In memory of our co-founder, Harriet Williams, an Emerging Writer Program was established in 2016 and named in her honor. This program is a fitting legacy for Harriet who, 35 years ago formed The Literary Women Committee to ensure that the works of established women authors would be introduced to a greater reading public. It was to continue her vision that the Harriet Williams Emerging Writer Program was created.
This Program allows Literary Women Committee to focus on our mission to support and encourage new writers of talent and promise by selecting individuals from the local University, City College and Pen, USA to attend the Festival of Women Authors. We are particularly grateful for a recent grant from The Port of Long Beach enabling us to invite previous Emerging Writers to the Festival of Authors in March.
We hope these Emerging Writers will be encouraged to continue to pursue literary aspirations as envisioned by our Festival founders
Southern Californian, Rebecca Komathy, is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from California State University, Long Beach. Formerly an editorial assistant for the Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency, she is currently the Co-Editor-In Chief of CSULB’s literary journal RipRap. Her short story Arroz Y Dulce was published in Lunch Ticket. Being a huge foodie, she threads elements of food into all her narratives and hopes to make her readers feel a bit hungry for more.
Chinyere Nwodim, a 2017 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, currently lives in Los Angeles and is working on a short story collection. She was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Johns Hopkins University where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology and history of science. In addition to her writing, Chinyere works in development at a regional community health center serving low-income population in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Marilyn Ramirez was raised in Pico Rivera and is pursuing her BA in both Creative Writing and Rhetoric and Composition at California State University, Long Beach. She provides ongoing writing instruction through two institutions on campus: the Writer’s Resource Lab, as a tutor, and the Daily 49er, as the Opinions Editor. While she isn’t working on her collection of short stories, Marilyn can be found bundled up, eating wings, and watching reruns of Law and Order: SVU.
Marytza K. Rubio is a writer from Santa Ana, Callifornia. She was a 2008 PEN Center Emerging Voices Fellow and the 2010 Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholar in Fiction. Her work has appeared in Los Angeles Times, Slice Magazine, The Normal School; and in the fiction anthologies Choose Wisely and Exigencies. Marytza holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Latin American Studies and is the founder of Makara Center for the Arts, a nonprofit library and art center based in her hometown.Visit Marytza K. Rubio’s website ›
Linda Shaw is a current student at Long Beach City College. Her poem, The Craving, has been published in the school’s literary journal SAGA. She is from Compton, California and enjoys volunteering for the city program YouthBuild, working on her novel, and eating a nice slice of pizza–topped with jalapenos.
Raised in Torrance, California, Jessica Shoemaker earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a 2017 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, and her fiction has appeaered in Blue Skirt Productions, Fiction Southeast, and Lunch Ticket. Jessica now lives in San Pedro, teaches middle school and is working on a collection of short stories.
Alexandra Umlas was raised in Long Beach and is currently an MFA student at California State University, Long Beach, where she is a teaching assistant in the English Department. Her poems and essays have appeared in F(r)iction, Mothers Always Write, Modern Loss, and the Southeast Review Online, among others. She currently lives in Huntington Beach with her husband and two daughters.