Abe Louise Young is a believer in the power of words, generosity and vulnerability to make meaningful change. Her work encourages people to amplify their imaginations and take inspired risks for a more just world.
She was nominated as Best Activist in Austin 2017 by the Austin Chronicle for her work mobilizing hundreds of people to prevent homelessness by building personal resource-sharing networks with families in poverty.
She is the founding co-director of Prizer Arts & Letters, a free center for socially engaged arts and literature. As a consultant, Young guides nonprofit organizations in transformational learning design.
As a writer, she publishes essays and poetry in magazines such as The Nation, Sierra, New Letters and Texas Monthly. Her work has won the 2017 Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry and a Story Prize from Narrative Magazine, among other awards. Young is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Heaven to Me
(Headmistress Press, 2017) and Ammonite (Magnolia Press Collective, 2009). Her traveling exhibit, "Poet-to-Poet: A Life in Letters" immerses visitors in intimate handwritten correspondence and offers the public a free art-station where people can write letters of their own.
Young's commitment to human rights led her to prioritize community story-telling as a vehicle for social change. In 2017, she founded Hurricane Love, a community effort that supported 200+ survivors of Hurricane Harvey. In 2005, she created Alive in Truth: The New Orleans Disaster Oral History Project, which mobilized material relief for Hurricane Katrina survivors and built a repository of oral histories.
In 1998, as a member of the Danish-American Dialogue on Human Rights, she traveled to Denmark with a team that interviewed Holocaust rescuers and contributed oral histories to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Learning directly from Danish fishermen who helped ferry 8,000 Jews to safety in Sweden inspired her belief that people working together can change everything.
Young also partners with groups to uplift young voices. Responding to a surge in suicides by LGBTQ+ teens, she authored the guide Queer Youth Advice for Educators: How to Respect and Protect Your LGBTQ Students. Responding to violence affecting teens in metro Detroit, she led multi-racial writing workshops resulting in the free book, My Dreams Are Not a Secret, youth voices on race and ethnicity in Detroit. As a consultant with the Texas Jail Project team, she curated Jailhouse Stories: Voices of Pre-Trial Detention in Texas, a project sharing first-person narratives of human rights abuses in Texas county jails, affecting both youth and adults.
Young holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James Michener Fellow in Writing, an MA from Northwestern University and a BA from Smith College.
She is available for speaking and workshops in 2018.