Detroit Working Writers-Inspirational Writing Workshop
(DWW –IWW) Series Moderator Profile Backgrounder
Co Abatt (November 22 – DWW-IWW #2 – Oakland County – Oak
Feature Writing Park Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Co Abatt is a freelance writer who wrote/edited for Observer & Eccentric newspapers, Flair Magazine, Signature Magazine, Style Magazine (feature stories). She also wrote and edited wedding guides and spring and fall Home & Fashion special sections for Eccentric Newspapers Advertising Department. One section took first place in a national competition. Abatt worked as a reporter for Observer & Eccentric Newspapers plus the section editor (arts). Other editing experiences included serving as 1 of 5 editors of Century of Voices published by DWW in celebration of its 100th anniversary. For the Beaumont Hospital Art Advisory Committee, Abatt edited the Beaumont Art Tour Guide. She received the MCACA Governor’s Media Honor Roll Award and several DWW Spring Readings Competition awards. Additional leadership experience included serving as Cranbrook Writers’ Guild president. Abatt recently completed a book of short stories including fiction and non-fiction. In addition, she is editing a publication for Northbrook Presbyterian Church on faith-based experiences and working on a collection of family stories. Abatt is an ideal moderator for the DWW-IWW feature writing workshop because she has also taught feature writing for Cranbrook PM Adult Ed Series, Schoolcraft College and Oakland University Extension.
Jean Alicia Elster (November 29 – DWW-IWW #3 – Wayne County – Detroit
Young Adult Public Library – Main Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Jean Alicia Elster, B.A., J.D., is the author of the middle grade novel, Who’s Jim Hines?, released in August 2008. She is also the author of the children’s book series, “Joe Joe in the City”. The first volume in that series, Just Call Me Joe Joe, was released in October 2001 and is now in its second printing. The remaining volumes are: I Have A Dream, Too! (May, 2002), I’ll Fly My Own Plane (September, 2002), and I’ll Do the Right Thing (January, 2003). She was awarded the 2002 Governors’ Emerging Artist Award by ArtServe Michigan in recognition of the series. I’ll Do the Right Thing was awarded the 2004 Atlanta Daily World Atlanta Choice Award in the category of children’s books. A professional writer, Elster edited several books. Those titles include The Death Penalty and The Outbreak of the Civil War, as well as Building Up Zion’s Walls: Ministry for Empowering the African American Family and Playbook for Christian Manhood: 12 Key Plays for Black Teen Boys. In addition, her essays have appeared in national publications including Ms., World Vision, Black Child, and Christian Science Sentinel magazines. She also collaborated in the preparation of the manuscript for Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialog with Today’s Youth, by Rosa Parks, which was honored with four awards including the NAACP Image Award and the Teachers’ Choice Award. Elster was awarded the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. – Rho Sigma Chapter SPIRIT Award for her efforts as an “innovative educator”. She is also the founder and president of Write Word, Inc.
DWW–IWW Series Moderator Profile Backgrounder
Cynthia Harrison (November 15 – DWW-IWW #1 – Macomb County
Memoirs Roseville Public Library 2 – 4 p.m. and
November 22 – DWW-IWW #2 – Oakland County – Oak Park Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Cynthia Harrison has been a writer for 30 years and a writing teacher for 20. She has published poetry, short stories, book reviews, magazine features, and a book of self-help for writers called Your Words, Your Story. Harrison’s short memoir “Snow Day” will be published in the Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women in December 2008. She teaches creative writing at Macomb Community College. Harrison’s online journal, “A Writer’s Diary“, enlightens readers at www.cynthiaharrison.com.
Margo LaGattuta (November 22 – DWW-IWW #2 – Oakland County – Oak
Poetry/Prose Park Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Margo LaGattuta, 2005 winner of The Mark Twain Award for her contribution to Midwestern Literature, has her MFA from Vermont College and four published collections of poetry: Embracing the Fall, The Dream Givers, Noedgelines, and Diversion Road. Her poetry and essays have been published in many national literary magazines and anthologies. She has done writer-in-the-schools residencies and teacher in-service sessions, both locally and nationally, for more than 20 years and edited eight anthologies for small presses. In 2002/2003 she received a Michigan Creative Artist’s Grant from ArtServe Michigan to complete her newest poetry collection, Bears Are Taught To Use Cameras. A two-time winner of the Midwest Poetry Award and many National Federation of State Poetry Societies Awards, she was nominated by Naomi Shihab Nye for a Pushcart Prize for her work in small press publishing. LaGattuta writes for Suburban Lifestyles in Rochester, where she creates a weekly creative nonfiction column, articles and theater reviews. She teaches writing at University of Michigan-Flint, Baker College and Oakland Community College and conducts creative writing workshops both locally and nationally.
Kathleen Ripley Leo (November 15 – DWW-IWW #1 – Macomb County
Poetry Roseville Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Kathleen Ripley Leo is the author of seven books of poems, and editor of five books of creative writing exercises for Associated Writers Association. A native of Chicago she received her MA in Latin American Literature from the University of Pittsburgh where she had the opportunity to study with Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz. Twice given a special tribute by the Michigan legislature for her work as a poet in residence in Michigan schools, Leo is an esteemed Michigan poet listed in Poets and Writers, Michigan Authors, and the Creative Writers in the Schools program of the Michigan Council for the Arts. Leo conducts writing workshops throughout the Metro Detroit area, including Macomb Community College and Schoolcraft College. She chaired the Associated Writers Programs Pedagogy Conference for six years. She is published through literary presses, and has won prizes and grants for her work, including two nominations for a Pushcart. Her books include The Old Ways, Town One South, The Circle is Assembled, and Stoney Poems. Leo’s newest book of poems is entitled Familiar Ground.
DWW–IWW Series Moderator Profile Backgrounder
Maureen McGerty (November 29 – DWW-IWW #3 – Wayne County – Detroit
Journalism Public Library – Main Library – 2 – 4 p.m.)
Maureen McGerty is a free-lance journalist and feature writer. Her work has appeared in Michigan newspapers, regional and trade magazines, and newsletters. She is a graduate of Wayne State University. She is the president of Detroit Working Writers, a Detroit 300 Heritage Organization, founded in 1900.
Marquita L. Scott (November 29 – DWW-IWW #3 – Wayne County – Detroit
Novel Writing Public Library – Main Library – 2 – 4 p.m.)
Marquita L. Scott is a native Detroiter. She has a degree in communications from Wayne State University (WSU). Scott is a member of the WSU Alumni Association and Detroit Working Writers. She has been active with the National Association of Black Journalists, Detroit Black Writers and Women in Communications. Scott is a past president of the WSU Organization of Black Alumni. Her work includes press releases and articles that have been published in corporate, community and writing organization newsletters. Short stories “December 16” appeared in Metropolitan Woman and “Perfect Ordinary Days” was a part of the Talking Walls Project at WSU. Having wanted to be part of the literary world as an author, Scott welcomed her own idea of introducing characters through a dynamic dance setting. She reasoned that her fun and exciting experience while taking dance lessons would be an excellent way for her characters Brooke, Jeff, Jade and Ivan to experience the same. Consequentially, Scott’s first novel made its debut. The Ballroom provides readers with an urban tale that is true to life, hip, cool and entertaining. Scott looks forward to sharing with others some of the experiences she had while making her dreams of writing a great American novel come true. She is currently keeping busy guiding her company, Spread Your Wings Publishing LLC, as it soars to greater heights. Scott’s second novel, Windy Nights, is scheduled for publication in 2009.
Mira Stefaniuk (November 15 – DWW-IWW #1 – Macomb County
Journaling Roseville Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Mira Stefaniuk is a writer and teacher. Non-fiction publications include more than 100 feature articles on arts, artists and creativity. Her translations of contemporary Ukrainian poetry and prose have been published in the USA, Canada, and in Ukraine. A selection of her own poetry and prose was published in a volume of Michigan authors: At the Edge of Mirror Lake. Her non-fiction story “Attending Life”, about her first hospice patient, won the DWW Spring Readings Competition Award in 1998. Formerly an adjunct instructor of geography at Wayne State University, Stefaniuk has authored numerous publications on ethnicity, the Ukrainian immigration experience and the history of the Ukrainian communities in Michigan. She now teaches “the geography of the heart and spirit.” A certified instructor of Creative Journaling Expressive Arts techniques, she has developed “writing and drawing for healing” and creative writing workshops to nurture the body, heart and spirit of both patients and caregivers. Her workshops for adults, women’s groups and children, incorporate writing and drawing with both hands, guided imagery and visualization, music, and movement.
DWW–IWW Series Moderator Profile Backgrounder
Iris Lee Underwood (November 22 – DWW-IWW #2 – Oakland County – Oak Park
The Way of a Storyteller Public Library 2 – 4 p.m.)
Iris Lee Underwood is the owner of Encouraging Words LLC and Yule Love It Lavender Farm LLC. She is a journalist, author, poet, speaker, editor, consultant, lavender farmer and artist based in north Oakland County, Michigan. In 2001, Underwood released Encouraging Words for All Seasons, a colorful paperback including 72 essays published in the Oxford Leader sketching the happiness and hardships of family life. Published in July 2007, Growing Lavender and Other Poems is a collection of Underwood’s poetry illustrating the power of nature and art to heal grief and inspire dreams and creativity. Underwood has publications in various local and national magazines, literary and nature journals, art exhibits and business brochures. Hundreds of profile/feature articles and columns carried her byline in various newspapers: Oxford Leader, Romeo Observer, Tri-City Times, Oakland Press, The Detroit News, Lake Orion/Oxford Eccentric, Royal Oak Tribune, Grand Rapids Press, and Kentucky’s Matewan Bullet and Appalachian News Express. Underwood is the Writer in Residence at the Troy Public Library, graduate of Oakland University and Past-President of Detroit Working Writers. Underwood’s professional mission as a writer is to encourage people to write their story and leave their legacy.
*Note: Workshops are free but pre registration is required by one week in advance. Light refreshments will be served.
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