Behind the Scenes

Iris Graville (she, her, hers)
SHARK REEF publisher Iris Graville is the author of Hands at Work—Portraits and Profiles of People Who Work with Their Hands (Heron Moon Press, 2009). Her profiles, combined with Summer Moon Scriver’s photographs, garnered an Independent Publisher Award for Outstanding Book and a Nautilus Book Award. Iris and Summer collaborated again in 2016 on BOUNTY: Lopez Island Farmers, Food, and Community. Both Summer and Iris are past contributors to SHARK REEF. Iris’s latest books, published by Homebound Publications, include the memoir, Hiking Naked – A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance, and Writer in a Life Vest: Essays from the Salish Sea. A resident of Lopez Island, WA, Iris’s essays, profiles, and articles have been published in numerous regional and national journals and magazines.

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Stephanie Barbé Hammer (she, her, hers)
Managing editor, Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She has published short stories, poems and lyric essays in the Bellevue Literary Review, GRAVEL, Birds We Piled Loosely, Pearl, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review among other places. She is the author of two magical realist novels, two poetry chapbooks, one full-length poetry collection, a novelette and a how-to-write magical realism manual. Originally from Manhattan, Stephanie now lives on Whidbey Island, where she keeps on trying to walk to coffee. She teaches writing at Hugo House, Edmonds College, and the Inlandia Institute.

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Lorna Reese
Now “managing editor emerita,” Lorna Reese is a founder and was managing editor of SHARK REEF for most of its first eighteen years. She worked with different co-editors for each issue of the magazine, loving the collaboration with other writers and artists. Lorna lives on Lopez Island, WA and continues at SHARK REEF, working mostly behind the scenes. Her memoir essays and fiction have been published in SHARK REEF, The Sun Magazine and The Islands Weekly. She delights in acting as a sort of midwife for other writers and has made the acknowledgements page of well over 20 books.

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Aaisha Umt Ur Rashid and Aleena Rehman
We’re happy to welcome our new Guest Nonfiction Editor Aaisha Umt Ur Rashid. Aaisha is a poet, prose writer, editor and translator who is also Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the Lahore College for Women University, in Lahore Pakistan. She is also the initiator of The Bridge – a unique venture that aims to connect writers around the globe.

Assisting Aaisha, will be Aleena Rehman, a young, emerging poet, prose writer and editor based in Lahore, Pakistan. Her short stories, articles and poems have been published at various print and online forums both nationally and internationally. She is also a wonderful basketball and throwball player and has won eight gold medals in sports on national level.

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Shari Lane (she, her, hers)
Social media coordinator and guest fiction editor Shari Lane was reading voraciously by the time she entered kindergarten, and she has been writing for almost as long. Her first full-length novel, written at the age of ten, followed the adventures of magical guinea pigs. Shari continued writing and went on to win a Young Writers Award in high school, earn degrees in Comparative Literature and Classics, teach Latin, and run a Montessori preschool, before heading back to school for a Juris Doctor. Shari considers herself insanely fortunate to live in the magical mystical San Juan Islands with her spouse and her dog (and assorted rabbits, owls, seals, and orcas—not “hers” in the ownership sense of the word, but hers to marvel at, and hers to share stewardship of). Shari’s writing has been published or received honorable mention or awards in The Phare, Amplify, Flash Fiction Magazine, Fish Publishing, Glimmertrain, and Oregon Writers Colony. In March 2022, Shari launched a serialized novel The Dogs of Looser Island (www.alaughingdog.com). She also has an occasionally-active blog, Brillig, with musings on life, love, despair, and hope. Links to Shari’s writing (and photos of the newest family member) can be found on Shari’s Facebook pages, Twitter (@ShariWords), and Instagram (ReadWriteBreath38). Whenever and however possible, Shari surrounds herself with books, writers, and readers: in addition to assisting with SHARK REEF, Shari volunteers at the local library hosting Open Mic night for writers and serving as a substitute in the library’s summer literacy program for elementary school students. We are living in dark times: pandemic, climate disasters, the overturning of Roe v Wade, mass shootings, Russia’s war on Ukraine. By the time these words are published, there will no doubt be new tragedies. Good writing not only provides a much-needed escape, a chance for a cathartic cry or a healing belly laugh, words can also lift and transform us and galvanize us to action. It is an honor to work with and serve a community of writers wielding their mightier-than-swords pens. Write on, friends!

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Richard Widerkehr
Richard Widerkehr has published three books of of poems in the last five years: Night Journey (Shanti Arts Press, 2022), At The Grace Cafe (Main Street Rag Publications, 2021), and In The Presence of Absence (MoonPath Press, 2017). He also has three chapbooks, an earlier book of poems, The Way Home (Plain View Press, 2011), and a novel, Sedimental Journey (Tarragon Books, 2005), an off-beat post-modern romance about a geologist in love with a fictional character. His work has appeared in Writer’s Almanac, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, and over 50 others. He won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan, three awards for poems in The Bridge (Michigan), three Sue Boynton Contest awards, a second prize at Poetry Super-highway, and first prize for short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.

He has worked as a writing teacher at the University of Hawaii, in the Upward Bound Program at Western Washington University, at the Port Townsend Writers Conference, and at a counseling center where he was also a case manager for mentally ill folks. He has poems now in Shot Glass Journal, Open: A Journal of Arts and Letters, and in Take A Stand: Art Against Hate (Raven Chronicles Press), which won the 2021 Washington State Book Award for poetry.

Richard says,“I tend to like poems that offer something on a first reading and make me want to go back to them again. I like poems that are musical, imaginative, faithful to life, either formal poems or in free verse. I tend to be interested in ideas when they are embodied in something concrete. I have a weakness for poems that evoke the natural world and also connect with something that transcends it. A sense of humor is good, too. I want the poet’s voice to be distinct, not sounding like someone else. Sometimes, my favorite poems contain both feeling and restraint, a certain ten-sion. Though I like expansive poems, I tend to vote for poems that are one page or less because we get many submissions. I was glad to see that SR’s non-fiction editor included Anne Whitehouse’s four-page ‘Bernadette: A Non-Fiction Poem’ in our summer issue.”

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Linda Conroy (she, her, hers)
When poetry co-editor Linda Conroy retired from a long career as a Child Protective Services worker, manager, meeting facilitator and advocate for people with unique needs, she knew she needed to write about the complicated and gratifying human behaviors she had been privileged to witness, as well as the impact of the natural world and the changing times. Initially, she wrote fiction and creative non-fiction, but poetry quickly became her favorite genre.

Before Covid, Linda hosted and facilitated writing groups at Village Books in Bellingham, WA, and now continues in a supportive role with some of the new writers she met there. She is a four–time Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winner and has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Penwood Review, Snapdragon, and Shot Glass, and at local community events. She is the author of Ordinary Signs, a poetry collection. Her second collection, Familiar Sky, will be out this year.

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Judith Connor
Art editor Judith Connor began her career as an artist at age five when she realized people could actually earn a living by “coloring.” Connor spent most of her working life as an independent graphic designer and art director. But she’s been making her own art all that time, too. Her “coloring” led her for several years to the practice of Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy, and recently to creating mosaics — mostly birds and fish but at least one cat! She carries a sketch book everywhere she goes, drawing wherever life takes her, from sketching the villages of England, to capturing the luminous light and nostalgic beauty of Cape Cod and documenting her own neighborhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she’s lived in the same zip code all her life.