Jack Straw Cultural Center











Jeffrey Lee Chatham II reads from the studio while vocal coach Gin Hammond looks on from the control room JS Writer Rob Arnold and vocal coach Gin Hammond in the studio

JS Writer Elaina Ellis in the studio at Jack Straw

2020 Jack Straw Writers Program

The 2020 Jack Straw Writers, selected by Curator Anastacia-Renée, are Rob Arnold, Ebo Barton, Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II, Ching-In Chen, Elaina Ellis, Michelle Goodman, Maisha Banks Manson, Wryly T. McCutchen, Troy Osaki, Helen K. Thomas, Jose Trejo Maya, and Arianne True.

Purchase the 2020 Jack Straw Writers Anthology from our friends at Open Books!

Jack Straw Writers x Bushwick Book Club Seattle

Jack Straw Writers x The Bushwick Book Club Seattle

In this new, online version of our ongoing collaboration with The Bushwick Book Club Seattle, each of the 2020 Jack Straw writers was paired with a Bushwick musician, who created original music inspired by the written work. The whole series is now available for your listening and watching pleasure. Thank you to the wonderful writers and musicians who made this possible, and to our friends at Bushwick Book Club Seattle.

The writer/musician pairings:
Sep 16: Maisha Banks Manson x Nic Masangkay
Sep 30: Elaina Ellis x Tai Shan
Oct 21: Ebo Barton x ATHR
Nov 11: Michelle Goodman x Kristin Chambers
Dec 9: Rob Arnold x Ben Mish
Dec 16: Helen K. Thomas x LaVon Hardison

Jan 6: Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II x Sean Morse
Jan 13: Arianne True x Kate Olson
Jan 20: Ching-In Chen x Claire Michelle
Jan 27: Jose Trejo-Maya x Clyde Petersen/Your Heart Breaks
Feb 3: Wryly T. McCutchen x Jimmie Herrod

Feb 10: Troy Osaki x Kimo Muraki

Anastacia-Renee, photo by Sherwin Eng
2020 Writers Program Curator Anastacia-Renée is a multi-genre writer, educator, and interdisciplinary artist. She is the recipient of the 2018, James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award for Washington artists (Artist Trust), and has served as the Seattle Civic Poet from 2017-2019, and the 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House. Anastacia-Renee is a TED Speaker, The Deep End podcast Co-host, two-time Pushcart nominee and writer and director of 9 Ounces, A One Woman Show and Queer, Mama, Crossroads.  She is the author of Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.), (Black Ocean) 26, (Dancing Girl Press), and Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press) and has received writing fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, Whiteley, Mineral School and Hypatia in the Woods. Her writing has appeared in anthologies: Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks and: Ms. Magazine, Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, The Fight & the Fiddle, Duende, Poetry Northwest, Synaethesia, Banqueted, Torch, Glow, Mom Egg Review, The Magazine of Glamorous Refusal, Pinwheel Journal, Reality Beach and more. She teaches multi-genre workshops at Hugo House, libraries, universities, and conferences.

Rob Arnold's poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hyphen, RED INK, Yes Poetry, and The Ocean State Review, among others. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received support from the Somerville Arts Council and Artist Trust. He is a Program Director and Curator of Events at Hugo House.

Ebo Barton is a Black and Filipino, Transgender and Non-Binary, poet and educator. Currently residing in Seattle, Washington by way of Los Angeles, California. For the past 12 years, they have participated in national and international poetry slam competitions as a representative of Seattle. Their most notable poetry slam accolade is placing 5th in the world in 2016. You may have seen Ebo's work in Adrienne: A Poetry Journal by Sibling Rivalry Press, Thriving While Trans: A Love Manual, Natasha Marin's Black Imagination, Write About Now, Button Poetry, and All Def Poetry. They and their work have been featured in Seattle Weekly, Seattle Gay News, Seattle Review of Books, and Crosscut. Their work touches on political issues from a personal point of view and often is birthed from the struggles of living in the identities that they are. Ebo believes in the power of language and art as a tool for revolution.

Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II is an author from Seattle, WA. Since 2014, he has self-published three children’s books—The Family Jones and The Eggs of Rex, Why is Jane so Mad?, and Hi Blue Sky—to increase positive representation of children of color in books. In 2016, Jeffrey created the Seattle Urban Book Expo, with the mission of providing a platform for fellow authors of color to showcasing their literary arts in the Pacific Northwest.

Ching-In Chen is a genderqueer Chinese American hybrid writer, community organizer, and teacher. They are author of The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi/Red Hen Press) and recombinant (Kelsey Street Press; winner of 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry), as well as the chapbooks how to make black paper sing (speCt! Books, 2019) and Kundiman for Kin :: Information Retrieval for Monsters (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs and a Finalist for the Leslie Scalapino Award). Chen is also co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (South End Press, 2011; AK Press 2016) and Here Is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press, 2009). They have received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole, Can Serrat and Imagining America and are part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities. They are currently Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Bothell.

Elaina Ellis is the author of Write about an Empty Birdcage (Write Bloody Publishing) and the recipient of fellowships from Lambda Literary, Tent, Vermont Studio Center, Mineral School, and Jack Straw, as well as an ArtistTrust GAP Award. She is at work on a second collection, I'm Only Praying to Believe What's True, which responds to the text and impulses of the biblical Book of Ezekiel. She earned her MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles, and works as an editor at Copper Canyon Press.

Michelle Goodman is a journalist and creative nonfiction writer. Her personal and reported essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Seattle Times, Salon, Narratively, Magenta, Proto, and several anthologies. She is author of the books The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and My So-Called Freelance Life, both published by Seal Press. She has been a writer in residence at Artsmith, Hedgebrook, Playa, and Whiteley Center. Although she is most known for writing about work, in 2016 she turned her attention to writing about death, grief, and the decaying body.

Maisha Banks Manson is a Queer, gender non-conforming, Black identified artist, activist, teacher and writer. They have devoted their personal journey to self healing through reclamation of personal history, knowledge and creating spaces for healing of others.

Wryly T. McCutchen is a hybrid writer, community educator, and interdisciplinary performance artist. Their art centers on themes of body, loss, and spirit. They are trans, queer, and crazy; so too are all the glinting possibilities they slice into being. Wryly has lived most of their life on the unceded lands of the Puget Sound Salish peoples. Recipient of the Lil Elbe scholarship, Wryly attended LAMBDA Literary’s Emerging Writers Retreat as a Poetry Fellow in 2018. Their debut poetry collection My Ugly and Other Love Snarls, came out in 2017. Their work speaks directly (through the mouth) and moves abstractly (through the rest of the body and the spaces it inhabits). Wryly conjures multi-media, visceral experiences which challenge the harmful boundaries imposed by cisgender and heterosexual gatekeepers. This art resurrects trans ancestors and makes space for deep queer healing.

Troy Osaki is a Filipino Japanese poet, community organizer, and attorney from Seattle, WA. A three-time grand slam poetry champion, he has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Jack Straw Cultural Center and is the recipient of an Artist Trust award. His work has appeared in the Bellingham Review, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Moss: A Journal of the Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere. 

Helen K. Thomas is from Seattle, WA by way of Lagos, Nigeria. She writes Young Adult fiction that illuminates the interiority of black girls as they navigate joy and pain and love and loss while living in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, she was part of the inaugural Tin House YA Fiction Workshop and is thrilled to be a 2020 Jack Straw Writers Fellow.

Jose Trejo-Maya is a remnant of the Nahuatlacah oral tradition -a tonalpouhque mexica from the lowlands of a time and place that no longer exists. Published in UK, US, India, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Germany, and Venezuela. He is from Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, where he lived in the small rural pueblo of Tarimoró. His inspiration(s) include Netzahualcoyotl, Humberto Ak’abal, Ray A. Young Bear, and James Welch. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015 and was awarded Tercer Premio from El Centro Canario Estudios Caribeños – El Atlántico – en el Certamen Internacional de Poesía “La calle que tú me das” 2016. He was a New Rivers Press Many Voices Project 2018 Finalist. While in ceremony with Chololo medicine men in the Tule River Reservation, all this came from a dream written in prophecy.

Arianne True is a queer poet and folk artist from Seattle and from the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Arianne has taught and mentored with Writers in the Schools (WITS), YouthSpeaks Seattle, and the Richard Hugo House, and is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She can be found playing banjo with her rats near the edge of the woods.


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 2020 Jack Straw CulturalCenter ~ All rights reserved

About the podcasts

Jack Straw Cultural Center produces SoundPages, a podcast featuring excerpts from live readings and interviews highlighting literary artists from the Jack Straw Writers Program.



Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2019 Writers
2016 Writers
2015 Writers
2014 Writers
2012 Writers
2011 Writers

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

2020 Jack Straw Reading Series
Streaming Live via Facebook on Fridays in June
Hosted by Curator Anastacia-Renée

Friday, June 5, 7pm
(watch the archived reading here!)
Maisha Banks Manson, Elaina Ellis, Wryly T. McCutchen, and Ebo Barton

Friday, July 3, 7pm
(watch the archived reading here!)
Michelle Goodman, Ching-In Chen, Rob Arnold, and Helen K. Thomas

Friday, July 10, 7pm
(watch the archived reading here!)
Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II, Arianne True, Jose Trejo-Maya, and Troy Osaki

Purchase the 2020 Jack Straw Writers Anthology from our friends at Open Books!