Wajahat Ali is a Daily Beast columnist, public speaker, recovering attorney, and tired dad of three cute kids. He is the author of the book, Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on Becoming American and the play, The Domestic Crusaders.
Role: Special Guest
Debra Magpie Earling
Debra Magpie Earling is the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewa and Perma Red. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She retired from the University of Montana where she was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. She is Bitterroot Salish.
Dr. Shane Doyle
Dr. Shane Doyle (Apsáalooke) is a Montana-based scholar, writer, performing artist, and community advocate whose work focuses on the deep history and cultural heritage of the Indigenous people of the Northern Great Plains. Doyle holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Montana State University and completed a post-doctoral research appointment in genetics with the University of Copenhagen in 2016.Shane helped lead the Yellowstone Revealed All-Nations Teepee Village in the summer of 2022 and is currently a full-time cultural consultant who lives in Bozeman, MT.
Jerid P. Woods
Jerid P. Woods, also known as Akili Nzuri, is a writer, educator, PhD Candidate, and literary influencer. He was born and raised in Natchez, MS and survives on an unwavering commitment to ignite a passion for reading in the youth; he also exists as a living testimony to the power of shared stories and knowing one’s self. He is the owner and creator of Ablackmanreading.com and the Instagram blog: @ablackmanreading. He is also one half of the dynamic podcast duo, @booksarepopculture available for streaming on all services.
Glory Edim is an author, activist, and the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a nationwide book club-turned-literacy nonprofit that celebrates the life changing power of literature. Well-Read Black Girl’s mission is to use storytelling as a tool for advocacy and collective empowerment. Glory has won numerous awards for her work supporting and sustaining writers, including the 2017 Innovator’s Award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and the Madam C.J. Walker Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation. She also serves on the board of Baldwin for the Arts. Her best-selling anthology, Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, was published by Penguin Random House in 2018. She is currently working on a memoir that explores the intimate relationship between reading and self-healing. She resides in Washington, DC with her son, Zikomo.
Dennis James Sweeney
Dennis James Sweeney is the author of In the Antarctic Circle, winner of the 2020 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize, as well as four chapbooks of poetry and prose, including Ghost/Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Being Haunted. His writing has appeared in Five Points, Ninth Letter, the New York Times, and The Southern Review, among other publications. A Small Press Editor of Entropy and former Fulbright Fellow in Malta, he has an MFA from Oregon State University and a PhD from the University of Denver. Originally from Cincinnati, he lives in Amherst, where he teaches at Amherst College.
Saraciea J. Fennell
Saraciea J. Fennell is a Brooklyn born Black Honduran American writer, publicist. and social entrepreneur. She is the author and editor of the YA nonfiction anthology Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora, founder and CEO of The Bronx is Reading, Executive Director of the Bronx Book Festival, Board Chair for Latinx in Publishing Inc., and the creator of Honduran Garifuna Writers. Her writing has appeared in Popsugar, Remezcla, Mitú, Hypebae, Refinery29, Culturess, and more. She lives in the Bronx with her family and Black poodle Oreo.
(Photo credit: Viscose Illusion)
Joanna Harris has worked at DC Public Library for the past nine years in various roles serving young people. As the Teen Services Coordinator, she helps the Library’s 26 locations offer programs and services to customers ages 13-19. She particularly enjoys working with the Library’s teen employees to create fun programs that connect teens to literacy. She likes to read as much as she can in her spare time and favors mystery, thriller, and horror novels.
Nadine Farid Johnson
Nadine Farid Johnson serves as the Managing Director of PEN America Washington and Free Expression Programs, where she leads the organization’s high-level governmental engagement on a broad range of global and domestic free expression issues. An attorney and advocate with a focus in democracy, human rights, and governance, she has a breadth of experience across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She is a former Foreign Service Officer whose work spanned the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and multilateral affairs. Previously, she served as executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, and led operations and community engagement at Google L.A. Nadine was a professor of law and political science at Gonzaga University and a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School. She is a graduate of DePauw University and Tulane Law School, and studied at the U.S. Naval War College.