Facilitator Bios

Check Out Who’s Going to “Thrill You” This October:

1009963_10203700276136911_3726310584384811819_nHugo Esteban Rodriguez

Born and raised in Matamoros, Tamaulipas he spent his early adulthood in Brownsville, Texas before moving to Houston. He received his undergraduate degrees in Mass Communication and History from the University Texas Rio Grande Valley and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, where he was a classmate, study buddy, and thorn in the side of Guadalupe Mendez, who baptized him into Houston’s poetry scene and the Librotraficante Movement. His work has been published in The Airgonaut, Spirit’s Tincture, Picaroon Poetry, and Donut Factory. He loves sports, tacos, power metal, and spending time with his girlfriend and furchildren. He also blogs about writing and mental health at www.dosaguilas.org and is currently seeking representation for his first short story collection.

headshotJosh Inocencio

Josh Inocéncio is a playwright and performer who focuses on queer and indigenous reclamations within Latina/o and Euro-American cultures. After graduating with his Bachelor’s at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi in 2012, he pursued and completed his Master’s degree in Theatre Studies at The Florida State University. While writing and defending his Master’s thesis on cultural memory, Josh independently wrote, performed in, and produced his solo play, Purple Eyes. Now that he’s returned to Houston, Josh is touring Purple Eyes across Texas to theatres, cultural centers, and universities. He premiered the play in Austin, TX in collaboration with Proyecto Teatro and has since performed at Winter Street Studios in Houston. Upcoming gigs include university collaborations with UT-RGV, South Texas College, and the University of Houston. In addition to his solo work, the Landing Theatre Co. in Houston recently premiered Josh’s short play—dallas/love the bomb—as part of their Redemption Series confronting crises in the United States. Alongside his artistic endeavors, Josh is a Teaching Artist at The Alley Theatre, a creative writing teacher with WITS, and he offers writing and performance workshops. He also taught introductory theatre courses to both majors and non-majors at Florida State. In addition, he taught a master class on performance art at TAMU-CC’s Camp on the Coast.

14470678_10153892015131787_534739227_nIcess Fernandez-Rojas

Icess Fernandez is a journalist, blogger, teacher, and writer based in Houston. She earned her BA in Communications from the University of Houston and an MFA from Goddard College. She’s been published in USA Today, NBCNews.com, Huffington Post and the Guardian. Her work has been anthologized in Soul’s Road: A Fiction Collection and published in literary journals including Minerva Rising, The Fem Lit Magazine, and is forthcoming in Dear Hope and the Feminine Collective. In addition she is a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Foundation alum.

12650839_10153985554907642_4373633827530991612_nLeslie Contreras Schwartz

Leslie Contreras Schwartz grew up in northwest Houston and attended Aldine I.S.D. schools. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College and a BA in English from Rice University, where she won the Academy of American Poets’ College & University Prize in 2001.

Her first collection of poems, Fuego, was published by Saint Julian Press in March 2016.  Her poetry has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Storyscape Literary Journal, Rust + Moth, and is forthcoming in Tinderbox Literary Journal, The Collagistand Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Her personal essays have appeared in the Houston Chronicle, The Toast, and Dame Magazine.