In alphabetical order: Rabbi Phil Cohen, Arzu Kaya-Uranli, Devon McKnight, Joshua Sasson Orol, and Deonna Kelli Sayed.
Rabbi Phil Cohen
Rabbi Phil Cohen is an author, a scholar, an ethicist, and theologian. He holds a PhD from Brandeis University, and an MFA from Spalding University. He serves part-time as rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Albany, Georgia. He is the author of the recently published novel, Nick Bones Underground, the first of a trilogy of sci-fi novels, which like works of many science fiction, looks at our current reality through the lens of an alternate world. He has also recently published in Tablet Magazine, The Canadian Jewish News, and Commuterlit.com. He lives in Greensboro with his wife Betsy Gamburg, director of Jewish Family Services, and their two dogs, Motek and Maggie. He is the father of Elly and Talia and the grandfather of Ava Ruth Cohen Roytman.
Arzu Kaya-Uranli is a broadcaster, religious studies professor and interfaith activist. Originally from Turkey, Mrs. Kaya-Uranli comments on current events in the US and Turkey, from a Turkish-American Muslim perspective, focusing on issues related to human rights, gender equality, immigration, and Islam. Since 1998 she has worked with various national TV and radio stations both in the US and Turkey as a correspondent, reporter, anchorwoman, director, and producer. Aside from her journalistic work, Mrs. Kaya-Uranli has taught Turkish Literature, Culture, and Language for 24 years at various universities, including New York University, The New School, and Montclair University. Having attained a B.A. in Turkish Linguistics and Literature while still in Turkey, and alumni of NYU in Broadcasting. She also has a certificate in Women’s Transformational Leadership in applied spirituality by Hartford Seminary. She also has an M.A. in Religious Studies from the Hartford Seminary, her academic focus has been on issues related to democracy, human rights, women’s rights, interfaith dialogue, and Islam. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Winthrop University.
Devon McKnight is an artist living and working in her hometown of Greensboro, NC. She received her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and MFA from San Jose State University. As a Gallery Director and Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Visual Artists, she collaborates with the community to develop exhibitions and programming that support all artists at all levels. Devon was the co-founder of Spare Room an Artist-run initiative aiming to bring art into communities in everyday locations and forms. She has been a contributing writer for The Coastal Post, a website designed to create a dialogue about contemporary art and artists around the country. As an artist, Devon has exhibited her work, curated shows, participated in residencies, and taught Art around the world. Raised in an open household, Devon was given the choice to find her own religion or not. She often accompanied her grandparents to Sunday school at their Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC but has never believed in a higher power, and has often questioned the idea. She probably considers herself an atheist and is currently trying to figure out if black holes lead to a 4th dimension.
Joshua Sassoon Orol
Joshua Sassoon Orol is a trans Jewish poet from Raleigh, NC, writing with the texts, tunes, and stories passed down from their mixed heritage family. They hold an MFA from NC State University. Their poetry has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and appeared in journals such as Mud Season Review, Nimrod, and Poetry.
Deonna Kelli Sayed
Deonna Kelli Sayed is the founder of DIP. She is is an internationally published author, a storyteller, TEDx speaker, and an award winning podcast producer. Deonna’s work appears in Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women; Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay; Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction From a Small Planet; and the forthcoming anthology, New Moons Contemporary Writing By North American Muslims. She is the PEN America Piedmont NC representative, Logistics Coordinator for the NC Folk Festival, and the Membership Coordinator for the NC Writers’ Network.
Email me: deonnasayed at gmail dot com