Irshad Abdal-Haqq writes and promotes fiction and nonfiction that highlight the links between past, present, and evolving intercultural relationships—especially those involving marginalized communities. He is the author of Brotherhood of the Gods, one of the first African American Muslim literary novels. His nonfiction has included scholarly articles and award-winning essays. Irshad’s current literary plans include completion of a memoir, an intercultural dystopian novel, and a unique set of short stories about the African American Muslim experience. A former adjunct associate professor at the University of Virginia and George Mason University Law School, Irshad is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A. Black Studies), Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.), and Antioch School of Law (M.A.T. Clinical Legal Education). Though born in Newark and raised in the Greater New York City area, he now proudly calls Washington, DC home.
Connor M. Bjotvedt received his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University. He was awarded the Charles E. Bull Creative Writing Scholarship for Poetry by Northern Arizona University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English, Literature, and Creative Writing. Connor was a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee and his work has appeared in Rain Taxi, the Santa Fe Literary Review, the Haiku Journal, Three Line Poetry, catheXis Northwest Press, and The Wayfarer, among others.
Thomas Calder’s writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, Miracle Monocle, The Collective Quarterly, and elsewhere. He earned his BA in English from the University of Florida and his MFA in creative writing at the University of Houston. He now lives in Asheville, N.C. with his wife, daughter and dog.
His debut novel THE WIND UNDER THE DOOR is available on March 23, 2021.
Andrew Brenza is an American experimental poet and librarian. His recent chapbooks include Poems in C (Viktlösheten Press), Bitter Almonds & Mown Grass (Shirt Pocket Press), Waterlight (Simulacrum Press), and Excerpt from Alphabeticon (No Press). His full-length collections of visual poetry include Gossamer Lid (Trembling Pillow Press), Automatic Souls (Timglaset Editions), Album, in Concrete (Alien Buddha Press) and Alphabeticon & Other Poems (RedFoxPress)
Shelly Milliron Drancik earned her MFA in fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Her short fiction has appeared in various literary journals and her screenplay, based on THE DISTANCE OF MERCY, has earned a number of awards. She lives with her children in Chicago.
Laura Kiesel is a longtime poet, essayist and journalist. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, the Washington Post, Vice, Vox, Ozy, Narratively, Salon, The Manifest-Station and many others. Her poems have been featured in upstreet, Medulla Review. Fox Chase Review, Blue Lake Review, Stone Highway Review, Noctua Review, Naugatuck River Review, Wilderness House Literary Review. Originally from Brooklyn, New York she now lives in the Boston area where she teaches creative nonfiction, literary journalism and poetry at Grub Street and Arlington Center for the Arts. She is the servant of two adorable but demanding cats and has a habit of staying up way too late at night, usually reading.
Marion Deal is a 19-year-old researcher who chases emergent things. Ze’s published three chapbooks: Cool Talks, Dead I Guess (Bone & Ink Press, 2020) and The Messiah's Customary Diner Booth (Unsolicited Press, 2021) are in print. Oracle (Really Serious Literature) is a disappearing chapbook on @rlysrslit’s Instagram page for the duration of COVID’s disruption
A three-time winner of the National YoungArts contest and a recipient of national recognition from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, hir essays and translation received an American Vision Medal in 2018 and were longlisted for the Young Poets Network 2019 translation challenge in 2019. Deal is the recipient of a Research and Innovation grant and a Meliora Scholars fellowship from the University of Rochester. Hir poems and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Tupelo Press, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Seventh Quarry (UK), Lunch Ticket, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere.
Deal has performed hir work in French, Italian, and English at venues from a Shandong Province mountain range to the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and is a proud poetry whore at Paris' Le Bordel de la Poésie. Hir performative collaborations across disciplines include a theatrical duet with director Margherita Scalise as the featured performer at Milan's Salumeria Poetry Slam and a performance art piece incorporating kung fu and a jazz quartet at 2019's National YoungArts Week. Ze was selected as a featured poet for Tupelo Press' December 2019 30/30 challenge.
Deal is currently knitting a golden braid of neuroscience, poetics, translation, and Buddhist philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester. Hir research focuses on emergent systems and the use of language in ritual and revolution.
Pay hir a visit at www.mariondeal.com
S.B. Borgersen is a British/Canadian author, of middle England and Hebridean ancestry, whose favoured genres are flash and micro fiction, and poetry.
Sue was educated at diverse institutions including boarding at a French convent in Nicosia, Cyprus before transferring in 1958 to a boarding school for military brats where she published her first story, My Life Story: told by Laika, the Sputnik Dog in The Crusader, the first magazine of King Richard School, Dhekelia, Cyprus. Sometime after that was the freedom of The North Warwickshire School of Art.
She had a diverse career path, an analyst in a shoe factory, the same thing for a children’s book publisher, teaching art, and filing for the civil service, but mostly she climbed a precarious ladder in the IT industry culminating in strategy and project management, which, by necessity in those days, included writing writing writing mountains of non-fiction — always allowing herself to be slightly creative with proposals, reports, technical and training documentation.
Sue turned her back on industry and commerce in the early nineties, escaping the stressful rat-race and finding the simple life and peaceful place she’d always sought to allow for creativity. That place was Nova Scotia where she returned to her skills from art school and made an uncomplicated living as a visual artist and potter. That is, until she got the creative writing bug.
Since 2000 her writing has won prizes, been mentioned in Hansard and published internationally in literary journals and anthologies (print and online). The list of publications is extensive and can be found at www.sueborgersen.com
She is a loyal member of The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and an enthusiastic member of the international online writers' group for expats, Writers Abroad.
Sue lives in a crumbling old house on the shores of Nova Scotia with her patient husband and a clutch of lovable rowdy dogs. She has two middle-aged children.
S.B. Borgersen writes every day.
Lizz Schumer is the senior staff writer for Good Housekeeping, Prevention, and Woman’s Day and her freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, HuffPo, Bon Appetit, The Spruce, VinePair, SELF, and others. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goddard College and is also the author of Buffalo Steel (Black Rose Writing 2013). Her essays, poetry, fiction, and hybrid text have appeared in Punchnel’s, Wordgathering, Ploughshares.com, Ghost City Review, Entropy Mag, and elsewhere. She teaches journalism and communications courses as an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies and as a writing consultant at the NYC Writer’s Room.
After having dealt with her own 20+ years of eating and body issues ranging from mild frustrations to serious eating disorders, Alli Spotts-De Lazzer became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#49842) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (#844) specializing in eating and body image issues. Eventually, she became a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist—the only nationally recognized designation indicating a specialty in eating disorders.
Alli has been a featured speaker at public events; presented workshops at national and international conferences, graduate schools, clinical training facilities, and hospitals; published articles in trade magazines, online information hubs, and academic journals; and appeared as an eating disorders expert on local news. She has also co-chaired committees for the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp™) and the Academy for Eating Disorders. In 2017, she received the iaedp Member of the Year award.
As far as public activism and advocacy, in 2014, Alli created #ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance!®: a series of public events sparking conversations about body, soul, and self-acceptance through fun, inspiration, and flash mob dance. This movement has appeared across America. Highlights include appearing on Capitol Hill and at the Los Angeles Staples Center. July 13, 2017 was proclaimed as “#ShakeIt for Self-Acceptance! Day” in the City of Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Throughout the years, Alli has witnessed firsthand that stories of humanness, joy, inspiration, and hope increase people’s receptivity to both considering change and opening up to education. That motivated her to create MeaningFULL.
Ayendy Bonifacio was born in Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State University. His areas of scholarship include American literature and culture, including Latino/a/x studies; digital humanities; public humanities; transamerican poetics, specifically the reprint poem as a form of public discourse; and hemispheric studies. His current book project, Poems Go Viral: Reprint Culture in the US Popular Press (1855-1866), draws examples from over 200 English- and Spanish-language popular dailies and weeklies between January 1855 and December 1866. This book studies what Bonifacio calls the virality of nineteenth-century poems. Akin to the way an image, video, and a piece of information go viral on the internet today, certain popular poems and poets circulated rapidly and widely through newspaper reproduction. His research is published and/or forthcoming in American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography; Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism; Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature; Postcolonial Interventions: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Postcolonial Studies; The Journal: A Literary Magazine; and The American Review of Books. He is also the author of Dique Dominican (Floricanto Press, 2017) and To The River, We Are Migrants (Unsolicited Press, 2020). In 2018, The Latino Author named Dique Dominican one of the “top ten best non-fiction books of 2017.”
Matthew Duffus is the author of the novel Swapping Purples for Yellows and the poetry chapbook Problems of the Soul and Otherwise. He lives in North Carolina and can be found online at matthewduffus.com and on twitter @DuffusMatthew.
Wendell Mayo (1953-2019) was a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. He authored five collections of short stories, recently, Survival House with SFASU Press in 2018. His other collections are The Cucumber King of Kėdainiai, winner of the Subito Press Award for Innovative Fiction; Centaur of the North (Arte Público Press), winner of the Aztlán Prize; B. Horror and Other Stories (Livingston Press); and a novel-in-stories, In Lithuanian Wood (White Pine Press). Over one-hundred of his short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including Yale Review, Harvard Review, Manoa, Missouri Review, Boulevard, New Letters, Threepenny Review, Indiana Review, and Chicago Review. He received the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Fulbright to Lithuania (Vilnius University), two Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, and a Master Fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission. He taught fiction writing in the MFA/BFA programs at Bowling Green State University for over twenty years.
William Jablonsky is originally from Rock Falls, Illinois, and earned an MFA in fiction writing from Bowling Green State University. He is the author of two previous books: The Indestructible Man: Stories (Livingston Press, 2005) and The Clockwork Man (Medallion, 2010). His short fiction has appeared frequently national magazines and journals, including Asimov’s, Shimmer, The Florida Review, Phoebe, and many others. He teaches fiction writing and interdisciplinary humanities at Loras College, and lives in eastern Iowa with his wife and son.
Stephen J. O’Shea is a writer, documentarian, and (now) sailor, who tells stories to stay alive. His research for From the Land of Genesis was the catalyst for a sailing expedition around Cape Horn to raise awareness about veteran suicide rates. Having miraculously survived that feat (and transformed that journey into the feature documentary, Hell or High Seas) he's now writing and producing stories through a number of mediums, including literature and film.
Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator from Dogtown, a place that no longer exists. Her interdisciplinary work connects the arts, education, and urbanism. Her work crosses genres from poetry and creative non-fiction to choreography and social science. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her creative non-fiction (2017), Best of the Net for her poetry (2018), and was recognized on the National Honor Roll for Service Learning.
Her writing has been published by Yes Poetry, Zócalo Public Square, Lady Liberty Lit, Full Blede, Rose Quartz Journal, Awkward Mermaid Press, Inscape, Rag Queen Periodicals, Anti-Heroin Chic, Lady Liberty Lit, Entropy, SAGE Publications, UC Press, SUNY Press, Public!: A Journal of Imagining America, Teaching Artist Journal, Critical Planning Journal, and the Tiferet Journal. Her choreography has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Singapore — from the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C. to grunge clubs in New York, terreiros in Salvador da Bahia, and cafetoriums in Point Barrow, Alaska.
Amy holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in urban planning (University of California, Los Angeles); an M.F.A. in creative writing (Antioch University), and a B.A. in Latin American Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz). She is currently an Associate Professor at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). She taught artists and classroom teachers for seven years while directing the ArtsBridge Program for UCLA Arts. Amy was on the founding committee of Create CA. She co-founded the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center and served as its Executive Director over a 15-year period. She has taught creative writing, dance, capoeira, and media literacy for youth and adults in community centers, schools, and spaces of incarceration. She began her creative career as a dancer and choreographer in California and New York.
Chuck Harp is a writer of various forms who currently resides in Los Angeles. He published Before I Forget with Black Rose Writing, What Must Go On with Unsolicited Press, and Blooming Insanity with Dostoyevsky Wannabe.
Anuja Ghimire was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and came to America to attend college. She began seriously writing and publishing since 2008. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, she has published poetry, creative nonfiction and flash fiction in the U.S., Canada, Nepal, and the U.K. Most recently, her work appeared in Finished Creatures (UK), Glass: A journal of poetry, Medusa’s Laughs Press Microanthology, and EcoTheo Review. She works as a senior publisher in an education-based company near Dallas, Texas. She lives with her husband and two young daughters near Dallas.
Caleb Nichols is a queer poet and musician from California and is in the band, Soft People. Nichols has been a musician for more than a decade and has been actively writing poetry. His work has been featured in Unstammatic: a Microlit Journal, Brain Mill Press and Inklette. His poem, “Ken,” won an Academy of American Poets University Prize. His music has been featured on Out.com, Paste, and many other places.
Novelist and translator and the author of fourteen books, Tsipi Keller is the recipient of several literary awards, including New York Foundation for the Arts Fiction Grants, and National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowships. Her latest novel, Nadja on Nadja, was published by Underground Voices.
Wayne-Daniel Berard teaches English and Humanities at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. Wayne-Daniel is a Peace Chaplain, an interfaith clergy person, and a member of B'nai Or of Boston. He has published widely in both poetry and prose, and is the co-founding editor of Soul-Lit, an online journal of spiritual poetry. He lives in Mansfield, MA with his wife, The Lovely Christine.
Scott Poole is best known for his 11 year stint as the "House Poet" of Public Radio International's Live Wire! radio program. He is the author of 3 previous books of poetry and Vacancy, an art chapbook of paintings and poems. In his spare time, he's a painter and software developer. He lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife and family.
Scott Poole is the co-author of The Last Tiger Is Somewhere.
Rob Carney is the author of six previous collections of poems, most recently Facts and Figures (Hoot ’n’ Waddle) and The Book o.f Sharks (Black Lawrence Press), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and won the 2019 Artists of Utah Magazine (15 BYTES) Book Award for Poetry. Accidental Gardens—a collection of 42 flash essays about the environment, politics, and poetics—is forthcoming from Stormbird Press. He is a Professor of English and Literature at Utah Valley University and lives in Salt Lake City.
Rob Carney is the co-author of The Last Tiger is Somewhere
Tyler James Russell lives in Pennsylvania with Cat, his wife, and their children. He teaches English and Creative Writing, and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of British Columbia. His work has appeared in Riddle Fence, Apiary, and Inwood Indiana, among other publications, and was a nominee for the 2011 Rhysling Award. You can find him at Tylerjamesrussell.com.
Books by Tyler James Russell
At once delicate and visceral, the poems in To Drown a Man chronicle the long gauntlet from a life of secrets to a life of intimacy. “The only difference between imprisonment and hiding,” Russell writes, “is who shuts the door.” Exploring the meaning of redemption and shame as related to the personal, the marital, and the spiritual, these are the poems of a soul at war with itself. They read like chunks of ore being burned of their dross.
Joseph Allen Costa is a freelance writer and adjunct English professor in Tampa. He received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Tampa and his BA from the University of South Florida. His short fiction has appeared in BULL men’s fiction, Rabble Lit, the HCE Review, The Write Launch and in December Magazine as a finalist for the Curt Johnson Prose Awards. Costa is the author of three novels (The Good, The Bad and The Goalie, Discovering Dynamite! and Eye of the Storm), and one linked collection of short fiction (Comets, published by Unsolicited Press).
Having worked in his father’s cabinet shop for more than a dozen years, Costa’s most recent work, Comets, captures a microcosm of blue collar problems with implications that go beyond economic and cultural boundaries, illuminating a greater understanding of the human experiences we all share.
Costa began his career writing advertising for Macy’s on 34th Street in New York City and soon after was recruited by one of the largest advertising agencies in the world — Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt — where he worked for 6 years as a copywriter.
Costa lives in Tampa with his wife Teresa, their two children, and their dogs Bella and Dash.