12 Writers Accepted for Inaugural George R.R. Martin Summer Workshop

GRRM Fellows head shots.

Twelve writers have been accepted into the inaugural George R.R. Martin Summer Intensive Writing Workshop at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. The workshop will take place in Evanston in July.

Medill received almost 400 workshop applications from accomplished journalists around the world. The inaugural group of twelve fellows includes Pulitzer Prize, Peabody and Emmy Award winners, and journalists who have reported from war zones around the world, covered politics, food, classical music, religion, and more. They hail from the United States, England, Malaysia, and South Korea.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more talented and passionate group of writers for our inaugural workshop,” said Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, senior lecturer and George R.R. Martin Chair in Storytelling. “Many are journalists who have wanted to write their first novel for years — several have toiled away on them in their spare time while working as full-time journalists.”

Over the course of the seven-day workshop, fellows will attend craft-focused classes on the various aspects of writing a novel, workshop their book chapters with instructors who are award-winning novelists themselves, attend firesides with visiting authors, have the opportunity to meet literary agents, and also have concentrated writing time.

“Medill is thrilled to be helping these journalists craft their first fiction stories,” Tan said. “We look forward to helping them share their debut novels with the world.”

Participants include:

Honey Ahmad

honey_ahmad_150x200.jpgAhmad is a Malaysian screenwriter, podcaster and food journalist. She was on the writing team for Emmy-nominated “Saladin,” Malaysia’s first fully-animated series. She has written and produced over 8,000 hours of food content, including a food drama series called “I Eat KL,” which the Asian Wall Street Journal called “a mouth-watering soap opera.” Ahmad’s first film that she co-wrote, “Motif,” featured a female cop on the trail of a small-town murder. She reimagined Walinong Sari into an animation short which has won film fest awards in LA, New York, Mexico, Chile and Japan. She also hosts the “Two Book Nerds Talking” podcast.

Lisa Armstrong

lisa_armstrong_150x200.jpgArmstrong is an award-winning journalist and professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported from several countries, including Sierra Leone, Kenya and the Philippines, and reported from Haiti from 2010 to 2014, through grants from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and NYU. She has been featured on NPR and the BBC, discussing rape in the camps in Haiti and HIV/AIDS in the aftermath of the earthquake. Armstrong’s work has been published in The Intercept, the New Yorker and other outlets. She has produced and directed documentaries, including one for CBS News about the role that poor mental health care provided by for-profit companies has played in an increase in suicides in state prisons. She directed a documentary about a young man who was incarcerated in an adult prison when he was 16, which was featured in the Social Impact track at SXSW.

Tara Bahrampour


Bahrampour was a staff writer from 2004 to 2023 at The Washington Post, where she covered beats including immigration, education, aging and demography, and reported on war and political upheaval in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Republic of Georgia. She also has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Travel + Leisure and other publications, and has taught journalism at New York University and at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in Tbilisi. Bahrampour is the author of “To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America,” a memoir about growing up in Iran, fleeing the Islamic revolution as a child and returning as an adult. Prior to becoming a journalist, she wrote short stories and vowed to one day return to fiction. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Ernabel Demillo (MSJ93)

ernabel_demillo_150x200.jpgDemillo hosts and reports for CUNY-TV’s Emmy-award winning “Asian American Life.” Her work has received multiple awards, including an Emmy in 2020 for her short documentary on a Philippine-based feeding program. Prior, she spent a decade as a reporter and anchor on the Emmy-award winning FOX-5 morning news show, “Good Day New York.” Demillo was a reporter for the Orange County Newschannel in California and the CBS-affiliate in Sacramento. She is also a tenured journalism professor at Saint Peter’s University and now serves as chair of the Department of Communication and Media Culture. Demillo is the recipient of a grant from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium in partnership with Slice of Culture to help fill the void of local news in Hudson County, New Jersey. She received her BA in Journalism and International Relations from the University of Southern California and her MSJ from Medill in 1993.

Monica Eng

monica_eng_150x200.jpgEng is an award-winning, veteran Chicago reporter. She has worked in Chicago journalism for more than three decades starting at the Chicago Sun-Times and moving to the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ. She has served as an Axios Chicago reporter since the summer of 2021. Eng’s great-grandfather came to Chicago in 1911 and opened Chinese restaurants that served as the inspiration for her first attempt at fiction.

Angie Jaime (BSJ11)

angie_jaime_150x200.jpgJaime is the youngest daughter in a tight-knit family, as Mexicans from Guanajuato, of Otomi and Purépecha heritage, who share a legacy of post-colonialism and migration. She is a graduate of Medill whose work has been published by Teen Vogue, The Los Angeles Times, Vice, i-D and more. Most recently, she served as the first-ever Head of Creator Content for The Los Angeles Times. Through culture-shifting journalism, Jaime strives to create digital and physical spaces that are more civically engaged, accessible and reflective of the real world. Her work explores how communities at the margins survive and thrive in the Western world; and the ways cultural phenomena, art and technology can affect populations in disparate ways. Occasionally, she writes personal essays.

Anne Midgette

anne_midgette_150x200.jpgMidgette was the classical music critic of The Washington Post, where she established herself as one of the leading voices in her field. She also wrote on the visual arts and did significant work on #MeToo. Before the Post, she became the first woman to write classical music reviews on a regular basis for The New York Times where she contributed reviews and features on music and theater. A graduate of Yale University, Midgette started her career as a journalist during the 11 years she lived in Germany. She is co-author of “The King and I,” a candid book about Luciano Pavarotti written with his manager, Herbert Breslin, and “My Nine Lives,” written with the pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of his right hand and then regained it three decades later. She is working on a historical novel about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.

Anna Lekas Miller

anna_lekasmiller_150x200.jpgLekas Miller is a journalist who began her work in Palestine, covering daily life under Israel’s occupation for The Daily Beast, before moving to Lebanon—and then Turkey and Iraq—to cover the Syrian civil war, the refugee exodus to Europe and the rise and fall of the Islamic State for Vanity Fair, Deutsche Welle and other publications. Her favorite stories center around love and romance, particularly the ones that show the way that love can flourish in even the darkest places. Her first book, “Love Across Borders,” is a collection of real-life love stories of people who have been displaced by conflict and separated by borders, fighting for their happily ever after in a world that is divided by passports and papers. She plans to write a novel that follows the emotional journey of a young Palestinian journalist navigating life in London while still being tied to the Middle East.

Tracy Mumford

tracy_mumford_150x200.jpgMumford is a writer and podcast producer, currently bouncing between Minnesota and places closer to an ocean. She started in public radio and now produces a morning news show with The New York Times audio team. Her work in various mediums has won a Peabody Award — and fourth place at the Minnesota State Fair quilt competition (category 205). During the pandemic, Mumford sculpted eight wire-and-mortar tentacles bursting out of her front yard; they’re still standing. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Robert Pierre

robert_pierre_150x200.jpgPierre’s work centers the voices and lived experience of people and communities that have been historically marginalized. A former reporter and editor at The Washington Post, he was the initial impetus behind the 2006 groundbreaking series and later book, “Being A Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril.” He was on the Metro reporting team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre in 2007. Pierre is the co-author of “A Day Late and A Dollar Short: High Hopes and Deferred Dreams in Obama’s ‘Post-Racial’ America.” He owns Bald Cypress Media and has provided media solutions to clients including UNCF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Pierre has taught at Dillard University, Georgetown University and Howard University. Pierre graduated from Louisiana State University.

Mike Rezendes

mike_rezendes_150x200.jpgRezendes is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist with the global investigations team at The Associated Press. His recent work includes an examination of child sex abuse in the Mormon Church and financial corruption in the Catholic Church. Rezendes is also a television writer, a screenwriter and a biographer. He is currently at work on a biography of the late Jimmy Breslin, the legendary New York reporter who gave voice to the powerless and helped create the New Journalism. Previously, he worked for The Boston Globe Spotlight Team where he shared two Pulitzer Prizes, one for revealing the cover-up of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, and one for covering the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Rezendes was running the marathon when the bombs exploded and worked into the night covering the tragedy. In 2015, Rezendes was played by Mark Ruffalo in the Academy Award-winning movie, “Spotlight.”

Josh Smith

josh_smith_150x200.jpgSmith is Reuters’ bureau chief in Seoul, where he oversees a team of more than 20 journalists covering both South and North Korea. He joined Reuters in 2016 in Afghanistan, then moved to Seoul amid the “fire and fury” of 2017. Smith went on to cover the Trump-Kim summits, lead a rare reporting trip to Pyongyang, and reveal the scale of North Korea’s pandemic border walls. First arriving in Kabul for the military affairs newspaper Stars and Stripes in 2013, Smith spent nearly five years chronicling the West’s attempts to extricate itself from the conflict and the increasing toll on the Afghan population. He has also reported on security affairs from Russia, Europe, Central Asia and Iraq, where he accompanied Shi’ite militias to the frontlines of the battle against Islamic State militants, and in 2019 he reported on the Hong Kong protests, including from inside the occupied Polytechnic University.