Chris Abani is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Nigeria to an Igbo father and English mother, he grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria. He has resided in the United States since 2001. Abani’s fiction includes "The Secret History of Las Vegas" (Penguin 2014), nominated for the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award, "Song For Night" (2007), "The Virgin of Flames" (2007), "Becoming Abigail" (2006), "GraceLand" (2004), and "Masters of the Board" (1985). His poetry collections are "Sanctificum" (2010), "There Are No Names for Red" (2010), "Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems" (2010), "Hands Washing Water" (2006), "Dog Woman" (2004), "Daphne’s Lot" (2003), and "Kalakuta Republic" (2001).
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, "When My Brother Was an Aztec," was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. Her poetry has garnered the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, a US Artists Ford Fellowship, a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.
Elmaz Abinader is a poet, memoirist, playwright and novelist. Her first memoir, "Children of the Roojme, a Family’s Journey from Lebanon," chronicles three generations of immigrants battling dislocation and tradition. Her new poetry collection, "This House, My Bones" was the editors' selection from Willow Press/Aquarius press. Elmaz won the 2000 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Poetry award for the poetry collection, In the "Country of My Dreams." She was also awarded a Goldies Award for Literature, as well as two Drammies (Oregon’s Drama award) for her three-act one-woman show, "Country of Origin." Elmaz is one of the founders of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, (VONA/Voices), now in its 18th year providing workshops for writers of color. She is also a creative writing professor at Mills College.'
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