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The Pfister

Previous Narrators

Since its start in 2010, the Pfister Narrator-in-Residence program has seen numerous talented, Milwaukee based writers contribute to the Pfister Hotel Blog, and hundreds of writers apply for the position. Each Narrator has brought their own distinct and unique approach to the program and has subsequently left an impression on the hotel staff and visitors. In 2013 the program was expanded from a six-month residency to a full-year residency; a change that has allowed the Narrator, and the hotel, to build a stronger relationship together.

  • Bela Suresh Roongta

    Bela Suresh Roongta
    May 2019 - March 2020

    Bela Suresh Roongta is the founder and owner of Milwaukee-based boutique shop belabela. She is also a lawyer, advocate for domestic violence victims, and a published author. Her book “...fill in the beauty, a book for the storyteller and artist in all of us” captures her original drawings and the stories they tell. It is inspired by her love for the East-Indian art of henna and storytelling. In 2018-19 she was the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) spoken word mentee and in 2016 she received the Special Recognition Governor’s Trailblazer Award for Women in Business.

    “As an immigrant, travel lover, business owner, lawyer-turned-artist and storyteller, I identify with The Pfister’s history as a hotel built by immigrants living the American Dream,” said Suresh Roongta. “I believe strongly in the power of human connection and am guided by my conviction that it is in each other’s stories that we find the beauty of the human spirit. I can think of no better way to continue this work than to capture and share the stories of The Pfister Hotel’s guests and visitors.”

    During her residency, Suresh Roongta hosted a bi-monthly “Chai at The Pfister” series. These events encouraged guests and locals, alike, to enjoy a cup of chai and pause for a moment to sit, rest, and share stories. 

  • Anna Lardinois

    Anna Lardinois
    May 2018 - May 2019


    Anna Lardinois A Pewaukee native, Anna began her literary career as a high school English teacher for the School District of Waukesha. She taught at Waukesha West High School and IQ Academies of Wisconsin for 12 years. In 2012, while still teaching, she created Milwaukee’s popular Gothic Milwaukee walking tour, which showcases premier historic sites around the city. Three years later, Lardinois’ love of Milwaukee’s history and architecture led her to found Walking Milwaukee, a collection of self-guided walking tours of the city. She quickly made walking tours her full-time career and has since created a GPS-based, self-guided walking tour of Wisconsin Avenue to complement her other tours. Since starting Gothic Milwaukee and Walking Milwaukee, Lardinois has helped introduce Milwaukee’s history to thousands of visiting tourists. Her Gothic Milwaukee tour was named “Best Milwaukee Tour” by the Shepherd Express in its 2017 “Best of Milwaukee” list.

    With a deep-seeded appreciation and passion for Milwaukee’s history, Lardinois shared her experiences at the hotel and interactions with guests on the blog and ongoing literary events. Lardinois also hosted quarterly walking tours and podcasts about The Pfister Hotel.

  • Nicole Mattke

    Nicole Mattke
    May 2017 - May 2018


    Nicole Mattke brought a vibrant literary culture to the historic Pfister hotel through a variety of activities. As the 10th Pfister Narrator, she hosted seasonal mini-events with book themes, a modern take on a monthly book club and provided story prompts for guests and the entire community. She shared these, and all of her Pfister experiences, through her blog entries over the course of the year.

    As a published and award-winning author, Mattke has presented her work at various events throughout the community. Her talents lie in creating stunning pieces of writing that reveal the beauty in daily life. A busy mother of two sets of twins, Mattke finds time to write in a variety of genres as well as contribute to blogs.

    Mattke was chosen to serve as the hotel’s tenth narrator-in-residence based on her excellent writing and vision for the role.

  • Dominic Inouye

    Dominic Inouye
    April 2016 - May 2017


    As a teacher for over twenty years, Dominic Inouye has worked with everyone from elementary school students to adult learners, creative writers and physical therapists, to help them develop their reading, writing, critical thinking, and, most of all, their voices. He began his career at Marquette University, expecting to become the next Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society, but made a surprise move to the high school classroom, where he found his home at Pius XI High School, then later at The Prairie School in Wind Point, Wisconsin, where he is completing his seventh and final year as an English teacher.

    Never one to pull an old lesson plan out of a dusty file cabinet and re-use it year after year, Inouye began experimenting from the very beginning with how to integrate authentic, real-world, transformative learning into his students’ study of literature and the expression of ideas. Examples include his founding of the Milwaukee Spotlight Student Film Festival, the C.L.A.S.S. program, which brings together 4th-12th graders for service learning, and the Senior Capstone program of individualized research projects. As expected, Inouye will not be bringing any dusty ideas to the Pfister--only creative celebrations of new voices.

    Inouye was chosen to serve as the hotel’s ninth Pfister Narrator based on his writing style, his vision for the role, and his personality.

  • Jonathan West

    May 2015 - April 2016


    A writer, actor, director and raconteur, West has written for various arts and architecture publications, been a commentator for WUWMs Lake Effect, and shares his opinions and insights on culture and the art of everyday life on his blog Artsy Schmartsy. He served as Head Writer for Wisconsin Public Radios Hotel Milwaukee, and his book Milwaukees Live Theater was published in 2009 by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America Series. He most recently served as Director of Communications for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. West has been an active theatre professional for more than 20 years.

    Along with his wife, opera director Paula Suozzi, and two daughters, Dorothea and Carmela, West lives in a cozy bungalow in Bay View, which he refers to as “the finest neighborhood in the world for beer gardens in lush parks, coffee joints, barbershops, record stores and pizzerias.” He can be identified by his signature bow tie.

    Contact Jonathan via email at

  • Anja Notanja

    Anja Notanja Sieger
    May 2014 - April 2015


    Anja 'Notanja' Sieger received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and creative writing from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2009. Her performance writing art service “La Prosette” has been featured on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today Online, MSN Hotmail News and Yahoo News. La Prosette is a one-woman typewriter service that allows clients to choose from the following options: Poetry, Love Letter, Insult Letter, Letter of Recommendation, Short Story, or Letter from a Pet. Writing letters requires her to pretend for the duration of the composition that she is “Not-Anja,” but the client. Her live stories have won Milwaukee area slams held by Ex Fabula and The Pfister Hotel.

  • Molly Snyder

    Molly Snyder
    May 2013 - April 2014


    During Molly’s original tenure as the 6th Pfister Narrator, the position was revamped to run for a full year instead of six months.


    Snyder has lived in Milwaukee her entire life. She started keeping a diary when she was four and published her first poem at age 10 called “The Unicorn” in the now-defunct Shorewood Herald. Today, she writes less about mythical creatures and more about Milwaukee people and places. She is a senior writer at, where she has worked for the last 12 years. Telling people’s stories is her passion.

  • Jenna Kashou

    Jenna Kashou
    November 2012 - April 2013


    A Milwaukee native and freelance writer, Kashou has published in local publications such as Milwaukee Magazine, M Magazine and the Shepherd Express. Find her weekly adventures of city life as's ‘Girl About Town.’ Kashou earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in mass communications and Spanish, and a graduate certificate in digital storytelling from Marquette University. By day, she has worked in the nonprofit sector in arts and education for 10 years. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys dabbling in everything from being a DJ and photography to do-it-yourself deco, yoga and rock climbing.

  • Dasha Kelly

    Dasha Kelly
    May - October 2012


    Kelly is founder and director of Still Waters Collective, a Milwaukee-based outreach initiative utilizing the transformative power of the written and spoken word. She has performed and delivered workshops to writers, youth, educators, co-eds, executives, inmates and artists throughout the U.S. She is also an HBO Def Poetry alum. As a poet and novelist, Kelly’s writings have appeared in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and online.

  • Ed Makowski

    Ed Makowski
    November 2011 - April 2012


    Makowski is a poet, writer, and dabbler in visual arts. While publishing as Eddie Kilowatt, he released the poetry collections Manifest Density (Full Contact, 2006) and Carrying a Knife in to the Gunfight (Full Contact, 2007). Density was included in Best New Poetry of 2006 and Carrying won the Carma Writer's Award. His poems have been published in many print and Internet journals. Makowski contributed interviews to Milwaukee's NPR station 89.7 WUWM, where he also curated the Lunch Counter storytelling series.

  • Stacie Williams

    Stacie Williams
    May - October 2011


    With a love of stories and storytelling, Stacie Williams worked at a local Milwaukee bookstore for more than five years, and has experience in travel writing and blogging. She studied theater at University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and was active in its creative writing program. Williams was chosen to serve as narrator based on her writing style and outgoing personality.

  • Julie Ferris

    Julie Ferris
    November 2010 - April 2011


    Julie was the first-ever Pfister Narrator. An established blogger, Ferris also has experience in teaching, management, public relations and media writing. She holds a Ph.D. in mass communications and journalism from The University of Iowa.

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