Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Chair) is the author of Balm and Wench, which was a New York Times best-seller. In 2011, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and she received a DC Commission on the Arts Grant for her second novel. A graduate of Harvard University and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, she teaches writing in the Stonecoast MFA program. She lives in Washington, DC with her family.