Meet NYWC’s Workshop Member Advisory Board

The goal of the Workshop Member Advisory Board is to give workshop participants a greater voice in NY Writers Coalition.  Its members:

  • Advise NYWC staff, board and volunteers on issues related to programming initiatives
  • Represent NYWC at community events
  • Assist the NYWC staff, board, volunteers and other stakeholders in fulfilling the organization’s mission to create opportunities for all writers to connect and create an inclusive city, one that is aware of the diversity of voices within it and honors the lives of all of its citizens.

Meet NYWC’s Inaugural Workshop Member Advisory Board: Maryam Ayazi, Mary Blas, and Elizabeth Shell Carr.


Maryam Ayazi

Maryam Ayazi was born at the University of Chicago to a pair of college students from cultures nearly 7,000 miles apart. She grew up on three continents, and in 1975 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. There she raised her daughter while earning two degrees in fine arts from the University of California, Berkeley. After the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, she began her career in education. Since 1996, Maryam has had the gratifying opportunity to work with many wonderful adults and teens in New York City as their teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).


Mary Blas

Mary Blas

Mary Blas has been a NYWC workshop member since 2008. She writes at the 14th Street Y as part of a very inspiring writing group for seniors. She taught in the New York City  public school system for over 30 years having taught in the South Bronx and in Chinatown as both a classroom teacher and a teacher of English as a Second Language. She holds a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Mercy College and a M.A. in Education from New York University. She is deeply committed to the ideals of NY Writers Coalition.


Elizabeth Shell Carr

Elizabeth Shell Carr

Elizabeth Shell Carr is a long-time resident of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and is inspired by the art and cultural diversity in her neighborhood. She is an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church and was co-editor of its quarterly newsletter, Prime Time Speaks, an endeavor by, for and about older adults.

Her creative writing has been published in Dig Deep, NYWC’s online journal, in multiple PrimeTime chapbooks by NY Writers Coalition Press, and SEIU Local 1199’s national magazine. She has shared her work in NYWC readings, such as Write Makes Might and Writing Aloud, and is currently working on a memoir.

Liz holds a B.A. in Education from Brooklyn College and an M.S.W. from New York University Graduate School of Social Work. Formerly employed at Department of Veteran Affairs, Liz continues to be a strong advocate for veterans of every era and serves on Board of Directors for Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.