David Hicks, PhD, grew up in New York. A first-generation college student, he earned his doctorate in American Literature at NYU. He has taught at Pace University in New York, Marywood University in Scranton, Mesa State College in Colorado and Regis University in Denver, where he co-founded and co-directed the MFA in Creative Writing. In his 40s he shifted his work from academic to creative, first publishing short stories, then collecting and rearranging them as a novel-in-stories, White Plains, published by Conundrum Press (now Bower House Books) in 2017. White Plains was named the #1 book by Colorado authors by Westword Magazine, was one of three finalists for the Colorado Book Award, and was the 2018 “Village Read” for Arapahoe Libraries in Colorado, a county with more than 600,000 residents). In 2020 he became the new director of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. His second novel, The Gospel According to Danny, is in submission, and he is currently hard at work on a novella set in Prague.
Program faculty are working, producing writers who will mentor you one-on-one, teaching you the craft of writing and guiding you to the completion of your full-length creative project--a novel, story collection, memoir, essay collection, chapbook, spoken-word performance, screenplay, or play. Accomplished writers themselves, they will dedicate themselves to mentoring you not solely during your time in the program but beyond. "We stay with you," is their motto, continuing their commitment to your writing success until well after you graduate.
Rashidah Ismaili Abubakr
Originally from West Africa and now, over three decades a Harlem resident, Rashidah Ismaili is a writer of plays, poetry, fiction and cultural critiques. She is one of the original faculty of the Creative Writing Low Residence at Wilkes University. She has read at many international arts festivals and as well, her plays have been presented in Zimbabwe for the HIFA, Harare International Festival of Arts, for three years. In addition to her writing Ismaili-AbuBakr is the host of Salon d' Afrique; an international forum for the gathering of artists, cultural workers and prominent activists as well as celebrations of various activities. This is something she has done prior to coming to Harlem, over forty years. She is a founding member of OWWA, Organization of Women Writers of Africa, an active member of African Literature Association, PEN International Writers, Pen&Brush as the Vice President of the Board. Currently she is organizing the archives of the late dancer/choreographer, Eleo Pomare. Ismaili-AbuBakr has a long history in literary and cultural movements and groups; Umbra, a group of visual and literary artists that formed in Lower East Side during the mid 60's along with Black Arts Movement, Calabashe Poets, Afrikan Poetry Theatre and Badenya, a Pan African cultural and arts organization. She considers herself an advocate for human rights, literacy for young people, cultural and intellectual development for women of all ages in Africa and the African Diaspora.
Philip Brady is a poet, essayist and editor. His forthcoming book is The Elsewhere: New & Selected Poems (Broadstone, 2020) His latest book of essays is Phantom Signs: The Muse in Universe City (University of Tennessee Press, 2019). A book-length poem, To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet appeared from Broadstone in 2015. His essay collection, By Heart: Reflections of a Rust-Belt Bard (University of Tennessee Press), was a Gold Medalist at Foreword Magazine in 2008. He has published three collections of poems, Fathom (WordTech Press, 2007), Weal (Ashland, 2000), winner of the Snyder Prize, and Forged Correspondences (New Myths, 1996), which was chosen for Ploughshares “Editor’s Shelf”by Maxine Kumin. He has also published a memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Tale of Emigrations & the Afterlife (Ashland, 2003). He holds a PhD from Binghamton University and has published numerous scholarly articles in journals including: College English, The Arkansas Quarterly, and The Centennial Review. His edited collections include: Critical Essays on James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (Twayne, 1998) and Poems and Their Making (Etruscan Press, 2015). He has been awarded the Ohio Governor’s Award in Arts Education, an Ohioana Award in Poetry, six Ohio Arts Council Fellowships, a Thayer Fellowship from New York State, and residencies at Yaddo, Ragdale, the Headlands Center, Fundacion Valparaiso, Hawthornden Castle, and the Virginia Center. Brady has taught at University College Cork in Ireland, as a Peace Corps Volunteer at the National University of Zaire, and in the Semester at Sea Program. Currently, he is a Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University, where he directs the Poetry Center. Brady is also the co-founder and executive director for Etruscan Press.
Bonnie Culver is the Wilkes University creative writing program co-founder and a screenwriter, playwright and novelist. Bonnie’s 20+ plays have been produced from NY to LA by colleges, regional theaters and equity companies. Her professionally produced plays include: Lifelines, Group S.O.S. (male and female versions), Accident, and Sniper. In 2004, Sniper won the New Jersey Arts Council Perry Award for Excellence in the Production of an Original Play and was produced Off-Broadway at Center Stage, NYC, in 2005. In 2006, Sniper was included in the Florida Studio Theatre’s Richard and Betty Burdick National Playwriting Reading series, an annual event that showcases “the best in American contemporary theatre.” Her screenplays Sniper, Group S.O.S., and Watchfires were Sundance Film Development Program finalists. Marlee Matlin’s film company, Solo One Productions optioned her film Rainbow Man. The 2011 Villagers Playhouse production of Sniper was nominated for seven NJ Perry Awards. The original showcase premier in Red Bank, New Jersey, earned the “Best Original Play” Perry Award in 2003. Her short plays “Cell” and “GPS” were produced in a festival of one-acts at The Venue, Norfolk, VA and her play “Auto-mated” was produced on the Virginia Eastern Shore and her essay “The Moon on the River” was included in an anthology of music, poetry, memoir, and essays, Written on Water: Writings About the Alleghany River (Mayapple Press). Group S.O.S., (male and female cast versions) and interviews with the directors who first produced the plays is available at Havescripts.com. Her play GPS directed by faculty member Gregory Fletcher won the Piney Fork Short Play Festival, NYC, as “best play of the festival.” Dr. Culver received her M.A. and PhD from Binghamton University. At Wilkes, she is an associate professor of English, a former college dean, and co-founder/director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, past president of the James Jones Society, and an advisory board member of the Norman Mailer Society and Etruscan Press. Recently, she just completed her second term as the chair of the Board of Trustees of AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs). In 2018, her play Auto-Mated was included in a 10 Minute Play Festival (Can we Talk?) at Carroll College, Montana, of Plays by Women. Her play A Ticket to the Circus, a one-woman show based upon the memoir of Norris Church Mailer is scheduled to open at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in California in 2020, directed and produced by Michelle Danner and starring Anne Archer.
- Nonfiction (Memoir)
Beverly Donofrio, recently dubbed a master memoirist by The Daily Beast, has published three memoirs: the New York Times bestseller, Riding in Cars with Boys, which was made into a popular movie; Looking for Mary, a Barnes and Noble Discover pick; and Astonished, called "astonishing," by more than one reviewer. Her three children's books are much praised; her NPR documentaries are perennially rebroadcast; and her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, Marie Clair, More, Allure, Spirituality and Health, The Village Voice, Huffington Post, Slate, as well as many anthologies. Her picture book, Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, was named by Publishers Weekly one of "10 Children's Books that Never Get Old." Its sequel, Where's Mommy? was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten children's book of 2014. Her essays can be found in numerous anthologies, and one appears in How Does That Make You Feel, True Confessions from Both Sides of the Therapy Couch, published by Seal Press in 2016. She teaches memoir-writing workshops around the country and is currently at work on a memoir and a novel. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.
Gregory Fletcher is a native of Dallas, Texas, a resident of New York, a graduate with three theatre degrees from California State University at Northridge, Columbia University, and Boston University. His plays have had 12 Off-Off Broadway productions plus regionally in Boston, Miami, Moscow (Idaho), and Provincetown. Publishers include Smith & Kraus, Back Stage Books, Dramatic Publishing, Blue Moon Plays, Anco Entertainment in the Netherlands and Belgium, Wilde Magazine, and Northampton House Press for his craft book Shorts and Briefs, a collection of his short plays and brief principles of playwriting. Essays have been published by Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln in their anthology Being: What Makes a Man, by Zoetic Press in their anthology Dearly Beloved, and by the journals American Writers Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and Longridge Review. His short stories Friends of Vera resides in The Night Bazaar anthology, and Ismene in Venice in The Night Bazaar: Venice, both published by Northampton House Press. Other People’s Crazy marks Fletcher’s YA novel debut, published by Overdue Books. Awards include the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting and the National Ten-Minute Play Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and, as a first runner-up, the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. He was a playwriting grantee at the Sundance Theatre Lab, a nominee for Outstanding Original Short Script for the New York IT Awards, and a national finalist for the Heideman Award and the Reva Shiner Comedy Award. Fletcher has also taught playwriting at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Niagara University, and CUNY-Kingsborough. For directing and stage management credits, visit his website.
- Short Story
Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally, including in the UK Guardian, The Boston Globe and the New York Times. She is the author of the short story collection, Sleeping Alone (forthcoming from Graywolf Press, Spring 2022), and the novels A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009), and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf Press), a NYT Editor’s Choice Book. Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch and Chinese.
She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine (OR Books, 2015 and Interlink, 2016), a collection of the voices of 65 American poets and writers speaking about America’s dis/engagement with Palestine, and co-editor of the anthology, Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (Interlink, 2019).
She holds a graduate degree in labor studies, researching female migrant labor in the countries of Kuwait, the U.A.E, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, in the South Asia office of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO), and the American Friends Service Committee in their humanitarian and disaster relief programs. She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Lannan Foundation. She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. She writes for the Huffington Post on books and politics.
- Creative Nonfiction
Shanta Lee is a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, and a multidisciplinary artist. She is a public intellectual actively participating in the cultural discourse with work featured in ITERANT Literary Magazine, CARVE Magazine, Palette Poetry, Blavity, DAME Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, and Literary Mama among others. She is the author of the poetry collection, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, winner of the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize and the 2021 Vermont Book Award. Her new illustrated full poetry collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan 2023), is a work that Shanta Lee describes as a 2000+ year-old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating her own new language in this work. Black Metamorphoses has been named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize. Shanta Lee's contributing work on several investigative journalism pieces have received a number of New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards and the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts.
Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c. 1730-1821) — considered the first known African-American poet in English literature — as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Council Speakers Bureaus in addition to serving as the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors. Leading and collaborating has also been a huge part of Shanta Lee's professional and creative practice across a range of sectors that have spanned across the New England region. Projects have included co-curating the I AM… exhibition with the Vermont Arts Council along with her work on the statewide CreateVT, a strategic plan geared towards the creative sectors; An advisor for Jay Craven’s film, Lost Nation, which will illustrate how the Prince family and Ethan Allen took different paths toward the American dream; One of the project leaders of the Peoples, Places and the History of words, a multi-year grant awarded by the National Endowment for Humanities.
Shanta Lee is one of the writers for Ms. Magazine Blog, a regular contributor to Art New England and is a producer and reporter for Vermont Public. She has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College. Shanta Lee's current multimedia exhibition Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, is on view at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art. When she is not writing or exploring her next project, she loves exploring abandoned spaces, loves a good story, and loves anything that will make her laugh. Across all of her threads of passions and interest is an enduring hunger to seek what is beneath the surface.
Christine Gelineau is a poet and essayist and the author of three full-length collections of poetry: Crave (NYQ Books, 2016), Appetite for the Divine (Editor's Choice for the McGovern Publication Prize, Ashland Poetry Press, 2010) and Remorseless Loyalty (Ashland Poetry Press, 2006), which was awarded the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, and which was subsequently nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Gelineau's other books include two chapbooks of poetry, as well as the anthology French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets (Louisiana Literature Press, 2007). Gelineau's poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in or been accepted to numerous journals and anthologies, including: Prairie Schooner, The New York Times Opinionator, New York Quarterly, Connecticut Review, New Letters, The Iron Horse Review, Green Mountains Review, Georgia Review, Paterson Literary Review and others, and have appeared on Verse Daily and Poetry Sunday (Women's Voices for Change). Her poem "Sockanosett" won a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Three of her essays have been cited as "Notable Essays" in Best American Essays ("Foal Watch" in 2004, “The Gift That Cannot Be Refused” in 2007, "Courtesy of the Gravedigger" in 2015), while her essay "Cops" was the runner-up in the 2009 Florida Review Editors Award in Creative Nonfiction. Gelineau lives on a farm in upstate New York. She holds a PhD in literature with a creative dissertation in poetry and essays from Binghamton University.
Jessica Goudeau is a journalist, literary scholar, and refugee advocate. Her first nonfiction book, After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America, won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and a Christopher Award, was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice book, World Magazine’s Understanding the World Book of the Year, a Library Journal “Best Social Science Book of the Year,” and one of Chicago Public Library’s “Best Books of 2020” and was a finalist for the Writer’s League of Texas Nonfiction Book Award, a finalist for the BookTube Prize, short listed for the Chautauqua Prize, and long listed for the Reading the West Narrative Nonfiction Award. Her next nonfiction book, We Were Illegal, will also be with Viking. She has been a columnist for Catapult and has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Texas Monthly, and Guernica, among other places. She produced Ask a Syrian Girl for Teen Vogueand “A Line Birds Cannot See,” a short documentary distributed by The New Yorker. She co-founded a nonprofit for Burmese refugee artisans in Austin that successfully ended after seven years when the last artisan found full-time employment. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Texas, served as a Mellon Writing Fellow and Interim Writing Center Director at Southwestern University, and a Visiting Professor at Sewanee School of Letters. She lives in Austin with her family and their recalcitrant dog, Roux.
Laurie Jean Carter
- Creative Nonfiction (Memoir)
The Root online magazine listed Laurie Jean’s memoir, Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul, as one of the best nonfiction books by black authors in 2015. Kirkus Reviews described Crave as a "bold, honest, and courageous memoir." Foreword Reviews listed Crave as an Indiefab Book of the Year 2015 finalist in the autobiography/memoir category. Additionally, Crave was named a finalist for the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for Nonfiction. Laurie Jean has published personal essays on poverty, domestic violence, and military sexual trauma in a number of publications, including The Rumpus, Good Housekeeping, and Ink and Letters. She has presented talks, lectures, and workshops at numerous organizations, including the KGB Literary Bar, Girls Write Now, The Women’s Initiative, and West Point Military Academy. Laurie Jean is the Mellon Foundation Endowed Chair of English and Foreign Languages at Hampton University and a member of the creative writing faculty in the Wilkes University MA/MFA low-residency Creative Writing Program. Her memoir-in-progress, Wars We've Lost, Wars We've Won is represented by The Tomasino Agency, Inc. You can find additional information at Laurie Jean’s website, lauriejeancannady.net.
Kaylie Jones is a novelist, creative nonfiction writer, and editor. Her most recent work, a collection of CNF essays entitled Bad Mother, have been individually published in venues such as The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, and The Southampton Review. Her memoir, Lies My Mother Never Told Me, was released by Harper Collins in 2009. Her third novel, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries (Bantam, 1990) was adapted as a Merchant Ivory Film in 1998. Celeste Ascending was published by Harper Collins in 2000 and her novel, Speak Now, was released by Akashic Books in 2003. Her novels have been translated into many languages including: French, Dutch, German, and Japanese. Kaylie taught fiction at The Writer's Voice from 1988 to 1996, before helping to create the MFA Program in Writing of LIU's Southampton campus, now the SUNY Stony Brook Southampton College M.FA. Program in Writing, where she still teaches. Currently, she chairs the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, hosted at Wilkes University, which awards $10,000 annually to an unpublished first novel. Kaylie is also the proud editor of Long Island Noir, an anthology of crime fiction published by Akashic Books in 2012. Kaylie's latest novel, The Anger Meridian, was published by Akashic Books in June, 2015. In November 2011, Kaylie was given an award by the National Coalition Against Censorship for her work in bringing to print an unexpurgated, uncensored edition of her father’s classic novel, From Here to Eternity. Kaylie’s newest endeavor is her imprint, Kaylie Jones Books, under the aegis of Akashic Books. The most recent novels published by Kaylie Jones Books are Laurie Loewenstein’s Death of a Rainmaker, which was chosen as a 2018 Book of the Year by NPR and Library Journal; Laurel Brett’s The Schrodinger Girl (January 2020), reviewed in the New York Sunday Times Book Review; and Lauren Sharkey’s Inconvenient Daughter, The Rumpus’ June 2020 Book Club selection. Her latest short fiction will appear in The Night Bazaar: Venice, edited by Lenore Hart, to be published in October 2020. Her CNF essay, “Fork in the Road,” appears in the anthology One Last Lunch (May 2020), edited by Erica Heller. Kaylie holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and is a founding faculty member of the Maslow Family Graduate Creative Writing Program.
Ross Klavan’s work spans film, television, radio, print, live performance and visual art. His novella Cut Loose All Those Who Drag You Down is due out in 2020 from Down and Out Books which published his novella, I Take Care Of Myself In Dreamland in 2018. Thump Gun Hitched, was published by Down and Out in 2016. His darkly comic novel Schmuck was published by Greenpoint Press in 2014. His original screenplay film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the film was released by New Regency starring Colin Farrell. He recently finished an adaption of John Bowers's The Colony and has written scripts for Miramax, Intermedia, Walden Media, Paramount and TNT TV among others. The "conversation about writing" he moderated with Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer was televised and published as Like Shaking Hands with God and his short stories have appeared in magazines and been produced by the BBC. An earlier novel, Trax, was published under a pseudonym. His play How I Met My (Black) Wife (Again), co-written with Ray Iannicelli, has been produced in New York City, and he has performed his work in numerous theaters and clubs. He has acted and done voice work in TV and radio commercials and has lent his voice to feature films including: Casino, You Can Count on Me, Revolutionary Road, Awake and the new Amazon web series Alpha House, written by Gary Trudeau. He has worked as a newspaper and radio journalist in New York City and London. He lives in New York City with his wife, the painter, Mary Jones.
Jean Klein has been a semi-finalist in the O’Neill competition, and is currently co-director of the Virginia Playwrights Forum and workshop leader at Dreamwrights, a playwrights group at Zeider’s American Dream Theatre. Her degrees are a BA from Carnegie-Mellon and an M.A and MFA from the University of Iowa. A full-length play Unreasonable Possession was produced as a staged reading at the Earl Hamner Theatre in Nelson County, Virginia; a short play, Lifeswap was produced at The Venue on 35th in Norfolk, Virginia in 2012 and at The Edge Theater in Belle Haven, Virginia. Two plays, Lifeswap and Priming The Pump have been filmed for airing by Cox Cable in Virginia and North Carolina. A one-act play “Snapshots” was a winner in the Kernodle Play competition was produced in August of 2014 at The Venue in Norfolk, VA, and at The American Theatre in Hampton, VA. A full-length play Refraction Of Light was produced by Looking Glass Productions at The Venue for the Norfolk Summer PlayFest; had a staged reading at Playwrights Night at Wilkes University; and a subsequent staged reading by Transcendence Theatre Company in NYC.A new play, Generous Rivals received a staged reading by Zeider’s American Dream Theater in Virginia in June and a production at Zeider’s Proteus Festival in October. Inside and Out, a play she wrote for Wilkes Faculty Night is scheduled for a workshop production at The Barrow Group in NYC in August of 2020. She is also the founder and owner of HaveScripts/Blue Moon Plays, a dramatic publishing company for new plays and spoken word poetry and fiction which explores social/political issues and challenges, as well as providing new scripts for the high school, college, community theater, senior performer market.
J. Michael Lennon
- Program Co-Founder
J. Michael Lennon is the late Norman Mailer's archivist, editor and authorized biographer. Norman Mailer: A Double Life (2013) was chosen as an "Editors' Choice" book by the New York Times Book Review and was one of Amazon's top twenty nonfiction books of the year. The paperback edition, published October, 2014, was chosen as the top paperback bio for October by the Times of London. He recently edited Selected Letters of Norman Mailer (2014). Other books include: On God: An Uncommon Conversation (with Mailer, 2007), Norman Mailer: Works and Days (2000) (with Donna Pedro Lennon), the recipient of a Choice Magazine award for "outstanding scholarly title" in 2001; and three edited volumes: Conversations with Norman Mailer (1988), The James Jones Reader (1991), and Mailer's The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing (2003). He is a past president of The Norman Mailer Society and past president of The James Jones Literary Society, and serves as Chair of the Editorial Board of The Mailer Review. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Mailer Review, New York Review of Books, James Jones Literary Society Journal, Playboy, Creative Nonfiction, Times Literary Supplement, Hippocampus, Provincetown Arts, Chicago Tribune, New York, New England Review, and the Journal of Modern Literature, among others. He co-authored Mailer's last book, On God: An Uncommon Conversation (2007), and in 2012, edited Mailer's biography of Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer/Bert Stern: Marilyn Monroe, also for Taschen. Recently, he edited the Taschen edition of Mailer's The Fight (fall, 2016), and contributed the introduction to the Taschen edition of Mailer's essay on JFK, "Superman Comes to the Supermarket" (2014). His documentary, James Jones: From Reveille to Taps, was shown on PBS in 1984, and The Lincolns of Springfield, Illinois was shown in 1990. He was a faculty member and executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Illinois-Springfield from 1972-1992, and is Emeritus Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University. He continues to teach in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing, which he co-founded, and for The Mailer Center, and serves on the advisory boards of both, and also Etruscan Press. He served from 2005-2007 as a literary consultant at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas-Austin. He is currently editing (with Susan Mailer) "Lipton's," Mailer's 1953-54 marijuana journal, and all of Mailer's major works for the Library of America. He received his M.A. and PhD in English from the University of Rhode Island.
Ken Liu is an American author of speculative fiction. He has won the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy awards, as well as top genre honors in Japan, Spain and France, among other countries.
Liu’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, is the first volume in a silk punk epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty, in which engineers play the role of wizards. His debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, has been published in more than a dozen languages. A second collection, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, followed. He also wrote the Star Wars novel, The Legends of Luke Skywalker.
He has been involved in multiple media adaptations of his work. The most recent projects include “The Message,” under development by 21 Laps and FilmNation Entertainment; “Good Hunting,” adapted as an episode in season one of Netflix’s breakout adult animated series Love, Death + Robots; and AMC’s Pantheon, with Craig Silverstein as executive producer, adapted from an interconnected series of short stories by Liu.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. He frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, crypto currency, history of technology, bookmaking, narrative futures and the mathematics of origami.
Liu lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Jennifer Mayer is a screenwriter, a playwright and a native New Yorker. She has written several screenplays, including features for Summit Entertainment (Step Up: Revolution) and Arnold Kopelson’s Equus Media, the latter for which she adapted Eric Garcia’s novel, The Girls’ Guide to Revenge. Her latest screenplay,The Long View, was recently selected for the Writers Guild of America East Summer Reading Series. Jennifer has worked with director Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project; Kaufman directed readings of her play, The Wedding Guest. Jennifer is Black and Jewish, and her writing often explores race, gender, and social justice. In 2016, she cofounded Creatives In Action, a collective of artists, creative professionals, and activists who work to promote activism in the creative community. (Partner organizations include the National Writers Union, the Center for Popular Democracy and PEN America.) Jennifer has partnered with local and national nonprofits to write and produce educational web videos which explore topics including the United States Constitution, corporate monopolies and political corruption. Jennifer has served on the screenplay jury for Urbanworld Film Festival and as a member of the selection team for New York Women in Film & Television’s The Writers Lab. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America and of the Writers Guild of America East, where she serves on the Committee for Inclusion and Equity. Jennifer graduated from Yale. She lives and works in New York City.
Robin McCrary is author (as Micah McCrary) of Teaching Cultural Dexterity in Creative Writing (Bloomsbury) and Island in the City (University of Nebraska). His work also appears in the Journal of Creative Writing Studies, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Essay Daily, among other publications. A contributing editor at Assay, Dr. McCrary lives on Haudenosaunee homelands, where he teaches in the writing studies and health humanities programs at Syracuse University and researches public health humanities.
Nancy McKinley is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer and founding fiction faculty member. St. Christopher on Pluto, a novel-in-stories, was published by West Virginia University Press, 2020. Recent fiction appears in The Timberline Review, Issue 7, 2018, To Unsnare Time's Warp Anthology 2016; Porches Anthology, 2013; Tattoos Anthology, 2012; Commutability Anthology, 2010– Pushcart Prize nomination; Coming Home Anthology, 2010, Big Water Anthology, 2008 (Main Street Rag Publishing); and in Winter Anthology, 2010 (Punkin House Press); in Blue Penny Quarterly 2014; Blue Lake Review, 2013; The Cortland Review, 2011. Her creative nonfiction, "Title IX & Me" appears in On Becoming Anthology, 2012 (University of Nebraska). As Scholar-in-Residence for the Pennsylvania Mechanicsburg Museum Association, she developed the interactive online narrative If You Lived at the Stationmaster's House. Her narrative for the Cumberland County Historical Society Virtual Tour won the Pennsylvania Museum Director's Award. Outdoor pieces have appeared widely, including The Physician and Sportsmedicine. She presented at the AWP 2014 Conference Orchestration for Writers 101; AWP 2013 Conference, International Women's Day Reading; AWP 2011 Conference Online Mentoring for Writers and Interns; Puerto Vallarta Mexico Writer's Conference 2009, Unforgettable Characters; The Gathering, PA 2009, Time, Place & Story; and AWP 2007, Unsung Litany of Late Blooming Writers. Her novel, Travels with a Nuclear Whore, won the creative writing component of the Thayer Fellowship in the Arts, and she received the John Gardner Newhouse Award. She earned her PhD from SUNY-Binghamton, M.A. from Colorado State University, and BA from College of the Holy Cross where she was one of the first female students. For more information, visit her website.
Christine Renee Miller
Christine Renee Miller is an actor, writer, director and teacher. Her first acting role was as a guest star playing a mean girl on Sister, Sister - one of America's most popular TV shows in the late '90s. She was soon starring on other hit shows including Party of Five, Moesha and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and even experienced the fast-paced world of soap operas on General Hospital. During the early 2000s, she began directing and dove headfirst into a production of Fiddler on the Roof in the small college town of Hamilton, New York. (Her time there deserves its own bio).
After her first experience directing, she caught that bug and moved to New York City. NYC is where she wrote and performed her first solo show, Baby Cow, at FringeNYC. This led her to carve out a niche in the solo world, not only as a performer, but as the go-to director for solo shows. She has personally fostered over 60 shows as a teacher of the craft. Her second solo show, NYIT nominated Such Nice Shoes, has had several runs at the beautiful and prestigious white box space of TheaterLab, Off Off Broadway. She has also written two full-length plays Foursome and Post Master.
In addition to the stage, she can be seen on the small and large screen - Power Book II: Ghost (Starz), BULL (CBS), recurring as the snarky M.E. on Blue Bloods (CBS), recurring on For Life (ABC) and Spoiler Alert directed by Michael Showalter (Focus Features release, 2022).
Robert Mooney is a novelist, editor and professor. Mooney's most recent publication is a short story that appeared in an anthology titled How To Be a Man collected by Esquire Magazine and published by Picador in 2013. His novel, Father of the Man, was published by Pantheon Books of Random House. He has published numerous short stories in magazines, including the Paterson Literary Review, Artful Dodge, MSS, Timbuktu, Esquire, and others. Mooney earned a BA from Boston College and an M.A. and PhD from Binghamton University. He later went on to serve as Director of the Creative Writing Program at Binghamton University from 1987 to 1997, where he also served as senior editor of MSS, the literary magazine founded by the American novelist John Gardner, and later founded and served as Executive Editor of New Myths Press, publishing the work of some of the finest poets and writers in the country. He is co-founder and Executive Editor at Etruscan Press, recently named "one of the five best small presses in the country" by Associated Writing Programs (AWP), and holds the position of Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Washington College, where he directed the O'Neill Literary House and creative writing program from 1997 to 2005. In 2013, Mooney joined the Honorary Board of Writers at Narrative 4, a global writing initiative begun by National Book Award winning novelist Colum McCann, the mission of which involves the incitement of "radical empathy" among people of all cultures.
Alexis Paige (she/ her) is the author of two award-winning memoirs: Work Hard, Not Smart: How to Make a Messy Literary Life and Not a Place on Any Map. Both are published by Vine Leaves, where Paige is the Nonfiction Acquisitions Editor. Her work appears in many journals, including Longform, Hippocampus, Fourth Genre, The Rumpus, and Brevity, where she was an Assistant Editor. Winner of the New Millennium Nonfiction Prize, Paige has also received two “Notable” mentions in Best American Essays and four Pushcart Prize nominations. Assistant Professor of Writing at Vermont State University, she holds an MA in poetry and an MFA in nonfiction. Paige lives in Vermont with her husband and a rotating cast of rescue animals.
Angelique Palmer is a performance poet, a finalist in the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam and a member of the 2017 Busboys and Poets/Beltway Poetry Slam Team.
She has penned 10 self-published chapbooks. Her first full-length book, The Chambermaid's Style Guide, debuted in 2016 on Sargent Press. Her second book is the 2021 follow-up, Also Dark, on Etruscan Press.
Her publications include Drunk in A Midnight Choir, Wus Good?: A POC Magazine, Borderline and The Mud Review. A New Orleans native, she’s a Florida State University Creative Writing graduate who now calls Northern Virginia home. She makes her own ice cream and yogurt.
Nicole Pandolfo was most recently selected for a commission with the Writers Theatre of NJ. Her NJPAC Stage Exchange commission play, Brick City, opened in September 2018 at Premiere Stages at Kean University. She was a 2017 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and her work has been developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as a Playwright Observer, at Tofte Lake as a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and at The Actors Studio, NJ Rep, and the Lark among others. She was a finalist for the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers. She is a member of The Actors Studio in the Playwright/Director Unit and received her MFA at Hunter College.
Taylor M. Polites is a Rhode Island-based writer, educator, and researcher. His first novel, The Rebel Wife, was published by Simon & Schuster in February 2012. His work has appeared in the anthologies Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting (W.W. Norton, November 2013) and Providence Noir (Akashic Books) as well as in arts and news publications. In Providence, he has formed Goat Hill with Ann Hood and Hester Kaplan to offer workshops and talks with writers, editors, and agents. He also works with local organizations including the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities to build historical narratives that enlighten and offer ideas from the past to shape the present. He was a 2018 Community Practitioner in Residence at the Swearer Center at Brown University and is the recipient of the 2018 award for Public Humanities Scholarship from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. He is a graduate of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University where he was awarded the Norris Church Mailer Fellowship. He teaches in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University and at the Rhode Island School of Design. For more information, visit his website at his website.
Jan Quackenbush has written 27 produced plays, four produced musicals and three screenplays. He has been produced in six countries and is translated into four languages. He is included with Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco in Signature 20 Anthology, by Calder & Boyars, Ltd, London, 1975. He is archived at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University. He has professionally worked and collaborated with Ellen Stewart, founder of La MaMa Theatre ETC, New York, and with Broadway director/composer Tom O’Horgan, New York. Play Extinct was a winner of the World Wildlife Fund- UK international play competition, 1982, and presented at the Young Vic Theatre, London. He has an MFA in Creative Writing (Playwriting/Screenwriting), Goddard University. Jan has had several short one-act plays translated into German (2009-2015) and produced in Ulm, Germany, by the avant-garde Westentasche Theatre Company. In summer of 2014, The Soldier’s Son -the third play of a trilogy – The Soldier and his Family - was premiered by the Westentasche Theatre in Ulm, and presented again in June 2015 in a German national theatre festival Baden-Würtetembergischen Theatertagen, Heidelberg. Jan ended his service in Vietnam assigned to the Army Entertainment Branch where he co-wrote Withering Witherspoon: an Old-Fashion Mellerdrama that Command Military Touring Shows (CMTS) played to soldiers throughout Vietnam. Jan is proud to be a member of the Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program’s faculty in which he currently teaches Playwriting and Oral Interpretation. Jan taught theatre courses seventeen years at Suny-Broome, Binghamton, NY. Jan is presently published by Blue Moon Plays. He has recently completed a short work for performers with diverse abilities: Dance Your Dreams.
- Audio Drama
Dania Ramos is the creator and head writer of the audio drama series Timestorm (Cocotazo Media/TRAX), named one of the “Top Trendsetting Podcasts from 2020” by School Library Journal and selected as a 2020 Webby Awards Family and Kids Podcast honoree. Her stage plays have been produced or developed by Luna Stage, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Speranza Theatre Company, Dreamcatcher Rep, Repertorio Español/Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, and Teatro Vivo/Austin Latino New Play Festival. She’s the author of the middle-grade novels Who’s Ju? (Overdue Books, 2015; International Latino Book Award - 2015 Best YA eBook) and Ignacio in the Dark (Overdue Books, 2019). She’s a former New Jersey State Council on the Arts playwriting fellowship recipient. She’s a graduate of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. She’s a member and New Jersey regional ambassador of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Nisha Sharma is the author of the critically acclaimed YA novel My So-Called Bollywood Life. She also writes adult contemporary romances including The Singh Family Trilogy and the If Shakespeare was an Aunty trilogy (launching November 2021). Her writing has been praised by NPR, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, Hypable and more.
Nisha credits her father for her multiple graduate degrees, and her mother for her love of Shah Rukh Khan and Jane Austen. She lives in New Jersey with her Alaskan husband, her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew. You can find her online at Nisha-sharma.com or on Twitter and Instagram @nishawrites.
Donna Talarico is an independent writer and content strategist and founder of Hippocampus Magazine & Books and its annual conference HippoCamp. She previously served as a communications director at Elizabethtown College, and a marketing manager for a leading e commerce firm. Donna also had careers in radio promotions, print journalism, and higher ed admissions. She speaks regularly on marketing related topics at higher ed and publishing conferences. Donna has bylines in The LA Review, The Superstition Review, Wanderlust Journal, mental_floss, The Writer, the Brevity blog, Games Magazine, The Content Strategist, The Guardian Higher Education and more. She has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes and an MBA from Elizabethtown College. She also teaches business and marketing courses in the MA in publishing program at Rosemont College. Donna lives in Lancaster, PA, and you can follow her on Twitter at @donnatalarico.
Jeff Talarigo, a novelist, is the author of two novels: The Pearl Diver and The Ginseng Hunter. Talarigo was born in Pennsylvania in 1961 and graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1983. Over the next seven years, Talarigo worked as a racquetball pro, magazine publisher, in a wood shop, and as a journalist. In 1990, Talarigo embarked on a three-month journey by land from the Gaza Strip to Khartoum, Sudan and back. This was Talarigo's first stay in Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, a place where he would return to live in 1993. From 1991 to 2006 Talarigo lived in Kyushu, Japan where he taught English and began writing fiction. The Pearl Diver was published in 2004 (Nan Talese/Doubleday) and was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award and was a Kiriyama Prize notable book. Talarigo, along with his wife and son, moved back to the United States in 2006. He was awarded a fellowship at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. The Ginseng Hunter (published April, 2008, Nan Talese/Doubleday) is his second novel and was placed on the American Library Association's Notable Book List of 2009. His short fiction has been published in many journals, including AGNI and Puerto del Sol, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Talarigo's work has been translated into German, Spanish, Hebrew, Thai, and Korean. Currently living in Oakland, CA, his third novel, In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees, was published by Etruscan Press in February, 2018.
- Young Adult Fiction
Richard Uhlig is a screenwriter, producer, and young adult novelist. He co-wrote and co-produced the feature comedy Dead Simple, starring James Caan, Daniel Stern, and Patricia Richardson. He also wrote the feature thriller Kept, starring Ice T. In addition to feature films, Richard has written and directed documentaries for PBS. Richard is also the author of two Knopf-publish young adult novels, Last Dance at the Frosty Queen and Boy Minus Girl. Richard holds a BA from NYU and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. In the spring of 2011, Richard received a grant to produce and direct his original short screenplay, Can't Dance. It stars Saturday Night Fever's Karen Lynn Gorney and Law and Order's Catherine Wolf. Can't Dance won Founder's Choice Award at the Queens World Film Festival, Best Fiction at the Short Sweet FilmFest, and was a Selected Finalist at the Feel Good Film Festival. It aired on PBS. Richard wrote and co-directed My Kansas, a memoir/documentary for PBS which won Best Documentary, Best Director, and New York Filmmaker Award at the 2013 NYC Chain Film Festival. Richard's latest novel, Mystery at Snake River Bridge, was e-published by Wild Child Publishing and earned a four-star review in the Portland Book Review. In October of 2019, UpStage Theater, in Napa Valley, California, performed a staged reading of Richard's first play, Doctor’s Residence.
Rachel Weaver is the author of the novel Point of Direction, which Oprah Magazine named a Top Ten Book to Pick Up Now. Point of Direction was chosen by the American Booksellers Association as a Top Ten Debut for Spring 2014, by IndieBound as an Indie Next List Pick, by Yoga Journal as one of their Top Five Suggested Summer Reads and won the 2015 Willa Cather Award for Fiction. Prior to earning her MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University, Rachel worked for the Forest Service in Alaska studying bears, raptors and songbirds. She is on faculty at Regis University’s low-residency MFA program, and at Lighthouse Writers Workshop where she won the Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018. She is the owner of Sandstone Editing where she works with authors one on one to help them get their books ready for publication. Rachel’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Sun, Gettysburg Review, Blue Mesa Review, River Teeth, Alaska Women Speak and Fly Fishing New England.
Kao Kalia Yang
- Nonfiction (Memoir)
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, The Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang wrote the children’s books A Map Into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, Yang Warriors, and From the Tops of the Trees. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. Her libretto for the MN Opera will premiere in spring of 2023. Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, as Notable Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education, Midland Authors Association, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and garnered four Minnesota Book Awards. Yang is a recipient of the Sally Award from the Ordway Center for Performing Arts for Social Impact and the A.P. Anderson Award for her significant contributions to the cultural and artistic life of Minnesota. Kao Kalia Yang is also a teacher and public speaker.