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The Editor-Writer Mentorship: promoting voices from the margins

Our 2023 Editor-Writer Mentees!

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2023 Picture Book Mentee

Taunya English honed her storytelling craft as a radio reporter, a career that teaches you to write for the ear and that every word counts. As the daughter of an early-education specialist, becoming a picture book creator feels like joining the family business: encouraging a love of language and literature – in all its forms. Taunya is a volunteer naturalist in Maryland, where she sloshes through wetlands and peeks under decaying logs to interpret nature for kids. Gathering the sights and sounds from those outdoor adventures is her favorite writing research. Taunya’s mission: More green stories from Black writers.

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2023 Picture Book Mentee

Shuchi Mehta is an Indian-American author by night and a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist by day. She has written for various publications, including Seattle Magazine, Seattle Bride, Masala Mommas, and Saathee Magazine, but her true passion is writing for children. She is a member of SCBWI and enjoys attending writing workshops in her free time. Drawing from her roots in India, her stories address various elements of Indian culture and explore the boundless realms of humanity that connect us all through themes like gratitude and finding your inner strength.

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2023 Picture Book Mentee

Deneen Reynolds-Knott is thrilled to teach Writing for the Screen this semester. A dramatic writer living in Brooklyn, New York, she received her MFA in film from Columbia University and has written/produced short films and web series. Her play BABES IN HO-LLAND will be produced by the Shotgun Players in Winter 2024. She was recently commissioned by Florida Studio Theatre to write her play, BITING THE HAND. Her outdoor play, SHOEBOX PICNIC ROAD SIDE: ROUTE ONE, had its World Premiere at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Fall 2021. She contributed work to 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company’s Telephone Plays, True Colors’ 2022 Next Narrative Monologue Competition and The Billie Holiday Theatre’s 50in50: Shattering the Glass Ceiling. Deneen was a member of Clubbed Thumb’s 2019-2020 Early-Career Writers’ Group and received the 2021 Clubbed Thumb Constitution Commission. She participated in SPACE at Ryder Farm’s Family Residency in Summer 2022. Deneen is a New Georges affiliated artist and developed projects with Liberation Theatre Company, Project Y, Rising Circle and Frank Silvera Workshop.

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2023 Chapter Book Mentee

Cynthia Harmony is an author and educational psychologist, originally from Mexico City. She's the author of picture books MI CIUDAD SINGS, MI CIUDAD CANTA (2022) and A FLICKER OF HOPE (2024) published by Penguin Random House and a board book OUR WORLD: MEXICO (2023). She's excited to write for older kids to share more diverse stories through the fun world of Chapter Books

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2023 Middle Grade Mentee

Sasha Thomas is a Caribbean-American author and designer residing in Massachusetts with her partner, their cats, and a pair of real-life gremlins. With a B.F.A. in Fashion Design, she currently runs a costume shop. She enjoys writing both contemporary and speculative stories, focusing on underrepresented characters who are often overlooked. She is a recipient of the NESCBWI Windows and Mirrors Award, and she proudly carries the title of a self-proclaimed gremlin whisperer. When she isn’t working, she loves to travel, read, and get lost in nature.

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2023 Young Adult Mentee

Angela M. Sánchez (they/she) is a Mexican American writer from Los Angeles. They were staffed on Disney Television Animation’s upcoming series PRIMOS and have written on AppleTV+’s acclaimed STILLWATER, Nick Jr.’s RUBBLE & CREW, and over a dozen episodes for Moonbug’s GECKO’S GARAGE. Angela is also a 2018 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow and Las Musas alum. The Los Angeles Times has featured their picture book, Scruffy and the Egg, which tackles topics of family homelessness and single-parenthood. Angela’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, SOLRAD, LAist,, and The Hechinger Report. They are currently co-editing the upcoming comics anthology, From Cocinas to Lucha Libre Ringsides: Latinographix Stories of Sports, Food & Madness, and have been interviewed for the New York Times, NBC News, LA Weekly, and La Opinión, among others.


2023 Young Adult Mentee

Belen Medina, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, was born and raised in California’s Central Valley. She spent her childhood summers with her extended family in Mexico and takes inspiration from her heritage to create stories and pictures. Still a Californian at heart, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, who prefer reading anything but her rough drafts. Her debut picture book, Daughter of the Light-Footed People, will be released in the summer of 2024.

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2023 Adult Romance Mentee

Edwina Joe-Kamara is a neurodivergent, first-generation Sierra-Leonean American woman. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a B.A. in English with minors in Creative Writing and Fine Art in May 2022. She currently works for Princeton University Art Museum, welcoming visitors and educating them on contemporary artists and their works.

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2023 Adult Fiction Mentee

Ebonie Ledbetter is a creative writer from Atlanta whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Root, and Essence. Ebonie is the editor of two textbooks: Perspectives on Modern World History: Hurricane Katrina and Media Bias: Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints. She received her MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco and her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Florida A&M University. In 2023, she was selected to attend the Tin House Summer Workshop. She currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida, where she works as an academic editor.

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