Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels: Wench, Balm, and Take My Hand. Her short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, StorySouth, and elsewhere.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of three novels: Wench, Balm, and Take My Hand. Her short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, StorySouth, and elsewhere. She is the current Chair of the Board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. On behalf of the foundation, she has visited nearly every public high school in the District of Columbia to talk about the importance of reading and writing. She is currently Associate Professor in the Literature Department at American University and lives in Washington, DC with her family.

Dr. Jessica L. Ware

Dr. Jessica L. Ware is an associate curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Ware’s research focuses on the evolution of behavioral and physiological adaptations in insects, with an emphasis on how these occur in Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and Dictyoptera (termites, cockroaches, and mantises).

Dr. Jessica L. Ware is an associate curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Ware’s research focuses on the evolution of behavioral and physiological adaptations in insects, with an emphasis on how these occur in Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and Dictyoptera (termites, cockroaches, and mantises). She holds a BSc from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a PhD from Rutgers, New Brunswick. Dr. Ware is the past president of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association and serves as current president of the Entomological Society of America. She was recently awarded a PECASE medal from the US government for her work on insect evolution.

Rena Priest

Rena Priest is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She served as Washington State’s 6th Poet Laureate and is the author of three books and two anthologies. Her work has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Indigenous Nations Poets, and University of Washington Libraries.

Rena Priest is a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She served as Washington State’s 6th Poet Laureate and is the author of three books and two anthologies. Her work has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Indigenous Nations Poets, and University of Washington Libraries. She has published in Poetry magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

(Photo credit: Dean Davis)

Alina Simone

Alina Simone is a singer and author who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has earned critical acclaim from a wide range of media, including the BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal.

Alina Simone is a singer and author who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has earned critical acclaim from a wide range of media, including the BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of the essay collection You Must Go and Win (Faber, 2011) and the forthcoming novel Note to Self (Faber, 2013). Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and online at McSweeneys, The Wall Street Journal, and BOMBlog.