Meet the AWP Staff
David W. Fenza
David Fenza joined the staff as publications manager in 1988, when he began to engineer the remaking of AWP Newsletter into the Writer's Chronicle. A graduate of the writing programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Iowa, David also earned a master's degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He has served on the boards of Share Our Strength and the Fall for the Book Festival. He is the author of a book-length poem, The Interlude. After becoming Executive Director of AWP in 1995, David initiated many of the changes in governance and programming to support the four-fold growth in the number of writers, teachers, students, and publishers who now benefit from AWP's projects and services.
Director of Publications
Supriya Bhatnagar has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, and a BA in nonfiction writing and editing and an MFA in creative nonfiction from George Mason University. Her short stories have appeared in Femina and 4Indianwoman.com. Her memoir, & then there were three..., was published in 2010 by Serving House Books. Essays from this book have appeared in Perigee and Artful Dodge. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Director of Web Services and Systems Administrator
Kate McDevitt received her BS in computer science with minors in creative writing and mathematics from Virginia Tech. Also at Virginia Tech, she worked on her MS in computer science. Kate has designed and developed websites for many educational, governmental, and commercial organizations. She writes genre and young adult fiction and leads a local writers' roundtable group. In her free time she volunteers at local libraries, BookCrosses, and hunts historical markers. Kate joined AWP in 2006.
Director of Development
Pamela Mills was the Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at George Mason University, before she joined AWP. Pamela's career also includes sixteen years in programming, development, and conference management in public broadcasting with KQED in San Francisco and PBS in Washington DC. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Education from American University.
Roberto Perales was born in Peru, where he studied computer systems engineering at Saint Martin University. Before joining AWP, he worked in the hospitality industry for eight years in various capacities.
Director of Conferences
Christian Teresi oversees what has become the largest literary conference and bookfair in North America. Since his appointment in 2008, he has been dedicated to helping the conference expand and celebrate the diversity of contemporary literature. Christian joined AWP in 2003 as a membership assistant and went on to manage WC&C and Career Services. He holds an MFA in poetry from George Mason University and a BA in English from Binghamton University. His poems and interviews have appeared in several literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, the Kenyon Review Online, Sou’wester, and the Writer’s Chronicle. He is the recipient of a 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize.
Director of Membership Services
Diane Zinna received her MFA in fiction from the University of Florida and went on to teach creative writing for ten years at various colleges in the Washington, DC, area. Her first novel, The All Night Sun, will be published by Putnam in early 2016.
Web Copy Editor
Christina Collins holds an MFA in fiction from George Mason University, a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, and a Certificate in Copyediting from Emerson College. She previously worked in magazine editing for several years and has received three Pushcart Prize nominations for her stories and poems, which have appeared in more than a dozen literary publications, including Weave Magazine, Jabberwock Review, and NonBinary Review.
Cristina Colón has a BA in Communications with a minor in English from Regis University. Before joining AWP, she was a Project Manager at Harris Connect, LLC where worked with clients throughout the U.S. to coordinate projects through all stages of production. Her articles and photography have appeared in the Journal of the Student National Medical Association.
Brittany Cooper holds a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland. She received her BA in English from McDaniel College, with concentrations in journalism and creative nonfiction. Brittany’s work has been featured in Contrast and highlighted by the Associated Press.
Donald Garrett earned his BA in Government and International Politics from George Mason University and is currently working on his Master of Public Administration degree. Prior to joining AWP, he worked on George Mason’s annual fund campaign in the central development office and as a substitute teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools. In his free time, Donald loves volunteering and sampling new cuisine.
Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson
Conference Events Coordinator
Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson holds an MA in English Literature from George Mason University, where he also studied for his BA in the same field. Before returning to the United States to begin his university studies, Lars lived, worked, and studied in Oxford, England and Stockholm, Sweden for nine years. As an undergraduate student, he helped to develop and implement the idea for Connect2Mason, George Mason’s first new media website, and served as Converge Director on the editorial team that won the 2008 ACP Online Pacemaker Award.
Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden, winner of the Hollis Summers Award, and two chapbooks of poetry. Individually, his poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. His previous publishing experience includes serving as journals manager for both the University of Wisconsin Press and The Ohio State University Press. He holds graduate degrees in creative writing from Ohio State and from Johns Hopkins University.
Sarah Katz joined the staff in July 2014. She has a BA in English and Philosophy and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at American University in Washington, D.C. Her poems and flash fiction have been published in Deaf Lit Extravaganza, jmww, and From the Depths, among others.
Kenny Lakes holds a BA in history with a minor in political science from Susquehanna University. Prior to AWP, he worked at Global Alliance for Arts & Health as a membership associate.
Conference Registration Coordinator
Kelley McLain earned her BA in Communications, with a minor in Public Relations from George Mason University. She has a background in sales and office management, and is currently pursuing a graduate business certificate in Event Management at George Washington University. In her free time, Kelley loves to travel and enjoys reading historical fiction.
Leanne Molter received her BFA in Art and Visual Technology with a concentration in Graphic Design from George Mason University. For the last two years, Leanne has been a graphic designer and coordinator of marketing and social media at Marketing Solutions in Fairfax, VA. She has also worked as a photo processor and editor for Stuart Hill Photography, and she freelanced as a designer.
Annie Peña earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in Biology. Before coming to AWP in 2014, she studied the territorial behavior of monkeys in Brazil, and used GIS/remote sensing to map locations all over the world. Annie loves to travel, read with her family, and discover new vocabulary.
Associate Director of Conferences
Cynthia Sherman joined AWP in 2012. She has volunteered with several organizations in Northern Virginia, including GRACE Art as a program presenter and as the committee chair for the local World Thinking Day program of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Prior to her volunteering, she spent fifteen years in exhibits and meetings management. In her free time, she stays true to her former flight attendant days and continues to explore the world with her family. She also practices yoga and designs jewelry.
Taylor Simpson joined AWP in October 2014. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Liberty University in 2013, with a concentration in vocal performance. She is currently studying for a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at George Mason University. She frequently performs with the GMU Opera, and also teaches after-school music enrichment programs at local elementary schools.
Ronald Goldfarb is a lawyer, author, and literary agent based in Washington, D.C. His firm specializes is legal matters pertaining to writers and publishing. He is the author of ten nonfiction books, including Perfect Villains, Imperfect Heroes: Robert F. Kennedy's War Against Organized Crime. He served in the Justice Department of the Kennedy Administration from 1961 to 1964.