Dasha Kelly wields her words and wonder as tools for building inspiration and
communities. An accomplished writer, artist and social entrepreneur, Dasha travels
the country as a keynote speaker, teaching artist, workshop facilitator and
performance artist. Dasha has delivered her signature presentations to teens, co-eds,
teachers, social workers, ballerinas, assembly line workers, motivational speakers,
book clubs, inmates, church assemblies and writers for more than a decade.
She founded an arts program called Still Waters Collective, which utilizes creative
writing and spoken word to shape confidence and leadership with youth across
southeastern Wisconsin. Dasha and her students are widely sought for projects and
events that intersect arts + activism + personal development.
Dasha has performed on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, in Opium Magazine's Literary Death
Match, at the National Performers Network Conference and with Grammy-nominated
Angie Stone, to name a few. Her writings have appeared in anthologies, text books,
magazines and online. She's been a freelance feature writer for Upscale, Black
Enterprise and Milwaukee magazines. Dasha's first novel, All Fall Down (Syntax 2003),
earned her a position on Written Word Magazine's Top Ten List of Up-and-Coming
Writers of the Midwest. A featured story from her collection, Hershey Eats Peanuts
(Penmanship Books 2009), was a finalist in the Abbey Hill Literary Awards. She
recently released her second collection, Call It Forth, and her second novel, Almost
Crimson, will be published by Curbside Splendor in spring 2015.
Dasha holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a masters' degree in Marketing
Communications. She traveled to Botswana as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy.
She served as the fourth writer-in-residence for the prestigious Pfister Hotel. Two
years in a row, she was included on OnMilwaukee.com's list of "Top 100 Coolest
Milwaukeeans," where she lives with her two daughters and a cat named Shkoobi.