Jackson Neal is a freshman at the University of Houston and a three-time member of Houston’s premier youth poetry slam team, Meta-Four Houston. He is the 2017 and 2018 Space City Grand Slam Champion, a 2018 National Young Arts Foundation Winner in Writing, a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts nominee, and the 2019 Southwest Regional Youth Poet Laureate. His writing and videos have been featured in the Claremont Review, Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, and elsewhere. A proud member of Clutch City, Jackson reps H-Town wherever he goes.
Sohair Elmowafy is a nocturnal creature whose work has recently been published in The Rice Review. She holds a BA in Creative Writing, and can be found somewhere in Houston probably avoiding humans and drinking copious amounts of Coca Cola.
Christopher Miguel Flakus is a poet and writer living in Houston, Texas. He has published work in The Huffington Post, Akashic Books: Mondays are Murder Noir Series, Indietronica, Outlaw Poetry, In Recovery Magazine, Glass Poetry, Black Heart Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2017 he was awarded the Fabian Worsham Prize for fiction. In addition, he was one of the editors responsible for The University of Houston-Downtown’s literary magazine, The Bayou Review, during their special prison issue which focused on the writings of authors serving sentences in Texas prisons. He is the author of the chapbooks Bear Down Into Hell With Me (As Only a True Friend Would), and Thirst, and Other Poems through Iron Lung Press, as well as the chapbook Christiana, from Analog Submission Press. He grew up in Mexico City and writes in both English and Spanish. He is currently working on his first novel.
Hayan Charara is a poet, children’s book author, essayist, and editor. His poetry books are Something Sinister (2016), The Sadness of Others (2006), and The Alchemist’s Diary (2001). His children’s book, The Three Lucys (2016), received the New Voices Award Honor, and he edited Inclined to Speak (2008), an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry. With Fady Joudah, he is also a series editor of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. His honors include a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucille Joy Prize in Poetry from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, the John Clare Prize, and the Arab American Book Award. He is a UH CWP alumnus and faculty member of the UH Honors College.
Chinelo Okparanta’s debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, was cited as an editors’ choice in the New York Times Book Review and was named on the list of The Guardian’s Best African Fiction of 2013. The book was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award (Young Motivational Writer of the Year), longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Okparanta was also a finalist for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing, the 2013 Society of Midland Authors Award, and the 2014 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in Literature.
She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the Kenyon Review, AGNI, and other venues, and was named one of Granta’s six New Voices for 2012. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Under the Udala Trees is her first novel, which was shortlisted for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award, among many other honors. She is currently a visiting faculty member in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.