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. She has worked one-on-one with poets Ishion Hutchinson, Catherine Barnett, Matthew Rohrer, Nick Laird, and more. Her work has appeared in Hedge Apple Magazine, Unlikely Stories, The Woven Tale Press, Sanskrit, and The Scene & Heard Journal. Today she teaches college courses in English and Creative Writing, manages the Young Eager Writers Association & Conference, and writes poetry and fiction.
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.
Aly Jordan (she/her)
Assistant Event Coordinator
Aly Jordan graduated from UNC Charlotte with a degree in English concentrated in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing short stories as well as flash fiction and hopes, one day, to be a novelist. She strives to help other young writers jumpstart their careers through the Young Eager Writers Association.
Anita Ukaenwe (she/her)
Anita Ukaenwe is a writer who aspires to become a famous author in the near future and therefore is currently working on her first book. Her work mainly consists of fiction, however she also writes poetry as a means to express herself with the overall goal of enlightening, inspiring, entertaining and comforting those who read her work, spreading positivity and also learning and reading other amazing stories as well.
Hannah Ward (she/her)
Hannah Ward is an English education student at UNC Greensboro. She has a passion for literature and teaching, and hopes to bring the art of creative writing back to public school curriculums. In her spare time, she loves to read and write YA fiction and fantasy. She is a 2021-2022 Artist in Residence for the UNCG Honors College and a writer for The Navigator at UNCG. In the future, Hannah intends to publish a novel and a few short stories.
Aina Azri (she/her)
Writer Group Lead
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.
Renata Pérez (she/they)
Video Content Creator
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.
Asha Hunt (she/her)
Social Media 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.
Melanie Rayl (she/her)
Social Media Coordinator
Melanie Rayl is a rising senior at Mt. Lebanon High School, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From a young age, reading has inspired her to listen to the voices of artists around her and learn about the world through stories and fiction. She aspires to grow her writing talents and work with other young writers and be a part of such an amazing organization.
Zac Gosney (all pronouns)
Zac Gosney doesn't exist, but if he did, he'd be an aspiring poet, philosopher, and performer. His writing tends to skew towards open-ended topics such as happiness, religion, love, and the human condition. When not constructing one of his masterpieces, Zac can be found rabble-rousing, troublemaking, and committing general acts of tom-foolery. Lastly, Zac would like to remind you to smile today, make someone happy, you have more power than you think you do.
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.”
Join the team!
Interested in contributing? Need a résumé builder? Looking for a supportive community? 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 publishing and writing industry.
Damien Una Holland (he/they)
YEW Journal Editor-in-Cheif
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.
Jade Thomas (she/they)
YEW Journal Editor & Content Creator
Jade Thomas studies Literature at UNC Asheville. She enjoys reading queer fiction and poetry along with nonfiction. They are currently working on poetry and short stories in the hope of publishing a collection or novel in the future. She is an intern for Headwaters Creative Arts Journal, where she enjoys editing.
Kendra Carter (she/her)
YEW Journal Editor
Kendra is a 27-year-old college student, artist, and writer from North Carolina. She's been a freelance artist since age 14 and has been writing poetry and fiction since 11. She has a true love of books and inspiring others to read. Some of her fondest memories are reading books with her family; such as, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series. Her goal after finishing her Associates in Arts, Fine Arts, and Graphic Design is to get a Major in Illustration and a Minor in Creative Writing. She wants to be a reader and illustrator for a publishing company.
Jessica Stiehm (she/her)
YEW Journal Editor & Community Lead
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)
YEW Journal 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.