Our Team | The New Engagement

Our Team

Our Team

Brian Alessandro

Editor-in-Chief / Founder

Brian Alessandro's debut novel, The Unmentionable Mann, was published by Cairn Press in September 2015, and received favorable reviews from the Huffington Post, Examiner.com, The Leaf, and was excerpted in Bloom, the Edmund White-advised LGBTQ literary journal. It was also featured at the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books and nominated for an Independent Book Publisher Association (IBPA) award for Best New Voice. Alessandro is also the writer and director of the feature film, Afghan Hound, which co-stars Matt McGorry, and has been screened at the Left Forum and The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy as part of its trauma training series. Additionally, HiConcept Magazine recently nominated his short stories, Mandarin Slang and The Commands of Class and Carnage for Pushcart Prizes in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Alessandro holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Columbia University, and has taught psychology, film, and literature classes at high schools in New York and at Pima Community College (affiliated with the University of Arizona) in Tucson. He is currently adapting White’s 1982 classic, A Boy’s Own Story, into a graphic novel for Top Shelf Productions with Carroll and teaching American Literature at a charter high school in the South Bronx. His short story, Please, will be published in PANK print issue #14 in December 2018. 


Contact Brian at: [email protected]






Lupe Rodarte

Publisher & Operations / Founder

From hand-coding small non-profits' websites to product/project managing some of Time Inc's most recognizable digital brands (RealSimple.com, ThisOldHouse.com, Health.com, MyRecipes.com), Lupe Rodarte has been working in various capacities--producer, technical front- and back-end developer, operations, product management--in digital media for nearly 20 years. He's as comfortable laying out and executing digital and brand strategy as he is firing up Photoshop and editing photos or wading into lines of PHP code. Lupe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in Fine Arts, and has pursued his interests in computer science and design at Columbia University's School of Continuing Education and Parson's School of Design, respectively. He currently owns a digital media firm offering custom digital solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses: chuksonmedia.com. Lupe is also a proud member of the Tohono O'odham nation.


Laura Schleifer

Contributing Editor

Laura Schleifer created the word 'artivist' to describe her vocation as an artist-activist. A graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and pro-intersectional vegan writer, theater artist and educator, her work has spanned the globe, from the Middle East, where she performed for Palestinian and Iraqi children on a theater/circus tour, to China, where she taught literature, cinema, writing and drama to Chinese high school students, to Nicaragua, where she taught English/drama, to arts mentoring NYC homeless and at-risk youth with the Actor's Theater Workshop. Her original feature screenplay, The Feral Child, was a Sundance Screenwriters Lab finalist, and her short play, Toys in the Hood, lead to a $2000 NYC Arts grant for the First City Theater Co. Additionally, she wrote the commissioned libretto for a new musical based on the Joseph Conrad novel The Secret Agent, and wrote a one-person-show, A Little Champ Takes on The World, that was staged in a workshop production at the People's Improv Theater. She has performed her poetry, songs and monologues at various off-Broadway theaters throughout New York (Cherry Lane Theater, HERE, Flea Theater, Theater for the New City, etc.) with the Theaters Against War network, and was invited to perform her poem A Voice in the Wilderness on WBAI FM. She has also given talks and chaired and organized panels on various social justice issues at a number of university conferences, including American University, Hunter College, Pace University, and NYU.  Most recently, she has taught courses on Israel and Palestine and on Utopianism at Wesleyan University's Green Street Arts Center, and is currently working on a book involving animal rights psychology and philosophy for Vegan Publishers. She is truly thrilled to find a home for her fiction and other creative work in The New Engagement, and to work towards elevating and amplifying other creative voices that have not yet had the opportunity to be heard.

Contact Laura at: [email protected]

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Contests & Prizes

Flash Fiction Contest
On May 1st, we announced the winners of our Flash Fiction Contest: Thomas Garcia (1st), Rick Krizman (2nd), and Rios de la Luz (3rd). Read more.

The James Baldwin Literature Prize
It is with great pleasure that we announce the winner of The James Baldwin Literature Prize of $1,000 to Hafsa Musa. Read more.

The New Engagement

The New Engagement endeavors a novel approach to discovering, introducing, and showcasing writers, artists, and filmmakers, by providing them digital and print platforms, while encouraging and supporting their social-consciousness.