Women of Will: A Feature with Words Without Walls

Words Without Walls is a creative writing outreach program that serves Allegheny County Jail and Sojourner House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment program for mothers and their children. Since 2009, creative writing classes have been taught by MFA students at Chatham University. Their program teaches 18 classes per year, serving over 300 men and…

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Leanne McLaughlin, Holly C. Spencer, Janette Schafer, and Barbara Grimm

Leanne McLaughlin graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University with degrees in political science and psychology, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. She practiced criminal law in Georgia and Pennsylvania for nearly eight years but is currently taking a career break to focus on her family. Leanne lives in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with her husband and two-year-old son. She reads, writes, plays with blocks, and dreams of one day becoming Queen of PTA Bake Sales.

Holly Spencer lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her three dogs and two cats. She attends Chatham University’s grad program as the Words Without Walls Fellowship Awardee. She has been published in Jet Fuel Review, Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Pink Panther Magazine, and Feckless Cunt Anthology. Her creative nonfiction piece, “Stuck,” was nominated by Jet Fuel Review for The Best of the Net, 2016. Holly is five years clean from all mood- and mind-altering chemicals, which is the best author note she could ever hope for.

Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, part-time singer, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship in writing through Chatham University and a 2015 awardee of the Arts MODE Fellowship in experimental theater through New Sun Rising LLC. She is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. Recent and upcoming publications include (b)oink Magazine, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology, Chatham University broadsides, PublicSource, and Calamus Journal.

Barbara Grimm is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She lives at home with her significant other and four children. She is currently a student at Penn State University and is enrolled in the Computer Information Technology and Sciences program. She is published in the Maenads Chapbook Don’t Call Me Brave and has been writing since the age of 12. Writing has been a tool for her, not only to deal with her father’s alcoholism as a child but her own addictions as an adult. With two and a half years clean, she is most proud of the mother she has become in her recovery process.

Tyler Champion

Tyler Champion is a freelance illustrator and designer. He grew up in Kentucky before moving to New Jersey to develop his passion at The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. After graduating in 2010, he headed back south to Nashville, TN, where he currently resides with his girlfriend Melissa and his son Jude. Tyler has produced work for magazines, comics, design companies, and children’s books, including work for Sony, Capstone Publishing, and Tell-a-graphics.

First Featured In: No. 13, spring 2019

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