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Meet the Authors: Octavia's Brood

Contributors

Sheree R. Thomas

Contributing Author




A writer, editor, small publisher, educator, visual artist, and mother whose work has appeared in numerous publications and literary journals. She is currently editing a third volume in her groundbreaking black science fiction series, tentatively titled Dark Matter: Africa Rising, in addition to Eldersongs, her oral history and poetry program and other writing projects designed to uplift, engage, and enlighten the community.

Walidah Imarisha

Contributing Author & Editor




She directed and co-produced the Katrina documentary Finding Common Ground in New Orleans. She has taught in the Portland State University’s Black Studies Department, Oregon State University’s Women’s Studies Department and Southern New Hampshire University’s English Department. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including the hip hop anthology Total Chaos. Walidah has facilitated poetry and journalism workshops third grade to twelfth, in schools, community centers, youth detention facilities, and women’s prisons.

Bao Phi

Contributing Author




His first collection of poetry, Sông I Sing, published by Coffee House Press, was met with strong sales, is taught in classrooms across the United States, and enjoyed rave reviews, including the New York Times which stated “In this song of his very American self, every poem Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth.” Bao Phi has been a performance poet since 1991. A two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, Bao Phi has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry. His poems and essays are widely published in numerous publications including Screaming Monkeys and Spoken Word Revolution Redux.

David F. Walker

Contributing Author




David F. Walker is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, educator, podcast personality, comic book writer, and author. Walker produced one of the definitive documentaries on the topic of Blaxploitation films, Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, and Shafted. His publication BadAzz MoFo became internationally known as the indispensable resource guide to black films of the 70s, and he is co-author of the book Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak. Walker’s writing and accolades extend into the realm of creative writing. Nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award for his work on the critically acclaimed manga series Tokyo Tribes, he is the author of the Young Adult series The Adventures of Darius Logan, and co-writer of the Dark Horse Comics series Number 13.

adrienne maree brown

Contributing Author & Editor





Now, adrienne primarily and sometimes prolifically writes for her own blog - The Luscious Satyagraha, which has a readership of thousands - tracking her own personal and cultural transformation. Through workshops and strategic readers for the past several years she has been promoting Octavia Butler fiction. She is approaching Octavia's work through the lens of emergent strategy - strategies rooted in relationship, adaptability, and embracing change.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Contributing Author





With a PhD in English, African and African-American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University, Gumbs describes herself as a queer black feminist poet who is a troublemaker. Her scholarly work is published in Obsidian, Symbiosis, Macomere, SIGNS, Feminist Collections, and more. Alexis is the founder of Brilliance Remastered, a service to help visionary underrepresented graduate students stay connected to purpose, passion, and community, co-founder of the Mobile Homecoming Project, a national experiential archive amplifying generations of Black LGBTQ Brilliance, and the community school Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

Morrigan Phillips

Contributing Author



Morrigan Phillips is an organizer, writer, trainer and social worker living in Boston, MA. Over the years, she had been a campaign and direct action organizer against the IMF and World Bank, the war in Iraq, and the WTO and free trade, as well as an editor with Left Turn Magazine. Morrigan is a coordinator of the I Heart Print Media track at the Allied Media Conference and is part of a network of trainers and writers developing tools for using visionary fiction for direct action and social change work. She has been published on-line and recently in the book We Are Many from AK Press.

Autumn Brown

Contributing Author




A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Autumn has also completed specialized study in Theology at Oxford University and the General Theological Seminary of New York. Brown is a recipient of the 2009 Next Generation of Leadership Fellowship through the Center for Whole Communities, the 2010 Creative Community Leadership Institute Fellowship through Intermedia Arts, and the 2013 Innovation Award from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Social Innovation. Brown facilitates organizational and strategic development with community-based and movement organizations, and trains community organizers in Consensus Process, Facilitation, and Resisting Racism.

Alixa Garcia

Contributing Author


Alixa Garcia combines efforts with Naima Penniman in an award-winning performance is composed of dual-voice spoken word poetry, hip hop, and multimedia theatre that dissolves apathy with hope, exposes injustice, and helps heal our inner trauma so that we may begin to cope with the issues facing our communities. The pair has independently organized 26 national and international tours bringing their performance to thousands of people across the U.S. and abroad. Innovative educators and performers, Climbing PoeTree’s work appears in high school and university curricula. In that last year alone, they were selected to present and keynote at the New Story Summit, Scotland; Bioneers National Conference, California; and at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, MA to name a few. 

Mia Mingus

Contributing Author



Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love. As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence. In 2013, along with 14 other women, Mia was recognized by the White House as an Asian and Pacific Islander women’s Champion of Change in observance of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Gabriel Teodros

Contributing Author



He first made a mark with the group Abyssinian Creole, and reached an international audience with his critically-acclaimed solo debut Lovework. He has since set stages on fire all across the US, Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia; often in combination with workshops on storytelling, music and liberation.

Tunde Olaniran

Contributing Author



As a child of an American social-activist mother and Nigerian Christian immigrant father, Tunde Olaniran has been instilled with the infusion of culture, consciousness, and rhythm since birth. Growing up, he lived in Germany, Nigeria, and England before settling in Flint, MI for his late adolescence where he was exposed to urban, folk, and soul influences of the small, humble city as well as a strong jazz influence on his mom’s behalf.

Dawolu Jabari Anderson

Contributing Author





Born 1973 in Houston, Texas, USA, Dawolu Jabari Anderson attended Texas Southern University and The University of Houston and has exhibited his work at the Project Row Houses, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Blaffer Gallery, the University Museum at Texas Southern and presented his first solo exhibition at the Art League Houston in 2005.

Tara Betts

Contributing Author



After winning Guild Complex's Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, Tara published her collection of poems "Can I Hang?" She represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam. In addition to her experiences with page and the stage, Tara Betts teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and continues to teach and encourage literacy by working with arts programs such as Urban Word NYC and DreamYard. In Chicago, she was an influential educator through Young Chicago Authors and the internationally-acclaimed Gallery 37.

Vagabond

Contributing Author



Born in Brooklyn to a Jamaican father and Puerto Rican mother, Vagabond's interest in art led him to become an artist, writer and filmmaker. He studied fine and commercial art at a specialized high school in New York City and went on to study film at the School of Visual Arts. He dropped out of school to work with Spike Lee on Do The Right Thing and has worked in the film industry since then. He's worked in the Puerto Rican independence movement since 1997 and has organized rallies, protests and marches, and created murals, pamphlets and agitprop with the artist collective he helped found, the RICANSTRUCTION Netwerk.

Jelani Wilson

Contributing Author



Jelani Wilson is a fiction writer, father, jujutsuka, nerd of many stripes, and unrepentant pen thief. 

Kalamu ya Salaam

Contributing Author



A poet, author, filmmaker, and teacher from the 9th Ward of New Orleans. A well-known activist and social critic, Salaam has spoken out on a number of racial and human rights issues. For years he did radio shows on WWOZ. Salaam is the co-founder of the NOMMO Literary Society, a weekly workshop for Black writers. He was the editor of The Black Collegian magazine for 13 years (1970-83), and has written for many publications including Negro Digest/Black World, First World, The Black Scholar, Black Books Bulletin, Callaloo, Catalyst, The Journal Of Black Poetry, Nimrod, Coda, Encore, The New Orleans Tribune, Wavelength, The New Orleans Music Magazine, The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

LeVar Burton

Contributing Author



In addition to his performance in Roots, LeVar Burton appeared in several TV movies, including the Emmy Award-nominated Dummy (1979) and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980). But his big reinvention as an actor would come in 1983, when he became host and executive producer of PBS' Reading Rainbow, a show aimed at teaching young children to read. In 1990, Burton was honored for his achievements in television with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (7030 Hollywood Blvd.). In 1995, he earned an NAACP Image Award (outstanding performance in a youth/children's series or special) for his contributions to Reading Rainbow.

Terry Bisson

Contributing Author




He published his first novel in 1981, and has been a working science fiction writer ever since. Politically he was part of the New Left, associated with the John Brown Anti-Klan Ctte and the May19 Communist Organization. Bisson's short fiction has turned up in Playboy, Asimov's, Omni, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Harper's, Socialism & Democracy, Tor.com, The Baffler, Southern Exposure, Infinite Matrix and Flurb.

Dani McClain

Contributing Author




McClain's reporting and commentary on race, gender, policy and politics have appeared in outlets including Slate, Talking Points Memo, Al Jazeera America, Colorlines, Ebony.com and Guernica. She reported on education while on staff at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and covered breaking news for the Miami Herald's metro desk. She played a leading role in campaigns that resulted in civil rights victories, including the withdrawal of more than two dozen corporations from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Contributing Author






The author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake, Dirty River, Bodymap and Consensual Genocide and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice have appeared in the anthologies Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World.

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Contributing Author




Mumia Abu-Jamal is author of many books, including Live From Death Row, Death Blossoms, All Things Censored, and We Want Freedom. He has been living on death row in a Pennsylvania prison since 1982.

Tananarive Due

Contributing Author




Tananarive Due is a former Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College (2012-2014), where she taught screenwriting, creative writing and journalism. She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.

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