Our Story


Whit Press is a nonprofit publishing organization dedicated to the transformational power of the written word.

Whit Press exists as an oasis to nurture and promote the rich diversity of literary work from women writers, writers from ethnic, social, and economic minorities, young writers, and first-time authors.

We also create books that use literature as a tool in support of other nonprofit organizations working towards environmental and social justice.

We are dedicated to producing beautiful books that combine outstanding literary content with design excellence.

Quality books produced by Whit Press represent an important opportunity to showcase the diverse voices of the Puget Sound community and the nation. Whit Press books provide an active reading and thinking public with a viable alternative to commercial publishing priorities.

We publish stories of creative discovery, cultural insight, human experience, spiritual exploration and more.



Board Chair

Trained as a fine artist at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she found that her experience and skills in graphic design was much more effective in paying the rent. Many of her clients are foundations and non-profits as well as small businesses and corporations. She holds several awards for her work in design and photography. As a board member, she brings her experience of design and marketing to Whit. She also brings the experience of an active board member with other not-for-profit organizations and the financial skills garnered from running a successful full service design and advertising agency.

“To be able to meld my love of design and communication with the support of literature aimed toward environmental and social justice makes Whit Press a most perfect match for my skills. This work promotes change where needed and it fulfills my desire to be a part of that change.”


A graduate of Wesleyan University with a B.A. in the Science in Society Program, concentrating in Environmental Science and Sociology, with a focus in Public Health. A current member of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation Board, she served for four years as a member of the Grantmaking Committee for the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole.

Ariana has also held several internships with various environmental and social-service organizations, including two semesters with American Rivers in Washington D.C. She has volunteered extensively for non-profits focusing on environmental protection, public health, and domestic violence prevention. In her spare time, she is a dedicated equestrian, backcountry ski fanatic, and aspiring mountaineer.


Nell Fuqua is a Product Manager at Ingram Content Group, a wholesale supplier of books and digital content in Nashville, TN. She has spent the last 20 years in the publishing business, and has been a buyer, sales director, and creative director primarily of children’s books. She has published four non-fiction children’s books and a membership magazine for the National Storytelling Association, written environmental assessment reports, and tried her hand at sappy love longs. After graduating from the Univ. of Tennessee with a trifecta in the Liberal Arts (psychology, anthropology, and art history), Nell worked as a carpenter, commercial fisherman, guitar player and singer, fisheries biologist for the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, and owner of a retail business selling vintage instruments by mail order. She has three gorgeous daughters, two granddaughters, and twin grandsons. She met our editorial director, Claudia Mauro, when both were seeking the secret of life in Alaska and became lifelong friends.

“What draws me to Whit Press is the passion that infuses each book. Lovingly written, nurtured, and brought to us by a dedicated staff, each book feels like a gift for the soul. I want to make sure that these books reach their potential of changing lives and sustaining worthy causes.”


Bio coming soon.



TEDFellow Nassim Assefi is a doctor, novelist, curator of creative content, and civic activist. An internist specializing in global women’s health, she cares for vulnerable urban patients (including doing torture evaluations of refugees seeking political asylum) in the US and tackles maternal mortality when working in low-income and post-conflict countries (most recently in Afghanistan). She is the author of Aria (Harcourt 2007 & 5 foreign translations, audiobook and digital version) and Say I Am You (forthcoming). She serves as an advisor to non-profit organizations and companies–from Whit Press and Hedgebrook to TEDMED–and has curated many events–from TEDxRainier to a Jeffersonian Dinner on the future of the book. A second generation Iranian-American, bridge-builder and global-nomad, she has traveled to more than 50 countries and speaks and sings in five languages. Recent honors include a Jack Straw Writing Fellowship, a Woman of Courage award by the University of Washington, Top 40 Under 40 Feminist by Feminist Press, and being named one of the best doctors by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.


Anita Montgomery is a theatre director, teaching artist, and arts administrator. For the last five years, she has been Literary Associate and Director of Education and Outreach at ACT Theatre in Seattle where she manages the literary and new-play development departments. Anita also created and manages ACT’s Young Playwrights Program (YPP), which teaches the craft of playwriting to Seattle-area middle and high schools students; now in fourteen schools, serving over 300 students. In Seattle she has taught and/or directed for ACT, Book-it, Jack Straw Productions, Seattle Center Academy, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Theater Schmeater, & the YMCA, as well as teaching residencies in over 15 Seattle public schools. Anita is a member of Actors Equity Association, The Screen Actors Guild & AFTRA. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving her BFA in acting in 1979.

“In this age of mass production and consumption, with diminished attention paid to the truly unique voice, Whit Press stands out like a beacon of light; an oasis from which to drink deep and have ones faith restored in the power of the word and the notion of community. I am thrilled to be a part of the Whit Press family.”


H. Emerson Blake was trained as an ecologist and his first editorial job with a biology journal. After a decade as an editor at Orion, he assumed the role of editor-in-chief at Milkweed Editions, a book publisher. In 2005 he returned to Orion to serve as the magazine’s editor-in-chief and as the executive director of The Orion Society. He is the editor of hundreds of magazine articles, as well as many books of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s fiction.


The founder and former director of the nonprofit literary organization and annual celebration of the written word Bookfest Northwest. She is a book development specialist, and brings considerable nonprofit administrative ability to Whit Press.


Honors and awards include three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, two Ingram Merrill grants, an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and letters, and a nomination for the National Book Award. Ms. McPherson was featured on the Bill Moyers television series The Language of Life. She has edited poetry for Antioch Review, The Iowa Review, The California Quarterly, The Pushcart Prize, and an issue of Poetry Northwest; been an NEA panelist and judge for the Lamont, National Book Award, National Poetry Series, Ruth Lilly, and many other competitions; and taught at writers’ conferences including The Art of the Wild and the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Several hundred poems have appeared in magazines from American Poetry Review to Zyzzyva, including The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, The Yale Review, and The New Yorker. In 1999 she founded Swan Scythe Press, a poetry chapbook publishing venture.


Jeffery Shotts is currently Poetry Editor at Graywolf Press. He is also currently Advisory Poetry Editor for Post Road, and he is on the advisory board of Project Logos: The Center for Creative Writing at Saint John’s University and the Literary Arts Institute at the College of Saint Benedict.

Shotts completed his Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Washington University in Saint Louis, and has published poetry, essays, and reviews in several magazines and literary journals, including AgniThe Georgia ReviewThe JournalRain Taxi, and The Writer’s Chronicle. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.



Founding Director

Claudia Mauro is a poet, science writer, and the founding director of the nonprofit literary publisher, Whit Press. She is the recipient of two Seattle Arts Commission CityArtist Grants, and a Wyoming Arts Council Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry.

She is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle, and The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. An alumna and former board member of Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat, she has also served as a judge for the Lambda Book Awards and served on the Advisory Council for the University of Washington’s Whiteley Center.

Her books include; ‘Stealing Fire’ and ‘Reading the River’ (Whiteaker Press 1999, 2004), both Lambda Book Award finalists. She was a presenter at the inaugural TEDxSeattle speaking on the importance of independent media

Claudia also has extensive experience as a back-country pilot in Alaska and was employed for over 20 years as a field science tech for the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, and for NOAA as Marine Science Tech crew on their research and survey vessels.

E-mail: director@whitpress.org

… A word after a word after a word is power.