Will Leathem is a poet and writer. Founder and co-owner of Prospero's Books, he has helped establish one of the most vibrant and eclectic artistic scenes anywhere. Publisher of the award-winning house Spartan Press, Leathem has published 26 chapbooks of poetry, 9 books of poetry, essays and memoirs. Leavened911, a collection of essays touching on the impact ofSeptember 11 on one middle-American community was released. He currently serves as Director of the literary arts nonprofit Write the Future, where he produces its weekly blog-radio program and publishes monthly WTF—an American Alternative. In 2007 and 2008, Leathem helped organize the first Kansas City Literary Festival on the Country Club Plaza—an event that drew national writers and attracted more than 20,000 attendees. Leathem MC'd The Pit, the raucous house reading at Prospero's (featured in an award-winning documentary, The Pit Poet Picture Show) for over 10 years. Hosting Up Close & Personal, a weekly live music performance presenting over 700 shows to date, Leathem also helped found the 39th Street Art Walk. Leathem's poems, essays and short fiction have appeared in The Kansas City Star, NPR, The Alternative American, Thorny Locust, The Same and The Midwest Poetry Review.
Chato Villalobos is a 15 year veteran of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. He has spent his last 9 years on the impact squad doing community policing at the Westside CAN Center. Chato was recently recognized with a proclamation from the mayor regarding the work he does with the Westside and immigrant community through community policing. His work has been featured in Al Jazeer Americaand the New York Times. Chato is a member of the Latino Writers Collective, the Union Cultura Mexicana, and just finished serving his 7th year on the board of directors of the Guadalupe Education Systems.