Our panelists & teaching artists
Meet our award winning line up of writers, publishing professionals, and book industry experts.
Lupita Aquino --better known as Lupita Reads -- is co-founder and co-moderator of the LIT on H St Book Club at Solid State Books. She is a passionate reader active in both the local and online book community through her Instagram blog @Lupita.Reads.
Hannah Bae is a 2018-2019 Open City fellow in narrative nonfiction at the Asian American Writers' Workshop and the president of Asian American Journalists Association's New York chapter. Her writing has been published in the anthology (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation on Mental Health and The Monocle Travel Guide to Seoul, and her bylines include CNN, Monocle, Eater, The Associated Press and more. She is focused on stories about Korean American culture and identity, and she is at work on a memoir. You can find her on Twitter at @hanbae and on Instagram at @hannahbae.
Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional of 16 years, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she received a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship and a Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant for Nonfiction Literature. Her essay "What We Aren't (or the Ongoing Divide)" was listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2018. Jennifer is also the editor of the all PoC-short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018). Her fiction, nonfiction, and criticism has appeared in various print and online publications. Her website is: jennifernbaker.com.
Cathy Barrow is a food writer, cooking teacher and pie maker. Barrow writes the “BRING IT” column in the Washington Post’s Food section. She has written for the New York Times, Garden and Gun, The Local Palate, Modern Farmer, Saveur, Southern Living, NPR, and National Geographic, among others. Cathy lives near Washington, DC, with her husband Dennis and their two terriers. Her first cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, won the prestigious IACP Award for best single-subject cookbook.
Tayla Burney is a journalist, moderator, and consultant. For over a decade she worked as a producer for public radio programs in Norfolk, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. That frontline journalism experience taught Tayla a lot about interviewing people, learning from them, and telling their stories in innovative ways. As an outgrowth of her work with authors, Tayla also writes reviews of books for The Washington Post and the Washington Independent Review of Books. She writes a weekly newsletter highlighting author events and other literary happenings in and around the nation's capital called Get Lit D.C. A Massachusetts expat, Tayla is proud to live in the District of Columbia. It's been home for eight years now, but home is really wherever her husband, daughter, and dog are.
Laura is a freelance book editor who spent six years as an editor at St. Martin’s Press. She has edited many acclaimed books in her career, including an Editor’s Buzz Panel pick at Book Expo of America, several New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” books, and numerous “Best Books of the Year,” in outlets like the Miami Herald, Bustle, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and Redbook, among others. She is a proud graduate of Barnard College (BA in English and dance) and Georgetown University (MA in English), and a mentor for WriteGirl.
Catherine Chung was a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Granta New Voice, and a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from The University of Chicago and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before receiving her MFA from Cornell University. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City. The Tenth Muse, which published this June from ecco/HarperCollins, is her sophomore novel.
Tyrese L. Coleman
Tyrese L. Coleman is the author of the collection, How to Sit, a 2019 Pen Open Book Award finalist published with Mason Jar Press in 2018. Writer, wife, mother, attorney, and writing instructor, she is the reviews editor at SmokeLong Quarterly, and a contributing editor at Split Lip Magazine. Her essays and stories have appeared in several publications, including Black Warrior Review, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and the Kenyon Review. She is an alumni of the Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University and a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. Find her at tyresecoleman.com or on twitter @tylachelleco.
Tope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington, DC. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013, and was shortlisted once again in 2016. He was also recently named to the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 39. He was educated at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Masters’ degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. His debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man, will be published in August 2019 by Simon & Schuster.
Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She's the co-founder of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Jane's newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is "destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers." Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to E-Publishing.
Angie Kim is the author of the national bestseller Miracle Creek (published this April by Farrar Straus and Giroux/Macmillan), a literary courtroom drama that has been named an IndieNext and LibraryReads pick, a Best Book of 2019 So Far by Time Magazine and Amazon, a Washington Post Summer Reads selection, and a Top 10 AppleBooks Debuts of the Year. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Salon, and Slate. She moved from Seoul, Korea, to Baltimore as a preteen, and attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three sons. Miracle Creek is her debut novel.
Kristen Zory King
Kristen Zory King is a writer and artist facilitator based in Washington, DC. A passionate advocate for the arts and community, Kris is the founder of MoonLit, a small artist-run organization that aims to "creatively connect community through low-cost and accessible literary programs." Recent work can be found in Electric Lit, SWWIM, Past-Ten, and District Lit among others. Learn more at kristenzoryking.com.
Michelle Koufopoulos is an editor and alum of Guernica Magazine and Riverhead Books, where she has worked with many award-winning and bestselling writers, including Elizabeth Gilbert, Masha Gessen, Mohsin Hamid, Anna Badkhen, and Lesley Arimah. Her writing has appeared in Longreads and Guernica, and has been cited by Bookforum and Politico. She is available for manuscript consultations and freelance editing.
Caits Meissner is PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program director. Before joining PEN America, Meissner was an integral team member in developing community arts and education programs for organizations such as Tribeca Film Institute, The Bronx Academy of Letters, Urban Arts Partnership, The Facing History School, and The Lower Eastside Girls Club. She has taught, consulted, and co-created extensively for over 15 years across a wide spectrum of communities with a focus on prisons, public schools, and college classrooms at The New School University and The City College of New York. From 2012–2014, Meissner served over 500 women worldwide in an original intensive online writing course that matured into live programming, including a reading series, courses for incarcerated youth and adult women, and state-sponsored cultural exchange in Malaysia. In 2017, Meissner reenvisioned the concept of book tour for her illustrated poetry collection Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016), pairing public speaking engagements with opportunities to work with incarcerated writers across the United States. Meissner holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, where she was awarded The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Creative Writing, an Educational Enrichment Award, and The Teacher-Writer Award.
Amanda Nelson is the Executive Editor of Book Riot, the largest independent editorial book site in North America, and a host of the Get Booked podcast. She has appeared on CNN International and NPR's On Point.
Randon Billings Noble
Randon Billings Noble is an essayist whose full-length essay collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in March 2019 and her lyric essay chapbook Devotional was published by Red Bird in 2017. Individual essays have appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, Brevity, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Currently she is the Founding Editor of After the Art, an online literary magazine that publishes personal review essays that explore the relationship between reading and art.
Kwame Onwuachi is the James Beard Award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin and owner of the Philly Wing Fry franchise in Washington, D.C. He was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has opened five restaurants before turning thirty. A former Top Chef contestant, he has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes.
Laura Rose Schwartz
Laura Rose is the co-founder of Vikriya Lab - a space for transformation through movement. A recovering lawyer, she found yoga helped her reconnect to her body and emotions, and strives to introduce that connection to her students. She has taught over 6000 classes and loves building community and relationships between students and other small businesses in Alexandria.
Malik K. Thompson
Poet and essayist Malik K. Thompson is a cis-Black queer man who is proud of being from DC. He has taught workshops for both youth and adults in various settings including Split This Rock's Community Workshops, schools, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can find Malik's thoughts on literature on his Instagram account @negroliterati.
Jeannie Vanasco is the author of the memoir The Glass Eye (Tin House Books, 2017). Her work has appeared in The Believer, TheNew York Times Modern Love column, Tin House, and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore and is an assistant professor at Towson University. Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl (forthcoming, Tin House Books, October 2019) is her second book.
Kendra Winchester is a freelance editor, specializing in nonfiction, and holds an M.A. in English literature. Growing up in southern Ohio gave her a love of rural stories and a desire to see better representation of Appalachia in contemporary literature. In 2016, Kendra co-founded Reading Women, a podcast that features books by or about women, and presently serves as its Executive Producer and Managing Editor. When she’s not spending time in the publishing world, she’s taking her corgi to the dog park or indulging in her cooking obsession. She currently reads and writes from coffee shops in South Carolina.