In the Spotlight

Featuring AWP members who represent AWP’s mission to foster literary achievement, to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, and to serve the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing.


  • Brian Kaufman

    Brian Kaufman

    Vancouver, Canada      Member Since: 2018

    “‘Balance’ is the key word, and I wish I were better at it… There is always something more you can do or try when trying to publicize and market the books. So, at some point I have to say, ok, enough, a bit of ‘me’ time now.”

    About: Brian Kaufman, a writer, editor, and publisher, has been active in the publishing community for thirty years. Mr. Kaufman has ushered over 180 books and 79 issues of subTerrain Magazine into print, and he is a past recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for his “significant contribution to Vancouver’s arts and cultural community, for shaping Vancouver as a creative city, and for enriching the lives of Vancouver’s citizens.”

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  • Natalia Sylvester

    Natalia Sylvester

    Austin, TX      Member Since: 2013

    “I think the question needs to shift and progress past asking POC authors to continually answer it. I'd love to see this question asked just as often to non-POC booksellers and literary journals, and then be taken several steps further: what are they actively doing not only to invite a more diverse community of writers, but to make their space one in which our community feels welcome, valued, and centered?”

    About: Natalia Sylvester was born in Lima, Peru and is the author of the novels Chasing the Sun and Everyone Knows You Go Home. She studied creative writing at the University of Miami and is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Her work has appeared in Latina Magazine, Writer’s Digest, the Austin American-Statesman, and NBCLatino.com.

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Previously in the Spotlight


  • Brenda Hillman

    Brenda Hillman

    Moraga, California      Member Since: 2012

    “The adrenalin of happily creating first versions/drafts can’t be confused with finishing work you think will last and you will be proud of. I often will return to a poem over and over because it is not yet in the zone of its initiating impulse, but rather has been the product of false pride..”
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  • Theodore Wheeler

    Theodore Wheeler

    Omaha, Nebraska      Member Since: 2006

    “The idea is to start conversations about books and how literature fits into a modern person's life—and to do this in a specific way, in a specific place. There are always people drawn to see what titles we brought along on the cart. It's a challenge, a game, for them to be surprised by what titles we felt were appropriate for the venue and for them to suggest what we forgot.”
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  • Erika T. Wurth

    Erika T. Wurth

    Illinois/Colorado      Member Since:2012

    “As someone who has worked at a University with a large percentage of working class white, black and Latino/Indigenous students, I can say that some of them come ready-made, and all they need is for me to pull them in the right direction, show them there is one. Others, there’s a glimmer, but what they’ve needed all of their lives was a toolbox. I hand it to them, show them how to work on the car – and my god, if they don’t often blossom in ways that shock me.”
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  • Candace Wiley & Monifa Lemons

    Candace Wiley & Monifa Lemons

    Columbia, South Carolina       Members Since: 2016

    “The Watering Hole has been creating arts spaces for adults and youth since 2013, and now we want to do this in a permanent home—a Live Work Arts building… Imagine grabbing a coffee at The Watering Hole Lofts, hearing some poetry, seeing someone painting, and heading back to work. Or dropping the kids off at a collage class and sitting in on a poetry class in the next room, both classes taught by professional artists in residency. Or spending Saturday mornings doing yoga in the community garden.”
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  • Dan Calhoun

    Dan Calhoun

    Lafayette, Louisiana      Member Since: 2016

    “I also tell my undergrads that workshops aren’t the end all of writing. Don’t read all the critiques of your story (brutal and confusing). Don’t weigh everyone’s opinions equally (some people are horrible readers and some people are biased against certain genres). And if you experience a workshop from hell (I have), allow yourself a day or two to vent and steam and then brush it off and get back to work.”
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In the Spotlight highlights AWP members who are making exceptional contributions to the literary community.

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