Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodríguez served as the official Poet Laureate of Los Angeles from 2014-2016. He is a novelist/memoirist/short story/children’s book writer as well as a community & urban peace activist, mentor, healer, and youth & arts advocate. He has 15 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. His latest memoir is the sequel, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing. His latest poetry book is Borrowed Bones. Luis is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press. With his wife Trini, he has a podcast called The Hummingbird Cricket Hour.

Carmen Machado

Carmen Machado is the author of the short story collection Her Body and Other Parties, a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, the Brooklyn Public Library Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, GrantaHarper’s Bazaar, Tin House, VQR, Best American Science Fiction & FantasyBest American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. She is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.

Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Whip Smart and the essay collection Abandon Me, which was named a Best Book of 2017 by Esquire, Book RiotThe Cut, Electric Literature, The Brooklyn Rail, Bustle, Refinery29, SalonThe Rumpus, and others. Her second essay collection will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020. Febos is the inaugural winner of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Prize from LAMBDA Literary, the 2017 recipient of The Sarah Verdone Writing Award, and her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and the Center for Women Writers. She is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University, where she directs the MFA program.


Adrian Metejka

Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden, which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology, a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His third collection, The Big Smoke, focuses on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. The Big Smoke was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent book, Map to the Stars, was published in 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington and is Poet Laureate of Indiana.


Erika Sanchez

Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, novelist, and essayist, her debut poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion, was a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. Her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, is a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist. She is currently a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow, and a recent recipient of the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PleiadesCopper NickelVinyl PoetryGuernicadiodeBoston Review,, The Paris ReviewGulf CoastPOETRY Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine.


Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Writer's Award. Brown’s first book, Please, won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. His third collection is The Tradition. His poems have appeared in The Bennington ReviewBuzzfeed, Fence, jubilat, The New RepublicThe New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TIME Magazine, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University.