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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Sanibel Island Writers Conference
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Tom DeMarchi, Director
Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Reed Hall 242
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565



Steve Almond 
(Fiction/Nonfiction Workshop/Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Creative Nonfiction)  

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal, The Evil B.B. Chow, and God Bless America, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books, the best-selling Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His memoir Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life was published in Spring 2010. His most recent book, Against Football, an anguished manifesto about the dubious morality of being a football fan, will be released in fall 2014. He also, crazily, self-published three books: This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey, which is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing; Letters From People Who Hate Me, a collection of letters and responses between Steve and his indignant readers; and Bad Poetry, a collection of previously unpublished verse and accompanying self-criticism. Almond lives outside Boston with his wife, three children, and mounting debt.

For more on Steve Almond, including music recommendations, visit:



Andrea Askowitz (Storytelling Workshop)

Andrea Askowitz

Andrea Askowitz is the author of the memoir, My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy (Cleis 2008) and the editor of Badass. Lip Service: True Stories, the Double Album (Lominy Books 2015). Her stories have appeared in publications including the New York Times,,, and xoJane, and have aired on NPR and PBS.  She teaches memoir writing at Lip Service Institute and is the creator of the Knight award-winning, true-stories reading series Lip Service. Andrea grew up in Miami where she lives with her wife Victoria and children Natasha, Sebastian and Beast.


Twitter: @andreaaskowitz


Lynne Barrett (Fiction Workshop/Editor Panelist) 

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. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash and co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion. Recent work appears in The Southern Womens Review, Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen, Fifteen Views of Miami, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Wraparound South, and One Year to a Writing Life. A recipient of the Edgar Award for best mystery story, she teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University and is editor of The Florida Book Review

Learn more about Lynne here:




Charles Bock (Fiction Workshop)

Charles Bock 

Charles Bock is the author of Beautiful Children (Random House, 2008) which was a national bestseller and a NYT Notable Book of the Year, as well as the recipient of the Sue Kaufman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He’s received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Yaddo, UCross, and the Vermont Studio Center, and teaches at NYU and Columbia University’s MFA program.  His novel Alice & Oliver is forthcoming in early 2016.  He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. 


Erica Dawson (Poetry/MFA Panelist)

Erica Dawson 

Erica Dawson is the author of two collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt, winner of the 2014 Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal in Poetry, and Big-Eyed Afraid, winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize.  Her poems have appeared Best American Poetry 2008 and 2012, Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, Birmingham Poetry Review, Harvard Review, The Hopkins Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals and anthologies.  She teaches at the University of Tampa, where she serves as Acting Director of the Low-residency MFA in Creative Writing.

 For more info, visit


John Dufresne (Flash Fiction Workshop/Morning Writing Exercises)  

John Dufresne

John Dufresne is the author of two short story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad, the novels Louisiana Power & LightLove Warps the Mind a Little, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Deep in the Shade of ParadiseRequiemMass. and No RegretsCoyote, and books on writing, The Lie That Tells a Truth and Is Life Like This? His short stories have twice been named Best American Mystery Stories. He's written the screenplays for The Freezer Jesus and To Live and Die in Dixie.

For more information on Dufresne, visit


Wayne Falbey (Self-Publishing Workshop)

Wayne Falbey

John Wayne Falbey wrote his first novel at age 22 while a student at Vanderbilt University School of Law. That novel, a tale of gunrunning, guerilla warfare, and danger in the Caribbean, helped stave off the ennui inherent in the case study method. Without benefit of an agent, that novel, The Quixotics, drew interest from the Harper & Row publishing company. He was asked to rewrite the book to delete the protagonist because he was an “anti-hero, and readers don’t like anti-heroes.” Wayne disagreed, terminated the discussions, and self-published the book years later.

Today, Wayne writes techno-political spy thrillers. His self-published debut novel in that genre, Sleeping Dogs: The Awakening, has become an international best seller on and was endorsed by Compulsory Reads. The novel is part of the Sleeping Dogs series. The second novel in the series, Endangered Species, was self-published on March 17, 2015. Wayne is well into the third novel, Year of the Dog. It also will be self-published.

A native Floridian and former transactional attorney, Wayne is a real estate investor and developer in Southwest Florida. As his wife likes to say, he has “more degrees than a thermometer,” including a doctorate in business. He created and chaired a Master of Science program in real estate development at an academic institution in Florida.

For more info on Wayne's publication dates, signings and appearances, visit


Beth Ann Fennelly (Humor Workshop/MFA Panelist)






Beth Ann Fennelly directs the MFA Program at Ole Miss where she was named the 2011 Outstanding Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year. She's won grants from the N.E.A., the MS Arts Commission, and United States Artists. Her work has three times been included in The Best American Poetry Series. Fennelly has published three full-length poetry books. Her first, Open House, won The 2001 Kenyon Review Prize, the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award, and was a Book Sense Top Ten Poetry Pick. It was reissued by W. W. Norton in 2009. Her second book, Tender Hooks, and her third, Unmentionables, were published by W. W. Norton in 2004 and 2008. She has also published a book of nonfiction, Great with Child, in 2006, with Norton. Fennelly writes essays on travel, culture, and design for Country Living, Southern Living, the Oxford American, and others. She and her husband Tom Franklin co-authored the novel The Tilted World (October 2013, William Morris). They live in Oxford with their three children. 


Nick Flynn (Memoir Workshop)

Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn has received fellowships and awards from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and National Public Radio’s This American Life. He is currently a professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, where he is in residence each spring. In 2015 he published his ninth book, My Feelings (Graywolf), a collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He is on the editorial board of Drunken Boat and Gulf Coast. His film credits include artistic collaborator and “field poet” on the film Darwin’s Nightmare (nominated for an Academy Award for best feature documentary in 2006), as well as executive producer and artistic collaborator on Being Flynn (2012, Focus Features), the film version of his 2004 memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. In 2014, his play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins, was staged by Chicago’s Forget Me Not Theater. Facts About Water, a CD which chronicles his five-year collaboration with composer Guy Barash, was also released in 2014. In 2015 he and Sarah Sentilles formed the Blue Sky Committee, and began documenting collective responses to state sanctioned violence in an open source project named Drone Alert Sutras. The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment (2010) is a painfully beautiful memoir of being a father in the age of torture; the memoir was inspired in part by the Abu Ghraib detainees, several of whom Flynn met. The Reenactments (2013) is the story of adapting Another Bullshit Night in Suck City into the film Being FlynnFlynn is also the author of four books of poetry, all published by Graywolf Press: My Feelings (2015); The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands (2011)Some Ether (2000), which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award; and Blind Huber (2002). 

For more info, visit


Gina Frangello (Fiction Workshop/Editor Panelist)

Gina Frangello 

Gina Frangello’s most recent novel, A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014), was selected for the Target Emerging Authors series, has been optioned by Universal Cable Productions/Denver & Delilah, and was a book club selection for NYLON magazine, The Rumpus and The Nervous Breakdown. She is also the author of two other books of fiction: Slut Lullabies (Emergency Press 2010), which was a Foreword Magazine Best Book of the Year finalist, and My Sister’s Continent (Chiasmus 2006).  She is on faculty at UCR-Palm Desert's low residency MFA program in Creative Writing, and is the Director of Marketing for Dzanc Books. Gina has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the Executive Editor for Other Voices magazine, and the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online. She founded and runs Other Voices Queretaro, an international writing program in the Central Highlands of Mexico. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews and journalism have been published in such venues as Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Fence, FiveChapters, Prairie Schooner, the Chicago Reader, and in many other magazines and anthologies. 

For more info, visit


Tom Franklin (Fiction Workshop) 




Tom Franklin is the author of Poachers, a story collection whose title novella won the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award. He has written three novels, all published by William Morrow, Hell at the Breech, Smonk and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which was a NY Times Bestseller and won the LA Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller, the Willie Morris Prize for Southern Fiction and the UK's Gold Dagger Award for Best Novel. His latest novel is The Tilted World, cowritten with his wife, Beth Ann Fennelly. They live in Oxford, Mississippi, with their three children.


William Giraldi (Fiction Workshop)

 William Giraldi

William Giraldi is author of the novels Busy Monsters and Hold the Dark, and is Fiction Editor for the journal AGNI at Boston University. His essays appear frequently in The New RepublicThe Oxford AmericanVQR, and The Daily Beast.

For more info, visit


Jim Gustafson (Poetry/MFA Panelist)

Jim Gustafson

Jim Gustafson holds an MFA from The University of Tampa and a Masters of Divinity from Garrett Theological Seminary.

Jim is the author of two books, Take Fun Seriously (Limitless Press 2006), and his first book of poetry, Driving Home (Aldrich Press 2013). Jim lives in Fort Myer, Florida, where he teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Southwestern State College. In his spare time he reads, writes, and pulls weeds.

For more info, visit


Shane Hinton (Fiction/Publishing Panelist)

Shane Hinto

Shane Hinton holds an MFA from the University of Tampa and lives in the winter strawberry capital of the world. His debut story collection Pinkies is available from Burrow Press.

For more info, visit

Jay Hopler (Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Poetry)

Jay Hopler
Jay Hopler’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous magazines and journals including The Literary Review, The New Republic, and The New Yorker.  Green Squall, his first book of poetry, won the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.  His most recent book is Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (edited with Kimberly Johnson, Yale University Press, 2013).  McSweeney’s will publish his second book of poetry, The Abridged History of Rainfall, in 2016.  Also in 2016, Poetry International will publish as a portfolio his chapbook of translations, The Museum of Small Dark Things: 25 Poems of Georg Trakl.  The recipient of numerous honors including fellowships and awards from the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the Lannan Foundation, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts & Letters/the American Academy in Rome, he is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Florida.    

For more info, visit


Leslie Jamison (Flash Memoir Workshop)

Leslie Jamison is the author of The Empathy Exams, a New York Times bestselling essay collection, and a novel, The Gin Closet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in Harper'sOxford AmericanA Public SpaceBoston Review, Virginia Quarterly ReviewThe Believer, and the New York Times, where she is a regular columnist for the Sunday Book Review. She was raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.

For more info, visit 

Twitter: @lsjamison


Kimberly Johnson (Poetry Workshop)

Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Uncommon Prayer.  She has also published a number of works of literary criticism and poetry in translation.  Recipient of fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

For more info, visit


Steve Kistulentz (Poetry/MFA Panelist)

Steve Kistulentz

Steve Kistulentz is the author of two collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream (2012) and The Luckless Age (2010). His honors include the Benjamin Saltman Award for The Luckless Age, as well as fellowship support from Writers at Work, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and an individual award from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He has taught at the Johns Hopkins University; the University of Iowa, where he was the Joseph and Ursil Callan Scholar; the Florida State University, where he was an Edward and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellow for Excellence in Thought; Millsaps College; and the University of Tampa. He earned a BA in English from the College of William and Mary, an MA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and a PhD from the Florida State University. He is the founding director of the graduate program in creative writing at Saint Leo University in Florida, which begins in the 2016-2017 academic year. 

For more info, visit 

Twitter: @kistulentz 


Christina Baker Kline (Creative Process/Historical Research)

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Orphan Train. Her other novels include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should BeDesire Lines and Sweet Water. She is currently at work on a novel based on the iconic painting Christina's World, by Andrew Wyeth.

In addition to her five novels, Kline has written and edited five nonfiction books. She commissioned and edited two widely praised collections or original essays on the frist year of parenthood and raising young children, Child of Mine and Room to Grow, and a book on grieving, Always Too Soon. She is the coeditor, with Anne Burt, of a collection of personal essays called About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror, and is co-author, with her mother, Christina Looper Baker, of a book on feminist mothers and daughters, The Conversation Begins. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Money, More, Psychology Today, among other places.

For more info, visit


Kimberly Lojewski (Small Press Panelist)

Kimberly Lojewski

Kimberly Lojewski received her MFA in fiction from UMass Amherst. Her first book, Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart, is being released by Burrow Press this fall. She has been published in PANKGargoyleDrunken Boat, and elsewhere, and her stories have been nominated for several Pushcarts as well as winning Best of the Net by Sundress Publications. 


Lyn Millner (Facts Into Story Workshop)

Lyn Millner

Five years ago, Lyn Millner became interested in the Koreshans, a peculiar religious and communal group that settled in southwest Florida in 1894. She pitched the story as a magazine feature, thinking she’d research, write it and move on to her next project. But it didn’t work that way. The Koreshans wouldn’t let her go. The result is Lyn’s first book, The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet, released this fall from the University Press of Florida.

Lyn’s radio stories and essays have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition and on American Public Media’s Marketplace. Her print work has appeared in USA Today, Oxford American magazine, The Hollywood ReporterBoca Raton magazine and Gulfshore Life. She teaches journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University.

For more info, visit or 

Twitter: @lynmillner or @CyrusTeed


Dito Montiel (Screenwriting Workshop)

Dito Montiel

Dito Montiel is an American author, screenwriter, director and musician. Born and raised in New York City, he was first brought to the public eye after the demise of his hardcore punk band Major Conflict. In 2003, he published A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, a memoir that gained much acclaim. Montiel developed Saints into a screenplay and made his directorial debut with the film version of Saints starring Robert Downey Jr., Dianne Wiest and Shia LeBeouf. Montiel went on to direct Fighting (2009) starring Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard and Luis Guzman; Son of No One (2011), starring Channing Tatum, Ray Liotta, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes; and Empire State (2013), starring Dwayne Johnson, Liam Hemsworth and Emma Roberts. His most recent films are Boulevard (2014), starring Robin Williams (in his last film role), Kathy Baker, and Bob Odenkirk, and Man Down (2015), starring Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman and Kate Mara. 

You can follow Dito's activities on Twitter @ditomontiel 


Alan Michael Parker (Poetry Workshop/Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Fiction)

Alan Michael Parker

Alan Michael Parker is the author most recently of the novel, The Committee on Town Happiness (Dzanc), and the poetry collection, Long Division (Tupelo). He is Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English at Davidson College, and also teaches in the University of Tampa low-residency M.F.A. program. His awards include three Pushcart Prizes, two inclusions in Best American Poetry, the North Carolina Book Award, the Fineline Prize, and the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize in 2013 and 2014.

For more info, visit

Twitter: @AMPoProse


Tom Piazza (Dialogue Workshop)

Tom Piazza

Tom Piazza’s most recent book is the novel A Free State, published this fall by HarperCollins. His other books include the novel City Of Refuge, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and Devil Sent The Rain, a collection of his essays and journalism. He was a principal writer for the innovative HBO drama series TREME, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey. He lives in New Orleans. 


Mark Powell (MFA Panelist)

Mark Powell

Mark Powell is the author of four novels, most recently The Sheltering. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee and Breadloaf Writers' Conference, and in 2014 was a Fulbright Fellow in Slovakia. He is an Associate Professor of English at Stetson University where he directs the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.


Margo Rabb (Young Adult Fiuction Workshop)

Margo Rabb 

Margo Rabb is the author of the novels Kissing in America and Cures for Heartbreak. Her essays, journalism, book reviews, and short stories have been published in The New York TimesThe New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Slate, The Rumpus, Zoetrope: All-StorySeventeenBest New American VoicesNew Stories from the SouthOne Story, and elsewhere, and have been broadcast on NPR. She received the grand prize in the Zoetrope short story contest, first prize in the Atlantic fiction contest, first prize in the American Fiction contest, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award.

Visit her online at

Twitter: @margorabb


Deborah Reed (Publishing Panelist)

Deborah Reed is the author of five novels, including the recently published Olivay. Her novel Things We Set On Fire was praised by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim O' Brien, and sold over 100,000 copies in the first six months. Her novel Carry Yourself Back to Me was a Best Book of 2011 Amazon Editors’ Pick. She wrote the bestselling thriller, A Small Fortune and its sequel, Fortune’s Deadly Descent, under her pen name, Audrey Braun. All of her novels have been translated or are forthcoming in German. Her nonfiction has appeared in publications such as Poets & Writers, The Literarian, and online at The Huffington Post. Deborah holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (fiction) and teaches at UCLA’s Extension Writing Program. She is also co-director of the Black Forest Writing Seminars at the University of Freiburg in Germany. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

For more info, visit


Ryan Rivas (Publisher/Panelist)

Ryan Rivas 

Ryan Rivas is the publisher of Burrow Press, a nonprofit independent publisher of literary fiction and creative nonfiction. His writing has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Annalemma magazine, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere.

For more info, visit,, and


Jim Shepard (Techniques in Close Reading Workshop)

Jim Shepard 

Jim Shepard has written seven novels, including The Book of Aron, which appeared this May, and four story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, a finalist for the National Book Award and Story Prize winner. His previous novel, Project X, won the Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction as well as the ALEX Award from the American Library Association. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, Playboy, and Electric Literature, and five of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Williams College. 

For more info, visit


Karen Shepard (Fiction Workshop)

Karen Shepard

Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City.  She is the author of four novels, An Empire of WomenThe Bad Boy’s WifeDon’t I Know You?, and The Celestials, which was short-listed for the Massachusetts Book Award and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her short fiction has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Tin HouseOne Story, and Ploughshares, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in O MagazineMoreSelfUSA Today, and The Boston Globe, among others. She teaches writing and literature at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she lives with her husband, novelist Jim Shepard, and their three children.

For more info, visit

Twitter: @karenlshepard

Facebook: karenshepardauthor


Christopher Schelling (Literary Agent/Panelist) 





Christopher Schelling is a literary agent whose list spans a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including New York Times bestselling memoirist Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors, This Is How) and bestselling YA novelists Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl) and Cinda Williams Chima (The Seven Realms, The Heir Chronicles). Schelling has been representing writers since 1997, and started his own agency, Selectric Artists, in 2011. He is also the publisher of Roadswell Editions, a curated ebook imprint with a list including Jon Katz (Listening to Dogs), Kathe Koja (The Mercury Waltz) and Kim Stanley Robinson (A Short Sharp Shock). Prior to being an agent, he held Executive Editor positions at Dutton and HarperCollins.

For more info on Schelling, visit: or

Twitter: @CRSRipley  


Darin Strauss (Narrative Workshop)

Darin Strauss

A recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Library Association Award, and numerous other prizes, Darin Strauss is a national- and internationally-bestselling author. His books have been New York Times, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly and NPR Best Books of the Year, among other honors; he has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, NBC News, among many others. 

Strauss recently finished a short stint as an opinion columnist at Al-Jazeera America, has written screenplays for Disney, Gary Oldman, and Julie Taylor, and currently has a production deal with Sony Pictures Television. He is the Clinical Professor of Fiction at NYU's creative writing program. His work has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries. 

For more info, visit

Twitter: @darinstrauss 


Jay Wexler (Humor Writing Workshop)

Jay Wexler

Jay Wexler’s day job is teaching law at Boston University.  He has published three books: Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battleground of the Church/State Wars (Beacon Press 2009); The Odd Clauses: Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of its Most Curious Provisions (Beacon Press 2011); and The Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, and Other Stories (Quid Pro 2012).  In December, Ankerwycke Press will publish Wexler’s first novel, Tuttle in the Balance, about a Supreme Court justice having a mid-life crisis and getting really into Taoism, and in Spring 2016, Beacon Press will publish an environment/law/religion/humor/travelogue book that might be called God is Not Always Green: When Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide.  In addition to many scholarly articles, Wexler has published essays, stories, and reviews in places like the Boston Globe, McSweeney’s, Monkeybicycle, Mental Floss, Opium, Salon, Slate, and Spy

For more info, visit