Writers in the Schools 2014/2015
For nearly two decades, Turiya Autry has spent her time educating, motivating, and inspiring audiences of all ages. Her work incorporates the arts, pop culture, and history with personal, community, and political struggles. Author and performer, her recently released collection of poetry, Roots, Reality & Rhyme, is a poetic journey that bridges the personal and political, the mythic, and the real. Turiya’s provided feature performances, workshops, panels, and keynotes to over 20 colleges throughout the country, as well as hundreds of community venues across the country. As a teaching artist she’s provided assemblies, workshops and residencies to over 50 different K-12 schools. Creating and delivering almost 20 unique university courses, across 4 departments, Turiya has built a veritable trunk show on culture and identity.
Alex Behr completed a WITS Residency at Roosevelt High School last spring, where she taught creative nonfiction. Her short stories, essays, and interviews have appeared in Tin House, Utne Reader, Salon.com, Propeller, Oregon Humanities, and elsewhere. She has ghostwritten books for kids and has performed in obscure rock bands. She is currently writing a memoir about punk rock and adoption.
Carmen T. Bernier-Grand is the author of eleven books for children and young adults. Three of her biographies have received Pura Belpré Author Honor Awards. She teaches writing at Writers in the Schools and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program. In 2008, the Oregon Library Association’s Children’s Division gave her the Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award for her significant contributions to the children of Oregon in the field of children’s literature. Bernier-Grand grew up in Puerto Rico, but now lives with her husband and bilingual dog in Portland, Oregon.
Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist based in beautiful Portland, Oregon. His writing has appeared in various publications, including CutBank, Original Plumbing, Unshod Quills, Cavalcade, Lambda Literary Review, and The Rumpus; and several anthologies, most recently Sister Spit: Writing, Rants and Reminiscence from the Road, from City Lights Books. A veteran of the original Sister Spit tours, he has performed and exhibited art nationally. He holds a master’s degree in writing/book publishing and an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University, where he also teaches writing.
Arthur Bradford is an O Henry Award-winning writer, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Moth GrandSLAM winner. He is the author of the books Dogwalker and Benny’s Brigade, and his next book, Turtleface, comes out in Feb 2015 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He directed the “How’s your News?” documentary series for HBO and MTV and also the film Six Days to Air, about the making of South Park, for Comedy Central. He’s currently shooting a feature documentary about Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park and the musical The Book of Mormon. He lives in Portland and works part-time at a juvenile detention facility.
Serena Crawford’s fiction has appeared in Epoch, Ascent, Beloit Fiction Journal, The McNeese Review, Other Voices, Another Chicago Magazine, The Greensboro Review, Nimrod, Sonora Review, The Florida Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Literary Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon, where she also taught creative writing.
Lisa Eisenberg is a cartoonist and illustrator. Her comics have appeared in the anthologies Papercutter, So…Buttons, Bearfight!, Digestate, Runner Runner, and The Strumpet. Since 2008 she has self-published the series I Cut My Hair, a collection of fiction and nonfiction comics. She is a teaching artist with Young Audiences and a Comics Certificate Program Advisor at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Lisa has also taught comics classes at Open Meadow Middle School, Stumptown Comics Fest, and Caldera. She is currently at work on a graphic novel.
James Gendron is the author of Sexual Boat (Sex Boats) and the chapbook Money Poems. He was born in Portland, Maine, and lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches writing at Portland State University.
Amanda Gersh is a South African-born writer of short fiction and Young Adult novels. Her stories and humor pieces have appeared in Tin House, The Believer, Open City, One Story, and The Mississippi Review. A former ghostwriter of pulp novels for teen readers, Amanda is currently working on her own YA novel, Mother’s Helper. She divides her time between lying on the floor and sitting at her desk.
Jonathan Hill is a cartoonist and illustrator. His first graphic novel, Americus, a collaboration with MK Reed, garnered accolades including YALSA 2012 Best Graphic Novel for Teens Nominee, ABC New Voices 2011 Title, Graphic Novel Reporter Best of 2011, and the 2012 Carla Cohen Free Speech Award. He currently freelances, teaches comics classes at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and is working on two new graphic novels and a children’s book.
Jamie Houghton is a poet, musician, and performer who has been teaching creative writing to youth and adults in a diverse range of educational settings for seven years. Her poetry has been featured online at High Desert Journal, Folly, La Fovea, torches n’ pitchforks, qarrtsiluni, and Abramelin and she has performed in poetry slams throughout the country. She is the book reviewer for High Desert Journal and received a Fellowship Residency at Playa Arts in the fall of 2014. She is currently working on a chapbook length poetry collection called Feed the Animals.
Ramiza Koya’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in publications such as Washington Square Review, Lumina, and Catamaran, and she has been a fellow at both MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center. She has both a BA and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and has taught in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Morocco. In addition to teaching composition courses, she also works as a freelance writer and editor. She is currently an adjunct instructor at Portland Community College.
Kathleen Lane is a fiction writer, visiting artist at Pacific Northwest College of Art, and co-creator of the art & literary event series SHARE. Her middle-grade novel is forthcoming from Little, Brown, and her stories have appeared in Swink Magazine, Poor Claudia, Chronicle Books, Forest Avenue Press, and elsewhere. Before Portland she was a staff writer for Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and co-founder of ART 180, a nonprofit in Richmond, Virginia that gives kids living in challenging circumstances a voice through the arts.
Timothy S. Lane graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree. His writing has appeared online at All Things Considered, Tin House, Monkey Bicycle, The Good Men Project and Pology. His novel, Rules for Becoming a Legend, is out now from Viking Press. He lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon.
Bettina de León Barrera is a joyful, bilingual writer born in Los Angeles, California of Guatemalan descent whose writing stems from a natural inclination to transform words into meaningful exchanges. In addition to being a community activist, she is a Graduate of UC Berkeley and attended graduate study at St. Mary’s College in Moraga and Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her poetry recently appeared in New American Writing and was chosen as a finalist for Boston Review‘s 2014 Discovery contest. Bettina is a WITS Apprentice for the 2014-2015 school year.
Amy Minato is author of a memoir, Siesta Lane, published in 2009 and a poetry collection, The Wider Lens, published in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in Wilderness Magazine, Poetry East, Windfall, Cimarron Review, and The Oregonian Poetry Corner, and has been recognized with a 2003 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship. She teaches creative writing independently and through Fishtrap, Multnomah Art Center, Breitenbush, Sitka, and Opal Creek, as well as a community service course at Portland State University in sustainable living.
S. Renee Mitchell is an award-winning writer, multi-media artist, teacher/facilitator and all-around creative revolutionist. Renee’s more than 25 years of journalism experience has groomed her exceptional communication, analytical and grant-writing skills. Yet, she is also a community grounded visionary, often gifting her talents as a poet, playwright, performer, and self-taught graphic designer. Her deepest desire is to help others use their creativity to let go, gather up and move on.
Lee Montgomery is the author of The Things Between Us, A Memoir, Whose World Is This? Stories, and Searching for Emily: Illustrated. The Things Between Us received the 2007 Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction and Whose World Is This? received the 2007 John Simmons Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Ken Kesey Award in Fiction in 2008. Montgomery’s work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times magazine, Glimmer Train, Black Clock, Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, Story Magazine, Alaska Quarterly, the Santa Monica Review and the Antioch Review, among many others. Montgomery has also worked as an editor. She was the fiction editor of the Iowa Review, the editor of the Santa Monica Review, senior editor for Dove Books, executive editor for Tin House magazine, and the associate publisher and editorial director of Tin House Books. She lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon.
Laura Moulton is the founder of Street Books, a bicycle-powered mobile library that serves people who live outside in Portland, Oregon. She has taught writing in public schools, prisons, and teen shelters, and is an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University and Lewis & Clark College. Her social art practice projects have involved postal workers, immigrants, prisoners and students. She earned an MFA from Eastern Washington University. For more information, visit lauramoulton.org.
A.M. O’Malley has been writing, making zines, and publishing on various planes since 1994. She has recently been published in The Newer York, Poor Claudia, Phenome, UnShod Quills, The Burnside Review, and The Portland Review. Her chapbook of memoir-prose poems, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Something Else, is forthcoming in 2015. Ms. O’Malley teaches writing at the Columbia River Correctional Institution and at Portland Community College. She is also the Program Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a literary arts and zine resource non-profit in Portland, Oregon.
Mark Pomeroy lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he was born in 1969. He has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship for fiction and a residency at Caldera Arts. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Open Spaces, The Wordstock 10, Portland Magazine, The Oregonian, the Waco Tribune-Herald, and What Teaching Means: Stories from America’s Classrooms. A former classroom teacher, he holds an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was a Fellow in Teaching. His first novel is The Brightwood Stillness (Oregon State University Press).
Melissa Reeser Poulin is an award-winning poet and writer. She received her MFA from Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Catamaran Literary Journal, Ruminate Magazine, Sugar House Review, and Water~Stone Review, among other publications. Melissa has worked on organic farms and is the co-editor of Winged: New Writing on Bees.
Devan Schwartz has an MFA from Portland State University and a BA from Whitman College. He has taught writing to everyone from elementary school students to college students to prison inmates, and previously taught with WITS at Jefferson High School. Devan’s writing has appeared in a number of magazines and journals. He recently worked as a public radio reporter and is revising a novel.
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, a Finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award, the Lambda Literary Debut Fiction Award, and the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. Carter is winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and the recipient of a 2013 project grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Carter has taught creative writing classes for the Attic Institute, Hugo House, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He is currently Visiting Faculty for West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low Residency MFA Program. Carter lives in Portland, Oregon.
Desmond Spann AKA Emcee DLUX The Light is a teacher and community educator. You can find out more about Desmond’s artistry and work with youth here: http://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/poet-desmond-spann-performs-children/ and here: http://about.me/desmondspann
Evan Morgan Williams has published over 40 stories in literary magazines including Witness, The Kenyon Review, and Antioch Review. His book of stories, Thorn, won the 2013 Chandra Prize at BkMk Press. He attended Colorado College and the University of Montana. He lives in Portland with his family, and he is hard at work on a novel and a new collection of stories.
Matt Zrebski is a multi-award winning playwright, composer, script consultant, teaching artist, and producer-director whose career has been defined by new play development. As an Artistic Director, he mounted over 40 world premieres, and has had several of his plays produced, including Texting the Sun, 1 ½, Big Sis, and Ablaze. As the Resident Teaching Artist at Portland Center Stage, he teaches playwriting through Visions and Voices, and is on staff for Acting Academy at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Zrebski holds a BFA in Theatre from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.