Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel Jazz Moon won the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His short stories have appeared in Volume 1 Brooklyn, Global City Review, The Piltdown Review, The New Engagement, Storychord, Love Stories from Africa, and Strength. His story "Cleo" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Joe served as Prose Editor for Newtown Literary and he edited Best Gay Stories 2017. His short story collection, Kiss the Scars on the Back of my Neck, won a silver medal from the Independent Book Publisher Awards.
Shawn Stewart Ruff is the author of three novels including Finlater, a Lambda Literary Award-winning debut. He is also editor of the landmark Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of Lesbian and Gay Fiction by African American Writers.
Chris Weikel was one of the first students to graduate from the Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in playwriting program at Hunter College, studying under Tina Howe and Mark Bly. His play SECRET IDENTITY was featured during “Playwright’s Week” at the Lark Play Development Center, produced by TOSOS in residence at The Flea, and was published by Stage Rights in 2022. His PENNY PENNIWORTH, which according to The New York Times "deserves to become a staple" was produced Off-Broadway by Emerging Artists Theatre Company (EAT) iis published by Dramatic Publishing. His PIG TALE: AN URBAN FAERIE STORY was produced by The Other Side of Silence (TOSOS), and at the international Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. Weikel was a Dramatist Guild Fellow, the recipient of the Robert Chesley Award for emerging gay playwrights, recipient of the Irv Zarkower Award, a recipient of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Award from Hunter College, a NYFA Fellowship grantee, and the recipient of the NNPN Smith Prize Commission for political theatre. The resulting play, THE WORD FROM KAMPALA was workshopped by InterAct Theater. In recognition of his longstanding collaboration with New York’s oldest and longest producing LGBTQ+ theatre company, Weikel and TOSOS were recipients of a Dramatists Guild Writers Alliance Grant. He is the recipient of the 2021 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. Chris serves as the Development Director for TOSOS and is a proud member of DGA and AEA.