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Samiya Bashir, Executive Director

Samiya Bashir is a prolific poet, artist, writer, performer, educator, and advocate. A long-time communications professional focused on editorial, arts, and social justice movement building, Samiya was a founding organizer and longtime Board member of Fire & Ink, a nonprofit devoted to increasing the understanding, visibility, and awareness of the works of LGBTQ+ writers of African descent and heritage.

Samiya is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Field Theories, winner of the 2018 Oregon Book Award’s Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry. Her first book was published by Third World Press, the oldest independent publisher of Black literature, and she was later one of the first poets to be published by RedBone Press, where publisher Lisa C. Moore has been dedicated to raising the voices of Black LGBTQ+ authors for 25 years. Samiya herself is also a two-time Lambda Literary Awards finalist.

Samiya’s honors include the Rome Prize in Literature, the Pushcart Prize, Oregon’s Arts & Culture Council Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature, and two Michigan’s Hopwood Poetry Awards among numerous other awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies. In addition to her books, Samiya has served as editor to national magazines and anthologies of literature and artwork.

As an Associate Professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Bashir worked to create, employ, and teach—within and without traditional academic setting—a restorative poetics which can acknowledge the despair often bred by isolation and turn it toward a poetics of light and its potential for witness, for healing, and for change.

Bashir lives in Harlem.

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