IWL 2017 Cohort

Salima Hamirani

Salima is a radio journalist who works as freelancer, and out of KPFA in Berkeley, on a morning news analysis show called Upfront. She also writes fiction and speculative fiction, and her journalistic and literary themes often overlap - issues such as immigration, religion, prison, how technology affects culture, the force of imprisonment and the possibility of uprising. She lives in Oakland. 


Nefertiti Asanti

Nefertiti Asanti is a writer, cultural worker and sometimes performance poet from the Bronx. Nefertiti is a fellow of The Watering Hole (2016) and an alum of EMERGENYC, the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program (2015). Nefertiti's work can be found in Apiary Magazine, Winter Tangerine and forthcoming anthology Songs of Yemaya. 


Lauren Garcia

Lauren Andrei is an emerging Bay Area based artist born to a viraginous, Filipina woman and a green-thumbed Mexican man. Her work has been performed at Bindlestiff Studios, Temescal Studios, SF Sketchfest and Studio Grand Oakland. She is the author of Shipwreck Smiles, a collection of poems written over the last decade surrounding trauma and was recently nominated for an Elgin Award.


Michal “MJ” Jones

Michal "MJ" Jones is a Black, queer, trans writer and activist in Oakland, CA. Focusing on memoir, fiction, and essay, their work has been featured on Everyday Feminism, The Body Is Not An Apology, and Black Girl Dangerous.


Hieu Gray

Hieu Gray is a poet and filmmaker with an MFA from New York University.  Her digital poetry film series Moving Words Project (movingwordsproject.com) focuses on breaking the boundaries between film and poetry.  In a past life, she was an award-winning senior producer at CNN. 


Steve Fujimura

Steve Fujimura is a poet based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has participated in programs with The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the Hweilan International Artists Workshop in Taiwan, and Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture festival. His work can be found in New American Writing and Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review.


Celeste Chan

Celeste Chan is a queer artist, writer, and organizer, schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx, NY. She is a Hedgebrook, Lambda, and VONA fellow – and Sister Spit alumna. Her recent work can be found in AWAY, Citron Review, Foglifter, and The Rumpus. 


Jenna Robinson

As the descendent of back-porch storytellers, Jenna Robinson is a poet and musician whose writing explores the intersections of intergenerational trauma and identity. She is a competitive member of the national slam community, holding two Hawaii Slam grand slam titles and placing second in the nation at the 2015 National Poetry Slam competition with Hawaii Slam. She is currently a member of the Berkeley Slam Team and an Expressive Arts Therapy graduate student at the California Institute for Integral Studies.


Jade Cho

Jade Cho is a writer and educator from Oakland, California. She has represented the Bay Area nationally at Brave New Voices and College Unions Poetry Slam, and is the author of In the Tongue of Ghosts (First Word Press). She currently serves as Co-coordinator for the UC Berkeley Student Learning Center Writing Program.


Tara Seshan

Tara Seshan grew up in a house full of sisters. She’s spent the last few years working at the intersection of healthcare and technology, and most enjoys expanding her mind by writing, reading, and hiking. Things she likes: cooked greens, North Carolina basketball, and all kinds of dance.


Christine No

Christine No is a writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared at the Sundance Film Festival, in publications such as: sPARKLE+bLINK, Columbia Journal, Apogee, Atlas and Alice, and the anthology "If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration" by Sibling Rivalry Press. She is the host of Nomadic Press’s monthly reading series GET LIT and a board member and curator with Quiet Lightning a literary non profit based in San Francisco. She is a VONA Alum, a Pushcart Prize Nominee and the First Place Poetry Winner of the 2016 Litquake Writing Contest. She lives in Oakland with her talking dog, Brandy. 


Carli V. Lowe

Born and raised and still (by some miracle) living in San Francisco, Carli V. Lowe works in the administrative offices of a school where she once taught, and spends her free time dancing, drumming, and cycling around the city. Having decided to leave the classroom after eleven years of teaching elementary school, she aspires to be a librarian somewhere quiet and filled with grownups. Carli is a student in the advanced class of the San Francisco Writer's Studio. Her first short story, What We Had in Common, appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Sixfold.


Adrienne Chung

Adrienne Chung is a nonfiction writer. She lives in the Sunset district of San Francisco with her dog Bjärk.


Andrea Rodriguez

Born and raised in the vibrant sunny San Francisco Mission District, Andrea Rodriguez is a dancer, performer and digital media artist. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Dance and Choreography from UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media Division. Her international training and many performances include residencies in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Senegal, Mexico, and Hawaii. Back in S.F after living in L.A for over a decade, Andrea is thrilled to reconnect with her S.F roots and honored to be part of the IWL summer cohort.


Deaidre White

Deaidre White is many things. Some good, some bad... All of them making an appearance in her writing and/or performing. She grew up within walking distance of Facebook HQ before Facebook HQ arrived. She loves God, people, and food... especially cupcakes.