The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Piper Writers Studio Showcase
Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
The Newton, 300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Come together with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing for an informal reception and short group reading celebrating the students and faculty of the Piper Writers Studio on Sunday, December 17, 2017 from 6 to 8 pm at the Newton (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016).

Featuring a mix of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from Piper Writers Studio Faculty and Students Andrea Avery, Venita Blackburn, David Blythe (Alex Inoue), Howard Gershkowitz, Heather Horvat Atwood, Yvette Johnson, Meghan Krein, Elizabeth Meadows, Katrina Shawver, Susan Stenson, and Kimberly Williams.

Light refreshments will be provided.

The Piper Writers Studio offers intimate creative writing classes and workshops to help writers advance their craft, achieve their goals, and grow as creative writers and human beings. Classes are not-for-credit and are open to the community. For more information and to browse upcoming classes, visit

About the Author(s): 

Andrea Avery is the author of Sonata: A Memoir of Pain and the Piano, which describes her experiences growing up as an aspiring pianist even after a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis at age 12. Her writing has been published in Ploughshares, Real Simple, The Oxford American, and The Politics of Women’s Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. She was the winner of Real Simple’s 2010 essay contest and a finalist in Glamour magazine’s essay contest. She holds a BA in music, an MFA in creative writing, and a doctorate in education from Arizona State University. She teaches English at Phoenix Country Day School and is an active volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation. She is working on a novel.

Works by Venita Blackburn have appeared in American Short Fiction, the Georgia Review, Pleiades, Madison Review, Bat City Review, Nashville Review, Smoke Long Quarterly, Café Irreal, Santa Monica Review, Faultline, Devil’s Lake Review, Nat.Brut., Bellevue Literary Review, audio download through Bound Off, and others. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship in 2014 and three Pushcart prize nominations. In 2016 she received the Prairie Schooner book prize in fiction 2016, which will result in the publication of her collected stories, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, in 2017. Her home town is Compton, California, but she now lives and teaches in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned her MFA from Arizona State University in 2008, and is finishing a new novel, Guts.

Yvette Johnson is the Executive Director of the Booker Wright Project. She is also an accomplished filmmaker, writer, blogger, workshop facilitator, and speaker. She co-produced the feature-length documentary film, Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story, which had its 2012 world premiered in New York City at the internationally recognized Tribeca Film Festival.

Not only did the film open to rave reviews, it was also the recipient of numerous awards including the 2013 International Cinema in Industry: Documentary Gold Award, the 2013 FOCAL International Award for Best Use of Footage in a Factual Production, and the 34th Annual Telly Silver Award for Social Issues.

Over the years, Johnson has blogged about current events, her family, and her questions about bias in America, and in 2013, one of the world’s largest publishing companies, Simon and Schuster, purchased publishing rights to her story. Ms. Johnson’s widely anticipated book, The Song and the Silence about her upbringing, the town that first coveted, then eventually crushed her family, and of course, her grandfather, Booker Wright’s brave and defiant legacy will be published on May 1, 2017.

In her role as the Executive Director of The Booker Wright Project, Johnson has facilitated workshops on unconscious bias for various organizations including the Tempe Police Department and the Flagstaff Police Department.

Johnson has also spoken extensively to different groups about the importance of rediscovering our shared humanity, the freedom that comes with recognizing our unconscious biases, and why it’s so dangerous to vilify those who once stood on the wrong side of history.