UTV 2019 PARTICIPANT PROFILES

Khaldoon Ahmed

Location: London, UK

Category: Memoir

Bio: I live in London and work as a psychiatrist. I combine my medical career with creative non-fiction filmmaking and occasional writing. At the moment I’m making a film about an abandoned Victorian psychiatric asylum that is being demolished. I just spent an incredibly enriching year living in Mexico City, and return to Under the Volcano for the third time.

Avi Asher-Schapiro

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Category: Journalism

Bio: I am an investigative journalist now based in New York. I’ve done stints at VICE News, Newsweek, and Tribune, covering a wide range of issues, from the Syrian Civil War, to campaign finance, to the way Uber exploits its workforce. My journalism is regularly published in outlets like The Intercept, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Right now, I work as the North America Researcher and Tech Reporter at the Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom and advocacy organization. My work focuses on press freedom issues in North America, with an emphasis on technology, surveillance, and digital threats to reporters around the world, from the Middle East, to Latin America. I am especially interested in how technological change impacts the international journalism ecosystem–for better, and for worse.

Jorge Bello

Location: Mexico City

Category: Journalism

Bio: I grew up in Puerto Vallarta, on the Mexican Pacific, and attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York. I’m a copywriter based in Mexico City and am attending the journalism workshop. Writing and learning are two of my favorite things, so I’m excited to get to do both with such a talented mix of people and in such a magical setting. Some topics of particular interest to me are sustainable urban planning, pre-Columbian American history, and physics.

Kristina Bicher

Location: New York City

Category: Poetry

Bio: I’m thrilled to be back at UTV for my third year in a row to study poetry.  I mostly make poems but also write essays and do interviews and translate Swedish poetry. I received an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence.. 

My full-length poetry collection is slated to be published in the fall of 2019. I look forward to meeting everyone.”

Ariane Blackman

Location: Toronto, Canada

Category: Memoir

Bio Although it has not been my day-to-day profession, I have been writing most of my life – fiction, non-fiction including creative non-fiction and poetry. The hardest writing task has been to complete my mother’s memoir, which I probably started around twelve years old or thereabouts, when she started telling me her stories. At one time, a number of years before she died, I asked if she would like me to show her what I had. No, she said, she would do it herself. It might even be easier if she could dictate it.
I bought her a mini tape recorder – and abdicated my deeply felt responsibility.
As I was going through her belongings, after she died, I found the tape recorder, encased in the original packaging. I still have so many questions I never thought to ask.

I am a co-editor of Juniper, an on-line poetry publication. My poetry chapbook, No One Sleeps, was published by Lyrical Myrical Press in 2013. My latest poetry collection, The River Doesn’t Stop, was published by Aelous House in 2018. My novel, The Unexpected Journeys of Lawrence Tyrone, will be launched in March, 2019, through Ingram and Amazon.

Leslie Boyer

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Category: Manuscript Seminar

Bio: I live north of Tucson, Arizona, in the oldest house on my grandparents’ homestead, where my closest neighbors are saguaro cacti and snakes. I spent 3 decades as an academic pediatrician and toxicologist, mostly treating and studying the effects of scorpion and snake venom on my patients. I published scientific work on venom and antivenom, in various professional journals; and I enjoyed a little notoriety over an obsessive quest to get a Mexican antidote approved by the US FDA. Along the way parts of the story were told in Men’s Journal, National Geographic TV, LA Times, New York Times, All Things Considered, Popular Mechanics and La Jornada (Morelos). Being a subject for other writers was fun; but it has been frustrating never to have told the full story, my own way – a situation I intend to correct in 2019.

Jason Buch

Location: Seattle, Washington

Category: Journalism

Bio:  I spent a decade covering the U.S.-Mexico border for newspapers in the region. In 2018 I left newspapers to pursue a freelance career. The daily grind at small and regional papers left important stories uncovered or under covered. There are stories on the border I’d like to revisit and give more time and attention.

Yvette Cabrera

Location: San Francisco, California

Category: Journalism

Bio: I’m an environmental justice reporter for HuffPost’s enterprise team in San Francisco where I focus on investigations and enterprise stories. I’m proud to be the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and grew up in Southern California where I’ve spent most of my career as a reporter. Prior to joining HuffPost, I worked as an investigative reporter for ThinkProgress in Washington D.C. where last year I published a series on lead contamination. Over the course of my career I’ve followed Orange County’s homeless from the streets to shelters, traveled to Haiti’s tent cities to interview earthquake survivors, reported on the suburbanization of human trafficking in Southern California, and spent a summer in Mexico to report a narrative series on the border killings of women in Ciudad Juárez. I’m grateful to have a career that allows me to follow my curiosity no matter where in the world it leads me.

Don Cellini

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Category: Poetry

Bio:  I am professor emeritus at Adrian (Michigan) College and divide my time in retirement between Toledo, OH and Savannah, GA.   I am a volunteer at Clínica Buen Samaritano in Savannah where I teach ESL and serve as an interpreter for the nurse practitioners.

 I addition, I am a poet and translator.  I have published book-length translations of Mexican poets Elías Nandino, Roxana Elvridge-Thomas, Sergio Téllez-Pon, Rossy Lima and Jair Cortés, as well as Carmen Reverón from Venezuela.  I am the translation editor for The Ofi Press, CDMX.   I believe that words transcend walls, that books transcend borders.

Diego Courchay

Robert L. Breen Fellow/Margot Adler Fellow for Innovative Journalism
Awarded to a working Mexican journalist under the age of 45. 
 

Location: Mexico City

Category: Journalism

Bio:  Soy un periodista mexicano bilingüe, radicado y trabajando en la Ciudad de México tras un periplo como reportero en Nueva York y Miami, una maestría en la Universidad de Columbia, cinco departamentos y al menos quince compañeros de piso. El último año lo he dedicado a cubrir temas migración y cultura, y a escribir un libro sobre el régimen  autoritario de Vichy, en Francia, durante la segunda guerra mundial. Y leer, antes que nada y después de todo. 

 

Gabriela Damián

La Página Dorada
Awarded to a Mexican woman writer under the age of 40 with a book-length work of fiction in progress.


Location:
Mexico City

Category: Fiction

Bio:  I’m Gabriela Damián Miravete and, although I was born in Mexico City, I’m still surprised that on the same day we can have the climate of the four seasons in this valley. I work as a teacher, reader and film and literature journalist. I write essay and narrative, but my great love are stories: I grew up reading anthologies of horror, science fiction and fantasy in which the names of those who wrote were mysterious presences that, when reappearing in another book, made me exclaim: “Hey, I know you!”. When I discovered that several of them were women, I knew that I could also write my own stories, and that I should, driven by that friendly relationship, recover and think collectively on the multiple voice of women and how much we have to tell to the future. I belong to Cúmulo de Tesla, a group in which artists and people of science build bridges between disciplines to discuss knowledge through imagination and creation. I have published in magazines such as Letras Libres, Revista de la Universidad de México o Cine Premiere and in a few anthologies, among them, El silencio de los cuerpos. Relatos sobre feminicidios and Los viajeros. 25 años de ciencia ficción mexicana

Elisa Díaz

Location: Mexico City

Category: Poetry

Bio:  Winner of the Alonso Vidal National Poetry Prize 2017 for her first collection, Principia (Tierra Adentro). With the support of the Fulbright and Goldwater scholarships, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at New York University (2013-2015). Her poems in English have appeared in Poetry International, Tupelo Quarterly and Border Crossing, among others. She won the Poetry International Prize 2016, the second place at the Literal Latté 2015 prize and was selected among the semifinalists of the Tupelo Quarterly Prize 2016. Her poems in Spanish have been published in Tierra Adentro, Este País, Periódico de Poesía, among others, and have been anthologized in Fuego de dos fraguas (Exmolino) and in Voces Nuevas 2017 (Editorial Torremozas). She received the Jóvenes Creadores FONCA fellowship (2015-2016), the Fundación Fundación Para lasLetras Mexicanas fellowship (2016-2017-2018) and is currently the recipient of another Jóvenes Creadores FONCA fellowship (2018-2019).

 

Daniel Escoto

Location: Mexico City

Category: Fiction

Bio:  I am author of Mujer de pieles infinitas (novel, Ediciones B, 2012), and my work has been published in Proporción áurea (short story collection, Libros del Sargento, 2012) and Te guardé una bala (anthology of essays on TV series, Abismos, 2015). have a novel set on 12th century Jerusalem, written with Beca Programa FONCA Jóvenes Creadores 2013-2014. Since 2004, I have worked as scriptwriter and broadcaster for public and cultural radio.

Pasolini’s “Trilogy of Life” films, Bruegel The Elder´s paintings of peasant life in the Renaissance and J. Andrzejewsky ‘s novel The Gates of Paradise (about the disastrous so-called “Childen’s Crusade) are some of the sources of inspiration for my narrative projects.

Maureen Fan

Location: Berkeley, California

Category: Memoir

Bio: Born in San Francisco, raised in Mill Valley, I’m the daughter of immigrant architects who crossed an ocean for grad school, and a measure of freedom from tradition and obligation. After two decades as a newspaper reporter, I’m now researching my grand-father’s legacy, including an estranged aunt who went from Ivy league architect to homeless in Manhattan. This feels harder than any beat I had in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Long Island, New York City, Washington D.C. or Beijing, for the South China Morning Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and the Washington Post. I’m a Knight Fellowship alum, and briefly taught reporting to non-journalists at UC Berkeley Extension. I live with my husband Steve, an investigative reporter at ESPN, and my stepson Will is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

Ann Folwell Stanford

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Category: Poetry

Bio: I have taught at DePaul University for nearly 30 years and am the Vincent DePaul Professor of Literary and Multi-Disciplinary Studies in the School for New Learning.  I have an MA and PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from Warren Wilson Program for Writers.  Along with books on literature & medicine, women, writing & incarceration; and critical articles, I’ve published poetry in JAMA, Michigan Quarterly Review, Borderlands, Southern Poetry Review, Blue Mesa Review, among others, and was nominated in 2002 for a Pushcart Prize.  I spent a glorious month living in Everglades National Park as artist-in-residence in 2016.  I am currently working on a memoir of my mother, an essay of El Salvador, and, of course, poems.  On the board of Chicago’s Guild Literary Complex, I live in Chicago and Sarasota, FL.

Garance Franke-Ruta

Location: Washington, D.C.

Category: Memoir

Bio: Garance Franke-Ruta has been a political reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., for two decades and is currently working on her first book—a memoir about AIDS, activism and coming of age in America. The former editor-in-chief of Yahoo Politics, she has also worked as Yahoo New’s Washington editor, senior editor at The Atlantic, national online politics editor at The Washington Post, and senior editor at The American Prospect. Her reporting and essays have appeared in these publications as well as New York, Medium, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Washington City Paper, Legal Affairs and National Journal. But it is her work before graduating from college in 1997 that brings her now to the Under the Volcano. At the age of 17, Franke-Ruta became one of the youngest members of ACT UP New York, the legendary AIDS activist group. She would go on to be a key member of its Treatment + Data Committee, working to speed the development and release of drugs to treat opportunistic infections. A founding board member of the Treatment Action Group and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, her activism during the late 1980s and early ’90s was featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague and award-winning book by the same name. Franke-Ruta will work at Under the Volcano on her memoir project about those years and her early life growing up in bohemian New York City and an American expat community in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. She has been awarded residencies by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, and the Vermont Studio Center.

CMarie Fuhrman

Grace Paley Fellow
Awarded to a woman writer of any age whose work Grace Paley would have encouraged. 


Location:
Boise, Idaho

Category: Poetry

Bio: An Indigenous daughter of the West, I was born to a Southern Ute mother and spent my early years in Colorado.  Since then, I have lived all along the Rocky Mountain region, but now call the Salmon River Mountains of Idaho home.  Here I have not only found a love of landscape that influences my writing but a connection to the native plant’s animals through he learning Nez Perce. I work for the University of Idaho as Project Coordinator for IKEEP (Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education), a three-year Office of Indian Education grant that provides scholarship and Indigenous pedagogies as well as culturally responsive ways of knowing to a group of nine Native scholars who are studying to become educators of Native youth.  I am also an MFA student at the University, in my final year, and recently accepted the position of associate poetry editor for Transmotion, a journal inspired by the work of Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe).  My writing, both poetry and prose, can be found in High Desert Journal, Cutthroat, Juxtaprose, Whitefish Review, and several others.  I have just finished co-editing Native Voices: An anthology of poetry and conversations, due out in a few months from Tupelo Press, and my chapbook Camped Beneath the Dam will be published by Floodgate in spring of 2020.  

I also speak German and some Yugoslavian!

Qe’ci’yew’yew’

Bridget Galsworthy Estavillo

Location: Tepoztlán / Mexico City

Category: Manuscript Seminar

Bio: Tepoztlán is both my real and my spiritual home and has been for the past twenty-five years, although I have lived in Mexico for almost twice as long.  Everything that has transpired in that time has coalesced to inspire and sustain me in writing my present manuscript: the biographies of five British women in the course of Mexico’s history and their legacies to this country. I feel near to the birth-time.  

Catherine Hamilton

Location: London, England

Category: Fiction

Bio: was born in London in 1991 and have since lived, studied and worked here. I studied English literature at UCL at undergraduate level, specialising in modern poetry. In the third year of my degree I joined arts association Store Projects, which consisted of a group of artists and architects working to build an educational programme, wide-ranging public exhibitions, and a socially engaged design practice. At the time of my joining, Store had taken over a disused building in Bloomsbury; where we gradually built a library, cinema, and exhibition/residency spaces. In 2013, in collaboration with Store, I founded Swimmers, a cross disciplinary – though primarily literary – project consisting of regular events and a series of print pamphlets, combining contemporary literature and original artwork. The series has constituted a conversation between writing and visual practice and with its very limited print run, an exploration in value, exchange and community. Over the years we have hosted and published international writers working across genre, such as Sarah Howe, Chloe Aridjis, Anne Boyer, Kathryn Maris, and Eka Kurniawan. Within this community of writers my own practice has grown and developed – from writing plays and screenplays, to poetry and lyric prose. I have yet to publish any of my creative writing (and have yet to participate any kind of formal workshop!). At UTV, I will be working on part of my current project; a novel in which I explore what it means to be a daughter, in a familial and cultural sense, and which I cannot yet easily categorise. I am interested in the shifting boundaries between literary forms/categories and artistic disciplines.

Chris Hansen-Nelson

Location: New York City

Category: Poetry

Bio: I was born in New Orleans, raised east of East L.A., and started out as a Screenwriting major at Loyola University, L.A.  Two years later, I left for 20 years of acting (theatre, film and television), the last ten years in New York City after my wife, actress Asta Hansen, and I moved east.  We founded and ran The Catskill Actors Theatre, an Equity theatre for ten years.  After selling it, I went back to screenwriting at NYU where my mentor suggested a poetry class.  I snickered a bit.  Ignorance, he said, and I finally waded in.  Remaining classes all were poetry.  Next came a Sarah Lawrence College MFA, where I worked with D. Nurkse, Vijay Seshadri, Stephen Dobyns, etc.  Since then, I worked with Heather McHugh and Jean Valentine.  My first collection,The Book of Clay(Wicked Rufous Press, 2017), was cited by Kirkus Reviews as one of the recent outstanding independent press publications.

I publish under the name C.S. Nelson.

Natalie Hart

Location: London, UK

Category: Fiction

Bio: I am a fiction writer now living in the UK, after several years working in the Middle East and North Africa. My first novel, Pieces of Me, was published in October 2018. I am currently working on my second novel.

Simone Haysom

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Category: Journalism

Bio: I’m a writer attracted to stories where truth is elusive, but also necessary; to small scenes that illuminate big narratives.  The theme my work continually returns to is how we are shaped by place and history. I write nonfiction because I need to brush up against the skin of the world in order to understand it. I work as a researcher for the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, trying to figure out how to stop traders using the internet to sell some of the world’s last wild creatures, and investigating the links between corruption and the illicit trade along the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. I have the privilege of editing memoir, reportage and essays by very fine writers for Prufrock, a South African literary magazine that publishes voices from across the world, in multiple languages. 

Lucero Hernández García

Location: Puebla, México

Category: Journalism

Bio: I was born in Tehuacán, Puebla. I studied a degree in Communication in Puebla, México. In 2018, I got a master’s degree in Communication and Digital Media. I’ve 15 years of experience in journalism between two cities: Guanajuato and Puebla. I currently work at El Popular newspaper, as information chief, so I define topics and coverage of investigative journalism with a group of reporters and correspondents. I’ve also the responsability of the digital area in the company. My interests in journalism are about data journalism and visualization, to understand databases for investigative journalism jobs and get readers interested in them. For me, data journalism and visualization are important to aim for, even in regional journalism. I’m interesed in two topics, because in my city these are serious problems: feminicides and huachicol or stolen gasoline. I like economic journalism too, the rule: follow the money.

About me: I really love the theater and alternative music. One of my favourite writers is Irvine Welsh. I like to buy and learn from journalism books. One of my goals is to work in communication research and social media. I participaded in Verificado 2018 project where different media in Mexico worked against fake news iduring the elections, so I want to continue working on how fake news influences readers.

Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts

Category: Poetry

Bio: I’m currently a senior at Princeton University where I study theoretical physics, applied math, and creative poetry. Although electrons and dark matter occasionally appear in my poems, my recent writing as been inspired by the environment of my childhood, my moms and twin brother, and the legacy of the Manhattan Project. At school, I’m a member of Quipfire! Improv Comedy and I tutor in numerous capacities. After graduation, I will be studying physics at Oxford on a Marshall Scholarship. 

Jimena Jurado

Location: Morelos, México

Category: Poetry

Bio: I have always lived at the forest on the outskirts of Cuernavaca. My parents decided to live in the middle of nature: they were looking for a quiet place for paintwork. My sister instilled in me the first notions of writing. Now, poetry is for me a way of observing and understanding life. I study the creative writing career at Centro Morelense de las Artes and i am a graduate in literary creation at Escuela de escritores Ricardo Garibay. Soon my first book of poems will be published.

My virtual hiding place is The PoemTube (on YouTube).

Nora Kipnis

Location: New York City

Category: Fiction

Bio: I’m a recent graduate of Oberlin College, and currently work as a bookseller and event coordinator at an independent bookstore in NYC. My poetry and essays have appeared in DIAGRAM, Raw Paw, and The Southeast Review, and been mentioned in Best American Essays. I’ve reported for Al Jazeera and local newspapers. 

Recently I’ve felt especially inspired by the work of James Baldwin, Diane Williams, George Saunders, and Nico Walker. I’m so grateful and excited to be a part of this workshop. I want to finish 2 stories in progress, read everyone’s work, and climb a volcano without getting burned. I’m trying to learn Spanish as fast as I can! 

Marilyn Levine

Location: Salem, Massachusetts

Category: Memoir

Bio: I have always written, yet almost never thought about publishing.  Perhaps this is because I was in academia for so long, languishing over my doctoral dissertation (in literature). Or because I left academia to write about dead people, as an obit writer in the gritty South, and then to write about people trying to avoid being dead, as a criminal court reporter.  I also wrote, filmed and produced documentary films, screened internationally.  But then I was lured back to my academic cave to teach writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I’ve had the privilege of mentoring others for the past 18 years.  On leave now, I am collaborating on an opera with a talented composer, and on a memoir that my 27-year-old son, who died two years ago, had proposed writing together.

 

Sergio Lima

Location: Long Beach, California

Category: Poetry

Bio: Being the progeny of a gringa and a chilango (a resident of Mexico City) means I’m half “white” and 100% “Mexican”, which means that sometimes strangers “have to ask”, in either English or Spanish, where I’m “from”, which means that no matter what I say both the stranger and I are often left disappointed and/or confused. This is a big reason why I started writing poems. Though I grew up in the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, I have resided in Long Beach, CA since 2006. Mexico City is the other place I feel at home. For the past eleven years, I have worked as a high school English teacher in Lynwood, CA. A 2018 VONA fellow, I attended Willie Perdomo’s poetry workshop in Berkeley, CA in June. To MFA or not to MFA, that is the question.

Anna Maconochie

Location: London, England

Category: Fiction

Bio: I am a prose writer with many jobs to pay for it. My first book, ‘Only the Visible Can Vanish’ a short story collection, was published in 2016 by Cultured Llama Publishing in the UK. Several of the short stories had been published in different publications such as the Erotic Review, the Bitter Oleander, the Dublin Review, storgy.com and Prole Books. To support myself I do everything from proofread to copyedit to decluttering people’s home to working on set for a film star. I am currently working on my first novel and my first non-fiction book. I was also a long-list judge for the poetry competition Poem to Remember in the UK spring 2018. My obsession in fiction is the contemporary and how we can see ourselves and the way we live now in writing.

Pedro Martín

Location: Mexico City

Category: Poetry

Bio: Even though I was born on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean I have lived my entire life at Mexico City. I have a bachelor’s degree on Hispanic Literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and also a master’s degree in Spanish Literature at the same institution. I work as a teacher of poetry at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. As investigator, I am developing a research of metapoetry on the “Soledades”, the baroque poem written by Luis de Góngora. Last November, I won a national fiction prize with my book of short stories called Cuentos para el fin del mundo, that will be published next year. My first book of poems, El sueño de la luz, is going to be published in a few months too. Currently, I am writting my second book of poems.  

Martha Mega

Location: Mexico City

Category: Poetry

Bio: I have a Theatre and Drama degree with emphasis in Playwrtiting and Stage direction. I released the poetry book Vergüenza (Shame), in 2017, on Mantarraya Ediciones. I love poetry and being on stage, so I’ve spent the last two years performing throughout the country both as a solo spoken-word act and with Literal Sound Machine, a multi-disciplinary collective that incorporates poetry into our audiovisual performances. 


When I’m not performing, singing or dancing salsa, I translate superhero novels.

Casey O’Brien

Margot Adler Journalism Scholar
Awarded to an English-language journalist under 40 whose commitment to contemporary issues would resonate with the life work of Margot Adler.


Location:
Berkeley, California

Category: Journalism

Bio: I am a social impact journalist and freelance writer born in the Bay Area of California and currently living in Berkeley.  I write about equity, the environment, health and culture. I believe stories have the potential to change the world.  I know that Under the Volcano will help me to continue to develop as a writer and I hope to use what I learn there to write stories that need to be told. I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

Martha Pskowski

Location: United States

Category: Journalism

Bio: I am a freelance journalist based in Mexico City. I grew up outside Washington DC and moved to Mexico in 2013. Now in my third year of full-time freelance reporting, my work focuses on environmental politics, immigration and urbanism. In the past year, I have written for outlets including CityLab, The New Republic, and Longreads. Previous to reporting, I had a Fulbright research grant and worked with a Mexican anthropologist. I am a cyclist and runner at high altitude in Mexico City. At Hampshire College in Massachusetts, I studied development and the environment. My portfolio is www.marthapskowski.com.

María Fernanda Reyes Retana

Location: Miami, Florida

Category: Fiction

Bio: I was raised in the very traditional Mexican city of Guadalajara, in a very traditional  fatherless  family. I’m the tenth of eleven brothers and sisters, I went of course to a Catholic all girls school, for  twelve years. Even though the last 25 years of my life I’ve been traveling, and living in five countries, two continents and fifteen houses, I still come back to that part of my history. Even though I learned a long time ago that the world it’s not like my mother told me, I keep coming back to that time in my life.

To write it’s for me an exercise of decoding the soul, which drives my work.

I have a Masters Degree in Humanities and Literature and published two novels in Mexico and in Santiago de Chile, I have contributed in many art magazines, and art catalogs on contemporary art.

Louisa Reynolds Fernández de Lara

Robert L. Breen Fellow

Awarded to a working Mexican journalist under the age of 45.

Location: Mexico City / Guatemala 

Category: Journalism

Bio: Independent journalist based in Guatemala. She is particularly interested in human rights, transitional justice, women’s issues and indigenous people. Louisa reports on Central America for Mexican publications including Proceso, Newsweek en Español and El Heraldo de México, as well as international media outlets such as Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera, The Boston Globe, The Economist Intelligence Unit and Christian Science Monitor, among others. Louisa also works as an editor for a training program for young reporters run by Guatemalan investigative journalism website, Plaza Pública. Previously, she has worked as a regional editor for the Investigative Reporting Initiative in the Americas, a project supported by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). In 2013, she won the Gold Standard Award for an article on female entrepreneurs published by Estrategia & Negocios. Louisa was an International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) journalism fellow in 2014-2015 and a World Press Institute Fellow in 2017.

Montserrat Rodríguez Ruelas

Beca La Güera Trigos
Awarded to a Mexican woman writer under the age of 45 who resides in any state of the Republic.


Location:
Tijuana, Mexico

Category: Fiction

Bio: I live in Tijuana, a city that shares the border with San Diego. I call myself a transborder person: I grew up experiencing “La línea” and I support migratory flows. I’m an elementary school teacher with a Master’s Degree in education. I’m also a writer, a reader and a feminist. I don’t believe in The Muses as a source of inspiration, I think that writing means discipline and patience. I do it because is a big part of my identity: I write to feel less afraid.

Alberto Salazar

Location: Mexico City

Category: Fiction


Bio:
Estudio creación literaria. Como creador, me interesa la literatura que rompa con el canon, que experimente en contenido y forma para mostrar las contradicciones, los matices y las ambigüedades por medio de un lenguaje poético, es decir, singularizado y lejano al habitual. Considero que esto puede problematizar aquello que se da por hecho, que no se cuestiona ni se discute, para que, al sentirlo, no sólo lo vivamos, sino que se convierta en materia de reflexión.

Red Samaniego

Sandra Cisneros Fellow

Awarded to a Latinx writer of outstanding literary promise and leadership ability.

Location:
St. Louis, Missouri

Category: Fiction

Bio: I’m a fiction writer living in incandescent time. I’m a student in the MFA program at Washington University in St. Louis; an intern at Dorothy, a publishing project; and the founder of MFA App Review, a community building initiative for QTPOC writers that increases access to fully funded MFA programs. I write to end the border.  

Micaela Sánchez

Location: Tepoztlán, Mexico

Category: Poetry

Bio: I studied Hispanic literature at UNAM from 2007 to 2010. Poetry and fiction are my Escila and Caribdis. I participated in Casa Octavia, a writing residency with Sylvia Aguilar Zeleny at el Paso, Texas. I was published with two poems at the UTV anthology and I am currently in the search for publishing a series of microfictions on feminism. I participate in a literature workshop weekly. I work and live in Tepoztlán, Morelos. Arrieros somos y en el camino andamos.

 

Shakthi Shrima

Location: Berkeley, California

Category: Poetry

Bio: I’m a student at Princeton University studying philosophy, classics, and logic. My work appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2018, Muzzle Magazine, VINYL, The Berkeley Poetry Review, The Columbia Poetry Review, The Adroit Journal, DIALOGIST, and BOAAT, amongst others. A lot of my recent poetic work explores the ways in which bodies can become foreign to themselves when they desire or are desired. When I’m not writing or being incredibly type-A, I sing and drink tea, which are quite honestly also very type-A things to do.

Melissa R. Sipin

Location: Carson, California

Category: Fiction

Bio: I am a writer from Carson, California, but now live in the SF Bay Area (USA). My work is in LitHubSalonBlack Warrior ReviewPrairie Schooner, Guernica Magazine, and Slice Literary Magazine, among others. As cofounder of TAYO Literary Magazine, I partnered with CUNY’s The Feminist Press to help establish the Louise Meriwether Debut Book Prize, the first book contest dedicated to Women of Color/Nonbinary of Color writers. Raised by two adoptive mothers—my paternal great-grandmother and paternal grandmother—I am hard at work on a novel inspired by my great-grandmother’s capture in WWII Philippines, and subsequently the birth of my grandmother in a war garrison, tying together the consequences of intergenerational trauma but also the great resilience taught to me by my two mothers.

Erin Soros

Location:  Toronto, Canada

Category: Fiction

Bio: I am enrolled in Sabina Murray’s fiction master class to work on a novel that builds from the oral history of loggers in the 1930s and 40s on BC’s West Coast.  I write fiction from oral history and have interviewed members of my family for this project—my father grew up in a logging camp and his whole family worked in the industry.  Beyond fiction, I also write lyric essays and hybrid academic projects that weave narrative, psychoanalysis and philosophy.  I read more poetry that I do any other genre.  Before pursuing graduate school I worked for a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside—as a rape crisis counselor and then as a coordinator of literacy programs.  I moved to New York to complete an MFA at Columbia University then to the UK to complete a PhD at the University of East Anglia.  I returned to Canada to accept a position as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto where I have taught creative writing, literature and psychoanalysis, and literature and human rights.  With my current projects and my community commitments, I am particularly interested in the bonds between Indigenous studies, Black studies and Mad studies:  how these fields speak with each other and how they enable us to imagine and create collective liberation.  I aim to draw from my own tradition of Jewish ethics as well as from Indigenous law to help redress my nation’s atrocities and understand what it means to live in right relation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples—and with animals and plant life, the land, the ocean, the air. I spend my summers where I grew up as a child, in the BC mountains, where we have bear traffic.  

J.J. Stranko

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Category: Manuscript Seminar

Bio: Recovering management consultant and corporate crisis communications counselor (points for alliteration?) I am embarking on a sabbatical from business life to explore investigative writing on Silicon Valley companies and their misadventures outside of the United States. I am currently working on a nonfiction book exploring how tech companies brushed aside local opposition or laws in eight different countries over the last decade, sowing seeds for the global (and U.S.) backlash we see today. Beyond this, I am researching social media’s role in growing misinformation campaigns along with its role in destructive “social engineering” cyber attacks. If I’m not doing that, I’m probably traveling or catching up on Latin American or Spanish politics. So please, háblame en castellano / fala comigo em português / parlem en català / conversiamo in italiano / et desolé pour mon français. 

Gobi Stromberg

Location: Cuernavaca, México

Category: Manuscript Seminar

Bio: Born in Seattle, Washington, I grew up in Mexico. Since the 50s, I have lived in Cuernavaca, coming and going between Berkeley, California -where I got a Ph.D. in anthropology- and New York, where I lived as a wife and mother for 10 years and worked for the Mexican Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I moved back to Cuernavaca in 1994, after the separation from my then-husband, with my daughter, Aurora Ixchel. After a long involvement in various spheres of academia and government projects in anthropology and the arts, I am now devoted to writing, which in the past has been more academic and about the arts of Mexico; and was published as books, essays and in the press.  My fiction writing has been primarily in Spanish and published in Mexico.

 

Now, at UTV, I am participating in the Manuscript Seminar, on a book (in English) that traces the impact of my family’s exile from Seattle during the McCarthy period and explores my close relationship to the country that adopted and captivated me, informed and deepened through my studies in anthropology. Exploring the double-bound life between the two countries  –Mexico and the United States, the book deals with my personal experience of exile and migration, identity, and the bonds that tie me to the country of my adoption.

Lázaro Tello

Location: México City

Category: Poetry

Bio: I was born in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, in 1986, but I have lived most of my life in Mexico City. I studied Creative Writing at the Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM, its acronym in Spanish). My passions and interests are literary research and poetic creation. I try to spend my time between verse writing and academic work, along the lines of my most admired Dámaso Alonso and José María Micó. My genres of choice are poetry and literary essay, the first one because of metaphor supremacy, the other because of argumentative fluidity. I’m an avid reader of poetry of the Spanish Golden Age and of poetry of the 20th century. I love chess, coffee and of course mezcal.

Keila Vall de la Ville

Location: Venezuela / New York City

Category: Fiction

Bio: I’m a Venezuelan author based in NYC. My novel Los días animales (2016) received the International Latino Book Awards for Best Novel 2018. I have also published the short stories books Ana no duerme (2008), finalist as Best Fiction Book in Concurso de Cuentos Monte Ávila Editores 2007; Ana no duerme y otros cuentos (2016); and the poetry book Viaje legado (2016). As editor, I’ve compiled the American bilingual anthology Entre el aliento y el precipicio. Poéticas sobre la belleza / Between the Breath and the Abyss. Poetics on Beauty, that will see the light in 2019 in Spain. I have also edited 102 Poetas en Jamming (2014) and I’m co-founder of the collective readings “Jamming Poético” (Caracas, Miami, Bogotá, NYC). I work as columnist and collaborator in Venezuelan and US publications. BA in Anthropology (Universidad Central de Venezuela), MA in Political Science (Universidad Simón Bolívar), MFA in Creative Writing (NYU), and MA in Hispanic Cultural Studies (Columbia University).

Carina del Valle Schorske

Location: New York, New York / San Juan, Puerto Rico

Category: Poetry

Bio: I’m a diasporican poet & translator, editor & essayist, scholar-in-training & amateur dancer. I write poems about matrilineal magic, disappointing landscapes, and the political potential of narcissism. I’m the happy recipient of poetry fellowships from CantoMundo, the MacDowell Colony (2014 & 2017), and Bread Loaf. I also love spending time inside the words of others: I won Gulf Coast’s 2016 Prize in Translation and a fellowship from the BANFF Centre for Literary Translation for my translations of the Puerto Rican poet Marigloria Palma. I’m active in the Puerto Rican literary community, collaborating with Raquel Salas Rivera, Ricardo Maldonado, and Erica Mena on an anthology of contemporary Puerto Rican poetry to raise funds for hurricane relief entitled Puerto Rico en mi corazón. Recently I’ve been cheating on poetry with prose, and my critical and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lit Hub, and the New Yorker online, and elsewhere, always elsewhere. Right now, I’m on leave from my doctoral program at Columbia to write my first book, a psychogeography of Puerto Rican culture, forthcoming from Riverhead and tentatively titled No es nada: Notes from the Other Island.

María Vinós

Location: Tepoztlán, México

Category: Memoir

Bio: I’m a translator by profession and have worked for the past five years on a very demanding project which is now close to being finished (a new version into Spanish of Under the Volcano, the novel).  I was born in Mexico City, but lived for some periods in California and Europe. I am a long time resident of Tepoztlán, where I raised two children now in their twenties. I am married to Pilipino sculptor Eduardo Olbés. I write poetry and essays but have so far published very little. I am working on a book about muy grandmother, Elena (1907-1980), who was a young poet before the Civil War in Spain and later exiled to Mexico.

John David Werner

Location: New York City

Category: Memoir

Bio: Graduate of Town School for Boys, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Yale College and Brooklyn Law School. UTV 2015 participant (Memoir). UTV Board member since 2013. Translator and editor at the United Nations since 2006. Theater enthusiast and world traveler. Former resident of Paris (Vème) (1983-1991). New York resident since 1994 (minus the year prior to 9/11 spent in Los Angeles, clerking for a federal district judge). Believes in the importance of integrity, authenticity, kindness and introspection. Also believes that words matter (as do chapulines). 

Tracy Yu

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Category: Fiction

Bio: I am a 4th-year undergraduate at Northwestern University, studying journalism, political science and legal studies. I am a lifelong admirer of language, who is eager to discover more, more and evermore about my craft. In the past, I have written for a D.C. think tank, a nonprofit servicing immigrant and refugee rights, a public relations agency, and a host of spirited entrepreneurs. I am passionate about media, politics and good conversation!

UTV 2019 INTERNS

Joana Medellin Herrero

Location: Mexico City

Category: Poetry

Bio: Poet, land rights activist and feminist. Founder and active member of feminist collective, Hilanderas. She has two published volumes of poetry in print, Mi Rubik, edited by Ed. Verso Destierro and the self-edited, Recetas para vivir en el Incendio. She studied linguistics at the National School of Anthropology & History, ENAH as well as film critique at CCC, the Center of Cinematography Studies. She is the founder of the Literary Creation program at the Mexican School of Writers, where she also studied. She is published on various online media, including Círculo de PoesíaPeriódico de Poesía de la UNAMPoetas del Siglo XXILado B; among other presses, such as the anthology Introducción al lenguaje de los Astronautas, published by (H)onda nómada Ediciones and Poetas Parricidas (generación entre siglos) edited by Cuadrivio. 

Yhair Mendoza

Location: Cuernavaca, Mexico

Category: Journalism

Bio: I’m from Taxco de Alarcón, Guerrero, México, but im currently studying Intercultural Management and Comunication at the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, in Cuernavaca.  Im interested in the topics of biology, rituals and traditional celebrations of mexican communities.

Edna Carolina Nava Plascencia

Location: Cuernavaca, Mexico

Category: Journalism

Bio: I studied Intercultural Communication and Management at UAEM in Morelos. I am part of a group of young people called “El Nido”, dedicated to organizing workshops for boys and girls on the theme of the international day of the girl. In March of 2018 I was invited to participate in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at the United Nations headquarters in NY.

Liliana López Bocanegra

Location: Tepoztán, México

Category: Poetry

Bio: Born in the Pueblo Mágico of Tepoztlán but grew up in the chaos of Mexico City. She has a Bachelor’s Degreein Ethnology from the ENAH (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia), and is also an active defender of earth and women rights. She is and Intern in spanish poetry in the UTV 2019 Program.

© 2019 Under the Volcano International. 
All rights reserved