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Board of Directors

Per the organization’s bylaws, the WLT is governed by a Board of Directors. The current Board of Directors consists of nine (9) members, listed here. The Board of Directors meets on the third Wednesday of every month, excluding December, at 6:30 PM Central Time. All members are welcome to attend these meetings.

For information on board service, on attending a board meeting, or to connect directly with one of our board members, feel free to contact us at wlt@writersleague.org.

Executive Committee

Heather Barboza

President

Heather Barboza is the creator of the non fiction story project Hunting For Chocolate, and has blogged for Austin non profit The Amala Foundation, and Sanctuary Yoga. She is a 2019 War Horse Fellow. Her West Texas Wonders story pitch was featured on Marfa Public Radio in collaboration with their program Nature Notes in episodes, The Roadrunner: Icon of the Southwest, and Ultimate Desert Survivor. Currently she is working on a children’s picture book. Current second term expires December 31, 2024.

John A. McDermott

Vice President

John A. McDermott completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his MA at Marquette University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He’s been teaching at Stephen F. Austin State University since 2004. In 2006, SFA created the sole BFA program in creative writing in the state of Texas. Since then, he has directed dozens of BFA and MA theses, primarily in fiction, and taught workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. His own writing has appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Brevity, Florida Review, and Southeast Review, and he’s the author of the poetry collections “The Idea of God in Tennessee” and “Writhe.Waltz.” His scholarly writing has appeared in journals such as the Raymond Carver Review and the Journal of Popular Culture. John lives in Nacogdoches, Texas. Current second term expires December 31, 2025.

Amanda Churchill headshot

Amanda Churchill

Secretary

Amanda Churchill is a writer living in Texas. Her work has been featured in Hobart Pulp, Witness, River Styx, among others. She holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. Amanda is a Writers’ League of Texas 2021 Fellow. She attended the 2021 Community of Writers workshop in fiction as a James D. Houston Memorial Scholarship recipient. Churchill has also attended the Tin House Summer Conference, the One Story Summer Workshop, and StoryBoard Chicago. She was a Fall 2020 mentee in AWP’s Writer to Writer program. Her debut novel, THE TURTLE HOUSE, a work inspired by the life of her grandmother, a Japanese war bride, is forthcoming in early 2024 from Harper Books. Current first term expires December 31, 2025.

Dreux Carpenter

Treasurer

Dreux Carpenter was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Maryland, and lived in Virginia, Colorado and California before arriving Austin in 2009. He holds a BA in Art, and an MA and MFA in Writing and Consciousness. He has over 25 years experience as a Graphic Designer/Art Director. Current second term expires December 31, 2024.

Board Members

Stephanie N. Rodriguez

Stephanie N. Rodriguez is a writer and photographer in Austin, Texas. She holds a B.A. in English from Sam Houston State University, is a Writers’ League of Texas 2021 Fellow, and serves as a Programming Advisor for Austin’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Chapter. As a Little Free Library Steward, she loves providing her community with access to a diverse selection of literature. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking and kayaking with her family, reading, and playing board games. You may also find her cleaning up local lakes and rivers, and helping wildlife in need. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 6: Femme Fatales, The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, Blue Mesa Review, River Teeth, Southeastern Naturalist, and elsewhere. You may read her work at snrodriguezwrites.com, or follow her on Twitter at @nicole4thoughts. Current first term expires December 31, 2025.

Gina E. Springer Shirley

Gina E. Springer Shirley (she/her/hers) is an avid reader and passionate writer. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin. After a career in educational publishing, she is now a romance and women’s fiction writer. She was a finalist in the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the Romance category. You can read her short fiction at writtenGESStures.com or follow her on Twitter at @GESSwrites. She is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas, Romance Writers of America (local and national), Editorial Freelancers Association, and Capital City Scribes. She grew up in Panamá and Seattle, and now makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her husband, children, and pups. Current second term expires December 31, 2024.

Photo of Jean

Jean Synodinos

Jean Synodinos is the proud 2021 Writers’ League of Texas Bess Whitehead Scott Fellow in Creative Writing for older emerging writers. Since 2020, her stories have appeared in The Normal School, Los Angeles Review, Everyday Fiction, and Orca: A Literary Journal. A graduate of Duke University, Jean has worked as a professional actor in New York City, a performing songwriter in Austin, and a painter. She is hard at work on her first novel, Rat Girl‚ a dystopian climate fiction/ghost story set in a permanently flooded New Orleans. Rat Girl was a finalist in the 2022 WLT Manuscript Contest. Jean lives with her partner and their peckish but beautiful mutt in Austin, TX. Find her at jeansynodinos.com or on Twitter/Instagram @jeansynodinos. Current first term expires December 31, 2025.

Amanda Wenger

Amanda Wenger is a Houston-based writer and critical care nurse. She is a former Writers’ League of Texas Fellow, a FORGE NYC Fellow, and the recipient of a 2022 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. She has attended residencies at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, Vashon Artist Residency, In Cahoots Residency, and Greywood Arts to work on her first novel, which was selected as a finalist for the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and received an honorable mention for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds Grant. She has designed and facilitated writing workshops for health professionals as an artist in residence for the Medical Humanities program at Texas Children’s Hospital and served as a guest instructor through the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In 2020, the Board of Directors established the standing DEIA Committee comprised of directors, staff, and WLT members. The DEIA Committee meets every month on the first Thursday of the month. To get involved, contact wlt@writersleague.org for more information. The committee’s mission statement is as follows: 

The Writers’ League of Texas is dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the organization’s programs and services. In addition, WLT recognizes the historical and systemic obstacles that prevent specific groups of people from accessing and engaging with the writing and publishing community. With this in mind, the organization’s DEIA initiatives will be led by a committee – the DEIA Committee – that will function to support the staff and Board of Directors in: Setting and achieving attainable goals related to DEIA values; Providing transparent and timely updates to WLT membership on DEIA goal progress in accessible format; Ensuring that WLT continues to engage in conversations concerning DEIA to take positive steps toward a more inclusive and equitable writing community.