Book Project Fellows

Book Project Fellow 2020-2022

Selected by publishing expert Shana Kelly, Nami Thompson is an artist-activist who was born and raised in New York. In 1992, she staged a well-attended wedding and later counseled her Barbie dolls in an amicable divorce. Nami is a 2019 Tin House Scholar, recipient of the Boulder County Multicultural Award for Excellence in Public Health, and has received grants from the Boulder County Arts Alliance and Dr. Robin Diangelo in conjunction with Education for Equity. Her craft is informed by three years of study of Commedia dell'Arte and theatre of the oppressed. Nami's work negotiates the struggle between optimism and realism, and it is a search for satisfactory outcomes in a world which offers few, if any. Nami's writing functions as a broad social critique of US American society through the lens of her bicultural upbringing. That is to say, she writes because she's trying to figure out why white people eat dinner so damn early.

Honorable Mention 2020-2022

Becca Andrews is a reporter at Mother Jones, where she writes about reproductive rights and gender. Her debut work of nonfiction, No Choice, based on her Mother Jones cover story about the past, present, and future of Roe v. Wade, will be published by PublicAffairs in 2022. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism and previously wrote for newspapers in her home state of Tennessee.

Writing in Color Book Project Fellow 2020-2022

Jeneé was born and raised Rochester, NY. She has a dual degree from SUNY Brockport in Dance and Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in the Linden Avenue Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Passages North (Spring 2021).  She attended a residency at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and received fellowships from Tin House Summer Workshop and Kimbilio Writers Retreat. Currently, she's working on an historical fiction novel that's an epic family saga dealing with Igbo culture, magical realism, the African-diaspora, Christianity, and chattel slavery. When she's not writing you can find her working at the library, watching anime, taking Zumba, cooking, or contemplating if she should get a turtle. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Book Project Cielo Fellow 2020-2022

John J. Lennon is a contributing editor for Esquire and a contributing writer for The Marshall Project. He is also a prisoner in his nineteenth year of incarceration, currently in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Ossining, New York. In 2001, at age twenty-four, deep in the drug game, John shot and killed a man on a Brooklyn street. He was found guilty of second degree murder and drug sales and received a sentence of twenty-eight years to life. At Attica Corretional Facility, John joined a creative writing workshop, taught by a volunteer English professor from Hamilton College. In 2013, he published his first essay in The Atlantic. Journalism meshed with memoir has since become his signature style. To date, he has published feature essays in Esquire, New York Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Men’s Health, The Washington Post Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. In 2019, John was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in feature writing for his Esquire feature “This Place Is Crazy”; this same essay was later anthologized in the 2019’s Best American Magazine Writing. He was also a finalist for the Molly National Journalism Prize for “Spying on Attica” and “A Turbulent Mind,” which The Marshall Project published in collaboration with Vice and New York Magazine, respectively. In 2020, John’s story “The Apology Letter” appeared in The Washington Post Magazine’s special prison issue, which won a National Magazine Award for single topic publication. John J. Lennon is also the host of Podcast One’s “This Is a Collect Call from Sing Sing.”

Book Project Teaching Fellow 2020-2022

Melissa Alvarado Sierra is a Puerto Rican writer and sailor, and she splits her time between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. A former travel writer for Lonely Planet, she explored the Caribbean with her mariner husband for years, looking for remarkable experiences in paradise. But the natural disasters and severe economic and political upheavals in Puerto Rico pushed Melissa to use her writing as activism, her work now touching on colonialism, sexism, racism, and social disparities. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Catapult, ZORA, The Caribbean Writer, and The Puerto Rico Review. She wrote a chapter for a book by The New Press about environmental justice in Vieques. Her academic book, La narrativa activista de Rosario Ferré, about feminism and national identity in Puerto Rican literature, is coming out in 2020 from McGraw-Hill Spain. Melissa earned a Master’s in Latin American Literature from the University of Barcelona and an MFA in writing from the Mountainview program at SNHU.

Book Project Fellow 2019-2021

Twanna LaTrice Hill has been selected for the second annual Book Project Fellowship by publishing expert and former agent Shana M. Kelly. Twanna has been a writer since she could first scribble her imaginings to paper. She is also an actor who has most recently appeared in productions with the Denver Theater of the Oppressed, the PHAMALy Theater Company and the Education Department of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She earned a BA in Russian from Princeton University with concentrations in Creative Writing and Theater & Dance. She has an MA in Soviet Studies from Harvard University and a Master's in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. In Russia, Twanna studied at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow, and Leningrad State University in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Twanna is dedicated to ending violence in all its forms, especially sexual violence. She has been reading tarot cards since 1984 and is a die-hard Denver Broncos fan. Twanna lives in Denver, CO, and shares her life with her service dog, Roxi.

2019-2021 Honorable Mention

Meg Foley attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned degrees in English Literature and Chinese Language and Culture, and then went on to use neither of them. Since graduating, she has worked as a nanny, an advocate for people with disabilities, a paralegal, a manager at a roofing company, and an office administrator, during which time she’s developed a good sense of humor about her past self’s career expectations. When she isn't job hopping, Meg spends her free time working on her first novel, a fantasy. 

2019-2021 Honorable Mention

Brett Randell is a writer, musician, and traveler based out of Denver, CO. He spent the last decade performing and working around the world, released 4 CDs, and played music in over 15 countries—in venues, on rooftops, at yoga festivals, bars, living rooms, and beyond. Outside of art, he is a freelance copywriter working with women's empowerment and diversity thought leaders. Brett's poetry has appeared in Stain’d Magazine, Interkors, and The Blue Lake Review.