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Cindy Juyoung Ok

Cindy Juyoung Ok teaches creative writing at UC San Diego, recently completed a screenwriting fellowship with the Meta and George Rosenberg Foundation, and has writing out now or soon in The Nation, The Yale Review, Black Warrior Review, The Margins, and Narrative Magazine.

Central Virginia native CJ Grooms is an award winning playwright, screenwriter, and educator. In 2016 her one-act play Necessary Trouble about white supremacy in her Charlottesville community won Best Original Production by the Virginia Theater Association. She received the 2017 Rising Star Award by Virginia Counsel of the Arts. CJ holds a film degree from George Mason University where her thriller feature film PIT garnered the Fall 2020 Best Screenplay Award. This storyteller longs for happy endings and for untold stories to grace the screen. CJ writes episodic and feature film projects and aspires to center black queer joy, adventure, and love in everything they write. @dreamscapecj

Ely Kreimendahl is a Brooklyn-based queer writer, comedian, creative arts therapist and Mom. She’s been featured in Funny or Die, is a contributor for satire publication Humor Darling, and performs stand up in NYC. Ely was a RADAR Lab fellow for queer emerging writers, and their pilot “Magical Thinking” was a semi-finalist in Screencraft’s Comedy TV Pilot Competition. While extremely and painfully pregnant, Ely was a 2021 resident artist at Ars Nova Theater in NYC, where they spent 6 months developing, writing and performing a solo comedy show called “How Does That Make You Feel,” exploring queer pregnancy and motherhood, and navigating being both an artist and a psychotherapist. Ely regularly posts on twitter and Instagram @elykreimendahl, with content about mental health, parenting, sobriety, queerness and existential angst. Ely’s jokes go viral more often than is good for them, to be honest.

Gulet Isse (IG: @blvcktor) is a Somali American writer, actor, and curator. Originally from New Orleans, they are now living in South Central LA.

Three years ago, Gulet co-founded the BXD Collective (@bxdcollective), a curated group of multidisciplinary artists from around the world. Every summer, the Collective puts on an exhibition, featuring various mediums, from film and photography to ceramics.

They graduated from USC this past fall with a double major in Acting & Narrative Studies. Since graduating, they’ve acted in various TV series, films, and music videos, all while developing their own screenplays. When they’re not on set, they’re most likely out on a hike or baking up vegan goodies.

Juniper Johnson (b. Inglewood, CA) is an interdisciplinary artist who marries visual and literary elements to explore the labyrinthine nature of Blackness. While her screenwriting and prose highlight identity, coming of age, and the unconventional comforts of found family; her fine art photography is an unwavering homage to Black American love, culture, and life. She wields a BFA in Creative Writing from Ringling College of Art and Design with minors in Photography, Film Studies, and Art History. In undergrad, she curated her first solo exhibition “The Jubliant Art of Being Black” and became a Women of Color Unite Screenwriting Mentee. Her words can be found in Midnight and Indigo, Neptune Magazine, Fifth Wheel Press, and elsewhere. Her instagram is up the road @junipers.street; to find her Twitter, take a left on @junipers_street.

Leo Aquino is a non-binary queer Filipinx storyteller living in Los Angeles. They write queer romcoms, narrative nonfiction, and poetry. They also created Queer and Trans Wealth, an anti-capitalist personal finance resource for queer and trans folx looking for financial freedom from capitalism.

Lara Ameen is a screenwriter, fiction writer, sensitivity reader, and PhD candidate in Education with a Disability Studies emphasis at Chapman University. She received an MFA in Screenwriting from California State University, Northridge. Her YA Contemporary Fantasy novel was awarded a grant from Suffering the Silence, longlisted in Voyage YA’s First Chapters Contest, and their Book Pitch Contest. A graduate of the Tin House YA Fiction Workshop, Futurescapes Writers’ Workshop and a 2022 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow, her short fiction has been published in Prismatica Magazine, Disabled Voices Anthology, Flash Fiction Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, and just femme & dandy. Twitter/Instagram: @trucherrygirl

Shannon Kelley is a screenwriter who writes comedies about unrequited love, failed idealism, and the lure of nostalgia. Specifically, many of her stories focus on honestly depicting gay people in the American South (although she doesn’t shy away from banjos either).

Shannon recently received her MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University. While there, her script “Unitarians” won Faculty Honors and she received the Alex Sichel Fellowship. In her spare time, Shannon organizes with the New York City Dyke March, which brings dykes from all over the world together each year to celebrate.

Born in Atlanta, GA, she currently lives in Brooklyn. She is tentatively on twitter @shangoskel.

@shannontlkearns (on both insta and twitter)

A former fundamentalist who became the first openly transgender man ordained to the Old Catholic priesthood, Shannon TL Kearns believes in the transformative power of story. As an ordained priest, a playwright, a theologian, and a writer all of his work revolves around making meaning through story. He is the co-founder of, and will soon publish with Eerdmaan’s books.

Shannon is a recipient of the Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowship in 20/21 and he was a Lambda Literary Fellow for 2019 and a Finnovation Fellow for 2019/2020. He is a sought after speaker on transgender issues and religion as well as a skilled facilitator of a variety of workshops.

Vallerie Matos is a writer from Washington Heights, New York. She is an English PhD student at the CUNY Graduate Center with research interests in Sound Studies, Digital Humanities, and Afro-Latinx literature. She is also a Teaching Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Queens & Baruch College. Vallerie holds an MA in literature from Hunter College and a BS from New York University. Prior to CUNY, Vallerie was a Program Director for an arts and social justice youth development program for 5 years.

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