Dasha Kelly wields her words and wonder as tools for building inspiration and
communities. An accomplished writer, artist and entrepreneur, Dasha travels the
country as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, youth coach and performance
artist. Dasha has delivered her signature programs and 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. In addition to her youth
work, Dasha is an active educator and performer at adult prison facilities.
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 is the
most recent writer-in-residence selected for the prestigious Pfister Hotel. Dasha is
working on her second novel and a new collection of essays.
Dasha holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a masters' degree in Marketing
Communications. She founded an arts outreach program called Still Waters
Colectivewas listed two years in a row on OnMilwaukee.com's list of "Top 100 Coolest
Milwaukeeans," where she lives with her two daughters and a cat named Shkoobi.