KELLY TSAI is an award-winning writer, performer, filmmaker, and music artist/producer based in Brooklyn. Her memoir-in-progress, The Invisible Word, won the 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (Non-Fiction Literature) and was nominated for the 2019 New York Community Trust Ellen Levine Prize. Her work as a spoken word poet has been featured at over 700 venues worldwide including the White House under Obama, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and multiple times on HBO. She is an alum of Kundiman, Hedgebrook, Callaloo, Cave Canem, and VONA writing workshops and residencies. Her work has been profiled by Forbes, NPR, and other media outlets. Her award-winning short films have screened internationally, and her interdisciplinary performances have been presented in the US and abroad by Brooklyn Museum, New York Live Arts, Ars Nova, Taipei Poetry Festival and more. She is a member of Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and is currently developing her first feature film, which was advanced to second round consideration for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. @kellytsai_nyc, kellytsai.com.
NINA BOUTSIKARIS is the author of the SPD Nonfiction Bestseller I’m Trying to Tell You I’m Sorry: An Intimacy Triptych. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Third Coast, Hobart, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere, and were included among the Notable Essays in Best American Essays 2019 and Best American Essays 2016. Her short essay “Surrender” will be included in Brevity’s forthcoming anthology, The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction (2020). She has taught at The University of Arizona, Eugene Lang College, Catapult, and Gotham Writers Workshop.
LEAH VERNON is a plus-size Hijabi model, social media influencer, public speaker, and freelance writer. She is the authore of Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim. She’s been featured by Buzzfeed, Yahoo, CBC, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and the New York Times, and she’s worked with brands including Adidas, Lululemon, and Universal Standard. She speaks at universities and organizations across the country on topics of intersectional feminism, race, religion and spirituality, cultural sensitivity, social media, and branding. She grew up in Detroit but currently resides in New York City. Connect with her on Instagram (@Lvernon2000) and on her website (Leahvernon.com).