Previous Writer to Writer Mentors

AWP celebrates the writers who have participated as mentors in past sessions of Writer to Writer.

Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Fall 2017

Creative Nonfiction Kathryn Aalto

Kathryn Aalto

Andrew Miller,
Deer Isle, ME
  Poetry Adam Clay

Adam Clay

Autumn McClintock,
Philadelphia, PA
  Fiction Neil Connelly

Neil Connelly

Moe Shalabi,
Arlington, VA
  Poetry Tasha Cotter

Tasha Cotter

Emma Neslund,
Anchorage, AK
  Fiction Laura Creedle

Laura Creedle

Rachel Kurasz,
Villa Park, IL
  Flash Fiction Jenny Ferguson

Jenny Ferguson

Elizabeth Zertuche,
Apex, NC
  Fiction Lucy Ferriss

Lucy Ferriss

ydia Cooper,
Omaha, NE
  Creative Nonfiction Gail Folkins

Gail Folkins

Lisa Whalen,
St. Paul, MN
  Creative Nonfiction Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay

Tiffany Palumbo,
Lexington, KY
  Fiction Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande

Camila Santos,
Long Island City, NY
  Creative Nonfiction Gail Hosking

Gail Hosking

Annie Syed,
Albuquerque, NM
  Fiction Allegra Hyde

Allegra Hyde

Amy Savage,
Albany, NY
  Poetry Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Jena Favinger,
Cooper City, FL
  Poetry J. Kates

J. Kates

Lucas Jacob,
Indianapolis, IN
  Playwriting Jean Klein

Jean Klein

Nettie Reynolds,
Austin, TX
  Fiction Sassafras Lowrey

Sassafras Lowrey

Chelsea Catherine,
Graniteville, VT
  Fiction Benjamin Ludwig

Benjamin Ludwig

Melanie Redler,
St. Louis, MO
  Poetry Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya

Preeti Parikh,
Cincinnati, OH
  Poetry Christina Olson

Christina Olson

Kate Gaskin,
Montgomery, AL
  Fiction Paul Pedroza

Paul Pedroza

Alixen Pham,
West Hollywood, CA
  Fiction David Rocklin

David Rocklin

Suzie Eckl,
Washington, DC
  Poetry Matthew Thorburn

Matthew Thorburn

Aaron Caycedo-Kimura,
Bloomfield, CT
  Fiction Spencer Wise

Spencer Wise

Zora Mai Quỳnh,
Oakland, CA
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Spring 2017

Poetry Kimberly L. Becker

Kimberly L. Becker

Deborah Jang,
Denver, Colorado
  Creative Nonfiction Chelsea Biondolillo

Chelsea Biondolillo

Leeanna T. Torres,
Los Lunas, New Mexico
  Fiction Dan Calhoun

Dan Calhoun

Benedict Nguyen,
Bronx, New York
  Poetry Sandy Coomer

Sandy Coomer

Alice Christy,
Chula Vista, California
  Creative Nonfiction Chauna Craig

Chauna Craig

Emily Huso,
College Place, Washington
  Creative Nonfiction Margaret Lazarus Dean

Margaret Lazarus Dean

Rachel Luria,
Jupiter, Florida
  Creative Nonfiction Jaquira  Díaz

Jaquira Díaz

Yesenia Diaz,
Germantown, Maryland
  Poetry Jehanne Dubrow

Jehanne Dubrow

Seema Yasmin
  Fiction Jenny Ferguson

Jenny Ferguson

Cynthia Marie,
Madison, Tennessee
  Fiction Masha Hamilton

Masha Hamilton

Ellen Birkett Morris,
Louisville, Kentucky
  Fiction Zeke Jarvis

Zeke Jarvis

Shelley Senai,
Framingham, Massachusetts
  Fiction Soniah Kamal

Soniah Kamal

Katarzyna Jakubiak,
Millersville, Pennsylvania
  Fiction Margaret Malone

Margaret Malone

Michelle Cerulli McAdams,
Gainesville, Florida
  Creative Nonfiction Jeannine Ouellette

Jeannine Ouellette

Kristine Jepsen,
Decorah, Iowa
  Fiction Virginia Pye

Virginia Pye

Margaret Grant,
Jericho, Vermont
  Poetry Doug Ramspeck

Doug Ramspeck

Ann Plicque,
New Orleans, Louisiana
  Poetry JD Schraffenberger

JD Schraffenberger

Erin Robertson,
Louisville, Colorado
  Fiction Elizabeth L. Silver

Elizabeth L. Silver

Rebecca Tyng Kantor,
Brooklyn, New York
  Poetry Danez Smith

Danez Smith

Rashaad Thomas,
Phoenix, Arizona
  Creative Nonfiction Jill  Talbot

Jill Talbot

Judith Gelt,
Centennial, Colorado
  Fiction Laura Valeri

Laura Valeri

Diana Powell,
Bellingham, Washington
  Poetry Sidney Wade

Sidney Wade

Annette C. Boehm,
Velbert, Germany
  Poetry Ken Waldman

Ken Waldman

Michael Allyn Wells,
Independence, Missouri
  Poetry Brendan Walsh

Brendan Walsh

Annah Sidigu,
Urbana, Illinois
  Creative Nonfiction Xu Xi

Xu Xi

Laura Joyce,
Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Fall 2016

Creative Nonfiction Julia Boyd

Julia Boyd

Adwoa Akhu,
New Rochelle, New York
Poetry Michael Broder

Michael Broder

J. Sebastian Alberdi,
San Diego, California
Fiction Dan Calhoun

Dan Calhoun

Jon Levenson,
Long Beach, California
Poetry Hélène  Cardona

Hélène Cardona

Laura Braverman,
Beirut, Lebanon
Fiction Tracy DeBrincat

Tracy DeBrincat

Penny Gilchrist,
Ashburn, Virginia
Fiction Amina Gautier

Amina Gautier

Renee Simms,
University Place, Washington
Poetry Leslie Harrison

Leslie Harrison

Caroline Plasket,
Erlanger, Kentucky
Fiction Rachel Howzell Hall

Rachel Howzell Hall

Stephanie Burnham,
San Diego, California
Creative Nonfiction Christine Hyung-Oak Lee

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee

Benin Lemus,
Los Angeles, California
Fiction Kelly Luce

Kelly Luce

Mika Yamamoto,
Midland, Michigan
Poetry Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya

Muhammad Umar,
San Francisco, California
Poetry Marilyn McCabe

Marilyn McCabe

Senna Heyatawin,
San Francisco, California
Fiction Joe Milazzo

Joe Milazzo

Nancy Geibe Wasson,
Rogers, Arkansas
Fiction Sharon Millar

Sharon Millar

Thatcher Carter,
Riverside, California
Creative Nonfiction Lisa Nikolidakis

Lisa Nikolidakis

Tiffany Kassab,
San Jose, California
Creative Nonfiction Jeannine Ouellette

Jeannine Ouellette

Rebecca Baroma,
Santa Monica, California
Fiction Lori Ostlund

Lori Ostlund

Shubha Venugopal,
Thousand Oaks, California
Fiction Jodi Paloni

Jodi Paloni

Barbara Ristine,
Reno, Nevada
Fiction Zach Powers

Zach Powers

Lara Lewis,
Savannah, Georgia
Fiction Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Katie Rose Guest Pryal

LP Sutton,
West Hollywood, California
Fiction Chaitali Sen

Chaitali Sen

Amna Ahmad,
Brooklyn, New York
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Spring 2016

Fiction Fred Arroyo

Fred Arroyo

Ananda Lima,
Maplewood, NJ

 

Fiction Katharine Beutner

Katharine Beutner

Lara Palmquist,
Faribault, MN

 

Poetry Allen Braden

Allen Braden

Erin Elkins Radcliffe,
Albuquerque, NM

 

Poetry Traci Brimhall

Traci Brimhall

Catherine Keefe,
Trabuco Canyon, CA

 

Creative Nonfiction Gail Folkins

Gail Folkins

Robin Patten,
Gallatin Gateway, MT

 

Creative Nonfiction Brandi Megan Granett

Brandi Megan Granett

Meg Kinghorn,
South Jordan, UT

 

Poetry Barbara Helfgott Hyett

Barbara Helfgott Hyett

Rachel Ansong,
Bronx, NY

 

Poetry dawn lonsinger

dawn lonsinger

Mari Hailu,
Lewisville, TX

 

Fiction Benjamin Ludwig

Benjamin Ludwig

Colette Lunday,
Appleton, WI

 

Poetry Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya

Manisha Sharma,
Blacksburg, VA

 

Fiction Najiyah Maxfield

Najiyah Maxfield

Cynthia Huijgens,
Cairo, Egypt

 

Creative Nonfiction Jeannine Ouellette

Jeannine Ouellette

Stephanie Ratanas,
Minneapolis, MN

 

Fiction Jon Papernick

Jon Papernick

R.L. Maizes,
Niwot, CO

 

Poetry Emilia Phillips

Emilia Phillips

Ann DeVilbiss,
Louisville, KY

 

Fiction Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold

Amanda Niehaus,
Phoenix, AZ

 

Creative Nonfiction Claude Clayton Smith

Claude Clayton Smith

Irene Hoge Smith,
Garrett Park, MD

 

Creative Nonfiction Sharon Estill Taylor

Sharon Estill Taylor

Mariah Mottley,
Interlaken, NY

 

Fiction Eliot Treichel

Eliot Treichel

Shelley Evans,
Cambridge, MA

 

Creative Nonfiction Ken Waldman

Ken Waldman

Naomi Ulsted,
Gresham, OR
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Fall 2015

Poetry Michael Broder

Michael Broder

"[S]ome people are mentorship magnets—everybody wants to help them the moment they meet them—and other people are not. I was not. And I think those are the people who need the most help. But they need help from people like me, who realize how hard it can be to get the help you need."

Journey McAndrews,
Lexington, KY

 

Creative Nonfiction Norma Cantú

Norma Cantú

"It is important to connect with other writers to allay the fears and put the doubts into perspective."

Melani Martinez,
Tucson, AZ

 

Creative Nonfiction Chauna Craig

Chauna Craig

"Transitions often provoke crises when a writing career doesn’t go as planned, and mentors who have ‘been there’ are such valuable sources of information and support."

Elizabeth Cone,
Patchogue, NY

 

Creative Nonfiction Eileen Cronin

Eileen Cronin

"Mentorships help you: to learn how to be the best editors to your own work; to learn how to be generous with your talents; to strive to go beyond writing stories that are funny or dramatic toward writing stories with lasting power."

T.K. Dalton,
New York, NY

 

Poetry Lori Desrosiers

Lori Desrosiers

"No writer should have to write in a vacuum. Having people to show your work to is a great boon and helps with every aspect of writing, from idea formation to final editing and submission."

Pedro Poitevin,
Salem, MA

 

Playwriting Dale Griffiths Stamos

Dale Griffiths Stamos

"Writing begets writing. Although inspiration is lovely when it hits. The process of sitting down and putting words to paper will bring other words from your subconscious to the surface."

Kelly Jo Eldredge,
Denver, CO

 

Creative Nonfiction Minal Hajratwala

Minal Hajratwala

"There’s still a real shortage of diversity in the writing coach landscape, and I find that many of my clients are really happy to have a person of color/queer person/etc. who can help them unpack some of the particular issues around silencing and finding one’s voice that can happen as a result of oppression."

Peace Keenen,
Seattle, WA

 

Fiction Robert Hellenga

Robert Hellenga

"Writing doesn't seem to get any easier, especially as I move farther and farther away from my own experience."

Ryane Granados,
Los Angeles, CA

 

Fiction Rachel Howzell Hall

Rachel Howzell Hall

"I want to pay it forward, be there for someone who may feel as marginalized as I did."

Alyssa McClure,
Cambridge, MA

 

Fiction Kristiana Kahakauwila

Kristiana Kahakauwila

"Write the book you want to read. I like this advice because it's a reminder that so many stories are still silenced, are still unavailable. If you feel like your story isn't represented out there, then write it."

Sea Stachura,
Augusta, GA

 

Poetry Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden

"I think the relationships forged in mentorship give the mentee an avenue for all those dark-of-the-night questions—a place to really ask them with intent and open ears."

Rachel Custer,
Fort Wayne, IN

 

Fiction Jennifer Morales

Jennifer Morales

"If you think your work is good, then fight for it. Pester everyone you know to advocate for you. And don’t give up."

Cairo Amani,
Brooklyn, NY

 

Poetry Verónica Reyes

Verónica Reyes

"I hope to help an emerging Chicana/o or Latina/o poet or writer of color. I hope to provide support to a queer/lesbian poet who needs advice from a Chicana from East L.A. I hope to provide a face to what it means to be a working poet in this society. I hope to give back what I wished I had as a young poet from the streets of my community."

Ashanti Anderson,
New Orleans, LA

 

Creative Nonfiction J.E. (Eric) Robinson

J.E. (Eric) Robinson

"As a novice, I wish I had a more experienced writer willing and able to jettison personal tastes and prejudices so that he may hear out clearly ideas I had."

Alan Bell,
Los Angeles, CA

 

Poetry Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Jenny Sadre-Orafai

"My mentors always stressed perseverance. Their knowledge and guidance means everything to me. I revisit it nearly every day I teach. I am always reminded of who I learned from and what I learned."

Nicole Homer,
Freehold, NJ

 

Fiction Leslie Schwartz

Leslie Schwartz

"Mentoring is an extraordinary experience and one I rely on to keep my own creative self alive. Interaction with new writers keeps me fresh, and I always hope they make it out there. When they do, it is a thrilling experience. I simply like to create community and to give what I have. I was there once too."

Elisa Bernick,
St. Paul, MN

 

Fiction Brando Skyhorse

Brando Skyhorse

"It never goes like you hope. You never find balance, meet your goals, or find your audience, because each level of small success opens a larger field of potential challenges."

Mira T. Lee,
Cambridge, MA

 

Fiction Christine Sneed

Christine Sneed

"The poet Roland Flint said that you have to focus on the work, above all, and on the joy that writing brings to your life. The work is what will endure and the pleasure you take in it. Other aspects—money, attention from readers and publishers, prizes—those might come at some point, but it's your love of writing that will carry you through the times when you feel worried or anxious about your future."

Hadley Moore,
Vicksburg, MI

 

Creative Nonfiction Michael Steinberg

Michael Steinberg

"In the best-case scenarios, mentors and mentees (myself among them) have formed lifelong personal, collegial, and professional relationships."

Silvana Straw,
Washington, DC

 

Poetry Molly Sutton Kiefer

Molly Sutton Kiefer

"We are not alone. This is what a mentorship can do. Say: Hey, here's what I did to get through this particular period, and here's how I came out of it. Here's what you can do. I see you, I see where you are going, and I'm there."

Genevieve Williams,
Omaha, NE

 

Creative Nonfiction Earl Swift

Earl Swift

"We writers are much like rivers—we’re the sum of many streams. I hope to serve as a useful stream."

Weyshawn Koons,
Friday Harbor, WA

 

Poetry Edwin Torres

Edwin Torres

"I think the mentee relationship has wonderful attributes for both parties, creating an open field and finding new friends. But also calling to question your own work: Does it support what you're teaching? Can you bring one more person to their own possibility?"

Aaron Samuels,
Cranston, RI

 

Fiction Jessica Treadway

Jessica Treadway

"[I hope to gain a sense of] connection, and the satisfaction of helping someone in the way I would have appreciated had this program been available when I was a young writer."

Karin Killian,
Chicago, IL

 

Poetry Seth Brady Tucker

Seth Brady Tucker

"Of course, it is important to have good readers, but it is even more important to have a good network of supporters these days; the competition is more and more fierce to be published, and new writers need someone to help them navigate the competitive world of publishing."

Jessica Lawrence,
Charlottesville, VA

 

Fiction Susan Wingate

Susan Wingate

"[Struggles in the writing life] happen, I believe, on and off again through our careers, but when I had my mentor on my side, these instances didn't feel as daunting. His encouragement helped invaluably."

Sharon Ferguson,
Richmond, TX
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Spring 2015

Poetry Laurel Blossom

Laurel Blossom

"To work with a mentor who believes in your work and treats you as a colleague is an enriching, esteem-building, and (at its very best) transformative experience. I would hope to be such a mentor."

Lisa Moore,
Austin, TX

 

Poetry Allen Braden

Allen Braden

"I think a good mentor guides the aesthetic development and direction of a mentee without insisting he or she writes as the mentor does."

Jennifer Bullis,
Bellingham, WA

 

Creative Nonfiction Renee D’Aoust

Renee D’Aoust

"There is time, you have time, even if you feel as if you don’t. The urgency needs to be on the page, not in your fear of the page or your hope for success."

Sophia Kouidou-Giles,
Seattle, WA

 

Poetry Lisha Garcia

Lisha Garcia

"Follow the voice that one's passion demands. If one can't live without the writing, then the world deserves access to that voice."

Minadora Macheret,
Cincinnati, OH

 

Fiction Mike Harvkey

Mike Harvkey

"The best way to think of writing is as a lifelong practice, a pursuit of perfection that will never be reached."

Lisa Henner,
Viroqua, WI

 

Poetry Allison Hedge Coke

Allison Hedge Coke

"Giving generously ensures fullness, fruition, and fine times. Mentoring is essential cyclical truth. Passing along what you pick up allows those that receive two handfuls to run with, yours and their own."

Shauna Osborn,
Albuquerque, NM

 

Poetry Michael Klein

Michael Klein

"Working with a mentor enables the mentee to -- when it's a good working relationship -- be much freer and not as self censoring as they might be when in a classroom or other kind of group situation."

Freesia McKee,
Milwaukee, WI

 

Poetry Elline Lipkin

Elline Lipkin

"I think mentorship is essential, and I'll venture saying more so for women writers who (generally speaking) are less apt to submit their work and believe their voice and vision need to be heard."

Julia Laxer,
Portland, OR

 

Poetry Rachel Mennies

Rachel Mennies

"The best advice I've ever received about my writing is to remember that we're writers (art-makers) first, and authors second."

Monika Cassel,
Santa Fe, NM

 

Creative Nonfiction Brian Oliu

Brian Oliu

"The thing I try to teach writers is that we are all in this together: just because I have pieces published doesn't mean that we're not on the same level—I've just been at it longer. Your book has a birthday. You just don’t know what it is yet."

Billy Kilgore,
Chicago, IL

 

Fiction Lori Ostlund

Lori Ostlund

"I think that I understand well how important the small successes are--a 'good' rejection, a kind word from another writer, making a semifinalist list for a contest. Sometimes it's nice to have other people in your life who understand the significance of these things and how they can buoy you during a difficult period."

Whitney Wimbish,
Brooklyn, NY

 

Fiction Paul Pedroza

Paul Pedroza

"One can never underestimate the power of just knowing someone has been through what you're just beginning to do and is there to support you emotionally, as well."

Alisha Churbe,
Minneapolis, MN

 

Poetry Jennifer Perrine

Jennifer Perrine

"The pleasurable, important part of writing is the deep, deliberate process of making something, so slow down and enjoy it. Publishing might be satisfying, but it's not the reason why we write."

Catherine Cryan,
Lincoln, RI

 

Fiction Luke Rolfes

Luke Rolfes

"After one of my first rejections, one of my mentors told me this about publishing: There is undoubtedly a person out there who will love every word that you will ever write. There is also a person out there who will hate every word. The trick is getting your writing on the right person's desk on the right day when he or she is in the right mood to fall in love with your work."

Molly Rideout,
Grinnell, IA

 

Creative Nonfiction Candy Schulman

Candy Schulman

"I found a lifelong mentor with Hayes B. Jacobs, who was smart, stern, disciplined, and incredibly encouraging. I would not be a writer today if not for him. To this day, I quote him in my classes and feel spurred on daily because of the effect he had on me."

Caryn Mohr,
Falcon Heights, MN

 

Poetry Robin Scofield

Robin Scofield

"One time in my thirties, I thought that I should give up this expensive habit of writing poems and expecting an audience. I was on my way to my weekly writing workshop with The Tumblewords Project. At the workshop, that very night, I wrote the first three poems of what would become a sequence which became my first full-length book."

Mary Harpin,
Denver, CO

 

Fiction Jeffrey Stayton

Jeffrey Stayton

"I'd like to give back what was freely given to me."

Judy Hall,
Montclair, NJ

 

Poetry Lisa C. Taylor

Lisa C. Taylor

"Read widely and spend as much (or more) time revising as you do writing. View your original lines as the doorway to a piece that will become stronger over time. If a piece just isn't working, sometimes you have to put it aside for a while."

Khara House,
Flagstaff, AZ

 

Creative Nonfiction Deb Olin Unferth

Deb Olin Unferth

"Mentors are there to give feedback and ideas about all manner of things, from how to handle rejection (or at least how not to let it crumple you) to how and why to write when other matters feel more urgent."

Sara-Kate Astrove,
Brooklyn, NY

 

Fiction Evan Morgan Williams

Evan Morgan Williams

"Write on, in spite of the many obstacles in your life. You have to make it happen, and, unless you have a devoted muse at your side, you are the only one who will habitualize the importance of it."

Andrew Bourelle,
Albuquerque, NM
Session Genre Mentor Mentee

Fall 2014

Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Fred Arroyo

Fred Arroyo

"A mentor can help to foster a space where ambition, perfection, and the marketplace are momentarily quelled, and in this space, writing as an art can be fostered and nurtured."

Mona Alvarado Frazier,
Oxnard, CA

 

Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Chauna Craig

Chauna Craig

"Mentors can provide support and encouragement for sustaining a writing life."

Kendra Atkins-Boyce,
Portland, OR

 

Creative Nonfiction Renee D’Aoust

Renee D’Aoust

"There is time, you have time, even if you feel as if you don’t. The urgency needs to be on the page, not in your fear of the page or your hope for success."

Grace Lee,
Brooklyn, NY
Poetry Lori Desrosiers

Lori Desrosiers

"No writer should have to write in a vacuum. Having people to show your work to is a great boon and helps every aspect of writing."

Kira Taylor,
Bellingham, WA
Fiction Brandi Granett

Brandi Granett

"When you immerse yourself in something you love through service, this deepens your own connection to your craft."

Taylor Lauren Ross,
Los Angeles, CA
Creative Nonfiction Ernestine Hayes

Ernestine Hayes

"I hope to provide encouragement to a writer who is now at a stage where I once was. Had I had a mentor... I would have more readily believed in myself."

Kenzie Allen,
Ann Arbor, MI
Fiction Jeffery Hess

Jeffery Hess

"I believe that mentors can demystify perceptions of the literary community."

Priscilla Cash,
Bellefonte, PA
Creative Nonfiction Jen Hirt

Jen Hirt

"I just want to ‘pay it forward’… lots of experienced writers and editors have helped me out, and it was so useful."

Allison Coffelt,
Columbia, MO
Poetry Janet Sylvester

Janet Sylvester

"I think that our increasingly virtual publishing world needs the push-back of personal relationships between experienced and new writers."

Olga Livshin,
Cambridge, MA
Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Amy Wallen

Amy Wallen

"A mentor can often make suggestions on different approaches when a writer is struggling with draft, submissions, or even finding the discipline to sit in the chair."

Jennifer Savran Kelly,
Ithaca, NY
Previous Participants

See a list of previous Writer to Writer participants.