Karen (Ren) VanMeenen


Karen vanMeenen spearheaded Writers & Books’ Rochester Reads program, 2001 – 2019, and continues to lead selected community reading projects. She is a senior lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology, teaching courses in Writing, Literature, and Contemporary Media Art. Editor of the media arts journal Afterimage for over 25 years, she also edited the collections Giving Sorrow Words: Poems of Strength and Solace; Light At the End: Poems by Lyn Lifshin; and Nevermore: Poetry and Prose by Edgar Allan Poe. She is certified as a writing therapist and serves on the executive board of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and as the Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Poetry Therapy. Karen has Master of Arts degrees in Transformative Language Arts and in Media Studies, and is completing a PhD program in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought at the European Graduate School.

Chris Fanning


Chris is a public relations professional and community builder. In addition to his role as Director of Communications, Special Events, & Operations, he holds the position of Vice President of the Neighborhood of the Arts Business Association. Chris worked as a Promotions Coordinator at Entercom Rochester for eight years and was Associate Producer of the Key Bank Rochester Fringe Festival for four years. He currently serves as a board member of the St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy in Geneva and and sits on the marketing committee for Cameron Community Ministries.

Sally Bittner Bonn


Sally is a writer, performer, and teaching artist who earned her BFA in theatre from Syracuse University. She was a student in Writers & Books’ very first youth class in the mid-1980s, and has directed the Youth Education department since 2009. Sally promotes disability awareness through her writing (oscar-go.org), and is working on a memoir about raising her artist/activist son who navigates the world from a power wheelchair. She has served as both cast member and producer for Listen to Your Mother. She lives with her family in Rochester.