Mainly known as a conductor and pianist, Nanisi holds the distinction of being the first open lesbian to conduct on the stage of D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washinton D.C. When M.S. stopped her performing and travel, she returned to her second love: Writing.
The Cameron Andrews Mystery Series was her first endeavour. Originally planned as three books, it has grown into eight books and counting.
A second series, the String Series about cellist Chris Anthony is also in the works. In addition to many short stories, she has just completed Shaymana, set in the twenty-fourth century.
Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the novels PATSY (June 4, 2019) and HERE COMES THE SUN (Liveright, 2016), which won the Lambda Literary Award, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.
HERE COMES THE SUN was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and received “Best Book of the Year” nods from NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, BuzzFeed, Vice, and Kirkus Reviews, among others. It was named one of the best books to read in summer 2016 by the New York Times, NPR, BBC, O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Cosmo, Marie Claire, Miami Herald, BuzzFeed, Bookpage, Brooklyn Magazine, Flavorwire, Book Riot, and Bookish, among others.
Time Out New York described Dennis-Benn as one of the “few immigrants and first-generation Americans who are putting their stamps on NYC,” and Vice included her in a round-up of immigrant authors “who are making American Literature great again.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Elle, Ebony, Electric Literature, Mosaic, Lenny Letter, and Catapult, among others. Her writing has been awarded a Richard and Julie Logsdon Fiction Prize, and two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Fiction.
Dennis-Benn is a Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. She has previously taught in the writing programs at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, and has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant and a 2018 Caribbean Life Impact Award.
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Dennis-Benn is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York.
Nicky Drayden is a systems analyst, and when she’s not debugging code, she’s detangling plot lines and mixing metaphors. Her debut novel, The Prey of Gods (Harper Voyager), featured in The New York Times Best of New Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Wall Street Journal’s Summer Reading: One Expert, One Book. Drayden’s sophomore novel, Temper, is touted as an exciting blend of Afrofuturism and New Weird. Her travels to South Africa as a college student influenced both of these works, and she enjoys blurring the genre lines between mythology, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and dark humor.
Drayden learned to write novels the old fashioned way, by banging out a crappy draft during the month of November with thousands of other aspiring novelists. In between novels, she frequently dabbles in short fiction, with over 30 stories in publications such as Shimmer, Daily Science Fiction, and Space and Time Magazine.
During her stint as managing editor for The Drabblecast, she helped continue the speculative fiction podcast’s tradition of bringing strange stories to strange listeners. Once a year, she’d escape the slush trenches to work on “Women and Aliens Month” a special series featuring alien stories written by luminaries such as Lauren Beukes, Nnedi Okorafor, and Alaya Dawn Johnson.
Nicky Drayden lives and writes in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required.
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