Featuring 2014 Jack Straw Writers: Claudia Castro Luna, Loreen Lilynn Lee, Michelle Peñaloza, and Gigi Rosenberg
Hosted by Jack Straw Writers Program curator Felicia Gonzalez
The Jack Straw Writers Program based in Washington, 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.
Claudia Castro Luna was born in El Salvador and came to the United States in 1981. She studied French and German, earned an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA and taught Spanish to high school students in Oakland, CA. After years of putting writing on the backburner, she finally decided to get serious and earned an MFA in poetry from MillsCollege in 2012. Her poems have appeared in Milvia Street, The Womanist, andRiverbabble. She has been a featured reader for the Berkeley Poetry Festival and for KALW, an NPR affiliate in San Francisco.
Loreen Lilyn Lee grew up in three cultures: Chinese, American, and Hawaiian. Her memoir The Lava Never Sleeps: A Honolulu Memoir tells the stories “I’m not supposed to tell.” She weaves together family secrets; childhood trauma; cultural confusion; and Hawaiian history, geology, and mythology in a journey to discover her authentic self. A Seattle resident since 1986, she graduated from the University of Washington in 1994 as a working adult and began writing her personal stories
Michelle Peñaloza grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and earned her M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Hobart, TriQuarterly, The Weekly Rumpus, and Hyphen Magazine. She is the recipient of the Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Award, fellowships from Kundiman, the Richard Hugo House, and Literary Arts, as well as scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, VONA/Voices Workshop, Vermont Studio Center, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.
Gigi Rosenberg’s current project is How I Lost My Inheritance: A Mother/Daughter Memoir. She’s performed at On the Boards, been a guest commentator on Oregon Public Radio, and been published by Seal Press, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and Parenting. The author of The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing (Watson-Guptill, 2010), Gigi lives in Portland.
2014 Writers Program Curator Felicia Gonzalez was born in Cuba. She believes that language and the act of speaking are not only physical, but also have a geographic presence. An alumna of Hedgebrook Writers Retreat and the Jack Straw Writers Program, her writing has received numerous awards including a 2007 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship.