Staff & Board

NaNoWriMo Staff

Grant Faulkner

Grant Faulkner, Executive Director

Grant Faulkner believes in NaNoWriMo because stories tell us who we are and shape the world we live in. He has been a writer since his earliest memory, and he’s proud to be the author of Pep Talks for Writers and Brave the Page. He struggles with rough drafts (hence his love—no, his need—for NaNoWriMo), but luxuriates in revision. His dog Buster serves as his lap dog/lap desk and has traveled with him for thousands and thousands of words.

Marya Brennan

Marya Brennan, Director of Programs

Marya Brennan believes that writing fiction is a transformative experience, and she loves helping people (young and old) discover that. She taught middle-school English for five years; has written several beautiful, messy novels (one of them still in progress); and traveled Europe as part of a two-person street circus. She loves revising words she’s already written and making herself laugh. She’s less fond of writing third-person bios. You can reach her at

Sarah Mackey

Sarah Mackey, Director of Community Engagement

Sarah Mackey began participating in NaNoWriMo in 2002, became a Municipal Liaison in 2003, and started working for the organization in 2009. She loves finding new ways to help build writing communities and support our Municipal Liaisons. She really enjoys planning novels, delights in messy first drafts, and is extremely bad at everything that comes after that. She is easily distracted by her knitting, her small children, and her cat Weasley. 


Shelby Gibbs

Shelby Gibbs, Chief Operating Officer

Shelby Gibbs joined the NaNoWriMo team as a bright-eyed intern in 2012, and has been hooked on cultivating creativity in everyday places ever since. She is also highly motivated by writing-streak badges. When not writing novels or managing the NaNoWriMo store, Shelby enjoys yoga, swimming, and collaging any blank surface in her house. She also loves dogs. (Send photos!)


Allison Celosia

Allison Celosia, Director of Community Fundraising

Allison Celosia is a storyteller, written word mostly. She edits aloud in real time and trips over their native Bisaya (Filipine) tongue. Allison is also a movement building fundraiser who centers community relationships in their work. Outside of fundraising, they are active in local labor organizing. She makes challah bread with her own home-milled flour and reads bilingual children’s books with her nephew every chance they get.


Letitia Jones

Letitia Jones, Online Community Manager

Letitia Jones believes in the magic of the written word to transport readers to a thousand worlds. During a mad trip to Dublin in 2010, she wrote her first 10,000 NaNo words on a series of bar napkins. She cut her teeth as an ML and then as a moderator. When she’s not in the forums, Letitia can be found protecting her hoard of 200 mugs and coffee cups.


Rob Diaz

Rob Diaz, YWP Forums Moderator

Rob Diaz has been part of the NaNoWriMo community since 2006, because he believes people of all ages need a safe place to be creative. He has had five short stories published and two stage plays produced. As a father, business owner, baseball coach, and marching band volunteer, finding time to write is difficult—but NaNoWriMo has been the perfect excuse for him to drink more coffee prioritize creativity.


Katharine Gripp

Katharine Gripp, Communications Director

Katharine Gripp has been participating in NaNoWriMo off and on since high school, and finally won for the first time (without cheating) in 2018. She loves getting to share writing advice from authors and participants as part of her job, and tries to pick up as many helpful tips as she can in the process. When not writing, she can be found learning new styles of dance or playing music with her folk-punk band The Forgetmenauts.

Hanne Williams-Baron

Hanne Williams-Baron, Operations Manager

Hanne Williams-Baron believes that the power of storytelling is to "trick adults into knowing they have hearts" (Chen Chen). She writes poems and comics from a place of great love for people and creatures on the margins. With a background in LGBTQ youth work, she's inspired by folks who use their creativity to keep each other safe and dream new worlds. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found writing letters to her pen pals, floating in rivers, or making miniature stacks of pancakes for her cat named Gentle.

Jezra Lickter

Jezra Johnson Lickter, Web Developer

Jezra has been part of the NaNoWriMo team since 2009, when additional staffing was needed for our Script Frenzy program. Prior to joining NaNoWriMo, Jezra spent eight years as a developer with a company specializing in educational software for children with learning disabilities. Jezra believes in utilizing computers to help people learn, improve, and reach their goals. When not writing code or screenplays, Jezra can be found boat building and butchering tunes on the bagpipes.

Tiffany Cole

Tiffany Cole, Social Media Manager

Tiffany’s journey with NaNoWriMo started in 2006, and she’s been participating in NaNoWriMo ever since. She hasn’t won yet, but she’s working hard on making 2021 the year she finally wins! Along with being a social media associate, she’s also a content creator who loves talking about the craft and business of writing and sharing her favorite books on Instagram and YouTube. She writes speculative fiction and loves traveling, thrifting, hiking, and eating food from around the world.


Alyssa Alarcón Santo

Alyssa Alarcón Santo, Graphics Designer

Alyssa Alarcón Santo is a Los Angeles raised, Portland based designer-of-many-hats. She has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, and now book designer. A throughline running across her work, regardless of medium, is a love of words. She currently serves as In-House Designer for NaNoWriMo and Creative Director of science-fiction magazine Planet Scumm. You can find her work on instagram @alyssasantodesign.


Josie Gepulle

Josie Gepulle, Programs Associate

Josie Gepulle is a longtime NaNoWriMo fan, spending her teenage years lurking on the YWP forums and procrastinating her novel writing. She loves hearing the unique stories that come from writers all over the world and believes every voice is worth listening to. She enjoys the many different forms storytelling comes in, doing everything from analyzing TV shows to drawing her favorite characters. She can be found scribbling notes with an array of pens and her hamster, Ricotta, by her side.


Board of Directors

Get to know them!

  • Chris Baty
  • Kilby Blades
  • Cari Borja
  • Rose Brock
  • Shannon L. Monroe

Writers Board

Get to know them!

  • Gennifer Albin
  • Melissa Anelli
  • Uju Asika
  • Kalynn Bayron
  • Jen Breach
  • Roseanne A. Brown
  • Sarra Cannon
  • Gloria Chao
  • C.L. Clark
  • Alexis Daria
  • Katya de Beccera
  • Aya de León
  • Susan Dennard
  • Mignon Fogarty
  • Angela J. Ford
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Kami Garcia
  • Nicole Glover
  • Lindsey Grant
  • Rachael Herron
  • Hugh Howey
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • Maureen Johnson
  • Darynda Jones
  • Michelle Ruiz Keil
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Mur Lafferty
  • Devi S. Laskar
  • Niall Leonard
  • Angelina Lopez
  • Marie Lu
  • Mia P. Manansala
  • Taran Matharu
  • Mimi Matthews
  • Holly McGhee
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Cass Morris
  • Daniel José Older
  • Danielle Paige
  • Emily X.R. Pan
  • Shameez Patel Papathanasiou
  • Mitali Perkins
  • Karuna Riazi
  • Lani Diane Rich
  • Aisha Saeed
  • Kate Schatz
  • Prince Shakur
  • Amy Spalding
  • Jessica Strawser
  • Nita Tyndall
  • Catherynne M. Valente
  • Yvonne Ventresca
  • Mel Walker
  • Ran Walker
  • Rebecca Kim Wells
  • Scott Westerfield
  • Ashley Woodfolk
  • Jennifer Ziegler