William Miller directed the creative writing program at George Mason University for more than two-dozen years until his retirement in 2018. During that time, he helped establish the Cheuse Center, the Fall for the Book literary festival, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in creative writing, and Stillhouse Press. Negotiations to bring the Poetry Daily web-based contemporary poetry distribution program to Mason began in his last year in the director’s position. He is the current board president of the Cheuse Center.
Helon Habila is a professor of creative writing at George Mason University. He is the author of the novels Waiting for an Angel (WW Norton), Measuring Time (WW Norton), Oil on Water (WW Norton), and Travelers (WW Norton). He is the editor of The Granta Book of the African Short Story (Granta). His nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria was published by Columbia Global Reports in 2016. Habila is a contributing editor for The Virginia Quarterly Review and a regular book reviewer for the UK Guardian.
Jacki Lyden, a longtime NPR host and correspondent, regards herself first and foremost as a writer and looks for the distinctive human voice everywhere: in decades of making radio pieces, live public interviews, and in print.
She is the author of the national bestseller, Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, which the New York Times called “a memoir classic.” Her new memoir, Tell Me Something Good: A Memoir of Resilience chronicles six decades of resilience and survival through the lens of this past pandemic year. She is the 2021 honoree from the American Psychiatric Assn, which named her Patient Advocate of the Year. In 2017-18, she was a recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.
From 1979 until 2014, Lyden was an award-winning Middle East and foreign correspondent, staff host, and essayist for NPR and still contributes freelance pieces. Her journalism has taken her around the world, including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Northern Ireland. She won The Gracie Award for Best Foreign Documentary (Loss and Its Aftermath: Palestinian and Israeli Children, 2001, NPR) and also, with NPR teams, the DuPont-Columbia, the Polk, and George Foster Peabody Awards for coverage of the First Gulf War, Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War. She has also covered many byways throughout the lower 48 states in America. She created the podcast, “The Seams."
Over the years, Lyden’s articles have appeared in Granta, Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, The New York Times and The Washington Post and other publications.
In recent years she’s established writing workshops in Ireland and the Arizona, the “Colton House Writers Retreat” in Flagstaff, with author Eric Weiner, and in Connemara, Ireland, in 2021 with novelist Alice McDermott. In 2020 she became a board member of the Cheuse International Writing Center at George Mason University. She’s a native, and champion, of Wisconsin and environmental causes. And a Wisconsin voter. She also lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband, Washington Post photojournalist William O’Leary.
As a former Executive Director of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the largest literary centers in the USA, Stewart Moss helped establish creative writing programs for adult immigrants and members of the military being treated for neurological and psychological trauma. Prior to that, he worked as an educator and fundraiser in educational institutions around the country. He has taught literature and creative writing in both the USA and abroad; Scotland, Greece, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Nepal are among the countries in which he has lived and worked. Moss has essays included in Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan, ed. Dario DiBattista (Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press, 2016) and Plume Literary Journal, and poetry in Plume, Goss183, and Origins Literary Review. His chapbook of poems, For Those Whose Lives Have Seen Themselves, is being released in July. He has also been featured in “The Poet and the Poem” podcasts at The Library of Congress. He was educated at Union College (NY) and Harvard University. A native of Boston, MA he resides in Annapolis, MD.
Vivek Narayanan’s books of poems include Universal Beach, Life and Times of Mr S. His new collection is After (NYRB Poets, 2022). A full-length collection of his selected poems in Swedish translation was published by the Stockholm-based Wahlström & Widstrand in 2015.
Narayanan was born in India and raised in Zambia. He earned an MA in cultural anthropology from Stanford University, and an MFA in creative writing from Boston University. He has been a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University (2013-14) and a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library (2015-16). His poems, stories, translations and critical essays have appeared in journals like The Paris Review, Chimurenga Chronic, Granta.com, Poetry Review (UK), Modern Poetry in Translation, Harvard Review, Agni, The Caribbean Review of Books and elsewhere, as well as in anthologies like The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem and The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry. Narayanan is also a member of Poetry Daily’s editorial board. He was the Co-editor of Almost Island, an India-based international literary journal from 2007-2019. He teaches at George Mason University in Virginia.
Kris O’Shee spent four decades as a modern dancer and choreographer, including a decade in London where she co-founded Junction Dance Company and taught at the London Contemporary Dance School. After returning to the US, she taught and performed in the San Francisco Bay Area before taking a position on the dance faculty at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She then moved to Washington, DC with her husband, Alan Cheuse, and founded O’Shee Dances. She continued choreographing and performing until, in the last two decades, she earned a certificate in massage therapy and a graduate degree in psychology. But it was in 2021, when O’Shee published Our Last Blue Moon, a memoir about her marriage to Alan Cheuse and the tragic occurrence of his death in 2015, that she herself turned to writing. She is honored to serve on the board of the Cheuse Center whose mission to the cause of literary diplomacy and support of writers at risk would have been in complete alignment with her husband’s devotion to the writing life. So many times in Cheuse’s thirty years as book critic for NPR’s All Things Considered, listeners heard about writers across the globe they otherwise would never have known! It is O’Shee’s belief that the Cheuse Center is not only a legacy to one of America’s most persistent and beloved literary ambassadors, but also a summons to all who care about the power of the written word, especially in today’s uncertain and turbulent world.
Kris O’Shee currently has a private practice in psychotherapy in DC, where she resides.
Lisa Page is co-editor of We Wear The Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America, (Beacon Press). Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, LitHub Weekly, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, The Crisis, Playboy, the Washington Post Book World and other publications. She is assistant professor of English at the George Washington University and Director of Creative Writing. She previously served as Interim Director of Africana Studies. She is also the former President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and a faculty member of the Yale Writers Workshop.
Susan Shreve is the author of fifteen novels, including More News Tomorrow (2019), You Are the Love of My Life (2012), A Student of Living Things (2006) and a memoir, Warm Springs: Traces of Childhood (2007). She has written thirty books for children published primarily by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic and Knopf. Her latest children’s book The Search for Baby Ruby was published by Arthur A Levine/Scholastic in 2015. Her next book for children is in progress titled The Magician's Quintessential Girl.
She is the co-editor or editor of five anthologies including Dream Me Home Safely for which she was the editor and with Porter Shreve Outside the Law. Tales Out of School and How We Want to Live, and with Marita Golden: Skin Deep, essays on race. She has published several essays in magazines, some collected in anthologies, most recently in Eye of My Heart.
She’s the founder of the Master of Fine Arts Degree at George Mason University where she is a Professor of English and was founding president and later Chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She resigned from the PEN/Faulkner Board in January, 2018.
She is on the Advisory boards of Poets and Writers, Alan Cheuse International Center at George Mason University, 826 DC.
She has received a Guggenheim Award for Fiction and a National Endowment grant for Fiction.
Debra Lattanzi Shutika is a folklorist specializing in critical race, sense of place and Appalachian studies. She received a Ph.D and M.A. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and 1999 respectively, and an M.A. in American Literature from GMU in 1993.
She teaches digital storytelling, Appalachian folklore American and Latino folklore, sense of place, and bodylore. She is author of Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico (2011, University of California Press), winner of the 2012 Chicago Folklore Prize. She is the director of the Mason-Library of Congress Field School for Cultural Documentation. Her current research is an ethnographic study of the National Parks Service Summer in the Parks program in the 1960s.
Eric Weiner is an author, journalist, keynote speaker and writing instructor. His books include the New York Times bestsellers The Geography of Bliss and The Geography of Genius, as well as the critically acclaimed Man Seeks God and, his latest title, The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers.
His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Eric is a former aviation reporter for The New York Times and foreign correspondent for NPR. He is the recipient of several journalism and writing awards, including the Angel Award for coverage of Islamic affairs in Asia and the Borders Original Voices Award.
Eric’s work has also appeared in the New Republic, The Atlantic, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the anthology "Best American Travel Writing." Eric leads several writing workshops each year, including the Himalayan Writers Workshop and, along with fellow author Jacki Lyden, the Colton House Retreat. He lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife, daughter and a menagerie of animals.
Jung Yun was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. She studied at Vassar College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
Her work has appeared in Tin House, The Massachusetts Review, The Indiana Review, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. She is the recipient of individual artist’s grants in fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. She has also received residential fellowships from MacDowell, the Ucross Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the National Humanities Center.
Currently, Jung lives in Baltimore with her husband and is an assistant professor of English at the George Washington University. She serves on the boards of directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University. She also serves as a member of the Creative Council at the Peace Studio.