Erin Aubry Kaplan is an journalist and author who has been writing about race, politics, culture and identity since 1992. She contributes regularly to the opinion pages of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and in 2007 became the first African American weekly opinion columnist in the paper’s history. In addition to teaching literature and writing for Bridge, she has taught in Antioch’s MFA writing program (creative nonfiction). She is the author of two books, “Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches From a Black Journalista,” and “I Heart Obama.” She lives in Inglewood with several dogs and two cats.
Megan Giddings is a fiction writer from the Midwest. Her short stories have been recently published in Catapult, The Iowa Review, The Southeast Review, and Story. Megan’s debut novel, Lakewood, was an NPR Best Books of 2020, one of New York Magazne‘s 10 Best Books of 2020, and was a nominee for two NAACP Image Awards. In manuscript form, it was a recipient of a Barbara Deming Award for feminist fiction. Her second novel, The Women Could Fly, is forthcoming from Amistad. More about her can be found at www.megangiddings.com
Antioch alumna, Reyna Grande, is the author of the bestselling memoir, The Distance Between Us (Atria 2012), where she writes about her life before and after she arrived in the United States from Mexico as an undocumented child immigrant. The much-anticipated sequel, A Dream Called Home was released in 2018. Her other works include the novels, Across a Hundred Mountains (Atrial 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (2009) which were published to critical acclaim. The Distance Between Us is also available as a young readers edition.
Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges, and cities across the country. Reyna has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. The young reader’s version of The Distance Between Us received an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award in 2017. Writing about immigration, family separation, language trauma, the price of the American Dream, and her writing journey, Reyna’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, CNN, The Lily at The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, among others. Reyna is a proud member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros, where she has also served as faculty. She has also taught at several writers conferences, including the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and VONA (Voices of Our Nation’s Arts). She has two forthcoming books: A Ballad of Love and Glory, a novel set during the Mexican-American War (Atria, March 2022); and a collection of essays by and about undocumented Americans called Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings (Harpervia, June 2022).
Rachel Zucker is the author of ten books, including, most recently, SoundMachine (Wave Books, 2019). A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell Colony and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Zucker has taught at Yale, Columbia, and is an adjunct professor at New York University. Founder and host of the podcast Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People). Zucker is currently working on an immersive audio project (also called SoundMachine) and a book of lectures called The Poetics of Wrongness. For more information visit www.rachelzucker.net
Marco Wilkinson is the author of Madder (Coffee House Press, 2021). His essays have appeared in Kenyon Review, Seneca Review, Terrain, Bennington Review, Taproot and elsewhere. He is the nonfiction editor of the Los Angeles Review. He has received several fellowships, including a Hemera Foundation Tending Space fellowship and writing residencies at Craigardan and the Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology. In addition to teaching in Antioch University’s MFA program, he is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at James Madison University where he teaches creative writing. Marco is also a horticulturist and has taught sustainable agriculture for many years.
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her debut poetry collection, Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016), is inspired by her family’s immigration stories and her time volunteering with the humanitarian aid organization, No More Deaths. A dramatization of her poem “Our Lady of the Water Gallons,” directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at latinopia.com.
Bermejo was chosen as the first “Poet in the Parks” resident at Gettysburg National Military Park in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the National Parks Arts Foundation in Fall 2017. Locating the Dead, a chapbook inspired by her time at Gettysburg during the first half of the Trump administration was published by A-B Projects as part of the collaborative art exhibit, “The Stacks.” “Battlegrounds,” a poem from this collection was featured as an Academy of Poets’ Poem-a-Day and on Poetry Unbound.
A former Steinbeck fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange poetry winner, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund/Money for Women grantee, and Tucson Festival of Books 3rd place poetry winner, she was once selected by her mentor, Eloise Klein Healy as a Los Angeles Central Library ALOUD newer poet. She has received residencies with Hedgebrook and the Ragdale Foundation and is a member of the Miresa Collective.
Bermejo is co-founder and director of Women Who Submit, a literary organization fighting for gender parity by empowering women and non-binary writers to submit work for publication. She received a BA in Theatre Arts from California State University of Long Beach and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She teaches adult writing workshops with UCLA Extension and children’s poetry workshops throughout LA County.