Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, Isabel Lucía Guinn is a writer, dancer, and teaching artist. Isabel is a graduate of The New School, holding a BFA in Literary Studies and Creative Writing, and has experience teaching as a high school English student teacher at Mann UCLA Community School in Los Angeles as well as being a dance educator. Isabel has worked with several NYC literary and educational programs including the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, HOPE Farm Inc., The Academy Project and Belladonna Collaborative*. She continues to pursue her own dance education writing having previously read her works at The Poetry Project in NYC and dancing at Dallas Black Theater, Joffrey School of Ballet, and Mark Morris Dance Group. Isabel deeply enjoys creative education and is thrilled to be working with the National Book Foundation and BookUp. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Rajdeep Paulus is an award-winning young adult fiction author. Her first book in her trilogy, Swimming Through Clouds, won several writing contests, and Amazon featured Rajdeep on International Women’s Day in 2017. Raj also has two nonfiction titles published on women in politics and the opioid epidemic. Rajdeep studied English Literature at Northwestern University and has an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University. In Raj’s free time, she likes to watch movies, play basketball, and spend time with friends and family. Raj lives in New York with her Sunshine and four daughters.
Susie Wilde is passionate about igniting readers and writers of all ages. For thirty years, she has reviewed books for children 0-young adult in magazines and papers across the country. Currently she listens to audios, reviews and interviews for AudioFile Magazine. A teaching artist for 30 years, Susie has been a writer-in-residence in schools and has published 5 collaborative picture books with children and families. Presently, she teaches adults how to write children’s books, runs critique groups, edits for other children book writers and works on her memoir when she can find time.
Carolyn Ferrucci is a poet originally from New York City currently based in Queens. Her poems can be found in Field Notes Journal (UK), Form IV, Wendys Subway’s The Quick and The Dead, No Dear, The Felt, and forthcoming from Changes Press and The Brooklyn Rail. Carolyn has an MFA from Bard College Milton Avery School of the Arts in Writing and a BA in Literary Studies from The New School. A teaching artist and educator for several years, she has also been an advocate and paralegal for migrants held in detention centers in Arizona and New York.
Viviana Prado-Núñez is an author, theatre-maker, and teaching artist born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in a hospital with a 4.0 Google review rating and a view of the ocean. She has never seen Star Wars, eaten a grasshopper, or written a poem without the letter ‘e,’ though she hopes to do all three of those things in the future. Previous credits include winning the 2017 Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature, longlisting for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award, and appearing on the New York Public Library’s recommended reading list for 2020 National Caribbean American Heritage Month for her novel, The Art of White Roses. She has also developed plays with The Center at West Park, Echo Theater Company’s National Young Playwrights in Residence program, Corkscrew Theater Festival, and The Parsnip Ship–and is also an alumnus of CWP’s Teaching Artist Project along with having done educational work in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of the Jamaica Library Service and the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. She is currently based in NYC. BA: Columbia University, 2020. (www.vivianapradonunez.com)
Jordan E. Franklin is a poet and educator from Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in the Southampton Review, Breadcrumbs, easy paradise, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Frontier, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2017 James Hearst Poetry Prize offered by the North American Review, and a finalist of both the 2018 Nightjar Review Poetry Contest, and the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize.
Her first poetry collection, when the signals come home, was selected as the winner of the 2020 Gatewood Prize and was published by Switchback Books in March 2021. Recently, her poetry chapbook, boys in the electric age, was published Tolsun Books in August 2021. Besides writing, she enjoys teaching it, performing poetry, video games, cartoons and movies.
Fatima Farheen Mirza was born in 1991 and raised in California. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship.
Born in High Point, North Carolina, Jeffery the Artivist has exhibited his creative spirit from a very young age. The son of a New York Times bestselling author, the gift of gab is in his genes. A multi-faceted, award-winning children’s book illustrator artist and internationally known, spoken word poet / MC, Jeffery received his Master of Fine Arts from Howard University in May of 2016. Since graduation, his debut title, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen has been making notable waves in the children’s book realm. His lifestyle as an illustrator recently got him invited to Ghana and Senegal on an international tour where he taught youth about being an illustrator and performed his poetry for the community every chance he got. He was given the name ‘Yaw Ngyabo Aja I’ by an elder named Revelations while on his tour of the motherland in Ghana, which translates to “Thursday born word witch” because of the power in his tongue and how his words are mesmerizing to those that hear them. Jeffery / Yaw teaches that HIP HOP is an acronym for “Higher Infinite Power Healing Our People” and uses his artistic voice as an MC to be an eloquent voice for the voiceless and oppressed. A diverse spoken word artist, MC, social media expert, as well as the founder and chief of the global hip hop collective, TRiiiBE Worldwide, Jeffery / Yaw has been steadily adding to his accolades. From clothing design, to music, opening up for the Wu Tang Clan, Azealia Banks, Dave East, Oshun, and many more, to poetry, to visual arts, Yaw is making a name for himself globally. He was recently on his second international tour in the United Arab Emirates, teaching the youth about African American Culture, Hip Hop, and Spoken Word! Jeffery is truly a force for positive change!
Born in the South Bronx, Ivan Velez has used cartooning to help create social change for over 40 years. ‘Tales of the Closet’ was one of the first publicly distributed interventions for LGBT youth. Starting his pro comics career at the multicultural MILESTONE, he wrote several mainstream comics series and helped install diversity of color, gender and orientation. His work continued for Marvel and DC Comics and has been included in several award-winning comic anthologies, and is translated and shown in three continents. Ivan is also a teaching artist for New York libraries and museums, and is proud to be the creator of The Ballad of Wham Kabam, a comic series funded by the 2015 Creative Capital Visual Arts grant.