Come hear from LGBTQ authors, podcasters and documentarians as they share their latest and greatest with the opportunity to engage in intimate conversation.
Speakers: Kumari Devarajan, Irena Fischer-Hwang, Brian Pellot, Jonathan Vatner, Slade Warnken
KUMARI DEVARAJAN is a producer on NPR’s “Code Switch” podcast where she produces stories about race, identity and culture. She’s reported stories about native populations, LGBTQ communities and issues such as health and policing, and she contributes to the “Code Switch” blog. Before working on “Code Switch,” she was part of NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders” podcast. She was living in New Orleans, working in restaurants when she first got the news that she had been hired as an NPR intern. Kumari grew up in Washington DC and is a proud alumna of Wellesley College.
IRENA FISCHER-HWANG is the features intern at The Dallas Morning News. In Fall 2019 she will be matriculating in the M.A. journalism program in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Fischer-Hwang was a producer for the science podcast “Goggles Optional” from 2016-2018. In 2018, she launched the science podcast “The Informaticists.” She is a Chips Quinn 2019 Scholar and was a member of the Asian American Journalism Association’s 2018 Voices student program. She is a data journalist for the Big Local News team at Stanford University, and was supported by a 2018 Brown Institute for Media Innovation Magic Grant. She is also a peer editor and writer for NPR Scicommer. She obtained her Ph.D. in electrical engineering in Spring 2019 from Stanford University, and her M.Eng. and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 and 2011.
BRIAN PELLOT is Taboom Media’s co-founding director. He speaks regularly about LGBTQI+ rights and religion at media and human rights conferences around the world. He is based in Cape Town, South Africa, where he occasionally freelances for international news and media outlets. Before Taboom, Brian served as Religion News Service’s director of global strategy, as Index on Censorship’s digital policy advisor and as Free Speech Debate’s online editor. He is a volunteer mentor-editor at The OpEd Project.
JONATHAN VATNER has written for The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Out; Advocate; Poets & Writers and many other publications. His short fiction has been published in “Confrontation, “West Branch Wired,” “The Midnight Oil,” “Chelsea Station,” “Jonathan,” the “Best Gay Stories” anthology and more. His first novel, “Carnegie Hill,” debuted Aug. 20 from Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press. He lives in Yonkers, New York with his husband and cats.
SLADE WARNKEN (they/them/theirs) is rising senior in Northwestern Medill School of Journalism with a minor in Music Technology. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, they specialize in songwriting, music journalism and storytelling, with a focus on the ways identity and healing can manifest. Most recently, they are in the process of producing their first documentary tentatively titled “Reaching for Solid Ground.” The film follows Warnken traveling home from college for the first time since starting hormone therapy and processing their transition. As a musician they have also focused mostly on exploring their experience of gender. So far they have released one EP entitled “Amy” and plan to release another project by the end of this year.