2019 Presenters

Sierra DeMulder

Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet, educator, mental health advocate, and two-time National Poetry Slam champion. She is the co-founder of the Slam Camp, an annual summer writing camp for high school students, and a four-time published author (The Bones BelowNew Shoes on a Dead Horse, We Slept HereToday Means Amen). She is the co-host of the relationship advice podcast Just Break Up and lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Opal.


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Kevin Coval – Kevin is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago—where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics—he’s mentored thousands of young writers, artists, and musicians. He is the author and editor of 10 books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick, and co-author of the play, This is Modern Art. His work has appeared in Poetry MagazineThe Drunken BoatChicago Tribune, CNN, Fake Shore DriveHuffington Post, and four seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Coval’s forthcoming collection, A People’s History of Chicago dropped in April 2017 on Haymarket Books.

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Mary Fons


Mary Fons is a writer, quilter, editor and lecturer with experience creating original content across a variety of media. She’s lived in New York City and in Washington, D.C., but she belongs in Chicago and is never leaving.


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Poet and vocalist Jamila Woods was raised in Chicago, IL and graduated from Brown University, where she earned a BA in Africana Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies. Influenced by Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks, much of her writing explores blackness, womanhood & the city of Chicago.  Her poetry is included in the anthologies The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014), and The UnCommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning & Living (2013). Her work with her band, M&O (fka Milo & Otis) has been featured by OkayplayerSpin, JET and Ebony Magazine. Jamila is currently the Associate Artistic Director of non-profit youth organization Young Chicago Authors, where she helps organize Louder Than A Bomb (the largest poetry festival in the world), designs curriculum for Chicago Public Schools, and teaches poetry to young people throughout the city.

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nate-marshallNate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. His first book, Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. He is a coeditor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). His rap album, Grown, is due out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. He is a visiting assistant professor at Wabash College. He earned his MFA at the University of Michigan, where he served as a Zell postgraduate fellow. He is a founding member of the poetry collective Dark Noise. A Cave Canem fellow, his work has appeared in PoetryIndiana ReviewThe New Republic, and elsewhere. He was the star of the award winning full-length documentary Louder Than a Bomb and has been featured on the HBO original series Brave New Voices. Marshall received the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award for College Writers and the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

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Adib Khorram is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY. If he’s not writing (or at his day job as a graphic designer), you can probably find him trying to get his 100-yard Freestyle under a minute, learning to do a Lutz Jump, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person. You can find him on Twitter (@adibkhorram), Instagram (@adibkhorram), or on the web at adibkhorram.com.


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Jessica HopperJessica is a music critic and the author of The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic. She was formerly the Editorial Director at MTV News, and an editor at Pitchfork and Rookie. Her essays have appeared in Best Music Writing for 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Her book The Girls’ Guide to Rocking was named one of 2009’s Notable Books For Young Readers by the American Library Association.


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Sen Morimoto is a multi-instrumentalist producer, composer, and songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He moved to Massachusetts at a young age and began a life-long study of jazz saxophone. Horn in hand, Morimoto cut his teeth as a songwriter in the DIY hip-hop community of Western Massachusetts. He eventually moved to Chicago where he refined his sound while maintaining a consistent presence in the music culture by producing and collaborating with artists including Joseph Chilliams (Pivot Gang), KAINA, Qari, and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. Morimoto’s powerful grasp of jazz composition, pop songwriting, and hip-hop styling are fully articulated as the extraordinary sound of an unrivaled talent on Cannonball!, an LP that he wrote, recorded, and mixed by himself.

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Daniel-Ferri.jpgDaniel Ferri is a teacher at Radford College in Canberra, Australia. A radio essayist for WBEZ Chicago and All Things Considered on NPR, Daniel was a frequent Writers Week guest before moving to Australia in 2006. He has been published in Harper’s Magazine, Re-Thinking Schools, The National Writer’s Project Annual, Middle Level Learner, Failing Our Kids; Why the Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools, The Outlaw Bible Of American Poetry, The Coffeehouse Poetry Anthology, Slam; The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry. Daniel’s witty and insightful writing resonates with audiences throughout the world.

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ShamarWhiteShamar S. White is a Los Angeles-based television writer, screenwriter, and playwright hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Shamar is a decorated Army Combat Veteran, having served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Her ten-minute play “Detained” received its world premiere at the Obie award-winning The Fire this Time Festival in New York City. Her one-act play “Back to Back” was a Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Eugene O’Neil National Playwright’s Conference and full-length play “The Thanksgiving Before” was a semifinalist for the inaugural Arts in the Armed Forces Bridge Award. Shamar also received The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation Screenwriting Award at the 2017 Fusion Film Festival for her feature screenplay “Summer Kaos.” Most recently, Shamar was a staff writer for the CW Network’s military drama, VALOR. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild, WGAW and earned her MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.

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Steven Muehlhausen is an experienced MMA writer and contributor for Sporting News. Find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA. In the past, Steven got into MMA when he hosted a podcast called “The Fight Club Chicago” worked for Bleacher Report, MMA Sucka, Between The Ropes, Yardbarker, FanSided, and Yahoo Sports.


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Jason Cole

Jason Cole is the Editor-in-Chief of FanSided.com. He is a former Yahoo and Bleacher Report NFL writer. Cole taught journalism at the University of Florida, and he has a long history of NFL coverage, working for the (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel and The Miami Herald before heading to Yahoo and then Bleacher Report.


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josh hill fansided


Josh Hill is a Managing Editor at FanSided.com.




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Mark Carman has hosted radio in Kansas City, nationally for Yahoo! and in Chicago. He spent his formative years watching Michael Jordan and now dreams of taking the court versus John McEnroe and attacking his backhand.

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