Bios

Advocate of Wordz
Advocate of Wordz is an acclaimed Performing Poet, Actor, Comedian, Teacher and Film Director. He is a resident artist with Lincoln Center and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. His work has been written about and featured in many major publications including the LA Times, Fox News, Univision & PBS. He has a published book of poetry entitled Advocate Of Wordz: A book of poetry and other creative nonsense that is imperative to your life, which is available on Amazon.

Bridget Bartolini
Bridget Bartolini is an educator, storyteller, and Founder of the Five Boro Story Project, an initiative that produces community events to showcase stories and art inspired by the neighborhoods of New York City. She produces free, hyper-localized public programs that create opportunities for New Yorkers to connect to our neighborhoods and our neighbors through stories, song, poetry, dance, film, and discussion about the places where we live. The programs aim to strengthen community connections, preserve local history, challenge negative perceptions of the outer boroughs and marginalized areas, and celebrate the diverse neighborhoods of NYC. 

Lorraine Currelley
Lorraine Currelley is a poet, writer, educator, activist and Mental Health Counselor. She is the Founder/Director of Poets Network & Exchange, a positive and supportive space for poets and writers of all levels, where she facilitates poetry and creative writing workshops and produces featured poetry readings, open mics and literary events. Poets Network & Exchange has expanded to include a Scholar Lecture Series. Scholars of various disciplines are invited to lecture and facilitate workshops. She is a 2014 S.P.A.R.C. Residency recipient and a new member of the Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers.

Gary Johnston
Gary Johnston has taught creative writing and read and performed at such places as Columbia University, The Working Theater, New Heritage Theater, White Mask Theater, African Poetry Theater, Hall of Fame Playhouse, Castillo Cultural Center, Brooklyn Underground, Tin Pan Alley, Bronx Museum, I.S. 181, P.S. 41, Phoenix House, and numerous other locations both nationally and in the tri-state area. He has been published in Presstime, Long Journey Home: An Anthology, Something Good II: An Anthology, Eyeball Magazine, Poets On The Line, African Voices, Bum Rush The Page, Let Loose on the World, Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75 and other small press publications.

Rafael Landron
Rafael Landron is a spoken word poet and author. His bilingual children’s book Beba y la isla nena chronicles the social movement of Vieques P.R. through the eyes of a manatee named Beba. Rafael is an adult educator at Boricua College where he finds inspiration and believes that creativity and imagination will end militarism.

MAD About Dance
MAD About Dance is an energetic and multi-ethnic modern dance company known for its varied repertoire, ranging from colorful theatrical pieces to the abstract, uniting classical and contemporary dance in exciting ways. It is dedicated to presenting accessible works focusing on experiences that connect us all. The repertoire is a rich cross-section of works including collaborations with composers, writers and other artists.

Mariposa
Puerto Rican poet and performance artist Mariposa María Teresa Fernández was born and raised in the Bronx. The first in her family to graduate from college, she earned a BA and an MA at New York University. In her poems, which often combine Spanish and English lines, Mariposa explore themes of empowerment, family, and identity. She is the author of Born Bronxeña: Poems on Identity, Love & Survival (2001). Her poetry has been included in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2010, edited by Ilan Stavans), The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States(2010, edited by Miriam Jiménez Roman and Juan Flores), and Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001, edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera).

Maya Nussbaum
Maya Nussbaum has grown Girls Write Now over the last 15 years from a loose association of women writers into a dynamic, volunteer-powered community that has served nearly 5,000 New York City teenage girls; and a nonprofit afterschool program distinguished by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as one of the top 15 in the nation. Recently named one of the Top 40 Feminists under 40 by The Feminist Press, a Local Hero by Metro New York, and an Education Hero by The New York Times, Maya is now working to share a decade and a half of knowledge and experience at Girls Write Now by taking the organization to scale.

Storyteller Thelma Ruffin Thomas
Storyteller Thelma Ruffin Thomas is a retired librarian who worked for The New York Public Library for 33 years and began telling stories professionally over a decade ago. Ms. Thomas is the Artistic Director of the Pearls of Wisdom, member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, The Storytelling Center, Inc.,The Network of Biblical Storytellers, Inc., Black Librarians Caucus, Harlem Arts Alliance and one of the founding members of African Folk Heritage Circle. Thelma is also the recipient of the 2011 ORACLE Award presented to her by the National Storytelling Network for her outstanding dedication and hard work in the storytelling community.

Ernesto Quiñonez
Ernesto Quiñonez’s first novel Bodega Dreams, has become a landmark in contemporary literature. It is required reading in many high schools and colleges around the country and in 2004, it was heralded as a “New Immigrant Classic” by the New York Times. He is first and foremost married to the novel, though he has been known to have flings with screenplays and other Hollywood literary floozies. In 2005, he released his second novel Chango’s Fire.

Peggy Robles-Alvarado
Peggy Robles-Alvarado is a tenured New York City educator and award winning author of Conversations With My Skin and Homenaje A Las Guerreras/ Homage To The Warrior Women. Peggy has been featured on HBO Habla Women, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, as well as other culturally notable venues throughout the tri-state area. She has been published in Letras, a publication by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, Upliftt.com, Dealmas.org and Sofrito For Your Soul. She has also participated in several panel discussions focused on contemporary Latina writers through the Sangre Viva Arts Alliance, Fordham University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Comadres y Compadres Writer’s Conference and The New York City Latina Writers Group.  Peggy is continuously generating and supporting literary events that provide a platform for emerging artists though Robleswrites Productions. In 2013, she co-wrote and co- produced Soledad Speaks: A Theatrical Spoken Word Journey that successfully debuted at The Iati Theater. She also created and produced Women In Creative Rebellion: An Annual Spoken Word Poetry and Networking Event. Peggy also co- produced several installments of Canvas Of Words: A Queens Art and Poetry Festival.  Presently, she is working on The Abuela Stories Project that highlights the essence of Abuelas through photography, poetry, and prose. For more information please visit http://www.robleswrites.com.

Charlie Vázquez
Charlie Vázquez is the Director of the Bronx Writers Center and the author of the novels Buzz and Israel (2004) and Contraband (2010). He co-authored the erotic poetry collection Hustler Rave XXX: Poetry of the Eternal Survivor with the San Juan-based writer and translator David Caleb Acevedo in 2013 and has edited two anthologies of Latino fiction and poetry. He works as a freelance editor for younger and emerging writers and is the NYC coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Festival de la Palabra, an international literary celebration.

DK Wright
Currently the Digital Media Manger at Urban Word NYC, DK Wright has been able to couple his passion for poetry, community and technology all the while providing a platform for the youth. As a poet for 15 years and a youth Mentor / Teaching Artist, DK has worked with all ages helping craft the voice, writing and performance of creative writers. Currently finishing up his last series of poems, DK, has graced the stage with poets such as the Last Poets, Aja Monet and Joshua Bennett.

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