AfroSurreal Writers Workshop
The AfroSurreal Writers Workshop supports writers of color creating weird, surreal, or absurdist art. They meet every third Saturday of the month at the Nomadic Press Oakland Workspace from 10-12 noon. Find out more at http://afrosurrealwriters.org.
In the months ahead, we'll be hosting a number of readings, a conference, and workshops about AfroSurrealism. We'll also be donating comic books and works of speculative fiction to the Prisoners Literature Project, based in Berkeley, California.
Rochelle Spencer, Founder and Director
Rochelle Spencer is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), an acclaimed anthology novelist Junot Diàz hails as "electrifying and absolutely necessary.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, Rochelle’s stories and reviews appear in several magazines, journals, and websites. Chat with her on Twitter @rochellespencer.
Shannon Holbrook holds a culinary degree and is trained in broadcasting on both radio and television. A gifted public speaker and comedian, Shannon has served as M.C. for Litquake’s “Fiction with Flava” and regularly hosts cooking demos and wine classes.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author, and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. Since they insist on constant entertainment and can’t subscribe to cable, Thaddeus writes a variety of forms of speculative fiction to appease their hunger for new entertainment. You can find his speculative musings at Hub City Blues, Medium and its various publications, or at Quora. Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short (2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (UK, 2012), and Possibilities (2012). He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach and an e-book novella called Broken Glass.
Peter McKay is an entrepreneur, developer, and writer who currently serves as co-founder and chief product officer of Roscoe Labs, a news technology startup focused on encrypting publishers' websites. Previously, Peter was a Wall Street Journal markets reporter who provided market analysis for more than 100 broadcast outlets, including CNN, the BBC, Fox News, CNBC, San Francisco's KRON, and New York's WCBS on the Journal's behalf. Peter was also part of the Journal team that won a 2011 Gerald Loeb Award for breaking coverage of the stock market's "flash crash.” Peter is also a former Washington Post reporter, a native New Yorker, a recovering Mets fan, a distinguished alumnus of Florida A&M University's journalism school, and the designer of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop’s website.
Rochelle Robinson is an essayist and memoirist, has been published in several anthologies and web publications, and is looking to expand her writing to include AfroSurrealism. Having recently joined the AfroSurreal Writing group, Rochelle is excited about exploring this re-emergence and renaissance of work in this genre. Rochelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from Cal State East Bay (formerly Cal State, Hayward), and a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies from San Francisco State University. More recently, she completed a Community Storytelling Radio Project on Black women and violence in Oakland with the National Radio Project's Making Contact webcast, www.radioproject.org. In her spare time Rochelle continues to work on a number of writing projects, is an avid reader, loves the outdoors, meditation, and building relationships towards a more just and sustainable world.
Audrey T. Williams
Audrey T. Williams is an Oakland-based writer. She is a VONA alum and is working towards an MFA in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Audrey is currently working on several AfroSurreal short stories based on the "peculiar institutions" of American history and is writing the manuscript for Chutney and Chitlins, a mixed-race family memoir that makes use of hybrid creative nonfiction using narratives and images. Chutney and Chitlins begins with stories from her African-American father's childhood in the segregated South and follows him as he joins the newly integrated US Marines in the late 1950's. He was possibly the first African-American US Marine sent to US embassy duty in Rangoon, Burma. In Burma, he meets Audrey's mother, whose heritage is a mixture of European and South Asian ancestry (Anglo-Indian-Burmese). Learn more about Audrey and her stories: www.audreyTwilliams.com.
Dera Williams lives, works, and plays in the Oakland/Bay Area, California. She is a writer, editor, mentor, researcher, and family historian. She is active in local literary and national literary whose writing includes (fiction) novel and short story writing and (nonfiction) academic, article, essay, memoir, book reviewing, and blogging. She is in the process of compiling a collection of childhood memories, In My Backyard: Stories of Growing Up in Oakland, for which she is seeking publication. She is researching and writing her family history in Arkansas. This Cali girl is proud of her Southern roots while she heeds the whispers of her ancestors’ stories.