Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Shay Mirk

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: Portland, OR
MacDowell Fellowships: 2023

Shay Mirk is a comics journalist, editor, and teacher. They are the author of Guantanamo Voices (Abrams, 2020), an illustrated oral history of Guantanamo Bay prison, which Kirkus called “extraordinary… an eye-opening, damning indictment of one of America’s worst trespasses.” Mirk is also a zine-maker and illustrator whose comics have been featured in The Nib, The New Yorker, Bitch, and NPR.

They are working on the first-ever book about the craft of creating nonfiction comics, Drawn from the Margins: The Power of Graphic Journalism. Mirk is the 2023 Applied Cartooning Fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT.

At MacDowell, Mirk created a collaborative zine with MacDowell artists and staff, documenting the people, plants, and animals living on the land. They also drew several digital comics reflecting on gender and general feelings of futility.

Portrait by Jamie Thrower



Shay Mirk worked in the Star studio.

Funded by Alpha Chi Omega, a national fraternity founded in 1885, Star Studio — built in 1911–1912 — was the first studio given to the residency by an outside organization. To this day, Alpha Chi sorority pledges learn the story of Star Studio and its role in supporting American arts and letters. Beginning as a nicely proportioned…

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