Writer to Writer’s Spring 2021 Mentees
AWP celebrates the 23 writers selected to participate in the Spring 2021 session of Writer to Writer. We received hundreds of applications for this session. Mentors were each given several strong applications to choose from and selected their own mentees.
If you would like to apply for a mentor, mentee applications for the Fall 2021 session will be accepted August 1–19, 2021 via Submittable.
Claudia Armann has a journalism degree and participated in the Associated Press Minority Internship program. She spent five years as a research editor at Islands magazine and Hispanic Business, the nation’s top finance magazine about the Latinx market. Her background as the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants and twenty-year career in philanthropy working with the immigrant community have informed her novels. You can find her at www.claudiaarmann.com.
Claudia will be working with Diana López.
Jamir Bowers is a Michigan-born writer and graphic designer who likes to create escapist stories and illustrations. He is an undergraduate student in arts and humanities at Michigan State University and also a recipient for the Valentino Scholarship for Emerging Writers. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading novels and watching movies.
Jamir is working with Danielle Rollins.
Ebony E. Chinn
Ebony E. Chinn is a freelance copyeditor from New Jersey. She is also a McNair Scholar, a Callaloo Fellow, a Poets & Writers Amy Award recipient, and an editor-at-large for Anomaly. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from DIAGRAM, Frontier Poetry, Narrative, and Callaloo.
Ebony is working with Michael Meyerhofer.
Angela Dribben's debut collection, Everygirl, a finalist for the 2020 Dogfish Head Prize, is out with Main Street Rag in May 2021. She is the contributing review editor at Cider Press Review. Her poetry, essays, mixed media, and reviews can be found or are forthcoming in Texas Review Press’s Virginia anthology,EcoTheo, Deep South, San Pedro River Review, Crab Creek Review, Crack the Spine, Fatal Flaw, Up the Staircase Quarterly, patchwork lit, and others.
Angela is working with Suzanne Farrell Smith.
Becky Ferrigno is an author on a mission to write and teach about children and adults who overcome adversity and live incredible lives. Her experience as a neurodiverse person and a parent of a child with special needs is the driving force behind her work. Becky’s articles on sensory processing disorder and parenting have been featured on The Mighty, Motherly, Her View From Home, and BeckyFerrigno.com. Her first children’s book, Blazing A Trail: The Story of Minna Anthony Common (Pocket Jennifer Publishing, August 2019), tells the story of a New York Times columnist, self-taught botanist, and literal blazer of trails.
Becky is working with Meg Eden.
Katherine Gaffney completed her MFA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is currently working on her PhD in creative writing at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in jubilat, Rabbit Catastrophe, Harpur Palate, the Mississippi Review, Meridian, the Tampa Review, and elsewhere. When not writing, she spends her time doting on her two dogs and her cat, crocheting, and baking bread.
Katherine is working with Alexa Doran.
Kari Ann Gonzalez
Kari Ann Gonzalez is a writer of children’s fiction and informational fiction with a dash of wit and humor. When she is not regaling her family with tall tales or creating colorful characters for her stories, you will find her reading voraciously. Three cats and six chickens are kind enough to share their home with Kari, her husband, and their two little girls in California. Her forthcoming work can be seen in 42 Stories Anthology.
Kari is working with Jen Breach.
The first Kurdish woman to publish a novel in English, Ava Homa is a writer, journalist, and activist specializing in women’s issues and Middle Eastern affairs. She was born and raised in the Kurdistan Province in Iran and now lives in the Bay Area. Daughters of Smoke and Fire is her debut novel, published May 2020 by the Overlook Press, an imprint of Abrams.
Ava is working with Ellen Meeropol.
Sawsen Jamaleddin loves to write but hates word problems. She earned her BA in educational studies from Western Governors University. Her passion for writing has spurred a touchy-feely romance with her keyboard. When she is not rearranging sentences, and forming paragraphs, she is a substitute teacher. She believes seeking knowledge is as addictive as caffeine. She has traveled the world and lives in California with her husband and four children. She is American by birth and Palestinian by blood.
Sawsen is working with Yvette Benavides.
Christine Landry is an Austin resident by way of Tennessee. She writes for others as a marketing consultant for a living, and at long last, has committed to writing for herself too. She’s currently revising a novel loosely based on her great-grandparents who grew up down the bayou from each other in 1900 Acadiana but rarely interacted because of class distinctions. You can find her on Twitter at @ChrisMarieLand and Instagram at @cmlandry.
Christine is working with Maryka Biaggio.
Nicole W. Lee
Nicole W. Lee is a poet and playwright of Chinese Malaysian Australian background. Her writing has received fellowships from VONA/Voices, Varuna the National Writers’ House, and Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, and she is currently writer-in-residence at a children’s theatre in Australia. While living in the US, she reported from a refugee camp in Tanzania and wrote literary criticism for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Nicole currently lives on the traditional lands of the Cadigal Wangal people (Sydney, Australia) with her partner and dog and can be found online at nicolewlee.com.
Nicole is working with Neil Aitken.
Puloma Mukherjee is a fiction writer, essayist and immigrant single mother based in New York City. Her short story "Sandfall" was included in a 2019 anthology by Moon Magazine. Her non-fiction has appeared in Guernica. She attended the Tin House Summer Writer's Workshop and Yale Writer's Conference, among others. She's currently working on her first novel.
Puloma is working with Lex Williford.
Tamara Nicholl-Smith is a poet living and writing in Houston, Texas. She enjoys collaboration with musicians, poets, and artists. Her poetry has appeared on two Albuquerque city bus panels, one parking meter, numerous radio shows, one spoken-word classical piano fusion CD, and in print and online publications including Kyoto Journal, The Examined Life Journal, Catholic Arts Today, and Mutabulis Press’s anthology Enchantment of the Ordinary. She is a former slam poet and coach and has recently developed a poetic productivity workshop called Making Space for the Muse. She enjoys puns and likes her bourbon neat.
Tamara is working with Emily Michael.
Ryley O'Byrne is an artist and writer living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples (in Roberts Creek, Canada). She uses text, image, video, and textiles to explore relational dynamics, intimacy, and the process of meaning-making. Her projects and texts have been featured in publications including Canadian Art, the Capilano Review, Art Viewer, Vogue, the Globe and Mail, Room Journal, and others. She attended the Mountain School of Art in Los Angeles and was a member of the Critical Art Writing Ensemble III at the Banff Centre.
Ryley is working with Lara Lillibridge.
Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh is a PhD student in English literature, studying the history of Islamophobia and the racialization of Muslims. She is also a creative writer, mother, and hobby enthusiast. Her creative writing has been published in an anthology for Iranian American writers and several online literary journals.
Shokoofeh is working with Faiqa Mansab.
Neha Sharma is a poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. Some of the many places Neha has called home include Chandigarh, Bangalore, and Delhi in India and Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California in the United States. Neha holds a BSE in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Duke University. In a previous life, Neha worked as an engineer and a management consultant in corporate America and India.
Neha is working with Shikha Malaviya.
Jen Straus received a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature from Barnard College. A former magazine writer and editor, she now works in nonprofit fundraising. Her current fiction and nonfiction writing focuses on disability, ableism, and identity. Originally from the Washington, DC suburbs, she lives in Brooklyn and is at work on her first novel.
Jen is working with Kristen Witucki.
Mandy Wallace is a writer and freelancer living with her husband and son in California’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley. She shares writing resources with her 20k monthly readers at Write or Die (mandywallace.com), named one of the 100 Best Websites for Writers. She has a BA in English from CSUB and studied German language and literature at Universität Tübingen in Germany. Her creative work has appeared in Plath Poetry Project, Writer’s Digest, and on the streets of Bakersfield.
Mandy is working with Despy Boutris.
Camille Wanliss is a Jamaican American writer born and raised in New York. A 2020 Pigeon Pages Essay Contest winner, her work has also been published by Raising Mothers, Anomaly, Kweli Journal, Weird Sister, the Feminist Wire, and the Indypendent, among others. In 2016, she founded Galleyway, an online platform that champions diverse voices in literature, poetry, television, film, and theater by spotlighting opportunities for writers of color. Camille is the recipient of the Adria Schwartz Award in Women’s Fiction, and her short story “Leverage” was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary Prize. Fellowships and residencies include Vermont Studio Center and Writing in the Margins. She earned an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York.
Camille is working with Rachel Beanland.
Nancy H. Williard
Born in North Carolina, Nancy H. Williard returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2014 after twenty years in California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains. A librarian, educator, editor, and writer, she received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte in May 2020. In 2021, her story "Wherever You Go" won Honorable Mention in the Doris Betts Fiction Prize and can be found in the North Carolina Literary Review. She contributes reviews to the Southern Review of Books. See nhwilliard.com.
Nancy is working with Rus Bradburd.
Creative Nonfiction or Fiction
Julia Winnis a technologist and entrepreneur based in San Francisco, CA. She began writing poetry and creative nonfiction in college and completed her first novel last year. When not writing, she enjoys biking, running, and making unusual savory sauces. You can find her on Twitter @jcwinnwrites.
Julia is working with Donna Freitas.
Robin Yang was born and raised in California and currently resides in San Francisco. She taught herself web development in high school so she could build fan sites for her favorite boy bands, then graduated from Barnard College with a degree in sociology and pursued a career in the game development and consumer technology industry. Robin is working on her first novel, a contemporary romance set in the Bay Area.
Robin is working with Cara Diaconoff.
Ariel Yisrael is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University. With a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, she is a member of the international English Honor Society. She uses multiple writing genres to better understand the unique ways that mental illness manifests in the Black American household.
Ariel is working with J. Kates.