Willona has published more than 100 articles, art and music reviews, interviews, features and blog posts for publications, organizations and clients that include ASCD’s Education Update, Colgate University, Corcoran Gallery of Art, DCist, Fresh Cup, George Washington University and GW Law, Harvard University, Iceland Monitor, Northern Virginia, Paste Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Waste360 and The Washington Post.
She curated the global art project, Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents: Ice Culture (2019), which explores the beauty and mystery of our world’s ice, and reveals the necessity of ice to our human survival. The project features visual art, music, poetry, and creative writing from contributors from 10 countries, working in the Arctic Circle to Antarctica.
She has published works of creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry in literary publications that include The Rumpus; Bohemia; BlazeVOX; The riverSedge‘s blog, Remolinos; Boom + Toolbox Volume I & Volume II by Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington, D.C.; and Words Apart from Emerson College.
She released the e-pub Come to Our Show: Punk Show Flyers from D.C. to Down Under (2012), featuring punk show flyers from 1979 to c. 2002 collected during her tenure publishing her Scorpion ‘zine. The collection has been acquired for the DC Punk Archive at the DC Public Library.
Fellowships & Residencies
She has received two Artist Fellowship awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and artist residencies at Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada; Spark Box Studio in Ontario, Canada; and the Gröndalshús Writer’s Home in Reykjavík, Iceland. She is also an alum of the VONA and Hurston/Wright Writers Week Workshop.
Willona earned a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Literature from American University in Washington, DC.
Willona designs and facilitates creative writing workshops and literary events, working with writers from teens to adults. She has facilitated dozens of creative writing workshops for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where she also developed the Virtual Writing Hour series to bring together writers and create a sense of community during the pandemic. The series launched in April 2020, and continues.
Willona founded the Write.Drink.Read. series of happy writing hours, held in bars, breweries, and alternative spaces in Washington, DC. In Iceland, she led two workshops in partnership with The Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature at the 2015 Reykjavík International Literary Festival. She taught a community workshop at the Kringlan Culture House at the Reykjavík City Library in 2018. In addition, she has led virtual workshops with high school students in Novi Sad, Serbia and poets in Brussels, Belgium.