Meet Some of Our Members
Writer, actor, playwright, and teaching artist Kathya Alexander was granted the 2013 CityArtist Award, the 2014 Youth Arts Award, and Work Readiness Arts Program Award from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. She was a writer-in-residence at the prestigious Hedgebrook Women Writer’s Retreat and won the Fringe First Award for Black to My Roots: African American Tales from the Head and the Heart at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Outstanding New Production in Edinburgh, Scotland. Kathya’s writing has appeared in ColorsNW Magazine and Raising Lily Ledbetter: Women Artists Occupy the Workplace by Lost Horse Press. Among her writings are Angel in the Outhouse; God the Mother: A Creation Story; and the God the Mother Calendar. Kathya’s plays include David & Jonathan: A Modern Day Retelling of the Biblical Story; Dream’n (hip hop adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream); HumaNature; Homegoing: A Fairy Tale; and emotionalblackmale. Her latest publication is the book Angel in the Outhouse. Kathya regularly reads her short stories at the Madison Park Starbucks in Seattle on the last Thursday of each month. For more information, check out her website: http://www.seattlestoryteller.com/
AAWA member Alliniece Andino started writing when she was ten years old and published her first poem in the school newspaper at age thirteen. For the next twenty years she often wrote poetry but dabbled in writing plays and short stories. She worked for about ten years as a journalist and then became a full-time mom and poet. In the past five years, she has performed her poetry in the Seattle area and also taught creative writing and journalism to middle school students.
Author, poet, and spoken word artist Steven Eric Batts is an AAWA member who performs often. The native of Indianapolis, Indiana, began writing poetry and short stories at a very early age. Hundreds have seen and heard the former serviceman read and recite in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Germany, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. He is the author of the thought-provoking novel Word on the Street.
Operating with the belief that everything she creates is intended to foster understanding of self and surroundings, Kamari Bright is a poet whose work heavily reflects those themes. She is currently working on a manuscript connecting the influence of Christian folklore on present-day misogyny. The St. Louis-born creative has had work featured in publications, released her first poetry book, Emergence, in 2016, and is a 2018 Jack Straw Writers fellow.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Angie Brown wrote her first poem, The Moon, when she was in the third grade. Since that time, she has written countless poems, stories, and songs. The proud mother of four children lives in Seattle, Washington, where she works as a school librarian. She has completed her first children’s book and plans to publish it along with a collection of her poetry. Among her interests are art, traveling, collecting black memorabilia, and performing in gospel choirs. The recording artist believes that even the sky and the trees can speak and tell us their stories if we are willing to listen. Angie dreams of the day she can retire from her “day job” and write for a living. Angie has been a member of AAWA several years.
Helen Collier, prolific writer of many different genres says writing has been in her spirit since her mother placed a pencil in her left hand and told her, "God made you a left handed writer for a reason; it's up to you to share with the world what that reason is." A native of Illinois, she now resides in Auburn, Washington. Learn more about her work at http://helencollierwriter.com/
Minnie A. Collins, author of The Purple Wash (2013) and Palm Power: Hearts in Harmony (2018) is published in Raven Chronicles, Fly to the Assemblies: Seattle and the Rise of Resistance, Emerald Reflections, Threads, Voices That Matter, Crosscurrents (WACC Humanities Association), Avocet, Blackpast.org, Washington Center Newsletter, Washington English Journal, and Innovation Abstracts at the University of Texas at Austin. She has shared her work at Writers Read, a monthly program at Seattle’s Columbia Library, as well as Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books in Seward Park, Open Books: A Poetry Emporium, Northwest African American Museum, James Washington Jr., Foundation House, Liberty Bank Building Apartments Artists Project, Columbia City Gallery, and Gallery Onyx exhibits.
A Michigan native, AAWA member Patricia A. J. Davis is multi-faceted and loves sharing her talents. In addition to writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction, she also paints and sculpts. A perceptive storyteller, she entertains you with her experiences through her writings and her art works. After many years of traveling around the country, she has decided to make the beautiful Northwest her home, and she is looking forward to creating positive energy with her gifts for your entertainment.
Vocalist Portionté Floes, AKA Miz Floes, is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She has overcome many obstacles in life. The poet and singer has dedicated her energies toward reaching and teaching the youth of impoverished communities through the use of poetry. A number of this AAWA member’s works can be found in her book I’m Still Growing Vol.1. Anyone who types “Miz Floes” into a browser can be delighted by performances of Miz Floes and the Carmel Latte Band. Links: http://www.youtube.com/carmellatteband
Booking / Contact: 206.312.0432
Poet and teaching artist Monique Franklin, also known as Verbal Oasis, hails from Seattle, Washington. Her poetry gives voice to social issues, human relationships, tributes to her many influences, and self-discovery. She is a member of African American Writer's Alliance and is published in their latest anthology Threads. In 2014 she was selected for 4Culture's Touring Artist Roster and the CD Forum's Creation Project. Among her various performance venues are Inside Out Jazz Awards at Benaroya Hall, Women's History Month at Edmond's Community College, and Poetry+Motion at Town Hall. Monique is the owner and operator of Inspired Child, an arts organization that has been providing arts events for youth and families since 2006. She has over twenty years of experience organizing and leading youth arts activities in schools, community centers, and parks. She views her art and her vocation as an educator as vehicles for social change.
Better known as Kidd Glove, Bernard Harris, Jr., has written and performed for a very long time. He admits he developed and honed his writing skills in the military; as a postal worker, he says his writing served as a therapeutic outlet for the on-the job stress. One of his better known poems is The Mail Handler. Bernard tackles subjects good and bad, gentle and harsh. His scathing criticism of American society contains valuable information for anyone who listens: “Wake up,” he says repeatedly whether he speaks of the presidency, Disneyland, men, women, or children. His tenure in the African-American Writers’ Alliance is one of mutual admiration for him and his fellow writers. Bernard tutors, counsels, and mentors. His first collection of poetry is VISIONS … My Mind Is Armed with the Wisdom of Blackness.
Gail Haynes has been a member of AWAA since 2015. She creates poems that are soulful and sassy. Her poems will make you laugh and also reflect on real-life experiences. Among the sites where she has read are Mount Zion Baptist Church, Elliott Bay Book Company, Columbia and Ballard Library, and Life Enrichment Bookstore. She has also shared her poems at non-profit organizations that stand against injustice. Many of her poems exalt the goodness of the Lord and His amazing power of love to transform lives.
Frenchy Condé Lamont was born in Harlem and raised in Lower East Manhattan. In 1968 he came to Washington as a student and helped establish the Black Student Union at Whitworth College. Frenchy currently resides in Seattle where he is an influential drummer and poet. He is a member of the African American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA), The African Union (AU), One World Drum and Dance, Ijo Ayanmo, Carmel Latte, Otunaba and Soulstation. He has enriched the community by supporting and interacting with varied artists in places such as Wades, The Fair Coffee House, and Hidmo. His inspiration comes from the love of his mother Mercedes, his wife Sarah Soumah, and Mother Earth. He is a devotee to Ifa, an ancient African religion maintained by the Yoruba people and their spiritual diaspora. He wishes everyone peace and prosperity. Joshua Lamont (Son).
Georgia Stewart McDade loves reading and writing. She wrote and produced plays for the youngsters in her neighborhood and collaborated with church youth to write plays for special occasions. As a charter member of the African-American Writers’ Alliance, she began reading her stories in public in 1991. She credits the group with making her write poetry. For a number of years she has written poems inspired by artists at such sites as Gallery 110, Seattle Art Museum, Columbia City Gallery, and Art/Not Terminal. Georgia writes for Pacific Newspapers, especially the South District Journal, and reports for community radio station KBCS (91.3 FM). She hopes soon to publish a collection of stories and the journals she kept on her six-month, solo trip around the world. Her first volume of poetry, Outside the Cave, was published in 2009. Two additional volumes, Outside the Cave II and Outside the Cave III, have been published since. Now available is McDade's first collection of prose, Observation and Revelations: Stories, Sketches, and Essays.
Merri Ann Osborn has been intrigued by stories and the art of storytelling since childhood. In middle school she started writing stories, plays, songs, and jingles and hasn’t stopped since. Not one to be pigeon-holed by genres or labels, Merri Ann utilizes various media to express and share her art, including storytelling, song-writing, acting, dance, voice-over, producing and directing. Having lived and travelled abroad, Merri Ann is drawn to writing about the intersection of culture, history, class and social issues, and explores how these themes impact relationships and our shared future.
AAWA member Lola Peters writes poetry to cleanse her soul and essays to clear her mind. Her commitment to creating a just and equitable world forms the underpinning to her writing. In addition to her published poems, she has written commentary for and edited several online journals and newsletters, including a national newsletter for social justice activists. She has also written book reviews for Boston University's Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. Her first book of essays, The Truth About White People, is available at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, as well as from online retailers. Her two volumes of poetry, Taboos and The Book of David: A Coming of Age Tale, are available on lulu.com, barnesandnoble.com, and amazon.com. More information about Lola, including how to contact her for readings, book signing, workshops, or presentations, is on her website at www.lolaepeters.weebly.com.
Gaylloyd Sissón writes daily in temperate Western Washington where he lives with his wife Kathleen. In addition to being active in AAWA, he participates in Renton Writers, Puyallup Writers groups, and Pacific Northwest Writers Association. He retired from a thirty-four-year career in education, teaching kindergarten through community college. Since his teens, Gaylloyd has penned memoirs and poems in private journals. His writing has appeared in the Plant Amnesty newsletter, University of Washington’s Voice, and Sacramento’s Poet. An avid hiker, yoga participant, and fair-weather cyclist, he survives Puget Sound’s rainy season by reading good books, playing piano and flute, and drinking plenty of black coffee while eating dark chocolate. A passionate gardener, he has been featured in Vegetable Gardens and Urban Farms magazines. He devotes much of his time to freelance writing, photography and travel, both foreign and domestic.
Margaret Stubblefield-Barrie writes to stay grounded and well. She was born and raised in the deforested rain city, Seattle, in a tight community of family, neighbors and friends. Now semi- retired she has the time to write about her life’s experiences living in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950’s and 60’s. She is privileged to be a member of AAWA and to have the opportunity to read her short stories and poems with some of the most accomplished writers she has ever known. Her commitment is teaching the importance of reading and writing for all our children.
Kilam Tel Aviv's writing isn't about popularity, but about effectiveness. Of Nigerian descent, Kilam is a Seattle native whose works merge his pragmatic thinking with a more energetic and flavorful attitude with hints of hip-hop and pop culture influences. To further encourage open-minded thinking, he hopes that his works will inspire people to think differently about topics they may have had preconceived notions. Kilam's first chapbook, 12th Man: Echoes of the Forgotten Race, is available for purchase now. You can find more of his work at Speakerthoughts.com and him on Instagram for weekly poems @kilamtelaviv.
“Half the time I think I’m crazy, and the other half I know I’m crazy,” says AAWA member Santiago Vega of himself. This craziness is akin to the craziness of Gandhi, Malcolm, and King; the kind of craziness that compels one to say what he believes is true though he may be forced to stand alone. After listening to some of his ideas, many folks realize his craziness is the kind that can change the world for the better, the kind of craziness the world needs. Multilingual and multi-talented, Santiago writes, recites, dances, and teaches. This musician shares his talent with many cultures. Knowing everything is political, Santiago usually always writes about political issues of the day. This poet/philosopher ought to be heard.
A former stage performance artist, Jaye Ware entered the world of spoken word at the urging of a dear friend who passed away the same day the Seahawks won the Superbowl. She is often drawn towards senior's and children's voices and perspectives in many of her works. Jaye has performed at Elliott Bay, Columbia City Gallery, B2 Gallery, Columbia and Rainier Beach libraries, Northwest African-American Museum, Southside Church of Christ, South Lake Union ArtWalk, the Downtown Seattle Public Library, and other venues. A book is in the works. "We often only have our words, use them wisely."
Brenda Gale Wright was born and raised in Washington State. She has always loved how words can weave an intriguing path into the soul. Writing since the age of twelve, she proclaims that writing is the healing to her mind and a refreshing charge to her heart. She is very thankful to the Lord for the Gift of writing and will write a poem, speech, or tribute for any occasion and for anyone, if you just ask. Her first book, I Stand Tall for God, the Pain, the Healing, the Joy, was published in 2004. She is honored that the celebrating of her 60th birthday coincides with the completion of her second book rolling off the press. Brenda is blessed to have one daughter and enjoys spending precious moments with family, singing in her church choir, hanging out with her mutually corrupting friends, and just waking up each day for a new opportunity to just be. As life comes and goes, as the sun rises and sets, Brenda plans to write until the words that linger in her mind can no longer trickle down to her hands and her fingers can no longer type or write the collage of words imbedded in the fleeting microscopic seasons of her earthly time.