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Featured Writer Lineup: Cleveland Drafts 2019

Kelly Bancroft is an award-winning poet, prose writer and playwright and a graduate of the NEOMFA. Her plays have been produced in Youngstown, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. A short documentary based on her play "Arriving at Bessie" with producer Craig Duff, was a selection for the Cleveland International Film Festival. She lives in Youngstown, Ohio, where she teaches for the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center and Hiram College.

Lucy Biederman’s experimental writing, including innovative conference reviews, scholarship recast as poetry, and visual essays, have appeared and are forthcoming in Poetry, Pleaides, Ploughshares, AGNI, Early American Literature, and Common-Place: the journal of early American life. She is the author of The Walmart Book of the Dead, which won the 2017 Vine Leaves Press Vignette Award and was a Finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year. Her scholarship, which has been published in The Henry James Review, Women’s Studies, The Emily Dickinson Journal, and Studies in the Literary Imagination, focuses on how contemporary American women writers interpret their literary forebears. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.

 

​Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, 2018) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors’ Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, The Frost Place, and the Key West Literary Seminar, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University, where she is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems have received awards from Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, Narrative’s 30 Below Contest, and the Academy of American Poets, and appear in Ploughshares, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere.

 

Hannah Christopher's works have been published in the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, a few charity anthologies for National Wolfwatcher Coalition, a small press journal called Penmarks, The Threepenny Review, and Gordon Square Review. She works with CRAFT. reading contest and general submissions. For a number of years she served as Editor in Chief at Penmarks, putting on and participating in various literary readings around the community of Mount Vernon, Ohio. Most recently she reads at Bookhouse Brewery for GSR's publication event.

Tracy Cross was born in Cleveland and has been writing most of her life. She admires the works of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. She loves to write short stories about horror, dystopias, the supernatural and thrillers. She self-published her first book, "Sonder" on Amazon in July 2016. She has had work published in several anthologies and magazines including: “Summer Shorts”, the Big Book of Bootleg Horror, Volume 2, Devolution Z: The Horror Magazine, New American Legends (website) and Dark Fire Fiction (website) in the UK. She was awarded the Accent Prize 2016 held by Boston Accent Lit. She is also an active member of the Horror Writers Association, Ladies of Horror Fiction and the Capitol Hill Writers Group. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories and one gothic novel. Follow her misadventures online on instagram: tracycrosswrites, twitter at https://twitter.com/tracycwrites and her website.

 

Noam Dorr is the author of Love Drones (Sarabande Books), which was recently featured in Poets & Writers Magazine as one of the best debut nonfiction books of 2019. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Seneca Review, Passages North, and other places. His essay, "Love Drones," won the Gulf Coast Essay Prize and was a notable essay in the Best American Essays 2016. Born and raised in Kibbutz Givat Haim, Israel, he is a former Fulbright scholar and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Dorr is currently a doctoral candidate in the Literature and Creative Writing Ph.D. program at the University of Utah and the International Essayists Columnist at Essay Daily.

Kisha Nicole Foster is a mother, nationally performing poet, and teaching artist. The author of Poems: 1999-2014 and Blood Work, Foster is the recipient of the 2019 Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature, Foster is also in her fourth year as Regional Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud/ Ohio Arts Council, and a two time Pink Door Fellow. She is currently the Literary Cleveland Fellow/ Cleveland Stories program coordinator, teaching artist with Lake Erie Ink and crafted the poem for the Justice Center Mural Project with muralist Katherine Chilcote. Foster uses her locution as a conduit towards healing and fostering truth within language; allowing mistakes and humility to guide her craft.

Siaara Freeman is a two time nominee for the pushcart prize, a finalist for the 2017 Button Poetry chapbook competition, a 2017 Bettering American Poet, Best Of The Net Poet, a 2018 winter tangerine chapbook fellow and a 2018 Poetry Foundation incubator fellow. Siaara is a four year PinkDoor Fellow & a current Pinkdoor Faculty member. She has coached numerous teen and adult poets. She is the founder of Wusgood.Black and Co- Founder of Outsiders Writing Retreat. She is a teaching artist with Center For Arts Inspired Learning & a bartender for Cleveland Public Theater. She is a s.In her spare time she is growing her afro so tall God mistakes it for a microphone and tries to speak through her. Her first collection of poems Raised By The Dead is forthcoming in 2019 from Honeysuckle Press.

Kai Gyorki is a writer and junior intern with Twelve Literary Arts. They have represented Cleveland at the annual  Brave New Voices Festival and Poetry Slam competition. Kai is a high school junior attending Campus International High School. 

Quartez Harrisfirst full-length poetry collection, “Nothing, But Skin,” was published in 2014 by Writing Knights Press. Since then he has received various publication opportunities. Recently, he had a poem included in the “Garden of Black Joy” poetry anthology published by University Of Minnesota Press. Quartez was selected as Twelve Literary Arts first Barbara Smith Writer-In Resident.

Cris Harris earned his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and these days teaches writing and experiential education at an independent school outside of Cleveland, OH. He spends his summers running, writing, growing tomatoes and fixing up an old barn. His essays and poems have appeared recently at Post Road, Alice Blue Review, Proximity Magazine, New South , Rogue Agent, Cleaver, The New Engagement, and Nowhere Magazine. In 2018, he received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for nonfiction. He also taught a workshop at the Columbus State Community.

Isaiah Hunt realized at the age of seven that he wanted to to be a storyteller. Whether it's poetry, short story, or music, he has been sharing his universe of stories with others. Many of his work is about his hometown, Cleveland, and his experiences in relation to the cosmos. He hopes that you enjoy his story, and that you may find a piece of yourself in his writing.

Geramee Hensley is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. His work has most recently appeared in BARNHOUSE, The Margins, The Shallow Ends, The Recluse, and others. His video 'Kamayan' was a runner-up in Button Poetry's 2018 Video Contest, and his full length manuscript was a 2017 Write Bloody finalist. Most recently his poem "Redundancy Cycle" was a finalist for the Indiana Review 2019 Poetry Prize.

Christopher Johnston is a playwright, director and freelance journalist/author. His plays have appeared at Cleveland Public Theatre (Sexually Explicit Material, The Mind Field, Theories of Relativity, The Mad Mask Maker of Maigh Eo, Elitsa the Inside Talker, Flights of Fancy, Elitsa Revisited: The Bearded Angel, The Great Firefly Expedition, ENDependence), Dobama Theatre (Murder in Mind, Loud Americans: A Punk Saga, Ghosts of War, My Body is Blue or 20 Cantos from My Stupid Life), convergence-continuum theatre (Spawn of the Petrosexuals, APORKALYPSE!, Selfies at the Clown Motel, The Chaste Genius and His Death Ray Gun, Black Mongoose and His Lil Purple Butterfly, My Body is Blue), Notre Dame College (Peace at Home: Veterans of South Euclid) and Talespinner Children’s Theatre (Finn McCool, The Rainbow Serpent). His documentary play about human trafficking, Live Bodies for Sale, directed by Terrence Spivey, will premiere at Playwrights Local Theatre in November. He completed his playwriting internship at the Cleveland Play House, and occasionally teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction workshops at CSU, for Lit Cleveland and The William Skirball Writers Center at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published last May.

Rebekah Kane is a Northeast Ohio native, a student of creative writing and the Turkish language, and a performing songwriter. She lives in Cleveland.

 

Kevin Latimer is a poet and playwright from Cleveland, Ohio. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of BARNHOUSE. He has been awarded scholarships & residencies from Twelve Literary Arts, Cleveland State University, & Factory Holow Press. His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from jubilat, DIALOGIST, Passages North, & others. His plays have been produced by convergence-continuum.

Maggie Messitt is the author of THE RAINY SEASON, longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award in South Africa, where she was a journalist and editor for eight years. Since returning to the US, her writing has been published in Creative Nonfiction, LA Review of Books, the Poetry Foundation's, River Teeth, and World Literature Today, among others. A 2015 Kenyon Review Peter Taylor Fellow and 2016 Ofstad Endowed Writer-in-Residence, Messitt is currently Denison University's first 'Writing in Place' Fellow.

Larisse Mondok is from the Philippines and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing at Cleveland State University. She moved to Cleveland in 2014, and people ask her, “Why Ohio?” all the time. Her short stories are published in Jenny and in the anthology, There’s an Aswang on the Roof, There’s an Aswang in the Basement (May Tiktik sa Bubong, May Sagbin sa Silong) from Ateneo de Manila University Press, the country's 2018 pick for Best Anthology in Filipino. She’s a 2018 VONA Voices fellow and a 2018 recipient for the Manuel G. Flores prize. When she’s not writing or teaching English online, she’s at Tina’s singing Britney Spears songs or bullet journal-ing at home.

Elana Pitts is 17 years and has been writing for nearly 10 years. Her writing ranges from stories to poetry with a focus more on different styles of poems. Elana has studied with Lake Erie Ink since her Freshmen year of high school, and was introduced to many different poets and authors through them. She honors her teacher, Ms. Andreas, for introducing her to the world of poetry (and not just writing it.) Elana's work has appeared in the past three editions of Lake Erie Ink's teen anthology.

Robin Beth Schaer is the author of the poetry collection Shipbreaking (Anhinga 2015). Her poems and essays have appeared in Tin House, Paris Review, and Guernica, among others. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Djerassi, Saltonstall, Vermont Studio Center, and VCCA. She has performed readings and led panels throughout the country, including recent appearances at The Loft's Wordplay in Minneapolis, Litquake San Francisco, Brooklyn Book Festival, Texas Book Festival, and New York University. She has taught writing in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio, and she worked as a deckhand aboard the Tall Ship Bounty, a 180-foot ship lost in Hurricane Sandy.

Karen Schubert is the author of five poetry chapbooks, most recently Dear Youngstown (NightBallet Press, 2019) Black Sand Beach (Kattywompus Press) and I Left My Wings on a Chair (Kent State Press), a Wick Poetry Center chapbook prize winner. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Best American Poetry Online, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, and Lake Effect Poetry. Awards include residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Headlands Center for the Arts. She is Director of Lit Youngstown in northeast Ohio.

Amy Schwabauer is a Cleveland based actor and playwright. She focuses on creating work that champions women and tells the unheard stories of those on the margins. In summer of 2019 she toured to PEI Canada and presented her latest work "The prettiest Little Burden" and will be performing her one woman show in The BorderLight Cleveland Fringe Festival in July 2019. Other recent work includes touring, "The Events of the Warren County Fair as Observed by a Young Astronaut", a table top, toy theater adventure co-written and co-performed with Mike Geither (2015-2018). She regularly writes 10-minute plays and monologues for Cleveland’s Manhattan Project staged reading series and has many ten minute plays produced in Playwrights Local's annual fall and spring playwriting festivals. In 2017, she was named Cleveland’s Best Actress by ‘Cleveland Scene Magazine’ for her performance in her one-woman show, “This is Not About my Dead Dog” produced by Playwrights Local and directed by Dale Heinen. She performed the leading role of ‘Kilbride’ in the regional premiere of “Snake Oil” written by Arwen Mitchell and directed by Sarah Greywitt (2016). She was met with rave reviews for her comedic performance in Theater Ninja’s original production, "Tingle Tangle" conceived by Ray Caspio, directed by Jeremy Paul (2014/2015). In 2016, she studied Sketch Comedy Writing at The Second City Theater in Chicago. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University’s Theatre Arts Program with a specialization in performance.

Anna Sintsirmas is locked in a double major of environmental sustainability and creative writing at Cleveland State University, and Co-Nonfiction Editor for Barnhouse Journal. She has read for poetry Barnhouse Journal as well as received the Leonard Trawick Creative Writing Scholarship award on behalf of Cleveland State.

Anthony Tognazzini's recent stories have appeared in Electric Literature, Guernica, Crazyhorse, The Literary Review, TriQuarterly, and other journals. His work has been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts and in Norton’s 2018 anthology New Micro. His fiction collection, I Carry A Hammer in My Pocket for Occasions Such As These, is available from BOA Editions. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. In 2018, Anthony received an Individual Excellence Grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Monica Zach is a Cleveland native and former student at Baldwin Wallace. She has performed at various local theatres including convergence-continuum, Cleveland Public Theater, Blank Canvas, Clague Playhouse and The Beck Center. Favorite past roles include Courtney Love (Contradictionary Lies), Alice (The Happy Sad), Candy Starr (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and Maggie (A Chorus Line). Monica is a current voice student of Barbara Lipian, a member of Playhouse Partners at PlayhouseSquare and a member of Cleveland Actor's Play Date. She is currently working on a piece with local playwright Christopher Johnson.