2024 Conference Presenters
Prepare to embark on a literary journey like never before as we proudly introduce the extraordinary authors headlining WriteAngles Conference. Our lineup of presenters represents a diverse tapestry of storytelling prowess, each weaving narratives that captivate, inspire, and resonate with the essence of the written word. From seasoned novelists to groundbreaking poets, our authors bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the heart of Write Angles.
Keynote Presenter: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Yasmine Ameli is an Iranian American poet and essayist based in western Massachusetts.. She holds a BA in English from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Virginia Tech. Her work appears inPoetry, Ploughshares, The Sun, Southern Review, Narrative, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing through Grub Street and independently as a holistic writing coach.
Mary-Kim Arnold is a writer, artist, and educator. She is the author of The Fish & The Dove: Poems (Noemi Press) and Litany for the Long Moment (Essay Press). A transnational, transracial Korean-born adoptee, her text and textile work explore themes of hybridity, dislocation, racial and cultural identity, and gender. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA) and of Brown University (BA, MFA) and former faculty in Brown’s Nonfiction Writing Program, Mary-Kim currently serves as Interim Academic Dean at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Lynn Bechtel is a writer, editor, teacher, gardener, and inconsistent meditator. She has an MFA in Writing from University of Massachusetts and worked for many years as an editor and writer at Center for Responsive Schools in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Since leaving full-time work, she’s been exploring the world of creative nonfiction and has had essays published in The Berkshire Review, The Sunlight Press, Entropy, and in an anthology, Grief Becomes Her.
DeMisty D. Bellinger
DeMisty D. Bellinger is the author of the poetry collections Rubbing Elbows and Peculiar Heritage, and of the novel New to Liberty. Her poetry, essays, and fiction can be found many places online, including The Rumpus, Mom Egg Review, and Kweli Journal, as well as in many print journals and anthologies. DeMisty teaches writing in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and twin daughters. You can learn more about DeMisty at demistybellinger.com.
Chelsea Catherine won the Mary C Mohr award for nonfiction through the Southern Indiana Review and their second book, Summer of the Cicadas, won the Quill Prose Award from Red Hen Press. In 2022, they spent a month in Alaska at the Alderworks Artists Retreat. They are part of a cohort of ValleyCreates artist grantees in Western Massachusetts and their work can be found in Hobart, December, The Florida Review, and others.
Leah Hager Cohen
Leah Hager Cohen was born in Manhattan and raised at Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens (where her parents worked) and later in Nyack, New York. At age 16, Leah enrolled as a drama student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, then transferred to Hampshire College to study writing. She joined an arts brigade in Nicaragua, worked as a nanny in Berkeley, and freelanced as an ASL interpreter before attending Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Leah is the author of seven novels, five nonfiction books, as well as various and sundry essays, articles and reviews.
María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado
Born in Manatí, PR & raised in Springfield, MA, María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado, M.F.A., M.A., writes & publishes poems & essays that reflect the cultures & languages dynamically intersecting in her life experiences & imagination: American English, Puerto Rican Spanish, German, & Farsi. María has been facilitating poetry workshops for years including at the Mass Poetry Festival, Split This Rock Poetry Festival, in the community in partnership with libraries, and online.
Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta
Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta is Provost Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Institute of Diversity Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her PhD from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She is a leader in research on implicit bias and diversity science, funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health; featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR, Wired, Slate, and the Boston Globe.
A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, Mary Warren Foulk (she/her) has been published in The Hollins Critic, Palette Poetry, Fjords Review, Silkworm, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and North American Review, among other publications. She has two award-winning chapbooks, If I Could Write You a Happier Ending (dancing girl press) and Erasures of My Coming Out (Letter) (The Poetry Box). Her newest collection, The Show Must Go On, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press (Summer 2024).
Tzivia Gover is the author of seven books including Dreaming on the Page: Tap into Your Midnight Mind to Supercharge Your Writing. Her poems have been published in dozens of journals and anthologies including The Mom Egg Review, The Naugatuck River Review, and Lilith Magazine. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and other national and regional publications. A certified Dreamwork Professional she teaches domestically and abroad.
Audrey I-Wei Huang
Audrey I-Wei Huang is a frontline bookseller at Belmont Books. She’s been with the store since it opened in June 2017. She is also a lapsed lawyer, happily not practicing the law while discovering all the books. Since 2021, she has served on the American Book Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Audrey reads across almost all genres and age groups but primarily reads BIPOC authors with all the intersections. One of her favorite things to do in the store is to rip open the ARC envelopes to see what treasure lies inside.
Regine Jackson, a Springfield, Massachusetts native, is a writer driven by her passion for storytelling. Being a voracious reader since she was a child, Jackson yearned for more stories where the characters looked like her and the people around her. While usually focused on science-fiction, horror, and fantasy genres, she also delves into inner-city life through prose and poetry. Jackson aspires to empower BIPOC women to share their stories, representing their voices and experiences in her work while nurturing her own craft and bringing creativity to her city.
Silk Jazmyne is a student of life who loves the artistically strange and narrative in all its forms. She’s a Speculative fiction writer and teaching artist for Kitchen Table Literary Arts, Grubstreet Writers and The Porch. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. Her work has appeared in Midnight & Indigo, African Writer Magazine, Ekphrastic Exhibition in Tandem: Back | Forth.
Celia Jeffries is the author of the award-winning novel Blue Desert. Her work has appeared in numerous newspapers and literary magazines including Westview, Writer’s Chronicle, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Puerto del Sol, as well as the anthology Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper. Jeffries holds an MA from Brandeis and worked in news and educational publishing before earning an MFA from Lesley University.
Sarah Levine’s debut poetry collection, Each Knuckle with Sugar, won the 2022 Driftwood Press Open Reading Contest (Driftwood Press, 2024). She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, author of chapbooks, Take Me Home (Finishing Line Press, 2020) and Her Man (New Megaphone Press, 2014) and her poems have appeared in Passages North, Best New Poets anthology, Green Mountains Review among other publications. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, MAT from Smith College, and BA from UMASS Amherst Honors College. Levine is a 2023-2024 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fulbright award recipient and teaches 7th Grade ELA and 12th Grade AP Literature at Williston Northampton School where she currently holds the Richard C. Gregory Endowed Chair.
Patricia Lee Lewis
Patricia Lee Lewis, MFA/Poetry, Vermont College of Fine Arts; BA Smith College, is an award-winning poet and a founding mother of Straw Dog Writers Guild. A native Texan, she lived 43 years on Patchwork Farm Retreat’s mountaintop, Westhampton MA, leading hundreds of writing workshops and retreats, and 74 writing & yoga retreats internationally. Now living in downtown Northampton, MA, she is forever working on a novel set on a West Texas ranch in 1938.
Nicole M. Young-Martin
Nicole M. Young-Martin (she/her) is a performer, poet, playwright, director, event producer/curator, and nonprofit professional with over 20 years of experience combined in these areas. Nicole has worked across various disciplines, including theatre, poetry, and classical music. She released her debut spoken word album, In/Put: Live from the Valley in 2019. Her play, get (t)his!, received a 2009 James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award from the Five Colleges Multicultural Theater Committee and has since been produced in Michigan and New York City. Nicole is the producer of the Black Writers Read podcast.
Lydia McOscar is the managing editor of Restless Books. She entered the publishing world as trade sales manager for Artbook | D.A.P. Prior to that she spent a decade at Brookline Booksmith, working as a buyer. During her tenure she created sections for Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, disability studies, self-care, horror fiction, and short stories. Lydia also held positions at Brookline Booksmith as an events director and used book buyer.
Alene Moroni has worked almost every possible public library job over a multi-decade career and is currently the head of technical services at the Forbes Library in Northampton. Her favorite aspects of her calling include collection development (procuring and managing library materials) and readers’ advisory (recommending great stories to patrons). She calls Seattle her home and has lived in western Massachusetts since 2015 with her librarian partner and an array of permanent and foster cats.
Nerissa Nields has written 21 CDs-worth of songs for the beloved and lauded folk-rock band The Nields. At the height of touring and performing, she became a novelist. Her publications include a YA novel, Plastic Angel and All Together Singing in the Kitchen, as well as How to Be an Adult: A Creative Guide to Navigating Your Twenties. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Brevity, American Songwriter, The Huffington Post, The Maine Review, and the Boston Globe. She is currently working on The Nields’ twenty-second album (tentatively titled Library) and the third novel in a trilogy about a family band.
Julie Wittes Schlack
Julie Wittes Schlack is a writer, teacher, and editor. Kirkus Reviews named her personal essay collection, This All-at-Onceness, one of the Best Independent Nonfiction Books of 2019, and described her novel, Burning and Dodging, as “An astute and absorbing study of personal growth, human connection, and the nature of reality.” Julie is a regular contributor to WBUR’s journal of opinions and ideas, Cognoscenti. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Shenandoah, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Dos Passos Review, Eleven Eleven, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, St. Ann’s Review, and Tampa Review.
Christopher J. Sparks
October Skies slung so low
Tree kaleidoscope dreams float
Wet and shimmering with half rememberings
Of the season unlacing.
Lisken Van Pelt Dus
Lisken Van Pelt Dus teaches languages, writing, and martial arts in western Massachusetts. Her poetry can be found in many journals, including most recently Sand Hills Literary Magazine, Book of Matches, Split Rock Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Sky Island Journal, the Ekphrastic Review, and in anthologies such as the Crafty Poet Anthology Series. Available books include a full-length collection, What We’re Made Of (2016), and a chapbook, Letters to my Dead (2022).