About Us


In the 27 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: 20 NEAs grants; 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;” and the recipient of the 2018 Community Engagement Award in Fine Arts from the Dallas City of Learning Initiative.


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.

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.

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Rhiannon R. Martin

Rhiannon R. Martin is an arts administrator and event producer in Dallas, TX. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Texas Arts Administrators and Educators of Color, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, North Texas Business Council for the Arts (Leadership Arts Alumni Committee Chair), 24 Hour Dallas (Cultural Innovation Committee Chair), and holds a seat on the Steering Committee for the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition, Project 826 Dallas Advisory Council, Booker T. Washington HSPVA Arts Council, and is active in the Mayor’s Star Council. She holds a BA in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of North Texas, as well as a graduate certificate in Arts & Culture Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania and National Arts Strategies. She has also earned certificates in Nonprofit Management and Fundraising from the Center for Nonprofit Management.


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.

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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.

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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.

Program Coordinator

Sharon Mansfield

Sharon Mansfield is a non practicing attorney, supermom, and passionate Dallasite. She has shown a high level of commitment to youth development by serving as a scout leader, debate team coach and as a literacy tutor including 2 terms of service with AmeriCorps. She has helped create school-based organizations aimed at building community within schools and their surrounding neighborhoods including an after school writing club for elementary students that became virtual after the pandemic began. She believes that educational equity and access to the arts is the key to making Dallas a city of opportunity for all of its residents.

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