2014 Hands On Festival Contributors and Bios

*This page is under construction, and will be continually updated as we add speakers and contributors for the upcoming festival.*

Keynote Speakers: 

Castro small headshotJoy Castro is the author of the memoirs The Truth Book (2005; U of Nebraska, 2012) and Island of Bones (U of Nebraska, 2012), the post-Katrina thrillers Hell or High Water (St. Martin’s, 2012) and Nearer Home (St. Martin’s, 2013), and the short story collection How Winter Began (U of Nebraska, forthcoming 2015). Winner of the Nebraska Book Award and an International Latino Book Award, a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and editor of Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family (U of Nebraska, 2013), she teaches creative writing, literature, and Latino studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.




LeeGutkindLee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” is the author and editor of more than 30 books and founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish narrative nonfiction exclusively.  He is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence in the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University and a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

Gutkind has lectured to audiences around the world—from China to the Czech Republic, from Australia to Africa to Egypt.  He has appeared on many national radio and televisions shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), Good Morning America, National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, as well as BBC World.

Gutkind is the recipient of grants and awards from many different organizations, from the National Endowment for the Arts to the National Science Foundation.

A prolific author, his most recent books include Almost Human: Making Robots Think and the widely praised new anthology, True Stories Well Told: From the First Twenty Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

His book:  You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction, From Memoir to Literary Journalism to Everything in Between, is “Reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing,” according to Kirkus Reviews—An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.”

For more information see: www.leegutkind.com


NeilWhiteAuthorShot (1)Neil White has been a newspaper editor, magazine publisher, advertising executive and federal prisoner. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he operates a small publishing company, writes plays and essays, and teaches memoir writing.  His memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts (Morrow/HarperCollins),  was a finalist in the 2010 “Books for a Better Life” program, as well as the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance “Book of the Year” award. In 2010, White won the Outstanding Author of the Year from the Southern Library Association. Barnes & Noble honored White as one of the top three emerging nonfiction authors in America through their “Discover Great New Writers” program.

White’s essays have appeared in dozens of literary journals and magazines. He has contributed to The Oxford American, National Geographic and The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He is the founder of Theatre Oxford’s National Ten Minute Play Contest and editor of the anthology, Ten Minute Plays from Oxford. His scripts have received national awards from Chesterfield Film Corporation and the Edward Albee Last Frontier Play Lab.

White serves as editor of the books, The Education of a Lifetime by Robert Khayat, Mississippians and Mississippi’s 100 Greatest Football Players of All Time and The A Game. He is the publisher of Memphians, The Color of Mississippi, Choctaw Gardens, 501 Mississippi Trivia, A Short Ride: Remembering Barry Hannah, Trials of the Earth, Bell on Mississippi Family Law and Samir Husni’s Guide to New Consumer Magazines. He is editor and publisher of the periodicals Life 101, College People, the Going to College series, as well as several textbooks for first-year college students.

White is married to Deborah Hodges Bell, a law professor at The University of Mississippi. They have three children — Lindsay Bell, Neil White IV, and Maggie White.



Panelists, Presenters, and Readers:

  • Merridith Allen is a playwright, actress, martial artist, yogini and Jane-of-all-trades, residing in New York City. Her work will be featured in this year’s “Best Women’s Stage Monologues and Scenes,” as well as the Best Men’s counterpart anthology. For news and updates about her work, please visit Merridith’s website at www.merridithallen.com.
  • Melanie Almeder’s first book of poems, ON DREAM STREET,  won the Editor’s Prize from the Tupelo Press and was published in 2007.  Her individual poems have been published  in a range of journals, including POETRY,  THE AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW, 32 POEMS, and THE SENECA REVIEW.
  • BlasiBioPicRaised in Florida, Matthew Blasi received his MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University. His short fiction has been published in UpScene Magazine, The Mangrove Review, Slush, Superstition Review, The Arroyo Literary Review, Drunken Boat, and has a forthcoming story coming out in issue 62 of Gargoyle Magazine. He’s a two-time Pushcart nominee for 2013 and 2014, and his forthcoming novel, Sweet Muffin Ranch, is currently being shopped to publishers. His love of good fiction is equaled only by his love of animals, particularly goats and dogs.
  • Amanda Boyden – bio coming soon
  • Joseph BoydenJoseph Boyden is a novelist, short story writer and teacher of creative writing. His novel Three Day Road (2005), a nominee for the Governor General’s Award in 2005,  won the Rogers Writers’ Trust fiction prize, the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year award and the Amazon/Books in Canada first novel award. His second novel, Through Black Spruce (2008) won the Scotia Bank Giller prize. He has also written a book of short stories called Born with a Tooth (2001). He and his wife, Amanda Boyden, are writers-in-residence at the University of New Orleans.
  • Brooke Champagne, a descendant of P. G. T. Beauregard, was born and raised in Jefferson Parish.  She received her B.A. in English from Nicholls State University and her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Louisiana State University.  Her poems and essays have appeared in Louisiana LiteratureDIGPrick of the Spindle, and most recently, in the anthology Tuscaloosa Writes This.  She lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her husband, the poet Brock Guthrie, and their creative dogs King and Nola.
  • KClantonKristen Clanton is a professor of English and writing in Tampa, Florida. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Nebraska and had a wild time doing it. She has most recently published short fiction and poetry in the Mad Hatters’ Review, the Bicycle Review, Midnight Circus, Burlesque Press, and the Sugar House Review.
    • Moira CroneMoiraCrone is a widely published short story writer and novelist.In 2009, she received the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for the body of her work. Her publications include the her current novel, The Not Yet, (2012) What Gets Into Us,(2006) a collection of stories, Dream State (Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi in 1995; Paperback 1997), also stories, A Period of Confinement (New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1986, Paperback, New York: Harper and Row, 1987. French Translation: Paris: Gallimard 1986) a novel, and The Winnebago Mysteries and Other Stories (New York: The Fiction Collective/ Braziller 1982), stories and a novella. In 2012, her novel, The Not Yet, was short listed for the Philp K.Dick Award, for paperback original science fiction novel of year.Her works have been published in numerous magazines, including: The New Yorker, Mademoiselle, Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, North American Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, New Orleans Review, Shenandoah, Callaloo, TriQuarterly, and Habitus. Her non-fiction has appeared in The Oxford American, Beliefnet, Altnet, (online) Family Circle, Working Mother, American Homestyle, Image Journal, among others. She has been included in several anthologies, such as Best from the Ohio Review25th Anniversary Anthology, Smith Voices; Various Gifts, American Made, New Stories by Southern Women, Wide Awake in the Pelican State, Intersections, Best of LSU Fiction, Something in the Water and, forthcoming, a new comprehensive anthology of New Orleans Literature spanning three centuries.Her stories have been chosen for the “Year’s Best” by the award anthology New Stories From The South five times. She has been selected for an individual artist’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, (1990) and a fellowship at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College at Harvard, (1987-88.) She won the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Short Story Prize in 1994, and William Faulkner/Wisdom Award for Novella in 2004. She won an ATLAS grant from the State of Louisiana in 2005-2006. She has been named Image Journal’s “Artist of the Month.”The mother of two daughters, Anya and Kezia, she is married to the writer, and poet, Rodger Kamenetz.
    • Anthony D'AriesAnthony D’Aries is the author of The Language of Men: A Memoir (Hudson Whitman Press, 2012), which received the PEN/New England Discovery Prize and ForeWord Magazine‘s Memoir-of-the-Year Award. His essays have appeared in Solstice, The Good Men Project, Shelf Awareness, The Literary Review, and have been finalists for Fourth Genre‘s Michael Steinberg Essay Prize and the Diana Wood’s Memorial Creative Nonfiction Award. In 2011, Anthony served as Randolph College’s Emerging Writer-in-Residence. As Assistant Professor of English and Writing Program Director at Regis College in Weston, MA, Anthony teaches courses in creative writing, creative nonfiction, and rhetoric. He was recently appointed to the board of PEN/New England as a member of the Freedom-to-Write Committee, which offers writing workshops to marginalized populations in prisons, homeless shelters, and halfway houses. He is currently the nonfiction fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston. www.anthonydaries.com
    • RFertel_headshot_011Son of Gorilla Man mayoral candidate Rodney Fertel and Ruth’s Chris Steak House founder Ruth Fertel, Randy Fertel is passionate about great stories and good causes. His award-winning 2011 memoir, The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak, unspools untold tales as he tries to makes sense of his parents – and himself – in a colorful, food-obsessed New Orleans. Novelist Tim O’Brien calls his new book, A Taste for Chaos, “a stunner of a book – smart, jarring, innovative, witty, provocative, wise, and beautifully written.”
    • JulietFletcherBioPicJuliet Fletcher’s writing has earned her screaming phone calls at 4 a.m., hate-mail folded into matchboxes and at least one crucifix handed to her out of pity. In other words, she has been a reporter on politics and American culture for 15 years, most recently covering the restraint and rarefied tone of New Jersey state politics for the Bergen Record. Internationally, she served as a US news correspondent for The Glasgow Herald in Scotland. Her essays, humor writing and cultural commentary have appeared in numerous journals and publications including the Philadelphia City Paper, where she is proud to say she had her first writing job. A recipient of awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and a longstanding advisor on non-fiction writing at the Winter Getaway, she now works in ‘good government,’ which she swears is a real thing. She is currently at work on a collection of fiction set in the world of politics and news media. Talk to her on Twitter @julietfletcher.
  • ???????????????????????????????John Gery’s books of poetry include The Enemies of Leisure (1995), Davenport’s Version (2003), A Gallery of Ghosts (2008), and Lure (2012), among others, with a new collection, Have at You Now!, forthcoming from CW Books in 2014. His poetry has appeared in journals throughout the U.S. and Europe and has been translated into half a dozen languages. He has also published criticism extensively on a wide range of poets, from John Ashbery to Marilyn Chin, has edited several poetry anthologies and critical books, and has worked as a collaborative translator. His awards include an NEA Fellowship, a Fulbright (Belgrade), and residencies at Bucknell, University of Minnesota, Beijing Institute of Technology, Centro Studi Americani in Rome, and elsewhere. A Research Professor at the University of New Orleans, he directs the Ezra Pound Center for Literature, Brunnenburg, Italy, summer seminars in Poetry Writing and the Poetry of Ezra Pound.
  • Jim Grimsley is a playwright and novelist. Jim’s first novel, Winter Birds, was published by Algonquin Books in 1994. The novel won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.  Jim’s second novel, Dream Boy, won the American Library Association GLBT Award for Literature (the Stonewall Prize) and was a Lambda finalist.  His third novel, My Drowning, was released in January 1997 by Algonquin Books and for it he was named Georgia Author of the Year. His fourth novel, Comfort & Joy, was published in October, 1999, and was a Lambda finalist. A fantasy novel, Kirith Kirin, was published by Meisha Merlin Books in 2000 and won the Lambda in the science fiction and horror category for 2001. He has published short fiction in The Ontario Review and Asimov’s and his stories have been anthologized in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Volume 16Men on Men 4Men on Men 2000, and Best Stories From the South, year 2001.Boulevard, published in 2002 by Algonquin, was again a Lambda finalist in the literature category and won Jim his second Georgia Author of the Year designation. His novel, The Ordinary, a science fiction novel published in 2004 by Tor Books, won a Lambda in the science fiction/fantasy/horror category. His latest two novels are The Last Green Tree, published by Tor Books of New York in 2006, and Forgiveness, published by the University of Texas Press as part of the inaugural James. A. Michener Fiction Series. His new story collection, Jesus Is Sending You This Message, was published in September 2008 by Alyson Books.Jim received the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Writers Award for his body of work in 1997, and has twice been a finalist for the Rome Prize Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2003-2004). In 2005 he won an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.He served as playwright in residence at About Face Theatre in Chicago under a National Theatre Artist Residency Program grant from Theate Communications Group/Pew Charitable Trust (1999-2004); he has been playwright in residence at 7Stages Theatre in Atlanta since 1986. In 1987 he received the George Oppenheimer/Newsday Award for Best New American Playwright for Mr. Universe.  His collection of plays, Mr. Universe and Other Plays,was published by Algonquin Books in 1998, and was a Lambda finalist for drama.His books have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese.
  • RobinJohnstoneRobin Johnstone has two undergraduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently an MA English candidate at the University of New Orleans. She is working on her thesis about travelling jewelry sales. Also, she teaches improvisational performance and writing at La Nuit Theater in New Orleans and has performed comedy improv all over the country.
  • KamenetzRodger Kamenetz is the author of the History of Last Night’s Dream (Harper, 2007) which was featured on
    Oprah’s Soul Series. He’s been working with client dreams since 2002.  Rodger was also founding director of the LSU MFA program where he taught poetry and non-fiction, but is now living in sweet retirement. Rodger Kamenetz’s poems have appeared in 25 major anthologies and in periodicals including  The New Republic, Tikkun, Image, Callaloo, Grand Street, Shenandoah, Exquisite Corpse, Boulevard, Pequod,Southern Review,Western Humanities Review, North American Review. His five books of poetry are The Missing Jew (1979), Nympholepsy (1985), The Missing Jew: New and Selected (1991), Stuck (1995), and The Lowercase Jew (2003).  Six Galleries Press will bring out his latest collection, To Die Next To You in spring 2013.The San Francisco Review of Books noted “his ear is as good as William Carlos Williams in the early poetry.”  Louise Erdrich adds that “Kamenetz’s poems whirl and shake on the page.” The Jerusalem Post called his recent work “stunningly powerful”, and called Kamenetz “a master at infusing seemingly plain words with resonance and depth, with subtle textures and playful ironies, wonderfully open to a whole gamut of human emotions.”In non-fiction, Kamenetz is also the author of the perennial best-seller The Jew in the Lotus now in its 36th printing,  The History of Last Night’s Dream , Terra Infirma: A Memoir of My Mother’s Life in Mine, and Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav and Franz Kafka.More at http://www.kamenetz.com

  • Lania Knight Author 2013Lania Knight’s
    first book, Three Cubic Feet, is a 2012 Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Debut Fiction. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The RumpusFourth Genre, New Stories from the Midwest, PANK, Missouri Review, Jabberwock Review, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. She currently teaches creative writing at Eastern Illinois University. Read more about her at http://www.laniaknight.com.
  • LavenderBill Lavender is a poet, editor, and teacher living in New Orleans. His most recent book is his acclaimed verse memoir, Memory Wing. His poems have appeared in dozens of print and web journals and anthologies, and his essays and theoretical writings have been published in Contemporary Literature and Poetics Today, among others.
  • BLoehfelmPicBill Loehfelm is the author of four novels, most recently, THE DEVIL IN HER WAY, the next Maureen Coughlin adventure and his first New Orleans-set novel. Readers met Maureen for the first time in THE DEVIL SHE KNOWS (2011). His first two novels are, FRESH KILLS, winner of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and BLOODROOT (2009). Born in Brooklyn and raised on Staten Island, Loehfelm moved to New Orleans in 1997 where he now lives with his wife, AC Lambeth, a writer and yoga instructor. Loehfelm’s work about post-Katrina New Orleans has also appeared in the NOLAfugees Press anthologies YEAR ZERO, LIFE IN THE WAKE, and SOUL IS BULLETPROOF. His work has also appeared in Akashic’s STATEN ISLAND NOIR and in the award-winning mystery non-fiction anthology BOOKS TO DIE FOR.
  • BiljanaObradovicBiljana D. Obradović, a Serbian-American poet, translator and critic has lived in Yugoslavia, Greece, and India besides the U.S. since 1988, and has been a US citizen since 2006. She writes in English. She is Professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans. She has three collections of poems, Frozen Embraces (1997), Le Riche Monde (1999), and Little Disruptions (2012). Her poems also appear in Three Poets in New Orleans (2000), and in anthologies (Like Thunder: Poets Respond in Violence in America, Key West: A Collection), and magazines (Poetry East, Bloomsbury Review, Prairie Schooner, The Plum Review). In addition to her own poetry, other works include her Serbian translation of John Gery’s American Ghosts: Selected Poems (1999), Serbian translations of Stanley Kunitz, The Long Boat (2007), Fives: Fifty Poems by Serbian and American Poets, A Bilingual Anthology, as editor and translator (2002), a collection of Bratislav Milanović’s poems into English, Doors in a Meadow (2011), and Serbian translation of Patrizia de Rachewiltz’s poems Dear Friends (2012). Forthcoming is a Serbian translation of Bruce Weigl’s poems entitled, What Saves Us (2013). She also reviews books for World Literature Today (many of which include women’s writing) and others. She is currently co-editing with Dubravka Djurić an anthology of contemporary Serbian poetry of poets born after WWII.
  • Martha Otis is a fiction writer.  Her work has appeared in the Best New American Voices series, the Indiana Review, and elsewhere.  She has won several prizes for her stories, including the Joyce Horton Johnson award from the Key West Literary Festival and the fiction award from the University of New Orleans Writing Contest for Study Abroad.
  • G.M. Palmer preaches, teaches, and wrangles children on an urban farm in Northeast Florida. His criticism and poetry can be found throughout various blogs and magazines, both in print and online. His children can be found throughout the neighborhood or at their grandmother’s house. His notes can be found on legal pads and spiral notebooks. His first book, With Rough Gods, is now available from Amazon and other retailers. His business cards can be found with neat little poems on the back of them.
  • Yaddyra Peralta is a poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sliver of Stone, Ploughshares, Jai-alai, Abe’s Penny, Tigertail, The New Poet, and Hinchas de Poesia. In 2013 she was a Visiting Writer at the Betsy Hotel’s Writer’s Room in South Miami Beach, Florida. This year she contributed several poems to the collaborative artists’ book Conversation, Too, published by Tom Virgin’s Extra Virgin Press.
  • MattPetersMatt Peters has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and a BA in English from the University of Central Florida. His other publications include Voices Rising: Stories from the Katrina Narrative Project edited by Rebeca Antoine; the anthology Keeping Track edited by Yelizaveta P. Renfro; the horror anthologies Bits of the Dead and Skeletal Remains, both edited by Keith Gouviea, and in the journals 580 Split and Burrow Press Review.  He lives in Orlando, FL and runs Beating Windward Press.
  • sraebiopicSarah Rae is a native of Champaign, Illinois. She lives in Chicago with her bilingual cat Maya and teaches high school English in the storied town of Cicero, IL, home to Al Capone and other gangsters past and present. Her poems, writings, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of online and print publications, including fieralingue, Ezra, and Burlesque Press. She’s happy to be making this appearance at the Hands on Conference in NOLA!
  • Matt Roberts is a founding editor of The Normal School literary magazine, which Robert Atwan described as “indispensable for anyone wanting to discover new directions in the contemporary essay” in his introduction to this year’s Best American Essays. Matt’s work has appeared in Isotope, Post Road, Ecotone, Ninth Letter, and on NPR’s Morning Edition.
  • Maurice Ruffin is a graduate of the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans, and is also a member of several writing collectives, including the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance and the Melanated Writers of New Orleans, a group dedicated to supporting writers of color.

    Rachel Kushner selected Ruffin’s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” winner of the 2014 Iowa Review Awards Fiction Contest. This story will appear in the December issue of the Iowa Review. An excerpt of Ruffin’s novel-in-progress, All of the Lights, won the 2014 Faulkner Words and Music contest. His story, “The Anchor Song,” won the 2014 So to Speak fiction prize and appeared in issue 23.2 of that journal. Also, Ruffin’s short story, “Heathen,” appeared in issue two of The Knicknackery in the summer of 2014. In addition, an essay called “A History of Motion” will be published by Cicada Magazine, a young adult journal, in early 2015, and his short story, “The Boy Who Would Be Oloye,” will appear in the spring 2015 issue of The Massachusetts Review. Callaloo Journal will publish an excerpt from his novel-in-progress in an upcoming issue.

    Ruffin’s work has also been published in Redivider Journal (“Catch What You Can”/fiction)(Issue 11.2), the Apalachee Review (“Mercury Forges”/fiction, and “Cheating the Muse”/non-fiction)(issue 62), Regarding Arts & Letters (“Mr. Face”/fiction), 94 Creations (“Heroes and Villains”/fiction)(Issue 5) and the University of New Orleans’ Ellipsis (“And Then I Was Clean”). A short story called “The Pie Man” appeared in the South Carolina Review (Vol. 45, No. 1); “The Pie Man” also received the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop’s 2011 Ernest Svenson Fiction Award. “Motion Picture Making,” another short story, was published by Writing Tomorrow Magazine in June 2014.

    Ruffin received the University of New Orleans’s Creative Writing Workshop’s 2013 Joanna Leake Prize for Fiction Thesis for my short story collection “It’s Good to See You’re Awake.” His essay, “The Beginning of This Road,” appears in Unfathomable City, a New Orleans atlas (edited by Rebecca Solnit and published by the University of California). I performed another essay, “NOLA’s Petals,” on the local NPR affiliate, WWNO. Ruffin is currently at work on a novel.

  • LaurenceRossLaurence Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. In addition to publishing his essays and reviews in literary journals and the Huffington Post, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he is the current Director of P.3Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Biennial Prospect New Orleans.
  • AngelleScottBioPicAngelle Scott is currently the coordinator of the writing center at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has been published in Callaloo and Fourteen Hills.
  • timsnyderbiopicTim Snyder lives in Tampa, Florida and is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University. For the past few years, he has corroded his mind as a writing slum lord, working as the editor and lead journalist for a sufferable automotive journal. He is currently at work on his second novel, Berserker.
  • Jennifer Steil, AuthorJennifer Steil is an American writer, journalist, and actor currently living in La Paz, Bolivia. Her first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (Broadway Books, 2010) is a memoir about her experiences as editor of the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a. The book received accolades inThe New York TimesNewsweek, and the Sydney Morning Herald among other publications. TheMinneapolis Star-Tribune chose it as one of their best travel books of the year in 2010, and Elle magazine awarded it their Readers’ Prize. National Geographic Traveler recently (December 2013/January 2014) included the book in their recommended reading list. It has been published in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, and Poland. Jennifer’s second book, a novel titled The Ambassador’s Wife, will be published by Doubleday in the spring of 2015. The Ambassador’s Wife recently won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award. She is currently working on two novels.
  • IraSukPicIra Sukrungruang is the author of the memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night, which won the Anita Claire Schraf Award. He is coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post RoadThe Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida and the low-residency MFA program at City University in Hong Kong.
  • vanderslicepicJohn Vanderslice teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas, where he also serves as Associate Editor of Toad Suck Review magazine.   His fiction, poetry, essays, and one-act plays have appeared in Seattle Review, Laurel Review, Sou’wester, Crazyhorse, Southern Humanities Review, 1966, Exquisite Corpse, and dozens of other journals.  His new book Island Fog (Lavender Ink), a collection of short stories all set on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, has been named one of the Top 15 Indie Fiction titles of 2014 by Library Journal.
  • DWallaceDaniel Wallace is studying for his PhD at the University of Tennessee. His first novel is represented by Inkwell Management. He was the Toni Brown Scholarship winner to the 2012 Winter Getaway and has been a finalist in several writing contests. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Tampa Review, Fiction Writers Review, HTML Giant, and Air Schooner.

  • Twaters on maltaTawni Vee Waters
      is a writer, actor, college teacher, and gypsy.  Her first novel, Beauty of the Broken, will be released by Simon/Pulse in Fall 2014.  Her first poetry book, Siren Song, will be released by Burlesque Press in Winter 2014.  Her work has been published in Best Travel Writing 2010, Bridal Guide Magazine, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Albuquerque Journal, Albion Review, ABQ Arts Magazine,So To Speak, Blood Lotus, and Conceptions Southwest, among others.  She is a regular contributor to Burlesque Press and was a regular contributor Albuquerque’s East Mountain Telegraph.  In 2010, she won the Grand Prize in the Solas Awards Travel Writing Competition.  In 2009, she won the Editor’s Award for Fiction from Ellipses Magazine.  She teaches creative writing at Estrella Mountain College.  She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her children and a menagerie of wayward animals.  In her spare time, she talks to angels, humanely evicts spiders from her floorboards, and plays Magdalene to a minor rock god.