Ren Tyler

they/them

Ren is a reader and creative writer with a passion for exploring stories from diverse cultures and backgrounds. They studied linguistics and translation at Dartmouth College before moving to Rochester, where they are excited to share their love of language by aspiring to make the world of literature more accessible. In addition to working at Writers & Books, they collaborate with the Yards Collective as a visual artist and hope to become involved with Rochester’s Deaf community as an American Sign Language interpreter.

Vanessa Arena-Amesbury

Vanessa is an experienced English teacher at Gates Chili High School. She received an MA in TESOL from Nazareth College. Currently, she is completing her MA in English Literature at SUNY Brockport. As an advocate for Arts Integration, she collaborates with the Memorial Art Gallery, Artisan Works, Flower City Arts Center, GEVA and The Actor’s Studio of Rochester. Vanessa aspires to teach, write, and deliver literary arts experiences at the collegiate level and beyond. She is thrilled to have this internship opportunity at Writers & Books.

Rebecca Rafferty

Rebecca is an artist and mother based in Rochester, where she writes about aesthetics and ethics. She joined CITY (City Magazine) as an arts reporter in 2008 and served as a staff writer and section editor at the publication, 2017 – February 2024. She was co-producer and host of CITY’s art/WORK arts conversation television series produced in collaboration with local NPR-affiliate WXXI, and has written and voiced arts and culture stories heard on Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and All Things Considered. Her bylines have appeared in Afterimage, Ceramics: Art & PerceptionArtvoices Magazine, POST, 12oz. ProphetCornelia, and elsewhere. Previously, she served as Assistant to the Director/Program Coordinator at the Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership, University of Rochester, where she organized events, managed databases, and advanced cultivation activities.

Sakshi Kumar

she/her

Sakshi is a writer and poet who earned her Masters in English from The University of Rochester and her Bachelors in English from SUNY Geneseo. She interned with Writers & Books in summer 2022, and is overjoyed to return full time as Adult Programs Coordinator as of September 2023. Outside of her work at Writers & Books, she serves as a poetry reader for the literary magazine Bodega.

Amanda Chestnut

they/them

Amanda comes to us with a Communications and Development background in the nonprofit arts. Locally, they have worked at Flower City Arts and the Visual Studies Workshop. With an MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop and a Certificate in Arts Management, they are a founder of Roc Arts United and, with Jeanne Strazzabosco, curator of In This Moment Chapbook series. They have served as Adjunct Lecturer at St. John Fisher University and at SUNY Geneseo, where they also have been employed as Interim Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs. They have received awards from the Public Art Equity Project (Rochester, 2023), Genesee Valley Arts Grant ( 2019), and Strokosh Fellowship, Alliance of Artist Communities (2016).