The Writers House Team

Maggie Messitt, Co-Founder

Messitt is a journalist, editor and social entrepreneur who has spent 20 years working inside under-covered communities in South Africa and the...

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). 

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Sheri J. Booker, Advisory Committee Member

Booker is an award winning author, educator, and poet. She is the author of Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home, winner...

Booker is an award winning author, educator, and poet. She is the author of Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home, winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author. She currently teaches Writing and Digital Media at Morgan State University. 

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Adriana E. Ramírez, Advisory Committee Member

Ramírez is a Mexican-Colombian writer, critic, and performance poet based in Pittsburgh. She won the inaugural PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize...

Ramírez is a Mexican-Colombian writer, critic, and performance poet based in Pittsburgh. She won the inaugural PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize in 2015 for her novella-length work of nonfiction,  Dead Boys (Little A, 2016), and in 2016 she was named Critic at Large for the Los Angeles Times Book Section. Her essays and poems have also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of BooksGuernica/PEN AmericaLiterary HubConvolutionHEArtApogee, and on Nerve.com. Once a nationally ranked slam poet, she cofounded the Pittsburgh Poetry Collective and continues to perform on stages around the country. She and novelist Angie Cruz founded Aster(ix) Journal, a literary journal giving voice to the censored and the marginalized. Her debut full-length work of nonfiction, The Violence, is forthcoming from Scribner.

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Purvi Shah, Advisory Committee Member

Shah inspires change as a nonprofit consultant and writer. During the tenth anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a...

Shah inspires change as a nonprofit consultant and writer. During the tenth anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project to highlight Asian American voices and experiences. Her first poetry collection, Terrain Tracks, won the Many Voices Project prize, and her chaplet, Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise, explores women and being. She currently serves as a board member of The Poetry Project in New York. Her favorite art practices are her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter.

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Kristen Millares Young, Advisory Committee Member

Young is a Cuban-American novelist, investigative journalist, and co-founder of Investigate West. She currently freelances from the Pacific...

Young is a Cuban-American novelist, investigative journalist, and co-founder of Investigate West. She currently freelances from the Pacific Northwest for the Washington Post, the Guardian and the New York Times. Kristen was the only non-staffer on the Pulitzer Prize winning team that produced SnowFall: Avalanche at Tunnel Creek for the New York Times. Her personal essays have been anthologized in Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity and Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze, a NYTimes New & Notable. Young was a 2010 multimedia reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and a 2010-2012 GO-MAP Fellow at the University of Washington, where she earned her MFA. Launching in April 2020, her debut novel SUBDUCTION is a lyric retelling of the troubled history of encounter in the Americas. Young is currently the Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House in Seattle.

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