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Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a Jamaican-born poet, author, visual artist, and media professional living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of Gathering the Waters (2014), her first book of poetry.

A Spell for Living, is forthcoming from Agape in 2019 as a multimedia e-book, including music and Keisha's original art work. It is the recipient of “Editors' Choice” recognition for the 2017 “Numinous Orisons, Luminous Origin Literary Award.” Keisha's second new poetry collection, Everything Is Necessary, will be published by Willow/Aquarius Press this year.

Keisha is a past participant of the VONA Voices and Callaloo writing workshops, and was short-listed for the “Small Axe Literary Competition.” She is a graduate of the Syracuse University Newhouse School and holds a M.F.A. in creative writing from City College/CUNY. This is her first Festival.

This is Keisha's first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "REIMAGINING THE PAST TO WRITE THE FUTURE"

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LaShonda Katrice Barnett is the author of the acclaimed debut historical novel, Jam on the Vine (2015).   Jam on the Vine has won numerous honors, among them a Stonewall Award by the American Library Association (2016), an Editor's Choice selection at The Chicago Tribune, ElIe Magazine's Belle Lettres 2015 Reader's Prize, and the Emerging Writers Award at the 2015 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.

Jam on the Vine is a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist.  Barnett's short stories have appeared in The Common Literary Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Guernica Magazine, New Orleans Review, SN Review, Juked, C4, Chamber Quarterly Literary Review, and Gemini Magazine.


Lover of music and editor of I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters On Their Craft, her new volume, Sounding Off: Conversations with Women Musicians in the African Diaspora is forthcoming in 2019. She is currently completing the historical novel God’s Folly!


This is LaShonda's second Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “THE TRUTHFUL LIE: Reading and Writing Historical Fiction.

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Blanche McCrary Boyd’s new novel Tomb of the Unknown Racist will be released in May 2018, completing a trilogy she began with The Revolution of Little Girls in 1990 and Terminal Velocity in 1997. She is published widely as a journalist and essayist.

A collection of her "gonzo nonfiction" is available as The Redneck Way of Knowledge (1981). Blanche is the Roman S. and Tatiana Weller Professor of English and Writer in Residence at Connecticut College, where she has taught for many years.

This is Blanche’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “WHAT'S THE TRUTH? Writing Fiction and Nonfiction”.

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Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the American-Ghanaian author of Powder Necklace (2010), which Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut.”


Named among 39 of the most promising African writers under 39, her short fiction was included in the anthology Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of Sahara (Bloomsbury 2014). She has contributed fiction to African Writing and the short story collection Woman's Work.


Nana’s commentary on everything from Michelle Obama's role in the 2012 presidential election to Nelson Mandela's legacy has appeared in numerous media. Her short story “Wisdom” will appear in the forthcoming Atria Books anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life. She is currently at work on a new novel.


This is Nana’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "THE WAR ROOM: Plot, Equip Yourself & Take Necessary Action To Survive As A Writer”.


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Photo courtesy of Ann E. Chapman

Breena Clarke is the author of three novels, River Cross My Heart, Stand the Storm, and her newest, Angels Make Their Hope Here.  All three novels present vivid views of African-American communities.


She is a faculty member of the Stone Coast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.  She is affiliated with A Room of Her Own: A Foundation for Women Artists. She is an avid swimmer. Since retirement from Time-Warner in 2000, she has been a full-time writer. 


Breena is one of the organizers of the Festival of Women Writers. 

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Photo courtesy of Nivea Castro

Cheryl Clarke is the author of five books of poetry. Recently, her poems have appeared in The 2016 Argos Poetry Calendar #4 (September) and the online journals The Wide Shore and The Beltway Poetry Quarterly in 2015.  Interviews with her have appeared in The Feminist Wire in 2014 and The Huffington Post this year.  Her 1986 classic, Living as a Lesbian was reprinted in 2014 by Sinister Wisdom Press. She was voted by GO Magazine into the 2014 Class of “100 Women We Love.”  By My Precise Haircut, her fifth book of poetry, was published by The Word Works Press in April of 2016.


Cheryl is one of the organizers of the Festival, co-owner with Barbara Balliet of Blenheim Hill Books, and the sister of Breena Clarke.  


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Esther Cohen is the author of Don’t Mind Me: And Other Jewish Lies with illustrations by Roz Chast, the novels No Charge for Looking and Book Doctor, and Unseen America, an ongoing project in visual history, started in 2000. Nannies, homecare workers, migrants, and scores of others tell the stories of their lives through pictures they take of what they see.  She has also published two volumes of poetry, God Is a Tree and prayerbook.  She has been writing a daily poetry blog since 2014. 


This is her sixth year at the Festival as an Invited Writer.  She lives in Manhattan as well as Cornwallville, NY. 


Esther returns to her sixth Festival and will be offering the INTENSIVE Writing Workshop, "GOOD STORIES: The Deep Red Heart of Life ".


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Margot Farrington is a poet, writer, performer, and the author of three poetry collections, including Scanning For Tigers, her most recent. A fourth collection is due out in 2018 from Free Scholar Press. Her poems have been published in anthologies in the U.S. and U.K. Other published writings include essays and interviews.


Among her awards are fellowships from Norton Island, The I-Park Foundation, and The Clocktower and the Platte Clove Artist Residency.  Broadcasts featuring readings and interviews include Art On Air International Radio, WGXC 90.7 FM and WIOX 91.3 FM.


Farrington has read and performed at series and venues in France, England, Wales, The Netherlands, and throughout the U.S.  She is the founder and director of Writers At The Eyrie, a writers residency program in Brooklyn for writers.


This is Margot's second Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "WILD CARD: The Search For A Stranger Voice".

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Annie Finch is an American poet, author, and performer. A poet of nature, female identity, and earth-centered spirituality, Annie Finch has published more than twenty books of poetry and poetics, most recently Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press).


Annie has performed her poetry and presented lectures and workshops on poetry and spirituality at gatherings and conferences including “Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality,” “Where Womyn Gather,” “A Room of Her Own,” and “Emerging Women.” She also teaches poetry-writing in the low-residency MFA program at St. Francis College. She is now completing a new book about living as a witch. 

This is Annie’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "THE HEALING SPIRAL OF RHYTHMIC LANGUAGE".


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Ginnah Howard's work has appeared in Water~Stone Review, Permafrost, Portland Review, Descant 145, Eleven Eleven Journal, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere.

Several stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her novel, Night Navigation (2009), was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Chronogram called Howard’s second novel, Doing Time Outside (2013) “a beautiful read that all comes together in a knockout ending.”

The final book of the trilogy, Rope & Bone: A Novel in Stories (2014) was chosen as one of the “best of the best Indies in 2015” by Publishers Weekly.

This is Ginnah’s fourth Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "REVISION: Re-seeing & Re-writing".

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JP (Juliette) Howard’s poetry collection, Say/Mirror, was a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist and a recipient also of its 2016 Judith A. Markowitz “Emerging Writer Award.” She is the author of the chapbook bury your love poems here (2015).


JP is a 2018 featured author in Lambda Literary Foundation’s LGBTQ Writers in Schools program and a 2018 Brooklyn Arts Council award recipient. Additionally, she has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, VONA, and the Astraea Foundation. She is an Editor-at-Large at Mom Egg Review online.


JP’s  poetry and essays have appeared in Academy of American Poets, Anomaly, Apogee Journal, The Feminist Wire, Split this Rock, Muzzle Magazine, and The Best American Poetry Blog. She holds degrees from Barnard College, City College of New York, and Brooklyn Law School.  


This is JP’s third Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “RADICALIZING THE PERSONAL ESSAY OR NARRATIVE POEM WITH LORDE AND BALDWIN AT THE HELM”.


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Marianela Medrano is a Dominican writer and psychotherapist. With more than 10 years of experience working for diverse populations, her work uses literature, with a special concentration in poetry, as a healing tool.


Marianela is a licensed professional counselor and a certified poetry therapist. Her areas of interest and practice include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Mindfulness and Integral Psychotherapy.  She combines literature, psychology, and her research on the Sacred Feminine to help others find new ways of knowing the wholeness of being human.


Her work has been published the following: Oficio de Vivir (1986), Los Alegres Ojos de la Tristeza (1987), Regando Esencias / The Scent of Waiting (1998) and Curada de Espantos (2002).  Additionally, her work also appears in literary magazines such as Brooklyn Review (1995), Punto 7 Review (1996) Sisters of Caliban (1996) Callaloo (2000), The Afro-Latin@ Reader (2010), among many others.

This is Marianela 's fourth Festival and she will be offering a Public Reading.


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Yesenia Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet and translator. Her poetry has appeared in The Wide Shore, Prairie Schooner, and other. She is the author of The Pink Box (2015), which was long-listed for the Pen Open Book Award 2016.


Born and raised in New York City, she received a BA from Hunter College and an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University. A CantoMundo Fellow in 2014. Montilla remains in New York City.

Yesenia is returning to the Festival for a second time and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "CREATING WORLDS: Using the Poet’s Eye and Sci-Fi to Re-Invent the Future We Deserve".

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Anne Nelson is an author and playwright who explores the role of women as moral actors in times of crisis.   She has reported on the wars of El Salvador and Guatemala, and served on the staff of Human Rights Watch and as Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Her book Red Orchestra tells the story of Greta Kuckhoff and the anti-Nazi resistance in Berlin. Suzanne’s Children describes Suzanne Spaak’s daring efforts to rescue Jewish children in Paris from deportation to Auschwitz.


Nelson is a graduate of Yale University and has taught at Columbia since 1995.  She is the recipient of a Livingston Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Her play The Guys has been produced in over fifteen countries and as a feature film version starring Sigourey Weaver.

This is Anne's first Festival and she will offer the Writing Workshop, "THE LIVES OF OTHERS: Interviewing Techniques for Literary Non-fiction"

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Stephanie Nikolopoulos is the co-author, with Paul Maher Jr., of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’. She wrote the introduction to a reissue of the Isabella Bird’s travel classic A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains .


Her personal essays and journalism on visual arts, literature, endangered languages, and Greece and Sweden have appeared in such publications as BOMBlog, Brooklyn Rail, Gothamist, The Literary Traveler, and The Millions as well as mentioned by The New Yorker (“Page-Turner”), The Paris Review (“On the Shelf”), and The Huffington Post. For more than a decade she has edited for a publishing house in New York City.  She is also the visual arts editor for Burnside Writers Collective, where she writes a column about church architecture called “Church Hopping” and offers live tours. 


Stephanie is returning to the Festival for a fourth year and will offer the Writing Workshop, "BUILD DEMAND FOR YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL".

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Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of Salvage: Poems (2017) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water  (2016). A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Guernica, Painted Bride Quarterly, Black Renaissance Noire, and the anthologies Best of Kweli, Women of Resistance (2018) and Who Will Speak for America (2018).


Cynthia Dewi Oka has received the Fifth Wednesday Journal “Editor’s Prize in Poetry,” scholarships from VONA and the Vermont Studio Center, and a Leeway Foundation 2017 Transformation Award.

This is Cynthia's first Festival and she offers the Writing Workshop, "POETRY AS MIGRANCY".


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Bertha Rogers has published more than 600 poems and translations in anthologies, including the recent Like Light: 25 Years of Poetry & Prose by Bright Hill Poets & Writers (2017), which she edited and includes many Festival writers. Her own poetry collections include Heart Turned Back (2010) Even the Hemlock: Poems, Illuminations, Reliquaries (2005), and the forthcoming Wild.


Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2000, and her translation with illuminations of the Anglo-Saxon Riddle -Poems from the Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, is out in 2018. She has won prestigious writing and visual arts awards and residencies.  A master teaching artist, the Distinguished Service to the Arts in Education Field Award was conferred upon her by the ATA in 2007.


Rogers co-founded Bright Hill Press & Literary Center of the Catskills with her late husband, Ernest M. Fishman, in 1992.

Bertha is returning to the Festival for a fifth year and will be offering the INTENSIVE Writing Workshop, “THE ULTIMATE METAPHOR".


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Photo courtesy of Chia Messina

Spent a large portion of her career as a writer and editor for Time and People magazines, where she co-authored the groundbreaking cover story “Twentysomething,” the first study of the demographic group known as Generation X.

Her most recent novel is "Unforgivable Love,” a Harlem renaissance retelling of Dangerous Liaisons.

Sophfronia's first novel, All I Need to Get By, was published in 2004, and she was nominated for best new author by the African American Literary Awards and hailed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as “potentially one of the best writers of her generation.”


Her essays, short stories, and articles have appeared in Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Saranac Review, Numéro Cinq, Ruminate, Barnstorm Literary Journal, Sleet Magazine,, More, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She’s completed her second novel and a collection of essays.

Sophfronia holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts School.


She is returning to the Festival for a sixth year and will be offering a Public Reading.


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Elizabeth Searle writes fiction, plays, and film scripts.  She is the author of five books of fiction, most recently We Got Him, which comes out in audiobook this year. Previous works are: the novels Girl Held In Home; the novella Celebrities In Disgrace, called “a miniature masterpiece” by The New York Times Book Review; A Four-Sided Bed, in a new paperback edition and nominated for an American Library Association Book Award; and the story collection, My Body To You, that won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize. (A Four-Sided Bed is now in development as a feature film.)


Searle’s theater works have been featured on Good Morning America, CBS, CNN, NPR, and the AP. Her play, Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, was a sold-out production both at the New York Musical Theater Festival and in February, 2018 at Feinstein’s 54 Below in Manhattan.

This is Elizabeth's second Festival and she is offering the Public Program "STOLEN GIRL SONG: A Table Reading and Stage Writing Discussion with the Author".


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Photo Courtesy of Helen Peppe Photography

Leslie T. Sharpe is a writer, editor, educator, and frequent guest on NPR. Her Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (1994) is regarded as the publishing industry’s standard and the “modern editing classic.” Her essay, “On Writing Smart: Tips and Tidbits” is featured in The Business of Writing (ed., Lyons 2012).


Sharpe began her editing career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and has since held editorial positions at several book and magazine producers. In 2004, she was appointed consultant for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She has taught book editing and creative nonfiction in university and community settings, including Columbia, City College, Radcliffe, and Writers in the Mountains (Roxbury, N.Y.)


An avid naturalist, she has served as Vice President of the New York City Audubon Society and editor of its publication, The Urban Audubon.


Her lyric narrative of Catskill wildlife, The Quarry Fox and Other Critters of the Wild Catskills, was published in 2017 to high acclaim. She recently finished her memoir, Our Fractured, Perfect Selves: Reflections of Family. She is a Member of PEN America.

Leslie is returning to her second Festival and she will offer the Writing Workshop, "SEEING NATURE IN WORDS: A Nature Writing Workshop".


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Arisa White is the author of Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. Her recent collection You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened was a nominee for the 29th Lambda Literary Award, and the chapbook “Fishing Walking and Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife” won Daniel Handler’s inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize.


As the creator of the “Beautiful Things Project,” Arisa White curates cultural events and artistic collaborations that center the stories of queer and trans people of color. She serves on the board of directors for Nomadic Press and is a faculty advisor at Goddard College.


She received her MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a Cave Canem graduate fellow.


Arisa is participating in her first Festival and will be offering the Writing Workshop, "METAPHOR IS MAGIC".


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Lisa Wujnovich is a poet/farmer who lives and works at Mountain Dell Farm in Hancock, New York. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Fieldwork (2012) and This Place Called Us (2008); and a collaborative chapbook with poet, Nancy Dymond and sculptor Naomi Teppich, Dirty Work Carved Earth Complete Breath (2007).  


Her poems appear in the anthologies, Ghost Fishing, An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (forthcoming), Like Light, 25 Years of Poetry and Prose by Bright Hill Poets and Writers, Creation: An Anthology of Ekphrastic Myth Poems, By the Crown of Their Heads, Poems for Haiti, and Syracuse Cultural Workers Women Artists Datebook, and Vigil for the Marcellus Shale. With Brandi Katherine Herrera, she is co-editor of The Lake Rises, a Stockport Flats poetry anthology on water.


She holds a MFA in Poetry from Drew University and a BA in drama from Antioch College.


Lisa is participating in her first Festival and she is offering the Writing Workshop, "GROUNDED POEMS THAT SOAR".


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