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Torch Welcomes New Team Members

Torch Literary Arts is thrilled to announce our new Fall 2023 Administrative Fellows, Trinity Hawkins - Program Fellow, and Anea Michelle - Creative Content Fellow, as well as our new Associates, Faith Miller - Programs Associate, Jae Nichelle - Associate Editor, and Brittany Heckard - Communications Associate.

During their fellowships, Trinity and Anea will research outreach strategies, initiate new programs and social platforms, and create content for Torch's social media accounts. Additionally, they will learn about nonprofit management, digital marketing, and community engagement.

Our new Associates, Faith, Jae, and Brittany, will plan and facilitate Torch events, promote Torch externally to stakeholders, curate our monthly and weekly features, and work collaboratively with the Torch Admin. Fellows to further the mission of amplifying Black women writers.

Funding from our supportive donors including the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, The Burdine Johnson Foundation, Tingari-Silverton Foundation, and the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Division support salaries, programs, and operational expenses. Without their (and your) support, Torch would not have the resources needed to continue facilitating exceptional programs and create unique advancement opportunities for Black women writers.

Trinity Bella Hawkins was raised in both Chicago and Dallas. Currently, a graduating senior at the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in the College of Liberal Arts with concentrations in English, Black Studies, and History, she enjoys writing, reading, and discussing the arts. She is also interested in history, sustainability, movies, TV, music, literature, the culinary arts, and vintage clothing. She is a firm believer in the power of words and community. Watching and reviewing movies, creating playlists, reading books, digesting stories in The New Yorker, hunting down her next great piece of clothing, and applying her curatorial zeal to every part of her life are all things she enjoys doing in her spare time. As you're reading this she is somewhere listening to music.

Brittany Heckard is a freelance creative writer at the intersection of policy and strategic communications based in Austin, TX. Her previous work includes lobbying for nonprofits and ESG efforts, helping local businesses with grants, and brand consulting. She has lobbied for companies and organizations like Ancestry, Texas Cultural Trust, Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Vera Institute of Justice, and others. Previously, she led public affairs campaigns for AT&T's legislative and corporate social responsibility units in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. An advocate for social justice, she has volunteered on the board for MOVE Texas Civic Fund and worked for Austin Justice Coalition. Brittany's favorite excerpt from Audre Lorde's Poetry Is Not a Luxury reads, "The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us-the poet-whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free." In her spare time, Brittany enjoys reading, playing with her dog, going to concerts, and creative writing.

Anea Michelle is a multi-faceted creative based in Austin, Texas. Currently immersed in her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Texas State University, Anea has always used writing as a sanctuary, a space where her thoughts and emotions dance on paper. But her passion doesn't stop there. Anea has skillfully blended her love for writing with her practice of yoga, allowing each discipline to enrich and inspire the other. As both a dedicated yoga teacher and a compassionate Doula, she navigates these roles with the same depth and presence she brings to her writing.

Faith Miller is a proud native of Houston, Texas. Her experience at Southern Methodist University sparked her passion and love for Black people and encouraged her to be a voice for Black women. Though she studied Communication and Public Relations, Faith’s passion for education led her to The Ohio State University where she completed her master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. In 2017, she moved back to Texas to be closer to family and works at The University of Texas where she supports diversity initiatives. Faith describes herself as a homebody who loves reading and writing and enjoys exploring new places to eat and finding new things to do or see. Faith’s life and success have been shaped by the many Black women who have nurtured and cared for her. Faith served as Torch's Spring 2023 Creative Content Fellow and is excited to continue supporting Torch as the Programs Associate!

Louisiana-born Jae Nichelle is the author of God Themselves (Andrews McMeel, 2023) and the chapbook The Porch (As Sanctuary) (YesYes Books, 2019). She is a finalist for a 2023 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and won the inaugural John Lewis Writing Award in poetry from the Georgia Writers Association. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2020 (University of Virginia Press, 2020), the Washington Square Review, The Offing, Muzzle Magazine, and elsewhere. Nichelle is a slam poetry champion, and her spoken word poems have been featured by Write About Now, Speak Up Poetry Series, and Button Poetry. She has a passion for language, linguistics, and mental health and has published articles on these subjects in AFROPUNK, An Injustice!, and the Black Youth Project.

Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.


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