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.

  • Jenny Romero Llaguno

    Jenny Romero Llaguno

    Metro Manila, Philippines      Member Since: 2017

    “I read every book I could lay my hands on—literature from all over the world—found in the library, borrowed from friends, some I even bought, gifts from various suitors. I was definitely hooked, intoxicated with words.”

    About: Upon return from exile during the martial law years in the Philippines, Jenny Romero Llaguno hastily returned to academe for her MA and PhD and then began serious writing for publication in 1988. An activist, she has been engaged for the last 29 years in the women’s movement and other revolutionary activities, marching when called for to protest inequality, racism, and exploitation of peoples and the environment. She is the coeditor of Centennial Crossings: Readings on Babaylan Feminism in the Philippines, and her first short story collection, A Woman with Money and Other Stories, was published in 2018.


  • Julie Hensley

    Julie Hensley

    Richmond, Kentucky      Member Since: 1999

    “Write what you want to read, and dwell in the work. Let the work sustain you until you find an audience.”

    About: Julie Hensley is a core faculty member of the Bluegrass Writers Studio, the low-residency MFA program at Eastern Kentucky University.  Her poems and stories have appeared in dozens of journals, most recently The Journal, The Southern Review, New Madrid, Saranac Review, and Blackbird. She is the author of two poetry collections, The Language of Horses and Viable, and one book of fiction, Landfall: A Ring of Stories, winner of the 2015 Ohio State University Non/fiction Prize.


Previously in the Spotlight

  • Philip Kenney

    Philip Kenney

    Portland, Oregon       Member Since: 2018

    “What I loved about a writing practice from the beginning was that it asked me to be awake… Soon I noticed I was less preoccupied with my insecurities and more present with my experience of the moment and the enchantments of life.”


  • Larissa Lai

    Larissa Lai

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    “In the life I dream of, students, colleagues, friends, and strangers would have a lot more freedom to engage their practices from the cores of their beings, without so much administration, so many hoops, exams, requirements, and most of all without so much competition. Both inside the academy and out, we would have very different forms of governance.”


  • Kwoya Fagin Maples

    Kwoya Fagin Maples

    Birmingham, Alabama      Member Since: 2015

    “…what we most need in life is empathy and a capacity for understanding. We also need to know that where we are is not always indicative of where we will be.”


  • Allen Gee

    Allen Gee

    Columbus, GA      Member Since: 2004

    “Editing is time consuming; I bring all of my attention to the editing process when working with a writer. You always have to strike the right balance, supporting the author with what they’ve intended to do, and not rewriting or commandeering a manuscript.”


  • Donna Kaz

    Donna Kaz

    New York, NY      Member Since: 2012

    “Finding my voice as a writer took time. It is also an ongoing and never-ending quest. The voice I had yesterday will not necessarily be the voice I have tomorrow. So being true to myself and honest in my work is key for me.’”


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In the Spotlight highlights AWP members who are making exceptional contributions to the literary community.

Spotlighted Members

View a complete list of In the Spotlight AWP members.