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The Casa Franciscan Renewal Center
Power of Words
Gregg Levoy is the author of Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion (Penguin), and Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life (Random House) –rated among the "Top 20 Career Publications" by the Workforce Information Group and a text in various graduate programs in Management and Organizational Leadership. He is a former "behavioral specialist" at USA Today, and a regular blogger for Psychology Today.
A former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico, former columnist and reporter for USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer, and author of This Business of Writing (Writer’s Digest Books), he has written for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Omni, Psychology Today, Christian Science Monitor, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, and many others, as well as for corporate, promotional and television projects. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and his website is www.gregglevoy.com
Noa Baum is an award-winning storyteller and author who presents internationally. She works with diverse audiences ranging from The World Bank and prestigious universities to inner city schools and detention centers.
Born and raised in Israel, she was an actress at Jerusalem Khan Theater, studied with Uta Hagen in NYC and holds an M.A. from NYU. Noa offers a unique combination of performance art and practical workshops that focus on the power of narrative to heal across the divides of identity. In a world where peace is a challenge in the schoolyard and beyond, Noa’s work builds bridges of understanding and compassion.
Noa’s book, A Land Twice Promised – An Israeli Woman’s Quest for Peace, – a winner of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award – is an introspective memoir that mines the depths of the chasm between the Israeli and Palestinian experiences, the torment of family loss and conflict, and the therapy of storytelling as a cleansing art. With her storytelling background, Noa captures the drama of a nation at war and her own discovery of humanity in the enemy.
Usha has authored three books of poetry, one chapbook, and scripted and produced one musical drama. She is pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, UK. She read with a group of eminent South Asian Diaspora poets at the House of Lords in June 2016. Her work has been included in the Harper Collins Anthology of Indian English Poets. Her recent book The Rosary of Latitudes carries a foreword by Keki Daruwalla. She was selected as a Cultural Ambassador for the City of Austin for 2015. She has been published in numerous Literary journals, and has been invited to prestigious international poetry festivals in Slovakia, Nicaragua, Macedonia, Colombia, Slovenia, India etc. She is the founder of ‘Matwaala,’ the first South Asian Diaspora Poets Festival in the US.
Usha has won literary prizes (Nazim Hikmet award, Open Road Review Prize and Egan Memorial Prize), and enjoys interviewing artists, scholars, and poets for reputed magazines. She has written a few quixotic nonfiction prose pieces published in The Statesman and India Currents. She is the founder of the Poetry Caravan in New York and Austin which takes poetry readings to the disadvantaged in women’s shelters, senior homes, hospitals. Several hundreds of readings have reached these venues via this medium. The City of Austin proclaimed January 7th as Poetry Caravan Day.