The Muse 2014 | Shop Talk Lunch Tables

12:00pm-1:15pm on Friday, May 2nd, 2014

These tables are an opportunity to network and/or socialize with invited authors, agents, editors, and/or other presenters. Shop Talk tables are smaller, set further apart from other tables, in a separate part of the Imperial Ballroom, and reserved in advance so you’ll know exactly with whom you’ll be sitting. Participants will be asked to rotate chairs once or twice during the course of the lunch to maximize the number of personal connections to be made at the table.

To reserve a spot, you must request a first and second choice of table and pay an additional $75 tax-deductible fee as you register for the conference online. Please note that the table configurations are subject to change; if a presenter is no longer able to attend the Shop Talk lunch, GrubStreet makes every effort to replace that person with a similar presenter. There are four presenters and four participants at each table. Names are updated as of April 2nd.


Table 1 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Emma Sweeney (Literary Agent)
Emma Sweeney Emma Sweeney is the owner of Emma Sweeney Agency LLC, a boutique literary agency based in New York City. ESA has had six New York Times bestsellers and represents authors who have won The Booker Prize and the American Book Award, been short-listed for the National Book Award and the Orange Prize, and are Guggenheim Fellows as well as the recipients of NEA grants. ESA specializes in general fiction, historical fiction and narrative nonfiction projects including memoir, history, science and religion.

Emma Sweeney is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives and the Women's Media Group, where she served as president in 2003. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in English Literature. Emma is also a writer whose own books include Tulipa (Artisan, 2000) and As Always, Jack (Little, Brown, 2002; Back Bay Books, 2003; Axios Press 2012).

4J: Ask the Marketing Director

Rob Spillman (Magazine Editor)
Rob Spillman Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, a fifteen-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine. Tin House has been honored in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, O’Henry Prize Stories, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and numerous other anthologies. He is also the Executive Editor of Tin House Books and co-founder of the Tin House Literary Festival, now in its twelfth year. His writing has appeared in BookForum, the Boston Review, Connoisseur, Details, GQ, Nerve, the New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, Salon, Spin, Sports Illustrated, Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue, among other magazines, newspapers, and essay collections. He is also the editor of Gods and Soldiers: the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing, which was published in 2009.

3B: Establishing Authority

Bret Anthony Johnston (Author)
Bret Anthony Johnston Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the novel Remember Me Like This (May 2014) and the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Independent (London) and The Irish Times. He is also the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. His work appears in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. His awards include the Pushcart Prize, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Stephen Turner Award, the Cohen Prize, a James Michener Fellowship, and the Kay Cattarulla Prize for short fiction. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, The Best American Sports Writing, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation. He wrote the documentary film Waiting for Lightning, which was released in theaters around the world by Samuel Goldwyn Films. He teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University, where is the Director of Creative Writing.

8G: The Point of Point-of-View

Michelle Hoover (Author)
Michelle Hoover Michelle Hoover teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street. She has published short stories and novel excerpts in numerous journals, including Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Confrontation, StoryQuarterly, and TriQuarterly. She has been the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and the 2005 winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award for Fiction. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in Best New American Voices. Her debut novel, The Quickening, was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, was a Finalist for the Indies Choice Debut of 2010 and Forward Magazine's Best Literary Book of 2010, and is a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award "Must Read" pick. She is a 2014 National Endowment of the Arts Fellow, awarded for her upcoming second novel, Bottomland.

2E: Essentials of the Novel

Option 11: Lessons from the Novel Incubator: Narrative Distance


Table 2 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Jessica Papin (Literary Agent)
Jessica Papin Jessica Papin is an agent at Dystel and Goderich in New York. Prior to that, she was the Director of International Rights at the American University in Cairo Press, in Egypt, and an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing) in New York. With a background on both sides of the desk, Papin loves working collaboratively with clients to shape and refine their work. She is interested in literary and smart commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, history, medicine, science, economics and women’s issues. In every case, she looks for passion, erudition, and storytelling skill.

Jessica is always on the lookout for story-driven fiction that hits the sweet spot between literary and commercial--beautiful writing married to a strong plot line. She is actively seeking substantive non-fiction—history, science, economics, women’s issues, international affairs—that illuminates big ideas in engaging, accessible and surprising ways. She is also interested in memoir that uses personal story to capture some larger historical or political narrative. She rarely represents genre fiction, and does not represent Christian books, children’s books, screenplays or poetry.

Writers interested in querying me should do so via e-mail at and include the first chapter of their work as a document attachment.

7J: What is Ethnic Writing?

Anjali Mitter Duva (Author)
Anjali Mitter Duva Anjali Mitter Duva is a writer who grew up in France and has family roots in Calcutta, India. After completing graduate studies at MIT and launching a career in urban planning, she found the call of storytelling too great to resist. A switch to freelance writing and project management allowed her more time for her own creative pursuits. Her first novel, Faint Promise of Rain, is due out with She Writes Press in October 2014. She is a co-founder of Chhandika, an organization that teaches and presents India’s classical storytelling kathak dance. Anjali lives near Boston with her husband and two daughters, and is at work on her second novel, set in 19th century Lucknow.

2J: Choosing Partner Publishing: An Agent-Author Discussion

Henriette Lazaridis Power (Author)
Henriette Lazaridis Power Henriette Lazaridis Power's debut novel The Clover House was published by Ballantine in 2013 and was a Boston Globe best-seller and a Target Emerging Authors selection. Power has degrees in English Literature from Middlebury College; Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar; and the University of Pennsylvania. She taught English literature at Harvard for ten years. Her work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, New England Review, the New York Times online, The Millions, Huffington Post, and elsewhere, and she was the recipient of a 2006 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant. In 2010, she launched The Drum, a literary magazine publishing exclusively in audio form. A competitive rower, Power trains regularly on the Charles River in Boston.

7F: Private Writer, Public Figure: How to Thrive at the Podium, the Mic, or the Conference Table

Maryanne O'Hara (Author)
Maryanne O'Hara Maryanne O'Hara is the author of Cascade, a 2013 Massachusetts Center for the Book “Must Read” and MA Book Award fiction finalist, and a “pick” at People Magazine, Slate Magazine, The Boston Globe, Library Journal, and more. She was the longtime associate fiction editor at Ploughshares, and has had short fiction published in periodicals like The North American Review, Five Points, Redbook, and in several anthologies. A graduate of Emerson College's MFA program, where she won the Graduate Dean's Award, she has been a recipient of grants from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and her story collection has been a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the Iowa Short Fiction Award. A citizen of both the United States and Ireland, she currently lives by a river near Boston.

Option 8: Researching Fact for Fiction


Table 3 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Sorche Fairbank (Literary Agent)
Sorche Fairbank Since establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic and varied list, representing best-selling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and of course one of her favorite kinds of client – the debut author. Tastes in novels tend toward literary fiction, international voices, and women’s voices. On the nonfiction side, books that tackle current events and topical and societal issues with a narrative treatment. She has a strong interest in women’s voices and class and race issues, quality lifestyle books (food, wine, design), memoir that goes beyond the me-moir, and humor, gift books, and pop culture. Subjects and genres not of interest by Sorche and Fairbank Literary include: sci-fi and fantasy, children’s and YA, self-help, romance, or sports fiction. Actively seeking fiction (literary, international, and damn good), humor and pop culture, food/cooking, and compelling memoir.

Authors and books represented by Fairbank Literary include: O. Henry Prize winner Charlotte Forbes; Pulitzer nominee & Los Angeles Times Cairo Bureau Chief Jeffrey Fleishman; Edgar winner Rex Burns, Matthew Frederick and his best-selling 101 Things I Learned series; Eudora Welty prize winner Miroslav Penkov (East of the West), Jonathan McCullough’s A Tale Of Two Subs: An Untold Story Of World War II, Two Sister Ships, And Extraordinary Heroism; Essayist Jessica Handler; New Yorker cartoonist Drew Dernavich; Sharron Kahn Luttrell, author of Weekends With Daisy. Humor and gift book clients include Chuck Sambuchino (How To Survive a Garden Gnome Attack; Red Dog, Blue Dog), Terry Border (Bent Objects Empire), and Carl Warner (Carl Warner’s Food Landscapes).

1J: Query Lab

7H: Rejection, Rejection: Why It's Happening to You and How to Avoid It

Millicent Bennett (Editor)
Millicent Bennett Millicent Bennett is a senior editor at Simon & Schuster's flagship imprint. She publishes voice-driven and emotionally authentic literary fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction including memoir, social and cultural history, science, biography, and women’s issues. Her Simon & Schuster authors include Will Allison, Susannah Cahalan, Marjorie Celona, Chitra Divakaruni, Jim Gavin, Siri Hustvedt, Phillip Lopate, Brigid Pasulka, David James Poissant, Liesl Schillinger, Brando Skyhorse, Nina Teicholz, and Teddy Wayne. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, she had the honor of working with a number of literary luminaries at Knopf, Ecco, Random House, and Free Press.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Author)
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was recently named a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing. She is writing a book of combined family memoir and literary journalism about a Louisiana murder and death penalty case entitled Any One of Us. An essay adapted from the book was published in Oxford American and recognized as "notable" by Best American Essays 2014; it also appears in the anthology True Crime. In support of Any One of Us, Alexandria has received a Rona Jaffe Award and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation, as well as a work-study scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Iowa Review, Salon, Oxford American, Los Angeles Review, TriQuarterly Online, Bookslut, Fourth Genre, Bellingham Review (as the winner of the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction), and many other publications. Alexandria earned her JD at Harvard Law School, her BA at Columbia University, and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Emerson College. She lives in Boston and teaches at Grub Street and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Visit her online at

1E: Essentials of Narration in Memoir

Option 10: Lessons from the Memoir Incubator

Michael Blanding (Special Guest)
Michael Blanding Michael Blanding ( is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting at Brandeis University, and an award-winning journalist and author specializing in narrative non-fiction. His first book, The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink ( was published by Avery/Penguin in 2010. His upcoming book, The Map Thief, a true-crime narrative about international map thief E. Forbes Smiley III, is due out from Gotham/Penguin in spring 2014. Previously, he was a senior writer and editor for Boston magazine, and he continues to write magazine articles for the likes of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, The Nation, Consumers Digest, Forbes, and other publications.

Option 2: Mapping Your Story: A Hands-On Exploration of Cartographic Storytelling


Table 4 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Ann Collette (Literary Agent)
Ann Collette Ann Collette was a freelance writer and editor before joining the Rees Literary Agency in 2000. This background makes her particularly interested and able to work with debut authors. Her list includes books by New York Times bestselling author, NEIBA Book Award winner 2013, 2012 Boston Authors Society Award for Fiction winner, 2012 New England Society of New York Award for Fiction Winner,and Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery of 2012 B. A. Shapiro; Oprah's "Fall 2012 Unputdownable Mysteries" author Mark Pryor; Anthony Nominee Vicki Lane; RT Award Nominees Clay and Susan Griffith; Steven Sidor; National Bestseller Carol Carr; and natural remedies mystery author Chrystle Fiedler. She likes thrillers, literary, commercial women's fiction, mystery, suspense, horror and vampire fiction; in non-fiction, she prefers narrative non-fiction, military and war, work to do with race and class, and work set in or about Southeast Asia. She also represents cookbooks. Ann does not represent children's, YA, sci-fi, or high fantasy.

3F: The 12 Do's and Don'ts of Writing Crime Fiction

Ron MacLean (Author)
Ron MacLean Ron MacLean is author of the novels Headlong and Blue Winnetka Skies and the story collection Why the Long Face? His fiction has appeared widely in magazines including GQ, Narrative, Fiction International, Night Train, Other Voices, Drunken Boat, Best Online Fiction 2010, and elsewhere. His stories have been anthologized. Ron has received fellowships from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Millay Colony, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and he is a frequent writer-in-residence at The Chautauqua Institution's Summer Writers Workshop. He is a recipient of the Frederick Exley Award for Short Fiction and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. He holds a Doctor of Arts from the University at Albany, SUNY, and teaches at Grub Street. See his work at

1C: Embrace the Unlovely: Making Characters Less Likable and More Compelling

Jane Rosenman (Special Guest)
Jane Rosenman Jane Rosenman has been an Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin, Scribner Publishing, and St. Martin's Press. Prior to that, Jane worked as Editorial Director of Washington Square Press as well as being a Senior Editor at Pocket Books. From 2008 till March of 2011, she worked part-time acquiring for Algonquin Books while also starting to work as an independent editor for literary agents and individual writers.

Jane is equally comfortable in, and passionate about, both fiction and nonfiction. On the fiction side, she has edited writers such as Andrea Barrett, Elinor Lipman, Bret Lott, Nicole Mones, Howard Norman, Martha Southgate and Meg Wolitzer. On the nonfiction side, she has edited memoir (Alice Sebold's Lucky), and parenting titles (Wendy Mogel's The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children). In narrative nonfiction, Jane edited Ben Yagoda's About Town: The New Yorker And The World It Made. She acquired David Kirby's Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and The Autism Epidemic, Gal Beckerman's When They Come For Us We'll Be Gone, Meryl Gordon's Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach, and Michael Wex's Born to Kvetch: The Yiddish Language and Culture In All Of Its Moods.

As a freelance editor, Jane Rosenman has worked with Mira Bartok on her highly acclaimed, NBCC Award winning memoir, The Memory Palace (The Free Press, 2011; ) with novelists Marjan Kamali on Together Tea (Ecco Spring 2013) and Rita Leganski's The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow (Harper Perennial 2012.) Jane also worked with Quincy Troupe and Earl Monroe on Earl the Pearl (Rodale Spring 2013), with Raquel Cepeda on her memoir Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina (Atria 2013) and has edited Jennifer Fulweiler's upcoming memoir Something Other than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It (Ignatius, April 2014).

4K: The Independent Editor: (Why) Do I Need One?

Tasneem Zehra Husain (Special Guest)
Tasneem Zehra Husain Tasneem Zehra Husain ( is a writer, educator and Pakistan’s first female string theorist. Tasneem is actively involved in science outreach, and frequently talks to students and lay audiences about theoretical physics. She has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, is a regular columnist for the award-winning blog and has contributed to anthologies of science writing for adults and children. Tasneem’s first popular science novel Only The Longest Threads [Paul Dry Books, 2014] reimagines critical moments in history when new scientific theories redefined our understanding not only of the universe, but also our place in it.

Option 6: Science, Through Fiction


Table 5 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

April Eberhardt (Literary Agent)
April Eberhardt April Eberhardt, a self-described “literary change agent” and author advocate, founded her own agency to assist and advise authors as they navigate the increasingly complex world of publishing. Her agency specializes in building long-term strategies with authors, which often include a blend of traditional and independent (formerly known as "self-") publishing. April works with authors who recognize the need for professional support, and the importance of publishing in the highest-quality way regardless of route. She holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Boston University and a CPLF from the University of Paris.The agency's website is

In addition to working with authors of full-length novels, April also works with short story writers, with a particular focus on linked collections. After five years as head reader for Zoetrope: All-Story, she currently serves as a reader for The Best American Short Stories Series published annually by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

2J: Choosing Partner Publishing: An Agent-Author Discussion

6L: 50 Shades of Publishing: An Agent's Perspective

Lane Shefter Bishop (Literary Manager & Producer)
Lane Shefter Bishop Lane Shefter Bishop is a multi-award winning producer/director who has received numerous accolades for her work including an Emmy®, six Telly Awards, a Videographer Award, three Communicator Awards, a Sherril C. Corwin Award, an Aurora Award, a New York Festivals Award and the DGA Fellowship Award for Episodic Television.

Currently, Ms. Bishop is CEO of Vast Entertainment, a book-to-screen company with numerous projects in development, including feature films: Reboot (Peter Chernin/Chernin Ent) for Fox 2000, Bloody Mary: Origins (Neal Moritz/Original Films), The Fallen (Film Engine), The Last Apple (Ineffable Pictures) and The Duff (McG/Wonderland) for CBS Films; the TV Movie Choke (Dick Clark Productions) for Lifetime, which Ms. Bishop will also be directing. Other projects include television series like Stripped (John Davis Ent), and Confessions of a Sociopath (Scott Stuber Productions). Additionally, Ms. Bishop co-produced the film Assassination Games for MPCA. Ms. Bishop is also the former EVP of Motion Pictures/Television at TwinStar Entertainment.

Ms. Bishop began her work in the industry at Moxie Productions, where she produced and directed projects for such networks as ABC, Showtime, HBO and MTV. She has directed numerous television shows and five feature-length motion pictures, including The Day Laborers (aka Los Jornaleros) which was distributed through HBO and Blockbuster.

Ms. Bishop holds a B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Barbara and an M.F.A. in Production from USC's School of Cinema/Television. She is a director-member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

5L: Loglines: Selling Your Book in a Single Sentence

Claire McDougall (Author)
Claire McDougall Claire R. McDougall was born and raised in Scotland. The daughter of a minister, she moved from parish to parish until her family settled in rural Argyll when she was twelve. After high school she moved to Germany to work as an au pair for a year, then studied at Edinburgh University pursuing a masters degree in philosophy (with a detour to Dartmouth College.) From Edinburgh she went on scholarship for four years to Christ Church, Oxford, where she attempted to shake the foundations by writing a thesis on Nietzsche and Christianity. No luck there, and, anyway, the writing life was calling. For a couple of years Claire wrote a column for a New Hampshire newspaper. A move to Aspen, Colorado, coincided with her first forays into the genre of poetry, and from there she explored the short story form, finally settling on writing novels. Claire's debut novel comes out March 2014.

7G: Art from the Heart: Getting Out of the Way of Your Writing

Maria Mutch (Special Guest)
Maria Mutch Maria Mutch's fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in Guernica, Ocean State Review, Bayou Magazine, Literary Mama, The Malahat Review, Fiddlehead and Grain. Her debut memoir, Know the Night: A Memoir of Survival in the Small Hours is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster and Knopf Canada in March, 2014. She lives in Rhode Island.

Option 7: Real Characters: Writing the Historical Figure in Fiction and Non-Fiction


Table 6 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

William Boggess (Literary Agent)
William Boggess William Boggess began his career at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, before working at Barer Literary until 2010. After a stint in editorial at Little, Brown and Company, where he worked with renowned authors such as Sam Kean, Edna O’Brien, and Tom Wolfe, he has returned to Barer Literary to represent literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kim Perel (Literary Agent)
Kim Perel Kim Perel joined Wendy Sherman Associates in January 2009. After graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications, Kim worked in the editorial department at Forbes magazine and later as a copywriter and freelance journalist. While pursuing an MFA degree at The New School in New York City, Kim joined WSA and fell in love with the idea of championing emerging talent and helping writers through the process of getting published.

Kim is drawn to voice-driven fiction, novels that illuminate an unknown world, and true-to-life characters. She looks for queries that provide fresh insight or a wide lens that captures life at a certain period in time. She also loves humor, memoir that tells a unique story, and journalistic non-fiction.

Martha Nichols (Special Guest)
Martha Nichols Martha Nichols is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Talking Writing, a Boston-based online literary magazine and nonprofit organization. She is a longtime journalist and freelance writer, and has published in Utne Reader; Brain, Child Magazine; Salon; and other journals and newspapers. A former editor at Harvard Business Review, she's currently a contributing editor at Women's Review of Books and a guest blogger for Modern Parenthood at the Christian Science Monitor. She teaches in the journalism program at the Harvard University Extension School.

For more about Martha, visit her blog, Athena's Head.

Option 2: Digital Lit: Why Online Journals Deserve More Respect--Insider Info, Community, Submissions

Ethan Gilsdorf (Author)
Ethan Gilsdorf Ethan Gilsdorf is a journalist, memoirist, critic, poet, teacher and author of the award-winning travel memoir investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Gilsdorf writes regularly for the New York Times, Boston Globe,,,, Washington Post and He has published hundreds of articles, essays, op-eds and reviews on the arts, pop culture, gaming, geek culture and travel in dozens of other magazines, newspapers, websites and guidebooks worldwide. He has also contributed to the writing and craft books Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss; Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author; the textbook Reading Culture: Contexts for Critical Reading and Writing (8th edition). An award-winning poet, he has also published dozens of poems in literary magazines and anthologies. As an expert on geek culture, Gilsdorf frequently appears on TV, radio and Internet media, including PBS Off Book, The Discovery Channel, the French TV network Arte, and several nationally-syndicated National Public Radio programs and in documentary films. He lectures at universities, schools, libraries, film festivals, and book festivals worldwide, and performs in bars and reading series. Gilsdorf is co-founder of Grub Street's Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP) and teaches creative writing and journalism workshops for adults at Grub Street, where he also serves on the Board of Directors. Follow Ethan’s adventures at and Twitter @ethanfreak.

3E:Essentials of the Personal Essay


Table 7 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Erin Harris (Literary Agent)
Erin Harris Erin Harris is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management who represents literary and book club fiction, as well as YA and narrative non-fiction. She loves to work with debut authors and received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in order to better serve her clients in an editorial capacity. Some of the writers she represents include debut novelists Daniel Levine (Hyde) and Jennifer Laam (The Secret Daughter of the Tsar), journalist Carla Power (If the Oceans Were Ink), and poet and critic David Yezzi (Anthony Hecht: Poet and the Age). Erin is particularly drawn to fiction set against the backdrop of another time, place, or culture; fiction that includes an element of magic; and fiction with mystery or suspense in its DNA. In non-fiction, she looks for compelling narratives that reveal underlying yet unexpected truths about our world. Outside the office, she is an active participant in New York’s literary community. A member of PEN American Center and Women’s Media Group, she is a founder and host of H.I.P. Reading Series.

Elissa Schappell (Author)
Elissa Schappell Elissa Schappell is the author of two books of fiction, most recently Blueprints for Building Better Girls, which was chosen as one of the “Best Books of the Year” by The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek/Daily Beast and O Magazine, and Use Me, a Los Angeles Times “Best Book of the Year,” a New York Times “Notable Book,” and runner up for the PEN/Hemingway award. She is co-editor with Jenny Offill of two anthologies, The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. Her fiction, non-fiction and criticism has appeared in many publications including The Paris Review, The New York Times Book Review, SPIN, BOMB, One Story, and anthologies such as The Mrs. Dalloway Reader, Lit Riffs, Cooking and Stealing, Bound to Last and The KGB Reader. Currently, she is a Contributing Editor and the “Hot Type” columnist at Vanity Fair, a former Senior Editor at The Paris Review and a Founding-editor, now Editor-at-Large of Tin House magazine. She teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program at Columbia and in the low-residency program at Queens in NC. She lives in Brooklyn.

2A: Make Me Laugh or I'll Cry

Lisa Borders (Author)
Lisa Borders Lisa Borders is the author of two novels, The Fifty-First State and Cloud Cuckoo Land, chosen by Pat Conroy as the winner of River City Publishing's Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel in 2002. Cloud Cuckoo Land also received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Her essay "Enchanted Night" was published in Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes (Simon & Schuster, 2007). Lisa's short stories have appeared in Kalliope, Washington Square, Black Warrior Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Newport Review and other journals. She has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Somerville Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and fellowships at the Millay Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hedgebrook and the Blue Mountain Center. Lisa lives in the Boston area and teaches at Grub Street, where she developed the Novel in Progress workshops and co-developed, with Michelle Hoover, the Novel Incubator program. She also works as a cytotechnologist. More information on Lisa and her work is available at

2F: Taming the Unruly First Draft

Alexander Chee (Author)
Alexander Chee Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the fall of 2014. His essays and stories have appeared in Tin House, TriQuarterly, Apology, Adult, The Paris Review Daily, Departures, and The Morning News, among others. He is a recipient of the Whiting Award and a NEA Fellowship in Prose, as well as residencies from The MacDowell Colony, Leidig House, and Civitella Ranieri. He has taught at Amherst College, the Iowa Writers Workshop, Columbia University, amd Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently a visiting writer at the University of Texas, Austin, as a part of the New Writers Project.

3A: First, Second, Third: Point of View in Fiction


Table 8 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Jeff Kleinman (Literary Agent)
Jeff Kleinman Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent, intellectual property attorney, and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, a New York literary agency which works with all of the major U.S. publishers (and, through subagents, with most international publishers). He’s a graduate of Case Western Reserve University (J.D.), the University of Chicago (M.A., Italian), and the University of Virginia (B.A. with High Distinction in English). As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn an incredibly variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something – a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. His authors include Garth Stein, Eowyn Ivey, Robert Hicks, Charles Shields, Bruce Watson, Neil White, and Philip Gerard.

Nonfiction: especially narrative nonfiction with a historical bent, but also memoir, health, parenting, aging, nature, pets, how-to, nature, science, politics, military, espionage, equestrian, biography.

Fiction: very well-written, character-driven novels; some suspense, thrillers; otherwise mainstream upmarket commercial (i.e. book club) and literary fiction.

No: children’s, romance, mysteries, westerns, poetry, or screenplays, novels about serial killers, suicide, or children in peril (kidnapped, killed, etc.).

For more information about Jeff (including interviews, books sold, and so forth), please go to

3J: Buy This Book!

Jenna Blum (Author)
Jenna Blum Jenna Blum is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Stormchasers and Those Who Save Us, which, in addition to being a New York Times bestseller, was the #1 bestselling book in Holland from 2011-2012. Jenna is also one of Oprah’s Top Thirty Women Writers. Jenna has taught creative and communications writing for Boston University and Grub Street Writers, where she has run fiction, novel and master novel workshops since 1996; currently Jenna contributes her Writer On the Road column for Grub Daily. An East Coaster born & bred, Jenna has lived the past two years with photographer Jim Reed and their black Lab, Woodrow, in Wichita, Kansas, where Jenna wrote the screenplay for Those Who Save Us (now under option). Jenna’s latest fiction, a novella called The Lucky One is forthcoming in a WWII anthology entitled Grand Central, published by Penguin in July 2014. For more information, please visit Jenna at; follow her on Twitter: @Jenna_Blum; and find her on Facebook at

1D: To Chart Out in Points: the Necessity of an Outline for your Novel

Elsie Augustave (Author)
Elsie Augustave Elsie Augustave was born in Haiti and is a graduate of Middlebury College and Howard University. She studied in Senegal and France as a Fulbright Scholar, and choreographed Elima Ngando, a major production for the prestigious National Dance Theater of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Augustave teaches at the renowned Stuyvesant High School in New York City and is a consultant for the College Board. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Roving Tree .

8C: Literary Characterization

Calvin Hennick (Special Guest)
Calvin Hennick Calvin Hennick’s, fiction, essays, and journalism have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Six Minute Magazine, The Boston Globe, Runner’s World, Eating Well, and dozens of other publications. He has taught writing at Grub Street, UMass Boston and in New York City’s public schools.

Option 8: Writing the Money-Making Essay


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Ayesha Pande (Literary Agent)
Ayesha Pande Ayesha Pande has worked in the publishing industry for almost twenty-five years. Before Before launching her boutique agency nine years ago, Ayesha was a senior editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux. She has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. She is a member of AAR (Association of Author’s Representatives), PEN, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and sits on the advisory board of the German Book Office. She has attended numerous writing conferences including Muse and the Marketplace, Aspen Summer Words and the Miami Writer’s Institute. She has taught college level courses in editing. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. She represents a wide array of fiction, YA and nonfiction, including the international bestselling author Shilpi Gowda, Pen/Bingham Award winner Danielle Evans, YA authors Sheba Karim and Elizabeth Richards among many other talented writers.

Lindsey Schwoeri (Editor)
Lindsey Schwoeri Lindsey Schwoeri is an editor of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction at Penguin Books. Authors she has worked with include Rebecca Makkai, Charlie Lovett, Krys Lee, Marisha Pessl, Karen Thompson Walker, Gail Caldell, Robin Black, Yiyun Li, Sally Bedell Smith, Jane Fonda, Dawn Tripp, Elizabeth Gaffney, Alex Espinoza, Bruce Levine, Katherine Boo, and Maziar Bahari, whose memoir is currently being adapted for the screen by Jon Stewart. A graduate of Vassar College and the Columbia Publishing Course, she began her publishing career at Random House, joining Penguin in June 2013. She hails from the Boston area and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

B.A. Shapiro (Author)
B.A. Shapiro B.A. Shapiro is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels (The Art Forger, The Safe Room, Blind Spot, See No Evil, Blameless and Shattered Echoes), four screenplays (Blind Spot, The Lost Coven, Borderline, and Shattered Echoes) and the non-fiction book, The Big Squeeze. In her previous career incarnations, she directed research projects for a residential substance abuse facility, worked as a systems analyst/statistician, headed the Boston office of a software development firm, and served as an adjunct professor teaching sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University. She likes being a novelist the best. She began her writing career when she quit her high-pressure job after the birth of her second child. Nervous about what to do next, she confessed to her mother, “If I’m not playing at being superwoman anymore, I don’t know who I am.” Her mother asked, “If you had one year to live, how would you want to spend it?” The answer: write a novel and spend more time with her children. And that’s exactly what she did. Smart mother. After writing ten novels and raising her children, she now lives in Boston with her husband Dan and her dog Sagan. She’s working on yet another novel but has no plans to raise any more children.

Option 8: Researching Fact for Fiction

Marjan Kamali (Special Guest)
Marjan Kamali Marjan Kamali was born in Turkey to Iranian parents. She spent her childhood in Kenya, Germany, Turkey, Iran, and the U.S. and has spent her adult life in Switzerland, Australia and America. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, Marjan received her MBA from Columbia University and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. Her short fiction has been a top finalist in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open and the Asian American Short Story contest. Her work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, published in two anthology collections and in The Wall Street Journal. Together Tea is her debut novel and was a Boston Globe reading selection, an NPR WBUR Good Read Pick, and a Target Emerging Author Selection. It has been translated into several languages including German, Italian, Norwegian, Czech, and Slovakian. Marjan lives with her husband and two children in the Boston area and teaches writing at Boston University.

Option 12: Writing on the Hyphen: Capturing the Authentic and Avoiding the Stereotype in “Ethnic” Literature


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Lisa Bankoff (Literary Agent)
Lisa Bankoff Lisa Bankoff is a New York-based book agent with ICM Partners whose love of literary fiction and compelling narrative nonfiction has helped foster numerous careers. Ranging from now-established writers Joshua Henkin, Nancy Horan, Laura Kasischke, Nicole Kelby, Mameve Medwed, and Ann Patchett to historian Douglas Brinkley, The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, John Colapinto of The New Yorker, political activist Chris Hedges, and NBCC award-winning bioethicist Harriet Washington, her list also reflects a continuing delight in working with new and emerging voices such as Alethea Black, Lori Carson, Lisa Howorth, Christa Parravani, Christine Sneed and Jessica Maria Tuccelli. Lisa joined ICM Partners after working the other side of the desk in trade publishing (promotion, editorial, publicity) and a brief detour to The Neighborhood Playhouse where she would be found reading instead of method breathing.

Jill Schwartzman (Editor)
Jill Schwartzman Jill Schwartzman is an Executive Editor at Dutton, part of the Penguin Random House Group, where she acquires platform, publicity, and voice-driven nonfiction, with a focus on pop culture, memoir, humor, music, biography, and narrative nonfiction.

Her Fall 2013 list features Nick Offerman's Paddle Your Own Canoe, a memoir peppered with salty treatises about the state of manhood from the star of NBC's hit show Parks and Recreation, and Tracey Garvis Graves's second novel, Covet, the follow-up to her 2012 New York Times and USA Today bestseller On the Island, which has sold more than 500,000 copies in trade paperback and e-book editions.

Other forthcoming titles include Long Mile Home, the definitive book on the Boston Marathon bombings, written by Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, published to coincide with the first anniversary of the bombing, and Romance Is My Day Job, a memoir about a Harlequin editor's unlikely real-life romance. Previously published titles at Dutton include Duran Duran bassist John Taylor's New York Times, USA Today, Globe and Mail, and Publishers Weekly bestseller In the Pleasure Groove and former Fox News insider Joe Muto's memoir, An Atheist in the FOXhole.

Before joining Dutton she was a Senior Editor at Hyperion and a Senior Editor at Random House Trade Paperbacks. Her list has featured the New York Times bestsellers Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander, White Girl Problems by Babe Walker, Rafa by Rafael Nadal, and Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch.

3J: Buy This Book!

6K: Industry Guide to Publishing: Non-Fiction

Elinor Lipman (Author)
Elinor Lipman Elinor Lipman is the author of 13 books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel's Bed, The Family Man, and most recently The View From Penthouse B and I Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays. Her rhyming tweets were collected and published by Beacon Press as Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. She was the 2011-12 Elizabeth Drew professor of creative writing at Smith College, and is a board member and trustee of PEN-America. Her novel, Then She Found Me, was adapted into a 2008 feature film, directed by and starring Helen Hunt.

5K: Literary Idol: Star Author Edition

Adam Stumacher (Special Guest)
Adam Stumacher Adam Stumacher's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Granta, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, Night Train, Massachusetts Review, Five Chapters, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, was anthologized in Best New American Voices, and won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award. He holds degrees from Cornell University and Saint Mary's College and was a fiction fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He has been awarded a tuition scholarship from Bread Loaf and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Spiro Arts, and others. He has taught creative writing at MIT, the University of Wisconsin, Saint Mary's College, and Grub Street, and he has many years experience as a teacher in inner city high schools, for which he was awarded the Sontag Prize in Urban Education. He is the author of a short story collection, The Neon Desert, and is currently working on a novel, entitled A Liar's Opus.

5E: Essentials of Structure


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Leah Miller (Editor)
Leah Miller Leah Miller, editor, joined the Crown Group in 2012, where she acquires for Crown Archetype and Harmony Books. She is interested in smart, entertaining writing particularly in the fields of memoir, social issues, health, food, travel, and family. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars program, Leah previously worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, and also at Sterling Lord Literistic in both domestic agenting and foreign rights. Among the bestselling and award winning authors with whom she has worked are Mira Bartók, Julia Scheeres, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, and Michelle Phan. She lives in New York with her husband, author Kristopher Jansma, and their son.

7L: Promotion and Publicity for the Non-Fiction Writer

Alden Jones (Special Guest)
Alden Jones Alden Jones is the author of The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and the forthcoming story collection Unaccompanied Minors (New American Press, 2014), winner of the New American Fiction Prize. Her essays and short stories have appeared in AGNI, Time Out New York, Post Road, the Barcelona Review, the Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Smart Set, Gulf Coast, the Best American Travel Writing, and NPR’s Cognoscenti. She teaches at Emerson College and at Grub Street.

8E: Essentials of Dialogue

Option 4: Making Strong Prose: The Economy of Language

Matt Bell (Author)
Matt Bell Matt Bell's debut novel In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. He is also the author of two previous books, How They Were Found and Cataclysm Baby. He teaches creative writing at Northern Michigan University.

6F: Revising the Novel: Strategies for Every Draft

Katie Grimm (Literary Agent)
Katie Grimm Born in Colorado and a graduate of Bowdoin College, Katie Grimm joined Don Congdon Associates in 2007 as the assistant for the agency. Now, in addition to growing her own client list, she manages the agency and handles subrights for select agency clients and Estates. She focuses on vivid literary fiction, transportive historical fiction, up-market women’s fiction, cohesive short story collections, and lurid mysteries & thrillers with exotic or historical settings. In young adult, she is actively seeking both contemporary and fantastical high-concepts rooted in history with a touch of romance. In middle grade, she looks for novels with a timeless or classic feel with a strange twist. Most importantly, she is hooked by fiction with emotional resonance and longevity, and in her opinion, this requires an authentic voice, relatable characters, and a twisting plot that keeps her intrigued. For non-fiction, she is looking for memoirs that reveal greater social issues or incorporate outside research, narrative non-fiction about history that reveals the darker side of human nature, popular/weird science, and other off-beat topics explored thoroughly. She is also a member of the AAR Programming Committee and SCBWI.


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Robert Guinsler (Literary Agent)
Robert Guinsler Robert Guinsler has been with Sterling Lord Literistic for over 12 years. His primary interests include literary and commercial fiction (including YA), journalism, narrative nonfiction with an emphasis on pop culture, science and current events, memoirs and biographies. Robert’s clients include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, novelists and academics. With a journalism background, Robert is interested in all kinds of nonfiction and he has represented such writers as New York Times-bestselling author and Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, Wendy Lawless, Adam Bradley, Jason Stearns, Chelsea Lately, and writer and New York Times-bestselling author Sarah Colonna. His fiction writers include Samantha Peale, Vanina Marsot, Barnes and Noble Discover pick Doug Crandell, and Grant Jerkins, among others. Additionally, Robert represents the Estate of Jack Kerouac and the Estate of Anne Sexton.

Krista Bremer (Author)
Krista Bremer Krista Bremer is an American author whose award-winning essays have appeared in national and international magazines and news outlets including O: The Oprah Magazine, CNN, MSN, MORE, The Sun, and The Sunday Times (London).

Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and she has appeared in the PBS series Arab American Stories. She has also participated in a debate at the Cambridge Union, and her work has been translated and reprinted all over the world.

In 2009 she was one of six American writers to receive a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a $25,000 prize to support emerging women writers in the United States. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a North Carolina Arts Fellowship, and a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Ismail and their two children and works as associate publisher of The Sun.

5C: Turning Yourself into a Character

Katrin Schumann (Special Guest)
Katrin Schumann Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children and Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too. She has been featured on the Today show, Talk of the Nation and in The Times, as well as other national and international media outlets. Current works-in-progress include a novel of psychological suspense, a book on parenting strategies that can make or break affluent children, and on-going editorial work for editors, agents and writers. For the past ten years she has been teaching fiction and nonfiction, most recently at Grub Street and a local women’s prison, and running parenting focus groups and surveys. She helped design and run Grub Street’s innovative program for debut authors, "The Launch Lab." Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Schumann has been granted fiction residencies at the VCCA, the Norman Mailer Writer's Colony and the VSC. Awarded scholarships to Oxford and Stanford Universities, she studied literature, modern languages and journalism. Schumann was born in Freiburg, Germany, grew up in New York City and London, and now lives in Massachusetts.

Marketplace Clinic

Diana Finch (Literary Agent)
Diana Finch Diana Finch represents a wide range of nonfiction and fiction, and is particularly interested in books dealing with issues that affect the world, as well as narrative nonfiction, including memoir, that features strong story-telling and focuses on specific dramatic events.

Her client list includes journalists and foreign correspondents, PhDs and tenured professors, foreign authors, authors of popular self-help, business books and YA, New York Times bestsellers, and writers under 30 and over 70.

One of her strengths is selling foreign rights for her authors: she attends the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs most years and currently chairs the Association of Authors’ Representatives International Committee.

She also handles assignments with the major magazines for her clients, including recently Fortune, Harper’s,,, The Nation and Virginia Quarterly Review.

Before becoming an agent, she learned the editorial ropes at St. Martin’s Press, moving from assistant to assistant editor by acquiring her own titles. She sold her first books at the Sanford Greenburger Literary Agency before joining the Ellen Levine Literary Agency, and started her own agency in early 2003.

Diana grew up in New Hampshire, the eldest daughter of a professor of English and Drama at Dartmouth College. She graduated from Harvard and earned an MA in American Literature at Leeds University, England. Her personal interests include sports, from yoga to soccer to watching the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants and World Cup soccer. She lives in the Bronx, NY, and tries to run in the Bronx Botanical Gardens every week.


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Adam Schear (Literary Agent)
Adam Schear Adam Schear is a graduate of Tulane University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He began his publishing career at the William Morris Agency and joined DeFiore and Company in 2009. He is interested in literary fiction and well crafted commercial fiction, work that captivates the reader with both its prose and its plot, humor, YA, smart thrillers, historical fiction, and quirky debut literary novels. For non-fiction he is interested in popular science, politics, popular culture, and current events.

Howard Axelrod (Special Guest)
Howard Axelrod Howard Axelrod has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harvard Magazine, DoubleTake, and his short fiction appeared in 25 and Under: Fiction (Norton/DoubleTake Books). He has been the recipient of a Michael C. Rockefeller fellowship from Harvard, and has been awarded residencies from the Blue Mountain Center, Ucross, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Hambidge Center, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Anderson Center. Axelrod has held teaching positions at Harvard, University of Arizona, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Option 1: Essentials of the Memoir

Jessica Handler (Author)
Jessica Handler Jessica Handler is the author of Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief (St. Martins Press, December 2013.) Her first book, Invisible Sisters: A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2009) is one of the “Twenty Five Books All Georgians Should Read.” Her nonfiction has appeared on NPR, in Tin House, Drunken Boat, Brevity, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and More Magazine. Honors include residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, a 2010 Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writers Center, the 2009 Peter Taylor Nonfiction Fellowship, and special mention for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. She has written on the topic of writing through grief for The Writer magazine and Psychology Today online, and has been a featured speaker in grief and writing workshops nationwide. She has been featured in Vanity Fair with seven other fabulous southern female writers. Her website is

2C: Creating Powerful Prose After Grief or Trauma

Tim Weed (Special Guest)
Tim Weed Tim Weed attended Middlebury College and earned an MFA at Warren Wilson College, where he had the privilege of working closely with some of America’s most accomplished contemporary writers. His short fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Boston Fiction Annual Review, and many other literary journals and anthologies. Tim’s fiction has been nominated for the Best of the Net and Pushcart anthologies, and shortlisted for the Autumn House Fiction Prize, the Lewis-Clark Press Discovery Award, the Lightship International Short Story Prize, the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers, the Richard Yates Short Story Awards, and others. His essays and articles, mostly on travel, the outdoors, and the writing craft, have appeared in national magazines including The Morning News, Cross Country Skier, Backcountry, Empirical, Writer’s Chronicle, Grub Street Daily, and National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog. Based in Vermont, Tim is a lecturer in the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program at Western Connecticut State University and serves as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, and Patagonia. His first novel will be published by Stephen Roxburgh at namelos in Fall 2014. Read more at

Option 4: Narrative as Time Machine: World Building in Historical Fiction


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Miriam Altshuler (Literary Agent)
Miriam Altshuler Miriam Altshuler established her own agency in 1994 after twelve years as an agent at Russell & Volkening. She focuses on literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction. Fiction writers she represents include Robb Forman Dew (National Book Award winner), Doug Trevor, Maya Lang, Alice Lichtenstein, Donna Freitas and Kevin McIlvoy. Her nonfiction authors include New York Times bestselling author Andrew Carroll, journalist, Marja Mills, Harriet Brown, Adina Hoffman (winner of the 2010 Wingate Literary Prize), Wednesday Martin, Janna Malamud Smith, and New York Times columnist Alina Tugend. Miriam also represents writers of young adult and middle grade fiction, including National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and bestselling author, Walter Dean Myers. Most important to her are the quality of the writing and how the subject is approached.

Benjamin Samuel (Magazine Editor)
Benjamin Samuel Benjamin Samuel is the co-editor of Electric Literature, an independent and groundbreaking digital publisher based in Brooklyn, and its weekly fiction magazine Recommended Reading. Electric Literature was the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 2011 Innovations in Reading Prize and has been recognized by Best American Short Stories, the Pen/O’Henry Prize, and Best American Non-Required Reading. In addition to editing Recommended Reading, Benjamin produces Electric Literature's blog, The Outlet, and manages the company's social media. Poets & Writers magazine and Brooklyn Magazine have recognized @electriclit and his personal feed, @benasam, as essential literary feeds to follow. His writing has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Huffington Post, The New York Daily News, and Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College.

Porochista Khakpour (Author)
Porochista Khakpour Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo. She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose). Her debut novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of the Chicago Tribune’s Fall’s Best, and the 2007 California Book Award winner in First Fiction. Her nonfiction has appeared in or is forthcoming in Harper’s, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Daily Beast, Village Voice, Chicago Reader, Spin, Paris Review Daily,, Slate, Salon, and many other magazines and newspapers around the world. Khakpour has taught creative writing and literature at Johns Hopkins University, Hofstra University, Bucknell University, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Fairfield University’s MFA program, and the University of Leipzig (where she was a Picador Guest Professor). She currently teaches at Columbia University’s MFA program, Fordham University, and Wesleyan University. She lives in New York City.

6A: Experimental Writing for Non-Experimental Writers

Laura van den Berg (Author)
Laura van den Berg Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves (Dzanc Books, 2009), which was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award, and The Isle of Youth (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013). A New York Times Editors’ Choice, The Isle of Youth was named a “Best Book of 2013” by NPR, Amazon, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, and O, The Oprah Magazine and was a Nylon Magazine Book Club selection. Her first novel, Find Me, is forthcoming from FSG in 2015. In recent years, Laura has taught in the creative writing programs at George Washington University, Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, and Emerson College, and her stories have been received a Pushcart Prize and an O. Henry Award (2014). A Florida native, she currently lives in the Boston area.

5G: The Blazing Thing: Imagination in Fiction


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Stéphanie Abou (Literary Agent)
Stéphanie Abou Growing up in France, Stéphanie Abou always knew that she wanted to dedicate her life to being the passionate advocate that authors need. She planned on a career in journalism until she interned for a few months at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York City, and realized that literary agenting was her calling. A lover of storytelling above all else, she likes for both her fiction and non-fiction to be character driven, with a strong voice and emotional undercurrent. Stéphanie believes in the transformative power of literature, and while losing oneself in the narrative is a must, she likes fiction one can learn from and non-fiction that entertains. She is particularly attracted to works that focus on a singular experience as the original point of entry into a deeper, more universal topic. Many of her authors have become New York Times, National and International bestsellers, and she believes in a close partnership both editorially and business-wise with her clients.

Wendy Sheanin (Special Guest)
Wendy Sheanin Wendy Sheanin began her career in books as events manager at A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books in San Francisco, where she produced 1200 events in 6 years. While her heart remains in San Francisco, she moved to New York in 2007 to become senior marketing manager at Simon & Schuster. Since 2009, she's been director of marketing for Simon & Schuster's adult publishing group. She has worked with all the adult imprints at Simon & Schuster, and has worked on such bestsellers as Little Bee, Still Alice, The Light Between Oceans, In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Rosie Project, and The Emperor of All Maladies. A passionate reader, when she falls in love with a book, she's relentless about sharing it with other readers--but in a good way.

4J: Ask the Marketing Director

Tova Mirvis (Author)
Tova Mirvis Tova Mirvis is the author of three novels, Visible City, The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in many anthologies and been published in newspapers and magazines such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times Book Review, Commentary, Good Housekeeping, and Poets and Writers, and her fiction has been broadcast on National Public Radio. She is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award and has been a Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center. She lives in Newton, MA with her three children.

1B: The End: Or, I'm Really Almost Very Close To Being Just About Nearly Done With My Novel

Rita Zoey Chin (Author)
Rita Zoey Chin Rita Zoey Chin holds an MFA from the University of Maryland, where she won a Katherine Anne Porter Prize and an Academy of American Poets Award. A recipient of a Bread Loaf waiter scholarship, Rita taught creative writing at Towson University before moving to Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street, mentors teenage girls, and rides her mischievous horse. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, The Rumpus, Blackbird Review, Freerange Nonfiction, New York Arts Magazine, and elsewhere. Her memoir, Let the Tornado Come, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in June 2014.

4E: Essentials of Voice


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Bil Wright (Author)
Bil Wright Bil Wright is a novelist (Lambda Literary Award, American Library Association Stonewall Award for Putting Make-Up on the Fat Boy). His other novels include the highly acclaimed When the Black Girl Sings, (Junior Library Guild Award Selection) and Sunday You Learn How to Box, (New York Public Library Choice for Young Readers and a Coretta King Celebrating the Dream Award). Mr. Wright is the librettist for This One Girl's Story (2011 GLAAD NOMINEE), which also won Best Ensemble of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. His plays include Bloodsummer Rituals, based on the life of poet Audre Lorde, (Jerome Fellowship) and Leave Me a Message (San Diego Human Rights Festival premiere). He is the winner of a LAMI (La Mama Playwriting Award). Wright is an Associate Professor of English for City University of New York (CUNY).

3C: Beginning the Young Adult Novel

Stewart Lewis (Special Guest)
Stewart Lewis At the University of Colorado, Stewart directed plays and starred in the main stage production of Pippin. At the time, his band Acoustic Junction was becoming a college jam band phenomenon, opening for Blues Traveler and The Band among others. After graduating college, Stewart left the band to pursue acting in New York. After a short stint on CBS’s Guiding Light, Stewart decided to move back to Colorado and pursue a solo singer-songwriting career. His powerful stage presence and performance earned him the opportunity to open for such major artists as Shawn Colvin, Ani Difranco, Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow, and many others. His three independent releases have sold over 15,000 copies, and his band’s first CD Love It for What It Is sold 30,000 plus.

Being a fan of short stories since college, Stewart began writing his own and decided to expand the arc of his career, moving to Los Angeles to get his Masters at USC in their prestigious writing program, where he studied with the likes of Hubert Selby Jr. and John Rechy.

After that he went on to publish two highly acclaimed Young Adult Novels, You Have Seven Messages and The Secret Ingredient. They have been translated into five languages.

Currently, Stewart Lewis is living in Washington DC where in addition to finishing his third YA novel When the Stars Align, he continues to perform and license his songs, which have been featured on the television shows and films worldwide.

For more info, please visit

Option 3: Finding The Young Adult Voice

Elaine Dimopoulos (Special Guest)
Elaine Dimopoulos Elaine Dimopoulos’s debut novel for young adults will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Spring 2015. Elaine has served as the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence and as a Saint Botolph Club Artist Fellow. A graduate of Yale, Columbia, and Simmons College, she teaches children's literature and writing for children at Boston University and Simmons. Her blog on children’s books, The Picky Reader, is hosted by Elaine is represented by Edward Necarsulmer IV at Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner. To learn more, visit or follow @ElaineDimop.

Option 1: Essentials of Writing for the YA Audience

Ayanna Coleman (Literary Agent)
Ayanna Coleman Ayanna founded Quill Shift Literary Agency in 2013 to represent writers who create unique, thoughtful, and representative books for middle grade and young adult readers. She has worked in the publishing industry in a number of capacities: in the digital department of a publishing house, within a literary agency, as a book reviewer, and most recently as a children’s librarian. Ayanna holds a BA in Business Administration with a major in Marketing and a minor in English and an MS in Library Science with a concentration in Youth Services from the University of Illinois.

When she was a child, and in adulthood as a librarian, Ayanna noticed that the books that could capture a child’s imagination and create a lifelong reader were not getting into children’s hands. Children (and their parents, teachers, and librarians) weren’t discovering the right books… or they hadn’t been created yet. Ayanna wants to make sure books that change kids' lives and perspectives are not only getting out into the market, but are being discovered.

As an agent, Ayanna is looking for middle grade and YA fiction containing plucky, so-real-you-can-feel-them-standing-next-to-you characters, especially those representing our multicultural society. Ideally, characters in the books she represents are dealing with the complex and simple everyday problems of “normal” adolescent life–-normal being loosely defined by whatever world or dimension the characters find themselves in. Self-discovery and shifting world views are welcome, as are all manner of genre fiction (romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy.)


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Kathleen Nishimoto (Literary Agent)
Kathleen Nishimoto Kathleen Nishimoto began her career in the Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor after graduating from Brown University with a BA in Comparative Literature. She represents both literary and commercial fiction as well as some narrative nonfiction, with a focus on voice-driven material. She considers adult and young adult material, and likes unusual characters or storylines, sometimes with a darker edge.

Kathleen has worked with such talent as Sian Griffiths, S.L. Jennings, Cheri Johnson, Peyton Marshall, Neil McMahon, Coco Rocha, Adam Stein, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Kathleen has a strong interest in the changing book industry, managing WME’s groundbreaking new digital arm. She also handles all magazine and first serial submissions for the department.

Born in New Hampshire, Kathleen currently resides in New York City.

Rachel Fershleiser (Special Guest)
Rachel Fershleiser Rachel Fershleiser works on Tumblr's outreach team, specializing in publishing, nonprofit, and cultural organizations. Previously she was the Community Manager at Bookish and the Director of Public Programs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where she now serves on the board of directors. She is also the co-creator of Six-Word Memoirs and co-editor of the New York Times Bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning and three other books.

5J: Not Just Cat GIFS: Using Tumblr to Build Literary Community

Christine Munroe (Special Guest)
Christine Munroe Christine Munroe is the US Manager for Kobo Writing Life, where she helps authors, agents, and publishers to successfully self-publish their eBooks to the store. She also builds on Kobo's partnership with the American Booksellers Association, coordinating events throughout the US to spread the word that readers can support their local bookstore by buying eBooks via Kobo. Prior to joining Kobo, Christine worked as a literary agent and an international book scout.

Eve Bridburg (Literary Agent)
Eve Bridburg Eve Bridburg founded Grub Street in 1997 with the goal of creating a supportive yet rigorous place to study writing beyond the halls of academia. The experiment was a success from the beginning, convincing Eve that there was a great desire in Boston for a literary arts center where emerging and established writers could inspire and teach students at all levels of development. In 2005, hungry for a new adventure, Eve joined the Boston office of The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary and Entertainment Agency as literary agent. Eve developed, edited, and sold a wide variety of books to major publishers including Random House, HarperCollins, Penguin, Grand Central, Abrams, and St. Martins. Her titles include Donovan Campbell’s New York Times Best Seller Joker One, Blogger Matt Logelin’s New York Times Best seller Two Kisses for Maddy, Kirsten Menger-Anderson’s critically acclaimed short story collection Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain, and Len Rosen’s Edgar-nominated thriller All Cry Chaos. Eve also developed a list of expert-driven parenting, health, and spiritual titles by working closely with experts and collaborative writers in an effort to bring cutting edge thinking and research to trade audiences.

Returning to Grub Street as Executive Director in April 2010, Eve’s mission has been to expand Grub Street’s offerings to better educate and equip writers to take full advantage of the new opportunities ushered in by the digital age. She wants to make Grub Street the most dynamic ecosystem for writers in the country. Under her leadership, Grub Street has doubled in size, relocated to a beautiful new space, launched new, innovative programming, and expanded scholarship opportunities and outreach. Eve’s work leading Grub Street has recently been recognized by the National Arts Strategies when they selected her to join their Chief Executive Program, a two-year initiative designed to unleash the collective power of 100 of the top executive leaders in the cultural sector to re-imagine the potential of cultural institutions and to figure out how they can contribute to civil society in the 21st century. Eve was also named one of Boston’s 50 most powerful women by Boston Magazine in 2010. Eve has presented on publishing, the future of publishing, and on what it takes to build a literary arts center at numerous conferences, including AWP, O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, Grub Street’s own The Muse and the Marketplace, Whidbey Island Writers Conference, The Sanibel Island Writers Conference, and Writers at Work. Before starting Grub Street, Eve attended Boston University’s Writing program on a teaching fellowship, farmed in Oregon, ran an international bookstore in Prague and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with awards for academic excellence in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University.

1H: The Strategic Writer

Marketplace Clinic


Table 18 | Shop Talk Lunch

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Regina Brooks (Literary Agent)
Regina Brooks Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York. She represents a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature, including: three-time National Book Award finalist, Newberry Honor Winner and the Coretta Scott King Honor and the 2006 Michael Printz Honor Award-winning author Marilyn Nelson; winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, Al Roker’s Book Club for Kids author Sundee Frazier; Stonewall Book Award Winner, Bil Wright.

Brooks is a former Executive Editor at John Wiley and Sons and McGraw-Hill.

She is the author of several books including, Never Finished Never Done (Scholastic) , Writing Great Books for Young Adults (Source Books) You Should (Really) Write a Book: Writing, Selling, and Marketing your Memoir (St. Martin’s Press) and a well-received blogger for the Huffington Post. Brooks is also on the faculty of the Writer’s Digest University, Harvard University publishing course, The Discovery Channel’s Media Boot Camp for Doctors, the Whidbey Island Writers MFA program and teaches annually at more than twenty worldwide conferences. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Forbes, Media Bistro, Writers and Poets, Essence Magazine, Ebony, Jet, Women on Writing, Writers Digest Magazine, and The Writer. She is the owner of, a tea company of master-blended teas developed for creative minds. She is always interested in new and emerging writers.

2B: Crafting a Powerful Memoir that Will Sell

Jennifer De Leon (Author)
Jennifer De Leon Jennifer De Leon is the winner of the 2011 Fourth Genre Michael Steinberg Essay Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Brevity, Ms., Briar Cliff Review, Poets & Writers, Guernica, The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and elsewhere. She has published author interviews in Granta and Agni, and she has been awarded scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and the Sandra Cisneros Macondo Writers’ Workshop. The editor of the anthology, Wise Latina: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2013), she is also working on a memoir and a novel.

7J: What is Ethnic Writing?

Option 7: Baby Weight: Moms Who Write Share Tips

Kristin Waterfield Duisberg (Author)
Kristin Waterfield Duisberg Kristin Waterfield Duisberg received her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and her master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and the Boston-based Grub Street Writers’ Workshop and worked as a writer for J.P Morgan, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of New Hampshire. Having spent most of her life in New England, she returned recently to the seacoast New Hampshire college town where she grew up, where she lives with her husband, two children, and two exceedingly hairy golden retrievers. In addition to writing fiction, Duisberg is the editor-in-chief of the University of New Hampshire Magazine. After is her second novel; she is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Good Patient (St. Martin’s Press).

4F: Sentiment and Sentimentality

Taryn Roeder (Special Guest)
Taryn Roeder Taryn Roeder is the Associate Director of Publicity at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She manages the Boston-based team and works on the publicity campaigns for dozens of fiction and nonfiction books each year. Taryn's bestselling authors include Paul Tough, Temple Grandin, the late Anthony Shadid, Peter Schweizer, and Justin Torres. She was previously at Island Press working on all environmental titles, and spent time at Warner Books, the Vineyard Gazette, and the Boston Book Review. She has a BA in English from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. She speaks frequently around town about publishing and publicity at Tufts, Emerson, Grub Street, Boston Book Builders, etc. and lives in Cambridge with her two young sons who really, really want a puppy.

Kristopher Jansma (Author)
Kristopher Jansma Kristopher Jansma grew up in Lincroft, New Jersey. He received his B.A. in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University. His critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, was published by Viking/Penguin in March of 2013. He writes the Literary Artifacts column for Electric Literature’s blog, "The Outlet” about loving books in a digital age. His work has also been published in The Believer, Slice Magazine, the Blue Mesa Review, The Millions and The New York Times. He is a Creative Writing Lecturer at SUNY Purchase College and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

5H: Truth (and Lies) in Fiction


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Marjorie Braman (Special Guest)
Marjorie Braman After a successful 26-year career in publishing, Marjorie is now a freelance editor, working with writers to get the best manuscript possible. She began her career as an editorial assistant and worked her way up through the ranks to Sr. V. P. and Publishing Director at HarperCollins, then V. P. & Editor in Chief at Henry Holt. She has worked as a consultant at the e-book publisher, Open Road Integrated Media. Some of authors she’s worked with include Michael Crichton, Elmore Leonard and Sena Jeter Naslund. She has worked on narrative non-fiction, memoir, and history and has edited many New York Times and National bestsellers, award-winners and notable debuts. Recently, she published an essay in Publisher's Weekly on the changing role of the in-house editor, called "What Ever Happened to Book Editors." It was one of the most popular back of the book essays Publisher's Weekly has published. For further information, go to:

4K: The Independent Editor: (Why) Do I Need One?

Daniel Smetanka (Editor)
Daniel Smetanka Daniel Smetanka has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. As an Executive Editor at Ballantine/Random House, Inc., he acquired and published award-winning debut books including The Ice Harvest by Scott Philips and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, a 2001 finalist for the National Book Award. He is currently an Executive Editor for Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, one of the largest independent presses in the country and one of the few located on the west coast, where he has edited works by Thomas Steinbeck, Linda Gray Sexton, James Brown, Scott Phillips, Janna Malamud Smith, Craig Nova, Neil Jordan, Dana Johnson, Karen E. Bender, Joshua Mohr, Emma Woolf, Ilie Ruby, Maria Hummel, Andrea Portes, Frank Browning, and John N. Maclean. He is based in Los Angeles.

Alysia Abbott (Author)
Alysia Abbott Alysia Abbott grew up in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the only child of gay poet and writer, Steve Abbott. After graduating from New York University, she worked at the New York Public Library before receiving her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from New School University. Her articles and essays have appeared in Real Simple, Vogue, Marie Claire, OUT, Slate, Salon,, and Psychology Today, among other publications. In 2009, she left NYC to attend Harvard University as a Neiman Affiliate. While there, Alysia began work on Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. Her first full-length book, Fairyland was completed with the help of a Ragdale Fellowship and the staff at W.W. Norton.

3D: The Writer's Life: Finding the Extraordinary in the Everyday

Michelle Seaton (Special Guest)
Michelle Seaton Michelle Seaton’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Harvard Review and Sycamore Review, among others. Her journalism and essays have appeared in Robb Report, Bostonia, Yankee Magazine, The Pinch and Lake Effect. Her essay, “How to Work a Locker Room” appeared in the 2009 edition of Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the coauthor of the books The Way of Boys (William Morrow, 2009) and the Cardiac Recovery Handbook (Hatherleigh Press, 2004). She has been an instructor with Grub Street since 2000 and is the lead instructor of and created the curriculum for Grub Street's Memoir Project, a program that offers free memoir classes to senior citizens in Boston neighborhoods. The project has visited fourteen Boston neighborhoods and produced four anthologies. Twenty-two participants on Nantucket have also completed a Memoir Project class, and that anthology is called Little Grey Island.

Option 6: How to Talk to Editors (And Other Scary People)


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Alice Tasman (Literary Agent)
Alice Tasman Alice Tasman has been a literary agent at JVNLA since 1995. Her writers have earned numerous awards and honors, including the Calvino Prize, the C. Hugh Holman Award, the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the O. Henry Prize, and the Willie Morris Award. Her authors' writing has appeared in The New York Times, Best American Short Stories, McSweeney's, One Story, Oxford American, Prairie Schooner, The Normal School, and A Public Space. Awards and honors for her middle grade writers include the following: Texas Bluebonnet Award, Newbery Award nominee, Cybil Award nominee.

She loves finding debut writers and is committed to working with authors over the long term. She is very hands-on in every stage of the publishing process—from editing manuscripts and refining proposals, to amassing the perfect list of editors for the project and negotiating contracts, to actively working with publishers on the publicity and marketing of the books.

Alice earned her BA from Brown University and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Peter Blackstock (Editor)
Peter Blackstock Originally from England, where he worked as a literary scout, consulting for foreign publishers and for film, Peter Blackstock moved to the New World and to Grove Atlantic in 2011. He began as assistant to the publisher, Morgan Entrekin, and is now an associate editor, working on his own list as well as with house authors. His list includes literary fiction, thrillers, nonfiction, and plays, including books in translation. Books Peter has published include the debut novel Fobbit, which was named a New York Times notable book of the year and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the New York Times bestseller Full Service, the historical thriller Then We Take Berlin, which was named one of the Top 10 Mysteries/Thrillers of Fall 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and The Revisionist, a play by Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg. Upcoming titles include the Booker-longlisted The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris, A History of the Future by James Howard Kunstler, and Shark by Will Self. Peter was a fellow at the 2010 Turin and 2011 Moscow book fairs, and has also attended fairs in London and Frankfurt. He has been a guest at Art OMI’s Ledig House writers’ residency, and was featured as an “up and coming editor” in the Association of Authors’ Representatives Fall 2011 newsletter. He studied German and Russian at Oxford University and lives in Manhattan. Aside from books, he is interested in running, theatre, film, food blogs, and discovering restaurants in Queens and beyond.

Alexandra Marshall (Author)
Alexandra Marshall Born in Western Pennsylvania and raised in the near suburbs of New York City, Alexandra Marshall graduated from Wheaton College in 1965 with a BA in French while studying modern dance at the New England Conservatory. The following year she studied Japanese classical dance in Kyoto, returning to New York to work at the Japanese Consulate and study Japanese at the New School. In 1966 she married her first husband, Timothy Buxton, and they moved to Stanford University, where she worked at the International Students Center. She then earned an MA in French from Columbia University Teachers College, and taught French the next year at a public junior high school in Exeter, NH. In 1970 the couple led a group of college students to Ghana, West Africa for Operation Crossroads Africa, a program that JFK called "the progenitor of the Peace Corps." Her husband died there at age 28.

Returning to the US she moved next to New Haven, intending to enter a doctoral program in American Studies. She began to write instead, however, educating herself by reading American, British, and Canadian contemporary fiction, and by completing two "practice" novels. With a next move to Amherst, MA, she wrote "human interest" stories for the Daily Hampshire Gazette and completed a third novel, Gus in Bronze, which was published by Knopf and in condensed form by Redbook magazine. She then moved to Boston, where her literary agent introduced her to another client, the writer James Carroll. Married since 1977, they have remained in Boston, where they have raised their two children.

In addition to her six books, Ms. Marshall has been a Film Critic for The American Prospect, a guest columnist for The Boston Globe, and her essays, feature stories, travel journalism, and opinion pieces have appeared in many literary journals, newspapers, and magazines. A relative newcomer to short fiction, her first short story appeared in an issue of Ploughshares guest-edited by Alice Hoffman, and was cited as one of "100 Other Distinguished Stories of 2003" in The Best American Short Stories.

She has taught writing in two of Harvard's extension programs and to MFA students at Emerson College. In 1989, she and James Carroll founded, with Pamela Painter and Robie Macauley, the Ploughshares International Fiction Writing Seminar held for nine years at Emerson's Kasteel Well in The Netherlands.

Since the creation in 1991 of the Max Warburg Curriculum, Ms. Marshall has supervised the selection of "Courage in My Life" essays written by sixth-graders in the Boston Public Schools. Now adopted by many independent schools as well, these essays are published in an annual collection called The Courage of Boston's Children.

Alexandra Marshall is the author of five novels: The Court of Common Pleas (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), Something Borrowed (Houghton Mifflin, 1997), The Brass Bed (Doubleday, 1986), Tender Offer (Knopf, 1981), and Gus in Bronze (Knopf, 1977). She has also published a nonfiction book, Still Waters (Morrow, 1978), written in conjunction with the PBS "Nova" film of the same title.

1A: Between Fiction and Non-Fiction

Patricia Park (Special Guest)
Patricia Park Patricia Park was born and raised in New York City and teaches at CUNY Queens College.

She received her BA in English from Swarthmore College and her MFA in fiction from Boston University. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guardian, Slice Magazine, Fourth Genre, and others. A former publicist with the Random House Publishing Group, Avalon Publishing Group, and Columbia University Press, she has worked with numerous New York Times bestselling authors including Amy Tan, Anne Perry, and the late Harvey Pekar. She is the recipient of writing fellowships with Fulbright, The Center for Fiction, The American Association of University Women, and The Korean Literature Translation Institute. She is a Novel Incubator alum, and her debut novel Re Jane is forthcoming from Penguin/Viking.

Option 9: How to Win Grants and Fellowships


Table 21 | Shop Talk Lunch

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Allison Hunter (Literary Agent)
Allison Hunter Allison Hunter, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, began her publishing career in 2005 working for the Los Angeles-based literary publicity firm, Kim-from-L.A. She joined the InkWell team in New York City in 2010, and is actively acquiring literary and commercial fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, cultural studies and prescriptive titles, including cookbooks. She especially loves fiction that spans multiple generations and nonfiction aimed at a female audience.

Her authors include journalist Emily Matchar (author of Homeward Bound, Simon & Schuster), novelists Anne-Marie Casey (No One Could Have Guessed the Weather, Amy Einhorn Books) and Megan Mulry (A Royal Pain and If The Shoe Fits, Sourcebooks), writers and bloggers Katie Heaney (Never Have I Ever, forthcoming from Grand Central) and Anne Helen Petersen (Scandals of Classic Hollywood, forthcoming from Plume) and Tiffany Beveridge, creator of the viral Pinterest phenomenon "My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter," whose book How To Quinoa is forthcoming from Running Press. She has also worked with writer/director/actress Lena Dunham, novelists Julie Orringer and Ivy Pochoda and chefs Daniel Boulud, Danny Bowien, David Chang, Gabrielle Hamilton, David Kinch, Andy Ricker and Christina Tosi.

Allison has a B.A. in American Studies and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Mameve Medwed (Author)
Mameve Medwed Born in Maine and named for two grandmothers, Mamie and Eva, Bangor’s “other” writer (after Stephen King), Mameve Medwed is the author of five novels, Mail, Host Family, The End of an Error, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life (2007 Massachusetts Book Award Honors in Fiction) and Of Men and Their Mothers. She has published essays in three anthologies: How to Spell Chanukah (Algonquin), My Bookstore (Black Dog and Leventhal) and What My Mother Gave Me (Algonquin). Her short stories, essays, and book reviews have appeared in, among others, the New York Times, Gourmet, Yankee, Redbook, Playgirl, The Boston Globe, Ascent, The Missouri Review, Confrontation, Newsday and The Washington Post.

She and her husband (who met in nursery school) have two grown sons and live in Cambridge.

Literary Idol: Star Author Edition

Eson Kim (Special Guest)
Eson Kim Eson Kim holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, and her stories have appeared in magazines such as Calyx Journal, Denver Quarterly, and The Massachusetts Review. She received a Writing Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and earned the David B. Saunders Award for creative nonfiction. She was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize and named to the Notable list of Best American Essays. In addition, her work reached the finalist stage for the Arts & Letters Prize, The American Literary Review Award, and the Glimmer Train Family Matters competition. She has served as a reader for Ploughshares Literary Magazine for nearly 15 years, recently focusing on its Solos program for novella-length works. She also founded a community book club program, Untethered Reads, where books are circulated in random public locations as an informal way to promote reading beyond the confines of genre and category.

Option 1: Essentials of Character

Sharon Bially (Special Guest)
Sharon Bially Sharon Bially, founder of BookSavvy PR, is a publicist with over 20 years of experience and the independent author of the novel Veronica’s Nap. In addition to BookSavvy, she directs media relations for big businesses as a consultant to MBS Value Partners. Before MBS, Sharon spearheaded and led the book services division of Farrell Kramer Communications as vice president of the firm. She's led classes for Grub Street, is a regular contributor to the Grub Street Daily and to the popular blog Writer Unboxed.

Sharon has a master’s degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, lived and worked for over a decade in France and remains a hopeless francophile. She’s a soccer and gymnastics mom to two boys, takes ballet and vocals classes and daydreams about having a pied-à-terre in Paris or Provence.

4L: Write Your Way to a Media Platform


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Hannah Tinti (Author)
Hannah Tinti Hannah Tinti is a writer, editor and teacher.

Her short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her best-selling novel, The Good Thief, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, winner of the The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. She is now finishing a new novel.

Hannah has worked at bookstores, magazines, publishing houses, and literary agencies. In 2002 she co-founded the award-winning magazine One Story and for the past 12 years has been its Editor in Chief. In 2009 she received the PEN/Nora Magid award for excellence in editing. In 2011, she joined the Public Radio program, Selected Shorts, as their Literary Commentator, interviewing authors and actors about the importance of literature and reading.

Hannah is also a celebrated teacher of creative writing. She co-founded Wishing Stone Workshops and the Sirenland Writers Conference in Italy. She currently teaches at Columbia University’s MFA program and at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

She grew up in Salem, Massachusetts and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

5D: The Art & Skill of Revision

8J: Writing for One Story

Katherine Fausset (Literary Agent)
Katherine Fausset Katherine Fausset is a literary agent with Curtis Brown, Ltd., where she has worked since 2006. She represents commercial and literary fiction, and non-fiction. In fiction, she particularly loves explorations of family dynamics; morally-complicated protagonists; humor; and rich descriptions of place. Recent books by her clients include Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon, Laura van den Berg’s The Isle of Youth, Lisa Brackmann's Hour of the Rat, Ioan Grillo’s El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, Cynthia Hand’s Boundless (the third in the New York Times-bestselling Unearthly series), Kyle Minor’s Praying Drunk, Nina McConigley’s Cowboys & East Indians, Emily St. John Mandel’s The Lola Quartet, and Elise Juska’s The Blessings. She has worked in publishing since 1998 and lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, New York.

Lynne Barrett (Author)
Lynne Barrett Lynne Barrett is the author of the story collections Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), The Secret Names of Women, and The Land of Go, and co-editor of Birth: A Literary Companion. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and an NEA Fellowship. Her work appears in Fifteen Views of Miami, Real South, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Southern Women’s Review, Delta Blues, One Year to a Writing Life, and Blue Christmas. Her essay in The Review Review, “What Editors Want,” was featured in the L.A. Times and reprinted Glimmer Train’s digest. She teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University, and edits The Florida Book Review. Learn more about Lynne at

4H: Crossing Paths: The Map of Opportunity in Story

7A: The Measure of Change: The Short Story

Chip Cheek (Author)
Chip Cheek Chip Cheek's stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Washington Square, Night Train, Quick Fiction, and Minnetonka Review, among other publications. His stories also appear in the current edition of the textbook What If: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter (Longman, 2009), and Brevity and Echo: An Anthology of Short Short Stories (Rose Metal Press, 2006). He is the recipient of a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award for 2011, as well as scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop. He is currently at work on a novel.

6E: Essentials of Point of View


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Kent Wolf (Literary Agent)
Kent Wolf Kent D. Wolf, an agent at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, began his publishing career in 1997 at Dalkey Archive Press. After eight years in subsidiary rights at Harcourt Trade Publishers, he launched a career as a literary agent with his first book sold as an agent spending over ten weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. Kent represents a number of bestselling and award-winning authors and is on the lookout for literary fiction, upmarket women's fiction, memoir, pop culture, all types of narrative nonfiction, and select YA. He is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives and PEN.

Emi Ikkanda (Editor)
Emi Ikkanda Emi Ikkanda is an Associate Editor at Henry Holt & Company and her list includes Time Magazine contributor Carla Power’s forthcoming book If The Oceans Were Ink, an eye-opening memoir built around the year the secular journalist spent studying the Koran with her longtime friend, the renowned Islamic scholar Mohammad Akram Nadwi. Emi has also worked on the publication of books by President Jimmy Carter, John Banville, Bill McKibben, Rick Atkinson, Tony Horwitz, Annette Gordon-Reed, Jill Abramson, and Elaine Sciolino. Emi pursues nonfiction narratives, humorous or moving memoirs, and reportage projects that explore subcultures, multiculturalism, race, science, war, history, adventure, food, and the arts. She is also seeking upmarket voice-driven fiction, particularly novels with strong multicultural, historical, mid-20th century noir, slipstream, or folktale elements. She is drawn to emotionally rich stories that center on family secrets, loss, disappearances, or unusual friendships or marriages. In fiction or nonfiction, she loves discovering a lost chapter in history, going on a journey, and exploring hidden worlds.

James Carroll (Author)
James Carroll James Carroll is Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University, and a columnist for the Boston Globe. He is author of ten novels and seven works of non-fiction, including Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World. (2011).

Carroll was born in Chicago in 1943, and raised in Washington where his father, an Air Force general, served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Carroll attended Georgetown University before entering the seminary to train for the Catholic priesthood. He received BA and MA degrees from St. Paul’s College, the Paulist Fathers’ seminary in Washington, and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. Carroll served as Catholic Chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, then left the priesthood to become a writer.

In 1974 Carroll was Playwright-in-Residence at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Stockbridge, MA. In 1976 he published his first novel, Madonna Red, which was translated into seven languages. Subsequent novels include the New York Times bestsellers Mortal Friends (1978), Family Trade (1982), and Prince of Peace (1984). His novels The City Below (1994) and Secret Father (2003) were named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times. Carroll’s essays and articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Daedalus, The Daily Beast and other publications. His op-ed page column has run weekly in the Boston Globe since 1992, and it also appears in the International Herald Tribune.

Carroll’s memoir, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us, received the 1996 National Book Award in nonfiction and other awards. His book Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History, published in 2001, was a New York Times bestseller and was honored as one of the Best Books of 2001 by the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, and others. It was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and won the Melcher Book Award, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award, and National Jewish Book Award in History. A feature-length documentary film based on Constantine’s Sword, directed by Oscar-nominated Oren Jacoby, was named a “Critic’s Pick” by The New York Times and Best Documentary of 2008 by Film Comment.

In 2002, Carroll published Toward A New Catholic Church: The Promise of Reform, and, in 2004, Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War. In 2006, he published House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, which the Chicago Tribune called “the first great non-fiction book of the new millennium.” Among its honors is the first PEN-John Kenneth Galbraith award. In 2009, he published Practicing Catholic, advancing Church reform. In 2012, Doubleday published Vatican II: The Essential Documents, translated by Norman Tanner, with introductions by Carroll and Pope Benedict XVI. In 2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish his novel Warburg in Rome.

Carroll has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School; The Richman Visiting Professor at Brandeis University; holder of the McDonald Chair at Emory University; a trustee of the Boston Public Library; and a member of the Dean’s Council at the Harvard Divinity School. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Associate of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. Carroll holds honorary degrees from, among others, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, Lehigh University, and Claremont Graduate University. He will deliver the 2014 Paul Tillich Lecture at Harvard University.

James Carroll lives in Boston with his wife, the novelist Alexandra Marshall. They have two grown children. His website is

1A: Between Fiction and Non-Fiction

Ann Hood (Author)
Ann Hood Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine; the short story collection, An Ornithologist's Guide to Life; and the memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was named one of the top ten non-fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She recently edited the anthology, Knitting Yarns: Writers Writing About Knitting. She has won Best American Spiritual, Food, and Travel Writing Awards and two Pushcart Prizes. Her most recent novel, The Obituary Writer, was an Oprah Pick, the November Book Club book for The Ladies Home Journal, and named as one of the top ten books of 2013 by She lives in Providence, RI.

4G: Ten Steps to a Kickass Essay

7D: How To Be Your Own Best Editor


Table 24 | Shop Talk Lunch

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Carrie Howland (Literary Agent)
Carrie Howland Carrie Howland is a literary agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. where she represents literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, and young adult authors. In addition to her own clients, she handles foreign, first serial, and audio rights for the agency. Carrie is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and writes for its newsletter, The Pitch. She also enjoys speaking at various writing conferences throughout the year. Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for Waggytail Rescue, a local dog rescue, and with the program Soldiers' Angels, which sends care packages to deployed military men and women. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow her on twitter at @ecarriehowland or learn more about Donadio & Olson, Inc. at

Jamie Quatro (Author)
Jamie Quatro Jamie Quatro’s debut story collection, I Want To Show You More (Grove Press), is a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Indie Next pick. Her work has appeared in The O.Henry Prize Stories, New York Times Book Review, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, AGNI, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, she is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, Sewanee, and Bread Loaf. Quatro holds graduate degrees from the College of William and Mary and the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and is a Contributing Editor at The Oxford American Magazine. She lives with her family in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

4C: From Bennington to Book Tour

James Scott (Author)
James Scott James Scott was born in Boston and raised in upstate New York, which serves as the backdrop for his debut novel, The Kept, which will be published in January, 2014 by Harper. In a starred review, Kirkus declares, “Scott is both compassionate moralist and master storyteller in this outstanding debut.” His short fiction can be found in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, Post Road, and various other journals and anthologies, while his non-fiction has been featured in many publications including Boston Magazine, The Rumpus, and Under the Radar. His work has earned awards and fellowships from Yaddo, VCCA, the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the St. Botoloph Club, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. While attending Emerson College for his MFA, he was the managing editor and fiction editor of Redivider. He later served as an issue editor for One Story. James lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and dog.

6G: Using Genre as a Backbone

Jennie Wood (Special Guest)
Jennie Wood Jennie Wood is the creator and writer of Flutter, a comic series. Flutter, Volume One: Hell Can Wait, the first graphic novel in the series, is available on 215 Ink. The Advocate calls Flutter one of the best LGBT graphic novels of 2013. She is also a contributor to the award-winning, New York Times best-selling comic anthology, Fubar: Empire of the Rising Dead as well as the Fubar: American History Z and Vic Boone: Bourbon and Buckshot anthologies. She writes non-fiction features for the educational website, Jennie is one of Go Magazine’s Women We Love for 2013. For more, go to

Option 5: Going Graphic


Table 25 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 1

Shaun Dolan (Literary Agent)
Shaun Dolan Shaun Dolan is a literary agent at Union Literary. He previously worked with award winning authors – including National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists, Story Prize Winners, and B&N Discover Award Winners – as an assistant at WME. He's interested in representing both muscular and lyrical literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir, pop culture, and sports narratives. He’s ready and able to dive into the trenches editorially and seeks to foster new, exciting voices. Shaun is a graduate of the University of Michigan and lives in Brooklyn.

Rosie Sultan (Special Guest)
Rosie Sultan Award-winning writer Rosie Sultan’s novel Helen In Love is published by Viking/Penguin. She is the recipient of the PEN Discovery Award for fiction and was a fellow at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping Magazine, Library Journal, and Other Voices have published or reviewed her work. She has taught writing at Grub Street, Boston University, and Suffolk University. She is a manuscript consultant for Grub Street.

Rosie’s novel is an American Library Association Book Club Pick. The Washington Post says of Helen In Love, “Sultan has given the adult Helen Keller a new voice and reminds us of both her brilliance and her humanity.”

Option 7: Real Characters: Writing the Historical Figure in Fiction and Non-Fiction

Jennifer Mattson (Special Guest)
Jennifer Mattson Jennifer Mattson is a journalist, writer and Grub Street instructor. A former producer for CNN and NPR, she currently writes and reports about international news, books, yoga, spirituality and travel. Her work has appeared in, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Women's Review of Books, and She is a Contributing Writer at and the former Managing Editor of Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter at @jennifermattson. She is writing her first book.

Option 7: Get Unstuck: 6 Ways to Get Writing Again

Crystal Patriarche (Special Guest)
Crystal Patriarche Crystal Patriarche, founder of SparkPoint Studio and its leading BookSparks division, has an extensive 14 year background building a simultaneous career in both public relations and publishing. She has built and executed PR campaigns for established brands such as Microsoft, Ford,, other Fortune 500 companies and start ups as well as hundreds of authors and major publishers. She is known for her creativity, fresh perspective, passion and results—all of which make referrals the top driver of her business. Crystal’s life-long love of reading and literature, combined with her PR expertise in high-tech and start up industries and her digital expertise fueled the growth of her industry-leading BookSparks division.

7L:Promotion and Publicity for the Non-Fiction Writer


Table 26 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 0

Stephen Barr (Literary Agent)
Stephen Barr Stephen Barr spent the first 21 years of his life in Southern California, and the only thing he really knew about publishing before he moved to New York City was Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Terry Crabtree in Wonder Boys—he’s an editor, and he flies into Pittsburgh (wearing a big, comfy-looking east coast coat) to coax a second novel out of his troubled but probably brilliant author, and then come the hijinks. That sounded pretty swell to Stephen, so he read Wonder Boys on the flight over to New York, and over the course of six or seven months of interviews and internships, he realized that he still wanted the coat and the authors, but would be more comfortable playing the role (so to speak) of their agent (though editing is perhaps his favorite thing in the whole wide world, and he works very closely with his clients to polish and perfect their manuscripts before and after submission). Stephen landed at Writers House in 2008, became its biggest fan about four seconds later, was promoted to senior agent in 2013, and just got his coat back from the dry cleaner.

1J: Query Lab

Steve Almond (Author)
Steve Almond Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, three of which he published himself. His memoir Candyfreak was a New York Times Bestseller. His short stories have appeared in the Best American and Pushcart anthologies. His most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction and was short-listed for The Story Prize. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.

7E: Essentials of Process

8K: Everything You Wanted to Know About DIY Publishing (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Steve Macone (Special Guest)
Steve Macone Steve Macone is a headline contributor at The Onion. His essays, humor writing and reporting have also appeared in The American Scholar, New York Times, Atlantic Online, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Phoenix,, Morning News, Christian Science Monitor, The Drum, Weekly Dig, and AOL News. He's been featured on NPR, Longreads, and received multiple notable essay mentions in the Best American Essays series.

Option 3: You've Had Something Published, Now What?

Dawn Dorland Perry (Special Guest)
Dawn Dorland Perry Dawn Dorland Perry was born in rural Iowa to a farmer’s daughter and a librarian. She graduated from Scripps College and Harvard Divinity School and launched her life as a writer at Grub Street while working as a visual effects and editorial producer. Dawn earned her MFA in fiction from the University of Maryland (anticipated June 2014) where she received full funding as a teaching fellow, earned distinction for her undergraduate fiction workshop, and studied with the writers Maud Casey and Howard Norman. Dawn's flash fiction has been published by The Drum, and her personal essay, "Why I Write," featured on the Grub Street blog. An itinerant, she has lived in Germany, the Dominican Republic, Boston, Botswana, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, where she currently resides with her husband and pit bull. Dawn is at work writing stories.

Option 3: Because it's not called storyshowing: How to Show AND Tell in Your Fiction


Table 27 | Shop Talk Lunch

Seats Remaining: 4

Lauren Vargas (Special Guest)
Lauren Vargas Lauren Vargas, Head of Social Media and Community at Aetna, is based in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a well known community management blogger and speaker who has developed an expertise in integrating social media tools into marketing and business strategy.

Vargas is a multi-faceted communications professional with experience in internal and external corporate communications, governmental affairs and community relations. As a professional and former adjunct university professor, she assists companies and second-career students engage with the communities they serve by fostering authentic relationships built on trust through conversations and participatory media.

Crystal King (Special Guest)
Crystal King Crystal King is a 20 year marketing and communications veteran. Currently she manages social media for Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and has led global social media programs for companies such as CA Technologies and Sybase. Crystal is also a freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet who has recently finished her first novel and embarking upon her second. She holds an M.A. in Critical & Creative Thinking from UMass Boston where she centered her thesis on developing a system to help fiction writers in progress. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art and UMass Boston. Find her on Facebook at, on Twitter at and on Google+ at

Lee Hope (Special Guest)
Lee Hope Lee Hope is editor-in-chief of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, a Best of the Net award-winning journal. She is the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship for Fiction. She has published stories in numerous literary journals, such as Witness, The New Virginia Review, The North American Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Epiphany and others. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She founded a low-residency MFA program, and was a co-founder of Pine Manor’s MFA program. She has taught creative writing at various universities and is president of the Solstice Institute, a nonprofit in the service of creative writers. Lately, she teaches for Changing Lives Through Literature, which brings literature to people on probation and parole.

Option 2: Digital Lit: Why Online Journals Deserve More Respect--Insider Info, Community, Submissions

Randy Susan Meyers (Author)
Randy Susan Meyers The dark drama of Randy Susan Meyers' novels is informed by her past work with criminal offenders and families impacted by emotional and family violence. The Massachusetts Center for The Book named her internationally bestselling debut novel, The Murderer's Daughter one of the “2011 Ten Best Works of Fiction,” noting “From the very first page and straight on until the last, the clear and distinctive voice of Randy Susan Meyers’ The Murderer’s Daughters will have you enraptured and wanting more—even though self-preservation may curl you into a ball to shield yourself from the painful circumstances of the two sisters. This is a heart-breaking and powerful novel.” Her second novel, The Comfort of Lies, a national bestseller, was described by the Boston Globe as, “sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny when the author skewers Boston’s class and neighborhood dividing lines, but it has a lot of heart, too. Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage — the simple joys of stability, the pleasures of veteran intimacy — and deftly dissects just how ugly things can get after infidelity.” Her third novel, Accidents of Marriage, releases September 2014. Meyers is a founding member of ‘Beyond The Margins’ writing site, co-author of What To Do Before Your Book Launch with MJ Rose, and teaches writing at Grub Street. Meyers, the mother of two grown daughters, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She lives in Boston with her husband.

5M: Building a Novel With Great Bones