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. While this list constantly changes, the following professionals regularly participate:
Ibrahim Ahmad is the editorial director at Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent publishing company, where he has worked in various capacities since 2000. 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."
Albert LaFarge, Ph.D., 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.
Michael Mailer has been working extensively in the independent film business since graduating from Harvard University in 1987. He co-wrote and produced his first feature film, A Fool And His Money, starring Sandra Bullock and George Plimpton, in 1988. Since then, Mailer has produced over 25 features. His films include the critically acclaimed Two Girls and a Guy, starring Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham, and Natasha Gregson Wagner (20th Century Fox, 1998); Black and White, starring Ben Stiller, Brooke Shields, Elijah Wood, and Mike Tyson (Sony Pictures, 1999); and Empire, starring John Leguizamo, Denise Richards, and Peter Sarsgaard (Universal Pictures, 2002). Mailer also found success in films like Lost Junction with Neve Campbell (MGM, 2000); The Last Producer with Burt Reynolds, Lauren Holly, and Benjamin Bratt (Artisan, 2002); and Harvard Man, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, and Adrien Grenier (Blockbuster, 2002). In 2003, Mailer produced Devour, starring Hollywood up-and-comers Jensen Ackles, Shannon Sossamon, and Dominique Swain (Columbia Tri-Star, 2004); and Loverboy with all-star cast Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei, Oliver Platt, Sandra Bullock, Campbell Scott, and Matt Dillon (Millennium, 2004). The film made its debut at Sundance 2005 and was later released theatrically by Think Films. Michael Mailer Films was established in 2004 to focus on both independent, character-driven films and larger, concept-oriented pictures. Among MMF's productions are the romantic comedies Kettle of Fish, starring Matthew Modine and Gina Gershon; and The Golden Boys, starring David Carradine, Rip Torn, and Bruce Dern. Additionally, Mailer produced two films under his own banner that were released through Sony: The mixed martial arts-urban western Blood and Bone and a remake of Hitchcock's The Lodger. Mailer's The Ledge, starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, and Charlie Hunnam, debuted in U.S. Drramatic competition at Sundance 2011 and was released by IFC. Mailer productions in recent years include: Seduced and Abandoned, starring Alec Baldwin, which screened out of competition at the 2013 Festival de Cannes; A Little Game, starring Olympia Dukakis, F. Murray Abraham, and Janeane Garofalo; Friends and Romans, starring Michael Rispoli, Annabella Sciorra, and Tony Sirico; Lost in Florence with Brett Dalton and Stana Katic; and Showing Roots, starring Maggie Grace, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth McGovern, and Adam Brody. Mailer's latest film is also his directorial debut: Blind, starring Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, and Dylan McDermott.
Robert May, an advisory board member and founder of SenArt Films, is a producer of independent films whose projects have collectively garnered over 40 awards including the Oscar®, Bafta, Independent Spirit Awards and Human Rights Award to name a few. 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), and 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 – The Last Expedition.
Molly Reese is an associate agent at Thompson Literary Agency, where she looks for narrative nonfiction, memoir, cookbooks, and literary fiction. She graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU where she studied French, Italian, and literary translation.
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.