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, 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collection of letters and responses between Steve and his indignant readers; and Bad Poetry, a collection of previously unpublished verse and accompanying self-criticism.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: www.stevealmondjoy.com
MK Asante is a bestselling author, award-winning filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor who CNN calls "a master storyteller and major creative force." Asante is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Buck, described by Maya Angelou as "A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style." Buck is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an NAACP Image Award – Outstanding Literary Work nominee. His other books are It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, Beautiful. And Ugly Too, and Like Water Running Off My Back. Asante is a Sundance Feature Film Fellow for the movie adaptation of Buck. Asante directed The Black Candle, a prize-winning Starz TV movie. He wrote and produced the film 500 Years Later, winner of five international film festival awards, and produced the multi award-winning film Motherland. Called "the voice of a new generation" by Essence, he has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NBC News, BBC, NPR, BET, and MTV. He was selected as a MSNBC The Grio 100 History Makers in the Making. Asante's essays have been published in USA Today, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times. He recently made his debut as a hip hop artist on the song "Godz N The Hood" featuring Talib Kweli. His inspirational story "The Blank Page" is featured in the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 20th Anniversary Edition. Asante is a tenured professor of creative writing and film in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University. For more on Asante, visit www.mkasante.com
Lynne Barrett (fiction/editor)
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 stories appear in Trouble in the Heartland: Stories Inspired by the Songs of Bruce Springsteen, Fifteen Views of Miami, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Real South, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Delta Blues, 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: www.lynnebarrett.com.
Derrick C. Brown
Derrick C. Brown is the winner of the 2013 Texas Book of The Year award for Poetry. He is a former paratrooper for the 82nd airborne and is the president of one of what Forbes and Filter Magazine call "...one of the best independent presses in the country," Write Bloody Publishing. He is the author of four books of poetry. The New York Times calls his work, "...a rekindling of faith in the weird, hilarious, shocking, beautiful power of words." For more about Brown & Write Bloody, visit www.brownpoetry.com or www.writebloody.com
Kevin Clark's Self-Portrait with Expletives won the Pleiades Press contest. His first book of poems In the Evening of No Warning earned a grant from the Academy of American Poets, and his poetry has appeared widely in such journals as The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, and Crazyhorse. A regular critic for The Georgia Review, he publishes criticism in many venues, including The Southern Review, Papers on Language and Literature, and Contemporary Literary Criticism. He teaches at both Cal Poly and the Rainier Writing Workshop. His website is: http://kevinclarkpoet.com.
Dean Davis has taught at Florida Gulf Coast University for ten years in the Department of Communication and Philosophy, where he also serves as Program Leader. His areas of expertise are interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, listening and performance. While at FGCU, Dean has won several teaching awards, including the 2005 McTarnaghan Award for Teaching Excellence. In addition to teaching, Dean is an Adler Trained Executive and Life Coach.
John Dufresne (screenwriter)
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 www.johndufresne.com.
Beth Ann Fennelly (poetry)
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.
Emily Franklin is the author of two novels for adults, Liner Notes and The Girls' Almanac. She is also the author of more than one dozen critically acclaimed young adult books including The Half-Life of Planets (nominated for YALSA's Best Book of the Year), Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom (named to the 2013 Rainbow List), and At Face Value (an ALA Popular Paperback pick). A former chef, she wrote the cookbook-memoir Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 New Recipes to chronicle a year of new foods, family meals, hilarity and heartache around the table. Her work has appeared on National Public Radio and in the New York Times, Monkeybicycle, Word Riot, DIAGRAM, Mississippi Review.
Her next YA novel, Last Night at the Circle Cinema, will be published in 2015. She lives with her husband, four kids, and enormous dog outside of Boston, Massachusetts. For more info, visit:
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.
Artis Henderson is an award-winning journalist and essayist whose memoir, Unremarried Widow, was published by Simon & Schuster in January. For more info on Henderson, visit www.artishenderson.com
John Hoppenthaler's books of poetry are Lives of Water, Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, and Domestic Garden (forthcoming, 2015), all with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays on the poetry of Jean Valentine, This-World Company, and for the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, he edits "A Poetry Congeries." He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University. For more info, visit:
Everything about Jen McClung—from her folk music roots to her MFA in Writing to her current career in American Indian Studies—speaks to a deep connection to culture, song, spirit and story. Because of this training and this lived experience, Jen approaches all the genres and media she works in with a sense of interconnectedness and multimodality. Currently, Jen teaches at Iowa State University and lives in Ames, Iowa, with her husband, son, and stepson. Her third studio album, Wildfire, was released in Spring of 2014. For more, go to www.jenmcclung.com.
Karen Salyer McElmurray
Karen Salyer McElmurray's Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother's Journey, was an AWP Award Winner for Creative Nonfiction. Her novels are The Motel of the Stars, Editor's Pick by Oxford American, and Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. Other stories and essays have appeared in Iron Horse, Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Riverteeth, and in the anthologies An Angle of Vision; To Tell the Truth; Fearless Confessions; Listen Here; Dirt; Family Trouble; and Red Holler. Her writing has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Most recently, she was named Distinguished Alumna at Berea College and her essay, "Strange Tongues," was the recipient of the Annie Dillard Award from The Bellingham Review. In Spring 2014, she will be the Lewis Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University. For more info, visit: www.karenmcelmurray.com
Kathryn Miles is the author of Adventures with Ari, All Standing, and Against the Sea (forthcoming from Dutton). Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Best American Essays, History, Outside, and How to Write About Anything. She currently serves on the faculty of the low residency graduate programs at Chatham University and Green Mountain College and as an editorial board member for Terrain.
Dinty W. Moore
Dinty W. Moore is author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as the memoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Iron Horse Literary Review, and The Normal School among numerous other venues. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions. For more info, visit www.dintywmoore.com
Jeff Newberry is the author of Brackish (Aldrich Press, 2012) and the chapbook, A Visible Sign (Finishing Line Press, 2008), a nominee for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's Book of the Year. With Brent House, he is the co-editor of The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast (Snake Nation Press, 2013). He has won scholarships from the West Chester University Conference on Form and Narrative the Sewanee Writers Conference. His poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared in a wide variety of print and electronic publications, including Chattahoochee Review, Crab Orchard Review, and StorySouth. His website is http://www.jeffnewberry.com. Follow him at Twitter at @NewberryJeff
Jeff Parker is the author of the nonfiction book Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal, the novel Ovenman, and the story collection The Taste of Penny. He co-edited two anthologies of contemporary Russian writing, Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States, and he co-translated Zakhar Prilepin's novel Sankya. He is the Co-Founder and Director of the DISQUIET International Literary Progam in Lisbon. Formerly the Director of the University of Tampa Low-Residency MFA Program, he currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
David James Poissant
David James Poissant is the author of The Heaven of Animals: Stories (Simon & Schuster, 2014). His stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, The New York Times, One Story, Playboy, Ploughshares, and in the New Stories from the South and Best New American Voices anthologies. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Florida and lives in Orlando with his wife and daughters. Visit him online at: www.davidjamespoissant.com or www.facebook.com/davidjamespoissant
Julia Scheeres is the New York Times-bestselling author of the memoir Jesus Land, and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown. She is a frequent reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and has taught creative nonfiction to MFA students and private clients alike. To learn more: www.juliascheeres.com
Christopher Schelling (literary agent)
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:
George Singleton has published six collections of stories--These People Are Us, The Half-Mammals of Dixie, Why Dogs Chase Cars, Drowning in Gruel, Stray Decorum, and Between Wrecks. His two novels are Novel and Workshirts for Madmen, and his one book of writing advice is Pep Talks, Warnings, and Screeds. Singleton's short stories have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Book, Playboy, Zoetrope, Georgia Review, Five Points, and elsewhere. His work has been anthologized in ten issues of New Stories of the South--the Year's Best, plus in a number of other anthologies. A 2009-10 Guggenheim fellowship recipient, Singleton received the 2011 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and was inducted in the South Carolina Academy of Authors in 2010. He holds the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, SC. For more on Singleton, visit www.georgesingleton.net
Christine Sneed's first book, the story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry, won AWP's 2009 Grace Paley Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her second book, the novel Little Known Facts, was published last winter by Bloomsbury and was named a top ten debut novel of 2013 by Booklist. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the Midwest, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, Massachusetts Review and a number of other journals. She lives in Evanston where she teaches for Northwestern University and for the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. Bloomsbury will publish a new novel, Paris Gare St. Lazare, in 2015. For more info, visit:
Wesley Stace was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1965, and educated at the King's School, Canterbury, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He released 17 albums under the name John Wesley Harding. His new album, Self-Titled, for which he has returned to his given name, is released by Yep Roc, September 2013. He has also published three novels.
Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders, his variety show based at City Winery in NYC, has recently launched on NPR. Since the Cabinet's inception in 2009, the show has become a virtual who's who of contemporary performers, writers, and comedians. It's "one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer" (New Yorker), "a brilliant evening of laid-back fun" (Village Voice), and "one of the most whip-smart variety shows on the market" (Portland Tribune). Additional shows will air in 2014.
Stace has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, and Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), among many others. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists. Most recently, he co-wrote Eleanor Friedberger's Personal Record.
Stace teaches a course ("How To Write A Song") at Princeton University with poet Paul Muldoon. He has also taught literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he curates the Words & Music Festival.
His first novel, the international bestseller Misfortune, was published to great acclaim in 2004. It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, listed as one of the books of the year in the Washington Post and the Boston Phoenix, and was one of Amazon's Top Ten Novels of the Year. His second, By George, (2007) was one of the New York Public Library's Books To Remember of 2007, and Booklist Editor's Choice for books of the year. His third, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, (2010) was called "the most confident musical fiction I have read in years" (New Statesman), and an "Inventive black comedy unfolding with Nabokovian precision" (Financial Times).
Stace's fourth novel, Wonderkid, was published in February 2014 by The Overlook Press.
He has lived in America since 1991, and resides in Philadelphia with his wife Abbey, daughter Tilda, and son Wyn. For more on Stace, visit:
JL Stermer (N.S. Bienstock, a UTA Company) is currently seeking both fiction and non-fiction. On the fiction side she would love to see both commercial fiction, YA and NA (no paranormal romance, sci-fi, or fantasy please). She is intrigued by dark, edgy stories, as well as those with a wry sense of humor. On her wish list is a coming-of-age story from a male point-of-view in the vein of The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll or The Guide to Recognizing Your Saints by Dito Montiel. On the non-fiction side, she is looking for cookbooks and food-related narratives, prescriptive health, diet, and fitness, how-to, reference, narrative nonfiction, current events-related projects and all things pop-culture (science, business, technology, art, music, humor, crafts, DIY.) For more info, please visit:
Megan Stielstra's story collection, Everyone Remain Calm, was a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011, and her essay collection, Once I Was Cool, is forthcoming May 2014. Her work has appeared in The Best American Essays 2013, The Rumpus, PANK, Other Voices, Make Magazine, f Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the Literary Director of the critically-acclaimed 2nd Story storytelling series and has told stories for theaters, festivals, and bars around the country, including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Poetry Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art, and regularly for The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She is the Associate Director of the Center For Innovation in Teaching Excellence at Columbia College where she teaches writing & performance, and is a member of the creative nonfiction faculty at Northwestern University. For more info, visit:
Parker Stockman is a writer, performer, editor, and teacher. His work has appeared in Beards: The Zine, and he has performed stories with 2nd Story (you can find some of his work with them online) and Center on Halsted. A graduate of the Florida Gulf Coast University’s Masters of Arts in English program, he was Editor-in-Chief of Mangrove Review and is currently an editor with 3Elements Review and Flyleaf Journal. A current MFA candidate in Creative Writing – Fiction at Columbia College Chicago, Parker is hard at work on his first novel.
Darin Strauss is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of the American Library Association's Alix Award and The National Book Critics Circle Award. Strauss is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You, and the NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life. These have been New York Times Notable Books, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, Chicago Tribune, and NPR Best Books of the Year, among others. Darin has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries, and he is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU's creative writing program. For more info, visit www.darinstrauss.com
Johnny Temple (editor/publisher)
Johnny Temple is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and the American Association of Publishers' 2005 Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing. Temple is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice and includes stories from Dennis Lehane, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates, and others. Temple teaches courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University and Wesleyan University; and is the Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which works with Brooklyn's borough president to plan the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the band Girls Against Boys, which has toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including The Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum. For more info on Temple and Akashic Books, visit:
Karen R. Tolchin teaches literature, creative writing, and film courses at Florida Gulf Coast University as associate professor in the Department of Language & Literature. Her creative nonfiction has been published in The Rumpus, Belletrist Coterie, and The Tusculum Review. She is the author of Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film. She lives in Naples, Florida, with her husband and son. Someday, she hopes to adopt a large dog that thinks he’s a lap dog.