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Staff

The Center's Staff

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    Traci Lester

    Executive Director

    Traci Lester

    Executive Director

    Traci joins the Center after a 25-year career in the nonprofit sector. Most recently she was Executive Director of National Dance Institute (NDI) an arts education organization founded by legendary dancer Jacques d’Amboise in the belief that every child should have access to learning in and through the arts. Prior to NDI, she held other leadership roles most notably as the Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an early literacy, school readiness program.

    Traci has been recognized by the Manhattan Borough President as a Cultural Leader in New York City. She is the recipient of the American Association of University Women’s Selected Professions Fellowship, the National Association of Health Service Executive’s Community Service Award, and was named to TheGrio’s 100 List as an African-American history maker and industry leader in the field of education. She is also a member of the Greater New York Association of Fundraising Professionals and the American Society for Public Administrators Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

    She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, a Master of Public Administration from California State University and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management.

    Photo Credit: Melanie Einzig

  • Kristin Henley

    Kristin Henley

    Managing Director

    Kristin Henley

    Managing Director

    Kristin Henley spent several years working at nonprofits and in the publishing industry before joining the staff of The Center for Fiction in 2006. She has worked on events, programs, and the website for the Center, and is now Managing Director. She received her MFA in poetry from Columbia University. She likes to take credit for the fact that so many poets have been hired at The Center for Fiction.

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    Allison Escoto

    Head Librarian & Education Director

    Allison Escoto

    Head Librarian & Education Director

    New Yorker by way of New Orleans, Allison Escoto received her BA in Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz and closed out the 90s as a bookseller in Greenwich Village. After several years in publishing, she pursued and received her MLS from Queens College. Since then she has worked as a librarian for 15 years in various libraries in and around NYC and has been moonlighting as a poet and copywriter. She reviews books for Booklist and serves on the ALA RUSA Notables committee. From 2017-2020, she was the Associate Editor for Newtown Literary Journal, a publication dedicated to featuring writers from her beloved Queens.

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    Linda Cicely Morgan

    Development Director

    Linda Cicely Morgan

    Development Director

    Linda has recently come to the Center for Fiction from PEN America, where she was the director of planning & development for 13 years.  She particularly enjoyed working with PEN World Voices, the international writers’ festival, founded by Salman Rushdie in 2005. Prior to that, she served as the managing director of development at WNYC New York Public Radio for 12 years and before that as planning & development director for the French-American Foundation. That position came about as a result of coordinating international conferences and at Harvard University for such professors as Lawrence Wylie, author of Village in the Vaucluse and Beaux Gestes: A Guide to French Body Talk.

  • Melanie McNair

    Melanie McNair

    Director of Public Programming

    Melanie McNair

    Director of Public Programming

    Melanie McNair is a writer who first found her love for the literary world at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in her home town of Asheville, NC. In her first iteration as a New Yorker, she worked in the director’s office at the Brooklyn Museum and discovered the magic that is The Center for Fiction in a writing workshop at the old midtown location. After a hiatus from the city to earn her MFA from Rutgers University and spend some time with family in NC, she is thrilled to call Brooklyn home again.

  • Thierry Kehou

    Thierry Kehou

    Writing Programs Manager

    Thierry Kehou

    Writing Programs Manager

    Thierry Kehou is a writer and literary translator shaped by his Cameroonian, American, and French upbringing. He earned his BA in Individualized Study focused on Africana and French Studies from New York University’s Gallatin School. After teaching in New York City public schools for several years, he was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in La Courneuve, France. A fluent French speaker, he is a founding member of Harlem’s New York French American Charter School. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University Newark. After six years away from Brooklyn, he is happy to call the borough home again.

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    Iris Mahan

    Development Associate

    Iris Mahan

    Development Associate

    Iris Mahan is a writer with the head of a development specialist and the heart of a poet. She received her BA in English from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and her MFA from Adelphi University, where she was the recipient of the Robert Muroff Scholarship in Creative Writing. She is the co-founder of Village of Crickets, an online literary community that hosts readings, panels, and literary events in New York City, and the co-editor of the anthology Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism from O/R Books.

  • Matt Kafoury

    Matt Kafoury

    Graphic Designer & Webmaster

    Matt Kafoury

    Graphic Designer & Webmaster

    Matt Kafoury received his BA in Communication from Trinity University, a small liberal arts university in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating he taught English at an elementary school in Madrid for one year before relocating to Portland, Oregon for a career in graphic and web design. After four years of designing in Portland, he relocated to Brooklyn and joined the Center. Matt is an avid reader, filmgoer, and doodler.

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    Amanda Braitman

    Administrative Assistant

    Amanda Braitman

    Administrative Assistant

    Amanda is a reader, writer and knitter from the Bay Area. She received her BA in Global Liberal Studies from NYU, and while she misses eucalyptus trees and the Pacific Ocean, she hates driving and is happy to spend her commute buried in a book like so many of her fellow subway riders.

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    Landon Gray Mitchell

    Bookstore Manager

    Landon Gray Mitchell

    Bookstore Manager

    Landon has worked in bookstores and libraries since he was 17 including eight years slinging books at McNally Jackson on Prince St. He writes about literature and art for the queer, independent magazine Gayletter. When he’s not writing, reading or working he is watching horror movies or riding his bike. He misses hugs and reading on the trains.

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    Melanie Fleishman

    Bookstore Buyer

    Melanie Fleishman

    Bookstore Buyer

    Melanie has worked in bookstores and publishing since 1971, including the dearly departed independents WordsWorth in Cambridge, The Chinook Bookshop in Colorado Springs, and Endicott Booksellers in Manhattan; and at Random House, Soho Press and Picador USA. She is also a partner in and buyer for Arcadia Books in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

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    marcus scott williams

    Bookseller & Inventory Manager

    marcus scott williams

    Bookseller & Inventory Manager

    marcus scott williams, born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, is a writer and artist whose main influences are the friends he surrounds himself with. An avid reader and consumer of anime, some of his favorite things are Neon Genesis Evangelion, books by Percival Everett and N.K. Jemisin, and Hip Hop, which he contends is the best writing around.