Genre Workshop Leaders
WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS: Randi Pink
Randi Pink is the author of four critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Pink’s young adult novel, Girls Like Us, was named one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2019, and National Public Radio suggested her novel, Angel of Greenwood, for teachers and librarians to “turn it face-out on the shelves.” Her fifth novel, Under the Heron’s Light, debuts next year.
A native and resident of Birmingham, AL, Randi Pink leverages her unique experience with her southern roots when she writes. Pink is a daughter of the South, born into the rich and troubled histories that surround her. She passionately writes those stories in the hopes of sharing both the beauty and ugliness of our shared past.
Randi is a mother, writer, advocate, fighter, friend, and so much more. Through her platform of encouragement, love and truth, Randi connects with her loyal readers through her short stories, web series’, novels, scripts and public journal entries. She is building a community driven nonprofit in the Eastlake neighborhood called Ruffner Treehouse Village. Ruffner Treehouse Village will serve as a Birmingham centered, creative space for the children, Elders, and residents of Eastlake and beyond.
FICTION: Will Walton
Will Walton is the author of two novels for young adults, including the LAMBDA Award finalist Anything Could Happen. He is also a member of the Egocircus Collective, a performance troupe headed by Anne Carson and Robert Currie.
POETRY: Tina Mozelle Braziel
Tina Mozelle Braziel won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry for Known by Salt (Anhinga Press). She is also the author of Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press). She has been awarded a fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, an Eco Poetry Fellowship from the Magic City Poetry Festival, and an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park. She earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Oregon. Her work has appeared in POETRY, The Cincinnati Review, Southern Humanities Review, Tampa Review, and other journals. She directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building by hand on Hydrangea Ridge. They are currently writing a collection of poems about their glass cabin life that will be released by Pulley Press in 2024.
NONFICTION/MEMOIR: Salaam Green
Salaam Green is an award-winning Certified Listener Poet, Poet Laureate of Innovation and Creativity and a sought-out speaker, Salaam’s debut Poetry collection Healing Harpersville to be published in 2024/2025 by (Pulley Press), this collection will be on the descendants of the Wallace House in Harpersville, Alabama. Salaam is a Teaching Writer and Editor of several anthologies for the Alabama Writers Forum. She is the author of a children’s poetry collection, Peaches the Peaceful Poet (Apple in the Seeds). She is a writing coach and conducts writing to heal workshops and serves as a facilitator for the UAB journaling club as an Artist in Residence for UAB Arts in Medicine. Salaam won a community village award for her work as a community writing practitioner. Salaam is the 2018 Allied Media Black Southern Women’s Writing Recipient.
Immersive Workshop Leaders
Chris Davis—Improv Workshop 7/31
Chris Davis started doing improv comedy in 2000 and stand up comedy in 2003. He is a member of Ugly Baby Improv, ETC Improv, and hosts Fresh Ground Comics, Birmingham’s longest running local comedy showcase. Chris performs comedy, theater, appears in commercials, corporate videos, print ads and hosts many different events around town. He’s been fortunate enough to have opened for Janeane Garofalo, Al Madrigal, Michael Ian Black, Hannibal Buress, Brian Posehn and performed comedy sets at two TEDX Birmingham events in Birmingham, Alabama.
Brandon Calleja Shaw—Movement Writing Workshop 8/1
Brandon Calleja Shaw is a movement specialist. His dance background is a peculiar hybrid of martial arts and dance, which produces a style that is both tender and fierce. His choreographic work has partnering at its core, and has been performed in the U.S. and Europe. Brandon is also a bodyworker with training in Muscle Activation Techniques, Pilates, and Fascial Stretch Therapy. He has held academic positions at Brown University (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies) and the University of Malta and is the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance. https://versuspilates.
Halley Cotton—Nature Writing 8/2 and Zine Workshop 8/3
Halley Cotton is a poet, professor, and naturalist hailing from Birmingham, Alabama. She teaches writing and literature courses at UAB, is the managing editor of the Birmingham Poetry Review, contributing editor for NELLE, and production manager for both publications. As the founding director of the SPARK Writing Festival and creator of the Birmingham Area Writer’s Facebook group, Cotton thrives off of welcoming people in the community to the writing process. Her work has appeared in places such as The Greensboro Review, Poetry South, Raleigh Review, and Smokelong Quarterly, among others.
She’s just completed an 11-day, 180 mile solo kayaking trip down the Cahaba River for a poetry and photography project funded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. When she’s not busy kayaking or finding four-leaf clovers, she’s studying folklore, reading, writing, and being bossed around by her 8 pound cat.
Nellie Beckett—Scent Workshop 8/4
Community Events Leaders
Javacia Harris Bowser—Journaling workshop designed to help writers complete their work in progress
Beth Cowan Drake—How Alabama the Beautiful Magazine is assembled and published
Halley Cotton—How to make an author website for yourself