Birmingham Chapter Leaders

Ashley M JonesAshley 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 StefanescuAlina 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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Recent Events

Moonrise Over New Jessup: Jamila Minnicks at Thank You Books

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…

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Banned Books and Body Autonomy in Birmingham

Join PEN Birmingham for a conversation centering on the issue of restrictive book bans in an era of increasing threats to body autonomy.

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[VIRTUAL] 2021 Magic City Poetry Festival

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.

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Pollution, Place, & the People

Join us on September 28 to support local organizations, journalists, and artists, as we tackle this issue through art, media, and action.

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World Press Freedom Day: Birmingham, AL

In Birmingham, we will be having a community conversation about hate speech and its manifestations across journalism and activism.

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An Evening With Sonia Sanchez

Join PEN America for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Reading by world renowned poet and activist Sonia Sanchez.

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A Screening of “BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez”

Learn more about revolutionary activist and poet, and 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival Keynote Speaker, Sonia Sanchez via this free screening.

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In Translation: Reading and Discussion

Join PEN America for the 2019 Magic City Poetry Festival in a discussion about writing in another language and translating.

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Community Open Mic Poetry Readings

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!

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Writers in Community: Birmingham

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…

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Birmingham Reads

Birmingham Reads: “Decolonizing Language”

Join us for an interactive community discussion on the effects of colonization on education, language, identity, and power.

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