Shastri Akella earned his MFA in fiction at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). His story won the Bridging the Gap fiction contest at the Slice Writers' Conference in 2018. His works appears in Guernica, Electric Literature, The Common, Rumpus, World Literature Today, LA Review of Books, Danse Macabre, and European Stages, among other places. He is currently seeking agents for his novel, The Elephant Songs, a queer novel set in 1980s India with an an interracial love story at its core.
Zabe Bent is an engineer living in New York, while working as urban planner and pursuing an MFA at The New School. She is currently working on a novel about the impact of time travel on personal identity, along with a short story collection based on the mixed heritage of her Jamaican family. Zabe spends her free time pursuing creative interests, from silversmithing to cooking to illustration. Find her on social media using @zabebent across platforms.
Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). A Pushcart Prize nominated poet with a MFA in Creative Writing from the New School; she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, the MacDowell Colony, Poets House, and the Saltonstall Foundation of the Arts among others. Winner of the 2016 Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry and the 2018 Elizabeth Sloan Tyler Memorial Award; Manick is Founder and Curator of the reading series Soul Sister Revue. Her poem "Things I Carry Into the World" was made into a film by Motionpoems, a organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month and Reel 13 Shorts. Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Bone Bouquet, Callaloo, Kweli Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB), Muzzle Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Wayétu Moore is the founder of One Moore Book, a non-profit publisher of culturally relevant children's books. Her writing can be found in The Paris Review, Frieze Magazine, Guernica, The Atlantic Magazine and other publications. She’s a graduate of Howard University and the University of Southern California, and is currently a Margaret Mead Fellow at Columbia University Teachers College, where she’s researching the impact of culturally relevant curriculum and learning aids in elementary classrooms of underrepresented groups. Moore is an Africana Studies lecturer at City University of New York’s John Jay College, and founding faculty member of the Randolph College MFA program. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Jenny Xie is the author of EYE LEVEL (Graywolf Press, 2018), finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, and recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. She has been supported by fellowships from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and Poets & Writers.