TAYO BASQUIAT is a writer, teacher, trail runner, scavenger, and Wilderness First Responder. He recently gave up tenure as a philosophy professor to pursue an MFA in creative writing at the University of Wyoming. Tayo’s work has appeared in Superstition Review, On Second ThoughtNorthern Plains Ethics Journal, the Cheat River Review, and in a growing portfolio as producer of Wyoming Public Media’s “Spoken Words” podcast.

JUDE HOPKINS taught composition, news writing, and news editing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and composition at various other schools in New York state and California. Her essays and poetry have been published in The Los Angeles Times, skirt! Magazine, California Quarterly, Grey Sparrow Journal and Timber Creek Review.

ANNABEL LANG is a writer living in Chicago by way of the Carolinas. She is the co-founder and co-curator of Junior Varsity, a public workshop and variety show. She also has also participates and leads writing workshops through Wasted Pages, the workshop series formerly housed at CHI-PRC. As a performer, she has been featured around Chicago, most notably at the Neo-Futurist Theater. She has essays featured or forthcoming in Jet Fuel Review, American Chordata, and Cosmonauts Avenue. In all likelihood, if you are from Chicago, she has either served your coffee or sold you a book sometime in the last four years.

ANN MAHDAVI is a Franco-American writer based in the UK. She is a graduate from the Creative Writing MSc program at the University of Edinburgh and is currently working on a collection of short stories, whilst teaching and lecturing.

ALISON POWELL is a poet, essayist, and scholar of Romantic era poetry. Her creative work has recently appeared in journals including American Literary Review, Black Warrior Review, Copper Nickel, Michigan Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Public Space, and more; she has recently received fellowships from VCCA and the Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology. Her first book of poems, On the Desire to Levitate, won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and was published by Ohio University Press in 2014. Recent scholarship includes a chapter on depictions of play in Wordsworth’s epic autobiographical poem The Prelude (1805), in Children’s Play in Literature: Investigating the Strengths and Subversions of the Playing Child (Routledge). She is Assistant Professor of Poetry at Oakland University and faculty adviser of the undergraduate literary journal The Oakland Arts Review. Originally from Indiana, Powell now lives in Michigan with her husband and their son and daughter. ☆ Judge Hanif Adurraqib selected “Already We Are Less Than Ever Before,” as winner of Proximity’s 2018 Personal Essay Prize.

JONI RENEE is an artist from rural Oregon. Her work has been shared on such diverse stages as The Moth in Portland, the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa, California, and the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn in partnership with the Morpheus Youth ProjectHer writing explores themes of nature, family, and the queer body, and has appeared or is forthcoming in EclecticaPivotSmeuseSuperstition ReviewxoJane, and The Write LaunchHer poetry chapbook, Your Full Real Name, was published in 2017.

ROBERT WALLACE has published over fifty personal essays, many of them in the Raleigh News & Observer. He has two essays forthcoming in Cagibi. He is also the author of over 35 fiction stories in journals such as The North Carolina Literary Review, The Bryant Literary Review, The Long Story, The International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, and others. He is the author of the novel A Hold on Time. He has critiqued fiction and nonfiction manuscripts for the NC Writers’ Network since 2000. Wallace has received a Writer’s Fellowship from the NC Arts Council.

Essay prize judge HANIF ABDURRAQIB is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His writing has been published in The The New Yorker, The New York Times, and PEN American, among other journals. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He is also the author of The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, his first full-length collection of poetry, named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize and nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing. His next books are Go Ahead In The Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest, due out in 2019 by University of Texas Press, and They Don’t Dance No’ Mo’, due out in 2020 by Random House.