Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint was born in Yangon, Myanmar and grew up in Bangkok, Thailand and San José, California. She is the author of the lyric novel The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven, which won an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Her second book, Names for Light: A Family History was the winner of the 2018 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in August 2021. She is currently a visiting writer at Amherst College, where she teaches creative writing and literature.
Shuchi Saraswat is a writer based in Boston. In 2018 she founded The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith and served as its director until 2021. She’s currently a Nonfiction Editor at the literary journal AGNI.
Concepción de León is a reporter covering breaking news for the New York Times. Prior to that she spent three years writing about literary news and culture for the Books department, and is a Glamour magazine alum.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. He’s the author of the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, novel Long Division, and most recently, Heavy: An American Memoir, which won the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. A contributing editor for Vanity Fair, he teaches at the University of Mississippi.
MJ Franklin is an editor at the New York Times Book Review. Previously he worked at Mashable as an assistant editor and host of the MashReads podcast. Find him on Twitter and Instagram and talk to him about what books you’re loving at @heyitsfranklin2.
Naomi Murakawa is an associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton, author of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, and editor of The Abolitionist Papers book series at Haymarket Books.
Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer, and educator. Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club, Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC, and Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, AIR Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She is the author of Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice, Woke Baby, Black Girl Magic, Kissing Caskets, and #Dear Twitter. She is also the founder of the Woke Baby Book Fair—a nationwide diversity literature campaign—and, as an Arts for Justice grantee, is excited to release her first young adult novel, Chlorine Sky, in January 2021. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Cristina Rodriguez is the general manager and head buyer at Deep Vellum Books, a bookstore in Dallas, TX that specializes in international literature, independent presses, and marginalized writers. She is a Publishers Weekly 2020 Star Watch Honoree, a Bookselling Without Borders fellow, and a 2020 CLMP Firecracker Award judge.
Franklin Leonard is a film and television producer, cultural commentator, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Black List, the company that celebrates and supports great screenwriting and the writers who do it via production; an annual survey of best unproduced screenplays; an online marketplace; and writer labs. More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films—earning more than 250 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins, including four of the last thirteen Best Pictures and eleven of the last twenty-four screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has been one of Black Enterprise’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” Fast Company‘s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and was the recipient of the 2019 Writers Guild of America, East Evelyn F. Burkey Award. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.