Jack Straw Cultural Center











Jack Straw Writers Program

The Jack Straw Writers Program was created in 1997 to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio; to develop their presentation skills for both live and recorded readings; to encourage the creation of new literary work; to present the writers and their work in live readings, an anthology, on the web, and on the radio; and to build community among writers.

The 2021 Jack Straw Writers / Jack Straw Writers Events

Each year twelve writers/writing teams are selected by a curator out of dozens of applicants, based on artistic excellence, diversity of literary genres, and a cohesive grouping of writers. The program features voice and presentation training, in-studio interviews, public readings, a published anthology, and podcasts. Live readings are recorded, and selected portions are produced for podcasts and radio broadcast.

To date, the Jack Straw Writers Program has included over 300 writers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond who represent a diverse range of literary genres. Writers Program participants have included novelist Harold Taw (2011); Washington Poets Laureate Elizabeth Austen (2003), Kathleen Flenniken (2002), and Claudia Castro Luna (2014); legendary Litmus Inc. founder Charles Potts (2007); author Cheryl Strayed (2007); Seattle Civic Poets Jourdan Imani Keith (2006) and Anastacia-Renée (2014); Stranger Genius Award recipient for poetry John Olson (2004); Floating Bridge Press founder Peter Pereira (2001); Writers In The Schools founder Kip Robinson-Greenthal (2000), and humorist David Schmader (1998).

Top row: 2009-2017 Jack Straw Writers reading, writing, and recording at Jack Straw Cultural Center (photos by Sherwin Eng); Bottom row, L-R: 2015 Jack Straw Writers (photo by Levi Fuller); 2012 Jack Straw Writers at the Royal Room with the Bushwick Book Club Seattle (photos by Melissa Thompson); 2018 Jack Straw Writers at Jack Straw with the Bushwick Book Club Seattle; 2017 Jack Straw Writer Wancy Young Cho reading at the Jack Straw May Reading Series

2021 Jack Straw Writers Program

The 2021 Jack Straw Writers, selected by Curator E. J. Koh, are S. Erin Batiste, C.R. Glasgow, Patrycja Humienik, Grace Jahng Lee, José Luis Montero, Greg November, Tochukwu Okafor, Michael Overa, Paulette Perhach, Abi Pollokoff, Kristie Song, and Daniel Tam-Claiborne.

Purchase the 2021 Jack Straw Writers Anthology from our friends at Open Books

E. J. Koh
2021 Writers Program Curator E. J. Koh, a 2016 Jack Straw Writers Program fellow, is the author of the memoir The Magical Language of Others (Tin House Books, 2020) and poetry collection A Lesser Love (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize for Poetry. Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Academy of American PoetsBoston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, PEN America, Slate, and World Literature Today. Koh is the recipient of The Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing from Prairie Schooner and has received fellowships from the American Literary Translators Association, Kundiman, MacDowell Colony, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. She is the editor for Pleiades: Poetry by Korean American Women and has appeared in anthologies: Bettering American Poetry Vol. 3, Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics, Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on Politics of Identity, and The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit. Koh earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. She is completing her PhD at the University of Washington in English Language and Literature.

S. Erin Batiste is an interdisciplinary poet and author of Glory to All Fleeting Things. In 2021 this year, she is the recipient of PERIPLUS, Jack Straw Writers, and the dots between fellowships, and is a Writer in Residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA, Prairie Ronde, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Batiste is a reader for The Rumpus and her own Pushcart nominated poems are anthologized and appear internationally in Michigan Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and wildness among other decorated journals.

C. R. Glasgow is a non-binary, queer, first-generation Afro-Caribbean. Doc serves as writer, psychologist, spiritual creative, and public speaker.  Doc has been writing since 7 years old, beginning with poetry.  Doc won the NYC Borough President’s Award at the age of 10. Doc’s creative offerings compel the audience to feel the inseparability of composer and audience through time-bending arresting imagery, daring questioning, bold answers, and abstract glimpses of the mundane.  Previous publications in Butch is Not a Dirty Word, Issue 6, “These Roots,” The Arrow Journal “Con*cept*ion” (Blogs & Essays -October 27, 2020) and upcoming pieces in anthologies Refuge in the Storm: Voices in Buddhist Crisis Care and Afrikan Wisdom: New Voices Speak Black Liberation, Buddhism and Beyond. 

Patrycja Humienik, daughter of Polish immigrants, is a writer and performer based in Seattle, WA. Her poetry is featured/forthcoming in Passages North, BOAAT JournalPoetry Northwest, Redivider, Four Way Review, SporkletGuesthouse, and elsewhere. Patrycja works in the University of Washington's Office of Equity & Justice in Graduate Programs, and serves as Events Director for The Seventh Wave and an Assistant Poetry Editor for Newfound

Born stateless in Seoul and raised on four continents, Grace Jahng Lee is working on a novel and an essay collection. Fragmented identities, memory, intergenerational trauma, and home are central themes in her writing. Her writing has been supported by VONA, Kundiman, Yaddo, Bread Loaf, Jentel, Hedgebrook, Caldera, AIR Budapest, Hambidge, the Paden Institute, the Jerome Foundation, the Brooklyn Arts Council, NYFA, Women Who Submit, and others. She is the managing editor at Guernica and the creative nonfiction and health editor at Hyphen.

José Luis Montero is passionate about storytelling regardless of the medium. After dabbling in radio, photography and filmmaking, he recently turned his artistic attention towards the written word, both in English and Spanish. Born and raised in Mexico, but having lived most of his adult life in Seattle pursuing a career in software engineering, he is the embodiment of contradiction: someone who is proud of nurturing both hemispheres of his brain, but tormented by the dilemma of balancing his passion for technology with his innate call to contemplate and create beauty. He earned a certificate in Literary Fiction from University of Washington and a Master in Narrative from Escuela de Escritores in Madrid. Upon his return from Spain, he worked as a production intern for Copper Canyon Press and for a couple of years served as president of Seattle Escribe, a nonprofit promoting Spanish literature in Washington state. Currently, he serves on the board of Seattle City of Literature and is an assistant editor of poetry for Narrative Magazine. 

Originally from the northeast, Greg November has called the northwest his home since 2010. He earned his MFA at UC, Irvine and teaches writing at North Seattle College and Highline College. His stories have appeared most recently in Boulevard, Carve, Epiphany, and Juked. He reads submissions for New England Review and was a finalist for the 2020 Curt Johnson Prose Award in Fiction.

Tochukwu Okafor is a Nigerian writer whose work has appeared in the 2018 Best of the Net, the 2019 Best Small FictionsThe Guardian, Harvard’s Transition Magazine, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. He is a 2021 Frank Conley Memorial Scholar, a 2021 Albertina Tholakele Dube Scholar for Young Writers, a 2021 Longleaf Writers Conference BIPOC Scholar, and an alumnus of the 2021 Tin House Workshop. He is also a 2018 Rhodes Scholar finalist, a 2018 Kathy Fish Fellow, and winner of the 2017 Short Story Day Africa Prize for Short Fiction. He has been shortlisted for the 2017 Awele Creative Trust Award, the 2016 Problem House Press Short Story Prize, the 2016 Southern Pacific Review Short Story Prize, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He was a member of the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Writing Workshop and the 2015 Association of Nigerian Authors Creative Writing Workshop. He holds a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and has received scholarships and fellowship grants from the Worcester Arts Council, Kundiman, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Etisalat (now 9mobile), the MTN Foundation, Grub Street, Fishtrap, Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, and Exxon Mobil. He lives in Worcester, USA, and is at work on a novel and a story collection. He is on Twitter @toch_okafor and Instagram @tochukwu_okafor.

Michael Overa was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. An erstwhile bartender, Michael completed his MFA at Hollins University in Virginia before returning to Seattle. After working as a writer-in-resident with Seattle’s Writers In the Schools (WITS) program for five years, Michael transitioned to teaching composition at Shoreline Community College and Edmonds College. As a short story writer, Michael has published over thirty short stories and two collections of short stories, This Endless Road and The Filled In Spaces (Unsolicited Press). He is currently at work on his first novel No Way Home. His stories have been published in The Portland Review, The Heartland Review, Crosscurrents, and East Bay Review, among others.

Paulette Perhach is an award-winning writer and writing coach. Her work has been in The New York TimesSlateHobart, The Journal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Vice. She’s best known for writing the globally viral essay A Story of a Fuck Off Fund and for her book, Welcome to the Writer’s Life, which Poets & Writers selected for its list of Best Books for Writers. She continues the conversation at WelcomeToTheWritersLife.com. You can write with her every morning through her meditation and freewriting group, called A Very Important Meeting, by signing up at AVeryImportantMeeting.com.

Abi Pollokoff is a Seattle-based writer and book artist with work in Denver Quarterly, Foundry, Poetry Northwest, and Black Warrior Review, among others. She has held fellowships or residencies with the Hugo House, the Seattle Review of Books, and more. Abi is the events manager for Open Books: A Poem Emporium, the managing editor for Poetry Northwest Editions, and a content director in visual communications. She received her MFA from the University of Washington.

Kristie Song is a Chinese American writer, journalist, and illustrator from Southern California. She is a graduate student at UC Berkeley and is usually thinking about lost memories, childhood scraps, and her multilingual upbringing for her stories. 

Daniel Tam-Claiborne is the author of What Never Leaves and a contributor to the literary anthology, While We’re Here. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Hub, The Huffington Post, Kitchen Work, The Shanghai Literary Review, and elsewhere. He has received honors and scholarships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, Kundiman, and the Yiddish Book Center. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, Yale University, and the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. A Fulbright Research Scholar based in Taiwan, Daniel is currently writing a novel about identity, migration, and belonging, set against the backdrop of contemporary U.S.-China relations.


Jack Straw Cultural Center gratefully acknowledges Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Copyright 2020 Jack Straw CulturalCenter ~ All rights reserved

About the podcasts

Jack Straw Cultural Center produces SoundPages, a podcast featuring excerpts from live readings and interviews highlighting literary artists from the Jack Straw Writers Program.



Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2020 Writers
2016 Writers
2015 Writers
2014 Writers
2012 Writers
2011 Writers

2009 Writers
2008 Writers
2007 Writers
2006 Writers
2005 Writers
2004 Writers
List of writers to date

Jack Straw Writers Program Events

Jack Straw Writers at It's About Time Reading Series

Thursday, October 14, 6pm
Zoom registration required
With C.R. Glasgow, Patrycja Humienik, Greg November, Paulette Perhach, and Kristie Song


Jack Straw Reading Series
Streaming Live via Facebook
Hosted by Curator E. J. Koh

Friday, May 7 (archived recording): Abi Pollokoff, C. R. Glasgow, Paulette Perhach, and Patrycja Humienik

Friday, May 14 (archived recording): Kristie Song, S. Erin Batiste, José Luis Montero, and Greg November

Friday, May 21, 7pm (archived recording): Grace Jahng Lee, Daniel Tam-Claiborne, and Michael Overa