Industry feedback is an incredible benefit to aspiring writers. That's why at Wilkes, each creative thesis is read and evaluated by an agent, editor, publisher or producer in the field. Our outside readers will provide detailed notes about your work and review their feedback during a one-on-one meeting.
Ibrahim Ahmad is the senior editor at Viking Press. Prior to 2020, he was the editorial director at Akashic Books. He leads frequent writers workshops, teaches at the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program and Literary Publishing M.A. Program, and is the cofounder of Brooklyn Wordsmiths, an editorial and consulting program. In 2015, he was named one of four finalists for the inaugural Star Watch prize by Publishers Weekly, awarded to "young industry professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry."
Nicole Frail is a senior editor at Skyhorse Publishing, an independent publishing company based in New York City. She acquires mostly in the categories of cooking and lifestyle/hobby and children’s nonfiction, as well as occasionally adult fiction, memoir, and children’s fiction and picture books. She has acquired and published hundreds of titles during her eight years at Skyhorse, under many of the company’s imprints. Recent titles include the Celestial Trilogy, CBD and Hemp Remedies, Sometimes I’m Anxious, Believing in Me, Rental Style, Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers, and The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook, Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science); award winners such as The Latin Table by Isabel Cruz, Pigs of Paradise by T.R. Todd, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain by Dr. Gail Gross, and An Impossible Distance to Fall by Miriam McNamara; and the national bestselling picture book Love the Earth by Julian Lennon. She also offers select freelance editorial services at nicolefrail.com. After living many years in New York City and then New Jersey, Nicole now works remotely from her home in Avoca, Pennsylvania.
Albert LaFarge, PhD, founded the Albert LaFarge Literary Agency in Boston in 2003. He earlier worked as a book editor at Random House, Henry Holt, and Harcourt, and as deputy editor of DoubleTake magazine. He is the editor of The Essential William H. Whyte (Fordham University Press, 2000) and, with Robert Coles, Minding the Store: Great Writing About Business, From Tolstoy to Now (New Press, 2008). He has taught writing, editing, and publishing at Harvard College, Harvard Extension, and Boston University, and is currently a lecturer in the Department of Liberal Arts at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Robert May, an advisory board member and founder of SenArt Films, is a producer of independent films whose projects have collectively garnered more than 40 awards including the Oscar, Bafta, Independent Spirit Awards and Human Rights Award. May produced
- The Station Agent, directed by then first-time director Tom McCarthy, which starred Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale,
- The Fog of War (Errol Morris)
- Stevie (Steve James)
- The War Tapes (Deborah Scranton)
- Bonneville (Chris Rowley), starring Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates.
Recently, May released his directorial debut, the documentary Kids for Cash, a film about greed, corruption and kids. Quotes like "Riveting," "Shocking," and "Gifted Storyteller" from the likes of The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have been used to describe the film. May's projects have been distributed by Miramax, Sony, Lions Gate, 20th Century Fox and Comcast/Universal. May is currently in active development on a number of projects and is in production on an adventure film, Lust for Gold: A Race Against Time. May is currently in development on a number of TV and film projects.
Molly Pisani is a freelance editor and copy editor based in New York. Her eight years in the publishing industry span two literary agencies and two publishers, predominantly Simon & Schuster. In 2014, she formed Star-Splitter Editorial Services, where she has worked with authors including Roxanna Elden, Kirkland Hamill, Byron Lane, Steven Rowley, and Nemat Sadat. She loves working closely with authors on memoirs, character-driven fiction, and narrative nonfiction that explores cultural studies, social justice, food, travel, humor, history and psychology. A graduate of Smith College and the Columbia Publishing Course, Molly is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and contributes to the group's internal diversity initiative.
Kiele Raymond is an agent at Thompson Literary Agency. She began her publishing career at Simon & Schuster in 2009, contributing to multiple New York Timesbestsellers at both Touchstone and Gallery Books. Kiele received her B.A. in Anthropology and English Literature from Johns Hopkins University and her M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. She joined TLA in 2017 to seek out bold new voices in literary fiction and select narrative non-fiction. Her clients include Peace Adzo Medie, Ari Braverman, Nichole Perkins, Tana Wojczuk and Courtney Emerson, among others.
M. Kilburg Reedy
M. Kilburg Reedy is a member of the law firm Feldman, Golinski, Reedy + Ben-Zvi, PLLC, where her practice spans all aspects of general entertainment law and intellectual property, with a focus on theater and film contracts and financing, and also includes publishing, television, copyright, trademark, and music. She has been designated a three-time NYC "Super Lawyer" (2018-2020) in her area of
practice. Also an award-winning theatrical producer, Kilburg’s productions include the new musical Jagged Little Pill and the current international hit Come From Away (7 Tony Award nominations and 2019 Olivier Award winner for Best New Musical) and the upcoming commercial transfer of The Hello Girls. Previous productions include Nevermore – The Imaginary Life And Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe (New World Stages 2015), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, New York Critics Circle Award for Best Play), Peter and the Starcatcher (9 Tony nominations and 5 wins), and The Pee-Wee Herman Show. Kilburg’s plays include Second Lady; Spin, A Musical Myth, and stage adaptations of The Daughter of Time and The House of Mirth. Second Lady and Spin have been produced throughout the U.S. and internationally, and have been published by Samuel French.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Girls Books and Brown Girls Entertainment
ReShonda Tate Billingsley is the national bestselling author of more than 50 books. She writes adult and teen fiction, and nonfiction. Her novel, Let the Church Say Amen, became a film directed by actress Regina King, and produced by TD Jakes and Queen Latifah. Her book, The Secret She Kept, was also made into a movie and aired on TV One.
ReShonda has received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature for Say Amen, Again and was nominated for Mama’s Boy and The Secret She Kept. She has received awards for journalism, fiction and poetry, including an induction into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame and a Texas Top Author honor. Her books remain a staple on Bestseller’s lists and have been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, Jet, People, Essence, and Ebony Magazines.
ReShonda is the co-founder of the boutique publishing company, Brown Girls Books, with Victoria Christopher Murray. BGB’s subsidiary company, Brown Girls Entertainment, is producing content for film, TV and the web.
A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, ReShonda is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack & Jill of America. She is the mother of three children.
Johnny Temple, a Wilkes University Creative Writing Program advisory board member, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and the American Association of Publishers' 2005 Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing. Temple is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice and includes stories from Dennis Lehane, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates, and others. Temple has taught courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University, Wesleyan University, and Pratt Institute; and is the Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which works with Brooklyn's borough president to plan the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the band Girls Against Boys, which has toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including: The Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum.
Chris Tomasino has been agenting since 1975, when she joined RLR Associates, Ltd and developed their literary division. Her clients have included Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote, former baseball manager and now MLB executive Joe Torre, talented international book packagers and corporate clients Angel Records and The Professional Golf Association. She is as comfortable with commercial fiction as she is with highly produced full color books; with the unconventional Anti-Coloring Books as she is with translating the content of the world's foremost online wedding resource, The Knot, and its offspring The Nest and The Bump, into best-selling book franchises. She shepherded through the publishing process Sarah Ban Breathnach's ground-breaking daybook for women, Simple Abundance (two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list, with 27 foreign editions) and its spin-offs, as well as its new 25th anniversary update for 21st Century readers, published in November, 2019. Ever ahead of the trends, she was in on the boon in young adult fiction series in the 1970s and 1980s, the cookbook and lifestyle rage in the 1980s and 2000s, and the blossoming of spirituality and esoterica in the 1980s and 1990s. Having started her own boutique-sized agency in 2000, she specializes in memoir, self-help, lifestyle, health, women's issues, commercial and literary fiction, and works that celebrate diversity in culture, origins and ideas. Even though non-fiction is a staple of her list, Chris loves fiction and is always on the lookout for the novel that will envelope, entertain, and enrich. She is the proud agent of a number of Wilkes faculty members, graduates and friends who collectively have sold 16 titles to trade publishers, with more in the pipeline. In June 2017, after more than a decade as a visiting faculty member at Wilkes residencies, Chris joined the Advisory Board of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing.