Frank X Walker is from Danville, Kentucky. Walker coined the word "Affrilachia", signifying the importance of the African-American presence in Appalachia: the "new word ... spoke to the union of Appalachian identity and the region's African-American culture and history". As of 2013, he is the Poet Laureate of Kentucky. He is the author of Affrilachia, Black Box, Buffalo Dance, When Winter Come, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, and has been widely published and anthologized.
Crystal Wilkinson is the author of Blackberries, Blackberries , winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and Water Street , a finalist for both the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Both books are published by Toby Press . She is also the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship Fund at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the recent winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage Magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She currently teaches in and directs the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Morehead State University. She has also taught in the brief residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University and the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Indiana University--Bloomington. She and her partner Artist Ron Davis, are founders and editors of Mythium Literary Journal.
Ricardo Nazario y Colón is a poet, environmental justice advocate, and diversity consultant from the South Bronx area of New York City . In 2011, the Governor of Kentucky Hon. Steven Beshear appointed him to serve on the state's Native American Heritage Commission . He has a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Science for Teachers from Pace University (NY) . He is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky where his research work focuses on multiracial identity development and the college experience. Currently, he oversees Student Activities, Inclusion and Leadership Development as well as the University Center and Conference Services at Morehead State University.
Gerald L. Coleman is a Philosopher, Theologian, and Writer who resides in Atlanta. Born and raised in Lexington, he did his undergraduate work in Philosophy and English at the University of Kentucky before completing a Master's degree in Theology at Trevecca in Nashville. His work has recently appeared in the anthology Drawn To Marvel: Poems From The Comic Books (Minor Arcana Press). His recently published Epic Fantasy novel, When Night Falls: Book One of the Three Gifts, is now available (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Booksamillion, and select bookstores worldwide). A lover of espresso, Radical Orthodoxy, Wittgenstein, Lyotard and Derrida, early mornings on the golf course, and Lexington in the fall, he is a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets.
Amanda Johnston has performed internationally for various causes and events. Honors include multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, membership with the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem fellowship. She has served on the board of directors for the National Women's Alliance and the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and is the founder & executive director of Torch Literary Arts. Amanda serves as the Retreat and Residencies Coordinator for Cave Canem Foundation and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Stonecoast through the University of Southern Maine.
Remica L. Bingham-Risher’s first book, Conversion (Lotus, 2006), won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh, was published by Etruscan Press in 2013. She is the Director of Writing and Faculty Development at Old Dominion University.
Crystal Good is a Writer Poet. Quantum Christian. Tunk player. Libra charmer. Underdog cheerleader. Her first chapbook of poetry, Valley Girl, has been called “dazzling, bold, innovative, disarming.” by Jeff Biggers of The Huffington Post. She lives in West Virginia with her three sons. Visit her website at www.crystalgood.net. Follow on Twitter: @cgoodwoman
Joy Priest was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She holds a print journalism degree from the University of Kentucky, with a concentration in creative writing. She is currently the copy editor/intern for pluck! Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture and has accepted a fellowship to Callaloo’s 2013 creative writing workshop.
Nikky Finney is an award-winning American poet, and was the Guy Davenport Endowed Professor of English at the University of Kentucky for twenty years. An alumna of Talladega College, and author of four books of poetry and a short story cycle, Finney’s commitment to social justice and cultural preservation is revealed through the themes of her work. Her numerous honors include the 2011 National Book Award for Head Off & Split. In 2013, she accepted a faculty position at the University of South Carolina as the John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature.
Mitchell L. H. Douglas is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is the author of \blak\ \al-fə bet\ (2013 Persea Books), winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, and Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem (2009 Red Hen Press), nominated for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry category. A native of Louisville, Kentucky’s West End, Douglas is a Cave Canem fellow, cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets, and Poetry Editor for PLUCK!: The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. He lives in Indianapolis.
Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. A regular contributor to Underwired Magazine, her latest poems can be found in the anthoogies, She Walkes in Beauty, and Bop, Strut & Dance. Her first collection of poetry, CROWNED was published by Sawyer House Press in 2010. Ellen’s performance work has been showcased at The New York International Fringe and The Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival. Ellen has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and reeived national arts residences at The Hopscotch House and The Louisiana ArtWorks. A proud Kentucky writer, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, Conjure Women, and is co-founder of the girlstory collective. She lives and works in New York City.
Shayla Lawson is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared in 111O, Anti-, interrupture, and Sou’Wester. An architect and writer, her work has been supported by fellowships from Indiana University, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy and two Toyota Alumni Performance Grants. She is Creative Writing Faculty at Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and a member of the Affrilachian Poets since 2002. Her collection of sketches and poems is entitled A Speed Education in Human Being.
Bianca Spriggs is a writer and multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. An Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, she is the recipient of a Kentucky Arts Council 2013 Al Smith Individual Arts Fellowship in Poetry, as well as a multiple recipient of artist enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Spriggs is the author of Kaffir Lily (Wind Publications), How Swallowtails Become Dragons (Accents Publishing), the editor of The SwallowTale Project: creative writing for incarcerated women (parkour!), and the Managing Editor for pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture.
A. H. Jerriod Avant is a native of Longtown, Mississippi. He has a B.S. degree from Jackson State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, The Louisville Review, PLUCK!, A Narrow Fellow, the Tidal Basin Review and are forthcoming from H_NGM_N, Lumberyard & Callaloo.
Makalani Bandele is a Louisville, KY native. He has received fellowships from Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the Cave Canem Foundation. His work can be found in the anthologies Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature, Small Batch: An Anthology of Bourbon Poetry, and the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, volume VI. His work can also be found in print or online in a wide variety of journals and literary magazines, such as Sou’wester, Barely South Review, Bat City Review, The Louisville Review, The Platte Valley Review, and African-American Review. He is a 2012 and 2013 Pushcart prize nominee, Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize and Literary LEO 1st Prize in Poetry winner. Hellfightin’, published by Willow Books in 2011, is his first full-length book of poems.
Jeremy Dae Paden was born in Italy and raised in Central America and the Caribbean. He received his Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Emory. His poems have appeared in such places as the Atlanta Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cortland Review, Louisville Review, Naugatuck River Review, pluck! and Rattle, among other journals and anthologies. Broken Tulips (Accents Publishing) is his first published collection of poems. He is an associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.