Chiquita Mullins Lee is an Arts Learning coordinator at the Ohio Arts Council where she coordinates the Arts Partnership and Big Yellow School Bus grant programs,
and Ohio'sPoetry Out Loud. She has served as the chair and Mid-West regional coordinator for the Arts Education Working Group, in association with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and has served on the Arts Education review panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. She was writer-in-residence at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Georgia. She has been published in national literary anthologies, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and writes and performs with Columbus-based Wild Women Writing. Her critically-acclaimed play, Pierce to the Soul, premiered at CATCO, Columbus' professional equity theater and toured central Ohio with A Portable Theatre Company.
Gillian Johns earned her MA and PhD degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia and is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College. Her dissertation focused on modern African American authors’ acquisition of literary authority through “tall” humor and irony (entitled Going Southwest: American Humor and the Rhetoric of Race in Modern African American Fiction and Authorship), and an interest in the rhetoric of African American writing and reading extends throughout her research and teaching. Dr. Johns has published articles and reviews on Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Percival Everett, and others, and at Oberlin she has developed a full slate of courses focused on, for example, African American Detective Fiction, Black Humor and Irony, August Wilson’s Century Cycle, Black Women and Autobiography, Textualizing Orality and Literacy in Gaines, Morrison, and Wideman, Modernist Chicago and Urban Sociological Theory, and Black English and Voice (Sociolinguistics). Dr. Johns has more recently developed a general interest in linguistics and has taken some courses in cognitive linguistic theory at Case Western Reserve University, so she has begun to teach in this emerging area.