Our inaugural class.
Audrey T. Williams
Audrey grew up on the North Carolina coast and is now living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts and works full-time as a Copy Supervisor for a healthcare advertising agency.
Audrey centers her creative work at the intersection of: Story craft, spiritual practice and self-care, honoring of ancestors, Black feminist research scholarship, as well as liberation and rematriation mindfulness.
A true Virgo, Audrey is grateful to be of service to her communities and actively works to bridge emerging writers to professional development and publication opportunities.
Audrey’s first poetry chapbook, Where I Dream, is available from Alley Cat Bookstore in the Mission District of San Francisco. Learn more: OfChutneyandChitlins.com
Berttila Kithia is a Kenyan author currently based in New York City. She is pursuing a BA in English with a concentration in Professional Writing at Daemen College. She is an alumnus of Storymoja YA writer's workshop. Her poems have been featured at AMKA, a forum for Kenyan women writers. She has also written a children's book series expected to be published in 2021. Her recent poem 'I Can't Breathe' won the Daemen College Apart Together online exposition in the literature category.
Eboni J. Dunbar
Eboni J. DUnbar (She/her) is a queer, black woman who writes queer and black speculative fiction. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner. She received her BA from Macalester College in English and her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She is a VONA Alum, a former associate editor for PodCastle, a managing editor for FIYAH Literary Magazine and a freelance reviewer.
Her work can be found in FIYAH Literary Magazine, Drabblecast, Anathema: Spec from the margins and Nightlight Podcast. She also has a forthcoming novella from Neon Hemlock, coming Fall 2020, which can be pre-ordered from Neon Hemlock’s website.
She will also be leading a session at Voodoonauts Summer Workshop on Publishing Short SFF.
Elaine Musiwa is a fiction writer and long-distance biking enthusiast based in New York City.
Emmalia Harrington (she/her) is a disabled QWOC with a deep love of speculative fiction. When she's not reading or writing, she's often sewing, cooking or managing cats. She's an Associate Editor at Podcastle and an Acquiring Editor at FIYAH. Her work can be found at FIYAH, Glittership, Decoded and other venues. You can find her on Twitter at @EmmaliaWrites
Florence Ofori is a budding writer of fiction, poetry, and sometimes nonfiction. She weaves strings of issues relating to misogyny and minorities into her stories and poems. She recently received an award as a short fiction finalist for the Samira Bawumia Literature Prize and is now working meticulously towards honing her craft and talent. When she is not writing, Florence loves to try out new recipes, binge watch youtube videos, do yoga, watch memes, and stream Netflix. "Time enjoyed is never really wasted," she likes to say.
Jasmine H. Wade
Jasmine H. Wade is a speculative fiction writer in Northern California. Her short stories have appeared in Drunken Boat, TAYO Literary Magazine, The Copperfield Review and others. She is an alumna of the VONA/Voices workshop and Mills College’s MFA program. She won the 2016 Edward P. Jones Short Story Contest and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award for College Writers. She is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at the University of California, Davis, where she studies the intersections between Afrofuturism and Indigenous futurisms. She is also Co-Creative Director of Ancestral Futures, a non-profit organization that uplifts the voices of BIPOC speculative fiction writers.
Katleho Ramafalo is a Masters student from the University of Cape Town specialising in Theories of Justice and Inequality. Her academic career began in 2015 at Rhodes University where she graduated with a BA in Drama and Television Journalism. As a theatre and film scholar, her passion is to tell a utopian story that may or may not be her reality. Her story telling begins with the adaptation of myths, folklore and fairy tales into a contemporary setting, using a feminist lens. As a South African creative, she uses Greek myths to explore that horrors of gender based violence experienced by the women and children of South Africa on a daily basis.
Lysz Flo is a, trilingual spoken word artist, author of fiction and poetry, member of The Estuary Collective, and a podcast host of Creatively Exposed who released her poetry novel Soliloquy of an Ice Queen, March 2020.
Maya Beck is a Cali transplant, lapsed Muslim, covert otaku, part-time hermit, broke blipster, and socially-anxious social justice bard. She is also an alum of writing fellowships and programs by VONA, Kimbilio, Tin House, We Need Diverse Books, The Loft Literary Center, the Givens Foundation, and more. Her writing has been nominated for the Pushcart and the Best of the Net as well as a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and an MRAC Next Step Fund Grant. Born of Bantu people on Kumeyaay land, she is also petmom to a sassy bunny named Blossom and loves Pokemon and Daft Punk.
Mubanga Kalimamukwento is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer from Zambia. Her first novel, The Mourning Bird won the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award 2019. The same year, she won the Kalemba Short Story Prize, was shortlisted for the SyncityNG Anthology and the Bristol Short Story Prize.
She's been published in journals in France, England, Canada, the USA, Zambia, Nigeria and Australia. She has a law degree from Zambia and will graduate from the University of Minnesota's LLM class in 2020. She's a Hubert H. Humphrey (Fulbright) Fellow and a Young African Leadership Initiative Fellow.
Naomi Day is a queer Black woman who enjoys interrogating the strange ways her mixed-race experience has shaped how she moves through the world. She primarily writes short Afro-centric futurist fiction, and her work has appeared in Black Warrior Review and The Seventh Wave. She’s a part of the Clarion West ghost class of 2020/21. She much prefers the nomadic life, finding home in cities from Chicago to London.
Olutola Owolabi is a second year medical student of the University of Ibadan. He reads everything but has been consuming more of fantasy, thrillers, and human psychology lately. He has a knack for 3Dlizing the African culture in his stories which he tried to portray in his just finished Afrofuturistic novel "Doom Around US". When he is not writing or thinking of another story, he can be found devouring programming contents or dancing to some good music!
Patty Nicole Johnson
Patty Nicole Johnson is a Black and Puerto Rican content marketer and science fiction writer. In her Chicago bungalow, she weaponizes time travel, holograms, multiverses and more to envision a more equitable society. Her work can be found at New American Legends and On the Seawall. She primarily writes flash fiction and short stories, yet she’s editing her debut novella, The Rhythm of Reveries. Read her work at pattynjohnson.com, or find her on Twitter @pattynjohnson
Raeshelle Rose is a gamer, a huge nerd for mythology and a lover of bad jokes. Hailing from the scorching parallel universe that is Texas, she writes queer fiction set in fantastical worlds full of mystery and adventure. She is currently working on several short stories along with her debut book, the first installment of a sprawling mystery series filled with magic and court intrigue.
Rutendo is a writer from Zimbabwe and has always been drawn to the fantastical. She graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and Film Studies. She is the 2020 recipient of the Ladies' Literary Club award.
Sean Avery (he/they) is a rapper, poet & teaching artist based in Arizona. Their work integrates rap, poetry, and theater to explore how Black masculinity is projected onto their body. They strive for an authentic performance of self, in hopes that they’ll inspire others to examine their own identities.
Avery has shared stages with Saul Williams, J. Ivy, and Lemon Anderson. Their work’s been featured in Afropunk, Blavity, the Chicago Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and the Tucson Poetry Festival. Currently, Avery teaches throughout the Valley. Their album and play skinnyblk, and all of their work, can be found at superseanavery.com.
Siju Falade is a human rights lawyer/advocate and an aspiring writer who received her B.A. from Cornell University where she concentrated in African Diasporan Literature. Siju is a huge fan of Young Adult Fantasy and Speculative Fiction, and actively seeks out BIPOC stories because representation matters.
Having studied the intersection between law and literature, Siju strongly believes that the “best literature has a way of forcing you into another’s shoes, it demands empathy” in a way that can serve as a catalyst for societal change and justice.
When she’s not reading, writing, or listening to audiobooks, she can be found bingeing K-dramas, eating, or talking to friends for hours. You can read some of her poetry on @thecrownspeaks. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the inaugural Voodoonauts class and looks forward to meeting so many talented black writers.
Tina Jenkins Bell
Tina Jenkins Bell is a published fiction writer, playwright, freelance journalist, literary activist, and academic. Bell’s sci-fi short story, To the Moon and Back was nominated for a 2020 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. Her mini memoir, Devil’s Alley, collaborative hybrid Looking for the Good Boy, Yummy and short story, The Last Supper were anthologized in various publications between 2017 through 2019. A dramatic reading for her play, Cut the Baby in Half, was produced at the Greenline Performing Arts Center in Chicago last year. And currently, Bell anticipates the publication of her novel Mud Pies, which addresses cultural issues as it relates to grief, mental health and redlining the urban out of cities. Currently, Bell has been asked to compile a proposal for an anthology focusing on Gary, Indiana. She is working on her second novel, Family Legacies.
Wangũi wa Kamonji
Wangũi wa Kamonji is called to be a retriever and bearer of indigenous Afrikan lifeways and practices for the regeneration of the continent. This manifests through research using academic and indigenous methods, Afrikan dance and movement practice, storytelling, and facilitating public spaces for critical consciousness and decolonial transformations.
Wangũi centres Afrika, ancestrality and the Earth in her storytelling. This pours forth in the form of short fiction, poetry, song, and non-fiction essays, as well as a recently discovered love for oral storytelling performance.
Her children’s story “The Giraffes of the Desert” appears in the anthology “Story, Story, Story Come”. Her essays have been published on The Elephant, Brainstorm Kenya, and Transitions Network.
She integrates poetry into her non-fiction writing (including her Masters dissertation to trouble knowledge borders) and holds close Micere Githae Mugo’s call to find the songs lying around us and sing them for all to hear. She is based in Ongata Rongai, East Afrika. Find her @_fromtheroots