Meet The Team
Desirée Brown (she/her)
Founder & Executive Director
Desirée Brown is a poet & writer. She received her B.A. from University of North Carolina-Charlotte and her M.F.A. from New York University. Her work has appeared in Hedge Apple Magazine, Unlikely Stories, The Woven Tale Press, Sanskrit, and The Scene & Heard Journal. Today she lives in Atlanta, Georgia teaching college courses in English and Creative Writing, managing the Young Eager Writers Association & Conference, and writing poetry.
Damien Holland (he/they)
Editor-in-Chief of The YEW Journal
Damien Una Holland is an emerging queer, trans non-binary writer who has a heart for YA fiction and poetry with a focus on queer rights, sexual health, and body positivity. They graduated from UNC Asheville with a BA in Creative Writing amidst the pandemic, with their cat, Marley, by his side. His work has appeared in Headwaters Creative Arts Journal, ode to queer, odyssey, Sanctuary Literary Arts Journal, and Unwritten in a variety of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. Currently, they live in Asheville, North Carolina and are Editor-in-Chief of the Young Eager Writers’ Journal, helping other young writers get their footing in the editing and publishing world.
Assistant Conference Coordinator
Kiran is an artist, a writer, and a creator. They have completed two unpublished books--it's been said the third is underworks. Taking a book, they'll transform them into cartoons or storyboards. Imagination makes more sense then the real world to them, so writing becomes that place of escape and experience. Despite that they are currently working on a visual arts certificate and a finishing up a bachelors with a major in natural science.
“Each word is like a stroke of a paint brush and they hope the rest of the story of who they are comes together like a completed art piece.”
Michael Evans (he/him)
Michael Evans has published three novels and four novellas at only seventeen. As the author of Control Freakz, a post-apocolyptic thriller series, he's is driven to write every day to hopefully shed light on the dark prospects of the future, and to spread the message that humans are the control freaks of our own future.
Aina Aleeya Azri (she/her)
Program Lead (Writing Group)
Aina is an aspiring Malaysian writer who rediscovered her passion for writing whilst taking a gap year prior to starting university and is currently a psychology undergraduate student. She’s the type of person to buy discounted books she’s never heard of over books that are popular on social media in hopes of finding a gem she wasn’t expecting. She aspires to make a positive difference in the lives of the people she meets and the places she goes. She also wishes to bring about positive social change through learning, reading and writing and hopes to understand how to navigate our wide world better just a little more everyday.
Aastha Agrawal (she/her)
Program Lead (Writing Group)
Aastha Agrawal, a 12-year-old trapped in a 21 year old body, is a graduate from MU with a degree in mass media. She has a keen interest in storytelling, writing, and arts. She finds a new interest almost every day, but one dream that has stayed constant throughout her life has been her desire to become a published author. In her spare time, you will find her either reading, listening to music, getting lost in her daydreams, or researching books and tv shows that she is never going to read or watch.
Aditi Karanam (she/her)
Blog Manager & Program Lead (Book Club)
Aditi is an emerging writer and journalist from India, with a strong passion for social justice and literature spends most of her time reading, writing or discussing social justice issues. She maintains her own blog, contributes for the school newspaper and writes for various literary magazines. She aspires to make a difference in the world she lives in through her writing, She's incredibly excited to work in YEW team and hopes to broaden her perspective through the days that come
Shnayjaah Jeanty (she/her)
Program Lead (Young POC Writers)
Hailing from the brutal heat of the sunshine state, Shnayjaah Jeanty is a senior and a slam poet. Shnayjaah writes because poetry is the easiest language to learn, and the most cathartic one to speak. She finds power in documenting the most visceral parts of the human condition in her pieces, including identity, trauma, and growth. She has performed all over Broward County, including Darius Daughtry’s Umoja Cypher, where she opened for a broadcasted panel on criminal justice reform. As the president of her school’s poetry club, she has led her slam team both in competition and in community outreach. She was also named South Florida’s 2022 Youth Poet Ambassador. Shnayjaah aspires to make a dent in the world, whether it be through provocative metaphor or reforming the justice system. When she's not writing (or thinking about writing), you can find her sleeping, or rewatching Shameless and The Vampire Diaries.
Ella Paul (she/her)
To be announced...
Ella Paul is a 17 year old senior in Edison, New Jersey. She helps run CatharticLit, a youth literary magazine, and she loves both reading and writing. She's currently on a quest of self-betterment to read more, eliminate social media, and stay physically healthy, but when she's forgotten about that, she likes to binge Chipotle and cheese puffs while staring into the void. She's always adored writing but has only recently begun to consider it as a career, and so she's very, very excited to work with Young Eager Writers!
Asha Hunt (she/her)
Instagram Live Coordinator
Asha Hunt is a rising junior at Mt. Lebanon High School, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She is passionate about writing and hopes to have her work published some day . She fell in love with reading at a young age with books such as The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Series of Unfortunate Events. She is currently working on her first novel and wants to inspire and be inspired by the talented young writers of YEW.
Yoyo Dou (she/her)
Yoyo Dou is an avid reader and aspiring writer from a small town in Ontario, Canada. A current sophomore in high school, she fell in love with books at an early age and hopes to one day publish stories of her own. She is excited to connect with other young writers and make a difference in the world, one word at a time. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift songs and finding books to add to her neverending TBR.
Melu Woldu (she/her)
Melu Woldu is a current high school student who enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, and dystopian novels. She believes that writing and reading have the ability to unlock new paths and interests and remembers childhood books read such as Junie B. Jones and the Magic House Series to be very hard to put down when younger. Melu also wants to incorporate her passion for inclusion and diversifying areas within literature to include all voices of those coming from varying backgrounds. Also, as a current Justice For Girls Ambassador, Melu has been given the opportunity to interact with a multitude of texts regarding Black girlhood through meaningful discourse and looks forward to creating her own writing pieces pertaining to this topic.
Jessica Stiehm (she/her)
YEW Journal Editor
Jessica Stiehm is an emerging Asheville writer. You can find her work so far in Headwaters Creative Arts Journal. She graduated during a pandemic and her dream is to write a queer fantasy novel and edit books. If you want to see the occasional cat picture, or offer her a luxurious book deal, then follow her Instagram @tardigradebabe
Sophia Nitsche (she/her)
Beta Reader Editor
Sophia Nitsche is a writer and artist involved with organizations that allow writing to be more accessible to people of all ages. This includes work by disabled, LGBT, and racial/ethnic minority authors. She received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she studied English and Journalism. She has been published in several literary journals and worked as an editor for Headwaters Creative Arts Journal. Sophia explores and enjoys a wide range of genres, with a special interest in science fiction and surreal themes.
Atticus Hogan (he/they)
Writing Contest Coordinator & Judge
Atticus Hogan is a student at UNC Asheville working towards his Bachelors in English, with a focus in Creative Writing. He enjoys writing fantasy, mainly in short story form, and is focused on constantly improving the quality of his work while helping others to do the same. In the future, Atticus hopes to become a published author, working towards that goal one step and one day at a time.
Raul Ojeda (they/them)
Beta Reader Editor
Raul Ojeda graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso with a B.A. in creative writing, and they hope to put that knowledge to use as an editor. They’ve been writing ever since they learned that there was nothing stopping them from putting words to paper. They love writing prose, and narratives that no one else can enjoy quite as much as they can.
Rouen (all pronouns)
YEW Journal Editor & Program Lead (Young Rainbow Writers)
"Hi! My name is Rouen, and I’m an intern at YEW. I’m a high school senior from New Jersey who plans to major in English and Theatre. I love writing of all kinds, but my favorite genres are poetry and horror. I also enjoy playing music, going to concerts, and theatre."
Megumi Jindo (she/her)
Beta Reader Editor
Megumi Jindo is an upcoming junior in NYC and has been published in various magazines like Write To Roar (her school magazine), Revolution Publication, Poet2Poet, Cathartic Literary Magazine, and Taking Root: The Girls Write Now Anthology. In addition, she has been Real Simple's top 15 winner submission on Girls Write Now and Scholastic My Life With...essay, top 5 winner submission on Girls Write Now, and has received one gold key award and two honorable mentions from Scholastic Arts and Writing. Currently, she is part of the Girls Write Now program and is producing more poems—aiming to help this country and its people through her love of writing and music.
Click HERE to see Megumi's website
Selina Li (she/her)
Beta Reader Editor
Selina is a writer and an artist who was introduced to the magical worlds of books through the words of Rick Riordan and Mary Pope Osborne. She aims to show other young peoples the freedom reading and writing can bring in an otherwise arid world. Her favorite genres are fiction, sci-fi, and historical novels and she loves to read with her cat, Otis, curled up by her side. Selina is also an avid tennis player and enjoys playing the piano recreationally.
Val Kim (he/him)
To be announced...
Val Kim is a junior from South Korea who has an immense passion for writing. He is currently the Editor in Chief of his school newspaper where he writes and edits articles about school events and global issues. Val hopes to write about the numerous experiences he had while living in many parts of the world. When he is not writing, Val loves to play tennis and eat pasta with his family.
Melina Kenyon (she/they)
Melina Kenyon is an award winning performance artist and digital media specialist with experience working in both corporate and influencer settings. She strives to create accessible and informative environments while utilizing consistent design elements. Recently, through the support of her friends and local writing groups, she has been writing a poetry collection. Now she has decided to join hands with Young Eager Writers to create content for those in similar positions to her.
Renata Pérez (she/they)
Renata Pérez is a Mexican-American, multimedia creative with a passion for poetry, contemporary fiction, and digital content creation. She has co-written and co-produced two regional-winning documentaries for the National History Day competition and is in her fourth year of the Audio/Video Technology and Communications Pathway at her school. Currently, she is a high school senior in South Texas and intends to pursue a B.A. in Literature. Through her work, Renata hopes to amplify diversity in media and help people of all backgrounds use their voices.
Jess Willis (she/her)
Jessica Willis is a creative writer who specializes in various types of fiction, such as urban fantasy, speculative fiction, and magical realism. She is also known to produce works of poetry and spoken word pieces on occasion as well. An avid reader since a young age, she began to experiment with writing during her middle and high school days. After an extended hiatus, she rediscovered her passion for storytelling and resumed writing fictional works amidst her college career. She is now working diligently to turn her passion into a full-time profession, in order to spread that same creativity and joy to other young readers.
She is currently pursuing her B.A. in English, along with a Minor in Music at UNC-Greensboro. In addition to being versed in writing short stories, and having future plans to publish her own novels, Jess aims to also expand her love of storytelling into the world of screenwriting once she completes her undergraduate degree. She joined the YEW crew as a means to aid her in continuing her journey in finding her voice as a young writer, as well as connect with other amazing creative minds, also. Jess strives to tell stories that represent and uplift the voices of those in marginalized communities, and spread diversity and inclusion throughout the realms of fantasy and fiction.
Hangila Ceesay (she/her)
Hangila Ceesay is a rising senior from Mississippi and currently attends the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. She is a reader and writer at heart and has loved writing short stories from a young age. She currently writes for her school's award-winning newspaper, The Vision, and has won a few independent awards for journalism and short story writing. She hopes to double major in biochemistry and Portuguese and become an OB/GYN in the near future.
Join the team!
Interested in creating supportive spaces for young writers? Want to build creative communities? Reach out to see if YEW is right for you!
(704) 930 - 9392
Be sure to check out our internship program developed to help young writers gain experience within the writing industry.