Photo Credit: Brett Hall Jones

Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, includingthe volumes of poetry Inquisition, Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth DayAll One’s Blue; and the cross-genre texts Bright Felon and Wind Instrument. His novels include the recently published The Secret Room: A String Quartet and among his books of essays are the hybrid memoir Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. He is also an accomplished translator (of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi and others) and an editor of several anthologies and books of criticism. After a career in public policy and organizing, Ali taught at various colleges and universities, including Oberlin College, Davidson College, St. Mary’s College of California, and Naropa University. He is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. In 2020 his newest books will be published:  a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light. He attended the Community of Writers as a poetry participant in 1998 and has returned several times to teach.  www.kazimali.com

Photo Credit: Tanya Rosen Jones

Photo Credit: Mark Miller/Doubleday

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender is the author of five books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures (2005) which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (2010) which won the SCIBA award for best fiction, and an Alex Award, and The Color Master, a NY Times Notable book for 2013. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and more, as well as heard on PRI’s “This American Life”and “Selected Shorts”. She attended the Community of Writers as a participant in 1995 and 1996 with the UC Irvine Scholarship. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, and teaches creative writing at USC. www.flammableskirt.com

 

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, translator, and immigration advocate. He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated to the California central valley. He is the author of the collection of poems, Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize published by BOA editions in 2018. Cenzontle is also the winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer Award for poetry, the 2019 Golden Poppy Award from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and the Bronze in the FOREWORD INDIE best book of the year. Cenzontle is also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the California Book Award, the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and the Northern California Book Award. Cenzontle was listed among one of NPR’s and the New York Public Library top picks of 2018. His first chapbook, DULCE, won the Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize published by Northwestern University press. Castillo has helped to establish The Undocupoet Fellowship which provides funding to help curb the cost of submissions to journals and contests for undocumented writers. His work has been adopted to opera through collaboration with the composer Reinaldo Moya and has appeared or been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Academy of American Poets, “PBS Newshour,” New England ReviewPeople Magazine, among others. His memoir, Children of the Land is forthcoming from Harper Collins in 2020.  He attended the Community of Writers as a participant in 2011 with the Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship. marcelohernandezcastillo.com

Dylan Landis

Dylan Landis is the author of a novel, Rainey Royal, and a collection of linked stories, Normal People Don’t Live Like This. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House, Bomb, the Santa Monica Review and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2014, and her personal essays in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Book Review and the anthology What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About. She attended the Community of Writers as a participant in 2001, and has returned several times to teach. https://www.dylanlandis.com/

Photo Credit: Lauren Shay Lavin