Laura Pegram, Editor in Chief
Laura Pegram is a multidisciplinary artist who is influencing a new generation of aspiring writers. Author, educator, and a jazz vocalist whose cabaret performance teamed her with jazz pianist, Donald Smith, Ms. Pegram is also a painter. Her richly hued vibrant murals are part of several private collections. She has worked as a Development Associate at Scholastic Productions, Inc., as an Instructor at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center and as an Acting Director / Instructor at the John Oliver Killens Young Writers Program.
Amy Diaz-Infante, Art Editor
Amy Díaz-Infante is a visual artist with a background in printmaking who has shown nationally and in México. She has taught at Youth Art Exchange, the Mission Cultural Center’s Mission Gráfica, Opera Piccola, and the Rhode Island School of Design. As an educator and administrator, she has been active in the field of youth arts and youth leadership. She has also been involved with Sambaxé Dance Company as a novice dancer, drummer, and project coordinator for the Batería Força Feminina, a women’s Brazilian-inspired percussion ensemble. Amy holds a BA in Art from Yale University, an MFA, with honors, from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Collegiate Teaching Certificate from Brown University. She is an alumna of the Djerassi Resident Artist Program and a 2015 Community Trustee in the Leadership San Francisco Program.
Sandy Byers, Copy Editor
Sandy Byers, a staff editor at The New York Times, is an alumna of the early Essence, Consumer Reports and Yale University; a lifelong copy editor (backup singers in the world of words); and a sometime writer.
Anita Felicelli, Fiction Editor
Anita Felicelli was born in India and grew up in Northern California. She is a fiction writer, poet, and critic based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anita is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation grant, the recipient of a 2015 Kweli scholarship, and an alumna of Voices of Our Nations (VONA). She is the author of a poetry collection "Letters to an Albatross" (Blaze Vox, 2010). Her short stories have twice been finalists for the Glimmer Train awards and her nonfiction has received two awards from The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. Anita's work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Brain Child, India Currents, Blackbird, Juked, Strangelet Journal, and elsewhere. She is an associate editor at the South Asian blog The Aerogram. Anita triple-majored at UC Berkeley, holds a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, and worked as a litigator for a decade.
Estella Gonzalez, Senior Fiction Editor
Estella Gonzalez was born and raised in East Los Angeles, which inspires most of her writing. Her work has been anthologized in Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature published by Bilingual Press and Kaleidoscope published by Pima Press. Her writing has also appeared in Kweli, Puerto del Sol, Sandscript and Huizache. She received her BA in English from Northwestern University and her MFA from Cornell University. Currently, she teaches writing at the University of La Verne.
Misa Kobayashi, Contributing Editor
I am of Japanese and German-Irish descent, reared in the wilds of the Lower East Side pre-hipster gentrification, where fabric stores and Jewish delis abounded. I'm straddling the line of brevity and gravity, experimenting with the personal essay and stories about voiceless people. I've traveled the world and have finally conceded that New York City is where I can call home.
Bahar Mirhosseini, Contributing Editor
Bahar Mirhosseini was first introduced to Kweli Journal during a fifth anniversary reading series the journal hosted with Jennine Capó Crucet in East Harlem, New York. Bahar has attended the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation workshops which immersed her in a stellar community of writers, and a life-transforming writing residency at Hedgebrook. During law school, she received the Haywood Burns Fellowship in Civil and Human Rights from the City University of New York School of Law. She has worked as a public defender in the U.S. and with public defenders overseas. She is a recipient of Hedgebrook’s Women Authoring Change Fellowship, one made in honor of Libyan lawyer and activist Salwa Bugaighis.
Princess Perry, Senior Fiction Editor
Princess Perry was born in Newport News, Virginia. She is a past winner of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award and a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant. Her short stories have appeared in African- American Review and Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia. In September 2014, her story "A Penny, A Pound" will be published in the anthology All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press).
Ivelisse Rodriguez, Senior Fiction Editor
Ivelisse Rodriguez is a Pushcart-nominated fiction writer. Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Ivelisse has criss-crossed the country living in New York City, Miami, Chicago, and Boston. She has published fiction in All about Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color, the Boston Review, the Bilingual Review, Aster(ix), and other publications. She has received fellowships to attend Las Dos Brujas Workshop, the Summer Literary Seminar in Kenya, Voices of America (VONA) workshop, and the Writers of Americas Conference in Cuba. She holds a Ph.D. in English-creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, and a B.A. in English from Columbia University. She has finished a collection of short stories entitled Love War Stories and is working on The Last Salsa Singer, a novel about salsa musicians. To learn more about Ivelisse, visit: http://www.ivelisserodriguez.com.
Li Yun Alvarado, Senior Poetry Editor
Li Yun Alvarado is a Nuyorican poet, writer, and educator. She is the author of the chapbook Nuyorico, CA. Her work has been published in several journals and anthologies including: Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education; CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action; The Acentos Review; PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art; PMS Poemmemoirstory; and Modern Haiku. She is an Acentos Fellow, and has been selected to participate in VONA Writers Workshop, Astra Writing in Greece, and AROHO. As a graduate student, Li Yun helped coordinate Fordham's Poets Out Loud reading series and book prize. She holds a PhD in English and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Fordham University, as well as a BA in Spanish and Sociology from Yale University. She teaches English at Long Beach City College and has taught literature, composition, and creative writing--in English and in Spanish--to middle school, high school, and college students throughout the country. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Long Beach, California and takes frequent trips to Salinas, Puerto Rico to visit la familia.
Vincent Toro, Poetry Editor
Vincent Toro has an MFA in poetry from Rutgers University. He is winner of the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and is recipient of both a Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His poems have been published in Kweli, The Buenos Aires Review, The Acentos Review, Codex, The Journal, Matter, The Ostrich Review, The Cortland Review, The Caribbean Writer, and in the anthologies CHORUS, and The Waiting Room Reader 2. His play “21” won the Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award and was staged at the Spanish Repertory Theater. From 2006-2011, Vincent was Theater Arts Director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. During his tenure there he won The San Antonio Theater Councils Golden Globe for Direction of a Drama. He is a member of the Macondo Writer’s Foundation and serves on the board of GlobalWrites, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy through integration of technology and performing arts in schools throughout the U.S. Vincent teaches at CUNY’s Bronx Community College and is a poet in the schools for the Dodge Poetry Foundation and the Dreamyard Project. His collection, “Stereo.Island.Mosaic.” is forthcoming in January 2016 from Ahsahta Press.
ARIANA BROWN, POETRY EDITOR
Ariana Brown is an Afromexicana poet from San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies from UT Austin. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and a 2014 collegiate national poetry slam champion. An alum of Brave New Voices, Ariana's work has been featured in PBS, Huffington Post, Blavity, For Harriet, and Remezcla. Ariana, who has been dubbed a "part-time curandera," has performed across the U.S. at venues such as the San Antonio Guadalupe Theater, University of California - Santa Cruz, Tucson Poetry Festival, and the San Francisco Opera Theatre. When she is not onstage, she is probably eating an avocado, listening to the Kumbia Kings, or validating black girl rage in all its miraculous forms. Her work is published in Huizache, Rattle, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and ¡Manteca!: An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets from Arte Público Press. She is currently earning an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. Learn more about Ariana at www.arianabrown.com