2021 Authors

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Featured Authors

Lindsey Anne Baker is a writer and editor living in Omaha, Nebraska. She received a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004 and has written and edited for numerous local and national publications; currently she is a copy editor for The Atlantic. In 2015, she received an Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council; her creative work has appeared in Slope, Sugar House Review, Two Serious Ladies, and other journals. Her most recent collection of poetry, This is Bad, was published in a limited run by Gibraltar Editions in 2019.

Erin Belieu was born in Nebraska and is author of five poetry books, all published by Copper Canyon Press, including Black Box, a LA Times Book Prize finalist; Slant Six, named one of the ten best books of 2014 by The New York Times; and her newest, Come Hither Honeycomb. Belieu co-founded VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and teaches at the University of Houston.

Saddiq Dzukogi is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka Press 2021). His chap­book Inside the Flower Room was select­ed by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for APBF New Gen­er­a­tion African Poets Chap­book Series. His poems have appeared or are forth­com­ing in The Cincin­nati Review, Gulf Coast, Keny­on Review, Oxford Poet­ry, Poet­ry Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca, Prairie Schooner and oth­er lit­er­ary jour­nals and mag­a­zines. He is a final­ist of Brunel Inter­na­tion­al African Poet­ry Prize and a recip­i­ent of fel­low­ships and grants from Nebras­ka Arts Coun­cil, Pen Amer­i­ca, Obsid­i­an Foun­da­tion, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln where he is a PhD stu­dent and serves as an Assis­tant Poet­ry edi­tor for Prairie Schooner.

Chris Harding Thornton, a seventh-generation Nebraskan, holds an MFA from the University of Washington and a PhD from the University of Nebraska, where she has taught courses in writing and literature. She has worked as a quality assurance overseer at a condom factory, a jar-lid screwer at a plastics plant, a closer at Burger King, a record store clerk, an all-ages club manager, and a PR writer. Pickard County Atlas is her first novel.

Julie Iromuanya is the author of Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Debut Fiction. A Lincoln-native and graduate of the PhD program at UNL, she is now an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Chicago.

Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma is a Nigerian writer and professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Nebraska. He was hailed by the New York Times as “the heir to Chinua Achebe” and named one of “100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine. Both of his novels–The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities–have been finalists for the Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious annual book awards.

Timothy Schaffert is the author of six novels, most recently The Perfume Thief (Doubleday/Penguin Random House); the Los Angeles Times called the book’s title character “one of the best protagonists of the summer.” His previous novels have been named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, an Oprah.com Book of the Week, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, among other honors. He is the director of the creative writing program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and founded the (downtown) omaha lit fest in 2005.

Readers, Emcee, and Moderators

Jamaica Baldwin (she/her) hails from Santa Cruz, CA by way of Seattle. Her first book, Bone Language, will be published by YesYes Books in 2023. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, Prairie Schooner, World Literature Today, The Adroit Journal and The Missouri Review, among others. She is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, winner of the 2021 RHINO Poetry editor’s prize, and winner of the 2019 San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference Contest in Poetry. Her writing has been supported by Hedgebrook, Furious Flower, and the Jack Straw Writers program. Jamaica is currently pursuing her PhD in English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a focus on poetry and Women and Gender Studies.

Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of tether, Errata, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award, and In the Carnival of Breathing, winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and is an assistant professor in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Photo credit, Miriam Berkley.

Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War, winner of the 2018 Pamet River Prize, release by YesYes Books in Spring 2020. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, Blackbird, and The Rumpus. Her work has been anthologized in the 2019 Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017 she won The Pinch’s Literary Award in Poetry. Currently, she is a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal. She grew up in a small town in central Alabama and has also lived in Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Florida.

Claire Jimenez is a Puerto Rican writer who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. She is the author of the short story collection Staten Island Stories (Johns Hopkins Press, December 2019), which received the 2019 Hornblower Award for a first book from the New York Society Library. Jimenez is a PhD student in English with a concentration in ethnic studies and digital humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She received her MFA from Vanderbilt University. Recently, she was a research fellow at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. In 2020, she was awarded a Mellon Foundation grant from the U.S Latino Digital Humanities Program at the University of Houston. Currently, she is an assistant fiction editor at Prairie Schooner. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in Remezcla, Afro-Hispanic Review, PANK, The Rumpus, el roommate, Eater, District Lit, The Toast and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.

Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, adult fiction and non-fiction, and poetry. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

Gene Kwak has published fiction and nonfiction both in print and online in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Wigleaf, Redivider, Hobart, Electric Literature, and in the flash anthology Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction. He teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Go Home, Ricky! is his debut novel. 

Matt Mason is the State Poet for Nebraska and has run poetry programming for the State Department in Nepal, Romania, Botswana and Belarus. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for his poem “Notes For My Daughter Against Chasing Storms” and his work can be found in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. His books include Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know and The Baby That Ate Cincinnati.

David Phillip Mullins is author of The Brightest Place in the World, a novel, and Greetings from Below, a story collection that won the Mary McCarthy Prize and the International Walter Scott Prize. He received fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, and the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.  He is an associate professor at Creighton University.

Todd Robinson. Emcee of main event. Todd Robinson is the author of Mass for Shut-Ins and has recently published poems in North American Review, The Pinch, I-70 Review, Hummingbird, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He is an assistant professor in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Ted Wheeler is the author of three books, including the novels Kings of Broken Things (2017) and In Our Other Lives (March 2020). A graduate of Creighton’s MFA program, his short fiction is regularly featured in national magazines, and he has participated in literary events from Port Townsend, Wash., to Key West, Fla., to Lisbon, Portugal, and Stuttgart, Germany. He teaches creative writing at UNO and is a bookseller and owner of the Dundee Book Company.

Staff

Drew Justice, Assistant Director. Drew Justice is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Creighton University and co-host of the immensely popular Pageturners Lit Pub Quiz series.  He is a fiction and screenwriter, and his most recent script is currently a semi-finalist for the BlueCat Half-Hour Pilot contest.

Nicole Wheeler, Co-Director. Nicole has served on the boards of Mode Shift Omaha, Yahoo Employee Foundation, Yahoo Women in Tech, and Felius. She works as the Director of Member and Tech Talent Services at the AIM Institute, co-owns Dundee Book Company, and has over a decade of experience in the Omaha business community. She is active in creating a connected Omaha as an advocate for multi-modal transportation issues and human-centered community activities.

Ted Wheeler, Co-Director. Ted is the author of three books, including the novels Kings of Broken Things (2017) and In Our Other Lives (March 2020). A graduate of Creighton’s MFA program, his short fiction is regularly featured in national magazines, and he has participated in literary events from Port Townsend, Wash., to Key West, Fla., to Lisbon, Portugal, and Stuttgart, Germany. He teaches creative writing at UNO and is a bookseller and owner of the Dundee Book Company.