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Northwestern University Summer Writers' Conference

Faculty and Readers

Faculty

James Tadd Adcox

James Tadd Adcox

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

James Tadd Adcox's work has been featured in Grantan+1, and Barrelhouse Magazine, among other places. He's the author of a novel, Does Not Love, and a novella, Repetition, and is an editor at the literary magazine Always Crashing.


Tony Adler

Tony Adler

Panelist

Tony Adler has been writing reviews and arts journalism since 1980, primarily for the Chicago Reader, where his jobs included culture editor and senior theater critic, but also for the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News, and such magazines as Business Week, American Theatre, Stagebill, and Chicago. His articles on Chicago theater and improvisation appear in The Encyclopedia of Chicago. He has taught theater criticism at the Theatre School at DePaul University, Columbia College, Lake Forest College, and Northwestern University. In 1995, he co-founded the Actors Gymnasium, a circus and performing arts school based in Evanston.

Randall Albers

Randall Albers

Panelist

Randall Albers is Professor/Chair Emeritus of Fiction in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, President of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, and teaches in Rome for Columbia and in Chicago for the U. of Chicago Writer’s Studio. He founded the long-running Story Week Festival of Writers, received the Columbia College Teaching Excellence Award, and has been a visiting professor at Bath Spa University and at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, TriQuarterly, Writers Digest, Writing in Education, F Magazine, Brevity, Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck, and Creative Writing and Education, among others. Two chapters from his novel-in-progress, All the World Before Them, have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A Story Workshop® Master Teacher, he has presented at numerous national and international conferences on the teaching of creative writing.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius teaches advanced writing and experimentation in the Integrated Design and Strategy graduate program at Northwestern, and is a graduate lecturer in creative writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). A designer and lead guitarist, he co-curates Sunday Salon Chicago, a bi-monthly reading event series, and is a member of the Curatorial Board at Ragdale Foundation. His novel Fishhead. Republic of Want. is forthcoming from Tortoise Books. Ignatius carries purple pride and lives with his wife in Evanston. 

Gint Aras

Gint Aras

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) is the author of The Fugue, finalist for the 2016 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year. His prose and translations have appeared in The St. Petersburg Review, Quarterly West, Curbside Splendor, Dialogo, The Good Men Project, STIR Journal, ReImagine and other publications. He is a community college instructor of Rhetoric and Humanities and lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his family.

Ian Belknap

Ian Belknap

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Ian Belknap is a Chicago writer/performer/instructor and founder/Overlord of WRITE CLUB, the world's greatest competitive readings series (Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, with more cities on the way). He is author/performer of the solo shows Bring Me the Head of James Franco, That I May Prepare a Savory Goulash in the Narrow and Misshapen Pot of His Skull, Wide Open Beaver Shot of My Heart: A Comedy With a Body Count, Terminal Ferocity, and Uncle Dad is Rip-Shit, You Guys. He curated and hosted the monologue shows Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Ian's Dog & Pony Show. Ian's work has been featured in the live lit shows This Much is True, Truth and Lies, That's All She Wrote, Story Club Chicago, Fictilicious, Essay Fiesta, Guts & Glory, Fillet of Solo Theater Festival, and the Rhino Theater Festival, among others. He served as Fact Checker for The Encyclopedia Show, and is on the masthead of The Paper Machete as the Dean of Mean, and is a regular cast member/contributor to the fiction podcast Pleasuretown. Ian has been on panels and presented at TEDx Greenville, Arts & Business Council of Chicago, League of Chicago Theatres, Printers, Row Book Fair, Chicago Writers, Conference, and Decatur Book Fest, among others, and has appeared as a guest lecturer at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. He has performed at The Poetry Foundation, The Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago, and Museum of Contemporary Art, among many other venues. He has been named to New City Chicago’s “Lit 50” list twice – in 2013 and 2015. His work has appeared in The Chicago Reader, The Rumpus, The Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Slackjaw, The Hit List, Bullshitist, Arts + Marketing, Untoward, Chicago Literati, Story Club Magazine, and the Reading Out Loud podcast, among others. He is co-editor and contributor to Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of WRITE CLUB (Hope & Nonthings, 2014), and co-host of the WRITE CLUB podcast.

Photo credit: Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Photography

Mary Bisbee-Beek

Mary Bisbee-Beek

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Mary Bisbee-Beek has worked in book publishing for over 35 years both as a staff member at independent presses on the West Coast and at the University of Michigan Press. From 1992 through 2003 she was the owner and director of Beeksbee Books, a full service publicity and marketing consulting office. In 2010, a move to the West Coast precipitated the opening a new independent office, READ! A Unique Perspective covering the areas of publicity, marketing and foreign rights work and in 2016 Publishing Sherpa was added to help writers move from manuscript to book. The READ!/Publishing Sherpa offices are in Portland, Oregon and their working territory is world-wide. Visit her website at marybisbeebeek.com.

Gerald Brennan

Gerald Brennan

Keynote Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Gerald Brennan is a self-described corporate brat who hails from the eastern half of the continent but currently resides in Chicago. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and later earned a Master's from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He’s the founder of Tortoise Books and the author of Island of CloudsPublic LonelinessZero Phase, and Resistance. He's been featured on WGN Radio and profiled in Newcity, and his writing has appeared in the Chicago TribuneThe Good Men Project, and Innerview Magazine; he's also been a co-editor and frequent contributor at Back to Print and The Deadline.  

Kim Brooks

Kim Brooks

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Kim Brooks is the author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, an NPR best book of the year, and The Houseguest, a novel. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Chicago Magazine, and her writing appears frequently in New York Magazine and The Cut. She lives in Chicago with her family.

Susanna Calkins

Susanna Calkins

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Susanna Calkins is the author of the award-winning Lucy Campion historical mysteries and the Speakeasy Murders (all published by St. Martin's Minotaur). Her novels and short stories have been nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery (Lefty) and the Sue Feder Historical Mystery (Macavity) awards. A historian by training, Susanna works at Northwestern University where she directs learning and teaching initiatives for faculty. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she lives outside Chicago now, with her husband and two sons.

Paula Carter

Paula Carter

Workshop Instructor, Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Paula Carter is the author of the flash memoir No Relation. Her works have appeared in The New York TimesUSA Today, Kenyon ReviewThe Southern ReviewTriQuarterlyPrairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Based in Chicago, she is a company member with the storytelling series 2nd Story and teaches writing at Northwestern University.

Garnett Kilberg Cohen

Garnett Kilberg Cohen

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Garnett Kilberg Cohen has published three collections of short stories, most recently Swarm to Glory. Her writing has appeared in many journals, including The Gettysburg Review, The Antioch Review, The Rumpus, American Fiction, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness, The Literary Review and garnered numerous awards such as the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, a Special Mention from the Pushcart, and two Notable Essays citations from Best American Essays. A professor at Columbia College, she has been an editor at six journals, and currently co-edits Punctuate, a nonfiction magazine. Her writing clients have achieved considerable success; most notable is best-selling author Michael Harvey whose eighth book, PULSE, was recently published to rave reviews.

Sara Connell

Sara Connell

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Sara Connell has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The View, FOX Chicago, NPR, and Katie Couric.  Her writing has appeared in: The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, Tri-Quarterly, IO Literary Journal, Schlock, Psychobabble and the Bangalore Review. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year.

Kelcey Parker Ervick

Kelcey Parker Ervick

Workshop Instructor

Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of three award-winning books: The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová (Rose Metal Press, 2016), a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and visual art; Liliane's Balcony (Rose Metal Press, 2013), a novella set at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater; and the story collection, For Sale By Owner (Kore Press, 2011). In 2018, she committed to making a painting or comic every day and it has transformed her creative life. You can view her ongoing work at: https://www.instagram.com/kelcey.parker.ervick/ or visit her web page at: http://www.kelceyervick.com/.
Eileen Favorite

Eileen Favorite

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Eileen Favorite's work has appeared recently in n.y.m.b., Hinterland, and she received the Midwest Review's 2019 Great Midwest Nonfiction Prize for her essay,  "On Aerial Views." Her first novel, The Heroines (Scribner, 2008), was named a best debut novel by the Rocky Mountain News. Her essays, poems, and stories have appeared in many other publications, including, Triquarterly, The Chicago Reader, Poetry East, The Toast, Belt, and The Rumpus. She’s received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council for poetry and for prose and she teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal Studies at the University of Chicago.

Charles Finch

Charles Finch

Panelist

Charles Finch is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including the most recent, The Vanishing Man (February 2019). His first work of literary fiction, The Last Enchantments, is also available from St. Martin's Press. Finch received the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation, for excellence in reviewing, from the National Book Critics Circle. His reviews and essays regularly appear in the New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Beth Finke

Beth Finke

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

NPR commentator Beth Finke is an award-winning author and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Since the publication of her third book,  "Writing Out Loud,"  she has been so busy leading weekly memoir-writing classes all over Chicago that she developed a short online course for others interested in organizing and leading  memoir-writing classes like hers, available online at www.bethfinke.com/masterclass/

Vincent Francone

Vincent Francone

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Vincent Francone's work has appeared in New City Magazine, Rain Taxi Review of Books, Rhino and other journals. He won the State of Illinois’ Gwendolyn Brooks Award for poetry and is the author of the memoir Like a Dog (2015) and the essay collection The Soft Lunacy (2018). He lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and a feisty dog.

Gina Frangello

Gina Frangello

Keynote Panelist

Gina Frangello is the author of four books of fiction and a forthcoming memoir, Blow Your House Down. Her novel A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014) is currently under development by Netflix as a series starring Kristen Stewart and produced by Charlize Theron’s production company, Denver & Delilah. Her most recent novel, Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint 2016) was included on several “best of” lists for 2016, including Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books’. She has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, and as the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews and journalism have been published in such venues as Salon, the LA Times, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and in many other magazines and anthologies. After two decades of teaching at many universities, including UIC, Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, UCLA Extension, the University of California Riverside Palm Desert, Roosevelt University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, Gina is excited to be a student again at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Program for Writers, where she has returned to complete the PhD she left unfinished twenty years ago. Her website is www.ginafrangello.org.

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of three collections of poems: Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country (Carnegie Mellon 2017); The Spokes of Venus (Carnegie Mellon 2016); and Little Murders Everywhere (Salmon 2012), a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her poems have appeared such places as The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Orion, and Harvard Review, and her collaborations with composers have been performed and exhibited across the U.S. She is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award and fellowships from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is co-founder and editor of the literary magazine Memorious.

Krista Franklin

Krista Franklin

Keynote Panelist

Krista Franklin is an interdisciplinary artist whose work appears in POETRY magazine, Black Camera, Copper Nickel, Callaloo, Vinyl, BOMB magazine, and the anthologies Encyclopedia, Vol. F-K and L-Z, The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences Working Toward Freedom, The End of Chiraq: A Literary Mixtape, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She is the author of Under the Knife (Candor Arts) and Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books). Her art has exhibited at Poetry Foundation, Konsthall C, Rootwork Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Chicago Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, and the set of 20th Century Fox’s Empire.

Amina Gautier

Amina Gautier

Panelist

Amina Gautier is the author of three short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy and The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Eric Hoffer Legacy Award. Now We Will Be Happy was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, the International Latino Book Award, the Royal Palm Literary Award, and was a Finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize. The Loss of All Lost Things was awarded the Elixir Press Award in Fiction, the Phillis Wheatley Award, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and was a Finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award, the Paterson Prize, the John Gardner Award, and shortlisted for the SFC Literary Prize. Gautier has been the recipient of fellowships from the Camargo Foundation, the Chateau de Lavigny, Dora Maar House/Brown Foundation, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. For her body of work she has received the PEN/MALAMUD award.

Betsy Finesilver Haberl

Betsy Finesilver Haberl

Workshop Instructor

Betsy Finesilver Haberl is assistant director of the Northwestern University Summer Writers' Conference. She is also a freelance writer and editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's MA/MFA in Creative Writing and co-curator of the Sunday Salon Chicago literary reading series. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her family.

Miles Harvey

Miles Harvey

Keynote Panelist

Miles Harvey's work includes The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, a bestseller USA Today named one of the ten best books of 2000, and Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America, awarded an Editors’ Choice honor from Booklist, and a best-books citation from The Chicago Tribune. His newest nonfiction project, The King of Confidence, will be published by Little, Brown and Company in 2020. A former Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan, Harvey teaches creative writing at DePaul, where he is co-founder of Big Shoulders Books and editor of the oral-history collection How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, now in its sixth edition with more than 40,000 copies in circulation. He is also editor of The Garcia Boy: A Memoir, by the late Chicago writer Rafael Torch.
Alex Higley

Alex Higley

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Alex Higley is the author of Cardinal (longlisted for the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction) and Old Open. He has been previously published by Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, New World Writing, PANK, and elsewhere. He lives in Evanston, Illinois with his wife and daughter.

 

Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Angela Jackson is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Voo Doo/Love Magic (1974); Dark Legs and Silk Kisses (TriQuarterly, 1993), which won the Carl Sandburg Award; And All These Roads Be Luminous(TriQuarterly, 1998); and It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time (TriQuarterly, 2015). She has also written several plays, including Witness! (1978), Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love (1980), and When the Wind Blows (1984). Her novel Where I Must Go (TriQuarterly, 2009) won the American Book Award. Jackson’s honors include a Pushcart Prize, TriQuarterly’s Daniel Curley Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, the Academy of American Poets Prize, and grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Jackson lives in Chicago.

Jac Jemc

Jac Jemc

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Jac Jemc’s story collection False Bingo will be released in October 2019 and her novel Total Work of Art will be published in 2021, both from FSG. She is also the author of The Grip of It, My Only Wife and A Different Bed Every Time. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming from Guernica, LA Review of Books, Crazyhorse, The Southwest Review, Paper Darts, Puerto Del Sol, and Storyquarterly, among others.  She's taught creative writing at the University of Notre Dame, Northeastern Illinois University, Illinois Wesleyan University, St. Lawrence University, Catapult, The Center for Fiction StoryStudio Chicago and The Loft.

Sophie Lucido Johnson

Sophie Lucido Johnson

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Sophie Lucido Johnson is a writer and illustrator living in Chicago. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and other places. Her first book, Many Love, was released by Simon & Schuster last year. She is a teacher at the Chicago High School for the Arts and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sarah Kokernot

Sarah Kokernot

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Sarah Kokernot’s fiction has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, Front Porch, West Branch, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. Originally from Kentucky, Sarah lives in Chicago with her husband and son, and is the Program Curator at StoryStudio, a nonprofit creative writing center. She is currently at work on a novel.

Kathryn Kruse

Kathryn Kruse

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Kathryn Kruse is the Executive Director of Residency on the Farm, an interdisciplinary artists residency. Among other places, her work is forthcoming from or has appeared on the walls of the I Hope You Are Feeling Better Collaborative Art Exhibition, on the stages of the San Francisco Olympians Festival and in the pages of Indian Review, The Manchester Review, Interim and The Adirondack Review. She holds an MFA from UNLV's Creative Writing International Program, has received a Disquiet International Literary Program scholarship and is a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

Laurie Lawlor

Laurie Lawlor

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Laurie Lawlor is the author of 39 works of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Super Women: Six Scientists Who Changed the World (Holiday House), middle grade nonfiction, profiles remarkable pioneers in a variety of fields. Published in 2017, Super Women received a Booklist starred review and was named 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Book by Children’s Book Council (CBC) and NSTA. Big Tree Down (Holiday House), a lively picture book released in spring 2018, celebrates community in the face of an emergency. Lawlor was awarded the 2012 John Burroughs Riverby Award for Excellence in Nature Writing for Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World, featured on the ALA Amelia Bloomer Award List. She has taught creative writing at Northwestern University, National-Louis University, and elementary school workshops throughout the Midwest. Her author website is www.laurielawlor.com

Riva Lehrer

Riva Lehrer

Workshop Instructor

Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized.

Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum.

Awards include the 2017 3Arts MacDowell Fellowship for writing, 2015 3Arts Residency Fellowship at the University of Illinois; the 2014 Carnegie Mellon Fellowship at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges; the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation. Grants include the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 3Arts Foundation Grant, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, (NYC), as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Her memoir, entitled “Golem Girl,” was recently signed to the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House, via the Regal Hoffman & Associates literary agency, NYC. 

Ms. Lehrer is on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and instructor in the Medical Humanities Departments of Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Billy Lombardo

Billy Lombardo

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Billy Lombardo has been writing since 1975 when Gia Sparacino came into the old neighborhood, Bridgeport, and crushed Billy’s heart. As it turns out, that was the first of many such torments, largely responsible for his desire to write. Billy is the author of The Man with Two Arms, How to Hold a Woman, The Logic of a Rose, and Meanwhile, Roxy Mourns. He is currently working on a book on the craft of fiction for young/new writers. Billy’s most recent story, We Were Hearing New Sounds in the Condo, was published in April by HCE Review, an online publication in Ireland. Billy is a Nelson Algren Fiction Award winner and the founder and managing editor of Polyphony Lit, a student-run, international literary magazine for high school writers and editors that will blow your mind. He can be reached through his writing, editing, and coaching business called Writing Pros/e: www.writingprose.org.

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai

Keynote Speaker, Manuscript Consultant

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novel The Great Believers, one of the New York Times' top ten books for 2018, winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Chicago Review of Books Award; it was also a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other books are the novels The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and the collection Music for Wartime -- four stories from which appeared in The Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a 2014 NEA Fellowship, Rebecca is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University. She is Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. Visit her at RebeccaMakkai.com or on twitter @rebeccamakkai.

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Juan Martinez is a fiction writer. He was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and has since lived in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. His work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Ecotone, Glimmer Train, McSweeney's, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, National Public Radio's Selected Shorts, Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. His collection of stories, Best Worst American came out from Small Beer Press in February 2017. He holds a PhD from the University of Nevada and is currently at work on a novel.

Eric Charles May

Eric Charles May

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Eric Charles May is the author of the novel Bedrock Faith, which was named a Notable African-American Title by Publisher's Weekly, and a Top Ten Debut Novel for 2014 by Booklist magazine. May is an associate professor in the fiction-writing program at Columbia College Chicago, and the 2015 recipient of the Chicago Public Library Foundation's 21st Century Award. A former reporter for The Washington Post, his fiction has also appeared in Fish StoriesSolsticeHypertextFlyleaf JournalFCriminal Class, and We Speak Chicagoese. In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction has appeared in Sport LiterateChicago Tribune, and the personal essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious By A Low-Flying Duck. He has taught at the Stonecoast, Solstice, Northwestern University, Interlochen, Story Studio, and Chicago Writers Association writing conferences. In Chicago he has read personal essays with 2nd Story, and That's All She Wrote.

Marty McConnell

Marty McConnell

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Marty McConnell lives in Chicago, where she coaches individuals and groups toward building thriving, sustainable lives and organizations. Her second poetry collection, “when they say you can’t go home again, what they mean is you were never there,” won the 2017 Michael Waters Poetry Prize; her first full-length collection, "wine for a shotgun," received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards, and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award and a Lambda Literary Award. YesYes Books recently released her first nonfiction book, "Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop.” An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best American PoetrySouthern Humanities ReviewGulf Coast, and Indiana Review.

Faisal Mohyuddin

Faisal Mohyuddin

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Faisal Mohyuddin’s debut full-length poetry collection, The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear 2018), won the 2017 Sexton Prize for Poetry, was selected as a 2018 Summer Recommendation of the Poetry Book Society, and was named a “highly commended” book of 2018 by the Forward Arts Foundation. Also the author of the chapbook The Riddle of Longing (Backbone 2017), he is the recipient of the Edward Stanley Award fromPrairie Schooner and a Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. He serves as an educator adviser to Narrative 4, a global not-for-profit dedicated to fostering empathy through the exchange of stories, and teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois. www.faisalmohyuddin.com

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore

Keynote Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Natalie Moore is WBEZ's South Side Reporter where she covers segregation and inequality.

Her enterprise reporting has tackled race, housing, economic development, food injustice and violence. Natalie’s work has been broadcast on the BBC, Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Natalie is the author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, winner of the 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction and a Buzzfeed best nonfiction book of 2016. She is also co-author of The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang and Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation

Natalie writes a monthly column for the Chicago Sun-Times. Her work has been published in Essence, Ebony, the Chicago Reporter, Bitch, In These Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian. She is the 2017 recipient of Chicago Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award. In 2010, she received the Studs Terkel Community Media Award for reporting on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. In 2009, she was a fellow at Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, which allowed her to take a reporting trip to Libya. Natalie has won several journalism awards, including a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Other honors are from the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow), Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, National Association of Black Journalists, Illinois Associated Press and Chicago Headline Club. The Chicago Reader named her best journalist in 2017.

Prior to joining WBEZ staff in 2007, Natalie was a city hall reporter for the Detroit News. She has also been an education reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a reporter for the Associated Press in Jerusalem.

Natalie has an M.S.J. in Newspaper Management from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Journalism from Howard University. She has taught at Columbia College and Medill. Natalie and her husband Rodney live in Hyde Park with their four daughters.

Michael Moreci

Michael Moreci

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Michael Moreci is a bestselling comics author and novelist. His comics include the hit sci-fi series Wasted Space and Roche Limit, and he's also written canonical stories for Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Planet of the Apes. As a novelist, Moreci's debut, Black Star Renegades, was dubbed one of the best sci-fi books of 2018 by a number of publications; it was followed by a sequel, We Are Mayhem, in 2019. He lives in Oak Park.
Simone Muench

Simone Muench

Panelist

Simone Muench is the author of six full-length books including Orange Crush and Wolf Centos. Her recent, Suture, is a collection of sonnets written with Dean Rader. She and Rader also edited They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing. She is Professor of English at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Currently, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, as a poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and as host of the HB Sunday Reading Series.​
Dipika Mukherjee

Dipika Mukherjee

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Dipika Mukherjee holds a PhD in English (Sociolinguistics) and is the author of the novels Shambala Junction, which won the UK Virginia Prize for Fiction, and Ode to Broken Things, which was longlisted for the Man Asia Literary Prize. She lives in Chicago and is affiliated to the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University and is Core Faculty at StoryStudio Chicago.

Her work, focusing on the politics of modern Asian societies and diaspora, is internationally renown; in the past years, she has given a keynote at the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Conference (Indonesia, 2017), juried at the Neustadt International Literary Festival (USA, 2018), spoken at the Hearth Festival (Wales, 2018) and the Singapore Writers Festival (Singapore, 2017); she has also given public talks at the University of Stockholm (Sweden, 2018) and the International Institute of Asian Studies (Netherlands, 2017), Rimbun Dahan (Malaysia, 2019), and Sacatar Foundation (Brazil,  2019).

Nami Mun

Nami Mun

Workshop Instructor

Nami Mun is the author of the novel Miles from Nowhere. She has won a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and has been shortlisted for The Orange Prize for New Writers and The Asian American Literary Award. Her work can be seen in the New York Times, Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, and Tales of Two Americas. She currently teaches creative writing in Chicago.

Jarrett Neal

Jarrett Neal

Workshop Instructor, Panelist

Jarrett Neal is the Writing Center Coordinator at Governors State University, located in University Park, IL, where he is also affiliated faculty for both the English department and the Gender and Sexuality Studies department and a member of the Writing Across Curriculum Advisory Board. He earned a BA in English from Northwestern University, an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an EdD in Adult and Higher Education from Aurora University. He is a member of the International Writing Centers Association, the Midwest Writing Centers Association, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. He has worked as a writing tutor for the last eleven years, and his research reflects his interest in helping college and university students locate and craft their authorial voice as well as gain confidence in themselves as writers. His essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared in such publications as The Good Men Project, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Chelsea Station, and Requited Journal. His book reviews have appeared in CHOICE Magazine, New City, and the National Academy of Education Studies. His first collection of essays, What Color Is Your Hoodie: Essays on Black Gay Identity, was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Best Nonfiction. His memoir, I'm Sorry for My Ignorance, is forthcoming from Routledge Books.
Dana Norris

Dana Norris

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Dana Norris is the founder of Story Club, a monthly storytelling show in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Tulsa, Boston, and Minneapolis. According to Cleveland.com she is one of the 30 funniest women in Ohio. Dana teaches nonfiction at Literary Cleveland and she has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Rumpus, the Tampa Review, Cleveland Scene, and Role/Reboot, among others. Her stories have been featured on the RISK! podcast, Cleveland Public Radio, and Chicago Public Radio. You may see her upcoming performance schedule at dananorris.net

Bayo Ojikutu

Bayo Ojikutu

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Bayo Ojikutu‘s critically-acclaimed first novel, 47th Street Black (2003), received both the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Award. His second novel, Free Burning (RH/Crown - 2006), has been called “Gritty lyrical [and] intense,” by Kirkus Book Review, “the most foreboding love letter the city [Chicago] has ever received” (Tim Lowery- Timeout Chicago), and “a searing portrayal of one of the shameful realities within an oft unjust society” (Denolyn Carrol – Black Issues Book Review). Ojikutu's fiction has appeared in various anthologies, magazines and collections. His work has garnered nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Ojikutu is currently working on a third novel. The author and his family reside in the Chicagoland area.
Jeremy Owens

Jeremy Owens

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Jeremy Owens is the creator, producer and host of You're Being Ridiculous, a long running live-lit show most recently featured at Steppenwolf Theatre as part of their LookOut Series. Jeremy is also the co-editor for Heauxs Chicago, and a writer for Oy!Chicago. His writing has appeared in The Daily Dot, Story Club Magazine,Role Reboot, The JUF News, and Thread, and his work has also been featured in the live-lit shows Essay Fiesta, Fillet of Solo Theatre Festival, Guts & Glory, Story Club Chicago, Story Sessions, The Paper Machete, This Much Is True, That's All She Wrote and others. He teaches live-lit/storytelling at Story Studio Chicago, and is a graduate of The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and has an MFA in performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Marcy Posner

Marcy Posner

Panelist

After fifteen years on the editorial side of the business, Marcy Posner made the jump to agenting – spending twelve years as at the William Morris Agency as an agent and as Vice President and Director of Foreign Rights; five years as president of her own agency; five years at Sterling Lord Literistic as an agent and Director of Foreign Rights; and Iow she's here – and very happy – at Folio. Editorial skill and a deep knowledge of the publishing industry sets her apart from many of her colleagues. When she works with my authors, she'll focus editorially on how to make the book as strong as it could be – whether that book be terrific women’s fiction or an extraordinary YA debut (or any of the other categories she represents). During that process, she's able to bring to bear all the institutional memory she possesses, knowing which editors and which publishing houses have a penchant for a certain subject, or a different voice, or a particular kind of author.
Christine Rice

Christine Rice

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Christine Maul Rice’s novel-in-stories, Swarm Theory, earned a spot in PANK's The Best 21 Books of 2016, was named one of three finalists in the Chicago Writers Association Best Books of 2016, was included in Powell’s Books Midyear Roundup, the Best Books of 2016 So Far, and was called “a gripping work of Midwest Gothic” by Michigan Public Radio’s Desiree Cooper. Other writing has appeared in The RumpusMcSweeney's Internet TendencyThe MillionsThe Big Smoke, Chicago Tribune, Detroit’s Metro Times, The Literary Review, among others. A founding editor of Hypertextmag.com, Christine recently founded the social justice writing workshop nonprofit Hypertext Magazine & Studio to teach divested Chicago-area adults to write their stories. Learn more at christinemaulrice.com.

Ross Ritchell

Ross Ritchell

Workshop Instructor

Ross Ritchell served in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army and earned his MFA in Fiction from Northwestern University. He wrote the novel The Knife, hailed as a "literary masterpiece" by the Chicago Tribune, and lives with his family in Winnetka.
Deb Robertson

Deb Robertson

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Deb Robertson is the founder of Gibson House Press, an independent publisher of literary fiction with a preference for novels by musicians. An experienced editor and book reviewer, she is also director of Public Programs at the American Library Association and author of a book on cultural programming for libraries. Deb has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.

Kenyatta Rogers

Kenyatta Rogers

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Kenyatta Rogers is a Cave Canem Fellow and has been awarded multiple scholarships from the Breadloaf Writers' Conference. He has also been nominated multiple times for both Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. His work has been previously published in or is forthcoming from Jubilat, Vinyl, Bat City Review, The Volta, PANK, MAKE Magazine among others. He is as a co-host of the Sunday Reading Series with Simone Muench, an Associate Editor with RHINO Poetry and currently serves on the Creative Writing Faculty at the Chicago High School for the Arts.
Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney

Workshop Instructor

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a team of poets and their typewriters who compose commissioned poetry on demand. She teaches in the English Department at DePaul University, and her most recent books include the national best-seller, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (Spork Press, 2018). Her criticism appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Foundation website, The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago TribuneThe Paris Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay. Follow her at @KathleenMrooney 

Renée Rosen

Renée Rosen

Keynote Panelist

Renée Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction including, WHAT THE LADY WANTS, DOLLFACE, WHITE COLLAR GIRL, WINDY CITY BLUES and PARK AVENUE SUMMER. She lives in Chicago and is currently at work on a new novel, THE SOCIAL GRACES coming in January 2021. photo credit: Charles Osgood Photography
Karen Schreck

Karen Schreck

Workshop Insturctor, Manuscript Consultant

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of two historical novels, Broken Ground and Sing for Me, along with two young adult novels and a book for children. Her short stories, interviews, and essays have appeared in magazines and journals including Consequence, Hypertext, The Rumpus, Belt, Literal Latté, and Image. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives with her husband and two children in the western hinterlands of Chicago, works as a freelance writer and editor, serves as Senior Editor and Board Member at Hypertext Magazine and Studio, and teaches writing where the fates will lead. Connect with Karen at http://www.karenschreck.com.
Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Donna Seaman is the Editor for Adult Books at Booklist; a member of the Content Leadership Team and National Advisory Council for the American Writers Museum, and a recipient of the Louis Shores Award for Excellence in Book Reviewing, the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism, and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. Seaman has written for the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications, and contributed biocritical essays to the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and American Writers. Seaman has been a writer-in-residence for Columbia College Chicago and has taught at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. She created the anthology In Our Nature: Stories of Wildness; her author interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books, and she is the author of Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists.
Doug Seibold

Doug Seibold

Panelist

Doug Seibold has been a publishing professional in Chicago since 1986. For more than 15 years he worked as a freelance writer and as an editor for organizations that published magazines, books, and educational content. In 2003, he founded Agate, which is now a diversified independent publishing company with five distinct imprints. In 2005, he created Agate Development, an educational content development service that produces content for large education publishers, for-profit education companies, corporations, and other organizations. In 2006, Agate acquired Surrey Books, a 25-year-old Chicago-based book publisher, which is now run as an imprint of Agate. In 2012, Agate established a partnership with the Chicago Tribune to publish books created from Tribune content. In 2012, 2016, 2018, and 2019, Publishers Weekly magazine recognized Agate in its annual feature on the fastest-growing small presses in America.

Fred Shafer

Fred Shafer

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Fred Shafer is a literary editor, writer, and teacher of writing. He was an editor with TriQuarterly, the international literary journal published by Northwestern University, where he has taught a sequence of courses in fiction writing in the School of Professional Studies for many years. He gives lectures and leads workshops each year at The Writers and the Off-Campus Writers Workshop in suburbs near Evanston, and he directs a set of three private workshops for advanced short story writers and novelists. More than thirty books have been published by members of his workshops, including six in the last two years. He has also worked with film editors on scripts, and one motion picture on which he received screen credit won six first prizes at the Milan Film Festival, including best film and best screenplay. His own essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in several periodicals.
Deborah Siegel

Deborah Siegel

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Deborah Siegel is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted (Palgrave Macmillan), co-editor of the literary anthology Only Child (Random House), and co-founder of She Writes. A TEDx speaker and former Senior Facilitator with The OpEd Project, she coaches nationally and teaches locally. A Visiting Scholar in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University with a PhD in English and American Literature, Deborah is currently at work on a collection of essays about being a student of gender while raising boy/girl twins. Her essays and op-eds have appeared in venues including The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN.com, The Forward, Kveller, Slate, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, Psychology Today, and (her new favorite venue!) TriQuarterly. A lover of all things Lake Michigan, she’s an ex-New Yorker who veered from academia but never fully left. Visit her at www.deborahsiegelphd.com (author site) and at www.girlmeetsvoice.com (coaching site).

Amy Sinclair

Amy Sinclair

Panelist

Amy Sinclair is a Chicago-based arts administrator, teaching artist, and visual artist with special interest in performance art, artist books, and fashion. She is Grants and Admissions Manager at The Ragdale Foundation since 2013 and serves on the board at North Branch Projects since 2011. She has performed in Rapid Pulse, Out of Site, Chicago Home Theater Festival, and at the DePaul Art Museum and The Franklin. She teaches book-making often and has participated on several panels regarding artist residency programs. She graduated magna cum laude from DePaul University with a departmental award in Art, Media, and Design.

Lynn Sloan

Lynn Sloan

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Lynn Sloan is a writer and photographer. She is the author of the story collection This Far Isn’t Far (Fomite 2018) and the novel Principles of Navigation (Fomite 2015). Her stories have appeared in numerous journals, including PloughsharesShenandoahAmerican Literary ReviewAmerican Fiction Volume 13, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her story “Nature Rules” was performed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 2018 and recorded for the NPR show Selected Shorts. She graduated from Northwestern University, earned her master’s degree in photography at The Institute of Design, formerly the New Bauhaus, and exhibited her work nationally and internationally. While a faculty member of the photography department at Columbia College Chicago, she founded the journal Occasional Readings in Photography, and wrote for AfterimageArt Week, and Exposure.

Christine Sneed

Christine Sneed

Workshop Instructor, Keynote Panelist

Christine Sneed is the author of the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts and the story collections Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry and The Virginity of Famous Men.  Her stories or essays have been included in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the Midwest, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, New England Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Greensboro Review, and a number of other periodicals.

Her books have received AWP’s Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, Ploughshares' Zacharis prize, the Society of Midland Authors Award, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and Book of the Year from the Chicago Writers Association.  She is the faculty director for the MFA program at Northwestern University’s MA/MFA program in creative writing; she is also on the fiction faculty of the Regis University low-residency MFA program.

Jennifer Solheim

Jennifer Solheim

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Jennifer Solheim’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Confrontation, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Pinch, among others, and received an Honorable Mention from Glimmer Train. The author of The Performance of Listening in Postcolonial Francophone Culture (2018, Liverpool University Press), she also serves as a Contributing Editor at Fiction Writers Review. She holds a PhD in French from the University of Michigan and an MFA in writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and has taught at the University of Michigan and Université de Paris VII. She currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Departments of English and French and Francophone Studies.

Mare Swallow

Mare Swallow

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

The founder and former Executive Director of the Chicago Writers Conference, Mare Swallow has been named to NewCity’s Lit 50 list three times. Her work has appeared in Story Club, Hypertext, and The Rumpus. She is a contributor to Pop Mythology, and she shares her true-life tales at events such as Tuesday Funk and Is This a Thing? By day, she is a public speaking coach and professional speaker. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. An occasional ukulele player, she is one-half of the duo The Ukeladies.

Rachel Swearingen

Rachel Swearingen

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Rachel Swearingen’s fiction has appeared in VICE, The Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, Agni, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. Her story collection, How to Walk on Water and Other Stories, winner of the 2018 New American Press Fiction Prize, will be published in 2020. She is the recipient of the 2015 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, a 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (BA) and Western Michigan University (PhD-Creative Writing), she teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
Ben Tanzer

Ben Tanzer

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Ben Tanzer, AM, is an Emmy-award winning coach, creative strategist, podcaster, writer, teacher and social worker who has been helping nonprofits, publishers, authors, small business and career changers tell their stories for 20 years.
Mark Turcotte

Mark Turcotte

Keynote Panelist

Mark Turcotte (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) is author of four poetry collections, including The Feathered Heartand Exploding Chippewas. Turcotte has been the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Grant, two Literary Fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a Josephine Gates Kelly Memorial Fellowship from Wordcraft Circle.  He was the 2008/09 Visiting Native Writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and served as Visiting Writer-In-Residence for Spring 2014 at the Center For The Writing Arts at Northwestern University. Since 2009 he has been a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at DePaul University.


Emily Victorson

Emily Victorson

Panelist, Manuscript Consultant

Emily Clark Victorson is the publisher/editor of Allium Press of Chicago. After receiving degrees from Oberlin College and the University of Michigan she moved to the Chicago area. Prior to starting Allium Press she worked as a librarian, historian, and book designer for such organizations as the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, and History Works, Inc.

Allium Press of Chicago was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press to publish literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, and middle grade/young adult fiction, all with a Chicago connection. Titles published by Allium include Tony Romano's Where My Body Ends and the World Begins, Frances McNamara's Emily Cabot Mysteries series, and Libby Fischer Hellmann's A Bitter Veil.

Valerie Wallace

Valerie Wallace

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Valerie Wallace’s debut poetry collection House of McQueen (March 2018) was chosen by Vievee Francis for the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry. In their starred review, Publishers Weekly said that Wallace created “…a literary seance…serving as a scholar of and medium for the late iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen….” Her work was chosen by Margaret Atwood for the Atty Award, and she has received an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award and the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference Award in Poetry, as well as many grants to support her work, for which she is extremely grateful.

Michele Weldon

Michele Weldon

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Michele Weldon is an award-winning author, journalist and emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University. She is a senior leader at The OpEd Project, leading Public Voices Fellowships at Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Loyola and Northwestern Universities as well as programs in Africa, Canada and Europe. The author of five non-fiction books, she is editorial director of Take The Lead, and contributes essays regularly to New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Slate, Narratively, Pacific Standard and scores more outlets.
Jeremy T. Wilson

Jeremy T. Wilson

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Jeremy T. Wilson is the author of the short story collection Adult Teeth. He is a former winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award for short fiction, and his work has appeared in literary magazines such as The Carolina Quarterly, The Florida Review, Hobart, RHINO, Sonora Review, Third Coast and other publications. He holds an MFA from Northwestern University and teaches creative writing at The Chicago High School for the Arts. He lives in Evanston, Illinois with his wife and daughter.
Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski

Workshop Instructor, Manuscript Consultant

Mary Wisniewski is a reporter and columnist at the Chicago Tribune. She also teaches creative journal writing at the Newberry Library and creative nonfiction at Northwestern University. Her book about Chicago writer Nelson Algren, Algren: A Life, was the winner of the 2017 Society of Midland Authors' award for best biography and the Chicago Writers Association award for best non-fiction. The book has won praise from multiple publications, including the New York Times and Chicago Magazine, which called it "a captivating book that reads like a novel." Wisniewski also has won numerous reporting awards and appears frequently on local television and radio.
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