About

The Short Bio

Deonna Kelli Sayed is a Florida-born, Catawba descended, writer. She’s a recovering ghost hunter, an American Muslim, podcast producer, and an interfaith instigator.  

Deonna is the PEN America NC Piedmont representative. Once upon a time, she was the Festival Coordinator for Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival. Now, she works for the North Carolina Writers’ Network, Deonna also works for a French chef — because all writers need multiple side gigs. Sometimes, Deonna performs monologues and one-woman pieces. Her essay , “Contested Whiteness: True Tales of a White Muslim Woman” was turned into a short film, Joe and the Shawl by filmmaker Nicole Ballivian.

Follow Deonna on Twitter @deonnakelli and Instagram @deonnasayed 

The Long Bio

Deonna Kelli Sayed is an internationally published author, a storyteller, TEDx speaker, and an award winning podcast producer.  She is an interfaith dialogue instigator and a recovering ghost hunter. Born in Florida, she is a descendant of Catawba John Jack David Ayers, who arrived in the Florida Panhandle during the state’s Territorial Period.

She is the PEN America representative for the N.C. Piedmont area (Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh). 

Deonna is the author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks and Spirits. Her essays are included in Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women and Faithfully Feminists: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Her short stories are featured in the Press 53 anthology, Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction From a Small Planet, Red Fez, and Drunk Monkeys (forthcoming).

Her personal essays appear at The Dirty Spoon,  The Manifestation, AltMuslimah, & Patheos. Her podcast work for Yes!Weekly, OUT IN THE SOUTH, received state and national press awards (2017).

Deonna’s media appearances include NPR, WUNC-TV,  WUNC’s “The State of Things,” The Monti, and local NPR affiliate, WFDD.  She is the Membership Coordinator for the N.C. Writers’ Network, the 2018-2019 Festival Coordinator for Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival,

Deonna’s short essay, Joe and the Shawl, was turned into a short film by director Nicole Ballivian.

She is currently working a novel about exploring how personal and political origin stories impact how we understand the world.

Deonna is available to lead writing workshops and/or as a speaker on issues from Islam in America, the power of storytelling, to interfaith engagement.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.