Afua Ansong is a Ghanaian American writer, dancer, and photographer. Her work interrogates the challenges of the African immigrant in the United States, exploring themes of transition, citizenship, and identity. Her chapbook American Mercy is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Her work can be seen or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Frontier, Newfound and elsewhere.
Jessica Aue writes stories about ordinary outsiders. Her day jobs have included farmworker, musician, baker, and mother. She grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and has spent most of her adult life as an expat in Denmark. Jessica studies literature and translation at the University of Copenhagen. “Astrid’s Bakery” is her first story to be published.
Trent Busch is a native of rural West Virginia who now lives in Georgia where he makes furniture. His poems have appeared in many journals including The Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, Threepenny Review, North American Review, Chicago Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, New England Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Kenyon Review, American Scholar, Shenandoah, and more recently in Notre Dame Review, Evansville Review, Agni Online, Boston Review, Natural Bridge, Sou’wester, Poetry Daily, and The Hudson Review. His poem “Edges of Roads” was the 1916 First Place winner of the Margaret Reid Poetry Prize, Published by Winning Writers.
Laine Cunningham hopes her readers will consider their place in the world and the changes they can enact. Her novels received the Hackney Literary Award, the James Jones Literary Society Fellowship, Writer’s Digest’s 2016 ebook award, and honors from national and international art councils. Her stories won the 2016 Hackney Award and the 2017 Writer’s Digest contest, and have been published by Reed, Birmingham Arts Journal, and Writer’s Digest. Nonfiction credits include the award-winning women’s adventure travel memoir Woman Alone: A Six-Month Journey Through the Australian Outback, and essays in Fiction Southeast and Chicken Soup for the Soul. www.LaineCunningham.com
Patrick W. Gibson is a Detroit based writer. His short stories and flash fiction pieces favor an urban and working class feel. He’s a graduate of Wayne State University, attended the Writer’s Studio, and holds a Certificate in Fiction Writing from UCLA. His work has been published online and in print by The Flexible Persona and Medusa’s Laugh Press. He’s at work on his first novel.
Jeanne Julian’s chapbook is Blossom and Loss (Longleaf Press). Her poems appear in Prairie Wolf Press Review, Poetry Quarterly, Lascaux Prize 2016 Anthology, pacificREVIEW, The RavensPerch, Bindweed, Snapdragon, and other journals, and have won awards from The Comstock Review, Naugatuck River Review, The North Carolina Poetry Society, and the Asheville Writers’ Workshop. She exhibits her photography with the Community Artists Gallery and Studios cooperative in New Bern, NC, where she makes an effort to practice yoga when not distracted by tennis, gardening, watching the creek, and making omelets. www.jeannejulian.com
Emily Madapusi Pera‘s first experience with a cicada infestation, at the tender age of four, inspired this piece. She dedicates this poem to her mom, Leslie, an intrepid adventurer and avenger of nature. From her, Emily first learned of the joys and menaces in the great outdoors, and she aims to capture this sentiment in the land of black-and-white text. Previous credits include Tuck Magazine, Litro, Storgy Magazine, and the Dissident Voice, among others.
A North Carolina native, Kat Meads is the author of six novels, two essay collections, two collections of short fiction and the forthcoming South-set cross-genre work, Miss Jane: The Lost Years. She lives in California and teaches in Oklahoma City University’s low-residency MFA program. www.katmeads.com
Ronnie Sirmans is a metro Atlanta newspaper journalist whose poetry has appeared in The South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Tar River Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, The Museum of Americana, Deep South Magazine, Blackbox Manifold, BlazeVOX, Light, Third Wednesday, Birch Gang Review, and elsewhere.
Jose Skinner’s stories have appeared in Boulevard, Third Coast, Colorado Review, Florida Review, Quarterly West, Bilingual Review, and many other literary journals, as well as in the anthologies Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco Violence, In the Shadow of the Strip: Las Vegas Stories and Las Vegas Noir. His first collection, Flight and Other Stories, was a finalist for the Steven Turner Award and the Western States Book Award for Fiction. His new collection, The Tombstone Race, was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2016. You can learn more about Jose’s work on his website: joseskinner.com.
Billy Joe Stratton teaches literature, critical theory, and writing in the Department of English at the University of Denver. He is a Fulbright Fellow alumnus whose writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Cream City Review, Big Muddy, Red Ink, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Rhizomes, Common-place, and TIME. Before any of this, he played basketball on dirt courts, scoured creek beds for crawdads, and watched as the verdant Eastern Kentucky mountains were strip-mined one by one by one. He’s still watching, even when he closes his eyes; those images are hard to forget.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and is available as of May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com or @aliner.
L. Vocem‘s stories have been published in Azahares, The Seventh Wave, The Americas Review, Magic Realism, Well Versed, StorySouth, and Zoetrope All-Story Extra. He was the featured writer at the Paumanok Review. Won second prize Best Fiction in AIM Quarterly. One of his photographs has been published in Blue Mesa Review. He has a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (now Savannah College of Art & Design SCAD), and attended the Iowa Summer Writers’ Workshop and Oglethorpe University Writers Workshop. To read L. Vocem’s published stories go to lvocem.com.
Alise Wascom holds a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College and an MFA in Fiction from Lesley University in Cambridge. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and her story “Bear Food” was the runner up in the 2016 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival fiction prize. In 2013 she was awarded a Phipps-Massey Writing by Writers fellowship by author Pam Houston. Alise lives in southeast Louisiana with her husband, the writer Kent Wascom, and works at the State Library of Louisiana as a coordinator for the Louisiana Book Festival and the Louisiana Readers’ Choice Awards.