Festival Authors

Hover over or click on an author’s photo to read their bio.

This Year's Headliners

Emily St. John Mandel is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Glass Hotel, Station Eleven, and Sea of Tranquility. Her novel Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and was adapted into a limited series for HBO. A previous novel, The Singer’s Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely.  American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist.  His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man from DC Comics (with various artists), and the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru).  In 2016, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Alan Moore is perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the graphic story medium, having garnered countless awards for works such as WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, SWAMP THING and MIRACLEMAN. He is also the mastermind behind the America’s Best Comics line, through which he has created (along with many talented illustrators) THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, PROMETHEA, TOM STRONG, TOMORROW STORIES and TOP TEN. As one of the medium’s most important innovators since the early 1980s, Moore has influenced an entire generation of comics creators, and his work continues to inspire an ever-growing audience.

Dr. Mann is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. He has received the Friend of the Planet Award from the NCSE, the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the AAAS, and the Leo Szilard Award of the American Physical Society. He received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2019 and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2020. He is a Fellow of the AGU, AMS, GSA, AAAS, author of more than 200 publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and five books including Dire Predictions, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, The Madhouse Effect, The Tantrum that Saved the World, and The New Climate War.

Briana Scurry is a Hall of Fame goalkeeper and a US Women’s National Team legend. Her epic contributions to her sport and her country are recognized in a permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Aamina Ahmad has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. Her short fiction has appeared in One Story, The Southern Review, Ecotone, and elsewhere; she is also the author of a play, The Dishonored. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Jonathan Alexander is a writer living in Southern California where he is Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author, co-author, or editor of twenty-one books. His cultural journalism has been widely published, especially in the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) for which he is the Special Projects Editor. He is also the host of LARB’s “Writing Sex,” a YouTube series of short interviews with contemporary writers on sex and sexuality. Jonathan’s most recent work of creative nonfiction is Dear Queer Self, completing the “Creep trilogy,” which began with Creep: A Life, a Theory, an Apology and continued with Bullied: The Story of an Abuse.  

Sofia Ali-Khan is a Muslim American activist, public interest lawyer and the author of A Good Country: My Life in Twelve Towns and the Devastating Battle for a White America.  She’s been a community organizer, a hate crimes researcher, an advocate on behalf of victims of domestic violence, and was a founding board member and for the Council on American Islamic Relations-Philadelphia in the years after 9/11.  Her essays on politics, race, and being Muslim in America have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and several other print and online forums.  She now lives in Ontario, Canada.

Daphne Palasi Andreades is the author of the novel, Brown Girls. Daphne is a graduate of CUNY Baruch College and Columbia University’s MFA Fiction program, where she was awarded a Henfield Prize and a Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship. She is the recipient of a 2021 O. Henry Prize, and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing, where she won the Voices of Color Prize, and other honors. She is at work on several projects, including her second novel, short stories, and a few multidisciplinary/multimedia works. She lives in New York City.

Anu Aneja is currently Director of the Women and Gender Studies program at George Mason University. She has recently published a monograph entitled Feminist Theory and the Aesthetics Within: A Perspective from South Asia.  She is the co- author of Embodying Motherhood: Perspectives from Contemporary India (2016). Her edited collections include a comprehensive anthology, Women’s and Gender Studies in India: Crossings (2019), which maps the contemporary contours of the field, and an edited volume on Gender & Distance Education: Indian and International Contexts (2019). She has also published a Hindustani translation of Hélène Cixous’s French play L’Indiade our l’Indede leurs rêves. 

Elizabeth (Betsy) Aoki is a poet, fiction writer and game producer. Her first poetry collection, Breakpoint was a 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist  and went on to receive the Patricia Bibby First Book Award from Tebot Bach. Aoki has received fellowships from the City of Seattle, Artist Trust Foundation, Jackstraw Writers Program, Clarion West Writers Workshop and Hedgebrook. She is the 2021 winner of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize selected by Jericho Brown.  

Latif Askia Ba is a Disabled poet of Italian and Senegalese descent. He was born with cerebral palsy and grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. He attended Edinboro University, where he received his bachelor’s in computer science. He was recently accepted into Columbia University to pursue an MFA in creative writing.At Edinboro, he discovered a passion for language and poetry which led to his first collection of poems, Wet Monasteries (Alien Buddha Press 2019). Since then, he has published award-winning poems such as “Platform” and “Me in Marble.” He hopes to continue the rewarding work of appreciating and elevating Disability through the art of poetry language.

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five books of poetry. The most recent one, The Thinking Eye, was published by Free Verse Editions in 2016. Individual poems have appeared in journals including Field, Image, Witness, Poecology, Tupelo Quarterly, The Missouri Review, and Cincinnati Review. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at George Mason University in Virginia.

Dean Bartoli Smith is a published author, poet, and freelance journalist. His poetry has appeared in Poetry East, Open City, Beltway, The Pearl, The Charlotte Review, The Cultural Studies Times, Gulf Stream, and Upstreet, among others. His book of poems, American Boy won the 2000 Washington Writer’s Prize and was awarded the Maryland Prize for Literature in 2001 for the best book published by a Maryland writer over the past three years. He is also the author of Never Easy, Never Pretty: A Fan, A City, A Championship Season. Smith received an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University in 1989.  He is an adjunct professor of publishing in the Masters in Professional Studies program at George Washington University and the director of Duke University Press. 

Tyler Barton is a literary advocate and cofounder of Fear No Lit, home of the Submerging Writer Fellowship. His fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Subtropics, and elsewhere. He’s earned honors from Kenyon Review, The Chicago Review of Books, Pheobe Journal, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction 2020 and Best Small Fictions 2020. His collection of flash fiction, The Quiet Part Loud, was published by Split Lip Press in 2019. He lives in Lancaster, PA.

DeMisty D. Bellinger has an MFA in creative writing from Southampton College and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska. She teaches creative writing at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. She serves as poetry editor at Porcupine Literary and Malarkey Books. DeMisty’s writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Rumpus and The Best Small Fictions: 2019. She is the author of the chapbook of poems Rubbing Elbows and a full-length poetry collection, Peculiar Heritage.

LaNitra M. Berger is an award-winning scholar, educator, and social justice advocate working towards making higher education accessible to low-income, first-generation, and minority students. For over 15 years, her work as an educator focuses on creating and expanding education abroad opportunities for underrepresented students, particularly in international education. LaNitra is the author of Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants and the monograph, Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color. She is also the editor of Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, and Perspectives.

Rajika Bhandari, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of the new memoir, America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility. Dr. Bhandari is an international higher education expert, a widely published author, and a keynote speaker on issues of international education, skilled immigrants, and educational and cultural diplomacy. Her writing has appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Guardian, The Chronicle of Higher Education, HuffPost, University World News, Times Higher Education, National Geographic Traveler and The Diplomatic Courier, among others. She hosts the weekly EdUp World Wise Podcast about the intersections of education, culture, and migration. 

Sindya Bhanoo is the author of Seeking Fortunes Elsewhere. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, New England Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. A longtime newspaper reporter, she has worked for The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon and teaches at Oregon State University.

Fred Bowen is the author of twenty-seven sports books for young readers ages 8-12.  He is the creator and author of the Fred Bowen Sports Story series, twenty-four books that combine sports fiction, sports history and always have a chapter of sports history in the back.  Bowen has also written three sports history books, including Hardcourt: Stories From 75 Years of the National Basketball Association. Since April 2000, Bowen has written a weekly kids’ sports column for the KidsPost page of The Washington Post.  He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of three novels: Any Other Family, The Weird Sisters, and The Light of Paris.  Her writing has been hailed by People magazine as “delightful” and “creative and original” by Library Journal. In addition to her fiction writing, Eleanor edited the anthology A Paris All Your Own. Her book reviews, interviews, and essays have been featured in publications including The Washington Post, the Guardian, and Publishers Weekly. Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Eleanor lives with her family in Colorado.

Patricia L. Bryan is the Henry P. Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  She is the co-author of Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland and the co-editor of Her America, a collection of short stories by Susan Glaspell. Bryan has written and spoken extensively about Glaspell, publishing articles about Glaspell’s work in the Stanford Law Review and the Annals of Iowa. She has also researched and written about the public financing for sports stadiums.  A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Bryan has been teaching at the UNC School of Law since 1982.

Lowey Bundy Sichol is an award-winning children’s author. She is also the founder of Kids Idea Tank, the nation’s biggest entrepreneurship competition for kids age 13 and younger. Sichol lives near Chicago, Illinois.

Sara Burnett is the author of Seed Celestial, winner of the 2021 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, forthcoming in fall 2022. She has published several poems and essays in Barrow Street, Copper Nickel, Matter, PANK and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, and a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont. In addition to writing poetry and essays, she also writes picture books. She lives in Maryland with her family.

Matthew Cappucci has lived a tempestuous life beyond chasing storms.  He began presenting at conferences and writing for local newspapers at age fourteen, and attended Harvard University, where he created his own special concentration in atmospheric sciences‚ the first-ever in the institution’s 400-year history.  A meteorologist for The Washington Post, Matthew does routine forecasts on NPR, Canada’s CTV News Network (during hurricane season), makes international television appearances during tornado and wildfire episodes, and serves as a frequent U.S. tropical weather expert for BBC News. He also is an on-air meteorologist at FOX5 in Washington D.C. 

Christopher Castellani is the author of five books, most recently the novel Leading Men, for which he received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and MacDowell. The screen adaptation of Leading Men is currently being written by Matthew Lopez (The Inheritance) and produced by Luca Guadagnino and Peter Spears (Call Me By Your Name). His collection of essays on the craft of fiction, The Art of Perspective is taught in many writing workshops. Christopher is the artistic director of GrubStreet and is on the fiction faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA Program and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He lives in Provincetown and Boston.

Priyanka Champaneri received her MFA from George Mason University and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts numerous times. Her debut novel, The City of Good Death, was winner of the 2018 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s 2021 First Novel Prize, and named one of NPR’s 2021 Books We Love.

Mary Childs (she/her) is a co-host of NPR’s Planet Money podcast. She’s been a reporter at Barron’s magazine, the Financial Times and Bloomberg News. She was also a Watson Fellow, spending a year traveling the world painting portraits. She graduated from Washington & Lee University, with a degree in business journalism. and an honors thesis comparing the use and significance of media sting operations in the U.S. and India.

Lee Drutman is the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America. He is a senior fellow at the think tank New America, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, the co-host of the podcast Politics in Question, and the co-founder of Fix Our House, a campaign for proportional representation in America.

Sarah Edmondson is the author of Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life.

Sondra Eklund is the current Youth Materials Selector for Fairfax County Public Library, new to the position after fourteen years as a youth services manager with the library. She served on the 2019 Newbery Medal Selection Committee, and currently serves on panels for the Cybils Awards and the Mathical Book Awards. She blogs about books at Sonderbooks.com, with more than three thousand book reviews posted.

Alicia Elkort is a poet, writer, and artist. She especially likes math, black tea, felines, and trees. Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and been nominated for the Orisons Anthology (2016), A Best of the Net (2018), and the Pushcart (2017 & 2019). She placed 3rd in the 2019 Poetry Superhighway contest. Alicia reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.  Find her online at: https://aliciaelkort.mystrikingly.com @AliciaElkort

Patricia Engel is the author of The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia’s national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. Her novel Infinite Country won the 2021 New American Voices Award. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Patricia is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Miami.

CJ Evans is the author of A Penance (New Issues Press) and The Category of Outcast, selected by Terrance Hayes for the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets chapbook series. He received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and currently lives in California, where he is the editorial director of Two Lines Press, a publisher of international literature in translation.

Stephanie Feldman is the author of the debut novel The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and finalist for the Mythopoeic Award. She is co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? and her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Catapult Magazine, Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family.

Hester Fox is the author of the novel A Lullaby for Witches.

Kristina Gaddy is the author of Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo’s Hidden History and Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Edelweiss Pirates, Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis. She has received the Parsons Fund Award from the Library of Congress, a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship, and a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Rubys Artist Grant. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Narratively, Proximity, Atlas Obscura, and OZY, among other national and local publications. She lives in Baltimore with her partner Pete Ross and their cat.

John Gallagher is the author of the “Max Meow” kids’ graphic novel series from Random House publishing. He is also art director of National Wildlife Federation’s “Ranger Rick” magazine, as well as co-founder of “Kids  Love Comics” (an organization that uses graphic novels to promote literacy). John has spoken at schools and library conferences around the U.S., leading workshops teaching kids and adults about the magic of comics and reading. John lives in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and their three kids. Visit him at www.MaxMeow.Com

Justin Gest is an Associate Professor of Policy and Government at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. He is the author of six books and a variety of peer-reviewed articles on immigration and the politics of demographic change. He co-edits the Oxford University Press book series, “Oxford Studies in Migration and Citizenship” and has provided reporting or commentary for ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New York Times, and more. In 2007, he co-founded the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Bill Glose is a combat veteran and former paratrooper. He has written hundreds of articles for magazines, including Army Times, Virginia Living, and The Writer, and stories, poems, and essays for literary journals, including The Missouri Review, The Sun, and Narrative Magazine. In 2011 he was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate and in 2017 he was featured by NPR on The Writer’s Almanac. His fifth book of poetry was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Book Award. Other honors include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Award and the Dateline Award for Excellence in Journalism. 

Phil Goldstein is a poet, journalist and content marketer. His debut poetry collection, How to Bury a Boy at Sea, will be published by Stillhouse Press in April 2022. His poetry has been nominated for a Best of the Net award and has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Rust + Moth, Two Peach, 2River View, Awakened Voices, The Indianapolis Review, Linden Avenue Literary Journal and elsewhere. By day, he works as a senior editor for a content marketing agency, writing about government technology. He currently lives in Alexandria, Va., with his wife, Jenny, and their animals: a dog named Brenna, and two cats, Grady and Princess.

James Grady’s first novel Six Days Of The Condor became the classic Robert Redford movie Three Days Of The Condor and the current Max Irons TV series Condor.  Grady has received Italy’s Raymond Chandler Medal, France’s Grand Prix Du Roman Noir and Japan’s Baka-Misu literature award, two Regardie’s magazine short story awards, and been a Mystery Writers of America Edgar finalist.  He’s published more than a dozen novels and three times that many short stories, been a muckraker journalist and a scriptwriter for film and television. In 2008, London’s Daily Telegraph named Grady as one of “50 crime writers to read before you die.”

Elisabeth Griffith earned her PhD from The American University and an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College.  She has been a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College. She has written forThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and professional journals and is currently teaching courses in women’s history at the Smithsonian Associates and Politics & Prose. She is the author of In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which was the inspiration for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, Not For Ourselves Alone.

Elisheba Haqq was born in Chandigarh, India, but was brought up in Minnesota, USA. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and currently teaches writing at Rutgers University. Her work has appeared in A Letter for my Mother, Gateways, She.knows.com, and NJ Monthly. An RN by profession, she has also been published in Creative Nursing and Journal of Nursing Education and Practice. 

Virginia Hartman has an MFA in creative writing from American University and is on the faculty at George Washington University. Her stories have been shortlisted for the New Letters Awards and the Dana Awards. The Marsh Queen is her first novel. Find out more at VirginiaHartman.com. Photo credit: Danielle Price.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, a Fulbright scholar, First Jade Nurtured SiHui Female International Poetry Award recipient, recent Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals, and U.S. Library of Congress Witter Bynner fellow, has written seven books of poetry, one book of nonfiction, and a play. Following former fieldworker retraining in Santa Paula and Ventura in the mid-1980s, she began teaching, and she is now a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

Chelsea T. Hicks’ writing has been published in the  LA Review of Books, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, the Believer, The Audacity, Yellow  Medicine Review, Indian Country Today and elsewhere. She is an incoming Tulsa Artist Fellow  and a recent graduate from the MFA program in creative writing at the Institute of American  Indian Arts. She is a 2016 Wah-Zha-Zhi Woman Artist featured by the Osage Nation Museum, a  2016 and 2017 Writing By Writers Fellow, and a 2020 finalist for the Eliza So Fellowship for  Native American women writers. She is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation and she belongs to the Pawhuska District.  

Huan Hsu is the author of The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China and a former staff writer for the Washington City Paper and Seattle Weekly, where he won multiple Society of Professional Journalists awards and received recognition from the Casey Foundation for Meritorious Journalism. His essays and fiction have appeared in Slate, The Literary Review, The Guardian, and Lucky Peach. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, he received his MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. He lives in Amsterdam and teaches creative writing and journalism at Amsterdam University College.

Alma Katsu is the award-winning author of seven novels. Her latest is The Fervor, a reimagining of the Japanese internment that Booklist called “a stunning triumph” (starred) and Library Journal called “a must read for all, not just genre fans” (starred). Red Widow, her first espionage novel, is a nominee for the Thriller Writers Award for best novel, was a NYT Editors Choice, and is in development for a TV series.

Shana Keller is enthralled by history and passionate about sharing any and every amazing story she uncovers. She is the author of Bread for Words; A Frederick Douglass Story (2021 Irma S. Black Honor Award), Fly, Firefly! and Ticktock Banneker’s Clock (Best STEM Book, Children’s Book Council), all published by Sleeping Bear Press. She lives in North Carolina with her family and two odd cats. Speaking of two, while working on current projects and learning how to garden, Shana eagerly awaits the publication of her next two picture books. One is scheduled for release in 2024 and the other, in 2025. Updates on these projects will be shared on her Instagram account and website. 

Debra Kempf Shumaker loves weird and fascinating facts. When she isn’t reading or writing, Debra enjoys cooking, gardening, and watching Jeopardy. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, three sons, and two cats who miss the days when the youngest son owned an aquarium full of fish. Freaky, Funky Fish was her debut picture book.

María Teresa León was born in Spain. Growing up in Madrid, she acquired a love for the Arts and Literature while spending her childhood in endless visits to the Prado Museum and the National Library. She has studied in Spain and the United States and obtained degrees in Education, English, and Literature. María Teresa has spent her adult life travelling and living in many different countries around the world while teaching Writing and Literature at the university level. These experiences award the author the privilege of a creative point of view permeated with rich and diverse cultural elements. The author currently teaches Writing and Rhetoric at NOVA in the state of Virginia.

Laurie Loewenstein is the author of Death of a Rainmaker, the first in the Dust Bowl mystery series and a finalist for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards. She teaches at the Maslow Family Graduate in Creative Writing Program of Wilkes University and is a fifth-generation Midwesterner.

Elena Medel is a Spanish writer and the founder and publisher of La Bella Varsovia, now a poetry imprint of Anagrama. Medel was the first woman ever to win the prestigious Francisco Umbral Prize for her debut novel, The Wonders (Algonquin), which was also longlisted for the Finestres Award and has been translated into fifteen languages. She published her prize-winning first collection of poetry, My First Bikini (Jai Alai Books), when she was sixteen years old.

Ann McCallum Staats is the author of Thrill SeekersWomen Heroes of the US ArmyThe Secret Life of Math, which won ForeWord’s INDIE Gold Book of the Year, and the Eat Your Homework series. She holds a BA in Education from University of Victoria, BC, and an MA in Education from the University of Maryland.  

Ann McCallum Staats is the author of Thrill SeekersWomen Heroes of the US ArmyThe Secret Life of Math, which won ForeWord’s INDIE Gold Book of the Year, and the Eat Your Homework series. She holds a BA in Education from University of Victoria, BC, and an MA in Education from the University of Maryland.  

As drummer for the rock band Uncle Green, Peter McDade spent fifteen years traveling the country in a series of Ford vans. While the band searched for fame and a safe place to eat before a gig, he began writing short stories and novels. He went to Georgia State University when the band went into semi-retirement, earning an MA in History. His first novel, The Weight of Sound, was published in 2017 and the Georgia Author of the Year Award for best debut; his second novel, Songs By Honeybird, was published in 2022. He lives in Atlanta with his family.

Karyna McGlynn is a writer, professor & collagist. She is the author of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande 2009) and Hothouse (Sarabande 2017), which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Karyna holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan, & a PhD in Creative Writing & English Literature from the University of Houston. Recent honors include the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, a visiting professorship at Oberlin College, the Rumi Prize for Poetry selected by Cate Marvin, & the Florida Review Editors’ Award in Fiction.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the former editor-in-chief of MultiCultural Review. Her young adult novel Gringolandia was a 2010 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and received an Américas Award Honorable Mention from the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs. She is also the author of Surviving Santiago, Rogue, and Torch and the coauthor with Zetta Elliott of Moonwalking.

Amanda Montell is a writer, linguist, and podcaster living in Los Angeles. She is the author of two critically acclaimed nonfiction books, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism and Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language. Cultish was named a best book of 2022 by NPR, and is currently in development for television with Loveless Media and Topic Studios. Amanda is also the creator and co-host of the podcast, Sounds Like A Cult, which was named one of the best podcasts of the year by Vulture, Wired, and Esquire. Amanda is currently at work on her third book The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality

Tanisia “Tee” Moore is the co-owner of Moore and Young Legal Solutions, a virtual law firm based out of Birmingham, Alabama. She is the author of My Ancestors’ Dream and an active member of SCBWI, Romance Writers of America, and #BlackCreatorsInKidLit, as well as a 2020 Permission to Write mentee.

Stacie Murphy grew up near Nashville, TN. She is the author of A Deadly Fortune and The Unquiet Dead (Pegasus Crime) and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and the worst cat in the world.

Vivek Narayanan’s books of poems include Universal Beach, Life and Times of Mr S and the forthcoming After: a Writing Through Valmiki’s Ramayana. His poems, stories, translations and critical essays have appeared in journals like The Paris Review, Granta.com, Poetry Review (UK), Modern Poetry in Translation, Harvard Review, Agni, The Caribbean Review of Books and elsewhere, as well as in anthologies like The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem and The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry. Narayanan is also a member of Poetry Daily’s editorial board. He was the Co-editor of Almost Island, an India-based international literary journal from 2007-2019.

Valerie Nieman‘s In the Lonely Backwater, a YA/crossover suspense novel in the Southern gothic tradition, will be published by Regal House/Fitzroy Books in May. To the Bones, her genre-bending folk horror/thriller about coal country, was a finalist for the 2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award, joining three earlier novels, a short fiction collection, and three poetry collections. She has published widely in journals, and has held state and NEA creative writing fellowships. Nieman holds degrees from West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte and retired as a creative writing professor at NC A&T State University. 

Susan Nguyen hails from Virginia and currently lives and writes in Arizona. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Arizona State University, where she won the Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Prize and fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. In 2018, PBS NewsHour named her one of “three women poets to watch.” Her work appears in diagram, Tin House, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, Dear Diaspora, won the 2020 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was published by the University of Nebraska Press in September 2021. She is currently the Senior Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review

Okezie Nwọka was born and raised in Washington, D.C. They are a graduate of Brown University and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as a Dean Graduate Research Fellow. They are presently teaching and living in their hometown. God of Mercy is their first novel. www.okezienwoka.com



Jason Ockert is the author of Wasp Box, a novel, and three collections of short stories: Shadowselves, Neighbors of Nothing, and Rabbit Punches. Winner of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, the Atlantic Monthly Fiction Contest, and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, he was also a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Million Writers Award. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Best American Mystery Stories, Granta, The Cincinnati Review, Oxford American, One Story, and McSweeney’s. He teaches at Coastal Carolina University.

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan has written several fiction books with Capstone, Heinemann Literacy Project, and KPS Storybook Development. She also writes for Highlights for Children, Muse, and Spider. She is the regional advisor for SCBWI Pennsylvania: West and won an SCBWI Merit Award in 2020. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Frances Park is the author (or co-author) of eleven books including the memoir “That Lonely Spell” (Heliotrope 2022), the novel “When My Sister Was Cleopatra Moon” (Hyperion 2000) and children’s book “Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong” (National Geographic Books 2002). Her shorter works have been widely published in O: The Oprah Magazine, The Columbia Journal, Arts & Letters, The Chicago Quarterly, USA Today, The Belleview Literary Review, Coolest American Short Stories 2022, and many more. Frances’ essay “You Two Are So Beautiful Together” (Massachusetts Review) earned a spot on The Best American Essays 2017 Notable List.



Inspired by her heritage, Ginger Park’s children’s books have received many awards including the 1999 International Reading Association Award, the 2002 Joan G. Sugarman Award, Bank Street College Awards, Notable Books for a Global Society Awards, and the Paterson Prize, among others. She is the author of the historical middle grade novel “The Hundred Choices Department Store.” Her forthcoming picture book “Grandpa’s Scroll” will be published by Albert Whitman & Co. on March 1, 2023. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her at chocolate shop in Washington, DC known as Chocolate Chocolate chatting books and chocolate with her customers.

Lori Polydoros has been writing for children for over twenty years and educating for almost thirty. She currently teaches high school and community college English while writing for children. She is the author of books, articles, and short stories for newspapers, magazines, small presses, and educational publishers such as Capstone Press, Houghton-Mifflin, Reading A-Z, Highlights, and the Los Angeles Times Kids’ Reading Room. She lives in Orange, California.  

Jonathan Roth writes and illustrates chapter books (the BEEP AND BOB series) and graphic novels (the ROVER AND SPECK series) aimed at young readers who like humorous, out-of-this-world adventures. He is also in his 24th year as a public elementary art teacher in Maryland. When not creating or teaching, he can be found cycling, hiking, canoeing or napping.

Danielle S. Rudes, Ph.D. is a Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University and the Deputy Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!) at George Mason University. Dr. Rudes is a qualitative researcher with over 20 years of experience working with corrections agencies. Her research intersects at the nexus of law and society, punishment, and organizational theory. Dr. Rudes received the American Society of Criminology’s Teaching Award and several other awards for her research, mentoring, and teaching. 

For the past twenty-five years, Shelley Sackier has devoted her efforts toward creating a plainspoken, easygoing, and humorous grasp on the subject of whisky to welcome more people into this realm and to distill down this sophisticated spirit one simple sip at a time. She works as the Director of Distillery Education at Reservoir Distillery in Virginia, lives in in the Old Dominion, and is also a critically acclaimed author of three YA novels. 

Katharine Schellman is the author of the Lily Adler Mysteries and the Nightingale Mysteries. Her debut novel, The Body in the Garden, was one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2020 and led to her being named one of BookPage’s 16 Women to Watch in 2020. Her second novel, Silence in the Library, was praised as “worthy of Rex Stout or Agatha Christie” (Library Journal). Katharine lives and writes in the mountains of Virginia in the company of her husband, children, and the many houseplants she keeps accidentally murdering.

Melissa Scholes Young was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. She is the author of the novels Flood and The Hive. She’s a Contributing Editor for Fiction Writers Review and Editor of two volumes of D.C. Women Writers: Grace in Darkness (2018) and Furious Gravity (2020). Scholes Young was named a Bread Loaf Camargo Fellow and a Quarry Farm Fellow at the Center for Mark Twain Studies. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C.

Tom Sleigh is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The King’s Touch, just out from Graywolf Press. His most recent book of essays, The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing In an Age of Refugees, recounts his time as a journalist in the Middle East and Africa. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award, a Lila Wallace Award, John Updike Award, among others. Sleigh’s poems appear in numerous magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Threepenny Review, Harvard Review, and The Common. He is a Distinguished Professor in the MFA Program at Hunter College.

Matt Smythe is a staff writer for Free Range American. He hails from the Finger Lakes region of western New York. An Army veteran and lifelong outdoorsman, Matt suffers from an inability to sit still. If he’s not in the woods, or on the water, he’s scheming ways to get there. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in So it Goes, Gray’s Sporting Journal, the Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Southern Culture on the Fly, Blueline, Revive, Midcurrent, TROUT Magazine, and a handful of other magazines and literary journals.

Jyotsna Sreenivasan is the author of the short story collection These Americans and the novel And Laughter Fell From the Sky. Both are about Indian Americans. She was selected as a Fiction Fellow for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines and anthologies.  She received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts. She was born and raised in Ohio. Her parents are immigrants from India.

Zara Stone is a Bay Area author and award-winning journalist who covers the intersection of culture, technology, and social justice. She’s published with The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vice, Wired, ABC News, among others. She was born in London, England, and moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her affiliations include the San Francisco Writers Grotto, and The Authors Guild. Publishers Weekly described her first adult book, Killer Looks: The Forgotten History of Plastic Surgery in Prisons, as “essential reading for anyone interested in criminal rehabilitation.”

Robin Talley (she/her) is a queer author who grew up in southwest Virginia and now lives in Washington, D.C., with her wife and their rambunctious kiddos. She did digital communications work for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, educational equity, and other progressive causes for fifteen years before she turned to writing full-time, and is now the New York Times-bestselling author of seven novels for teen readers, including The Love Curse of Melody McIntyreMusic From Another WorldPulp, and As I Descended. Her books have been short-listed for the Lambda Literary Award and the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and have appeared on the Junior Library Guild, Amelia Bloomer Project, Kids’ Indie Next, and ALA Rainbow lists. You can find her at www.robintalley.com.

Morgan Talty is the author of Night of the Living Rez. He is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. Named one of Narrative’s “30 Below 30,” Talty’s work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. He lives in Levant, Maine.

Dr. David A. Tenenbaum has been working for the US Army as a civilian engineer since December 1984. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Chemical Engineering and a Doctorate in Business Administration. He has extensive experience working with other countries. One of his primary responsibilities was to assess the safety of military vehicles and develop technologies to increase their safety He was one of the first scientists/engineers in the US to recognize the deficiency of the HMMWVs against IEDs and developed a program with the Israelis and Germans to ensure the safety of US soldiers in these vehicles. 

Jane Turner Censer, professor emerita of history, taught at George Mason University for almost thirty years. Her research has focused on women and the family in the Civil War and wider nineteenth century, and her essays and prize winning articles have appeared in numerous journals including the Journal of Southern History, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Southern Cultures, the American Journal of Legal History, and American Quarterly In 2017-18 she served as president of the Southern Historical Association.

Chiêu Anh Urban is an author/illustrator and novelty book format designer.  She specializes in developing interactive, playful books designed to empower the youngest readers through fun learning and exploration. Chiêu’s novelty titles include 123 ZOOM and ABC ROAR (2022) with Little Simon/S&S, and board book series ILLUSIONS IN ART (2023) with Candlewick Press.  She is the creator of Color Wonder Hooray for Spring!, Color Wonder Winter is Here!, Quiet as a Mouse: And Other Animal Idioms, Away We Go! and Raindrops.  Chiêu holds a BFA in Communications Art and Design from VCU School of the Arts. 

John Vanderslice holds an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Currently, he teaches creative writing to both graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Central Arkansas. His stories, poems, essays, and plays have appeared in scores of creative journals, including Seattle Review, Sou’wester, South Carolina Review, The Pinch, 1966, and Exquisite Corpse. His recent books include the historical novel The Last Days of Oscar Wilde (Burlesque Press, 2018) and the crime novel Nous Nous, published by Braddock Avenue Books in 2021.

Stephanie Vanderslice is Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas. She is the author of The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us, named a top writing book by Poets and Writers and The Writer magazine, well as many books about teaching creative writing.  The Lost Son is her first novel. 

Marco Wilkinson has been a horticulturist, a farmer, and an editor. He has taught literature and creative writing at Oberlin College; University of California, San Diego; James Madison University; and Antioch University’s MFA program, and has taught horticulture and sustainable agriculture at Lorain County Community College and MiraCosta College. He has been the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Individual Excellence and fellowships from the Hemera Foundation, Craigardan, and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference. Madder is his first book.

Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 2022. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back. Hell Followed with Us is his debut novel.

Thomas Wolf is the co-author of the forthcoming true crime book The Plea.  He is also the co-author of Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland (Algonquin Books 2005) and the author of The Called Shot: Babe Ruth, the Chicago Cubs, and the Unforgettable Major League Baseball Season of 1932 (University of Nebraska Press 2020).  THE CALLED SHOT was named “best baseball book of 2020” by Sports Collectors Digest and was a finalist for the prestigious Seymour Medal in 2021.  Wolf’s short story, “Boundaries,” received Special Mention in Pushcart Prizes 2014.  He lives and writes in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

MOROWA YEJIDÉ, a native of Washington, DC, is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Time of the Locust, which was a 2012 finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, long-listed for the 2015 PEN/Bingham Prize, and a 2015 NAACP Image Award nominee; and Creatures of Passage, which was short-listed for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a 2021 Notable Book selection by NPR and the Washington Post. She lives in the DC area with her husband and three sons.

Katherine E. Young is the author of Woman Drinking Absinthe (Alan Squire Publishing, 2021), Day of the Border Guards (2014) and two chapbooks. She is the editor of Written in Arlington and curator of Spoken in Arlington. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. She has translated books by Anna Starobinets, Akram Aylisli, and two collections by Inna Kabysh. Young was named a 2020 Arlington County (Virginia) Individual Artist Grant recipient and a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts translation fellow. From 2016-2018, she served as the inaugural poet laureate for Arlington, Virginia. 

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