Bob Byrd

BobByrdBob Byrd–food enthusiast and storyteller–gives writers something to chew on as he talks about how to spark writing inspiration from the things we eat.

Award winning storyteller Bob Byrd is the 2014 Alabama Tall Tales Champion and a 2020 Moth Grand Slam winner. He has been published in the Sun, The Greenjacket, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Say’s You program and is the Puzzle Master of the Wolfe Pack, the Official Nero Wolfe Literary Society. Some of his essays and storytelling videos are at


Thank You Books

Thank You Books LogoThe official bookstore of the SPARK Writing Festival, Thank You Books is a woman-owned indie bookstore in Birmingham, Alabama. TYB serves as a hub of literary activity and a cornerstone of our local reading community. Not local or don’t see what you’re looking for? No worries! You can still support TYB through and Libro.FM Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Ashley M. Jones & Magic City Poetry Festival

Ashley M. Jones received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow.  Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, POETRY, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, Fjords Review, Quiet Lunch, Poets Respond to Race Anthology, Night Owl, The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, pluck!, Fjords Review: Black American Edition, PMSPoemMemoirStory (where her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016), Kinfolks Quarterly, Tough Times in America Anthology, among others. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a 2015 B-Metro Magazine Fusion Award. Her debut poetry collection, Magic City Gospel, was published by Hub City Press (2017), and it won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her second book, dark // thing, won the 2018 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. Her third collection, REPARATIONS NOW! is forthcoming in Fall 2021 from Hub City Press. She won the 2018 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize from Backbone Press, and she is the 2019 winner of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  She was a finalist for the Ruth Lily Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, board member of the Alabama Writers Cooperative and the Alabama Writers Forum, co-director of PEN Birmingham, and a faculty member in the Creative Writing Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.