Janis Faye Kearney grew up surrounded by dirt roads, bayous, and cotton fields. Thanks to a father who mesmerized her with stories, she fell in love with the sound and feel of words – the magic of stringing them together into stories. The author and publisher wears her southern-ness on her sleeve and creates stories about hers and other southerners’ miraculous and banal lives through short stories, memoir, autobiography, biography, and fiction.
Janis’s path has taken her many places, including her role as publisher of the Arkansas State Press newspaper founded by civil rights legends L.C. and Daisy Gatson Bates, and as Personal Diarist to America’s 42nd President William J. Clinton.
A more recent role is founder and president of the Celebrate! Maya Project, a nonprofit she and a handful of women created after the 2014 death of iconic writer and poet Maya Angelou. What began as a celebration of Maya Angelou’s life and legacy, has magically transformed into a literacy/literary bridge to help Arkansas youth discover their own voices, learn their own history and create their own stories.
For more information, visit www.wowpublishing.org.
Iris M. Williams
RWS Weekend Co-Founder
Iris M. Williams is a published author and the owner of Butterfly Typeface Publishing, based in Little Rock, Arkansas. The company recently celebrated its seventh year of operation and has created two new imprints: Williams Group Consultants (A Writing and Consulting Company) and Living Water Books (Christian Devotionals).
As the company continues to grow, the initial goal (to offer solace to those who may feel their problems are unique and that they are alone) has not changed. Changing the world, one word at a time, continues to be the company’s motivation.
Believing in your dreams will always be the company's mission.
For more information, visit www.butterfltytypeface.com.
RWS Weekend Moderator/Videographer
Tanja Enoch is a Ph.D. student in the Heritage Studies Program at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and enjoys taking an audience on a journey. She is a student of the art of storytelling. Be it written, a photograph, or video, for her, it’s about sharing memories.
Enoch’s goal is to combine her media background with her doctoral studies to produce documentaries that tell African Americans' stories in the lower Arkansas Delta region.
Renee’ La Viness has been published in books, magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. From 2013 to 2018, she held an editor position at 4RV Publishing, including two years as the first Children’s Corner Imprint Editor. She is the founder of the annual Meet the Publishers! event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has been a valued Session Leader for Read.Write.Share. Writers Weekend since its conception.
She enjoys writing, editing, sponsoring and judging contests, offering workshops, and presenting at conferences and other events. Renee’ is also a dedicated volunteer at the local school library and loves reading to elementary school students. At home, she spoils her husband, grandchildren, Welsh Corgi, and four ornery chickens.
Connect with Renee’ on Facebook and at www.reneelaviness.com.
RWS Weekend Session Leader
Brittany Reese (The Social Media Maven) is the owner of BTR Productions, a company that specializes in social media marketing and brand management skills to help clients remain consistently relevant. She is also the author of “The Power of Social Media: How It Can Enhance Your Brand.”
She hosts several speaking engagements sharing her love of the power of storytelling. Brittany desires to encourage youth to follow their dreams (including journalistic ones) and to trust in their passions.
Connect with Brittany on Social Media or at www.iambtrp.com.