Dr. Taylor Byas, Ph.D. (she/her) is a Black Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is a Features Editor for The Rumpus, and a Poetry Acquisitions Editor for Variant Literature, and an Editorial Advisor for Jackleg Press. She is the 1st place winner of the 2020 Poetry Super Highway Contest, the 2020 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets Contest, and the 2021 Adrienne Rich Poetry Prize. She is the author of the chapbook Bloodwarm from Variant Literature, a second chapbook, Shutter, from Madhouse Press, and her debut full-length, I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times, from Soft Skull Press. She is also a co-editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol X: Alabama from Texas Review Press, and of Poemhood: Our Black Revival, a YA anthology on Black folklore from HarperCollins. She is represented by Rena Rossner of the Deborah Harris Agency.
Kerry Jones was born in the coal regions of eastern Pennsylvania and grew up in the Lehigh Valley. She attended Mansfield University and Temple University, and received her MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, where she is now Teaching Professor of English. Her fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Sycamore Review, Bryant Literary Review, Seems, and SLAB. Her work has received the Richard Yates Award, a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and she has been a runner-up for the Wabash Prize, the Boggs Fiction Contest, the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award, and a several-times finalist for the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize. her collection The Last Innocent Year received the 2021 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel and was published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in September 2022. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and their family of four-legged friends.
Past Festival Writers
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