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Kathryn H. Ross has found a balance. Between past and present. Between self and ancestors. Between self-discovery and continuous growth. In her hybrid collection, Black Was Not a Label, Ross invites readers into a life unfurling. Through the lenses of natural hair, faith, and microaggressions, she lights a path to what it means to seek self while still honoring the past lives, personal and historical, that connect us all.

Black Was Not a Label (Pronto, 2019) is as soft as it is sharp. Ross is a writer of humanness, one who finds more interest in what we feel than theme. Yet, even in this general warmth, she manages to hone in on topics that have rippled throughout generations. Readers are not allowed to look away from the sometimes ingrained expectations of assimilation nor are we allowed to put down the weight of all that came before us. What she gives us in this collection are the means to carry it with grace and the hope it will become a little lighter.

Kathryn Ross is a Southern California based writer and editor. Her works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have previously appeared in Sybil Literary Journal, MORIA Literary Magazine, Linden Avenue, and Crack the Spine. She is a columnist at Pasadena Now where she writes about race and culture and a poetry and essay reviewer for Whale Road Review and The Rumpus, respectively. She completed her MA in English and Creative Writing at Azusa Pacific University and loves cats, baths, and rose slushies.

Athena Dixon is a NE Ohio native, poet, essayist, and editor. Her essay collection, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, is forthcoming from Split/Lip Press (2020). Athena is also the author of No God in This Room, a poetry chapbook (Argus House Press). Her poetry is included in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Books). Learn more at www.athenadixon.com

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