Lana K. W. Austin

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Author of the novel Like Light, Like Music (West Virginia University Press 2020), Lana K. W. Austin’s poems and short stories have recently been featured in Mid-American ReviewSou’westerColumbia Journal, and The Pinch, etc. Winner of the 2019 Alabama State Poetry Society Book of the Year Award, a 2019 Hackney Poetry Award & the 2018 Words & Music Poetry Award, Austin has been a finalist and semi-finalist in multiple other competitions, including the James Wright Poetry Award, the Crab Orchard Review First Book Award, the Zone 3 Book Award, the American Short Fiction Award, the Still: The Journal Fiction Award, and the Machigonne Fiction Award. Austin has an MFA from George Mason University and her full-length poetry collection, Blood Harmony, is from Iris Press (2018). Austin teaches writing  at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and is also a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.


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 an Alabama State Council on the Arts fellowship, an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park. As the Magic City Poetry Festival’s 2019 Eco Poet, she collaborated with the Cahaba River Society to develop eco-poetry curriculum and videos. She directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students at UAB. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building by hand in Blount County. They are currently writing a memoir about building their home.

Melissa Yes


melissa yes headshot Melissa Yes is an intermedia artist who tinkers with the cultural de/construction of American bodies, landscapes, and value systems. A conceptually-driven and project-based artist, Yes works in painting and sculpture alongside video, installation, and other extended media. Her moving image pieces treat digital video like a physical material that she manipulates and layers to emphasize the medium itself. Layers, glitches, and multichannel presentations in Yes’s videos emphasize the pleasure and power of destruction as a creative process. Recent work includes Pressure, a short screendance created in collaboration with Fen Kennedy, Matt Reynolds, and students from the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance. Yes keeps her studio in Birmingham, Alabama where she is an active member of the art community, working as an educator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and as Co-Director of a contemporary art nonprofit, Vinegar.

Salaam Green

Salaam Green HeadshotSalaam Green, M.S. is an award winning Poet and Author, the 2016 Poet Laurette for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a CO.STARTERS and TEDx speaker Birmingham alum, social entrepreneur, and daughter of Alabama’s Black Belt. As owner and founder of Literary Healing Arts and Red Couch Writers, she can be found helping others write to heal on red couches across the city. She is a New Economy Coalition Climate Solutions Fellow and an advocate for environmental and restorative justice in rural Alabama. A writer and storyteller, her work has appeared in The Birmingham Times, Scalawag, Bust, Feminist Review, Black Youth Project, Elephant Journal, Southern Women’s Review,, Birmingham Arts Journal and more


Voice Porter

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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.


Randi Pink

Rani Pink

Randi Pink, author of Girls Like Us, is a writer and mother. Her latest book, Angel of Greenwood, is a YA historical novel that follows teenagers Angel and Isaiah as they fall in love in their Black neighborhood of Greenwood on the eve of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Lauren Goodwin Slaughter

Lauren Slaughter HeadshotLauren Goodwin Slaughter is author of the poetry collections, a lesson in smallness, which was a finalist for the Rousseau Prize for Literature and the Eric Hoffer Award in poetry, and, Spectacle, forthcoming from Panhandler Books and the University Press of Florida. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her poems, essays, and short stories appear or are forthcoming in Harvard ReviewImage, North American Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Pleiades, 32 Poems, Kenyon Review Online, and Canary among many other placesShe is an associate professor of English at The University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is also Editor-in-Chief of NELLE, a literary journal that publishes writing by women.


Twitter: @lgslaughters

Instagram: @lgslaughter

Adam Vines

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Adam Vines is the Director of Creative Writing at UAB where he teaches poetry and literature. He has published poetry in Poetry, Southwest Review, The Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Barrow Street, The Cincinnati Review, 32 Poems, The Literary Review, Five Points, Ecotone, The Hopkins Review, Verse Daily, and Poetry Daily, and others. He is the author of three single-authored books of poetry — Lures (LSU Press, forthcoming 2022), Out of Speech (LSU, 2018), and The Coal Life (University of Arkansas Press, 2012) — and two collaborative poetry collections written with Allen Jih, Day Kink (Unicorn Press, 2018) and According to Discretion (Unicorn Press, 2018). He is editor of Birmingham Poetry Review.

Halley Cotton

Halley Cotton teaches rhetoric and literature at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She 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.



Patti Callahan Henry

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Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction),  BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan).  In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year.” ; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.
Patti Callahan is the co-creator and co-host of the weekly web show and podcast Friends and Fiction featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe with endless stories, special guests, and a way to connect readers and writers.

A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.