Board of Directors
AWP is governed by a board of directors who represent the creative writing programs and individual members of AWP. Board members serve four-year terms. The board includes the chairs of regional councils of creative writing programs.
Kathleen Driskell is program director of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program in Louisville, Kentucky, and the author of the poetry collections Blue Etiquette: Poems, a finalist for the Weatherford Award; Next Door to the Dead, a Kentucky Voices selection by the University Press of Kentucky and winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award; Seed Across Snow, a Poetry Foundation national bestseller; Laughing Sickness, and Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. Individual poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and Rattle, among others, and have been featured in anthologies and online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She founded and served two terms as chair of the Low-Residency MFA Directors’ Caucus which meets annually at the national AWP conference. She is a recipient of the Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award from Spalding University and recently completed her extended term as faculty representative to the Spalding Board of Trustees. Driskell received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Seattle Arts & Lectures
Ruth Dickey is the Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, an organization that champions the literary arts by engaging and inspiring readers and writers of all generations in the Puget Sound region. Dickey has received a Mayor’s Arts Award and an Artist Fellowship from the District of Columbia’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and her poems and essays have appeared in Alimentum, Baltimore Review, Cincinnati Review, Kaliope, Paper Street, Potomac Review, roger, and Sonora Review. Dickey holds an MFA from UNC-Greensboro, a BS in Foreign Service and an MA in Latin American studies, both from Georgetown University, and has taught poetry workshops in soup kitchens, drop in centers, and across DC public schools.
January Gill O’Neil
Salem State University & University of Mississippi, Oxford
January Gill O'Neil is the author of Rewilding (CavanKerry Press, 2018), Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She is an associate professor at Salem State University. The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O'Neil is the 2019-2020 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford where she lives. January previously served as the Northeast Council Chair on the AWP board.
Midwest Council Chair
Normandale Community College
Kris Bigalk (pronounced BEE-yahk) is the author of the poetry collection Repeat the Flesh in Numbers; her work also appears in several anthologies. She has received two Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist in Poetry grants and a Minnesota State Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. Bigalk serves as Director of Creative Writing at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, where she founded the first AFA in Creative Writing program based on AWP Recommendations on the Teaching of Creative Writing to Undergraduates and AWP Hallmarks of an Effective Program in Creative Writing at a Two-Year College.
Robb Trott is a realtor in the DC metro area. He earned a BA from the University of Virginia, an MFA in creative writing from Queens University, and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Mitzi Angel is the publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York City. Previously, she was the publisher of Faber & Faber in London. Some of the writers she has worked with include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alaa Al Aswany, Rachel Cusk, Garth Greenwell, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ben Lerner, Yiyun Li, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sally Rooney, and Leïla Slimani.
Serendipity Literary Agency
Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York. Serendipity is the largest African American-owned agency in the US, and Brooks is the author of Never Finished, Never Done, Writing Great Books for Young Adults (now in its second edition), and You Should Really Write A Book: How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir. Brooks is the agent behind many notable authors and illustrators whose awards include the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Award, the Michael Printz Award, and PEN Literary Award honors, as well as winners of the NAACP Image Award, the Edgar Award, and the Kirkus Prize.
Northeast Council Chair
Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections Oh Baby, Pretty, Pistol, Veer, Shot Girls, and Wetsuit. She is the senior editor of New World Writing, chief editor of ELJ (Elm Leaves Journal), and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes. Chinquee lives in Glenwood, New York, and teaches at SUNY-Buffalo State. She will serve as the Northeast Council Chair on the board.
Ex Officio, Outgoing Chair
Bonnie Culver—playwright, screenwriter, and novelist—is the co-founder and director of the Wilkes University Low Residency Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is an associate professor of English at Wilkes, where she has served in various capacities over the past twenty years: faculty member, college dean, and program director. She has written over twenty plays, many of which have been produced by community, regional, and university theatres and equity companies from New York to Los Angeles. She has received individual and institutional grants and awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Maslow Foundation, among others. She has served on several not-for-profit and for-profit advisory boards.
Rigoberto González is the author four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and ten books of prose, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, he is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and a professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. In 2015, he received The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the LA Times.
WC&C Council Chair
Mimi Herman is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, director of the United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute, and co-director of Writeaways workshops in Italy, France and New Mexico. Mimi has served as North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, founding North Carolina Poetry Out Loud director, associate editor of Teaching Artist Journal and faculty mentor for Lesley University. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, and other journals. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson.
Folio Literary Management
Jeff Kleinman is a founding partner of Folio Literary Management, where he is a literary agent and attorney. A few of the titles he has represented include The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey), The Secrets We Kept (Lara Prescott), Mockingbird (Charles Shields), and Maid (Stephanie Land). He also represents the estates of Langston Hughes, Ira Levin, T.H. White, and James Herriot, among others.
Writers' League of Texas
Becka Oliver worked in book publishing in New York City for close to two decades, first in subsidiary rights (Macmillan, Hachette Book Group) and then as a literary agent (William Morris Endeavor). As Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas, the state’s largest literary arts organization, she oversees a full slate of year-round programs and services. In addition, she is a Community Ambassador for the Texas Book Festival and teaches a class on “The Business of Writing” at the University of Texas at Austin.
Susan Jackson Rodgers
Western Council Chair
Oregon State University
Susan Jackson Rodgers is the author of the novel This Must Be the Place and two story collections: The Trouble With You Is and Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6. Her fiction has appeared in journals such as New England Review, North American Review, Glimmer Train, Beloit Fiction Journal, Midwestern Gothic, Colorado Review, Quick Fiction, and Prairie Schooner. She earned her MFA from Bennington College, and is the past recipient of two Kansas Arts Commission Fellowships and two Pushcart Prize Special Mentions. Susan teaches creative writing and literature at Oregon State University, where she also directs the MFA program. She and her husband have three children and live in Corvallis, Oregon.
Southwest Council Chair
Paradise Valley Community College
Ryan Stone is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ. His short story collection, Best Road Yet, was published by Press 53 (2010). His stories have appeared widely in journals including The South Carolina Review, Wisconsin Review, Karamu, RE:AL, and others. T Director for Young Authors of Arizona, the statewide affiliate for the Scholastic Writing Awards, he is a former Vice President and President for the Two-Year College Creative Writing Caucus.
Southern Council Chair
University of Central Arkansas
Stephanie Vanderslice is the author of several books, most recently, The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us. She is professor and director of the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas.
Author & Poet
Dan Vera is a poet, presenter, and teacher with extensive board experience on other nonprofit arts/writing organizations, including spending seven years on Split This Rock Poetry Festival’s board, lastly as its chair. Dan has presented at multiple poetry festivals, and his poetry has been anthologized widely. Some of his most recent awards include a CantoMundo fellowship, Oscar Wilde Poetry Award, Macondo Writers Fellowship, DC Artist Fellowship, and Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize.