Author Bios

Colleen McKee and Amanda Steibel

DSC_0054Colleen McKee and Amanda Steibel edited Are We Feeling Better Yet?, an anthology of 21 essays by a diverse group of women from all across the U.S., who write eloquently of “trying to navigate what is often a liminal, difficult place: where the private body encounters the public institutions of the medical establishment. Whether they found it a place of healing, harm, or both, amazing stories emerge.”Colleen McKee grew up on welfare in the first town in America to be completely evacuated because of toxic waste, leading her to an early, if reluctant, interest in the health care system. Her personal essays have appeared in anthologies such as Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class (Seal) and Under the Arch: St. Louis Stories (Antares). Her work on women and health care has appeared in Chronic Babe and Bellevue Literary Review. Additionally she is the author of My Hot Little Tomato (Cherry Pie) a book of poetry about the pleasures of food and sex. She earned her B.A. in Literature and World Religions, as well as a minor in Women’s Studies, from Webster University. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She currently lives and works in northern California.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                    Amanda Crowell Stiebel is best known for her eclectic job history and her poetry publications; she has been a janitor, model, steelworker, high-school teacher, perpetual student, caving instructor, telemarketer, and college instructor, among other things. Her free-verse poetry focuses mainly on experiencing life as a woman and has appeared in many publications including the People’s Press anthology The Familiar, and A Chaos of Angels (Word Walker), an anthology of poetry about psychotropic drug use. In addition, she has worked as an editor onNatural Bridge, a literary review. Amanda earned her B.A. in English at Truman State University, and her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She, her husband, and son, live in Middletown, New York.

Qiu Xiaolong

viewphotoQiu Xiaolong was born and raised in Shanghai, China. While living in China, as an associate research professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the Chinese Writers’ Association, he published across diverse fields, including prize-winning poetry translations of T. S. Eliot’s poems and Imagist poems. He came to the United States as a visiting scholar, but what happened in Beijing in 1989 changed his path. He started writing in English and got a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Washington University. Qiu won a Missouri Biennial Award and a Prairie Schooner Award for his poetry. He has authored twelve highly acclaimed novels including Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities(2006), and Red Mandarin Dress (2007), which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.

Mary Ellen Havard

ME Havard (2)Mary Ellen Havard was born and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. The eldest of six children in a family with strong Irish Catholic roots, Mary Ellen was a gregarious and outgoing child who enjoyed taking part in activities with her friends, including athletics, team sports, and music. Following graduation from a private high school for girls, Mary Ellen entered the order of religious who had taught her and became a nun. While in that community, she attended Webster University in St. Louis, where she earned a B.A., and she received special training in Montessori early education methods. Mary Ellen was actively involved in her order’s preschool and primary program for a number of years.

After a period of reflection and reevaluation, Mary Ellen left the convent in the 1970s and moved from St. Louis to New York City, where she worked as a teacher. Two years later, she married Colin, who also had been a member of a religious order and a priest. While in New York, Mary Ellen obtained a Master’s degree and continued teaching until the arrival of the couple’s first son, Mark. Three years later, Mary Ellen, now a stay-at-home mom, and Colin became parents of their second child, Michael. With Mark approaching first grade, Colin seeking new employment, and Mary Ellen’s mother terminally ill with cancer, the family returned to St. Louis where, years later, Mary Ellen continues to live, work, love, and —most recently—to capture her experience with breast cancer in a book.

Mary Openlander

M Openlander (2)Mary Openlander grew up in the St. Louis area and earned a B.S. degree in physical therapy from St. Louis University. Mary had more than twelve years of experience in physical therapy when she began studying the Trager Approach in 1991. Delighted with the way Trager broadened her abilities to help patients with chronic pain, she acquired further certification as a Mentastics movement education instructor and became an assistant to the educational staff of Trager International.

In 1998, Mary opened Physical Therapy Innovations to provide a setting for blending traditional physical therapy with complementary approaches. She recently concluded a three-year term on the board of the United States Trager Association and was the 2002 recipient of the Florence P. Kendall Award for outstanding Service in Physical Therapy from St. Louis University. A yoga student, singer, and outdoors enthusiast, Mary lives in St. Louis with her husband; they are the parents of two adult sons.

Winnie Sullivan

IMG_0576-2Winnie Sullivan was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. A self-described “Francophile,” she is a lifelong student of French language, literature, and culture. Initially she wrote Notes from Paris as a journal of her first visit to Paris, “. . . to preserve the memory of it with a full written record, beyond what photographs could provide.” At first the journal was a gift to her friend and traveling companion, Robin, who was moving from St. Louis to Boston. Now,Notes from Paris is a travel-sized memoir that recounts Winnie’s experiences in the City of Light.

Winnie has worked as a writer and editor since 1989. Currently, she owns a production services company, through which she offers writing, editing, graphic design, and page layout services. She is also the founder and executive director of PenUltimate Press, Inc., a nonprofit literary publishing house. Winnie lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.

Catherine Rankovic

SONY DSCPoet, essayist and journalist Catherine Rankovic is the author of Island Universe: Essays and Entertainments (WingSpan, 2007), Fierce Consent and Other Poems(WingSpan, 2005), and a co-author of Guilty Pleasures (Andrews-McMeel, 2003). Widely published and a winner of multiple awards for her work in every genre, Rankovic has a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University, an M.A. in English Literature from Syracuse University, and an M.F.A. in poetry from Washington University. She has taught writing at Washington University and at Lindenwood University and is a leading figure in the St. Louis literary community.

David Gerard

gerard1David Gerard was born David Gerard Jurkiewicz in 1952 in St. Joseph, Missouri. He attended parochial schools there and, as a youth, worked in his father’s shoe repair business. He earned a master’s degree in literature from the University of Tulsa in 1992. In 1995 he bean to work for the Muskogee Phoenix in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he spent ten years as a a reporter and copy editor and the last five years as opinion editor. He is a freelance writer, has written one other novel,Judge Not, and has published short stories in literary magazines. Gerard and his wife Audrey have three adult children. He enjoys gardening, hiking, bicycling, and birdwatching.

T. L. Jamieson

Pic of Terry for BookT. L. Jamieson has spent much of his life working in secondary and post-secondary education. He writes about and photographs the Ozark landscape and his work has appeared in regional publications. He and his family reside in southwest Missouri and he spends his free time roaming the Ozark National Forest. He holds degrees from Arkansas State University, Pittsburg State University, and the University of Missouri.

Tullia Brown Hamilton

Tullia's HeadshotThe recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship for graduate study, Tullia Brown Hamilton received a Ph.D. from Emory University in American Studies in 1978. Her frequently cited dissertation remains one of the seminal scholarly works in the history of African American women. She taught Women’s History and African American History at the Ohio State University. She left academia in 1981 to accept a position at the Columbus Foundation of Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Hamilton has more than 20 years experience in philanthropy and management in the nonprofit sector. She works as a consultant and teaches a course on the history and development of the nonprofit sector at Washington University in St. Louis. She and her husband reside in St. Louis.

Rose Shapiro

Rose Shapiro was an associate professor and director of rhetoric in the Department of English and Communication at Fontbonne University in St. Louis. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia, and a master’s and doctoral degrees in comparative literature from Washington University. Ms. Shapiro had also taught Spanish language and literature at Elmira College in Elmira, New York. In addition to Morada al sur, she published a translation of the poems of Carlos German Belli titled Poemas Escogidos: Selected Poems, 1958-2006. She was the author of several journal articles, and she contributed to a number of scholarly publications.

Margaret O’Gorman

Marge O'Gorman Head ShotIn addition to editing Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith, Marge is a Franciscan Sister of Mary serving her church as a spiritual director. She has spent most of her life as a pastoral minister in adult faith formation. She is committed to social justice and extends her compassion and advocacy efforts to care for our planet Earth. She is a seeker of God, rooted in scripture prayer, and liturgy. She also experiences God as reflected in nature and in those on the margins of society.

Anne Peper Perkins

Anne Perkins Head ShotAnne received a PhD in Comparative Literature from Washington University in 1986 and taught Latin and Greek at Webster University for a number of years. She retired fifteen years ago in order to spend more time doing Healing Touch on cancer patients, teaching T’ai Chi Chih to children and adults, being very active in her church, enjoying her six beautiful grandchildren, and editing Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith. She has lived happily in St. Louis’ Lafayette Square for nearly 25 years with her spouse Mary Sale.

Jane Ellen Ibur

Janie Teaching a Poetry Class (2)Jane Ellen Ibur is a poet and arts educator with more than thirty-five years experience teaching creative writing. Throughout her career she sought students and audiences not only in the expected places, but also in more unlikely settings—shelters, veterans’ facilities, housing projects, and jails.Ibur has been recognized twice by the Missouri Scholars Academy. She received a World of Difference Award from the Anti-Defamation League; a St. Louis Visionary Award for Outstanding Arts Educator; the Warrior Poet Award from Word in Motion; an Author Recognition Award from the Missouri Center for the Book; and a Loretto Award for humanitarian and social justice service from Webster University. For 19 years she co-hosted and co-produced Literature for the Halibut on community radio. Her poetry, published in literary journals and anthologies since 1972, has garnered numerous awards, and she is the author of a poetic memoir, Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ (PenUltimate Press).

Richard Neitzel

Richard-No GlassesRichard Neitzel was born in May, 1949 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Concordia College in that city for six years, the same gymnasium attended by his father and by his grandfather, the Ernst of Ernst and Tillie. He is a graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and an ordained Lutheran pastor who has served congregations in Chicago and St. Louis. Neitzel was the first director of the Sts. Peter and Paul Homeless Shelter in St. Louis. As an employee of both governmental and nonprofit agencies, he has continued to seek opportunities to advocate for the homeless and to support the development of low-cost housing.

Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is an associate professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College and executive editor of The Crisis Magazine, founded by W.E.B. DuBois in 1910. His books include The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t and Why; A Taste Of Honey: Stories; and Only The Strong, a novel. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council of the Social Studies.

Yara Zgheib

Born in Lebanon, Zgheib has lived in Glasgow, Washington DC, and Paris. She is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s degree in security studies and a PhD in international affairs and diplomacy. More importantly, she is a writer, a political analyst, a daydreamer, and an avid tea drinker.
Zgheib is the author of Biography of a Little Prince, a memoir of her adventures with a little boy dear to her heart. Her blog, “Aristotle at Afternoon Tea,” (  is a compilation of weekly essays on politics, art, culture, economics, literature, philosophy, and wine… just a smart conversation over afternoon tea.
Zgheib now lives in Saint Louis with her chéri, her books, and an ever-growing list of adventures to come.

2 thoughts on “Author Bios”

  1. This is for Rick Neitzel. I was a lousy football player one year younger than him on Concordia’s football team who was well acquainted with his knee on my tackle attempts.

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