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Writers & Books picks director from NYC literary scene

Writers & Books picks director from NYC literary scene

Writers & Books has selected a new executive director who has worked in New York City literary organizations for more than a decade.

Alison Meyers
Alison Meyers

Alison Meyers was selected after a five-month national search that drew 150 applicants.  She is a nationally recognized poet and writer of fiction, having been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for both poetry and fiction.

“I’m thrilled to join the committed Writers & Books team and look forward to building on an inspirational legacy bequeathed by founding director Joe Flaherty.” Meyers said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to partnering with the organization’s terrific staff, board of directors, and volunteers; engaging with Rochester’s rich history and diverse communities; and helping advance the critical role literature has to play, regionally and nationally, in our complicated times.”

Bruce Gianniny, president of the board of directors of Writers & Books, said, “We are confident Alison has the skills and experience to build programs at  both our University Avenue location and the Gell retreat in the Bristol Hills.”

Meyers most recently has been working as a literary arts consultant. From 2006 to 2016, she was executive director of the Cave Canem Foundation in Brooklyn, described as the country’s pre-eminent organization for African-American poets and poetry. Her other experience includes owning and managing an independent book store in Connecticut, directing development for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses in New York City, and managing a consumers’ co-op in Ohio.

Meyers takes over from Flaherty, the literary arts organization’s founder, who served as director of Writers & Books for 36 years before retiring. Flaherty returned as interim director late last year after then-director Kyle Semmel stepped down. Semmel, a literary translator for works in Danish, directed the center for two years.

Flaherty said, “Alison’s extensive experience in the nonprofit literary world, and her obvious passion for promoting reading and writing within a community setting allowed us to know that we had found the ideal individual to confidently lead Writers & Books into the next exciting chapter.…”

Meyers plans to start at Writers & Books after moving to Rochester in mid-May.

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