KWAME DAWES is an Emmy award-winning poet, actor, editor, critic, musician, and former Louis Frye Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina. He is the award-winning author of twenty one books of poetry (most recently, Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems, (2013) and numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. Dawes teaches in the Pacific MFA Writing program. New York-based Poets & Writers named Dawes as a recipient of the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, which recognizes writers who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.
BERNICE L. MCFADDEN is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a three-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of three awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). She lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Book of Harlan is her latest novel.
ACHY OBEJAS is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical favorite and a best-seller. She edited and translated, into English, Havana Noir, a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Her translation, into Spanish, of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao/La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Óscar Wao was a finalist for Spain’s Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the national translator’s association. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. She is a founding member of the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Chicago, and currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California.
EARL LOVELACE is an award-winning Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer. He is particularly recognized for his descriptive, dramatic fiction on Trinidadian culture: “Using Trinidadian dialect patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures.“ As Bernardine Evaristo notes, “Lovelace is unusual among celebrated Caribbean writers in that he has always lived in Trinidad. Most writers leave to find support for their literary endeavors elsewhere and this, arguably, shapes the literature, especially after long periods of exile. But Lovelace’s fiction is deeply embedded in Trinidadian society and is written from the perspective of one whose ties to his homeland have never been broken.”
TIPHANIE YANIQUE is a Virgin Islands born author who has garnered wide acclaim for her new novel, Land of Love and Drowning. She is the author of the poetry collection, Wife, which won the 2016 Bocas Prize in Caribbean poetry and the United Kingdom’s 2016 Forward/Felix. She is also the author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize, the Kore Press Fiction Prize, The Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship in writing and the Boston Review Fiction Prize. She is the winner of the 2010 Rona Jaffe Prize in Fiction. Her fiction, poetry or essays can be found in the Best African American Fiction, Transition Magazine, American Short Fiction, The London Magazine, Prism International, Callaloo, and other journals and anthologies. Yanique is a professor of Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature at Drew University.
DORBRENE E. O’MARDE is a recognized cultural ambassador throughout the Caribbean region. He is best known as playwright, director and producer (theatre and music), newspaper/magazine columnist, speaker and a calypso writer, judge and analyst. He is author of Send Out You Hand and King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me.
TOBIAS BUCKELL is a New York Times Bestselling author born in the Caribbean. He grew up in Grenada and spent time in the British and US Virgin Islands, which influences much of his work. His novels and over 50 stories have been translated into 18 different languages. His work has been nominated for awards like the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author.
EDGAR LAKE is a novelist, poet, librettist and filmmaker. His literary work has been published in The Caribbean Writer (where he is a member of the Editorial Board); Presence Africaine (the oldest African literary publication in Europe); and the Sydney-Hampden Poetry Review (oldest poetry review in the U.S.); Matatu (Journal of West African Letters,, Amsterdam/New York); Kult (University of Roskilde’s Journal of Culture); Calabash (NYU’s Journal of Caribbean Poetry, New York); Sea Breeze: Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings; and The Antiguan and Barbuda Review of Books, among many other publications.
IBRAHIM AHMAD is the senior editor at Akashic Books, where he has worked in various capacities since 2000. He teaches at the Wilkes MFA Low- Residency Creative Writing Program and Literary Publishing MA Program, leads frequent writing workshops, and is the cofounder, with Akashic publisher Johnny Temple, of Brooklyn Wordsmiths, an editorial and consulting program. In 2015 he was named one of four finalists for the inaugural Star Watch prize by Publishers Weekly, awarded to “young industry professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.”
RICHARD SCHRADER is a Virgin Islands poet and author of 20 selfpublished books inspired by life on the big island, St. Croix. Home Sweet Home was his first published book of poetry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in New York and a master’s degree in Education, supervision and administration from the University of the Virgin Islands. He has received numerous art, cultural and humanities awards from past governors, senators, the V.I. Puerto Rico Friendship Committee for contribution to the preservation of local culture.
SELE ADEYEMI was born in St. Thomas and educated in the V.I. public school system. He has lectured and written on such topics as Marronage, Africanisms in V I culture, African resistance in the Diaspora, African Studies among others. He is the author of the book Engaging Freedom’s Journey. For past ten years he has taught African American History at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia.
AJEEB “YoJee” PRINCE is a young aspiring writer from Philadelphia and raised on the island of St. Croix since the age of four. In his earlier years, the young man was known for his musical accomplishments and presumed a musical career. However, it wasn’t until the personal loss of a loved one and dramatic life changing experiences that prince truly understood his love for storytelling. With every story by Ajeeb Prince, you step into the imagination of the author.
MARIO MOOREHEAD is a Virgin Islands Author, Historian, Talk Radio Host, Political and Community Activist and Advocate for African descendants in the Diaspora.
VALDEMAR HILL is President/CEO at The Hill Group, a Leadership Development and Management Consulting Company. Dr. Hill is an arbitrator, mediator, conflict manager and labor negotiator. He provides leadership development and supervisory/managerial training with over 30 years of experience in human resource management and labor relations. He is the author of “Self Help For Employees: Achieving Success in the Organization Jungle”, and “Leadership That Works: A Resource Guide for First time Leaders.”
KHALID SALEEM is a screenwriter and a U.S. Army veteran. He earned three soldier of the year awards for the various battalions. Saleem is a proud screenwriting U alum who earned a certificate from the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting, and a Master of Fine Arts from Full Sail University. He has a passion for comedy and writing children books. He is the author of “Circle.” Khalid’s dream is to help other vets find a platform to share the rich experiences they have to help the youth of the world.
INGRID BOUGH is the Territorial Director of Libraries, Archives and Museums. She served 20 years in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress in the Performing Arts Division of the U.S. Copyright Office. In addition, she holds three degrees: Howard University, University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore, School of Law (Intellectual Property Law concentration). Bough is also a graduate of the National Leadership Institute.
RONNIE BENJAMIN is a musician, songwriter and producer whose artistry takes him across the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Benjamin is the leader of the world famous Midnite Band.