Laura Boffa hails from Granville, Ohio, where she began her writing career on her dad’s typewriter. Her passions for writing and for working with youth have continued to inspire her through jobs ranging from a counselor at the Thurber Summer Writing Camp in Columbus to a middle school ESL teacher in South Korea to a swim lesson instructor. Last year, Laura served as an Americorps*VISTA worker at Centro de Enlace, a Latino center in Burnsville, North Carolina. She fell in love with the area and moved to Asheville, where she became involved with True Ink and will be leading Whodunnit?, a camp for young mystery writers at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial this summer.
Shanita Jackson, Youth Facilitator
Shanita Jackson,16, is a spoken word poet who has won numerous poetry slams around the region and, in 2012, was a member of the first-ever WNC team to attend Brave New Voices, the world's international spoken word competition. As a member of the 2013 team, she'll travel to Chicago this summer.
Shanita is also the co-founder of Soulspeak, a regular youth spoken word showcase and poetry slam and has been profiled numerous times--for both print and television. She is a youth advisor to the Board of
Asheville Writers in the Schools. A resident of Hendersonville, Shanita attends Henderson County Early college. This is her second year of assisting with the Slam This! summer programs.
Writer, educator, activist, healer, and merry-maker; Griffin Payne wears many hats and looks fabulous in each of them. Griffin is a graduate of UNC-Asheville with a degree in French (focus in literature) and a minor in History. He earns a living by working one on one with people who have developmental disabilities, in addition to working as a caregiver for the elderly. His poetry has been featured in UNC-Asheville’s literary magazine, Metabolism, as well as in the RFD, an international Queer quarterly journal. Griffin made his spoken word debut in October 2007, here in our very own Asheville, and has since become the Slammaster and Co-Director of Poetry Slam Asheville.
Robin Criscuolo is a poet, writer, teacher and wilderness mentor. Robin holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Art from Warren Wilson College. She has taught creative writing and survival skills in the wilds of Weaverville, NC and Charlottesville, VA. Robin is the creator of the Veg-o-matic Poetry Dispenser, the proud owner of 31 types of glitter and her house is named after a marsupial.
Lisa Smith Bruer
Lisa Smith Bruer
Lisa Smith Bruer earned her M.A. in Film Production from the Ohio University School of Film where she first taught Film History and Film Production. Her production experience includes documentary, educational, television advertising and experimental/artistic film and video. Her work has been screened at various film festivals including the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Walker Art Center’s Independent Filmmaker Series and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, as well as on Public Television as part of “The Independents” series. Her production credits include awards from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and the Athens International Film & Video Festival.
Lisa has been teaching children for the past 10 years in both video and music, including animation, film history, and video production, and conducted a children's orchestra in the Florida Keys for seven years. She currently resides in Asheville, where she teaches and home schools her children.
Janet Hurley has been writing since she was in first grade ( she titled her first story The Eye!). She received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has a BA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill , where she completed the honors program in creative writing. She's a frequent contributor to VERVE Magazine. and Our State Magazine.
Janet has collaborated with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial site to offer writing camps and afterschool classes since June 2008. She also works with other homeschool groups, private schools, and organizations.
Janet has a long history of working with young people in addition to her True Ink programs. She has volunteered with young writers from kindergarten through fifth grade in Asheville, Chapel Hill, NC Athens, GA, and New Paltz, NY. While living in the Piedmont of North Carolina in the the early nineties, she worked with award winning poet and playwright Jaki Shelton Green to develop and co-facilitate a writing program for the Cedar Grove Head Start program as part of a North Carolina Arts and Education grant. Janet 's experience with young people includes directing and facilitating youth leadership programs for The Center for Peace Education based in Carrboro, N.C. and for Rites of Passage in Athens, Georgia. In 1994, she directed the Haw River Festival, an environmental education program serving over 2000 fourth grade children.
Also a storyteller, Janet has performed in elementary school classrooms in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Athens, Georgia and New Paltz, New York. In 1994, she performed for hundreds of children along the Hudson River as the resident storyteller for the Pumpkin Festival, a Clear Water Sloop environmental education program. In the early nineties, she also co-founded The Far Fetchers and True Tellers, a Chapel Hill based storytelling performance group.
Janet lives in Asheville with her husband, David, two children, Maren and Liam, and dog, Cody.