolling Stone featured him as “Hot Comedian,” SPIN named him as “Best New Comedian” and the LA Times praised Reggie is “a superstar.” Rolling Stone also listed him as one of the “50 best stand-up comics of all time”.
Craig Winslow is an experiential designer based in Portland, OR with a passion for blending the physical and digital, and a fascination with how we incorporate the past within our future. He worked with the Neon Museum to create Brilliant!- a 360-degree audiovisual immersion experience that uses projection mapping to reanimate 40 of the Neon Museum’s iconic vintage signs. He was an Adobe Creative Resident 16/17', currently teaches at PNCA as a research fellow in the Make+Think+Code Lab, and has also worked on projects with NikeLab, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Princeton University, and the Portland Trail Blazers.