Meet the writers and creative team behind We the Interwoven, Volume 2.
Dawson Davenport is a member of the Meskwaki Nation and grew up on the Settlement near Tama, Iowa, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He tells stories about his experiences as a Native, both the challenges he has faced and the Meskwaki way of life. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in art and a certificate in entrepreneurial management. He spends his time in Iowa City and on the Meskwaki Settlement as an entrepreneur, doing graphic design, running his clothing brand called Daepian Apparel, and opening a Native arts gallery in Iowa City.
Ajla Dizdarević is a Bosnian American who grew up in Waterloo, Iowa. Her writing concerns itself with the Balkan experience and post-war diaspora life. A student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and creative writing, she has won the Iowa Chapbook Prize and the David Hamilton Undergraduate Creative Writing Prize. She is also a recipient of the Iowa Scholarship for the Arts from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. She hopes to share underrepresented narratives not only through her own work but also through others' writing with the Slavic diaspora magazine, Gastarbajter.
Sarah Elgatian is a second-generation Armenian American with a lot of questions. Her paternal grandparents came to the United States through Ellis Island, barely escaping the Armenian genocide. She was born and raised in the Quad Cities and later moved to Chicago and Seattle before returning to Iowa. As a writer, she primary writes nonfiction and lyrical essays focusing on survival. Her writing has been published in The Atlas, Fragments, and more. She lives Iowa City, Iowa, with her partner and works at the Midwest Writing Center and with the International Writing Program.
Rana Hewezi was born in Cairo, Egypt. When she was two, her family moved to France, and when she was seven, they moved to Ames, Iowa. She writes lyrical nonfiction that confronts and resists the oppression, fear, and ignorance of society. Many of her stories are centered around familial expectations and her culture. She has been published literary magazines such as Earthwords and Teen Ink Magazine, and she is a winner of the Iowa Chapbook Prize. She currently attends the University of Iowa studying philosophy and English, and she hopes to go to medical school after graduation.
Anthony Mielke was born and raised in Minnesota with his mother, stepfather, and five younger siblings, unaware of his Puerto Rican heritage on his paternal side. He studied philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and then earned his master’s and doctorate in family and marriage therapy. Today, after discovering his heritage, he uses writing to explore themes of identity, isolation, spirituality, and healing through an introspective lens. He lives with his wife and three children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he is an assistant professor in marriage and family therapy at Mount Mercy University and practices therapy.
Hieu Pham was born in Mỹ Tho, Vietnam, but her family sought refuge in the United States when she was three to escape the political persecution and poverty of the area. After spending two years in refugee camps in Malaysia and the Philippines, they were able to settle in Des Moines, Iowa. She enjoys writing about her family and what it’s like to be a mother, but she also centers much of her work around the Vietnamese diaspora and Asian-American culture. She lives with her husband and two children in Des Moines, where she works as an advocate for Asian victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault at Monsoon Asian and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity.
Antonia Rivera was born in Distrito Federal, Mexico. At age six she crossed the border, and she spent her youth in California before moving around the United States as part of immigration organizing movements. Eventually she received temporary protection and a work permit through DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She writes about migration and what it means to be part of the 1.5 generation. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her daughter and works at Wells Fargo.
Alisha Jeddeloh is the Associate Director of the Iowa Writers’ House and assistant editor of the We the Interwoven series. She grew up on a farm outside Fairfield, Iowa, home to both cornfields and the golden domes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his university. The culture clash between groups led her to see difference as a catalyst for creativity and new ways of being, and that experience continues to inform her work as a writer and editor today. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with her family, where she is currently working on a novel that explores community and belonging.
Andrea Wilson is the founder and Executive Director of the Iowa Writers’ House, the creator of the Bicultural Iowa Writers’ Fellowship and the series editor of We the Interwoven. She grew up in Columbus Junction, a small Iowa farming community experiencing a cultural shift from the meat-packing industry and seasonal agricultural work. In her early adulthood, she lived in Toronto, Canada, and began to write cultural stories. She traveled and lived throughout Latin America before returning to Iowa City and founding the Writers’ House. She is dedicated to working with underrepresented voices and helping them tell their stories.