Chris Abani’s prose includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin, 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). He holds a BA in English (Nigeria), an MA in Gender and Culture (Birkbeck College, University of London), an MA in English and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (University of Southern California). He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award. Born in Nigeria, he is currently Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University, in Chicago, where he lives.
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
British author Bernardine Evaristo is a novelist, poet, editor, essayist, literary critic and Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Her creative writing includes eight books of fiction and verse fiction, several theatre plays, BBC radio dramas and other works. She reviews for the national British newspapers and has chaired and judged many prizes. She has edited and guest-edited several anthologies and literary magazines. In 2012 she founded the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, open to African poets worldwide. She has won several awards and she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006, and she received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009.
Aracelis Girmay is the author of three poetry collections, Teeth, Kingdom Animalia, winner of the Isabella Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, and The Black Maria, named a “Top Poetry Pick” by Publisher’s Weekly, O Magazine, and Library Journal. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Foundation Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem Fellow and an Acentos board member, she has led youth and community writing workshops. She currently teaches at Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.
Matthew Shenoda is a writer and professor whose poems and essays have appeared in a variety of newspapers, journals, radio programs and anthologies. He has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his work has been supported by the California Arts Council and the Lannan Foundation among others. His debut collection of poems, Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press), was named one of 2005’s debut books of the year by Poets & Writers Magazine and was winner of a 2006 American Book Award. He is also the author of Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone (BOA Editions Ltd.), editor of Duppy Conqueror: New & Selected Poems by Kwame Dawes, and most recently author of Tahrir Suite: Poems (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press), winner of the 2015 Arab American Book Award and with Kwame Dawes, editor of Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press in 2017).
Shenoda teaches in the fields of ethnic studies and creative writing and has held several faculty and administrative positions at various institutions and was recently appointed as the Dean of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Special Advisor to the President at Columbia College Chicago where he is currently Professor of English and Creative Writing. Additionally, Shenoda has served on the Board of Directors of several arts and education organizations and is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.