The annual OutWrite festival is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers. To get in touch with anyone on our team, please email email@example.com and we’ll forward your message to the appropriate volunteer.
Emily Holland (they/she) is a genderqueer lesbian writer. They received their MFA from American University, where she won the Myra Sklarew Award for outstanding thesis and was the Editor-In-Chief of FOLIO. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Shenandoah, Black Warrior Review, Nat. Brut, DIALOGIST, Homology Lit, and Wussy. Her chapbook Lineage was published by dancing girl press in 2019. Their work has been supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she is the Editor of Poet Lore, America’s oldest poetry magazine published by The Writer’s Center and a Professorial Lecturer in English at GWU.
Sylvia Jones lives in Baltimore,MD with her partner, Agata, a translator and aspiring phenologist, and their cat, Theo. She recently served as the 2021-22 Stadler Fellow in literary editing and is currently a reader for the journal Ploughshares. She keeps the bills partially paid, working as an editor at Black Lawrence Press and by lecturing part-time as an adjunct at Goucher College and George Washington University. Her most recent writing appears in: Smartish Pace, Sprung Formal,Revolute, DIAGRAM, the Hopkins Review, Poet Lore, Spilt Milk by the Poetry Society of New York, Shenandoah, and theCortland Review.
Former OutWrite Chairs
Marlena Chertock (Co-Chair 2020-2022) has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific poetry. She is queer, disabled, and a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Marlena serves as Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, and on the Board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Her poetry and prose has appeared in AWP’s The Writer’s Notebook, Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Lambda Literary Review, Little Patuxent Review, Neon Hemlock Press, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Paranoid Tree, Plants & Poetry, Rogue Agent, Unheard Poetry, Washington Independent Review of Books, WMN Zine, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at marlenachertock.com and @mchertock.
Malik Thompson (Co-Chair 2020-2022) is a Black queer man proud to be from D.C., as well as a bookseller, anime fanatic, and workshop facilitator. Malik has worked with Split This Rock, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Moonlit DC as a workshop facilitator. He also organized the Poets In Protest poetry series at the Black queer owned bookstore Loyalty Bookstores. Malik’s work can be found inside of Split This Rock’s Poetry Database as well as the mixed media journal Voicemail Poems. You can find Malik’s thoughts on literature via his Instagram account @negroliterati.
dave ring (Chair 2015-2020) is a queer editor and writer of speculative fiction living in Washington, DC. He is the publisher and managing editor of Neon Hemlock Press, as well as editor of the anthology Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die. His short fiction has been featured in numerous publications, including Fireside Fiction, The Disconnect, and A Punk Rock Future. Find him at www.dave-ring.com or @slickhop on Twitter.
Phill Branch (Chair 2015-2016) is a storyteller working in multiple genres – film, stage and creative nonfiction. Branch recently directed Searching for Shaniqua; his documentary about the impact names have on our lives. As a live storyteller, Branch began his own storytelling show in Los Angeles that ran for two years. He has since gone on to perform in shows for Story District, Perfect Liars Club and is a 2018 GrandSlam storytelling champion for the prestigious storytelling organization The Moth. He is a 2019 Fellow in Story District’s solo show development lab. Additionally, his essays have been featured in anthologies and in The Root, Baltimore Sun and Shadow & Act, among others. An alumnus of Hampton University and the American Film Institute, Branch currently teaches writing at Howard University and currently resides in Baltimore. He can be reached at @phillbranch on Instagram and Twitter.
Julie R. Enszer (Chair 2012-2015) is a scholar and poet. Her book manuscript, A Fine Bind: Lesbian-Feminist Publishing from 1969 through 2009, tells stories of a dozen lesbian-feminist publishers to consider the meaning of the theoretical and political formations of lesbian-feminism, separatism, and cultural feminism. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Cultures, Journal of Lesbian Studies, American Periodicals, WSQ, Frontiers, and other journals. Enszer is the author of four collections of poetry, Avowed (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016), Lilith’s Demons (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2015), Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013), and Handmade Love (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010). She is editor of The Complete Works of Pat Parker (Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2016) and Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx.
Dan Vera (Chair 2010-2012) is a writer, editor, watercolorist, and literary historian. The recipient of the Oscar Wilde Award for Poetry and the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, he’s the co-editor of Imaniman: Poets Writing In The Anzaldúan Borderlands (Aunt Lute Books) and author of two books of poetry, Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen Press) and The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books). His work is featured by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and included in college and university curricula, various journals including Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly; and in anthologies including Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, and The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South. The CantoMundo and Macondo Writing Fellow has been a featured reader around the country including the Dodge Poetry Festival, the Poetry Foundation, and New York City’s Poets House. The longtime chair of Split This Rock Poetry, he currently serves on the board of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP).
Former OutWrite Journal Editors
Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner who cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Rasha’s writing has appeared in Mslexia, Strange Horizons, Shade Journal, Plume, Mizna, Room, |tap| magazine, Beltway Poetry, and Lambda Literary. Their work is anthologized in Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology (forthcoming), Unfettered Hexes (2021), Halal if You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019), Stoked Words (Capturing Fire, 2018), and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler (Twelfth Planet Press, 2017). A fiber artist, poet, and speculative fiction writer and editor, Rasha is a member of Justice for Muslims Collective, the Radius of Arab American Writers, and Alternate ROOTS. Their new chapbook is who is owed springtime (Neon Hemlock).
Tahirah Alexander Green 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. Follow them @TahirahAGreen for updates on their art.
Former Book Club Coordinator
Hamour Baika was born in Iran and lived in Ahwaz during his teen years. He wrote his first novella, a fan fiction piece about the alien creature E.T., at age 12. Baika has a master’s degree in human rights. A painter and classical pianist, he now lives in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. On the Enemy’s Side is his debut novel.