Birmingham Chapter Leaders
Ashley M. Jones is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She received an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University (FIU), where she was a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow. She served as Official Poet for the City of Sunrise, Florida’s Little Free Libraries Initiative from 2013-2015, and her work was recognized in the 2014 Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writer’s Exchange Contest and the 2015 Academy of American Poets Contest at FIU. She was also a finalist in the 2015 Hub City Press New Southern Voices Contest, the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Contest, and the National Poetry Series. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including CNN, the Academy of American Poets, Tupelo Quarterly, Prelude, Steel Toe Review, Fjords Review, Quiet Lunch, Poets Respond to Race Anthology, Night Owl, The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, pluck!, Valley Voices: New York School Edition, Fjords Review: Black American Edition, PMSPoemMemoirStory (where her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016), Kinfolks Quarterly, Tough Times in America Anthology, and Lucid Moose Press’ Like a Girl: Perspectives on Femininity Anthology. She received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a 2015 B-Metro Magazine Fusion Award. She was an editor of PANK Magazine. Her debut poetry collection, Magic City Gospel, was published by Hub City Press in January 2017, and it won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards. Her second book, dark // thing, won the 2018 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. She won the 2018 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize from Backbone Press, and she is the 2019 winner of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Jones is a recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, 2nd Vice President and Membership Chair of the AWC, and a faculty member in the Creative Writing Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her first poetry chapbook Objects in Vases (Anchor & Plume Press, 2016) won the 2016 Award for Poetry Book of the Year from ASPS. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Prize and was published in May 2018. Her writing can be found in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Virga, Whale Road Review, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, President of Alabama State Poetry Society, Board Member for the Alabama Writer’s Conclave, Co-Founder of 100,000 Poets for Change Birmingham, and proud board member of Magic City Poetry Festival. Her poetry collection, Defect/or, was a finalist for 2015 Robert Dana Poetry Award. A finalist for the 2019 Kurt Brown AWP Prize, the 2019 Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, the 2019 Frank McCourt Prize, and the 2019 Streetlight Magazine Poetry Contest, Alina won the 2019 River Heron Poetry Prize. She loves to collaborate across mediums and be the poem she wants to read in the world.
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Jamila Minnicks’s novel is a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Join Jamila Minnicks at Thank You Books…More Information
Join us for an interactive community discussion on black entrepreneurship as a means of social liberation in Birmingham.More Information
Join us for an interactive community discussion on the legacy marginalization, colorism and gentrification in Birmingham.More Information
Join PEN Birmingham for a conversation centering on the issue of restrictive book bans in an era of increasing threats to body autonomy.More Information
Join us for an interactive community discussion on the legacy of slavery in Birmingham by examining genealogy and family histories.More Information
Celebrating Black and Southern culture, the Birmingham Reads kickoff will feature music, dance and poetry!More Information
Alabama poet laureate Ashley M. Jones opens a night of conversation with Carlos A. Ball, Michael Harriot, DeJuana Thompson, and Dr. Tara Y. White.More Information
This roundtable conversation will focus on the historical challenges to gender expression, sexuality, and free speech in Alabama.More Information
Join PEN America Birmingham and the Magic City Poetry Festival for a reading series with poets across Alabama in celebration of the state’s living contemporary literature.More Information
Join PEN America Birmingham and the Magic City Poetry Festival for a conversation between authors and poets Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Khalisa Rae.More Information
Join PEN America Birmingham and the Magic City Poetry Festival as they host poet and creator Faylita Hicks.More Information
Join the PEN America Birmingham chapter for the Magic City Poetry Festival, a month-long celebration of poetry and the poets of Birmingham and Alabama.More Information
In partnership with Magic City Poetry Festival, PEN America Birmingham is proud to present a poetry workshop facilitated by Camille Dungy.More Information
In partnership with Magic City Poetry Festival, PEN America Birmingham is hosting a conversation with Monique L. Jones and Dr. DaMaris B. Hill.More Information
Local writers, activists, and Members join PEN America's Writing for Justice fellows to celebrate the work of incarcerated writers and confront our era of mass incarceration.More Information
Join us on September 28 to support local organizations, journalists, and artists, as we tackle this issue through art, media, and action.More Information
In Birmingham, we will be having a community conversation about hate speech and its manifestations across journalism and activism.More Information
Join PEN America for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Reading by world renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez.More Information
Learn more about revolutionary activist and poet, and 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Speaker, Sonia Sanchez via this free screening.More Information
Join PEN America for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival in a discussion about writing in another language and translating.More Information
The Magic City Poetry Festival will be celebrating local voices on the mic! Sign up and bring your poems and your love for the Magic City!More Information
Magic City Poetry Festival commemorates the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an event combining poetry, history, and social activism.More Information
The media was involved with the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1965 with the national coverage of the Birmingham campaign of the Civil Rights Movement, but that…More Information
PEN America hosts a presentation and facilitated discussion around some of the ways Birmingham-area members of the literary and media communities can engage with different local advocacy initiatives, including…More Information
Join us for an interactive community discussion on the effects of colonization on education, language, identity, and power.More Information