Season 16 Mentors

AWP celebrates the writers serving as mentors in Season 16 of the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program. We selected twelve mentors for this session based on their experience, their willingness to serve, and the needs prevalent in the mentee applications. Mentors were each given several strong applications to choose from and selected their own mentees.

If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, AWP accepts applications year-round . We will soon announce when next season's applications open for mentees.

  • Amorak Huey

    Amorak Huey


    Amorak Huey is author of four books of poems including Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress Publications, 2021) and coauthor with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the chapbook Slash/Slash (Diode, 2021). He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He is recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his poems appear in the Best American Poetry anthology, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, the Norton Critical Edition of The Odyssey, and many print and online journals

    Amorak Huey is working with Alison Heron Hruby.

  • Alexa Doran

    Alexa Doran


    Alexa Doran is currently working on her PhD in poetry at Florida State University. Her full-length collection DM Me, Mother Darling won the 2020 May Sarton Poetry Prize and will be published by Bauhan Publishing in the spring of 2021. She is also the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019). You can look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Passages North, Literary Mama, Pithead Chapel, THE BOILER, and Harvard Review, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews, please visit her website at

    Alexa is working with Andrea Deeken.

  • Neil Aitken

    Neil Aitken


    Neil Aitken is the author of two books of poetry, Babbage’s Dream (Sundress Publications, 2017) and The Lost Country of Sight (Anhinga Press, 2008) and a poetry chapbook, Leviathan (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2016). Of Chinese, Scottish, and English descent, he grew up in Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and various parts of western Canada. He is a past Kundiman fellow and holds both an MFA and PhD in creative writing. In addition to writing and teaching, he also serves as the editor of Boxcar Poetry Review, the codirector of De-Canon: A Literary Project, and the curator of Have Book Will Travel.

    Neil is working with Weijia Pan.

  • J. Kates

    J. Kates


    J. Kates is a minor poet, a literary translator and the president and codirector of Zephyr Press. He has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation and a Käpylä Translation Prize. He has published three chapbooks of his own poems: Mappemonde (Oyster River Press) Metes and Bounds (Accents Publishing) and The Old Testament (Cold Hub Press) and two full books, The Briar Patch (Hobblebush Books) and Places of Permanent Shade (Accent). He is the translator of The Score of the Game and An Offshoot of Sense (Tatiana Shcherbina); Say Thank You and Level with Us (Mikhail Aizenberg); When a Poet Sees a Chestnut Tree, Secret Wars, and I Have Invented Nothing (Jean-Pierre Rosnay); Corinthian Copper (Regina Derieva); Live by Fire (Aleksey Porvin); Thirty-Nine Rooms (Nikolai Baitov); Psalms (Genrikh Sapgir); Muddy River (Sergey Stratanovsky); Selected Poems 1957-2009, Sixty Years (Mikhail Yeryomin); and Paper-Thin Skin (Aigerim Tazhi). He is the translation editor of Contemporary Russian Poetry, and the editor of In the Grip of Strange Thoughts: Russian Poetry in a New Era. A former president of the American Literary Translators Association, he is also the cotranslator of six books of Latin American and Spanish poetry.

    J. Kates is working with Katey Linskey.

  • Shikha Malaviya

    Shikha Malaviya


    Shikha Malaviya ( is a South Asian American poet, writer, and publisher. She is cofounder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model press publishing powerful voices from India & the Indian diaspora. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and featured in Catamaran, PLUME, Prairie Schooner & other fine publications. Shikha has been a featured TEDx speaker and was selected as Poet Laureate of San Ramon, California, 2016. She has been an AWP poetry mentor in their Writer to Writer program for six seasons and is currently a Mosaic America Fellow, committed to cultural collaboration in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. Her book of historical persona poetry, In Her Own Voice: Poems of Anandibai Joshee, is forthcoming in 2023. Her previous book of poems is Geography of Tongues.

    Shikha Malaviya is working with Dawn Angelicca Barcelona .

  • Dawn Raffel

    Dawn Raffel

    Creative Nonfiction

    Dawn Raffel's most recent book, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney , was chosen as one of NPR’s best books of 2018. Her next book, Boundless as the Sky, is a hybrid collection that will be out in January 2023. Previous books include a memoir, The Secret Life of Objects; a novel, Carrying the Body; and two story collections. Her writing has been published in O, The Oprah Magazine; BOMB; New Philosopher; the San Francisco Chronicle; Conjunctions; Black Book; Open City; The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories; Arts & Letters; the Quarterly; NOON; and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. She works as an independent editor for individuals and creative organizations.

    Dawn Raffel is working with Heather Stivison.

  • Emily Maloney

    Emily Maloney

    Creative Nonfiction

    Emily Maloney is the author of Cost of Living (Henry Holt, 2022). Her work has appeared in Glamour, Virginia Quarterly Review, Best American Essays, and the American Journal of Nursing, among others. She has worked as a dog groomer, pastry chef, general contractor, tile setter, and catalog model and sold her ceramics at art fairs. She has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell and the Illinois Arts Council, has an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh, and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

    Emily Maloney is working with Lauren Tanabe.

  • Lily Hoang

    Lily Hoang

    Creative Nonfiction

    Lily Hoang is the author of six books, including Underneath (winner of the Red Hen Press Fiction Award), A Bestiary (PEN/USA Non-Fiction Award finalist), and Changing (recipient of a PEN/Open Books Award). Her micro-tale collection The Mute Kids is forthcoming in 2022. She is the Director of the MFA in Writing at UC San Diego.

    Lily Hoang is working with Shze-Hui Tjoa.

  • Allison Whittenberg

    Allison Whittenberg


    Allison Whittenberg is an award-winning poet, short story writer, playwright, and novelist. Her novels are Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored (Random House 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010). Her work has appeared in Flying Island, Feminist Studies, Inconclast, and The Ekphrastic Review. She is author of the full-length short story collection, Carnival of Reality (Loyola University Press, 2022). Whittenberg is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

    Allison Whittenberg is working with Candice Cusic.

  • Mark Pleiss

    Mark Pleiss


    Mark Pleiss is a writer in Denver. He publishes essays, scholarly criticism, reviews, and fiction. His work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Colorado Review, Fine Lines, The Omaha Pulp, Sequel, and elsewhere. His recent collection of linked short stories, April Warnings (2019), was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Mark holds a doctorate in Contemporary Peninsular Spanish Literature and currently teaches at the University of Denver. He's from Omaha, Nebraska.

    Mark Pleiss is working with Reed Kuehn.

  • Rochelle Spencer

    Rochelle Spencer


    Rochelle Spencer is coeditor, with Jina Ortiz, of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin, 2014) and author of The Rat People (The Fantasist, 2017) and AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora's Surrealist Fiction (Routledge, 2019).

    Rochelle Spencer is working with Chibuike Ogbonnaya.

  • Kristen Witucki

    Kristen Witucki


    Kristen Witucki is the author of two books: The Transcriber, a Gemma Open Door Book for emerging adolescent readers, and Outside Myself, her first novel. Her shorter fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Brain, Child; Literary Mama; Exceptions: The Art and Literary Journal for Students with Disabilities; Wordgathering; and LightHouse Interpoint, the literary blog of the LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco. She works as the curriculum and content editor for Learning Ally's College Success Program for students who are blind or visually impaired, a teacher for Vistas Education Partners, a mentor for New Jersey's EDGE Program, and, during the pandemic, a homeschooling mother. She lives with her husband and three children in Highland Park, New Jersey.

    Kristen Witucki is working with Briana Maley.

Previous Participants

See lists of previous Writer to Writer participants.