About Our Instructors

AYWI Instructors are selected for their teaching ability, writing expertise, professional experience, and dedication to the craft. We have the honor of including the following distinguished writers as instructors:

Leslie Quigless: Novelist, founder of Now I Get It! Tutoring Services, AYWI director, AYWI Summer Writing Intensive instructor.

Darnell Fine: Teacher, essayist, slam poet, and AYWI Summer Writing Intensive instructor. (Affectionately known in the AYWI community as Mr. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.)

Theresa Davis: Teacher and poet who has shared the stage with Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Pearl Cleage and Doria Roberts in The Vagina Monologues and Def Poet Jon Goode in their joint production of Wish You Were Here at 7 Stages Theater (Atlanta, Georgia); 8th place finalist, 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam; 1st place champion, 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam.

Terra Elan McVoy: poet and author of YA novels Pure, After the Kiss, and The Summer of Firsts and Lasts

Shelia P. Moses: poet, playwright, producer, National Book Award Finalist, and author seven novels, including I, Dred Scott and The Legend of Buddy Bush

Pamela Turner: director and playwright with eight produced plays whose current projects include Hidden Man, a Southern-Gothic coming of age play scheduled for production in 2012 at 7 Stages Theatre (Atlanta) and University Theatre (Athens, GA)

Akilah S. Richards: Life Design Practitioner, Social Media enthusiast, co-owner of creating branding company Voz Visual, and author of Execumama: A Pocket Guide for the Twenty-something Mommy on the Move

Rupert Fike: poet, short story writer, Pushcart Prize nominee, and author of Voices from The Farm: Adventures in Community Living,  and Lotus Buffet, a collection of poems (due out this Fall).

GYPSEE YO:  Freelance costume designer, actor, speaker, poet: Regional Southern Queen of Slam 2008; Atlanta’s Slam Champion 2006-2009; three time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist 2006-2008; National Poetry Slam final stage feature in Austin, TX 2007; ranked second in the world in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit, MI 2009.

Josh Russell: novelist, short story writer, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship winner, Co-Director of the Georgia State University Creative Writing Program, and author of the novels Yellow JackMy Bright Midnight, and A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag

Tray Butler: Journalist, short story writer, and author of Moon AtlantaTray teaches Creative Writing certificate courses at Emory Continuing Education.


Jessica Handler: Creative nonfiction writer, author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir (one of the Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read, 2010) and the forthcoming Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing Through Grief and Loss.

Alice Lovelace: Poet, essayist, author and editor. Editor of the anthology CRUX: A conversation in words and images South Africa to South USA (2007). Co-editor of Art Changes at In Motion Magazine, an online journal devoted to issues of democracy.  Co-author of the artist book Harriet Rising with visual artist Lisa Tuttle. Author of the Kitchen Survival AlmanacForeverRemembering My Birth, and This is for Family.