R195. Degree of Change: Using Your MFA in Social Justice Nonprofit Work

Room 204C, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Three dynamic nonprofits using literature to elevate unheard voices and share untold stories describe their unique collaboration and discuss opportunities for MFA writers to bring about social change. Shout Mouse Press, PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools Program, and Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop facilitate writing workshops, publish original works, and provide author visits in DC's most marginalized communities.



Tara Libert is the cofounder and executive director of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a Washington, DC nonprofit that uses the transformative tools of books, writing, and a peer support system to awaken incarcerated youth to their own potential.

Julia Mascioli is the Director of Development and Communications for Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a nonprofit that uses books and writing to empower incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth. Julia has an MFA in fiction from Emerson College.

Kathy Crutcher is the founder of Shout Mouse Press (SMP), a nonprofit writing program and publishing house for unheard voices. After earning an MFA from the University of Arizona, she followed her passion to empower others to tell their stories. SMP authors include at-risk youth in DC and Haiti.

Emma Snyder serves as the Executive Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and has taught in a variety of settings, including rural Louisiana, Beijing, and a Wisconsin state prison.

Juan Peterson was incarcerated as an adult at the DC Jail when he was sixteen years old. After his release, Juan became a Free Minds Poet Ambassador, sharing his poetry and personal story with youths in order to reduce youth violence and incarceration.


March 23–26, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Convention Center