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 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, was 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collection of letters and responses between Steve and his indignant readers; and Bad Poetry, a collection of previously unpublished verse and accompanying self-criticism.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 (General Craft Workshop--Storytelling/Panelist)
Andrea Askowitz is the author of the memoir My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy and the editor of Badass: True Stories, the Double Album. Her stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times, Salon.com, xoJane, Brain, Child and Jewcy.com, and have aired on NPR and PBS. She is the founder of the Knight award-winning, true-stories reading series Lip Service, and is now the executive producer and host of the podcast Writing Class Radio. Andrea grew up in Miami where she lives with her wife Victoria and children Natasha, Sebastian and Beast.
Tweet her at @andreaaskowitz and @wrtgclassradio.
Lynne Barrett (General Craft Fiction Workshop--Plot and Structure)
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. What Editors Want, a guide to submitting to literary magazines based on her widely recommended essay in The Review Review, is just out in book form. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash, co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion, and is editor of The Florida Book Review. She has received the Edgar Award for best mystery story and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and her recent work can be found in Necessary Fiction, The Southern Women’s Review, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Fifteen Views of Miami, and Trouble in the Heartland: Stories Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen. She teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University.
For more info about Lynne Barrett, visit:
John Dufresne (General Craft Worksho--Flash Fiction/Morning Writing Exercises)
John Dufresne is the author of two short story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad, the novels Louisiana Power & Light, Love Warps the Mind a Little, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Deep in the Shade of Paradise, Requiem, Mass. and No Regrets, Coyote, 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:
Nathan Hill (General Craft Workshop--Fiction)
Nathan Hill's first novel, The Nix, was published this year by Knopf. His short fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including The Iowa Review, AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, and Fiction, where he was awarded the annual Fiction Prize. A native Iowan, he now lives in Naples, Florida.
For more on Nathan Hill, visit:
For more info on Joyce Maynard, visit:
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:
JL Stermer (Literary Agent/Panelist)
After studying theater, working in fashion, and cocktail waitressing for many years, JL Stermer finally got into her groove after she got her degree from Columbia University and headed into the world of publishing. She started at the Donald Maass Agency as an assistant/agent, then moved to Bienstock/UTA as a literary agent within a talent agency, and finally landed at New Leaf Literary & Media, where she is today, growing her list of clients.
JL is adding to her non-fiction list in both YA and adult categories with smart pop-culture, comedy/satire, fashion, health & wellness, self-help, and memoir. She’s also growing her fiction list (a bit more selectively) and is looking for adult and some YA coming-of-age, humor, dark and edgy stories, and new and original voices in commercial and upmarket. She also thinks graphic novels are really cool.
JL is looking for voices that reflect the world as it changes, stories that share the human experience of life, love, growth, and achievement. And they don’t have to all be serious–having fun is important! Some of her favorite reads include: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood by Janet Mock, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, French Milk by Lucy Knisley, Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
You can follow JL's literary pursuits on Twitter @JLStermer
Darin Strauss (General Craft Workshop--Narrative)
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:
Karen Tolchin (Storytelling Panel)
Karen Tolchin has been teaching contemporary literature, creative writing, and film at the college level for a whopping two decades. She holds a doctorate in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and a bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr College, which explains both her vast stores of literary knowledge and her impressive array of nervous tics. Her book, Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film, was cited in William Safire’s New York Times “On Language” column (2007), while her creative work has appeared in The Rumpus (2013), Gulfshore Life Magazine, Belletrist Coterie, and the Tusculum Review. In 2015, she won a university-wide award for teaching excellence at Florida Gulf Coast University. Her latest venture is the DeKa Storytelling Institute, LLC. in Naples, Florida, with her partner in crime, Dean Davis.
Robert Wilder (General Craft Workshop--YA Fiction)
Robert Wilder is the author of two critically acclaimed books of essays: Tales From The Teachers' Lounge and Daddy Needs a Drink. His debut novel, NICKEL, was called “A humorous, poignant, and formidable debut” by Booklist (starred review). He has published essays in Newsweek, Details, Salon, Parenting, Creative Nonfiction, Working Mother and numerous anthologies. He has been a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, The Madeleine Brand Show, On Point and other national and regional radio programs. Wilder's column, "Daddy Needs A Drink," was printed monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter for close to a decade. He was awarded the inaugural Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation. Wilder lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Visit his website at