The Writers House Team

Co-Founder & Executive Director

MAGGIE MESSITT is a journalist, editor and social entrepreneur who has spent 20 years working inside under-covered communities in South Africa and the American Midwest. In South Africa, where she lived and worked for eight years, she was the editor/publisher of an award-winning community newspaper and the founding director of a nonprofit training women journalists inside the former apartheid-era homelands of Lebowa and Gazankulu. She is the author of The Rainy Season, a work of narrative and immersion journalism, long listed for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. 

Messitt has edited the work of writers ranging from students to Pulitzer and Orange Prize winners, and managed editorial projects for the BBC, POV Documentary Films, PBS Wisconsin, and others. She has taught writing in newsrooms and conferences, traditional university settings, alternative arts communities, and prison classrooms. She was the 2015 Scholar-in-Residence at Bowers Writers House (Elizabethtown College), 2015 Kenyon Review Peter Taylor Fellow (Kenyon College), 2016 Clayton B. Ofstad Endowed Writer-in-Residence (Truman State University), and the Creative Nonfiction Judge for the 2017 Oregon Literary Fellowships (Literary Arts). 



We’re currently establishing an advisory committee of writers, librarians, and others with the aim of including a balance of team members based in Pittsburgh and across the country with an emphasis on the Rust Belt and Appalachia.

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