Immersive Workshop Leaders


Rani Pink

Randi Pink is the author of critically acclaimed 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 newest novel, Angel of Greenwood, for teachers and librarians to “turn it face-out on the shelves.” While Publisher’s Weekly referred to Angel of Greenwood as a “harrowing fictional account of Black community action centering the eve of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.”

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. 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 short stories, web series’, novels, scripts and public journal entries.

FICTION: Angela Mitchell

Angela Mitchell Headshot

Angela Mitchell is the author of the story collection, Unnatural Habitats & Other Stories (WTAW Press). Her fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, New South, Carve, Midwestern Gothic, storySouth, and other journals. Her story, “Animal Lovers,” was awarded Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction; more recently, her work has been featured in The Best Small Fictions 2018 (Braddock Avenue Books). She was honored as a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and currently serves as fiction editor at NELLE. An eighth generation native of the Ozarks of southern Missouri, she now lives in St. Louis with her family. 

POETRY: Tina Mozelle Braziel

tina headshotTina Mozelle Braziel is the author of Known by Salt (Anhinga Press), winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, and Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press). She has been awarded a fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park, and an Eco Poetry fellowship from the Magic City Poetry Festival. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, Southern Humanities Review, Tampa Review, and other journals. She serves as a teaching artist at ArtPlay and directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop 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 memoir about building their home.


Salaam Green, M.S. is an award winning Poet and Author, Founder of Literary Healing Arts,  2020/21 Eco Poetry Fellow, A Reimagining Justice Fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the 2016 Poet Laureate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, her work has appeared in The Birmingham Times, Scalawag, Bust, Feminist Review, Black Youth Project, Elephant Journal, Southern Women’s, Birmingham Arts Journal and more.


SPARK STARTS: Halley Cotton

Halley Cotton is the poetry editor for NELLE and managing editor of the Birmingham Poetry Review Her work has appeared in places such as The Greensboro Review, Poetry South, and Smokelong Quarterly, among others. She is the director for the SPARK Writing Festival and teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham when she’s not busy kayaking or finding four-leaf clovers





Community Events Leaders

Voice Porter

brain voice porter hawkins

Brian Voice Porter Hawkins, known mostly as Voice Porter, is a community development consultant, writer, poet, actor, gardener, and orator that believes that a community’s strengths lie in the minds of the creatives. Brian is vice-president of We Are Rtists (WAR), an organization that facilitates collaboration between artists and seeks to educate artists in the business of art. Creative director of, both, Bards & Brews; a monthly poetry event and beer tasting with the Birmingham Public Library system and On Stage at the Carver; the longest running poetry open mic in Alabama. He has been a presenter at the University of Massachusetts Center for Health Equity Intervention Research’s (CHEIR) Synthesis Engagement and Elevation Disparities (SEED) Symposium and worked with CHEIR to craft new competencies for health equity intervention researchers. And is one of the co-founders of WordSpeak Literary Entertainment; a non-profit organization that uses writers and actors to enrich the lives of underprivileged children.
As director of “The Color Project Ensley”, Brian seeks to transform a neglected part of our community, into a place overflowing with beauty and warmth.  The Color Project Ensley addresses the social, mental, and physical health of the people of Ensley with public art, creative placemaking, performance art, and urban planning. Brian works to ensure that the voices of the people of Ensley are heard, in a constructive and positive atmosphere. Brian believes that change only comes when people are motivated and motivation often comes from your surroundings. So, Brian and The Color Project Ensley intend to surround the people of Ensley with enough art and technology that change comes effortlessly.

Jennifer Horne

Jennifer Horne is the Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017-2021). The author of three collections of poems, Bottle Tree, Little Wanderer, and Borrowed Light, she also has written a collection of short stories, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower. She has edited or co-edited four volumes of poetry, essays, and stories. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield. Her web page and blog, “A Map of the World,” are at:

Javacia Harris Bowser 

Javacia Harris Bowser is a freelance journalist, blogger, and entrepreneur based in Birmingham, Ala., and the founder of See Jane Write, an award-winning membership organization and website for women who write and blog. A proud graduate of the journalism programs at the University of Alabama and the University of California at Berkeley, Bowser has written for a number of local and national media outlets including USA Today, Good Grit magazine, Birmingham magazine, The Birmingham Times, B-Metro magazine, and Birmingham’s NPR affiliate WBHM 90.3 FM. 

Jason Walker 

Jason Gordy Walker is an MFA student in poetry at the University of Florida. Currently an Editorial Assistant for Subtropics, Walker is a recipient of scholarships from Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference and the West Chester University Poetry Conference. His poems have been published in Confrontation, Measure, Poetry South, Broad River Review, and others. 




Nichole Lariscy

 Nichole Lariscy is a professor in the English department at UAB, a playwright, an artist, and a realtor. Many of her courses are service-learning courses that serve particular partners in the Birmingham area. This service often takes the form of storytelling in the communities: both creating creative stories with the community members and gathering their life stories.

Partners have included the South Highland Adult Day Center, the 1917 Clinic, St. Clair and Donaldson Prisons, the United Way, Hope Hospice, the Literacy Council, and the Red Barn.

Nicole’s community written drama publications include Bodies of Water, One Clear Light, and A Will Not His Own.