Literary Arts


Sep 7, 2021 - Dec 2, 2021


MSA Campus
355 West Monticello St.
Brookhaven, Mississippi


September 7th – “What Makes a Strong Story”

Jaselle Martino is an Caribbean – American and Canadian director and producer actively creating independent narrative and documentary work for the past 8 years. Her first feature, ABDO AND SANEYA, a film directed by Egyptian artist and playwright Omar Bakry, is in post-production and will be completed in Fall 2021. Jaselle is set to make her feature film directing debut in 2022, with a comedic drama called PUNJABI FAMILY DINNER. Her other recent projects include THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, which she wrote and produced with award-winning video journalist Kacey Cherry for NBC Digital, horror short LIKE FATHER directed by Jonathon Chekroune which premiered at Black Bird Film Festival, and short documentary WORKING HOMELESS which will be released soon via the LA Times. She wrote and directed the short film BIKE TALES which earned actresses Erika Forest and Emily Delahunty nominations for the Young Artists Award for Best Lead Actress. Jaselle’s long list of Producing & Production Management credits for episodic television include work on HBO, Disney/ABC Television, PBS, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Films which she has produced through her production company Chaconia Pictures have screened at Dubai International Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and more.

October 5th – “Digital Journalism & Crime Story Writing”

Therese Apel is an American journalist currently working as a reporter and anchor at
WLBT. Besides that, she was the female sports director at the campus television station during her time at the University of Mississippi, where she graduated in Broadcast Journalism and Criminal Justice.

November 2nd – “Novel Writing”

J. A. Bernstein is the author of four volumes, including Rachel’s Tomb, which won the A.W.P. Award Series Novel Prize and Hackney Award; Desert Castles, which won the Wilhelmus Prize at Southern Indiana Review; and Northern Cowboy, which won the Wilt Prize. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in about a hundred journals and anthologies, including Kenyon Review, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Washington Square, Shenandoah, Boston Review, Notre Dame Review, and Chicago Quarterly. His academic articles have appeared in The Conradian, Western American Literature, and other volumes, and won the Harkness Award from the Joseph Conrad Society of America. A Chicago-native and former Fulbright Scholar, he is an assistant professor of English at USM and the fiction editor of Tikkun. He is married to Dina Bernstein, a climate scientist at USM, and together they have three children.

December 2nd – “The Podcaster’s Voice”

Donnie L. Betts has many years of experience in theatre, film, radio and video. betts studied at Yale School of Drama. He is a founding member of two theatre companies in Denver; City Stage Ensemble and the Denver Black Arts Company. He has performed on Broadway in “The Gospel at Colonus” with Morgan Freeman and in many regional theater productions including over 13 seasons at the Denver Center Theater Company. including the very first company production. betts has also directed many local productions, as well as over 25 additional productions across the country. His background in theatre enhances his storytelling techniques. He weaves tales from the American South, African, and African American folktales, and also adds drumming and tremendous interactivity between young and young at heart. donnie betts produces and directs the award-winning live radio drama series Destination Freedom/Black Radio Days, which tells the untold stories of Black Heroes and Sheroes before the 1960’s movement.