R. Flowers Rivera

A native of Mississippi, R. Flowers Rivera is an award-winning poet, and the author of two books. She completed a Ph.D. in English, specializing in African American literature and creative writing, at Binghamton University. Xavier Review Press published her debut poetry collection, Troubling Accents (July 2013), which received a nomination from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters and was selected by the Texas Association of Authors as its 2014 Poetry Book of the Year.

Rivera’s second collection, Heathen (February 2015) was published by Lotus Press, Inc., and distributed by Wayne State University. It has been selected by poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller as the winner of the 2015 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. This award was established by Lotus Press to recognize an outstanding book-length manuscript by an African-American poet.

Sarah Valentine

Teaches Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University. Recipient of Lannan Foundation Writers Residency Fellowship, 2013; winner of Prairie Schooner’s Bernice Slote Award for Best New Writer, 2013.

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Lisa Alvarado

Lisa Alvarado is an educator, poet, novelist, and journalist, the founder of La Onda Negra Press, author of Reclamo and The Housekeeper’s Diary; originally a book of poetry and now a one-woman performance. Her first novel, Sister Chicas, Penguin/NAL, was released in April 2006. The novel is a coming of age story concerning the lives of three young Latinas living in Chicago. It won 2nd place, Best First Novel in English. (Latino Literacy Now/2007)

Her book of poetry, Raw Silk Suture, released by Floricanto Press in 2008, was positively reviewed by Rigoberto Gonzalez. She has curated multimedia exhibits, mounted her own multimedia piece, Reclamo, in the Pilsen art corridor in Chicago; and is currently a contributor to the nationally touring exhibit, Re-imagining the Distaff Toolkit, curated by Ricki Solinger/SUNY.

Lisa is the recipient of grants from the Department of Cultural Affairs, The NEA, and the Ragdale Foundation. In Fall, 2009, she was awarded Hispanic Author of the Year by the State of Illinois.