The AWWP Team

The Afghan Women’s Writing Project works to nurture and support the voices of Afghan women, who traditionally have not had any outlet for sharing their powerful, often heart-breaking stories and their compelling voices. AWWP believes that having the freedom to tell one’s own story is a human right too often denied to Afghan women. The project’s successes to date are due to an amazing volunteer team of creative, energetic visionaries, each of whom has made their own stamp on AWWP, creating and enriching its tapestry. Here’s who they are:

Executive Director Lori Noack brings to the Afghan Women’s Writing Project over twenty years of non-profit leadership, along with independent writing, editing, consulting, and arts management expertise. In addition to serving on governing and cultural boards from local to state levels, her professional positions have included executive director of nationally recognized music festivals in Oregon and San Francisco, newspaper editor, founder of an arts management agency, university lecturer, and writing instructor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing in 2009. Today, Lori applies her expertise in building AWWP’s North American team to ensure program excellence and enhance public awareness for the benefit of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
SusanPostlewaite Editor-in-Chief Susan Postlewaite is a journalist who has covered Cambodia and the Middle East for Business Week, the Asian Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and others. She has also taught journalism at universities in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and in India as a Knight International Press Fellow. She began her career with AP, then moved to the Miami Daily Business Review. She was an editor and writer at the Phnom Penh Post and later an AP correspondent on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. She co-authored “Losing Ground: Forced Evictions and Intimidation in Cambodia.”
kathy Operations Director Kathy McCarthy holds a PhD in Environmental Science. She has served as principal investigator for many large, complex science projects and has authored over forty scientific publications. To balance her largely analytical professional life, Kathy volunteers extensively as an advocate and mentor for abused women and children. In addition to her work with AWWP, Kathy volunteers as a mathematics tutor for adults in transition from prison who are working to earn their GEDs.
Stacy Le Melle Communications Director Stacy Parker Le Melle is a former political aide who served five years in the Clinton White House. She is the author of a memoir, Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House(Ecco/HarperCollins) and the creator of The Katrina Experience: an Oral History Project, as well as the primary contributor to McSweeney’s Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath. She has also spent eight years teaching creative writing to students K-12 in Detroit, Houston, and New York City.
Country Director Seeta Habibi is a journalist and worked with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as a gender specialist. She has worked for AWWP both as a writer and as a provincial liaison. For a time, Seeta worked as the only female journalist in Farah province. Following threats from the Taliban, Seeta and her family were forced to relocate. After relocating, she earned a degree in Administrative Management.
Financial Director Kathryn Short provides management, control, and administration of fiscal operations for AWWP. She works closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors in budget development and determining long-range financial planning. Her primary responsibility is to ensure the organization is financially sound through accurate financial reporting, development and monitoring of financial policies, budget analyses and internal expense control mechanisms in the United States and Afghanistan. Kathryn began her career working for a public accounting firm after receiving her Bachelor of Science (Economics) degree and held senior finance positions in the private sector before opening her own accounting firm in 1992.
Webmaster Stefan Cooke worked for twenty years in a variety of jobs at Harvard University—molecular biology lab technician, copy editor, training coordinator, and web designer—while earning a B.A. at their Extension School. Now a freelance web designer, he lives with Resa Blatman, a painter, in Somerville, Mass. He recently published a book about his half-aunt, the “child prodigy” author Barbara Newhall Follett.
Nancy Antle Executive Mentor Nancy Antle has worked as mentor with AWWP since it began in 2009. She is the author of books and stories for children and young adults that have been published by Dial, Viking, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins Australia and Cricket Magazine. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Southern CT State University in 2013 and now writes for an older audience. Her short stories have been published in a variety of literary journals. She has been awarded the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award and the CT Review Writing Contest Prize for Fiction. In 2014, she was a finalist in the William Faulkner/William Wisdom Writing Competition (short story). She has taught fiction writing for the Gotham Writer’s Workshop, The Mark Twain House Museum, and Southern CT State University.
mahnaz-rezaie Executive Mentor (Dari and Pashto) Mahnaz Rezaie graduated from Middlebury College in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Film Studies. Originally from Afghanistan, Mahnaz’s family fled to Iran during the Taliban regime when she was nine years old. After the Taliban left, she returned to Afghanistan and in 2009 moved to the United States to attend Middlebury College in Vermont. Mahnaz is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Currently, she works as a Dari mentor and facilitator for AWWP’s Dari Workshop.
Lead Mentor and Poetry Editor Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art, NY, where she manages a visual literacy arts in education program. She was awarded a creative writing poetry fellowship in 2013 from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete a manuscript of poems, titled Penelope at the Shooting Range. She was a poetry fellow at the SUNY Purchase College Writers Center in 2011.  Toadlily Press published her chapbook, The End of the Body. Her work has been published in a variety of online and print journals.

Editor Katherine J. Barrett holds a PhD in Botany and Ethics from the University of British Columbia and works as a freelance writer and editor. She recently returned to Nova Scotia, Canada, after four years in Cape Town. While in South Africa, Katherine wrote a monthly column on motherhood called “Mother City Mama.” She currently pens a column on food and family for the US magazine Literary Mama. Katherine has published essays, short stories, and numerous academic articles. She runs the editorial service
donna-denize Editor Donna Denizé is a poet and an English teacher. A graduate of Stonehill College and Howard University, she has contributed to scholarly books and journals including Shakespeare Set Free, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library, English Journal, and Teacher’s Digest. She chairs the English Department at St. Albans School for Boys. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, “The Lover’s Voice” (1997) and a book, “Broken Like Job” (2005). Her poems have appeared in anthologies—Full Moon on K Street, Hungry As We Are; WPFW Poetry Anthology; Weavings 2000—and magazines: Provincetown Arts, Gargoyle, World Order, Innisfree Journal of Poetry, Orison, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 2011.
Pat Dunnigan Editor Pat Dunnigan is a Chicago writer, editor, journalist, and blogger whose work has been published in newspapers, books, magazines, and radio. Before moving to Chicago in 2006, she spent ten years covering law and the courts for Florida Trend magazine. She currently works as a freelance writer, tutor, and writing coach. Her humor blog, Suburban Kamikaze, has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and was named one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year in humor in 2010.
Editor Mary Reed has a Master’s degree in English from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. She has published articles in Youth! and Parenting for High Potential magazines and the Acta Astronautica journal, and is currently at work on a historical novel. She enjoys helping other writers grow in their craft and she has been involved with AWWP since 2010. She has three grown children and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband, dog and cat.
silhouette Editor Leath Tonino is a freelance writer from Vermont and currently lives in San Francisco. Leath’s work has appeared in The Sun, Orion, Sierra, and the New England Review, among other magazines. He’s received awards from Colorado College, where he studied philosophy, and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. In addition to writing, he tracked hawks on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim for the US Forest Service and shoveled snow at the South Pole for the US Antarctic Program.
Editor Lynne Tweardy was a newspaper editor for sixteen years in South Florida and taught high school English for seven years. She now works with students with learning disabilties at Barry University in Miami. She received her B.A. from Penn State University.
 Sabrina Barekzai Communications Aide Sabrina Barekzai is an Afghan-American writer, content marketer, and resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. She was born and raised just outside of Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications: Print Journalism from Virginia University. Follow her on Twitter: @sabrinabarekzai


AWWP Founder

Masha Hamilton is the author of four novels and the founder of two world literacy projects, the Camel Book Drive (2007) and AWWP (2009). A Brown University graduate, she teaches at writing workshops around the U.S. and has also taught in Afghanistan. Her novels have been translated into Italian, Dutch, and Mandarin Chinese. As a journalist, she spent five years based in the Middle East for the Associated Press, followed by another five years in Moscow, Russia, where she reported for the Los Angeles Times and NBC-Mutual Radio and wrote a monthly column, “Postcards from Moscow.”