How do people of color make literary careers? Find out in a showcase of POC writers in USC’s Ph.D. program in creative writing and literature. Part reading, part panel, the evening will demystify the multiple paths taken by writers of color at different stages of their careers.
Dexter L. Booth is the author of Scratching the Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was selected by Major Jackson. Booth is currently a Contributing Editor for Waxwing Journal, a Ph.D. candidate and Provost Fellow at the University of Southern California, and a professor in the Ashland University MFA program. His second collection, Abracadabra, Sunshine is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2021.
Marcus Clayton is an Afro-Latino writer who grew up in South Gate, CA, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from CSU Long Beach. He is an executive editor for Indicia Literary Journal, and has taught English Composition at Fullerton College, Long Beach City College, and LA Southwest College—where he also co-managed the English Writing Center. Some of his published work can be seen in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Spry Literary Journal, and DUM DUM Zine among many others.
Jonathan Escoffery’s writing has appeared in The Paris Review, AGNI, Pleiades, Salt Hill, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Recent honors include a Distinguished Story citation in The Best American Short Stories 2018, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, and Passages North’s Waasnode Fiction Prize. He earned his MFA at the University of Minnesota.
Leesa Fenderson's work has appeared in Callaloo Journal, Uptown Magazine, Moko Magazine, and she was a Finalist in Paper Darts' Short Fiction contest. Leesa completed her MFA at Columbia University. She is an attorney, a teacher, and a Jamaican immigrant who hails from New York. She currently writes in Los Angeles where she is a PhD candidate in USC's Writing and Literature Program.
Lisa Lee’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, VIDA, North American Review, Sycamore Review, Gulf Coast, the Bitch Media podcast, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for her novel excerpt “Paradise Cove.” She has received fellowships and awards from the Inprint-Brown Foundation, Kundiman, Jentel Artist Residency, The Korea Foundation, the Korean Studies Institute, and the EASC Association for Japan–U.S. Community Exchange (ACE) Nikaido program, and was named a NYC Emerging Writers Fellow by The Center for Fiction.
Brian Lin is working on a novel and a short story collection. He has attended the Napa Valley Writers' Conference and Tin House Summer Workshop. He reads and edits for Apogee Journal and co-organizes Drunken Masters New Works Series.
Muriel Leung is the author of Bone Confetti*, winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award. A Pushcart Prize nominated writer, her writing can be found or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Drunken Boat, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, and others. She is a recipient of fellowships to Kundiman, VONA/Voices Workshop and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. She is the co-host of The Blood-Jet Writing Hour podcast with Rachelle Cruz and MT Vallarta and is also Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal.
*Bone Confetti is available for purchase by calling Skylight Books at 323-660-1175 or visiting the store.
Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. His first full length collection of poems, Testify (Red Hen Press, 2017), won the 2017 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for poetry. www.douglasmanuelpoetry.com
Krishna Narayanamurti is a PhD student in the University of Southern California’s creative writing and literature program, concentrating in nonfiction. His work has appeared in The GroundTruth Project, The Northridge Review, and elsewhere.
Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera is a Chicana Feminist and former Rodeo Queen whose stories have appeared most recently in Voices de la Luna, The Acentos Review, Chaleur Magazine, The Lunch Ticket, and Ghost Town. She is an alumna of AROHO Retreat, Macondo Writers Workshop, Las Dos Brujas, and is an organizing member of Women Who Submit. While engaging high school students with socially conscious literature, she completed her teaching credential at Cal State Dominguez Hills and earned an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles.
Laura Roque is the daughter of Cuban political exiles and was raised in Hialeah, FL. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 and earned her MFA at Florida State University in 2017. She was honorably mentioned by Glimmer Train in 2016, first runner-up for FSU’s Creative Writing Spotlight award in 2017, and the winner of Kenyon Review’s Short Fiction Contest and Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open Contest in 2018.
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley. She is the author of Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, 2017), a recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award, a 2018 Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Prize, and a 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and is currently pursuing her doctorate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she is raising her son with the help of a loyal dog.