2022 Washington Writers Conference Panelists & Presenters

Tamar Abrams has lived in the Washington, DC, area since 1979, during which time she has watched rents and tempers increase greatly. She is now retired from a career working to advance women's reproductive health and rights (we all know how that worked out) both domestically and internationally. She has written for such publications as the Huffington Post, Washington Jewish Week, Washingtonian, Arlington Magazine, and Bust Magazine ("For women with something to get off their chests"). Tamar is planning to move away from the area before the end of the year, as she has always wanted to say she’s "formerly of Washington, DC." (Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.)

Amy Argetsinger is an editor for the Style section of the Washington Post, where she has overseen media coverage and long-form features. A native of Alexandria, VA, she joined the Post in 1995, where she covered the Maryland suburbs, higher education, and the West Coast before becoming author of the paper’s signature gossip column, “The Reliable Source.” There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America is her first book. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and daughter. (Find her on Facebook and Twitter.)

Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times and an MSNBC political analyst. He is also the author of multiple books, including, most recently, The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III, written with his wife, Susan Glasser. (Find him on Twitter.)

Mariah Barber is a spoken-word poet whose work has been featured by the Raleigh Museum of Art. She is also the author of Of Mics & Pens & Gods & Other College Courses.

Louis Bayard is the bestselling author of multiple works of historical fiction, including The Pale Blue Eye (soon to be seen on Netflix), Courting Mr. Lincoln, Roosevelt’s Beast, and the forthcoming Jackie & Me. He is also an instructor at George Washington University and serves as chair of the PEN/Faulkner Awards Committee. (Find him on Twitter and Instagram.)

A’Lelia Bundles is the author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, a New York Times Notable Book about her entrepreneurial great-great-grandmother and the inspiration for “Self Made,” the fictional Netflix series starring Octavia Spencer.  She is at work on The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, about her great-grandmother. A former network television news producer, she is on the advisory board of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction co-editor at Barrelhouse. She received her MFA from American University. Previous publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. She's the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and four collections: Circe's Bicycle, Midnight at the Organporium, Political AF: A Rage Collection, and Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection.  (Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.)

Elizabeth Chang is a deputy Lifestyle editor (focusing on wellness) and the deputy Travel editor at the Washington Post. In this position — and in her previous role as an assignment editor at the Washington Post Magazine — she has edited news articles, essays, features, and longform narratives. The sections she works for rely heavily on the talents of freelance writers, and she has vetted countless pitches. She started her career at the Post as a part-time copy editor; before that, she was an editorial writer for local newspapers. Writing remains her first love, and she has contributed articles to a variety of sections at the Post. (Find her on Twitter.)

Donald Cohen is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice for more than 40 years in Weston, Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Berkeley, California. He also has an M.S.W. from Columbia University. His poetry collections include Memory Man One, Memory Man Two, Memory Man Three, Gathering Seasons, Writings From the Ferris Wheel, and The Inside Ride (A Journey to Manhood).

Susan Coll’s sixth novel, Bookish People, will be published in August 2022. Her previous novels include The Stager — a New York Times and Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice — and Acceptance, which was made into a television movie starring the hilarious Joan Cusack. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, Moment Magazine, NPR.org, and Atlantic.com. She is currently the president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. (Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.)

Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist and author who writes about culture and science for outlets including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Smithsonian Magazine. Her book, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are, explores the rapidly evolving phenomenon of home DNA testing, its implications for how we think about family and ourselves, and its ramifications for American culture broadly. It was praised by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and was named to the Guardian’s Best Books of 2020 list. The Washington Post said it “reads like an Agatha Christie mystery” and “wrestles with some of the biggest questions in life.” Copeland’s immersive reporting and intimate writing explore the forces that shape our identities. (Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

Susan Muaddi Darraj won the American Book Award in 2016 for her short-story collection A Curious Land: Stories from Home. The book was also named the winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and the Arab American Book Award and was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award. Her previous story collection, The Inheritance of Exile, was published in 2007 by University of Notre Dame Press. In 2018, she was named a Ford Fellow by USA Artists. Susan received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and a Ruby’s Artist Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. She is a senior lecturer in the M.A. in Writing Program at the Johns Hopkins University. In January 2020, Capstone Books launched her debut children’s chapter book series, Farah Rocks, about a smart, brave Palestinian American girl named Farah Hajjar. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

Daniel de Visé is a writer and journalist whose books include Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show and The Comeback: Greg Lemond, the True King of American Cycling, and a Legendary Tour de France. A graduate of Wesleyan and Northwestern universities, he worked at the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, and three other newspapers in a 23-year career. He shared a 2001 team Pulitzer Prize and garnered more than two dozen other national and regional journalism awards. His investigative reporting twice led to the release of wrongly convicted men from life terms in prison. His fourth book, King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King, made several best-of-2021 lists and was longlisted for the PEN America award in biography. Daniel is married to Sophie Yarborough, a senior editor at the Washington Post. They and their children live in Maryland. (Find him on Twitter and Facebook.)

Lydia Fraser first joined Sandy Spring Museum in 2015 as collections manager and, following a short hiatus, returned in 2018 to lead the archives inventory and digitization projects. Lydia holds a Master's degree in information studies, which she uses to find the nexus among libraries, museums, and archives. She sees the three disciplines working in concert to inform, connect, and increase the accessibility of a community's story. Lydia began her work in museums in the 1990s as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto and has continuously brought a passion to the profession ever since.

Nikki Frias is a writer and comedian on a mission to remind women how talented they are. She is the creator of Girltellme.com, a publishing platform dedicated to the empowerment of women writers through comedy, and has articles published with the Daily Beast, Forbes, and Boardroom. When she's not promoting her book, Does This Divorce Make Me Look Fat?, she's avoiding dairy. To support her journey, check out Girltellme.com, and to pay her bills, buy the book. (Find her on Instagram and Facebook).

Lisa K. Friedman is a writer and essayist living in Washington, DC. Her essays appear in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. She is also author of the novels Cruise to Retribution and Nothing to Lose. (Find her on Twitter and Facebook.)

Marita Golden is the award-winning author of 19 works of fiction and nonfiction, most recently The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women. Other books include Saving Our Sons: Raising Black Children in a Turbulent World, The Wide Circumference of Love, and After. Her awards include the Writers for Writers Award from Poets and Writers and an award from the Authors Guild. She is co-founder and president emerita of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, and she has taught creative writing at George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of the District of Columbia. (Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.)

Christopher Gonzalez is a queer Puerto Rican writer and the author of I’m Not Hungry But I Could Eat (Santa Fe Writers Project, 2021). A recipient of the 2021 Artist Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, his writing appears in the Poets & Writers online, the Nation, Catapult, Best Microfictions, and Best Small Fictions, among other journals. He currently serves as a fiction editor at Barrelhouse magazine and lives in Brooklyn, NY, but mostly on Twitter. (Find him on Instagram and Twitter.)

Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, a Russian Armenian émigré, moved to the U.S. in 1995 after having witnessed perestroika and the fall of the Iron Curtain. Writing in English, her second language, she has published 50 stories and received eight Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in Subtropics, Zoetrope: All Story, Joyland, Electric Literature, Indiana Review, the Southern Review, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and elsewhere. Kristina is the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, the Tennessee Williams scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for her debut collection of stories, What Isn’t Remembered, longlisted for the 2022 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her first novel, The Orchard, is forthcoming from Ballantine Books.

Ronnie Greene is an investigative journalist who edits in-depth stories for Reuters and teaches graduate writing at Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Reuters, he edited a 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation for the Center for Public Integrity. His other honors include the IRE Medal, an Emmy, and the Harvard Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Greene is the author of three books of nonfiction, all with a civil rights focus: Heart of Atlanta: Five Black Pastors and the Supreme Court Victory for Integration; Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-up in the Wake of Katrina; and Night Fire: Big Oil, Poison Air, and Margie Richard’s Fight to Save Her Town.

Taylor Harris is the author of This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, TIME, O Quarterly, the Washington Post, Longreads, the Cut, Parents, Romper, McSweeney’s, and other publications. She lives with her family in Pennsylvania. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

Donna Hemans is the author of two novels, River Woman and Tea by the Sea. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Slice, Shenandoah, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, and Crab Orchard Review. She received her undergraduate degree in English and media studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Maryland and is the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers. (Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.)

Joanne Hyppolite is an author and a museum curator. She has published two middle-grade novels: Seth and Samona, which won the 1994 Marguerite De Angeli Prize for New Children’s Fiction, and Ola Shakes It Up. Her short stories have also been published in the Caribbean Writer and The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States. Joanne is also a curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, with interests and expertise in African American and African diaspora material, expressive culture, and Black immigrant American communities. (Find her on Facebook.)

Emily Holland (she/they) is a lesbian writer living in Washington, DC. She received her MFA from American University, where she was the editor-in-chief of FOLIO. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Black Warrior Review, Nat. Brut, Homology Lit, and Wussy, and she is the author of the chapbook Lineage (dancing girl press, 2019). Her work has received support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she is the editor of Poet Lore, America’s oldest poetry magazine, published by the Writer’s Center. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

Victoria Kelly graduated from Harvard University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the author of the novel Mrs. Houdini (a People Magazine Best New Book) and the poetry collection When the Men Go Off to War. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry and many other anthologies and journals. She lives in Maryland, where she's finishing her next novel. (Find her on Instagram and Facebook.)

Carlos Lozada is the nonfiction book critic of the Washington Post and the author of What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era (Simon & Schuster, 2020). He has won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian citation for excellence in reviewing, and the Kukula award for excellence in nonfiction book reviewing. Previously, he has served as the Post’s Outlook editor and has overseen the paper’s coverage of economics and national security. Before joining the Post in 2005, he was the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Lozada has been an adjunct professor of political journalism with the University of Notre Dame’s Washington program, a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University, and a journalist in residence at the Carnegie Endowment. A native of Lima, Peru, he was honored as a 2021 “Great Immigrant/Great American” by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. (Find him on Twitter.)

James Magruder is a fiction writer, translator, and playwright. He is the author of four books of fiction — Sugarless, Let Me See It, Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, and Vamp Until Ready — and an award-winning book of translations, Three French Comedies. His recent short stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, the Hopkins Review, the Idaho Review, and Prairie Schooner. He’s written the book for two Broadway musicals, “Triumph of Love” and (in blank verse) “Head Over Heels,” the 2018 mash-up of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia and the song catalog of the Go-Go’s. A five-time MacDowell Fellow, he lives in Baltimore and teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College.

Nevin Martell is a DC-based food and travel writer, parenting essayist, recipe developer, and photographer who has written for the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, Saveur, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, DCist, Washington City Paper, and many other publications. He is the author of eight books, including Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink, the travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. He has appeared on “The Frommer’s Travel Show,” “The Kojo Nnamdi Show, “Bookman’s Corner, “Chatter On Books,” and elsewhere. When he isn't writing, you can probably find him baking, foraging, gardening, or hanging out with his family. (Find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.)

Ariel Mendez’s first picture book, Fear and a Friend, was selected as a Kickstarter “Project We Love.” Since then, she has contributed to three more self-published books, including Hair Like Me, featured on NBC and HLN, and My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words, a resource book for the two native languages of Zimbabwe. Ariel has worked with the Writer's Center, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Children's Inn at the National Institute of Health, and various other organizations. (Find her on Instagram.)

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2019, and her anthology of lyric essays, A Harp in the Stars, was published by Nebraska in 2021. Other work has appeared in the “Modern Love” column of the New York Times, the Rumpus, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of the online literary magazine After the Art and teaches in West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA Program and Goucher’s MFA in Nonfiction Program. (Find her on Twitter and Facebook.)

Carolyn Parkhurst is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels: Harmony, The Nobodies Album, Lost and Found, and The Dogs of Babel, as well as a children's book, Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly. Her nonfiction and humor have appeared in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the Rumpus. She lives with her family in Washington, DC. (Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.)

Richard Peabody was born in Washington, DC, raised in Bethesda, MD, and lives in Arlington, VA. As a poet, writer, editor, teacher, and publisher, he wears many literary hats. The author of a novella and three short-story collections, he taught graduate fiction writing at Johns Hopkins for 15 years. His Gargoyle Magazine (founded in 1976) will release its 75th issue in March 2022. He has edited or co-edited 26 anthologies, including Mondo Barbie and A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation. His most recent book, Guinness on the Quay, was published in Ireland by Salmon Poetry in 2019. The Richard Peabody Reader, a career-encompassing collection, was released in 2015 by Alan Squire Publishing as the first book in its Legacy Series. (Find him on Twitter.)

Ed Perlman has taught in the M.A. in Writing program at Johns Hopkins University for more than 20 years. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Tin House, the Sewanee Theological Review, Passages, ¾ Review, and the Living Church. He has received an artist fellowship grant from the Washington, DC, Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the NEA. He launched Entasis Press in 2008 and over an eight-year period published award-winning books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, including Slipping the Moorings by Susan McCallum-Smith, Dislocation by Margaret Meyers, Spin by Moira Egan, and Part of the Darkness by David Rothman.

Leslie Pietrzyk’s 2021 collection of DC stories, Admit This to No One, was called “insidery, insightful, and deftly executed” by Washingtonian magazine. She’s the author of three novels, including Silver Girl. Her first collection of short stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Story Magazine, Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Iowa Review, Washingtonian, the Sun, the Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. Her awards include a Pushcart Prize in 2020. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

dave ring is a queer writer of speculative fiction living in Washington, DC. He is the author of The Hidden Ones (Rebel Satori Press, 2021) and numerous short stories. He is also the publisher and managing editor of Neon Hemlock Press and the co-editor of Baffling Magazine. (Find him on Twitter.)

Kim Roberts is the editor of the anthology By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), selected by the East Coast Centers for the Book for the 2021 Route 1 Reads program as the book that “best illuminates important aspects” of the culture of Washington, DC. She is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). Her chapbook, Corona/Crown, a cross-disciplinary collaboration with photographer Robert Revere, is forthcoming from WordTech Editions in 2023. (Find her on Twitter and Facebook.)

Sarah Schmelling writes humor pieces and stories about entertainment, pop culture, health, and parenting for the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Parents, Spin, Slate, Paste, Salon, Newsweek, Real Simple, the Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, and many other publications. She is also author of Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float. (Find her on Twitter.)

Salley Shannon has written for many national magazines and newspapers. She is immediate past president of the Independent and sits on its board.

Brendan Slocumb was born in Yuba City, California, and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was the concertmaster for the University Symphony Orchestra at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and served as the principal violist. He has performed with numerous small chamber ensembles and in the BESK string quartet. For the past 23 years, he has been a public and private school music educator, and he is a Nobel Educator of Distinction. He also serves as an educational consultant for the Kennedy Center and as concertmaster for the NOVA-Annandale Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Brendan and Evergreen Podcasts launched How Music Can Save Your Life, a series of conversations about the power of music. The Violin Conspiracy is his first novel. (Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.)

Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry (The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather) and a novel, A Secret Woman. She is also editor and co-founder of Alan Squire Publishing. Her awards include the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, and Academy of American Poets’ University Prize, the Columbia Book Award, an EMMA award for excellence in journalism, and multiple grants. (Find her on Twitter and Facebook.)

David O. Stewart is a bestselling writer of history and historical fiction. The Wall Street Journal called his George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father “an outstanding biography,” with writing that “is clear, often superlative,” providing “a narrative drive such a life deserves.” Other histories explore the writing of the Constitution, the gifts of James Madison, Aaron Burr’s western expedition and treason trial, and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. David has won the Washington Writing Award for best book, the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati (twice), the George Washington Memorial Award, the 2022 Best Book award of the Colonial Dames of America, and the Prescott Award of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. David’s novels include the recently released The New Land, Book One of a trilogy tracing a family through American history.  His three historical mysteries are The Lincoln Deception (about the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy), The Paris Deception (about the Paris Peace Conference in 1919), and The Babe Ruth Deception. (Find him on Twitter and Facebook.)

Jenny Sullivan has worked in print and online media for nearly 20 years. A seasoned magazine editor and writer, she has covered architecture, design, urban planning, contemporary culture, and green building for numerous magazines and websites. Prior to joining Arlington Magazine, Jenny was the senior architecture and design editor for Builder, the premier magazine covering the homebuilding industry, and winner of the prestigious Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award. She is the author of three design books and has served as a judge for several national architecture and design competitions.

Julia Tagliere's work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Writer, Potomac Review, Gargoyle Magazine, the Independent, and various anthologies. A 2022 Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist Award recipient, Julia is also a past winner of the William Faulkner Literary Competition for Best Short Story, the Writer’s Center Undiscovered Voices Fellowship, and the Nancy Zafris Short Story Fellowship. She resides with her family in Maryland, where she completed her M.A. in Writing at Johns Hopkins University, and in 2019, she founded the community literary reading series MoCo Underground, which showcases the work of local writers. She serves as an editor with the Baltimore Review and is currently working on her next novel and her first short-story collection. 

Karin Tanabe is the author of six novels, including A Woman of Intelligence and The Gilded Years (soon to be a major motion picture starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon). A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She lives in Washington, DC. (Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.)

Meera Trehan is an Indian American writer who grew up in the Washington, DC, suburbs, where she read as much as she could, memorized poems, and ate enough cookies to earn the nickname “Monster” after the Cookie Monster. After attending the University of Virginia and Stanford Law School, she practiced public-interest law for over a decade before turning to writing for children. She lives in Maryland with her family. Her debut middle-grade novel is The View from the Very Best House in Town. (Find her on Twitter.)

Tim Wendel is the award-winning author of 14 books, including Escape from Castro's Cuba, Cancer Crossings, and Summer of '68. A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, his stories and columns have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, Psychology Today, USA Today and Esquire. He has narrated seven audiobooks and been a guest on PBS, NPR, ESPN, the MLB Network, and CNN. (Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.)

Paula Whyman's new book, Mad Land: Rediscovering the Wild, One Field at a Time, is forthcoming from Timber Press. It’s a combination memoir, natural history, and chronicle of her attempts to restore retired farmland to natural habitat. Her first book, the linked short-story collection You May See a Stranger, won the Towson Prize for Literature. Her work has appeared in places like Ploughshares, VQR, McSweeney’s Quarterly, the Hudson Review, the Washington Post, and on NPR. She is vice president of the MacDowell Fellows Executive Committee and a fellow of MacDowell, Yaddo, VCCA, and the Studios of Key West. She was recently awarded a 2022 Creativity Grant by the Maryland State Arts Council to support work on Mad Land. Paula is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Scoundrel Time literary journal. (Find her on Twitter.)

Morowa Yejidé, a native of Washington, DC, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Time of the Locust, which was a 2012 finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, longlisted for the 2015 PEN/Bingham Prize, and a 2015 NAACP Image Award nominee. She lives in the DC area with her husband and three sons. Her most recent novel, Creatures of Passage, was shortlisted for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and a 2021 Notable Book selection by NPR and the Washington Post. (Find her on Twitter.)

Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novels The Hive and Flood and editor of Grace in Darkness and Furious Gravity, two anthologies by DC Women Writers. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Ms., the Washington Post, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, Literary Hub, and Believer Magazine. She has been the recipient of the Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Foundation Residency Fellowship, the Center for Mark Twain Studies’ Quarry Farm Fellowship, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship. Born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri, she is an associate professor of Literature at American University. (Find her on Twitter and Instagram.)

Vonetta Young is a writer of memoir, personal essay, and short fiction. Her essays have appeared in Indiana Review, Barrelhouse, DASH, Lunch Ticket, Catapult, and elsewhere. Her fiction has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Gargoyle, and the anthology Furious Gravity. She serves as senior fiction editor for the Rumpus and assistant flash editor for Hippocampus. (Find her on Twitter and Facebook.)

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