Alia Malek

Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer. She is the author of ACountry Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Livesand editor of Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices. With collaborators the Magnum Foundation and Al Liquidoi, Alia edited and co-conceived EUROPA أوروپا  : An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees, released in Europe and her latest book is The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria. Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. After working in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon, and the West Bank, Malek, who has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. In April 2011, she moved to Damascus, Syria and wrote anonymously for several outlets from inside the country as it began to disintegrate. Her reporting from Syria earned her the Marie Colvin Award in November 2013. She returned to the U.S. in May 2013 for the launch of Al Jazeera America, where she was Senior Writer until October 2015. After her departure, she was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute and in residence at the MacDowell Colony. In November 2016, she was honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities.

Ryan H. Walsh

Ryan H. Walsh is a musician and journalist. His culture writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Vice, and Boston Magazine. He was a finalist for the Missouri School of Journalism’s City and Regional Magazine Award for his feature on Van Morrison’s year in Boston, from which his new, critically acclaimed book, Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968, developed. His rock band Hallelujah the Hills has won praise from Spin magazine and Pitchfork; collaborated on a song with author Jonathan Lethem; and toured the U.S. extensively over their 10-year existence. The band won a Boston Music Award for Best Rock Artist, and Walsh has twice won the award for Best Video Direction. He lives in Boston with his wife, the acclaimed singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler.

Tom Sleigh

Tom Sleigh is the author of ten books of poetry, including Army Cats, winner of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Space Walk which won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Award. In addition, Far Side of the Earth won an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Dreamhouse was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and The Chain was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2018 a book of prose collecting his essays on refugees in the Middle East and Africa, The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing In An Age Of Refugees, was published simultaneously by Graywolf Press as a companion piece to House of Fact, House of Ruin, his latest book of poems. Widely anthologized, his poems and prose appear in The New Yorker, The Village Voice, and other literary magazines, as well as The Best of the Best American Poetry, The Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, and The Pushcart Anthology. He is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA Program at Hunter College and lives in Brooklyn. During the last decade, he has also worked as a journalist in Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Kenya, Iraq, and Libya. 

Joan Silber

Joan Silber is the author of eight books of fiction. The most recent, Improvement, is the winner of the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. and was listed as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, the SeattleTimes, and Kirkus Reviews. Her previous book, Fools, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Other works include The Size of the World, finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, and Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She lives in New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program. 

Wayétu Moore

Wayétu Moore’s debut novel, She Would Be King, will be released by Graywolf Press in September, 2018. Moore is the founder of One Moore Book, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that encourages reading among children of countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures by publishing culturally relevant books that speak to their truths, and by creating bookstores and reading corners that serve their communities. Her first bookstore opened in Monrovia, Liberia in 2015.Her writing can be found in Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus, The Atlantic Magazine and other publications.  She has been featured in The Economist Magazine, NPR, NBC, BET and ABC, among others, for her work in advocacy for diversity in children’s literature. Moore is currently a Margaret Mead Fellow at Columbia University Teachers College, is an Africana Studies lecturer at City University of New York’s John Jay College and lives in Brooklyn, NY.