Jack Straw Writers Program

The Jack Straw Writers Program was created in 1997 to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio, to develop their presentation skills for both live and recorded readings, to encourage the creation of new literary work, and to provide new venues for the writers and their work.

The 2015 Jack Straw Writers / 2015 Writers Events

Each year twelve writers/writing teams are selected by a curator out of dozens of applicants, based on artistic excellence, diversity of literary genres, and a cohesive grouping of writers. The program features voice and presentation training, in-studio interviews, public readings, a published anthology, and podcasts. Live readings are recorded, and selected portions are produced for podcasts and radio broadcast.

To date, the Jack Straw Writers Program has included more than 200 Pacific Northwest writers who represent a diverse range of literary genres. Writers Program participants have included novelist Harold Taw (2011), poet Rebecca Hoogs (2008), legendary Litmus Inc. founder Charles Potts (2007), Seattle Poet Populist Jourdan Imani Keith (2006), Stranger Genius Award recipient for poetry John Olson (2004), Kathleen Flenniken (2002), Floating Bridge Press founder Peter Pereira (2001), Writers In The Schools founder Kip Robinson-Greenthal (2000), and humorist David Schmader (1998).

Top row and first image on bottom row: 2009-2014 Jack Straw Writers reading, writing, and recording at Jack Straw Cultural Center (photos by Sherwin Eng); rest of bottom row: 2012 Jack Straw Writers at the Royal Room with the Bushwick Book Club Seattle (photos by Melissa Thompson)

2015 Jack Straw Writers Program

The 2015 Jack Straw Writers, selected by Curator Kevin Craft, are Linda Andrews, Emily Bedard, Laura Da', Bernard Grant, Clare Johnson, Martha Kreiner, Erin Malone, Ross McMeekin, L. J. Morin, Matthew Schnirman, Anca Szilagyi, and Jeanine Walker.

Special thanks to the donors who supported our power2give campaign to support the 2015 Writers Program: Linda Breneman, John Burgess, Dominic CodyKramers, Erin Craver, Peter Davenport, Kathleen de Gutes, Kathleen Flenniken, David Giannini, Felicia Gonzalez, Esther Helfgott, Joan Hsiao, Kathy Lindenmayer, John Mullen, Bruce Oberg, and Margaret Sturdivant.

2015 Writers Program Curator Kevin Craft is the editor of Poetry Northwest. His books include Solar Prominence (Cloudbank Books, 2005), and five volumes of the anthology Mare Nostrum, an annual collection of Italian translation and Mediterranean-inspired writing. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared widely in such places as Poetry, AGNI, Verse, Ninth Letter, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, The Stranger, and West Branch. A 2008 Jack Straw Writer, he has also been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Camargo Foundation (France), 4Culture, and Artist Trust.

Linda Andrews's poetry and stories have been featured in numerous journals and reviews including Calyx, Nimrod, Spindrift, Poetry Northwest, Crab Creek Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, Willow Springs, Midwest Quarterly, Gadfly, and Seattle Review. A book of her poems, Escape of the Bird Women, was published by Blue Begonia Press and received a Washington State Book Award. She is the recipient of a Ucross Foundation Fellowship residency, an Artist Trust fellowship grant, a Vernon M. Spence Poetry Prize, and an Academy of American Poets Prize through the University of Washington. She is currently on the faculty of Walla Walla Community College and is serving as a judge for the Washington State Book Awards.

Emily Bedard grew up in Salt Lake City, got an MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana, and now lives in Seattle. She teaches for the Henry Art Gallery, the Hugo House, and Seattle Art & Lectures, through which she currently serves as the resident poet for the Roosevelt High School Roughriders. Her poems have appeared in The Indiana Review, Swivel, and elsewhere. She is at work on a collection of poems called "Cargo," featuring inquiries into stuntmen, memory's tricks, and the weirdness of sex ed. 

Laura Da' is a poet and public school teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da' studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da' is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Her first chapbook, The Tecumseh Motel, was published in Effigies II. The University of Arizona Press will publish her first full-length manuscript, Tributaries, in 2015. Da' lives near Seattle with her husband and son.

Bernard Grant grew up in South Texas. He is enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University. His writing has appeared in The Nervous Breakdown,The Doctor TJ Eckleburg ReviewThe Museum of AmericanaKindred, and other journals.

Clare Johnson is a writer and visual artist, published in Blithe House Quarterly, quiet Shorts, Frogmore Papers, 14 Magazine, Lumina, and Cranky. Solo exhibitions include Oxford's North Wall, Bridport Arts Centre, Hugo House, Storefronts Seattle, and London's Guy's Hospital. She is a Michael S. Harper Poetry Prize recipient, and her ongoing Post-it Note Project (drawing a memory on a post-it each night) won a Seattle Magazine Best of 2011 for 'Best New Take on the Memoir,' also garnering a cover feature in Real Change. Recent honors include Artist Trust funding to expand her series of drawings inspired by favorite works of literature, and the publication of Roses, a book pairing her art with poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Currently, she is designing interactive digital art backdrops for an upstate New York production of Our Town, and working on her book-length poetry and fiction project Will I live here when I grow up.

Martha Kreiner holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Michigan State University. Her work has appeared in Floating Bridge Review, ILK journal, and Hubbub. With her beloved partner Amy, she is writing a dystopian tween novella they hope to publish one day, under a name no one will recognize.

Erin Malone's first full-length collection, Hover, won the Patricia Bibby Award from Tebot Bach Press and was published in March 2015. What Sound Does It Make, a chapbook, appeared in 2008 from Concrete Wolf Press. The recipient of grants from Washington's Artist Trust, 4Culture, and the Colorado Council of the Arts, she's taught writing at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and at the University of Washington Rome Center in Italy. Currently she works for Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools program, teaching poetry to elementary school students. 

Ross McMeekin's stories appear or are forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Redivider, PANK, and Tin House online. His nonfiction has appeared in Hunger Mountain, Green Mountains Review, and The Rumpus. He is a weekly columnist for the Ploughshares blog, where he reviews short stories. McMeekin holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and was a 2013-2014 Made at Hugo House Fellow.

L. J. Morin (Lisa Carcia) has been making her way northward along the West Coast since she was born, migrating from San Diego to San Francisco to Seattle (with detours to Texas, Minnesota, and Japan along the way). Her recent credits include an honorable mention for the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize (North American Review), publication on a bus shelter and online as part of the 2014-2015 King County Metro Poetry on Buses program, and poems in Floating Bridge Review and Connecticut Review. She will enter the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University in the summer of 2015. When she's not writing poetry, she writes software requirements documentation, which is a surprisingly congenial day job for a poet. "Venezuela, 1800" was inspired by a 2005 broadcast of NPR's Talk of the Nation Science Friday program, featuring a discussion with sculptor Rachel Berwick about her installation may-por-é.

Matthew Schnirman earned his MFA from the University of Arizona. Before Jack Straw, he was a 2013-2014 Made fellow at the Richard Hugo House. His poetry appears in fabulous journals like Phantom Limb, Whiskey Island and CutBank.

Anca L. Szilágyi's fiction has appeared in Gastronomica, Fairy Tale Review, Cicada, Monkeybicycle, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. Her nonfiction appears on the Ploughshares blog. She was awarded an inaugural Made at Hugo House fellowship for her story collection More Like Home Than Home and a 4Culture grant for her novel-in-progress, Paralegal. The Stranger recognized Anca as one of the "fresh new faces in Seattle fiction."

Jeanine Walker is co-founder of Buddy & Buddy Productions and host of Mixed Bag, their live, webcast variety show, where she also sings and plays trumpet for The Drop Shadows. Her poetry has been published in Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Narrative, PageBoy, Web Conjunctions, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston and works as the Director of the Writers in the Schools Program at Seattle Arts & Lectures. 


Jack Straw Cultural Center gratefully acknowledges Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Copyright 2014 Jack Straw Productions ~ All rights reserved

About the podcasts

Jack Straw Cultural Center produces bi-monthly podcasts featuring excerpts from live readings and interviews highlighting literary artists from the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2014 Writers
2012 Writers
2011 Writers

2009 Writers
2008 Writers
2007 Writers
2006 Writers
2005 Writers
2004 Writers
List of writers to date

Jack Straw Writers Program Events

Jack Straw 2015 May Reading Series
Hosted by Curator Kevin Craft
Jack Straw Cultural Center
4261 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle

Friday, May 1, 7pm
Erin Malone, Jeanine Walker, Ross McMeekin, and Emily Bedard

Friday, May 8, 7pm
Martha Kreiner, Bernard Grant, Clare Johnson, and Laura Da'

Friday, May 15, 7pm
Matthew Schnirman, Anca Szilágyi, L. J. Morin, and Linda Andrews