Born in Senegal, West Africa, Baba Badji is currently a Chancellor’s Fellow and third year Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, with the Track for International Writers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds a BA from the College of Wooster, Ohio and received his MFA in poetry, fiction and translation from Columbia University, New York City.
His first Chapbook, Owls of Senegal was a finalist for The Seattle Review judged by Claudia Rankine. His translation has appeared on The 2014 Pen World Voice Festival. He is working on Ghost Letters and Museum of Exile books of poem in epistolary form exploring up-rootedness, exile, American-ness, Blackness, and African-ness.
Aaron Coleman is the author of St. Trigger, which won the 2015 Button Poetry Prize and Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, forthcoming 2018). A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem fellow from Metro-Detroit, Aaron has lived and worked with youth in locations including Kalamazoo, Chicago, St. Louis, Spain, and South Africa. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis’ MFA Program and former Public Projects Assistant at Pulitzer Arts Foundation, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apogee, Boston Review, Fence, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Contest and The Cincinnati Review Robert and Adele Schiff Award, Aaron is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in Washington University in St. Louis’ Comparative Literature PhD program.
Creative Nonfiction: Advanced Personal Narrative Instructor
Kathleen Finneran is the author of the memoir The Tender Land: A Family Love Story (Houghton Mifflin, 2000; Mariner Paperbacks, 2003). Her essays have been published in various anthologies, including The Place That Holds Our History (Southwest Missouri State University Press, 1990), Seeking St. Louis: Voices from a River City (Missouri Historical Society Press, 2000), The "M" Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage (Algonquin, 2004), and My Bookstore (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2012). She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Joan Lipkin is Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company and well known as a playwright, director, educator, activist and social critic who divides her time between St. Louis and New York City. Her award-winning, widely-produced work includes Some of My Best Friends Are..., Small Domestic Acts, He's Having Her Baby, and many others. Select theatres include the Old Vic, Finborough and Jacksons Lane (London), Lincoln Center, Nuyorican Cafe and The Wild Project (New York), Place des Arts (Montreal), and Centene Center for the Arts (St. Louis). Her many honors include the Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre & Civic Engagement and a Visionary. Her plays are widely anthologized, including in several volumes of Best American Short Plays, and will be included in two upcoming collections, "Every 28 Hours" and "After Orlando."
Heather McPherson has worked as an editor, copyeditor, and fact-checker for a variety of national and regional magazines, like Rolling Stone and Talk, and was an adjunct writing Teaching Artist at New York University. She has published freelance articles and essays in places like the New York Times Style magazine, Time Out New York, Esopus, and TV Guide. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and now teaches creative nonfiction at Washington University in St. Louis.
David Schuman’s fiction has appeared in Missouri Review, Carolina Quarterly, Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review and many other publications. He won a Pushcart Prize in 2007 and his story, "Stay," was listed as one of a hundred distinguished stories in Best American Short Stories.
Kent Shaw's first book, Calenture, was published in 2008. Poems have appeared in The Believer, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, H.O.W. Journal and elsewhere. He teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
Creative Nonfiction: Personal Narrative Instructor
Deborah Jackson Taffa was born for the Keepers of the Water Clan and the Yuma Nation in southeastern California. Taffa is a mother, environmentalist, and current board member on the Missouri Humanities Council; she also teaches at Webster University in St. Louis. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s MFA program in creative nonfiction, she has received fellowship awards from the American Indian Graduate Center, as well as the New York Writer’s Conference. She worked as a Feminist Writer of Color for Salon Magazine in 2014, and has recently been published in the Rumpus, Alive Magazine, The Best Travel Anthology, and other places. She is currently working on a collection of essays started during her time in Iowa.
Kea Wilson is the author of the novel We Eat Our Own (Scribner, 2016). She holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and has taught creative writing at the university since 2012. She's also served on the faculty at the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and her work has appeared in Playboy, LitHub, PANK, Diagram, and others.