Apr 09, 2022, 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Zoom Webinar










The Adoptee Literary Festival brings together writers who self-identify as having been adopted, fostered, or otherwise displaced to share their stories, make their voices heard, and reshape the narrative of adoption which has for too long been dominated by adoptive parents and the adoption industry. Covering all genres, the festival highlights writing that makes adoptees the subject, rather than the object, of their own stories. Respectful of diverse opinions, we recognize that every adoption story is different, and celebrate all genuine voices that seek to educate, engage, and nurture.

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Founding Co-Director

Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello is the author of Hour of the Ox (University of Pittsburgh, 2016), which won the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. She is the co-translator of Yi Won’s The World’s Lightest Motorcycle (Zephyr Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in Catapult, Kenyon Review Online, The New York Times, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the American Literary Translators Association, the Knight Foundation, and Kundiman, among others. She is co-director for PEN America Miami/South Florida Chapter, and a program coordinator for Miami Book Fair.

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Founding Co-Director

Alice Stephens’ debut novel, Famous Adopted People, was published in 2018 by Unnamed Press. Her work has appeared in LitHub, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Margins, Banana Writers, and other publications, and has been anthologized in Volume IX of the DC Women’s Writers Grace & Gravity series, Furious Gravity (2020), and Writing the Virus (Outpost19, 2020). She is a co-facilitator of the Adoptee Voices Writing Group, editor of Bloom, and writes book reviews and a column, Alice in Wordland, for the Washington Independent Review of Books.



Loyalty Bookstores was founded by Hannah Oliver Depp, a Black and Queer Bookseller and an adoptee who has spent her career working to diversify the book industry in order for it to better serve the powerful communities of color and queerness. We aim to be the Mid-Atlantic’s neighborhood spot for wonderful books and unique stationery, gifts, and programming. Our staff and our selection highlight the diverse voices and creatives that make our communities great. Our intersectional community is important to our staff, therefore those are the books you'll find centered in our store, in our programming, and in our promotions. We work to create an inclusive, welcoming environment and provide books and goods for the home because, well, books are home. By creating a team of local vendors and community partners in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, MD that center Black, PoC, and Queer voices we create singular shopping and event experiences.



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Stephanie Drenka is a transracial Korean adoptee living in Texas. She is the Communications Director for Dallas, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and Founding Editor of VISIBLE Magazine. Stephanie’s photography and writing have been featured in Washington Post, Huffington Post, USA Today, and Newsweek. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from DePaul University, with minors in Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.

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Melissa Guida-Richards is an author, adoptee, and advocate based in Pennsylvania. She was adopted in 1993 from Colombia to a family in the USA. Guida-Richards’ latest book, What White Parents Should Know About Transracial Adoption, was released October 5, 2021. She created the Adoptee Thoughts Instagram and Podcast to help elevate adoptee voices and educate adoptive parents on the nuances and complexity of adoption. Her work has also appeared in Huffington Post, Zora, The Independent, ElectricLit, and more. Check out AdopteeThoughts.com for all the latest updates.

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Mariama J. Lockington is an adoptee, author, and educator. Her debut middle grade novel, For Black Girls Like Me (FSG 2019), is an ALA Notable Middle Grade Book, a Booklist Editors Choice title, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard title, and a Project LIT Book Club 2019-2020 selection. Mariama's second middle grade novel, In the Key Of Us, will be out in April of 2022; and her debut YA novel, Forever is Now, is also forthcoming. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Lucky Daughter (Damaged Goods Press, 2016).  Mariama holds a Masters in Education from Lesley University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Poetry from San Francisco State University. You can find Mariama on Twitter @marilock and on Instagram @forblackgirlslikeme.

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Eric Smith is a literary agent and Young Adult author from Elizabeth, New Jersey. An adoptee, he explores themes centered around adoption in a lot of his work. His latest books include The Girl and the Grove (Flux), Don't Read the Comments (Inkyard), You Can Go Your Own Way (Inkyard), and the anthology Battle of the Bands (Candlewick), coedited with Lauren Gibaldi. He can be found reading, writing, and crying over every movie on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks. 



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