Mary Anne Mohanraj, Founder and Executive Director

Mary Anne Mohanraj (she/her) is author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and ten other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change is a Lambda and Rainbow Award-finalist science fiction novella. Previous titles include Aqua Erotica and Wet (two anthologies edited for Random House), Kathryn in the City and The Classics Professor (two erotic choose-your-own-adventure novels, Penguin), The Best of Strange HorizonsWithout a Map, (Aqueduct Press, a collection co-authored with Nnedi Okorafor), The Poet’s Journey (picture book), and A Taste of Serendib (a Sri Lankan cookbook).

Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated magazine, Strange Horizons, and serves as editor-in-chief of Jaggery, a South Asian literary journal ( She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon and Maneki Neko Con. She serves as Executive Director of both DesiLit ( and the Speculative Literature Foundation (, and directs the Kriti Festival of South Asian arts and literature (

Mohanraj has taught at the Clarion SF/F workshop, and is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mohanraj lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog.

Margaret Treanor Frey, Director of Finance

Margaret Treanor Frey (she/they) MBA, is a writer, illustrator, and composer, living in Southern California. They are currently collaborating (with Mary Anne Mohanraj) on the graphic novel, Assuming You Survive. While Margaret’s work is usually of the sci-fi or surreal variety, AYS is about the everyday lives of characters who are dealing with change, identity, and relationships, as one does, but in a fantasy setting. Works in progress and occasional dog pics can be seen on Instagram at @margarettreanorfrey.

Darius Vinesar, Managing Director

Born and raised in Chicago, with immigrant parents from Romania, Darius Vinesar (he/him) is a writer with a love for the fantasy and post-apocalyptic genres. He grew up reading fantasy religiously, so much so that he often got in trouble in elementary school for reading underneath his desk during class. Among his current writing projects, Darius is working on a story set in a Victorian-era fantasy world.
As the Managing Director of the SLF, Darius is dedicated to making sure the organization is running smoothly and efficiently from day to day. Darius is also an editor and producer for the podcast, Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans, a show sponsored by the SLF. On Saturdays, Darius co-hosts with Victor Raymond at the SLF’s weekly co-writing sessions.

Emmanuel Henderson, Director of Outreach

Emmanuel Henderson (he/him) recently graduated from UIC with a Bachelor’s in English: Creative Writing (was also a class short of a minor in Black Studies–don’t ask, he’s still healing). Currently he does Outreach/PR for the SLF.  Emmanuel is currently writing fantasy and mainstream lit that focuses on relationship and giving black people magic.

Summer van Houten (she/her) has a MA in Gender, Society, and Representation from University College London. Her research focuses on feminist utopias, matriarchies, and genre-bending authors. She is particularly interested in pursuing critical writing within a speculative literary framework. Before she discovered the SLF, Summer worked as an arts and culture researcher, magazine editor, and youth program coordinator.  

Irene Bruce, Press and Publicity Coordinator

Irene Bruce (she/her) resides in Brooklyn and has been immersed in science fiction and fantasy her whole life. In college, she interned for Analog and Asimov’s. After college, she worked briefly in science publishing and currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the RCHN Community Health Foundation. In her spare time Irene enjoys reading, writing, and trivia nights!  

Catherine Lin, Grants Administrator

Catherine (she/her) has been published in Adelaide Literary Magazine and children, churches, and daddies. She was one of the Mary Parson Donnellon Award recipients in Spring 2021 and has experience writing copy for Relaymile. Catherine daylights on the content team for The Borgen Project and with grants and program development at Minaret Foundation while writing fiction in her free time.

Jai Caldwell, Intern, Outreach

Jai Caldwell (she/her) is a recent UIC Creative Writing English major Alumni, that adores writing short stories, drawing comics, reading other stories, and aggressive day-dreaming for inspiration.


Haddayr Copley-Woods, Accessibility Consultant

Haddayr Copley-Woods is a queer, disabled Minneapolis-based speculative fiction writer and essayist with pieces and performances in places such as Minnesota Public Radio, Apex, Story Club Minneapolis, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Best American Erotica.
By day she writes about technology with a particular focus on digital accessibility.

Victor Raymond, Co-Writing Coordinator

Victor Raymond is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and is a founding member of the Carl Brandon Society. In the past, he has been a community organizer and a college instructor; he now works as a writer and game designer. Along with Mary Anne Mohanraj, he is the co-host of the SLF co-writing workshop held on Saturdays.

Paul Goerner, Portolan Project Assistant

Paul Goerner is a grad student in the literary studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on examining speculative media through contemporary critical paradigms, particularly ecocriticism. When not engaged in teaching, writing, or outreach with a speculative focus, he spends his free time creating original electronic music and photographs on film, both of which remain strongly influenced by his lifelong love of imaginative and outlandish storytelling.

Kaolin Fire

Kaolin Fire is the founder of Poemranker, co-founder of NFG, long-term guru and moderator of imaginaries (formerly The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Co-operative), and co-webmaster for the SLF. He enjoys creation with pixels, words, oil paints, and generally any other sort of thing he can get his hands on or wrap his mind around. His favorite topics in fiction (and in life) are consciousness, dreams, social networking, artificial intelligence, and software development. You can sample his existence at, see some of his comic thoughts, or help yourself to some of his tools, like writer’s planner.

SLF Advisory Board

Malon Edwards, Grants

Malon Edwards has been writing short stories since he was eight years old. His first story was about two astronauts who take a rocket ship to the Moon, where one decides to stay, all alone.

These days, his stories—sometimes steampunk and urban fantasy, other times horror and cyberpunk—are often set in an alternate or near-future Chicago and feature people of color. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Malon now lives in the Toronto area with his wife and their two children. He has volunteered for the Speculative Literature Foundation since 2008.

N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin is the first author in the genre’s history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has won the Nebula and Locus Awards, and she is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. The first book in her current Great Cities trilogy, THE CITY WE BECAME, is a New York Times bestseller. Her speculative works range from fantasy to science fiction to the undefinable; her themes include resistance to oppression, the inseverability of the liminal, and the coolness of Stuff Blowing Up. She’s been an instructor for Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. Among other critical work, she was formerly the science fiction and fantasy book reviewer at the New York Times. In her spare time she’s a gamer and gardener, responsible for saving the world from KING OZZYMANDIAS, her dangerously intelligent ginger cat, and his destructive sidekick, the Marvelous Master Magpie.

Farah Mendlesohn, Educational Programs

Farah Mendlesohn is a con-runner, a charity manager, co-editor of the Hugo Award Winning Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, author of the Hugo nominated The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein and is currently working on a short book about Joanna Russ’s The Female Man.

Pronouns: Farah or they

Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series (Tor Books) explores a future of borderless nations and globally commixing populations. The first volume Too Like the Lightning was a Best Novel Hugo finalist, and won the Compton Crook Award, while Ada received the Campbell Award. She teaches history at the University of Chicago, studying the Renaissance, Enlightenment, heresy, atheism, and censorship. She composes music including the Viking mythology cycle Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok, and performs with the group Sassafrass. She studies anime/manga, especially Osamu Tezuka, post-WWII manga and feminist manga, and consults for anime and manga publishers. She blogs and podcasts at

Chicago SLF Chapter

Jeremiah John

Jeremiah John is a writer, activist, poet, and coder; he’s the author of the yet-unsigned novel Thinspace. He has written nonfiction for such outlets as Huffpo, Geez, and Nuvo, started a program at a nonprofit to organize communities around their own mutual aid, and served six months in federal prison for his nonviolent act of civil disobedience to close the notorious School of the Americas.

Jeremiah John