About Us


In the 25 years since our inception, we have brought the power of the literary arts to over 2 million people. Traditionally, we’ve sent thousands of writers into communities and schools to effect positive change through publications, events, media, and outreach programs that have garnered local, regional, and national recognition: 19 NEAs in 20 years; twice ranked #1 literary project and three times the #1 literary arts organization in the state; the Writers Studio, our acclaimed literary series taped for NPR-affiliates, named both “Best of Dallas” and “Best of Big D”; TEX Magazine, our print literary magazine, in only 5 published issues achieved the highest circulation of any literary magazine in the country.


To foster the education and development of readers, writers, and audiences, by putting them in touch with quality literature, each other, and the communities in which they live and write.

Statement on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Implicit in this mission is the desire, and even the need, to work closely with diverse partners, individuals, and suppliers, who provide immediate access to the many communities in our service area. 
The Writer’s Garret values diversity in the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences in culture and circumstance.  The Writer’s Garret does not discriminate based on such differences, including race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and / or veteran status.

Goals and Objectives for Supplier and Partner Diversity Initiative 

  • Industry Trends 

Study and evaluate current and future issues and challenges; develop solutions that create models of success and provide resources for ongoing relationships with diverse partners and suppliers 

  • Member, Trustee, and Audience Cultivation 

Provide resources, tools, and practices to attract diverse audiences, members and custodians capable of taking our mission to the many communities located within our service area 

  • Outreach and Partnerships 

Develop and present meaningful outreach programs for diverse communities, emphasizing a continued need for cultivation of diverse partners and suppliers 

  • Performance Measures 

Design, implement, and monitor relevant metrics for both internal and external program accountability of diversity results and processes 

The Writer’s Garret and Its Community Partners and Suppliers 

The Writer’s Garret aims to establish long-term relationships with partners and suppliers who provide products and services that help our mission succeed at its highest level, spreading the value of literature, reading, and writing into diverse communities. We are dedicated to including minority and women-owned businesses, as well as minority and women-based nonprofits and individuals, among our list of partners and suppliers. By building close alliances with diverse partners and suppliers, we more easily are able to obtain success of our mission. Working with diverse partners, individuals, and suppliers develops business opportunities through better visibility, shared goals, and a chance to prove the value of literature, reading, and writing, which is a cultural conduit for all people everywhere.


Over the years, we’ve served over 2 million readers, writers, children & youth, educators and others, sharing with them the value of reading and writing quality, crafted language.

  • Children & Youth: Longitudinal studies conducted in DISD and through several of our educational partners have demonstrated that young people in our educational programs show “significant” increases in reading and writing skills and testing scores than their counterparts not studying with us.
  • Adult Writers: Many writers attribute their work with The Writer’s Garret as leading to many publications, awards and honors, tours, and faculty appointments.

Board Members

Board President & Treasurer

Michael Clay

Michael has career experience in a number of areas in Equipment Manufacturing; Forecast Management, Product Management, Field Marketing and Customer Service. He is a poet, the poetry editor for a literary/visual arts website and the co-host of a monthly open mic in Dallas. He has been a featured reader and workshop facilitator with other arts organizations in the community for over 10 years. He combines his business experience and a writer’s personal perspective to serve The Writer’s Garret and those who seek to improve their abilities as artists of the written (and spoken) word.

Samantha Keyes

Samantha Keyes

Samantha Keyes is a strategic marketing and brand executive with 20 years of experience building b-to-b brands. She has worked in various industries, including IT services, energy, consulting, and health care. From developing insight and formulating strategy to creating integrated and targeted campaigns, Samantha creates opportunities for C-suite executives to engage with b-to-b brands. Currently, she is VP of Research, Intelligence, and Solutions Marketing for Vizient in Irving, Texas.

julianne mccullagh

Julianne B. McCullagh

Julianne B. McCullagh is the author of the novel The Narrow Gate. She is a Mayborn Literary Conference First Place winner and a Writer’s Digest Literary Fiction winner. Her work has appeared in Rose and Thorn Literary Journal, Ten Spurs Journal, and her online series has appeared on Loyola Press. In her involved history with The Writer’s Garret, she has served as Director of the Community and Mentorship Program (CAMP) and as a workshop instructor.


Mark Noble

Mark David Noble is a writer, videographer, and multimedia developer who enjoys working on poetry, plays and short stories. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines and as lyrics for choral music. He is also a poetry graduate of the C.A.M.P. project at the Writers Garret, and a retired firefighter from the Mesquite Fire Department.

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Vice President

Diane Parker

Diane Parker is a writer who first came to The Writer’s Garret in 2011, as a student in the C.A.M.P. program.  In 2018, she retired from a 27-year legal career in order to write full-time.  She has served in volunteer leadership positions with a variety of nonprofits and professional associations.  Diane received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and, after a few too many years in the cold north, is happy to once again call Texas home.  She is working on her first novel, which is set in Dallas.

starla patterson

Starla Patterson

Once a child without the means to go to pricey summer camps and after school programs, Starla Patterson now seeks out charitable opportunities that allow her to help bridge the gap between people in need and the educational programs they want to take part in. As the fundraising chair for The Writer’s Garret who helms annual events such as the Earth Day Book Swap, she is able to combine her professional background in marketing, strong desire to help others, and passion for the arts to help people underserved communities learn to express themselves practically and creatively so that they are understood, valued, and connected to each other.

shashonda porter

Dr. Sha-shonda Porter

Sha-shonda Porter has earned a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies, Humanities and Culture; an MFA in Creative Writing; and a BA in Writing Literature. Over the past ten years of her diverse experience, she has taught in a variety of academic settings, including on-campus, online, and low-residency. She currently serves as Associate Dean of World Languages, Cultures, and Communications at Richland College.


Executive Director

Aaron Glover

Aaron Glover’s first chapbook, Bio Logic, was released in February 2017 via INF Press. His poetry appears in the Virginia Quarterly ReviewIllya’s Honey, the Red River Review, Chicon Street Poets, and elsewhere. From 2011-2016, he was on faculty in the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University. As a performer and director, he worked throughout Texas and the Great Plains. He holds an MFA from the University of Houston.

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Accounting Administrator

M. Grace Kenney

M. Grace Kenney has been with The Writer’s Garret for over a decade.  A voracious reader, she is a graduate of Tulane University and has a background in corporate and non-profit financials.

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