Rachel E. Bailey was born and raised in New York City, and currently lives in New York State’s gorgeous Hudson Valley. Rachel has been a freelance everything, from copywriter to article writer. She’s also worked in various retail and office jobs that have tried to, but haven’t quite, sucked the soul out of her.
Rachel’s earned a bachelor’s of fine arts in advertising, with a focus on copywriting, and is in the process of earning a second bachelor’s in English, with a minor in creative writing. She’s been published in Words 57, The Finger, The Stonesthrow Review, on Yahoo!Voices, and Amative Magazine, Writing.com 2014 Anthology, the anthology My Favorite Apocalypse, and has had two short plays—The Big Opening and Messenger—performed for stage and screen, respectively. Her first novel, Dyre: By Moon’s Light, comes out in January of 2016.
Jennifer Dowdell, writing under the pseudonym Nikki Baker (born 1962), is an American mystery novelist. Her character Virginia Kelly is the first African-American detective to appear in lesbian fiction. Dowdell, who is herself African-American, received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and took an MBA in economics and finance, and worked briefly as an engineer before turning to the financial services industry. Her mystery novels feature a young, black, lesbian financial analyst who lives and works in Chicago. She has also written two anthologized novellas. Baker’s work has been published by such outlets as Naiad Press, Bella Books, and Third Side Press.
LaSHONDA KATRICE BARNETTwas born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1974, and grew up in Park Forest, Illinois. She is the author of the award-wining debut novel JAM ON THE VINE(Grove 2015; paperback 2/2016) and a story collection (1999). Designated a Stonewall Honor Award by the American Library Association (2016), Jam was an Editor’s Choice pick at the Chicago Tribune; won ElIe Magazine‘s Belle Lettres 2015 Reader’s Prize and earned Barnett the Emerging Writers Award at the 2015 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. The novel was shortlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize and is a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Barnett has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the College Language Association. She has held residences at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts-Martha’s Vineyard, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, where she was a Tennessee Williams Fellow, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Her short fiction has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Guernica Magazine, Callaloo, New Orleans Review, SN Review, Juked, C4: Chamber Quarterly Literary Review, Gemini Magazine and elsewhere. She was twice-nominated for the 2015 Pushcart prize.
A lover and scholar of music of the African diaspora and an avid interviewer, Barnett has conducted over one hundred interviews with women musicians and edited the volumes, I GOT THUNDER: Black Women Songwriters On Their Craft (2007) and SOUNDING OFF: Conversations With African American and Brazilian Women Musicians (forth, University of North Texas Press). She has hosted her own jazz radio program on WBAI (99.5 FM, NYC); taught ‘Women in Jazz’ at New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center; and lectured on the music nationally and internationally. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Sarah Lawrence College and the College of William and Mary, where she received a B.A.; M.A. in Women’s History and the Ph.D. in American Studies, respectively. Barnett has held visiting professorships (in a range of academic disciplines, including African American Studies, history, literature and Women’s and Gender Studies) at Northwestern University; Brown University; Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies; Sarah Lawrence College; and Hunter College. For the 2018/19 academic year, she was a visiting lecturer in the history department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
LaShonda Katrice Barnett is an American author, radio host, teacher, lecturer. Her fiction, music books and plays are known for their themes about the African diaspora and race. She has a collection of short stories, three music books, a trilogy of full-length plays. Her 2015 debut novel Jam! On the Vine, drew attention to the author and scholar. In 2014, Barnett’s short stories were featured in The Chicago Tribune, Gemini Magazine and Guernica Magazine. She’s been nominated twice for the 2015 Pushcart Prize.
LaShonda Katrice Barnett was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1974. She grew up on Park Forest, Illinois. Barnett has identified herself as a lesbian and often writes with same-sex female characters in mind in her short stories, plays and her first novel Jam! On the Vine. She’s held residencies at the Noepe Center for Literary Arts-Martha’s Vineyard, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center. She’s been a Tennessee Williams Fellow and received a Standards Best Small Press Book Award for her short stories collection “Callalou & Other Lesbian Love Tales” in 2007.
Barnett has a love for music, as evidenced with her jazz program for WBAI (99.5 FM, NYC). She hosted a jazz show. In 2007, Barnett interviewed female musicians about the African diaspora and edited “I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters On Their Craft and “Off The Record: Conversations With African American & Brazilian Women Musicians” in 2015. Barnett lectured on women in jazz at the Lincoln Center and in on jazz as a whole in several countries.
Barnett taught at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College on history and literature.
Barnett received her B.A. from the University of Missouri, a M.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph. D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. She earned a B.A. in Women’s History from the University of Missouri and an M.A. in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College. Barnett received grants for her work from National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the College Language Association.
Barnett lives in upper west side Manhattan as a full-time writer.
Kalynn Bayron is an author and classically trained vocalist. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. When she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.
S. Renée Bess is a Philadelphia bred former high school teacher, who has been writing fiction, in one form or another, for many years. Her short stores have been published in the “Labyrinth Newspaper”, Piece of My Heart, A Lesbian of Colour Anthology, and Ma-Ka Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writings by Queers of African Descent. She is thrilled to have had the opportunity to publish her novels. Renée is dedicated to crafting well-written books about diverse characters, as well as telling stories that explore personal and societal issues.
“It’s important for us to tell our own stories because we need to affirm our right to exist in the world and in the body of lesbian and gay literature…many times we are not only invisible to the non-black gay and lesbian community. We are invisible to each other.”
As a writer, I’m the author of three books for adults: two collections of short stories and a volume of poetry. My short stories have been widely anthologized, and some of my writing has appeared in textbooks. More recently, I’ve written two children’s picture books. I’m also a parent, a Quaker, was an adoption worker for many years, and currently live in Delaware County, PA, just outside Philadelphia. I enjoy visiting schools to share about my books.
As a reader, I got my first library card at age seven, and I still approach books in much the same way that I did as a kid. I go to the library a lot. I pick out books on the shelf by the author, or the topic, or– yes, often, the cover. Usually I skip the jacket copy because I don’t want the story spoiled– I want to make up my own mind about the book. And though I’ve read plenty of adult books in my lifetime, I mostly read children’s books these days– probably because that’s also what I’m writing these days. I’m especially interested in books by other African American writers and with African American, black, or biracial kids as characters. I read lots of picture books. Few things are better than having a bag full of picture books to savor, one a night, before going to sleep.
A 30 something married lesbian, proud middle eastern woman of color, carb connoisseur, lover of animals, sarcasm, and traveling. I love stories. I love to read them, share them, and once in a while, write them. I’m not a writer by trade, just ambition. I grew up watching Wonder Woman and have wanted to be a super hero since.
Laurinda D. Brown uses her writing to tell universal stories that apply to all cross-sections of society. A graduate of Howard University, she writes about life, not lifestyles. She currently resides in the Atlanta metro area with her two daughters.
Brown was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where she currently resides with her partner.
Brown is involved with the gay community and was co-creator, with Betty Couvertier, of the annual Rock, Rhythm, and Rhyme Artist Explosion, a concert of independent singers, bands, poets, and dancers that has taken place during the Atlanta Pride Festival since 2003. She was named the female grand marshal of the 2008 Atlanta Pride Festival.
Brown wrote and published her first novel, A Deeper Love, in 2002. Her writings have appeared in the anthology Ma-Ka Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writing by Queers of African Descent, among other publications. She founded and maintained an arts and entertainment, technology company designed to market and promote emerging artists. In 2007, Brown released the first anthology in her Nghosi Books New Voices Series, Longing, Lust and Love: Black Lesbian Stories, a collection of African-American lesbian erotica under her Nghosi Books imprint
In 2005, Brown was awarded the Community Builder Award from the Atlanta Pride Committee. In 2008, she received recognition from the National Black Justice Coalition through their annual Black LGBTIQ History Month campaign as an example of an accomplished Black LGBTIQ individual.