Since our official launch on April 1, 2017, Birds & Muses has worked with more than 60 writers in 20 states and 13 countries. We’re delighted to introduce you to some of our writers and their current projects.
Suzanne Biro is a writer as well as a public health researcher and adjunct lecturer. Her fiction writing was shortlisted for the 2015 Montreal Summer Literary Series Flash Fiction contest, and was runner up in the 2016 Little Bird Contest. Her poetry has been published in Lake Effect 8, and Unlost Journal. A weekly food columnist for two community newspapers in Ontario and British Columbia for several years, Suzanne writes a food blog that is really more about the challenges of staying married, but with a recipe tacked on, usually for a stiff cocktail. Her story collection in progress illuminates the social determinants of health. She is also writing to discover intersections between science and art, uniting her chosen passions: research and creative writing. Suzanne lives in Ontario, Canada, halfway between Montreal and Toronto, in the tiny hamlet of Wilton.
Kathy Bratkowski is a fiction writer and film producer/director. Her fiction has appeared in Old Northeast Review and Drunk Monkeys. She has an M.F.A. in Fiction from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She is the recipient of eleven Mid-America Emmy Awards for her documentaries and shorts, and her films have been featured in the New York Television Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival. She is working on a set of character-driven stories linked by place, a river town in the Midwest that was the site of an environmental catastrophe.
S. Isabel Choi
A lawyer by training, S. Isabel Choi is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize and recognized with a Notable Mention in The Best American Essays series, her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Slice, Fourth Genre, Ninth Letter, and The Rumpus. Isabel is at work on a memoir about the avoidance of pain and grief from the premature deaths of the women in her family, only to find that she must confront this legacy of loss and illness when she becomes a mother. Her book was inspired by the story of her grandfather, the Chief Justice of South Korea’s Supreme Court who crossed one river during the Korean War to escape a death march—and leapt into another river decades later to take his own life.
A recipient of a Vermont Arts Council Development Grant and a Vermont Studio Center Merit Grant, Melissa Cronin’s work has appeared inThe Washington Post, Narratively Magazine, Brevity, Saranac Review, and more. She is completing a memoir about anger and forgiveness based on the 2003 Santa Monica Farmers Market Crash, and is working on her first novel: the story of a nurse who falls victim to a sociopath, testing her perennial belief that self worth comes from caring for others. A freelance writer and journalist, Melissa lives with her husband in Vermont.
Maureen Cummins is a visual artist who has been combing text and imagery in the form of artist's books for the past 30 years. The project she is working on as part of Bookgardan is titled Ghost Diary. The book explores—through the discovery of how and why her mother took her own life—the way in which stories create our reality and lived experience.
Marcia DeSanctis is the New York Times bestselling author of 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go (Travelers’ Tales/Solas House, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Vogue, Town & Country, BBC Travel, Departures, and Travel & Leisure and has also written for Marie Claire, The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, LitHub, O the Oprah Magazine, Architectural Digest, The Sunday Telegraph, Tin House and many other publications. The recipient of five Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism for her essays from Rwanda, Haiti, Morocco, France, and Russia, she is working on a memoir in essays about travel.
Deirdre Gainor has produced theater, feature films, and new schools. She is a graduate of Spalding University's MFA program in Creative Writing and has taught kindergarten through high school as well as creative writing and theatre to men and women inmates in three southern California state prisons. Her fiction pieces have been included in the LA Lit Crawl, Marathon Review, Literary Yard, 13MynaBirds and the New Short Fiction Series.
Judith Haran is a psychiatrist and archivist who began writing at age sixty. Her work has appeared in The Persimmon Tree and Dark Mountain, and she is currently revising her historical novel, The House on Rusalka Street. A part-time document analyst for the Nuremberg Trials Project at Harvard Law School, Judith’s writing focuses on the period of the Second World War and the Holocaust. She lives on a farm in Massachusetts with her husband and cats.
Jeff Loeb, who lives in New York City, is presently at work on two novels and a memoir. He has published several essays over the past eighteen months: “Measuring the Seasons” and “Resurrection” in War, Literature, and the Arts; “Nakhes” and “Confiteor” in Adelaide; “Mom’s Fondest Dreams” and “Karma Is as Karma Does” in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. During the course of his previous career—teaching English in university, college, and high school—he published over fifty academic articles, personal essays, and forewords to books.
MaryLee McNeal is working on Saint Kate’s, a novel that takes place in 1958 at a girls’ boarding school on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, Utah. Three linked short stories from her manuscript Another Wyoming have been published, one nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She won the Clark Award at San Francisco State University for her unpublished novel. MaryLee has two chapbooks of poetry, The Space Between Us and The Way We Fall, and her poems have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She taught poetry in the Bay Area for many years. Now retired from teaching, she lives and writes in San Francisco.
The novel Debbie Merion is currently writing begins on January 10, 1970, when the Vietnam War is in full swing and a beautiful hippie couple are about to capture the nation's attention. Deb's work has appeared in the Barnes and Noble Review, Solstice, The Bear River Review, Hour Detroit, the Ann Arbor Observer, and Choice Magazine. She has an MFA degree from Pine Manor College and has received a Gold Medal in the Global Ebook Awards, an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Detroit Society of Professional Journalists, and was apparently a genius for ten minutes, in a story called “Mom’s a Genius” that aired on WXYZ (Detroit ABC-TV).
Websites: EssayCoaching.com, DebbieMerion.com
A former mathematical psychologist, Angela Rieck, Ph.D. is a weekly columnist for the Talbot Spy, an Internet newspaper, a primary contributor for a juried writer’s blog, The Hummingbird Post, and is currently working on a novel set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Considered by scientists to be “ground zero” for climate change in the United States, the Eastern Shore’s stunningly beautiful estuaries and rivers create a hiding place for its Jim Crow past and the CIA safe houses of its present, a place where significant numbers of residents angrily refuse the truth of changes they can see happening. Angela’s novel explores relationships crumbling under the pressure of concealment: a newly married, privileged woman from New York City is forced to navigate the residents and natural world of the Eastern Shore to uncover the husband she doesn’t know.
Mishi Saran is an author based in Hong Kong. Her first novel, The Other Side of Light, was shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Her first book, Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang, was shortlisted in 2006 for India's Hutch Crossword prize for non-fiction and long-listed for Germany’s Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage. Her short stories have won awards and been broadcast on the BBC. She has curated and co-edited two anthologies and contributed to several others. She is presently completing a novel set in Shanghai in the 1930s.
Kari Wergeland is working on a set of linked short stories about life along the Pacific Coast at the end of the twentieth century, hence the title Edgewalker. Her work has appeared in many journals, including The Delmarva Review, New Millennium Writings, Pembroke Magazine, and Calliope. Her chapbook, Breast Cancer: A Poem in Five Acts, was published by Finishing Line Press.
Patricia Zaballos is a former elementary teacher currently writing a memoir in lyric essays of the twenty years she spent homeschooling her three kids. Her essays have appeared in Mothering Magazine, Literary Mama, Life Learning Magazine and elsewhere, and she was a columnist at Home School Life Magazine. She lives with her family in Oakland, California.