November 23, 2021

White Bear Lake, Minnesota — Five local Minnesota State Write Like Us BIPOC author-mentors have awarded ten fellowships to BIPOC creative writing students from Century College for the 2021-22 academic year.
Author-mentor Merle Geode has selected and will work with Nishanth Bryan Peters and Chayeng Moua.
Author-mentor Michael Kleber-Diggs has selected and will work with Paloma Gomez and Salina Tekle.
Author-mentor Rosetta Peters has selected and will work with Jenny Cook and Michael Yer Vang.
Author-mentor Sagirah Shahid has selected and will work with Chauci Yang and Reynaldo Pena.
Author-mentor Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay has selected and will work with Maikao Xiong and Matthew Yang.
Author-mentors will work closely with eight student mentees from the five participating Minnesota State Write Like Us metro-area community colleges (Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Century College, Minneapolis College, Normandale Community College, and North Hennepin Community College), immersing them in the local literary community, networking with other writers, providing candid academic and career advice and feedback on their creative work, with the intent of showcasing it. With their mentors, mentees will attend special private events with acclaimed visiting Minnesota State Write Like Us authors (Hanif Abdurraqib, Brit Bennett, Kiese Laymon, Tommy Orange, and Tracy K. Smith) in March and April 2022. Acclaimed visiting authors and local author-mentor bios and photos and a schedule of public events are available at
Minnesota State Write Like Us centers and celebrates the work of BIPOC writers and writing students as it fosters literary mentorship and leadership, building a platform for shared stories, voices, and lived experiences. By providing BIPOC mentees with models of success that look like them, Minnesota State Write Like Us hopes to recruit, retain, and represent BIPOC students in our AFA and other creative writing programs, with their high rates of persistence, graduation, and transfer. The inaugural year of Minnesota State Write Like Us is funded by a $150,000 Minnesota State Multi-Campus Collaboration grant in support of Minnesota State’s Equity 2030 goals. Minnesota State includes thirty community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 340,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States. Equity 2030 aims to close the educational equity gaps across race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location by the end of the decade at every Minnesota State college and university.