#AWP20 Lightning Readings by Writer to Writer Alumni


Quick reads performed by published writers from the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program. We invite you to enjoy a mix of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from these talented writers. Organized and emceed by alumni P.D. Keenen.

#AWP20 San Antonio
The Michener Center for Writers Stage
Saturday, March 7, 2020
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm

Register for the full conference here or get a Saturday only $5 bookfair-pass on site.

About Writer to writer:

AWP’s mentorship program, Writer to Writer, matches emerging writers and published authors for a three-month series of modules on topics such as craft, revision, publishing, and the writing life. We hope you apply and join our growing community.


William Ward Butler is a writer and educator from Northern California. He works as a bookseller at Bookshop Santa Cruz and teaches creative writing classes for middle schoolers and high schoolers through the Young Writers Program. His chapbook Life History is forthcoming from Ghost City Press.

Lauren K. Carlson studies with the Warren Wilson MFA program for Writers. She is the author of the chapbook Animals I Have Killed. Her writing has been supported by the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.

Lucas Jacob is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Seed Vault, as well as the chapbooks A Hole in the Light and Wishes Wished Just Hard Enough. He is a high-school writing teacher and writing-instruction consultant based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Olga Livshin is the author of A Life Replaced: Poems with Translations from Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman. Her work explores finding a place as a queer refugee. She is the co-organizer of From Across the Waters: Voices for Immigration.

Preeti Parikh is a poet, essayist, and current MFA candidate at the Rainier Writing Workshop where she is also a recipient of the Bierds-Smith Graduate Scholarship. Her poems have been published in various journals and anthologies. Preeti’s earlier academic training was in the field of medicine.

Whitney Rio-Ross is a poet and essayist living in Nashville, TN. She teaches English as an adjunct at Trevecca University and holds a Master’s in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School. Her chapbook, Birthmarks, is forthcoming.

Manisha Sharma is a multigenre writer who collaborates across different disciplines such as music, design, computers, and virtual reality. Be it a poem, short story, a play, or a sound-art or VR installation, her work explores feminist and social issues. Sharma is also a yoga, mindfulness expert.

Irene Hoge Smith, a graduate of the New Directions psychoanalytic writing program, was a 2016 Writer-to-Writer mentee. Her work appears in venues including Wisconsin Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Stonecoast Review, and she is completing a memoir about her runaway poet mother.

Bethel Swift is the author of Conversations with Good Men. Her work has appeared online, in print, and in local art exhibits. She serves on the SDMWA Board of Directors and co-teaches writing and movement workshops. Bethel’s blog focuses on the topics of artivism, gratitude, and self-care.

Tahirah is a literary artist living in their hometown of Washington, DC. They love celebrating Black queer weirdos in their work. Tahirah is a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow, 2018 Arts for Social Impact Fellow and a member of Black Youth Project 100’s MelaNation Zine team.

Naomi Ulsted writes young adult fiction, memoir and screenplays. Her work has been published in multiple venues. She’s currently at work on a young adult novel. She was the winner of a 2017 Literary Fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts in the drama category.

Michael Allyn Wells is a poet whose work ranges from witty to serious. His interest in poetry began in high school but went dormant until later in life. He presently is working on a chapbook that is nearing completion. He has been a member of AWP since 2014 and this is his fourth Conference.


Keith Kopka is the author of Count Four (University of Tampa Press 2020), as well as the critical text Asking a Shadow to Dance: An Introduction to the Practice of Poetry. He is the Director of Operations for Writers Resist and a Senior Editor at Narrative Magazine.

Jennifer Steil is a novelist, memoirist, and journalist. Her third book, Exile Music, a novel about Austrian Jewish refugees in Bolivia, is forthcoming. Previous work includes The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, a memoir about editing a Yemeni newspaper, and the novel The Ambassador’s Wife.

Lisa C. Taylor, MFA, is the author of two collections of fiction, Impossibly Small Spaces and Growing a New Tail, and four poetry collections, most recently Necessary Silence. She received a Hugo House New Fiction Prize and the Elizabeth Shanley Gerson Lecture at UConn with Geraldine Mills.

Lex Williford won the Iowa Short Fiction Award and the Rose Metal Chapbook Contest. Coeditor of the Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction and Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction, he teaches at UTEP. His novella, Balsa and Tissue Paper, was a Ploughshares Solo Fall 2019.

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