Jonathan Penner is the author of two novels, Going Blind and Natural Order, and two story collections, Private Parties and This Is My Voice. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Paris Review, and many other magazines. He has held writing fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, and his many honors include the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Penner has taught fiction writing at the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii, and Vanderbilt University, and has given lectures and readings abroad under the auspices of the U. S. State Department.
Meg Thompson started in publishing in 2002 working for President Bill Clinton in his Harlem office as a researcher and fact checker on his memoirs, My Life. She then went to work for Charlie Rose as a writer and researcher at his legendary PBS show before joining LJK Literary Management, LLC. She worked at LJK for six years before founding her own firm, which is now Thompson Literary Agency. Meg is interested in memoir, narrative non-fiction, psychology, health, science, cookbooks, and books on popular culture and humor. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors Ken Denmead, Kelle Hampton, and Daniel Stashower; Scientific American reporter Katherine Harmon Courage, New Yorker essayist Tim Kreider, New Yorker cartoonist and essayist Emily Flake, New York Times Style reporter Julia Chaplin, journalist Mason Currey, memoirist and novelist Gordon Chaplin, mapmaker and author Becky Cooper, party planner to the stars Mary Giuliani, food bloggers Lisa Leake and Carrie Vitt, and many more. She lives in New York City with her rescue cat, Sweet Pea.
Donald Cosentino is Professor Emeritus of World Arts and Cultures at the University of California-Los Angeles. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria (1964-66), and Civil Rights Field Organizer in South Carolina (1968-69). He received his Ph.D. in African Languages and Literatures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976, after which he returned to Nigeria to teach at Ahmadu Bello University from 1976-78. He began work at UCLA in 1979.
Cosentino’s research interests include Black Atlantic myth, rituals, art and popular cultures. He has done extensive fieldwork on oral traditions in Sierra Leone (1972-3; 1983); on Vodou art and mythology in Haiti (1986-present); and on the flowering of alternative religions in Los Angeles (1979-present). He is the author of Defiant Maids and Stubborn Farmers: Tradition and Invention in Mende Story Performance (Cambridge UP, 1982, 2008) and Vodou Things: The Art of Pierrot Barra and Marie Cassaise (University of Mississippi Press, 1998). He was the curator, editor and chief writer for the award winning project, The Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou (1995-99), and for Divine Revolution: the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrie (2004).
As a Guggenheim Fellow (2006), Cosentino completed fieldwork for Chasing the Dead, a book he is writing based on his travels with Charley Guelperin, an Argentine-American magus, and Manuel, his Kongo spirit guide. Cosentino is currently chief curator of a major exhibition entitled In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st Century Haitian Art which opened at the UCLA Fowler Museum in Fall, 2012, and travelled to La Musee de la Civilisation in Quebec City in 2014.
Viviane Mahieux grew up in La Paz and Todos Santos. She has a BA from UC Berkeley and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. She is currently Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Irvine. She teaches and writes on contemporary Latin American literature, with a particular focus on Mexico. She has written Urban Chroniclers in Modern Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2011), and published in various academic and cultural journals, including Letras Libres and Nexos in Mexico.
Edmundo Lizardi, based in LaPaz, BCS, is an itinerant poet, editor and journalist. He has taught at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California+Tijuana, published a collection of journalistic pieces, a book of short stories, and four poetry collections, including Preludio de las islas (Tijuana: IMAC, 1999).
Read his blog Malekón
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