Writer to Writer’s Spring 2020 Mentors

AWP celebrates the writers serving as mentors in the Spring 2020 season of the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program. We received hundreds of applications for this session and selected 30 mentors based on their experience, their willingness to serve, and the needs prevalent in the mentee applications. Mentors were each given several strong applications to choose from and selected their own mentees.

If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, applications are being accepted now for our 13th season, which will begin in September 2020.

  • Kathryn Aalto

    Kathryn Aalto

    Creative Nonfiction


    “Until writers see their names on their own book covers, publication can feel like an impenetrable castle wall. Being a mentor feels like giving an emerging writer a rope over the wall.”

    Kathryn Aalto is an American historian, garden designer, teacher, and writer living in England. For the past twenty-five years, her focus has been on places where nature and culture intersect: teaching the literature of nature and place, designing artful and sustainable gardens, and writing about the natural world. She speaks widely as a keynote speaker throughout the United States and Britain. She is the author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015), Nature and Human Intervention (2011), and Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (Timber Press, forthcoming). Her writing has been published in Smithsonian Magazine, Outside, Sierra, and more and has been reviewed on NPR and in the Washington Post , the Wall Street Journal , the Huffington Post , the Boston Globe , the Chicago Tribune , and more.

    Kathryn Aalto is working with McKenzie Long of Mammoth Lakes, California.

  • Jasmine V. Bailey

    Jasmine V. Bailey



    “The process of submitting work, especially for poets, can be mystifying, and gaining some clarity about that process from someone who's experienced both sides of it extensively, as well as encouragement from someone who knows how frustrating the process is, and how hard it can be to stay motivated, would be great ballast for someone new to submitting and publishing.”

    Jasmine V. Bailey is the author of Alexandria (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Disappeared (CMUP, 2017), and the chapbook Sleep and What Precedes It (Longleaf Press, 2009). She was the winner of Michigan Quarterly Review 's Laurence Goldstein Prize for poetry in 2019 and the 2020 VanderMey Prize for Nonfiction from Ruminate magazine . She was a finalist for the 2018 Gulf Coast Translation Prize and has held fellowships at Colgate University and the Vermont Studio Center. She is a contributing editor for Waxwing Literary Journal .

    Jasmine V. Bailey is working with Emma Ferguson of Seattle, Washington.

  • Callista Buchen

    Callista Buchen



    “I think mentorships can be profoundly beneficial—up-and-coming writers should have access to the writing community and the knowledge held by that community. I always tell my students that a part of good literary citizenship is helping bring good work into the world.”

    Callista Buchen is the author of Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate , Puerto del Sol , Fourteen Hills , and many other journals, and she is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award and DIAGRAM 's essay contest. She teaches at Franklin College, where she directs the creative writing program and curates the Carlson-Stauffer Visiting Writers' Reading Series.

    Callista Buchen is working with Laura Paul Watson of Pine, Colorado.

  • Maisy Card

    Maisy Card



    Maisy Card holds an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College and is a public librarian. Her writing has appeared in Lenny Letter , School Library Journal , AGNI , Sycamore Review , Liars’ League NYC , and Ampersand Review . Maisy was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, but was raised in Queens, New York. Maisy earned an MLIS from Rutgers University and a BA in English and American studies from Wesleyan University. She is the author of These Ghosts Are Family.

    Maisy Card is working with Jasmine Griffin of Amelia, Ohio.

  • Nan Cuba

    Nan Cuba



    “It took me twenty years to publish my first novel. Sixty publishers turned it down before I found the right home. Through it all, I kept writing and polishing the manuscript. Dedication and perseverance were key.”

    Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Bread , winner of the PEN Southwest Award in Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award; it was listed as one of “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now” in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a “Summer Books” choice from Huffington Post. Cuba is a featured journalist in the Netflix docuseries, The Confession Killer . She is the founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, a nonprofit literary center, and teaches in the MA/MFA Program in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she is writer-in-residence.

    Nan Cuba is working with Linda E. Keyes of Boulder, Colorado.

  • Tyler Dilts

    Tyler Dilts



    “You do the best you can to balance writing with everything else. Sometimes you manage this very well, and sometimes you don't. One of the great mistakes many writers make is to believe there will be a point in your career, when you've written enough or published enough or sold enough, that the struggles will cease. That time will likely never come. And I'm not sure we should even want it to. What would we have left to write about?”

    Tyler Dilts received his MA in English literature and MFA in fiction writing from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times , The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Best American Mystery Stories , and he is the author of the Long Beach Homicide series of detective novels: A King of Infinite Space , The Pain Scale , A Cold and Broken Hallelujah (an Amazon #1 best seller), the Edgar Award-nominated Come Twilight, and most recently the stand-alone novel, Mercy Dogs . He lives with his wife in Long Beach, California, and teaches creative writing at CSULB.

    Tyler Dilts is working with Viggy Hampton of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  • Lucy Ferriss

    Lucy Ferriss



    “The world of writing and publishing changes constantly, so navigating it is never one simple solution but a series of strategies to keep finding your place within it while staying true to your writing vision. This is a challenge I face every day, and I get great satisfaction out of helping someone else as they embark or continue on their journey.”

    Lucy Ferriss is the author of ten books, mostly fiction. Her novel A Sister to Honor, set partly in northern Pakistan, was a WNBA 2015 Great Group Read; her novel The Lost Daughter was a Book–of-the-Month pick; and her memoir, Unveiling the Prophet , was named Best Book of the Year by the Riverfront Times . Recent essays appear in The American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, and the New York Times . Her latest collection of short fiction, Foreign Climes , is the winner of the 2020 Brighthorse Books Prize and is forthcoming. She lives in the Berkshires and Connecticut, where she is writer-in-residence at Trinity College.

    Lucy Ferriss is working with Holly Wendt of Annville, Pennsylvania.

  • Donna Freitas

    Donna Freitas

    Creative Nonfiction


    “I think all of us--regardless of where we are in our writing careers--need conversation partners for our work, people with whom we can brainstorm, with whom we feel safe enough to share our doubts, our hopes, our struggles with our writing.”

    Donna Freitas has written more than twenty books, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults, children, and young adults. Among them are Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention (Little, Brown), Consent on Campus: A Manifesto (Oxford), and The Healer (HarperCollins). Her debut novel for adults, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, February 2021), will be published simultaneously in nearly 25 countries and languages. Her YA and MG novels have been named to many state and BBYA (best book for young adults) lists, and she’s spoken at over 200 colleges and universities about her research related to sex/Title IX issues on campus. Her newest longform essay, “Dear Professor,” is a Scribd Original, forthcoming on the digital reading platform Scribd this spring.

    Donna Freitas is working with Emi Nietfeld of New York, New York.

  • Lily Hoang

    Lily Hoang

    Creative Nonfiction

    “Mentorship is a vital part of literary citizenship, and it's important to me to be both a good model of citizenship that extends beyond mere teaching and publishing practices, as well as offer honest practical advice to young writers. For example, I make it a habit to write fan mail to an emerging writer every week. It's a nice boost to get fan mail from a writer whose name you might recognize!”

    Lily Hoang is the author of five books, including A Bestiary (PEN USA Nonfiction Award finalist) and Changing (recipient of a PEN Open Books Award). She is the director of the MFA program in Writing at UC San Diego.

    Lily Hoang is working with Tori Weston of Somerville, Massachusetts.

  • Amorak Huey

    Amorak Huey



    “It's not that there's one path that writers need help finding—it's that every single writer can make their own, and what works for one person will differ from what works for the next. Just feeling the personal connection that comes from a mentorship makes the journey less lonely.”

    Amorak Huey is author of the poetry collections Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress, forthcoming in 2021), Boom Box (Sundress, 2019), Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank, 2018), and Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015), as well as the chapbooks The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly, 2016). A 2017 NEA Fellowship recipient, he is co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

    Amorak Huey is working with Angela Dribben of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

  • Nancy Johnson

    Nancy Johnson



    “When you give, you receive. So many people have been extraordinarily generous to me as a writer. I want to pay that forward. There is no substitute for a connected, committed writing community and I'd like to bring my mentee into that fold.”

    Nancy Johnson writes at the intersection of race and class. Her debut novel, The Kindest Lie , is forthcoming in early 2021 from William Morrow/HarperCollins. This is the story of an unlikely connection between a black engineer searching for the son she never knew and a poor, 11-year-old white boy who finds himself adrift in a dying Indiana factory town. The Kindest Lie was named runner-up for the 2018 James Jones First Novel Fellowship Award. Nancy’s work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine and has received support from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, Tin House , and Kimbilio Fiction.

    Nancy Johnson is working with Monique Danye of Dallas, Texas.

  • Lara Lillibridge

    Lara Lillibridge

    Creative Nonfiction

    “I had 4 advisors in my MFA program. The best were the ones who expressed enthusiasm and faith in my work as they taught me the mechanics of good writing. Writers often swing from ‘this is the best thing I've ever written!’ to ‘I should never write again.’ Sometimes the difference between a published book and an unpublished one is more about willingness to stick through the lows than the quality of the work.”

    Lara Lillibridge is the author of Mama, Mama, Only Mama and Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home , and co-editor of the anthology Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility with Andrea Fekete. Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal ’s Prose Contest and the American Literary Review 's Contest in Nonfiction. She is the interviews editor for Hippocampus Magazine and judged AWP's Intro Journals Award for 2019. Lillibridge was also the recipient of Hippocampus Magazine’s Literary Citizen of the Year for 2019.

    Lara Lillibridge is working with Ann Wilberton of Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Diana López

    Diana López



    “We write in solitude but there also comes a point when we need to risk sharing our work.”

    Diana López is the author of the adult novella Sofia’s Saints and of several teen and middle grade novels including Confetti Girl, > Lucky Luna, and Coco, a Story About Music, Shoes, and Family , which is a novelization of Disney/Pixar’s award-winning film. Her book Choke was adapted as The Choking Game for the Lifetime Movie Network. She regularly speaks at conferences for educators, librarians, and writers, and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Houston-Victoria.

    Diana López is working with Camille Baumann-Jaeger of Richmond, California.

  • Benjamin Ludwig

    Benjamin Ludwig



    “For me, mentoring is the most natural of all forms of teaching. It lets a person ask the things she needs to ask, without having to take into consideration a larger audience. During a mentorship, two people are given the rare opportunity to serve as mirrors of one another. We do our best to reflect back the others’ best self, and in doing so become better ourselves.”

    Benjamin Ludwig is the author of Ginny Moon, published by HarperCollins | Park Row Books in 2017. The book, which was inspired by his experience adopting a teenager with special needs, was an Indie Next pick, a LibraryReads pick, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and one of Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2017. To date it has been published in nineteen countries. His novella, Sourdough, was the recipient of the 2013 Clay Reynolds Prize for the Novella. A former public-school teacher and new-teacher mentor, he is currently working on his next book and serves as the director of the Teachers’ Writers’ Workshop (http://teacherswritersworkshop.com). He and his family live in New Hampshire.

    Benjamin Ludwig is working with Tony Dallacheisa of Dover, Ohio.

  • R.L. Maizes

    R.L. Maizes



    “A teacher of mine once said he couldn’t think of any student who stuck with writing over the years, working at it and honing her craft, who didn’t find success. I love this because it shows that writing isn’t an inborn talent that either you have or you don’t. Instead, writing is a skill that you develop over time with great effort.”

    R.L. Maizes is the author of the short story collection We Love Anderson Cooper and the novel Other People’s Pets (on sale July 14, 2020). Her stories have aired on NPR and have appeared in Electric Literature. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. Maizes lives with her husband, Steve, and her muses: Arie, a cat who was dropped in the animal shelter’s night box like an overdue library book, and Rosie, a dog who spent her first year homeless in South Dakota and thinks Colorado is downright balmy.

    R.L. Maizes is working with Wynter Miller of San Francisco, California.

  • Emily Maloney

    Emily Maloney

    Creative Nonfiction


    “Being a writer can be hard and often lonely, but it doesn't have to be. I was lucky enough to have access to some really great mentors as a developing writer, and I hope I can return the favor.”

    Emily Maloney is the author of the forthcoming memoir Cost of Living (Henry Holt, 2021), about the failure of the American healthcare system seen both through her transition from patient to practitioner and her work as an ER tech and EMT at a busy Level II trauma center. Her essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from the New York Times , the Washington Post , Glamour , The Atlantic, the American Journal of Nursing , and other publications. Her essay, “Cost of Living,” which originally appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review , was selected for Best American Essays 2017 , edited by Leslie Jamison. She is also a MacDowell Fellow and a 2015 graduate of the MFA program at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Emily Maloney is working with Laura Jenkins of Driftwood, Texas.

  • Michael Meyerhofer

    Michael Meyerhofer



    “I have been fortunate enough to serve twice as a mentor and have really enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the literary community … [G]iven what a solitary profession this is, it's good to know you're not the only one waving a lantern in the dark.”

    Michael Meyerhofer ’s fifth poetry book, Ragged Eden, was published by Glass Lyre Press. He has been the startled recipient of fourteen national writing awards including the James Wright Poetry Award, the Liam Rector First Book Award, the Brick Road Poetry Book Prize, and several chapbook prizes. His work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry, Rattle, Brevity, Ploughshares, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and other journals. He is also the author of a fantasy series and serves as the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information and an embarrassing childhood photo, visit troublewithhammers.com.

    Michael Meyerhofer is working with Katherine Fallon of Statesboro, Georgia.

  • Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes

    Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes



    “I love caring for and tending to people. Supporting the community of writers is, as far as I'm concerned, nearly as important as the writing itself.”

    Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and has a BA in creative writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University. She has appeared in The Rumpus, Cartridge Lit, Gulf Stream Lit, Crab Fat Magazine , and SmokeLong Quarterly . Her book Ashley Sugarnotch & the Wolf is forthcoming from Mason Jar Press.

    Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes is working with Auden Eagerton of Marietta, Georgia.

  • Amanda Niehaus

    Amanda Niehaus



    “I think it's important to communicate that there are so many pathways to becoming a writer—and we shouldn't lament ‘lost time’ but use these diverse experiences of ours in our creative work.”

    Amanda Niehaus is a writer and scientist living in Brisbane, Australia. She is author of the novel The Breeding Season (Allen & Unwin) and has published short stories and essays in NOON , AGNI , Creative Nonfiction , The Writer , Nature , The Guardian , and others. She won the 2017 VU Overland Short Story prize and has been a Varuna Writers House Fellow, an Australian Society of Authors mentee, and an AWP mentee in 2016, when she was mentored by Alice Sebold. She can be found online @amandacniehaus.

    Amanda Niehaus is working with Hadley Leggett of Seattle, Washington.

  • Paul Pedroza

    Paul Pedroza



    “Mentors have also dealt with rejection and writer's block, and mentees can benefit from practical solutions and the camaraderie that rises from shared struggles. There's also something to be said about a sympathetic ear.”

    Paul Pedroza was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His story collection The Dead Will Rise and Save Us is available from Veliz Books. He has completed his first novel, and he is currently working on a second and on a collection of essays.

    Paul Pedroza is working with Christopher Norton of Wheaton, Illinois.

  • Mark Jude Poirier

    Mark Jude Poirier



    “A writing life is one full of rejection. No matter how successful you are, rejection looms. There is very little affirmation. I've found teaching and mentoring to be affirming, a nice antidote to the harsh reality of being an artist in 2020.”

    Mark Jude Poirier is the author of two collections of stories, two novels, and, with Owen King and Nancy Ahn, a graphic novel. His books have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year, as well as Barnes and Noble Discover and Waterstone’s UK picks. In 2018 he won both a Pushcart Prize and an O. Henry Award. Films he has written have played at Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival, MoMA, and the American Film Festival in Deauville. He lives in New York. He has taught at Harvard, Bennington, Columbia, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

    Mark Jude Poirier is working with Geoffrey Giller of Berlin, Germany.

  • Leslie Schwartz

    Leslie Schwartz

    Creative Nonfiction

    “Mentoring is an extraordinary experience and one I rely on to keep my own creative self alive.”

    Leslie Schwartz is the author of two literary novels, Jumping the Green , winner of the James Jones Literary Society Award for Best First Novel, and Angels Crest . In addition to her novels, Schwartz has published short stories, articles, essays and book reviews in The Los Angeles Times , Poets & Writers , Teachers & Writers , Sonora Review , and the online journal Narratively Speaking . A past president of the board of directors for PEN USA, she has taught writing at UCLA Extension, the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival, Vroman’s Ed, and Homeboy Industries. Schwartz lives in Los Angeles.

    Leslie Schwartz is working with Amy Sugeno of Round Mountain, Texas.

  • Jennifer Steil

    Jennifer Steil



    “When I was working full-time as a journalist in New York City, my creative writing suffered. After a long day of writing for newspapers and magazines, I struggled to make myself sit down at a computer again to work. I felt I was stagnating and not writing what I wanted to be writing. It took moving to Yemen to run a newspaper to spring me from this rut. I always tell my students that if they want to make sure they have great stories to tell, they should move somewhere that makes them profoundly uncomfortable and where they know no one, and they will be guaranteed stories.”

    Jennifer Steil is an award-winning author and journalist currently living in Uzbekistan. Her third book, the novel Exile Music , is forthcoming from Viking in May 2020. It follows the lives of Austrian Jewish musicians who seek refuge from the Nazis in Bolivia in 1938. Her first book, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (Broadway Books 2010), is a memoir about her tenure editing the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a. Her novel The Ambassador’s Wife (Doubleday 2015) has won awards. She is now writing a novel about an underground Bolivian community of LGBTQ artists.

    Jennifer Steil is working with Nicole Kuruszko of Brooklyn, New York.

  • John Elizabeth Stintzi

    John Elizabeth Stintzi



    “My mentor helped set me on the path toward a sustainable writing practice, which did not declare publishing the greatest accomplishment.”

    John Elizabeth Stintzi is a nonbinary writer who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. In 2019, they were awarded the Malahat Review ’s Long Poem Prize as well as the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. They are the author of the novel Vanishing Monuments (Arsenal Pulp Press) as well as the poetry collection Junebat (Anansi), and their fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review , Fiddlehead , Arc Poetry Magazine , Black Warrior Review , and Ploughshares . They currently live and work in the United States.

    John Elizabeth Stintzi is working with Melissa Nigro of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Lisa C. Taylor

    Lisa C. Taylor



    “Have a daily discipline even if you are editing or writing something you will not ultimately use. All writing is practice and for every day you are away from it, it takes two days to get it back.”

    Lisa C. Taylor is the author of two collections of fiction, Impossibly Small Spaces and Growing a New Tail. She also has four published poetry collections. Lisa’s honors include the 2015 Hugo House New Works Award for short fiction, a Spotlight feature in January 2015 for the AWP, Pushcart nominations in both fiction and poetry, and, along with Geraldine Mills, the Elizabeth Shanley Gerson Lecture of Irish Literature at University of Connecticut. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous literary magazines, and her books have been taught in college classes. Lisa teaches and offers private writing workshops.

    Lisa C. Taylor is working with Ellen Kazimer of Evans, Georgia.

  • Richard Terrill

    Richard Terrill


    “Everyone needs good readers to revise and polish work. A good mentor can model an aesthetic, an approach to the art—even if the mentee goes a different direction.”

    Richard Terrill ’s new collection of poems is What Falls Away Is Always , from Holy Cow Press. Among his previous books are Coming Late to Rachmaninoff , winner of the Minnesota Book Award for poetry, and two memoirs, Fakebook: Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir , winner of the AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction. Recent work appears in Georgia Review, New Letters, and Hanging Loose. He is professor emeritus at Minnesota State, Mankato, where he was a Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and currently works as a jazz saxophone player. He lives in Minneapolis.

    Richard Terrill is working with Rachael Philipps-Shapiro of Chappaqua, New York.

  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden

    David Heska Wanbli Weiden



    “I was fortunate to have several tremendous mentors in my writing journey, and I’m delighted to give back. Writers from marginalized communities too often feel isolated, and it’s important to have an ally—someone who can provide guidance, support, and advice, as well as feedback on the work itself.”

    David Heska Wanbli Weiden , an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is the author of the novel Winter Counts (Ecco/HarperCollins, forthcoming 2020) and the children’s book Spotted Tail (Reycraft, 2019). His work appears in Shenandoah , Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, the Criminal Class Review, and other magazines. He’s the recipient of a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Ragdale Foundation residency, and the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship, and he was a Tin House Scholar. He received his MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and is associate professor of Native American studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

    David Heska Wanbli Weiden is working with Gretchen Potter of Claremont, California.

  • Lex Williford

    Lex Williford



    “I believe that writer's block is an important part of the process—worrying problems with developing stories until a moment of insight strikes. The insight comes with me often only when I've had to worry it. I use the metaphor of Sisyphus. I shoulder the boulder, knowing it will roll down the hill again, but also knowing that at some point it will become lighter and lift me. Only hard work entices one's muse.”

    Lex Williford’s recently published a new novella, Balsa and Tissue Paper (available from Ploughshares , Amazon, and Barnes and Noble). His book of stories, Macauley’s Thumb, won the 1993 Iowa Short Fiction Award; his novella-in-flash chapbook, Superman on the Roof, won the 2016 10th Annual Rose Metal Press Flash Fiction Award. A recent chair of the bilingual MFA program and founder of the online MFA program, he teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso.

    Lex Williford is working with Bertha Munuku of Dallas, Texas.

  • Janet Wong

    Janet Wong

    Children’s Literature

    http://janetwong.com and http://pomelobooks.com

    “Many of us want to make the world a more inclusive place—but where to begin? Maybe with just one student, one colleague, one mentee, one project, one book; an extra hour a week, an extra day a month. My small contributions will hopefully combine with the work of so many others to accomplish the change we need.”

    Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers to become a children’s author. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show , CNN’s Paula Zahn Show , and Radical Sabbatical . She is the author of more than 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects, including writing and revision ( You Have to Write ), community and inclusion ( Apple Pie 4th of July ), peer pressure ( Me and Rolly Maloo ), chess ( Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club ), identity ( A Suitcase of Seaweed & More ), and yoga ( Twist: Yoga Poems ). A frequent featured speaker at literacy conferences, Wong has served as a member of several national committees, including the NCTE Poetry Committee and the ILA Notable Books for a Global Society committee. Her current focus is encouraging children to publish their own writing using affordable new technologies.

    Janet Wong is working with Denise Adusei of New York, New York.

  • Rita Woods

    Rita Woods



    “Writing is the strangest of preoccupations. It is that strange intersection between existing in a world of your own creation and yet being extremely isolated. It is easy to lose the thread, to be consumed by self-doubt. One of the most valuable things that exist for a writer are those voices that reach out in those moments of doubt to reassure, encourage, and sometimes give a gentle course correction.”

    Rita Woods is originally from Detroit, Michigan, the child of educators and administrators in the Detroit Public School System. She received her medical degree from Howard University and is a board-certified internist, currently serving as medical director of a wellness center that serves one of the largest trade unions in the nation. A former bodybuilder, she lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, sons, perfect granddaughter, and four cats. When she is not busy working or writing, she spends time with her family or at the Homer Glen library, where she serves on the Board of Trustees. Remembrance (Forge Books, 2020) is her first novel.

    Rita Woods is working with Michaeljulius Y. Idani of Atlanta, Georgia.

Previous Participants

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