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Nancy Agabian

Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak (2000, Beyond Baroque Books) a collection of poetry, prose, and performance texts, and a memoir, Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (2008, Aunt Lute Books), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a Saroyan International Writing Prize.

Her recent novel, The Fear of Large and Small Nations was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. A facilitator of community-based writing workshops for over twenty years, she currently teaches creative writing at New York University and The New School.


This is Nancy’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “WRITING LYRICS: Image, Emotion, and Justice”.

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Keisha-Gaye Anderson

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 second Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "WRITE YOURSELF IN: Being and Becoming Through Speculative Fiction".

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Breena Clarke

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 a co-organizer of the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers. She will be offering the Writing Workshop: "HOW THEY MUST HAVE FELT: Developing an Emotional Landscape in Fiction".

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Cheryl Clarke

Cheryl Clarke is a black lesbian feminist poet and the author of five books of poetry: Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (1982), Living as a Lesbian (1986), Humid Pitch (1989), Experimental Love (1993), By My Precise Haircut, winner of the  2016 Hilary Tham Award from Word Works Books; and the chapbooks, Your Own Lovely Bosom  (2014) and Targets (2018).

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the journals Conditions, Sinister Wisdom, Callaloo, Black World, African American Literary Review, and the iconic anthologies: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology.

For the midterm elections of 2018, she co-edited Dump Trump: Legacies of Resistance, a Sinister Wisdom special issue.


Cheryl is a co-organizer of the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers.

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Esther Cohen

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. 


Esther 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 seventh year at the Festival as an Invited Writer.  She lives in Manhattan as well as Cornwallville, NY. 


Esther will be offering the INTENSIVE Writing Workshop, "GOOD STORIES: The Deep Red Heart of Life ".

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Alexis De Veaux

Alexis De Veaux was a freelance writer and contributing editor for Essence Magazine in the 1980’s, where she penned a number of socially relevant articles. She was chosen by the magazine to go to South Africa in 1990 to interview Nelson Mandela upon his historic release from prison, making her the first North American writer to do so.


Alexis published a second award-winning children’s book, An Enchanted Hair Tale (1987) before moving to Buffalo, where she earned a doctorate in American Studies in 1992. Her biography, Audre Lorde, Warrior Poet (2004), has been the recipient of several awards, including the Gustavus Meyers Outstanding Book Award (2004).


She has collaborated with the visual artist Valerie Maynard and poet Kathy Engel on the digital project, “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been Terrorized?(available on YouTube). Her novel, Yabo, won the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Fiction. 


This is Alexis' fifth year as a participating writer and she will be Moderating the Public Conversation, "IN THESE TIMES: WRITING. TERROR. POSSIBILITY".  Alexis will be joined by Cynthia Dewi Oka and Kathy Engel.

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Kathy Engel

Poet and essayist Kathy Engel is an educator, organizational strategic consultant, and co- founder and former director of MADRE, the international women’s human rights group.

Her writings have been published in The Iowa Review, The Nation (online), Poetry Magazine, Poet Lore, The Wide Shore, and elsewhere. Recent books include Ruth’s Skirts (available at Amazon), IKON, The Kitchen, and We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon, co-edited with Kamal Boullata.

Kathy is Associate Arts Professor and Chair of the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She has worked as producer, publicist, and convener with artists, change-makers, and scholars in multiple forms and venues, from street actions to poetry readings to multimedia performance pieces, spanning the last 40 years.

This is Kathy's second year as a participating writer and along with Cynthia Dewi Oka, will participate in the Public ConversationIN THESE TIMES: Writing. Terror. Possibility. Moderated by Alexis DeVeaux.

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Margot Farrington

Margot Farrington is a poet, writer, performer, and the author of three poetry collections, including Scanning For Tigers, her most recent. . 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 third Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "GOLDEN CHRYSANTHEMUM: Brevity & Discovery".


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Ifeona Fulani

Ifeona Fulani is a Clinical Professor in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University. Her research interests are Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies, literatures of Africa and its diasporas and Writing.


Her recent publications are Archipelagos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music (University of West Indies Press, 2012), a collection of short stories titled Ten Days in Jamaica (Peepal Tree Press, 2012) and several articles and reviews.


Additionally, she has also published a novel titled Seasons of Dust (Harlem River Press, 1997). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Comparative Literature.


This is Ifeona’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “NOTHING HAPPENS NOWHERE: Grounding Your Story in Place.

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Diane Gilliam

Diane Gilliam is the author of four collections of poetry: Dreadful Wind & Rain, Kettle Bottom, One of Everything and Recipe for Blackberry Cake (chapbook).  She holds a MFA from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Ohio State University.


Diane teaches in community workshops and as guest faculty in the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She has received an Individual Artist Grant from the Ohio Arts Council, the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, the Ohioana Library Association Poetry Book of the Year Award and a Pushcart Prize. She is the most recent recipient of the Gift of Freedom from the A Room of Her Own Foundation.


This is Diane’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “LEAPING Poetry.


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Marya Hornbacher

Marya Hornbacher is an award-winning essayist, journalist, novelist, poet, and the New York Times bestselling author of five books, with a sixth forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin in 2020.


She is the recipient of the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, the Fountain House Humanitarian Award, a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship, and other distinctions, and her writing across genres has appeared in publications that include the New York Times, Boston Globe, Smithsonian Magazine, Crazyhorse, AGNI, Gulf Coast, The Normal School, Fourth Genre, DIAGRAM, and many others. 


She teaches in the graduate writing programs at the University of Nebraska and Augsburg University. 


This is Marya’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “INVENTING THE ‘I’: Crafting a Powerful First Person Voice

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Ginnah Howard

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 fifth Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, "REVISION: Re-seeing & Re-writing".

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 JP Howard

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 fourth Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop,HOW TO BLOOM ~ Creating, Sustaining and Presenting: Women Writers in Bloom Literary Salon.


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Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She is a product of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and in the South Bronx. She attended the New York City public school system and received her academic degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Queens College-City University of New York.

As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents in Puerto Rico where she was introduced to the culture of rural Puerto Rico, including the storytelling that came naturally to the women in her family, especially the older women. Much of her work is based on her experiences during this time. Dahlma taught creative writing and language and literature in the New York City public school system before becoming a young-adult librarian.

The 2009 hardcover edition of Daughters of the Stone was listed as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.

Her short stories appear in the following anthologies:

Breaking Ground: Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980 - 2012 (Abriendo Caminos: antologia de escritoras puertorriquenas en Nueva York 1980 - 2012), Bronx Memoir Project, Latina Authors and Their Muses, Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul, and Growing Up Girl.

This is Dahlma’s fourth Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, CELEBRATING WisdomKeepers”.

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Linda Lowen

Linda Lowen is an award-winning writer and radio producer who has earned national recognition for her coverage of women's issues, medicine and health, and parenting. She is co-host/producer of the weekly health and wellness show Take Care on WRVO Public Media, an NPR affiliate in upstate New York.


Linda is the founder of, a writing studio that offers in-person and online workshops for beginner to intermediate writers. She teaches creative non-fiction writing at the Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse, NY where her classes run the gamut from memoir to blogging. She also presents workshops at writing festivals and women’s conferences

She is the editor of Hopeful, Grateful, Strong, an anthology of cancer survivor stories (June 2015). Her essay “Hillary Clinton, Everymother,” appears in the anthology Love Her, Love Her Not:  The Hillary Paradox (November 2015), edited by Joanne Bamberger. The book was designated an Amazon Hot New Release and won a Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Women’s Issues category.

As editor/writer/content producer for Women’s Issues at, she has written over 2400 articles and blog posts on issues that have an impact on women’s lives. 

Her micro memoir Pat the Bunny was published in The Writer Magazine in December 2017, spurring her to create a workshop to teach the form to others. Currently she's working on a craft book, Writing Micro Memoir. Linda has presented workshops at the Chautauqua Writers' Festival, HippoCamp 2019, Pyramid Lake Women's Writing Retreat, and at writing conferences across the Northeast.

This is Linda’s third Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “GOING DEEP WITH MICRO MEMOIR”.



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Marilyn McCabe

Marilyn McCabe, has garnered for her poetry, an Orlando Prize from AROHO, the Hilary Tham Capital Collection contest award from The Word Works resulting in publication of her book of poems Perpetual Motion, and two artist grants from the New York State Council on the Arts.


Her second book of poems, Glass Factory, was published in 2016. Her poems and videopoetry have been published in a variety of print and online literary magazines.


She blogs about writing and reading at


This is Marilyn’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “WRITE NOW: Exercises and Play



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​Ellen Meeropol

Ellen Meeropol is the author of three novels, Kinship of Clover, On Hurricane Island, and House Arrest. Her fourth novel, Her Sister’s Tattoo, is forthcoming in spring 2020.

Recent essay publications include The Boston Globe, The Writer, Guernica, The Cleaver, Necessary Fiction, and The Writers Chronicle. Her dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children has been produced five times, most recently in Manhattan in 2013 featuring Eve Ensler, Angela Davis, and Cotter Smith.


Ellen has an MFA in fiction from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and leads the Guild’s Social Justice Writing project. She lives in Northampton, MA

This is Ellen’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL: Writing the Novel


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Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D., is the author of the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love (2015). In her fiction, she explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young black women, through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected magical realist techniques.

Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Writing, American Fiction: Best New Stories by Emerging Writers, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize Stories, BLOOM: Queer Fiction, Art, Poetry and More, TriQuarterly, Feminist Studies All About Skin: Short Stories by Award-Winning Women Writers of Color, Baobab: South African Journal of New Writing and many others.

She is the winner of the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award, and fellowships, scholarships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Yaddo Colony, the Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat, and the Center for Fiction in New York City, where she received a 2011 Emerging Writers Fellowship.

Mecca is Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Temple University, and a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College.

A proud native of Harlem, NY, her critical and scholarly work on sexuality, identity, and poetics in contemporary African Diaspora culture has appeared in publications including Palimpsest: Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International, Jacket2, Public Books, GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies Quarterly, From Uncle Tom’s Cabin the The Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Narratives of Black Life,, where she serves as Associate Editor for Arts & Culture.

This is Mecca's second Festival and along with Kathy Engel, will participate in the Public Conversation “IN THESE TIMES: Writing. Terror. Possibility”. Moderated by Alexis DeVeaux.

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Stephanie Nikolopoulos

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 sixth year and will offer the Writing Workshop, "WILD WOMEN ON THE ROAD".

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Bertha Rogers

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 is the Poet Laureate of Delaware County, New York and 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 sixth year and will be offering the INTENSIVE Writing Workshop, “THE ULTIMATE METAPHOR".

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Yolanda Wisher

Yolanda Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song (Philadelphia Mural Arts, 2013).


Wisher was named the inaugural poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and the third poet laureate of Philadelphia in 2016. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, she has been a Writer in Residence at Hedgebrook and Aspen Words.


Currently the Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary, she also performs a unique blend of poetry and song with her band The Afroeaters.


This is Yolanda’s first Festival as a participating writer and she will be offering the Writing Workshop, “RAG & RIFF: The Poetics of the Quilt

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