Faculty

In 1999 when the VONA founders initiated the idea of multi-genre workshops for writers of color, we saw the need, but could only hope for the outcome. Clearly, writers-of-color are receiving more support and have more presence than we have seen in the past. VONA celebrates these evolutions but also recognizes that our writers still struggle, and many have no access to programs that move them forward.

This year, 2019, we changed our programming to answer some of that need. 

VONA Across the Country is a program that offers one-day or two-day VONA workshops that are low cost, don’t require a writing sample, and are located where writers live.

In celebration of VONA’s 20th anniversary,  some of our  Faculty members are sponsoring a local workshop where they are.  They will contribute their teaching time and sharing their talents as a way of giving to VONA while also serving writers of color experiencing VONA. 

Please take a look at our remarkable VONA Across the Country Faculty!

Kim Euell
KIM EUELL is a playwright, dramaturg and arts educator who is passionately committed to promoting socially relevant new plays. She has headed play development programs at Center Theater Group’s Mark Taper Forum and The Robey Theatre Company where she was the California Arts Council’s Playwright in Residence. Kim teaches playwriting for the VONA/Voices Workshop and at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she is currently the Playwright in Residence.
https://www.umass.edu/theater/euell.php
Jervey Tervalon
JERVEY TERVALON is the author of six books including Understanding This, for which he won the Quality Paper Book Club’s New Voices Award. Born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles, and got his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine. Currently, he is the Executive Director of “Literature for Life,” an educational advocacy organization, and Creative Director of The Pasadena LitFest. His latest novel is Monster’s Chef. He teaches at the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Elmaz Abinader
ELMAZ ABINADER is the co-founder and former Program Director of the VONA/Voices. Her most recent poetry collection, This House, My Bones, was Editor’s Selection for 2014 from Willow Books/Aquarius. Her books include a memoir: Children of the Roojme, A Family’s Journey from Lebanon, a book of poetry, In the Country of My Dreams… which won the Oakland PEN, Josephine Miles Award. Her plays include Ramadan Moon, 32 Mohammeds, and Country of Origin. She is a frequent contributor to Al-Jazeera English. She teaches at Mills College.
Elmazabinader.com
David Mura
DAVID MURA is a writer, memoirist, poet and performance artist. As a third-generation Japanese-American, he’s written about his life as a man of color and the connections between race, sexuality and history. His books include The Last Incantations, After we Lost our Way, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was a New York Times Notable Books of Year and Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto & Mr. Moto: Poetry & Identity.
davidmura.com
Daniel Jose Older
DANIEL JOSE OLDER is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series and the YA novel Shadowshaper and was named a “rising star of the genre,” by Publishers Weekly. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and his short stories and essays have appeared in Salon, BuzzFeed, The New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond.
Ghoststar.net
Kiese Laymon
KIESE LAYMON Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and English at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir. Heavy, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, ESPN the Magazine, and more
kieselaymon.com
Reyna Grande
REYNA GRANDE is an award-winning novelist and memoirist and has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award among other accolades. Her books include Across a Hundred Mountains, Dancing with Butterflies and Distance Between Us, about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States and which will be released as a YA edition in September.
www.reynagrande.com
Faith Adiele
FAITH ADIELE The Original Obama, FAITH ADIELE was raised in the Pacific Northwest by a Nordic-American single mother, came of age in Thailand and traveled to Nigeria at age 26 to find her father and siblings. The PBS documentary My Journey Home documents her trip to Nigeria, while Meeting Faith, her account of becoming Thailand’s first black Buddhist nun, won the PEN Open Book Award for Memoir. She is also the author of The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems, a tricultural e/audio-book about black women and fibroids, and co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology. Named as one of Marie Claire Magazine’s “Five Women to Learn From,” Faith is a core faculty member of VONA/Voices, founder of the VONA Publishing Partnerships Initiative and founding teacher of VONA Travel, the nation’s first and only workshop for travel writers of color. She speaks and teaches around the world, including racialized spaces in Finland, California College of the Arts and Stonecoast Low Residency MFA Program. Visit her at http://adiele.com and@meetingfaith.
John Murillo
Photograph by Marcus Jackson
JOHN MURILLO is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010), a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (forthcoming from Four Way Books 2020). His honors include a Pushcart Prize, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Best American Poetry 2017 and 2019. He is an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
Tananarive Due
TANANARIVE DUE (tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is an award-winning author who teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder's groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. A leading voice in black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, co-authored Freedom in the Family: a Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. She is married to author Steven Barnes, with whom she collaborates on screenplays. They live with their son, Jason, and two cats.
M. Evelina Galang wearing a brown dress and standing in front of microphone looking to the side with right hand extended in front of her
M. Evelina Galang
M. EVELINA GALANG has been named one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the United States and at-large by the Filipina Women’s Network. She is the author of the story collection HER WILD AMERICAN SELF (Coffee House Press), novels ONE TRIBE (New Issues Press), and ANGEL DE LA LUNA AND THE 5TH GLORIOUS MYSTERY (Coffee House Press), and the editor of SCREAMING MONKEYS: CRITIQUES OF ASIAN AMERICAN IMAGES (Coffee House Press). LOLAS’ HOUSE: FILIPINO WOMEN LIVING WITH WAR (Curbstone Books, 2017) is Galang’s creative nonfiction work documenting the testimonies of 16 surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” and their fight for justice. Among her numerous awards are the 2004 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Prize for the Novel, the 2007 Global Filipino Literary Award for ONE TRIBE, the 2004 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Awards Advancing Human Rights, and a 2002 Senior Research Fellowship from Fulbright. Galang directs the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami and is core faculty and board President of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices).
Willie Perdomo
Photo courtesy of NBC News
WILLIE PERDOMO is the author of The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Poets, 2019) The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Poets, 2014), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the International Latino Book Award; Smoking Lovely (Rattapallax, 2004), winner of the PEN Open Book Award, and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (Norton, 1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Poetry, Bomb Magazine, and African Voices. He is currently a Lucas Arts Program Literary Fellow and teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy.