“Power in Paper: Celebrating Sarasota Artists” @ Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center
Sep 29 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
"Power in Paper: Celebrating Sarasota Artists" @ Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center

“Power in Paper: Celebrating Sarasota Artists”
with John Ringling Tower Artists Melanie Lavender and Kuniko Yamamoto

Presented in partnership with Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center

Friday, September 29 at 6pm

Fogartyville Community and Media Arts Center (525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota, FL 34236).

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

The collection of artists who call Sarasota their home is simply remarkable. Join the Hermitage and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County in celebrating two such artists who have both spent time on the Hermitage campus creating work. Melanie Lavender is a spoken-word poet, podcast host, and proud alum of Booker High School. Kuniko Yamamoto is an origami master and theatrical storyteller whose creations and performances have dazzled audiences across the country. See and hear selections of their work and learn how the residency at the Hermitage impacted their process.

Melanie Lavender, the recipient of the 2022 John and Mabel Ringling Tower Grant, is a spoken-word artist and a proud Sarasota native. Educated in the Sarasota County school system and Newtown Community, Melanie is a wife, mother, and owner of Soul Adani Production, producing and hosting Soul of Tha Matter at 107.5 The Vibe and Community Conversations with Mel at WSLR 96.5 FM. In 2022 Melanie released her first book of poetry, Psalms of The Elusive Black House Wife. Melanie is also a TEDx Speaker; her goal is to impact the audience by delivering melodic stories of life.

A native of Japan and a recent recipient of the John Ringling Tow (JRT) Grant, Kuniko Yamamoto received her Bachelor of Psychology from Otani University of Kyoto, Japan in 1983, then started performing professionally in her hometown of Osaka where she grew up studying traditional dance, music, and theater. In 1985, she received national exposure performing Japanese Storytelling at the Silk Road International Exposition and on Kansai National TV. The following year, Kuniko traveled to the United States to study with Tony Montanaro, a highly respected mime and actor. Three years later, she toured with Leland Faulkner Light Theater where she helped present lavish stage illusions and brought ancient tales to life with shadows and magic. For the next five years she performed in theaters, schools, colleges, and festivals across the country. In 1992, Kuniko left the Faulkner Light Theater troupe to move to Florida. She married Jon LeClair, a world-renowned magician whose books appear in magic shops worldwide. This helped her add subtle magic and mystery to her unique act. Kuniko has performed in numerous venues of note such as: The Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Disney Epcot Japanese Pavilion, Seattle’s International Festival, International Children’s Festival in Canada, and National Storytelling Festival. Over the last two decades, she has presented her programs throughout the United States. Her work has been recognized by the Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina State Arts Councils since 2000.

Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens “The Blurred Line Between Humor and Heartbreak: A Playwriting Workshop” @ Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Downtown Campus)
Oct 5 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens "The Blurred Line Between Humor and Heartbreak: A Playwriting Workshop" @ Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Downtown Campus)

Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens
“The Blurred Line Between Humor and Heartbreak: A Playwriting Workshop”

with Hermitage Fellow Halley Feiffer

Presented in partnership with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and The Players Centre

Halley Feiffer’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Carole Crosby & Larry Wickless.

Thursday, October 5 at 6pm

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (entrance at 1534 Mound St., Sarasota, FL 34236)

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

Hermitage Fellow Halley Feiffer is a self-described writer, actor, and flawed person based in Los Angeles, California. Halley’s singular style has been seen on stage at such noteworthy venues as the Atlantic Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, garnering New York Times Critics’ Picks amongst other accolades. Her most recent project as writer and showrunner for American Horror Story — Delicate, has been described as “fun, stylish, and ultimately terrifying” by series creator, Ryan Murphy.  Known for her deft ability to move audiences to tears of laughter as well as sadness, join us at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens — Downtown for our first “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” program of the season. Audience members are encouraged to bring pen and paper or other preferred means of writing as this gifted writer and creator invites attendees to participate in the creative process.

Hermitage Fellow Halley Feiffer is a WGA, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle-nominated writer and actor. She is currently writing and showrunning Season 12 of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, starring Emma Roberts and Kim Kardashian. Feiffer has many additional TV writing and producing credits from Starz, Amazon, Showtime, FX, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Netflix. Plays include I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard (World Premiere Atlantic Theater Company, OCC Nom.), Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow (World Premiere Williamstown Theater Festival and MCC Theater, Drama Desk and Drama League Noms), The Pain of My Belligerence (World Premiere Playwrights Horizons), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City (World Premiere MCC Theater, Edgerton New Play Award, NY Times Critics’ Pick), and How To Make Friends and Then Kill Them (World Premiere Rattlestick Playwrights Theater). Her plays have been produced around the country and in the UK, and are published by Dramatists Play Service and Overlook Press. She is writing the book for the Broadway-bound stage adaptation of Thelma & Louise, with Neko Case composing. Acting credits include the Broadway revivals of The Front Page and The House of Blue Leaves (Theater World Award) as well as numerous off-Broadway productions including Tigers Be Still (Roundabout, Drama League Nom.) and her own play The Pain of My Belligerence (Drama League Nom.). She also starred in the West Coast premiere of her play A Funny Thing Happened… at the Geffen Playhouse in LA. TV & film roles include HBO’s Mildred Pierce, Flight of the Conchords, and Bored to Death, and the films The Squid and the Whale, Gentlemen Broncos, and He’s Way More Famous than You, which she also co-wrote. She is currently developing a film adaptation of her play The Pain of My Belligerence with Lena Dunham’s Good Thing Going for her to direct. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner Tim, and tries – a day at a time – not to kill her houseplants.


“Write, Edit, Translate, Publish!” @ Bookstore1
Oct 12 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
"Write, Edit, Translate, Publish!" @ Bookstore1

“Write, Edit, Translate, Publish!”
with Hermitage Fellow Kristen Renee Miller

Presented in partnership with Bookstore1

Kristen Renee Miller’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Robyn & Charles Citrin.

Thursday, October 12 at 6pm

Bookstore1 (entrance at 117 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 )

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

Hermitage Fellow Kristen Renee Miller has experience in practically every aspect of the writing and publishing industry. She is fluent in the international world of literature as a translator of award-winning poet Marie-Andrée Gill and a locally focused leader as director and editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books in Louisville. Her own essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, and Best New Poets. Hear from this literary renaissance author as she reads from selected works and discusses her career and creative process.

Returning Hermitage Fellow Kristen Renee Miller is the director and editor-in-chief at Sarabande Books, a not-for-profit literary press focused on championing diverse voices and innovative forms. A poet and translator, she is a 2023 NEA Fellow and the translator of two books from the French by Ilnu Nation poet Marie-Andrée Gill: Spawn and Heating the Outdoors. In addition to her Hermitage Fellowship, she is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, AIGA, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation, and the American Literary Translators Association. Her work can be found widely, including in Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, and Best New Poets. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Nature’s Voice” @ Bay Preserve
Oct 19 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
"Nature's Voice" @ Bay Preserve

“Nature’s Voice”
with Hermitage Fellows Diane Cook and Carmina Escobar

Presented in partnership with Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Thursday, October 19 at 6pm

Bay Preserve (entrance at 400 Palmetto Ave., Osprey, FL 34229)

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

Humanity has a primal connection to nature. Whether threatening our survival in a fiery blaze of heat or soothing frayed nerves with a beautiful sunset, being outdoors reminds us of the web of connections between organic life and our place within this world. Author Diane Cook explores these relationships in her works, such as The New Wilderness and Man V. Nature. Vocalist Carmina Escobar also finds inspiration from the flora and fauna that make our world vibrant. Hear from both of these Hermitage Fellows in their element on the beautiful grounds of the Conversation Foundation’s Bay Preserve in Osprey.

Returning Hermitage Fellow Diane Cook is the author of the novel, The New Wilderness, and the story collection, Man V. Nature, which was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award, the Believer Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, Granta, and other publications, and her stories have been included in the anthologies Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She is a former producer for the radio program This American Life, and was the recipient of a 2016 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hermitage Fellow Carmina Escobar is an acclaimed experimental vocalist, improviser, and sound artist. Her practice — comprising installation, performance, and multimedia projects — focuses on sound, the voice, and the body. Her 2020 Grants-to-Artists award supported two ventures: Howl Space, an online radical vocal pedagogy hub and Boss Witch Projects, a production company focused on the interconnection of experimental scenic works, sound art, ritual performance, and video art within natural landscapes. In 2019, she received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant to present Mami in the exhibition Cantos Comunes/Common Chants at The Blockhouse (Havana, Cuba). She has also presented her work in Europe, Mexico, and the United States, including Borealis Festival (Bergen, Norway), Cuban Art Factory (Havana), CTM Festival (Berlin), and New Music Encounters + International Music Festival (Brno, Czech Republic). Her work FIESTA PERPETUA! a communitas ritual of manifestation (2018) was included in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Los Angeles. Her work has been featured at the MexiCali Biennial (Pasadena), Machine Project (Los Angeles), MATA Festival (New York), REDCAT (Los Angeles), and World Dada Fair (San Francisco), among others. In 2016, Escobar received the Young Creators grant from the National Fund for Culture and Arts, Mexico and a grant from the National Center for the Arts, Mexico. Escobar holds an M.F.A. with a specialization in Voice Arts from California Institute of the Arts, where she is a professor.


“Siddhartha: A Hermitage Collaboration of Words and Music” @ Hermitage Beach
Oct 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
"Siddhartha: A Hermitage Collaboration of Words and Music" @ Hermitage Beach

“Siddhartha: A Hermitage Collaboration of Words and Music”
with Hermitage Fellows Melissa Studdard and Christopher Theofanidis

Christopher Theofanidis’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Gerald & Sondra Biller. 

Friday, October 27 at 6pm

Hermitage Beach (entrance at 6660 Manasota Key Rd., Englewood, FL 34223)

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

In the shade of the house, in the sunshine on the riverbank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and fig tree, Siddhartha, the handsome Brahmin’s son, grew up with his friend Govinda.” So begins Siddhartha, Herman Hesse’s canonical work about the search for life’s meaning and spiritual fulfillment, which serves as the inspiration for this new collaboration between celebrated poet Melissa Studdard and Grammy Award-winning composer Christopher Theofanidis. Originally conceived at the Hermitage and developed in collaboration with two other Hermitage artists, be among the first to experience an early sharing of this oratorio, as well as insights into collaboration and the creative process from this exceptional duo of Hermitage Fellows as they return to the place where it all began.

Returning Hermitage Fellow Melissa Studdard is the author of five books, including the poetry collections Dear Selection Committee and I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast, the poetry chapbook Like a Bird with a Thousand Wings, and the young adult novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Her work has been featured by NPR, PBS, The New York Times, The Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and Houston Matters, and has also appeared in a wide variety of periodicals, such as POETRY, Kenyon Review, Psychology Today, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, New England Review, and Poets & Writers. A short film of the title poem from Studdard’s I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast (by Dan Sickles of Moxie Pictures for Motionpoems) was an official selection for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, as well as winner of the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award. Other poems of Studdard’s have won or placed in prizes such as The Lucille Medwick Memorial Award for a poem on a humanitarian theme from The Poetry Society of America, The Penn Review Poetry Prize, Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize from The Missouri Review, the Tom Howard Prize from Winning Writers, The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize from Munster Literature Centre, and Aesthetica magazine Creative Writing Award. Her book awards include the Forward National Literature Award, the International Book Award, the Kathak Literary Award, the Poiesis Award of Honor International, the Readers’ Favorite Award, and two Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards.received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence college and is a professor for the Lone Star College System.

Christopher Theofanidis is a returning Hermitage Fellow and Grammy Award winner. His music has been performed by many of the world’s leading performing arts organizations, from the London Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and New York Philharmonic to the San Francisco Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, and the American Ballet Theatre. He is a two-time Grammy nominee for Best Composition, and his viola concerto recording won a Grammy for best solo performance; his work, Rainbow Body, is one of the most performed works of the new era, having been performed by over 150 orchestras worldwide.  Mr. Theofanidis is currently the chair of composition at both Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival, where he serves on the faculty and helps to select the winner of the Hermitage Prize in Composition.



“Baseball Fiction: The Cactus League in Grapefruit Country” @ Hermitage Beach
Nov 3 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
"Baseball Fiction: The Cactus League in Grapefruit Country" @ Hermitage Beach

“Baseball Fiction: The Cactus League in Grapefruit Country”
with Hermitage Fellow Emily Nemens

Presented in partnership Off The Page Literary Festival

Friday, November 3 at 6pm

Hermitage Beach (entrance at 6660 Manasota Key Rd., Englewood, FL 34223

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

Join Hermitage Fellow and former Hermitage curator Emily Nemens as she reads from and discusses her acclaimed debut novel, The Cactus League. Anchored by an expert knowledge of baseball’s inner workings, the novel is a propulsive and deeply human story that captures the Arizona half of spring training (with many similarities and some notable differences to Florida’s own pre-season baseball). Nemens’ is a strange desert world that is both exciting and unforgiving, where the most crucial games are the ones played off the field. Before penning this New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Nemens spent a decade as editor of notable literary publications, including The Paris Review, which won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction under her tenure, and The Southern Review.

A returning Hermitage alumna and a past member of the Hermitage’s National Curatorial Council, Emily Nemens is a writer, illustrator, editor, and educator. Her debut novel The Cactus League was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in February 2020 and released in paperback by Picador in 2021. From 2018 to 2021, Nemens served as the editor of The Paris Review, the nation’s preeminent literary quarterly. During her tenure, the magazine won the 2020 American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction, published two anthologies, and produced the second season of its acclaimed podcast. Previously, she coedited The Southern Review, a storied literary journal published at Louisiana State University. Stories published during her tenures at The Southern Review and The Paris Review were selected for the Pushcart Prize anthology, Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Prize anthology, and PEN America Best Debut Fiction. In 2021 she joined the staff of Stranger’s Guide as the sports/senior editor. Nemens grew up in Seattle and received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, where she studied art history and studio art. She completed an MFA degree in fiction at Louisiana State University. As an illustrator, she’s collaborated with Harvey Pekar, published her work in The New Yorker, and her watercolor portraits of every woman in congress were featured across the web and on national TV. Her short stories have appeared in Blackbird (Tarumoto Prize winner), Esquire, n+1, The Iowa Review, Hobart, and The Gettysburg Review. She lives in New Jersey and remains a Mariners fan.

Photo Credit: James Emmerman

“Writing from the Bones: A Songwriting Workshop” @ Elsie Quirk Library
Nov 6 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
"Writing from the Bones: A Songwriting Workshop" @ Elsie Quirk Library

“Writing from the Bones: A Songwriting Workshop”
with Hermitage Fellow Kirya Traber

Presented in partnership with the Off The Page Literary Festival

Monday, November 6 at 3pm

Elsie Quirk Library (entrance at 100 W. Dearborn St., Englewood, FL 34223)

Register here.

Music and song are some of the most powerful and evocative tools for communicating stories. Whether you’re a writer who has always been curious about music, or a musician who wants to compose their own lyrics, this workshop offers an intuitive approach to songwriting. An award-winning writer and librettist, Hermitage Fellow Kirya Traber has been commissioned by notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Morgan Library & Museum, Orchestra of St Luke’s, and La Mama, among others. In this participatory workshop, Traber will share her process for writing lyrics by surfacing the emotional truth of language, and our innate human connection to rhythm and melody to help spark participants’ creative process. There are no audience critiques during the workshop; rather, all writing prompts are seen as invitations to everyone in the room. No knowledge of theater or lyric writing is required – just an open mind and a willingness to explore the creation process.

Hermitage Fellow Kirya Traber is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. Originally from Northern California, she now resides in Brooklyn. She is a collaborating artist with Ping Chong + Company and is Curator-in-Residence with Hi-ARTS. She was New York Stage and Film’s 2020 Founders Award recipient. From 2015-2020, she was Lincoln Center’s lead Community Artist in Residence. She is the recipient of a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person, PBS), Robert Redford’s Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, a California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award for Poetry. She has been commissioned by notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Morgan Library & Museum, Orchestra of St Luke’s, and La Mama, among others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Traber has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer.

“Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative: Theater and Dance” @ The Bay Sarasota
Nov 14 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
"Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative: Theater and Dance" @ The Bay Sarasota

“Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative: Theater and Dance”
with 2023 Cross Arts Recipients Lizzie Hagstedt and Jessice Obiedzinski

Presented in partnership with Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, and The Bay Sarasota

Tuesday, November 14 at 5pm

The Bay Sarasota (entrance at 1055 Blvd of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236 )

Register here.
Registration is required. $5 per person.

The Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative is an annual residency program focused on supporting the incredible talent of artists frequently featured on Sarasota stages. Now in its second year, the program is represented by Lizzie Hagstedt, whose music has been incorporated into several shows at Asolo Rep and whose in-progress musical, Sophie Blanchard’s High-Flying Rock’n Roll Extravaganza, was a finalist in the Asolo’s virtual Making Musicals Competition, as well as Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company member Jessica Obiedzinski, who plans to develop and share a new dance piece. After two weeks on the Hermitage’s historic beachfront campus, these two gifted creators will share selections of their new works and talk about how they utilized their residency time as the sun sets at The Bay – Sarasota’s newest signature park along Sarasota Bay. The Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative is made possible with generous support from the Koski Family Foundation.

2023 Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative Fellow Lizzie Hagstedt was a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist. Current projects include Sophie Blanchard’s High-Flyin’ Rock’n’Roll Extravaganza (Asolo Rep Ground Floor), Hereville (92Y Musical Theatre Development Lab, 2023 reading with Kids of Stage in San Diego, upcoming readings through the Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival), Oneida (2022 reading at The Tank NYC, VoxFest at Dartmouth College, Pallas Theatre Collective Table Read Award Winner), and her newest, Wild West Show. Other credits include original scores for Asolo Rep: Our Town, Lifespan of a Fact, and four years of educational tours including an original musical adaptation of The Odyssey entitled Looking for Ithaca. Her musical Misha Loves JaJa More Than Cheese received two readings at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, and Rose Petals received a NYMF reading.

2023 Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative Fellow Jessica Obiedzinski is a native sixth-generation Floridian and has been dancing for five consecutive seasons with Sarasota Contemporary Dance (SDC), acting as dance performer, choreographer, and rehearsal director. Jessica has presented works in the Tampa Bay area and most recently for the SCD season during “Voice’s: Rising Choreographers.” Jessica has a love for wellness practices and is exploring the topic of mental health and the roles that trauma plays on our physical bodies during these difficult times. She has been a company member with Elizabeth Streb, Susan Vencl, and Beth Soll’s companies in NYC and worked extensively with Lynn Simonson and Laurie DeVito on Simonson technique practices. She has a deep understanding of Pilates and Yoga and is a certified Simonson Dance Technique teacher. Jessica is expanding artistic practice through this collaboration thanks to Leymis Bolaños-Wilmot with Sarasota Contemporary Dance and the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Her inspiration comes from patterns in nature and the ways the body copes with life’s unexpected tides. Taking time to heal and listen internally through journaling, watercolor painting, and of course, dancing.

“The People and Places that Make Us” @ Johann Fust Community Library
Dec 14 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
"The People and Places that Make Us" @ Johann Fust Community Library

“The People and Places that Make Us”
with Hermitage Fellow Cleyvis Natera

Presented in partnership with Johann Fust Community Library

Thursday, December 14 at 4pm

Johann Fust Community Library (entrance at 1040 10th St. W., Boca Grande, FL 33921)

Register here.
Registration is required.

Hermitage Fellow Cleyvis Natera’s “earnest and provocative” debut novel Neruda on the Park is “refreshingly direct and declarative” (The New York Times). Based in a Dominican community in New York City on the brink of the seemingly inevitable gentrification process, Natera’s novel charts the varied reactions to this new reality: some are willing to accept it, some may even benefit, but others are planning to risk everything to fight to keep their home. Offering no easy answers, the story ultimately asks: who are the people and where are the places that make us who we are? Hear the author read and discuss her work and gain insight into what’s up next for this much praised writer.

Hermitage Fellow Cleyvis Natera is an essayist, short fiction writer, critic and novelist. Her debut novel Neruda on the Park was named an “Anticipated Book of 2022” by TIME, the Today Show, Good Morning America’s Zibby Owens, ELLE, Ms Magazine, Bustle, Goodreads, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, and The Rumpus. Upon publication, Neruda on the Park was selected as a May 2022 New York Times Editor’s Choice and as the June 2022 pick for Nobel Laurate Malala Yousafzai’s Fearless Literati Book Club. Natera was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. In addition to receiving a Hermitage Fellowship, she has received honors from PEN America, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University. Cleyvis worked a corporate job in insurance for two decades ascending to the executive level before pivoting her career to become a full-time writer. She lives with her husband and two young children in Montclair, New Jersey.