Hurston/Wright Foundation | Board of Directors
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Board of Directors

My career wouldn’t have been the same without the early and enduring support of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and I know many writers would agree.
David Anthony Durham, author Gabriel’s Story and Walk Through Darkness

Deb Heard 2017 website - low res

Deborah Heard

Executive Director

Deborah Heard is a veteran editor and manager who spent 24 years at The Washington Post, including serving as the Assistant Managing Editor in charge of the Style section. She supervised the newspaper’s award-winning coverage of arts, culture, and lifestyles. After leaving journalism, she began working as a consultant editing book manuscripts. She grew up in Heflin, Ala., and lives in Washington, D.C. She became Executive Director in January 2016.


Marita Golden

President Emeritus

Marita Golden co-founded the Hurston/Wright Foundation in 1990 with Clyde McElvene. She is an acclaimed author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel, The Wide Circumference of Love, was published in March 2017. Marita has won numerous awards for her writing and literary activism, including the Honor Award for her novel After from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the Writers for Writers Award presented by Poets & Writers and Barnes & Noble. She is a teacher of writing, having served as a member of the MFA faculties at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University, as a member of the MA Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, and as writer in residence at the University of the District of Columbia. She also teaches writing workshops nationally and internationally.



Melanie S. Hatter

Interim Chair of the Board

Melanie S. Hatter is the author of The Color of My Soul, winner of the 2011 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, and Let No One Weep for Me, Stories of Love and Loss. Her short stories have appeared in The Whistling Fire, Defying Gravity, TimBookTu and Diverse Voices Quarterly. She is a regular participant in the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s Writers in Schools program and serves on the board of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Melanie received a bachelor’s degree in mass media arts from Hampton University and a master’s in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has a background in journalism and corporate communications.

Audrey Hipkins -low res - credit Ken Hipkins

Audrey Hipkins


Audrey Hipkins, a retired executive, spent 20 years with Bloomberg BNA in positions including Chief Operating Officer of the Tax Division, Chief Product Officer, and Publisher for the Environment, Health & Safety Division. Her interests include aquatics, education, and the arts. She previously served on the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Nutrition, held various leadership positions with the DC Wave Swim team, and served on the board of Higher Achievement. Audrey received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from MIT and an MBA from Duke University. Currently, she serves on the advisory board of MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs, is a member of the DC Water Wizards, and manages a portfolio of rental properties.

Crystal Davis 2016

Crystal N. Davis

Board Member

Crystal N. Davis serves as press secretary for Airbnb’s presence in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and across the Southeast. Prior to this position, she worked in communications with the Government of the District of Columbia, and spent seven years as a public affairs and crisis communications manager for the Sprint Corporation. Crystal has previous experience managing media relations for a global think tank and political campaigns, and spends her free time with digital photography projects and staying civically active as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

natalie hopkinson

Natalie Hopkinson

Board Member

Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D., is a writer whose work explores the arts and cultural identity. She is an assistant professor in Howard University’s graduate program in Communication, Culture and Media Studies and a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation. A former staff writer, editor and culture critic at the Washington Post and The Root, she is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Go-Go Live and Deconstructing Tyrone (with co-author Natalie Y. Moore). A Mouth is Always Muzzled, her third book of essays on culture, will be published in early 2018 by The New Press. She is co-founder with Marita Golden of the Women Writers of Color brunch group.

Jacqueline Parker

Jacqueline Larue Parker

Board Member

Jacqueline Larue Parker has had a vast career as an entrepreneur and certified public accountant, primarily in the nonprofit and real estate industries with firms including Deloitte & Touche, Price Waterhouse, Mitchell & Titus and Fannie Mae.  She is currently the president of Stage My Room — a residential home stage company. Additionally, she supports philanthropic endeavors in areas including the arts, housing, and women and children. Jacqueline holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Howard University and a master of public administration degree from the University of Akron. Jacqueline, raised in Ohio, resides in Chevy Chase, MD.


David Whettstone

Board Member

David Whettstone is a public policy advocate and writer with more than 20 years of national and local experience regarding such issues as civil rights and criminal justice. Presently, he serves as the host and producer of the current affairs program Community Watch and Comment –The Wednesday Edition on WPFW FM (Pacifica Foundation, Washington, D.C.). David also has worked in several publishing and media capacities in support of writers. He is particularly interested in the presence of writers of color in the genres of memoirs/historical writing, mysteries, and speculative fiction