Staff

Richard Evans
Richard EvansExecutive Director
Richard Kent Evans studied at Auburn University and Texas Tech before earning a Ph.D. in history from Temple University. He is the author of MOVE: An American Religion, published in 2020 by Oxford University Press. An experienced writer and communicator, Evans served on the faculty at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and as the project coordinator for
an international organization interested in the publicly engaged and interdisciplinary study of religion and politics. A native of Trussville, AL, he returned to his home state of Alabama in 2023.
Jordan Mahaffey
Jordan MahaffeyAssociate Director
Jordan Mahaffey is from the Black Belt and Wiregrass regions of Alabama. She studied history and anthropology as an undergraduate and earned an M.B.A. from The University of West Alabama (UWA). For her work studying handmade and folk grave markers in Alabama’s Black Belt region, she received the Association for Gravestone Studies Student Conference Scholarship and UWA’s David Warren Bowen Prize for Undergraduate Writing and Research.
Before joining the Forum, Jordan served as an AmeriCorps VISTA promoting childhood literacy programs with United Way of West Alabama, volunteered as a grant reviewer for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and managed a workforce development program at UWA. An avid reader, she particularly enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and creative nonfiction works. .
Marlin Barton
Marlin BartonAssistant Director, Writing Our Stories
Marlin Barton is from the Black Belt region of Alabama. His newest book is a novel, Children of Dust, published in September of 2021. He’s published two earlier novels, The Cross Garden and A Broken Thing, and three collections of short stories, The Dry Well, Dancing by the River, and Pasture Art. His stories have appeared in a
variety of journals and anthologies, including Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. He’s also been awarded the Truman Capote Prize for short fiction. He teaches in, and helps direct, the Writing Our Stories project, a program for juvenile offenders created by the Alabama Writers’ Forum, and he’s been teaching in the low-residency MFA program at Converse University since 2010.
Karen Hilgartner
Karen HilgartnerAdministrative Assistant
Karen Hilgartner is an Alabama native, raised in a family of oral storytellers. She has spent most of her life teaching the very young how to read, write their own stories, and become immersed in the wonders of the world around them. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Livingston University (UWA) and taught for
34 years in public schools in Alabama. She is married to Jim Hilgartner and has three children and three grandchildren, all of whom she loves to visit! She enjoys singing with the Madrigal Voices of Montgomery and volunteering at Eat South Community Garden and the Old Alabama Town Herb Garden. In her new role as Administrative Assistant at the Alabama Writers’ Forum, she is enjoying assisting other educators and community members in their support of writers of all ages. She is most excited to support the Writing Our Stories project and the marketing of the newly revised writing curriculum, The Language of Objects.
Salaam Green
Salaam GreenTeaching Writer
Salaam is an award-winning artist and writer and founder of Literary Healing Arts. She is also author of What Black Women Want You to Know. A sought-after speaker, she has spoken at the United Nations and facilitated and trained hundreds of leaders throughout the South, including through the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation and at UAB’s Institute
for Arts in Medicine. Green is also a certified practitioner and trainer for the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth Racial Healing & Transformation process, a former Reimagining Justice and Women’s Policy Fellow, and a Community Village awardee for gender justice work in the South.
Kate Duthu
Kate DuthuTeaching Writer
Kathleen (Kate) Duthu is a former prosecutor, family law attorney, and law school instructor who returned to her love of creative writing to earn her M.A. in English from the University of South Alabama. A Virginia native and almost thirty year Gulf Coast resident, she has her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from the College of William and Mary
School of Law. Her poetry and fiction have received recent awards from the Alabama State Poetry Society and Alabama Writers’ Cooperative and have appeared in Oracle Fine Arts Review and Emerald Coast Review. She has published law journal and magazine articles. Having specialized in child abuse and domestic violence cases, she is also the author of Criminal Domestic Violence Cases: A Handbook for Mississippi Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and Judges and The Mississippi Practical Guide to Domestic Violence for the Law Enforcement Officer. Kate enjoys helping teenagers tell their own stories and consults with students preparing essays for college and graduate school applications.