Erin Wakeland is a multidisciplinary artist focused in social practice, painting, and fiber work. She often uses recycled materials and has retained the description “thrifty, scrappy, and imaginative.” Erin is currently renovating a house in Detroit. Her BFA thesis was published by Ann Arbor District Library and is available for purchase IRL or pursue online.
Cody Walker teaches English and directs the Undergraduate Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He’s the author of two full-length poetry collections: The Self-Styled No-Child (Waywiser, 2016) and Shuffle and Breakdown (Waywiser, 2008). He’s also the author of The Trumpiad, a 2017 chapbook that doubled as an ACLU fundraiser. His awards include the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry from Shenandoah, the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize from Hunger Mountain, and residency fellowships from the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the Amy Clampitt Fund, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. A longtime writer-in-residence in Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program, he was elected Seattle Poet Populist in 2007. His work appears in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, The Yale Review, and The Best American Poetry (2015 and 2007). He’s the director of the Bear River Writers’ Conference and the co-editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan, 2013). He lives in Ann Arbor with the fiction writer Polly Rosenwaike and their two daughters.
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a journalist, poet, artist, essayist, and activist focused on issues of Asian America, race, justice, and the arts. Her writing has appeared at PBS NewsHour, NBC AsianAmerica, The Emancipator, PRI GlobalNation, AngryAsianMan, Cha Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, and Drunken Boat. She teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at University of Michigan and creative writing at Washtenaw Community College. She co-created multimedia artwork for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. She has written three chapbooks and a new book of poetry, “You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids,” at Wayne State University Press.
Michelle Webster-Hein is a graduate of Vermont College’s MFA program and the author of the Michigan-based novel Out of Esau from Counterpoint Press. Her work has been recognized in the Best American series, nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and published in Lit Hub, Modern Farmer, River Teeth, and Hunger Mountain, among other places. She lives on a homestead in rural Michigan with her husband and children.
Sarah Weeks has written and published more than 60 books and novels for young readers including the best selling novels, Pie, Save Me a Seat, and So B. It, now a feature film. Her most recent title Soof, is the companion book to her novel So B. It. In addition to writing, Sarah has served as a faculty member in the prestigious Writing Program at the New School in New York City as well as at Columbia University's Teachers College under the auspices of Lucy Calkins. Each year Sarah visits, both virtually and in-person with thousands of students in grades k-8. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she now resides in Jeffersonville, NY. She has two grown sons, Gabriel and Nathanial and is married to Jim Fyfe, a high school history teacher and presentation coach.
Ari Weinzweig moved to Ann Arbor from his hometown of Chicago to attend the University of Michigan. After graduating, he went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Ari and Paul Saginaw started Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982 with a bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of specialty foods and a short sandwich menu. Since then, Ari and Paul have built Zingerman’s into an Ann Arbor institution with over 500,000 visitors every year and a staff of 500+. In April of 1995, Ari and Paul received the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award for their community contributions. In 2007, the two were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry.
Ari has served on several boards including The Ark, and president of The American Cheese Society. He is a frequent guest speaker in business classes and food conferences from University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University to American Institute of Wine and Food.
Carey F. Whitepigeon
Carey F. Whitepigeon is a member of a Potawatomi tribe, one of the Three Fires of the Anishinaabe. A lifelong resident of the state of Michigan, she lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, three children, and two cats. She holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Carey’s career has included marketing, market research, business consulting, project management, and non-profit management. Her professional travels have given Carey the opportunity to meet and work with amazing people in countries around the world, for which she is grateful. As a reader and writer, Carey's first love has been science fiction and fantasy ever since she read Tolkien’s The Hobbit in second grade. In addition to reading, Carey enjoys travel, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her family.
Claudia Whitsitt began creating stories when she was very little, and once in the 5th grade, she spent hours recording them in longhand on looseleaf paper. When she wasn't writing, she was reading. Claudia grew up to be a teacher and mother, but after raising her children, went back to writing. She is proud to be an author of both children's and adult novels.
In addition to writing the award-winning historical fiction Kids Like You Series, Claudia has also authored The Wrong Guy, loosely based on the Michigan Murders of the late sixties. She is the author of the Samantha Series as well, including Identity Issues, Intimacy Issues, Internal Issues, and Inherited Issues. Recently, she has released three books in her new Love and Loss Series, Black Ice, Lake Fog, and Lingering Clouds. This series is unique in that the characters in each book are different, and the series focuses on the themes of love and loss.
Heidi Woodward Sheffield
Heidi Woodward Sheffield's debut book Brick by Brick received the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Illustration and was chosen by the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Her other books include Are Your Stars Like My Stars? (Sterling Publishing, written by Leslie Helakoski) and Ice Cream Face (Penguin), and Good Night, Little Man (HarperCollins, written by Daniel Bernstrom). Heidi has received numerous awards from The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and her artwork has been included in several exhibitions. Her graphic designs and illustrations for The Ann Arbor District Library have garnered awards from the American Library Association. Her vibrant collages feature unusual textures like cork, Mexican embroidery and Irish lace. On any given day, she can be seen taking photographs that inspire her stories and collages. In addition to creating children's books, Heidi enjoys speaking at conferences, libraries and schools.
Simone Yehuda is a bilingual (French is her first language) screenwriter who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, historian Barry Michael Shapiro. Simone’s father was a German Jewish Holocaust survivor escaping from Hitler who met her mother, a French Catholic whose own mother was a leader of the French Resistance. She began as a poet (2 books published: THAW and LIFTING WATER, and a third poetry collection, PIECES OF THUNDER). She has served as Founding Editor for ECLIPSE MAGAZINE and Poetry Editor at BRIDGES JOURNAL.
Her BA is from Bennington College. As a graduate student at Columbia University, she played flute with a NY Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Mass Transit Dance Company. She’s also a multi-produced playwright (including a mystery, WILLING, Off Broadway). She has served as Playwright in Residence at Detroit’s Attic Theater. She later earned a Master’s in Screenwriting at Screenwriting U and became a Top Tier Screenwriter at Roadmap Writers. Professor Emeritus at Siena Heights University, she’s now a full-time screenwriter. Some of her screenplays – JERUSALEM ROAD, THE NEW EVE, and LOVE AND HOMICIDE – focus on the reconciliation of opposites divided by cultural and identity barriers.
Thomas Zimmerman is a poet, teacher, and editor. Tom teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits The Huron River Review, The Big Windows Review, and the WCC Poetry Club at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, MI.