Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of "The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You", which was published in 2021 and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham "Writer-in-Residence" at the University of Mississippi.
Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. He is the founder of “The Catherine Coleman Literary Arts and Justice Initiative,” a program that aims at getting Mississippi kids and their parents more comfortable reading, writing, revising and sharing. Learn more about Laymon on his social media and website!
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still lives in Jackson, Mississippi. A former teen rapper, she holds a BFA in creative writing from Belhaven University. Learn more about Thomas on her social media and website!
Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York. One of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century, Oates is the author of over 70 books. Learn more about Oates on her social media and MasterClass course linked below.
Houston teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and is co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. Learn more about Houston on her social media and website!
Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. The recipient of a Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Trethewey was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. She has served as Poet Laureate of Mississippi (2012-2016) and as the 19th US Poet Laureate (2012-2014). Other honors include the 2016 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Learn more about Trethewey on her social media and website.
Blanco is a historic presidential inaugural poet, public speaker, teacher and memoirist, he continues to travel the world. The youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to be the inaugural poet, Blanco read “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, at Obama’s inauguration ceremony on January 21, 2013. Learn more about Blanco on his social media and website!