Immersive Workshop Leaders
WRITING FOR YOUNG ADULTS: Randi Pink
Randi Pink is the author of 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 newest novel, We Are The Scribes, debuts fall 2022.
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.
FICTION: Will Walton
Will Walton grew up on a cattle farm in Georgia. He is the author of two novels for young adults, I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain and Anything Could Happen, and holds an MFA in Fiction from NYU.
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 has been nominated for inclusion in Best of the Net for her poetry and a Pushcart Prizes for her poetry and creative nonfiction. 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.
NONFICTION/MEMOIR: Salaam Green
Salaam Green is a sought out speaker and award winning artist and writer, a Master Healer, creator of What Black Women Want You to Know, and founder of Literary Healing Arts, where she supports individuals and organizations in using writing, poetry, and storytelling to reclaim their voices and transform their lives.
In her work as an advocate for racial justice, she has spoken at the United Nations and facilitated and trained hundreds of leaders throughout the south, including through the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation and UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine.
She is a certified practitioner and trainer for the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth Racial Healing & Transformation process, a former Re-imagining Justice and Women’s Policy Fellow, and a Community Village awardee for gender justice work in the south.
Community Events Leaders
Associate Professor Benjamin Bush is a designer, mentor, and educator hailing from the woodlands of eastern Alabama. He believes in hard work, nontraditional learning environments, instilling fun into all walks of life, and building a studio culture that champions teamwork and authenticity. He teaches sophomore and senior students at Auburn University through their design studios, foundational studies, digital prototyping, and portfolio classes. Benjamin also leads study abroad programs to Ireland and the EU and volunteers with the outdoor design conference known as SHiFT. You can follow Benjamin on instagram at @publik_school
J Layne Nelson was born in a city of iron and magic better known as Birmingham, Alabama. When he’s not rolling d20s or exploring new places, he writes horror and fantasy in many flavors. He currently lives in Miami, Florida.
Javacia Harris Bowser
Javacia Harris Bowser is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of the essay collection Find Your Way Back: How to Write Your Way Through Anything. A former high school English teacher but always an educator, Javacia is also the founder of See Jane Write, a website and community for women who write. Javacia was included in Southern Living magazine’s list of Innovators Changing the South, alongside household names like Dolly Parton and Reese Witherspoon, and she is a recipient of the 2022 Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship. With a focus on women’s lifestyle, wealth, and wellness, Javacia has written for a number of local, regional and national media outlets including Good Housekeeping, USA Today, Business Insider, HerMoney.com, Good Grit magazine, and The Birmingham Times. She also serves as the editor of the Honey Voices column by Reckon. When she isn’t writing, you can find Javacia working out, eating tacos, listening to Beyoncé or spending time with her husband Edward.
Michelle Little is an oral historian living in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been interviewing Alabama natives for over a decade and is passionate about preserving local stories. Prior to working as an independent oral historian and audio producer, Little founded an oral history program at Samford University. She designed and directed large scale interviewing projects and developed methods to incorporate oral history and podcasting into the classroom. Since leaving Samford in 2019, she has worked extensively with the Southern Foodways Alliance and WBHM 90.3. She is currently developing an oral history based walking tour of Birmingham’s Central Business District.
She holds a bachelor’s in History from Samford University and a master’s in Theological Studies from Beeson Divinity School. She previously served on the Emerging Professionals Committee and the Independent Practitioners Task Force of the Oral History Association. Michelle is married to Terry and they have a Jack Russell, Molly. When she is not researching and interviewing, Michelle enjoys trying out recent additions to the Birmingham food scene and is always on the hunt for the best latte.
Imani Williams is a poet and educator that hails from the sunshine state. She continued her studies at The University of Alabama where she earned a B.S. in Public Health, and M.A. in Women’s Studies.
While in undergraduate school, Imani earned a scholarship to compete with the University’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) team where she continued her deep and abiding love for spoken word, competed in national competitions with other students from top-tier institutions, and independently participated in the world of poetry. She began writing poetry after Imani was awarded the Autherine Lucy Foster Award in Spring 2019 which is given annually at Black Scholars Day to one student and one faculty or staff member who has made a significant contribution to the University through leadership, service, and support for minority student programming.
She is currently an Instructor of Women’s Studies at the University.
Halley Cotton is the assistant editor of the Birmingham Poetry Review, poetry editor for NELLE, and the founding director of the SPARK Writing Festival. Her work has appeared in places such as The Greensboro Review, Poetry South, and Smokelong Quarterly, among others.
Cotton teaches freshman composition and literature courses at UAB. When she’s not busy kayaking or finding four-leaf clovers, she’s studying folklore and writing/reading poetry.