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Jack Straw Writers Program

The purpose of the Jack Straw Writers Program is to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio; to encourage the creation of new literary work; and to provide new venues for the writer and their work. The program was created in 1997, and each year a single curator selects 12 writers/writing teams out of dozens of applicants based on artistic excellence, diversity of literary genres, and a cohesive grouping of writers.

Twelve writers/writing teams are selected by a curator each to participate. The program features voice and presentation training, in-studio interviews, public readings, a published anthology, and internet podcasts. All live readings are recorded, and selected portions are produced for podcasts and radio broadcast. 

To date, the Jack Straw Writers Program has included more than 150 Pacific Northwest writers who represent a diverse range of literary genres. Writers Program participants have included legendary Litmus Inc. founder Charles Potts (2007), Seattle Poet Populist Jourdan Imani Keith (2006), 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).

The 2011 Jack Straw Writers Anthology

Volume 15 of the Jack Straw Writers Anthology features new work from the twelve 2011 Jack Straw Writers: Nassim Assefi, Donald Fels, Debra Jarvis, Robert Lamirande, Anne McDuffie, Larissa Min, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Harold Taw, Ann Teplick, Nora Wendl, Katharine Whitcomb, and Maritess Zurbano.

Copies of the anthology are available for purchase at Jack Straw and the Elliott Bay Book Co. New stores will be added soon. Thank you for supporting Jack Straw's programs with your purchase!

2011 Jack Straw Writers Program

Susan Rich is the curator of the 2011 Jack Straw Writers Program.  Susan was a 2005 Jack Straw Writer. She has received awards from PEN USA, The Times Literary Supplement, and Peace Corps Writers. Her fellowships include an Artist Trust Fellowship from Washington State and a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa. She has worked as a staff person for Amnesty International, an electoral supervisor in Bosnia Herzegovina, and a human rights trainer in Gaza and the West Bank. Rich lived in the Republic of Niger, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer, later moving to South Africa to teach at the University of Cape Town on a Fulbright Fellowship. Rich’s international awards include a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and a residency at Fundación Valparaiso in Spain. Other poetry honors include a 4 Culture Award, a Seattle CityArtist Project Award, a GAP Award, and a featured reader in the Cuirt Literary Festival in Galway, Ireland.


The 2011 Jack Straw Writers are Nassim Assefi, Donald Fels, Debra Jarvis, Robert Lamirande, Anne McDuffie, Larissa Min, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Harold Taw, Ann Teplick, Nora Wendl, Katharine Whitcomb, and Maritess Zurbano. See below for some information on the projects they worked on during their Jack Straw residency.

Nassim Assefi will complete Say I Am You, her 2nd novel based on her experiences as an aid worker reconstructing health care in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Donald Fels will create a graphic non-fiction book about the history of the mining and trade of alum.

Debra Jarvis will complete Enter Wagging: Advice from a Therapy Dog, an account of her therapy dog work with her Cairn Terrier.

Robert Lamirande will continue work on his first novel, Someone Worth Knowing, a meditation on sex, depression, and panda bears.

Anne McDuffie will work on a series of pieces - inspired by a year she spent in Madrid - exploring grammar, language, and fog.

Larissa Min will work on scenes from her work-in-progress Breaking English, a non-fiction accoung of her family's double migration from Korea to Brazil and later to the U.S.

Annette Spaulding-Convy will work on a new collection of poems based thematically around the pioneer women in her ancestry, who traveled to new areas of the country as each region was opened for homesteading.

Harold Taw will complete a chapter of his novel-in-progress Saturday's Child, which follows a girl's journey through adolescence in Southeast Asia in the early 1970s.

Ann Teplick will write poems for The Beauty of a Beet: Poems from the Bedside, her first collection of poems, which will explore the experience of sitting with her parents in 2005 while they were dying.

Nora Wendl will produce a chapbook of combined poetry and short prose recording the narrative history and experience of Mies van der Rohe's all-glass Farnsworth house, informed by her readings of Dr. Edith B. Farnsworth's personal archive.

Katharine Whitcomb will work on new poems, revising poem drafts, and promoting her new poetry manuscript, Crossing the River.

Maritess Zurbano will work on a memoir about her experience as a Filipina-American female professional magician.

The 2011 Jack Straw Writers Anthology

Volume 15 of the Jack Straw Writers Anthology features new work from the twelve 2011 Jack Straw Writers: Nassim Assefi, Donald Fels, Debra Jarvis, Robert Lamirande, Anne McDuffie, Larissa Min, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Harold Taw, Ann Teplick, Nora Wendl, Katharine Whitcomb, and Maritess Zurbano.

Copies of the anthology are available for purchase at Jack Straw and the Elliott Bay Book Co. New stores will be added soon. Thank you for supporting Jack Straw's programs with your purchase!

Jack Straw Writers Program in the News:

2010 Jack Straw Writers Program curator Jared Leising was a guest on KBCS's Voices of Diversity program on Wednesday, April 28th, along with Sam Hamill, 2006 Jack Straw Writer Jourdan Imani Keith, and Daemond Arrindel.  Listen to the show here!

"Local nonprofit arts organization Jack Straw Productions operates under the assumption that while not every author can be a Sedaris-level performer, they can be a little more comfortable—and entertaining—while reading their own work."
-The Stranger



Jack Straw Productions gratefully acknowledges The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, PONCHO, ArtsFund, and individual contributors for their support of the Jack Straw Writers Program.







Copyright 2011 Jack Straw Productions ~ All rights reserved


About the podcasts

Jack Straw Productions produces bi-monthly podcasts featuring excerpts from live readings and interviews highlighting literary artists from the Jack Straw Writers Program.

2011 Podcasts:

Maritess Zurbano
Nora Wendl

Ann Teplick

Harold Taw

Anne McDuffie

Donald Fels

Larissa Min

Nassim Assefi

Debra Jarvis

Annette Spaulding-Convy

Katharine Whitcomb

Robert Lamirande

Current Writers' Links

Previous Jack Straw Writers Program

2010 Writers
2009 Writers
2008 Writers
2007 Writers
2006 Writers
2005 Writers
2004 Writers
List of writers to date


Jack Straw Writers Program Events

RASP Reading Series
Friday, November 18, 7pm
Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center
16600 NE 80th Street, Redmond
Susan Rich
Annette Spaulding-Convy
Harold Taw