Conversation on First Books, Diversity, & Inclusivity in Publishing: 2023 In Print Authors plus editor & writer Ira Sukrungruang
Wednesday, March 29th, 7:30 p.m. in the SC Ballroom
Michael Kleber-Diggs (he/him) is a poet, essayist, literary critic, and arts educator. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things (Milkweed Editions, 2021), won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, the 2022 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry, the 2022 Balcones Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2022 Minnesota Book Award. His essay, “On the Complex Flavors of Black Joy,” is included in the anthology There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis, edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman. Michael’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Los Angeles Review of Books, Spillway, Great River Review, Water~Stone Review, Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, Potomac Review, Hunger Mountain, Memorious, and several other journals and anthologies.
Born in Buffalo, New York, to a Thai immigrant mother and an Irish-German-French American father who would claim none of those identities, Jasmine Sawers (they/them) has never been able to shake the hard vowels of a Western New York upbringing, the ghosts haunting the family tree, or the idea that things would be better in a gingerbread house. Since 2014, Sawers has served as Prose Editor for Osedax Press out of Lexington, Kentucky. In 2018, they joined the staff of Fairy Tale Review, and in 2019, they received a Kundiman fellowship in fiction. Their work has appeared in many fine journals including Ploughshares, Fairy Tale Review, and Conium Review, and their debut collection, The Anchored World: Flash Fairytales and Folklore, is forthcoming from Rose Metal Press in Fall 2022.
Prince Shakur (he/him) is a queer, Jamaican-American author, freelance journalist, videomaker, and NY Times recognized organizer. His writings range from op-eds in Teen Vogue to features on the violent impacts of policing and cultural essays that delve into black icons, like Bob Marley or Huey Newton. In 2017, his video series, Two Woke Minds, earned him the Rising Star Grant from GLAAD. As an organizer, he brought Black Lives Matter to his university campus, organised for labor rights in Seattle, disrupted a Bill Clinton speech in 2016, did solidarity work at the US/Mexican border, and organized with Black Queer Intersectional Collective during the height of the George Floyd protests. His work, whether literary, visual, or grassroots, is steeped in his commitment to black liberation, prison abolition, and queer resilience. His debut memoir, When They Tell You To Be Good, was released by Tin House Books in October 2022.
Ira Sukrungruang (he/him) was born in Chicago to Thai immigrants. He is the author of four nonfiction books This Jade World (2021), Buddha’s Dog & Other Meditations (2018), Southside Buddhist (2014) and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy (2010), the short story collection The Melting Season (2016), and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night (2013). With friend Donna Jarrell, he coedited two anthologies that examines the fat experience through a literary lens—What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology (2003) and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology (2005). He serves on the Advisory Board of Machete, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press dedicated to publishing innovative nonfiction by authors who have been historically marginalized. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including The Rumpus, American Poetry Review, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is the president of Sweet: A Literary Confection, a literary nonprofit organization, and is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.