About the Writers



Famed in the worlds of literature, literacy, and poetry—and an extraordinary public speaker—Sapphire is the author of two bestselling novels, Push and The Kid.

The New York Times bestseller, Push—about an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager—won the Book-of-the-Month Club Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction; the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's First Novelist Award; and in Great Britain, the Mind Book of the Year Award. Push was named by The Village Voice as one of the top twenty-five books of 1996 and by TIMEOUT New York as one of the top ten books of 1996. Push was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. It was made into the Academy Award-winning major motion film, Precious, and the film adaptation received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

In her second novel, The Kid, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, telling the electrifying story of Abdul Jones. Left alone by his mother's death to navigate in a world where love and hate sometimes hideously masquerade, forced to confront unspeakable violence, his history, and the dark corners of his own heart, Abdul claws his way toward adulthood. In a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday, from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artists' lofts, The Kid is a soaring tale of body and spirit, rooted in the hungers of flesh and of the soul. Says editor Ann Godoff, "Sapphire never fails to render the hardest material comprehensible by coming from a place of love. In her second novel, she fearlessly explores the young life of an African American boy as he approaches manhood: alone, brutalized and with the soul of an artist."

Sapphire is also the author of two collections of poetry: American Dreams, cited by Publisher's Weekly as, "One of the strongest debut collections of the nineties;" and Black Wings & Blind Angels, of which Poets & Writers declared, "With her soul on the line in each verse, her latest collection retains Sapphire's incendiary power to win hearts and singe minds." Library Journal calls Sapphire's poetry "spiky and uncompromising" and describes her as a "poet of slick-talking, nearly hallucinatory riffs on growing up poor, tough, and black in America."
Sapphire's presentation, poetry, novels, and the film Precious, all speak to issues of overcoming adversity and empowerment.


Natasha Tretheway



Natasha Trethewey is the nineteenth United States poet laureate (2012-2013). In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote, "Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face." She is the author of Thrall (2012); Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press). A memoir is forthcoming in 2013.
Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. In her introduction to the book, Dove said, "Trethewey eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength."
Trethewey is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing.
In her second term as Poet Laureate, Trethewey’s signature project is a feature on the PSB New Hour Poetry Series known as Where Poetry Lives. In this series, Trethewey travels with Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown to various cities across the United States in order to explore societal issues through a link to poetry, literature, and Trethewey’s own personal experiences.

In addition to being United States Poet Laureate, she is the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi, from 2012-2016.



Katie Farris

 katie farris photo

Katie Farris is the author of BOYSGIRLS, (Marick Press, 2011). Her work appeared or is forthcoming in various journals, including Virginia Quarterly Review, Verse, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Green Mountains Review, St. Petersburg Review and many others. She is the co-translator of several collections of poetry, including Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010) and Guy Jean's If I Were Born in Prague (Argos Books, 2011) as well as the forthcoming Selected Poems of Guy Jean (Marick Press).

Katie Farris has won literary awards for her translations and as well as her teaching. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Brown University, where she has taught Creative Writing. Currently she is the Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University as well as the core Faculty member at New England College's low-residency MFA program.




Malena Mörling


Malena Mörling was born in Stockholm in 1965 and grew up in southern Sweden. She is the author of two books of poetry: Ocean Avenue and Astoria. She has also published translations of work by Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer and together with Jonas Ellerström of the Finland-Swedish poet Edith Södergran, On Foot I Wandered Through the Solar Systems, 1933 by Philip Levine into Swedish, and they have edited and translated the anthology The Star By My Head, Poets From Sweden published in 2014 by Milkweed Editions. In 2007, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2010 a Lannan Literary Fellowship. In addition to being Core-Faculty in The Low-Residency MFA program at New England College, she is an Associate Professor at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband and three sons.


Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is the author of two novels and three collections of short stories. Her New York Times bestselling novel Away (Random House, 2007) was called a “literary triumph” by the Times, while The Washington Post declared it, “desperate and impassioned, erotic and moving—absolutely hypnotic.” Her first novel, Love Invents Us, was called "an unsettling tale of desire." Bloom's short fiction includes Where the God Of Love Hangs Out (Random House, 2010), also a New York Times bestseller; Come to Me, a National Book Award finalist; and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her first nonfiction book was Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops and Hermaphrodites with Attitudes, now a staple of university sociology and biology courses. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her next book, Lucky Us, is forthcoming in August 2014.
A practicing psychotherapist for twenty years (after being a waitress, a bartender, an actor and a peanut-picker), Bloom has an acute understanding of human nature and an ear especially attuned to the inner and outer voices of her characters. “I spent my professional life exploring the gap between what people said and how they said it, the chasm between what they felt and what they said they felt,” she has said.
Amy Bloom is a National Magazine Award winner. She has demonstrated her versatility and wit in the essays she has written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate and Salon, on subjects as diverse as cooking lasagna, marrying at 50, and a history of portrait-painting. She is the University Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan University.




Winter With the Writers, A Festival of the Literary Arts is sponsored by The Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Artist Fund, Winter With the Writers Patrons, and the Rollins College Department of English.