Festival Authors

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

2023 Headliners

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on understanding what climate change means for people and the places where we live. She is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a Horn Distinguished Professor and Endowed Professor of Public Policy and Public Law in the Dept. of Political Science at Texas Tech University. Her book, “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” was released in Sept 2021 and she also hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding, currently in its fifth season. Katharine has been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, the United Nations Champion of the Environment, and the World Evangelical Alliance’s Climate Ambassador.

Nick Hornby is an award-winning author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose stories explore human connection with a catchy blend of snappily observed humor and unsentimental emotion. His books, which have sold over 5 million copies, include the bestselling novels High Fidelity, About A Boy, How to Be Good, Juliet Naked, and 2020’s Just Like You. Hornby’s bestselling novels have also served as inspiration for filmmakers in movies known for their keenly observed, emotional honesty. His latest nonfiction book Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius is a short, warm, and entertaining reflection on art, creativity, and the unlikely similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and modern American rock star Prince.

Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. James is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. 

Leila Aboulela’s novel, River Spirit, was published in March 2023 and described by The New York Times as ‘Dazzling… a novel of war, love, faith, womanhood and – crucially – the tussle over truth and public narratives’. Leila’s previous novels are Bird Summons, The Kindness of Enemies, The Translator, Minaret and Lyrics Alley, Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Her short story collection Elsewhere, Home, won the Saltire Fiction Book of the Year. Leila is the first-ever winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, and her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She is Honorary Professor of the WORD center at the University of Aberdeen.

Sofia Ali-Khan is a writer and an accomplished public interest attorney. She has worked for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Prairie State Legal Services in Illinois, and the American Bar Association. She became a national leader on the right to language access and also practiced in the areas of welfare law, Medicaid access, immigration, and community economic development. She was a founding board member and activist with the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).  A second-generation Pakistani American born and raised in the United States, Ali-Khan now lives in Ontario, Canada, with her family.

Anthony Award-nominated E.A. Aymar’s most recent thriller, No Home for Killers, was published to praise from the New York Times, Kirkus, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and was an instant Amazon Bestseller. His previous thriller, They’re Gone, received rave reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus (starred), and was named one of the best books of 2020 by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He is a former member of the national board of the International Thriller Writers and is an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Sisters in Crime. He runs the DC Noir at the Bar series, was born in Panama and now lives and writes in, and generally about, the DC/MD/VA triangle.

Zeina Azzam is a Palestinian American poet, writer, editor, and community activist. She serves as the poet laureate of Alexandria, Virginia, for 2022-25. Her poems appear in Pleiades, Mizna, Sukoon, Gyroscope, Passager, Barzakh, Bettering American Poetry, Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees, Making Levantine Cuisine, and Gaza Unsilenced, among others. Azzam’s chapbook, Bayna Bayna, In-Between, was published in 2021 by The Poetry Box and her poetry collection, Some Things Never Leave You, will be released in summer 2023 by Tiger Bark Press. She holds an MA in Arabic literature from Georgetown University.

Danielle Badra received her BA in Creative Writing from Kalamazoo College (2008) and her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University (2017). Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Danielle will be serving as the Fairfax County Poet Laureate from 2022-2024. 

Chris Barbuschak, a Fairfax County native, is the manager of Fairfax County Public Library’s Virginia Room. A graduate in history from Loyola University Chicago, he received his MLIS from Dominican University. 

Juan Gómez Bárcena is the author of Not Even the Dead. He is the winner, among others, of the Premio Ojo Crítico de Narrativa and the Premio Cálamo Otra Mirada, and finalist in the Madrid
bookshops’ prize for the best fiction book of 2020.

Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Scott W. Berg holds a BA in architecture from the University of Minnesota, an MA from Miami University of Ohio, and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University, where he now teaches writing and literature. The author of Grand Avenues: The Story of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C., he is a regular contributor to The Washington Post.

I.S. Berry spent six years as an operations officer for the CIA, serving in wartime Baghdad and elsewhere. She has lived and worked throughout Europe and the Middle East, including two years in Bahrain during the Arab Spring. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Haverford College. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, she lives in Virginia with her husband and son. She’s one of only a few females in the spy novel genre.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is the author of the poetry collection Negative Money. 

Caty Borum is Executive Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact; Associate Professor of Communication at American University; and author of Story Movements: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change; and co-author, with Lauren Feldman, of A Comedian and An Activist Walk Into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice.

At eight years old, Hanh Bui and her family left war-torn Vietnam for safety and a new beginning. After nine days at sea, they were rescued by the United States Navy. Inspired by her first American teacher, Hanh grew up to also become a teacher. During her years as an educator, she was disappointed that there were few books with Asian American characters or stories written by Vietnamese American authors, so Hanh decided to write stories based on her childhood refugee experiences and Vietnamese heritage. Hanh feels honored to add her voice to the countless diverse creators sharing their stories with young readers today. 

Lindsay Cameron worked as a corporate lawyer in Vancouver and New York before becoming a novelist. She is the author of Just One Look, Biglaw and No One Needs to Know. 

W. Bruce Cameron is the creator of the most beloved brand of family dog entertainment in the world.  The #1 New York Times, USA Today and International bestselling novel A Dog’s Purpose, has been translated into over 50 languages and continues to top bestseller lists worldwide.  The Amblin/Universal film of the book (for which he was a screenwriter along with his wife, Cathryn Michon) is the most successful international live-action dog movie of all time beating previous champ Marley and Me. A popular and hilarious guest in all media, Bruce has appeared on some of the most popular shows on television. 

Brett Crozier grew up in California, graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and embarked on a thirty-year career in the Navy, flying dozens of combat missions over Iraq and leading at the highest levels of operational command. He served as the commanding officer of a combat F/A-18 strike fighter squadron, the world’s largest and most advanced communications ship, and ultimately the USS Theodore Roosevelt before retiring from the Navy in 2022. 

Robert Deans has doodled all his life. While managing a comic shop, he drew a webcomic as a form of stress relief. The day after being laid off in 2014, an idea for a children’s book about a cow lost in space struck, followed quickly by a chapter book featuring a koala super spy and Deans Family Productions was born. Deans works with his wife and Kidlet – who also write and draw – to make children’s books, comics, and more which are fun and engaging that delight children of all ages. Deans lives just outside Washington, DC with his wife, Kidlet, and tons of new story ideas.

Sam Deans, aka Kidlet, is a typical teen, when you make allowances for one raised by someone with her father’s sense of humor. Currently navigating the radically peculiar landscape of “life after pandemic-era high school,” Kidlet’s art career is settling into an actual career… with breaks for retail. Already showing an aptitude for coloring her father lacks, Kidlet has tried writing and painting, and is trying to decide if either interests her at all. Beyond that, her parents are trying to nudge her into her own life as gently as possible, while also remaining convinced Sam is just a human bernadoodle puppy.

T.N. Eyer is a graduate of Yale Law School and worked as a corporate lawyer in London and Los Angeles before transitioning to writing fiction full-time. She now lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and daughter. Finding Meaning in the Age of Immortality is her first novel. 

Kristina Forest is an author of romance books for young adults. Her novels include I Wanna Be Where You Are, Now That I’ve Found You, Zyla & Kai and The Neighbor Favor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School, and she can often be found rearranging her bookshelf.

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. 

Mojgan Ghazirad is a medical doctor and currently works as an assistant professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University. She holds an MFA in creative writing and has published three collections of short stories in Farsi. Her essays have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Idaho Review, Longreads, The Common, Bombay Review, and Assignment. She lives with her family in Great Falls, Virginia.

Dr. Benjamin Gilmer is a family medicine physician in Fletcher, North Carolina. He is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow for Life and associate professor in the department of family medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center. A former neurobiologist turned rural family practitioner, Dr. Gilmer has lectured across the country about medical ethics, rural health, and the intersection of medicine and criminal justice reform. He lives with his wife, Deirdre; their two children, Kai and Luya; and their dog, Prince Peanut Butter, in Asheville, North Carolina.

David Goodrich worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and served as the Director of the UN Global Climate Observing System in Geneva, Switzerland. He retired as head of NOAA’s Climate Observations and Monitoring Program. In addition to his cross-country bicycle trip, he has ridden down the Appalachians and across Montana, South Dakota, France and Spain. He lives in Maryland.

C.W. Goodyear was born in Louisiana in 1993. He moved between Australia and the U.K. while growing up, before returning to the U.S. to attend Yale University.  He graduated in 2016 with a degree in Global Affairs, then moved to Washington, DC. He currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

A visual artist, filmmaker, and writer who hails from Mexico City, Leopoldo Gout studied sculpture at Central St. Martins School of Art in London. His work belongs to multiple collections and has been in exhibitions all over the world. After finishing his studies, Gout’s creativity extended into writing, television, and film. He is the author of the books Ghost Radio and the award-winning Genius YA trilogy, and the recently published fable for all ages, Monarca.

Alyssa Graybeal is a queer writer and cartoonist whose work focuses on the emotional landscape of living with chronic illness and disability, in particular the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which can be funnier than it sounds. Floppy: Tales of a Genetic Freak of Nature at the End of the World is her first memoir and won the 2020 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Book Award. She has a BA from McGill University and an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and she works as an editor and writing coach. You can find her online at www.alyssagraybeal.com. She lives in Astoria, Oregon. 

Martha Greenwald is the creator/curator of The WhoWeLost Project, an online Covid Memorial that is centered on the importance of writing. A poet, Greenwald’s work has been widely published in such journals as Poetry, the Threepenny Review, Best New Poets, and Slate. Her poetry book, Other Prohibited Items, was the winner of the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize.  She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo and elsewhere.

Jennifer Grotz is the author of Still Falling (Graywolf Press 2023) and Window Left Open, and the award-winning author of two previous poetry collections, The Needle and Cusp. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, the New Yorker, and Best American Poetry. She teaches at the University of Rochester.

Laura Lee Gulledge (she/ we) is an Eisner Award nominated cartoonist, teaching artist, musical librettist, and collaborative muralist based in Charlottesville, VA. Her books include YA graphic novels The Dark Matter of Mona Starr, Page by Paige, Will & Whit, and the interactive Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. Laura Lee explores visual storytelling at the intersection of wellness, whimsy, comics, co-creation, neurodiversity, and citizen artistry. When not in the studio she enjoys ecstatic dancing, hiking, and rest.

Harnessing childhood appreciation for hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors, while connecting ecotourism experience on all seven continents, Mike Gunter, Jr., Ph.D. is an author and speaker on climate change politics, ecotourism, and all things sustainable development. A former Fulbright professor who currently serves as Cornell Distinguished Faculty and Arthur Vining Davis Fellow at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, his work appears with NPR, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Previous books include Building the Next Ark: How NGOs Work to Protect Biodiversity and Tales of an Ecotourist: What Travel to Wild Places Can Teach Us About Climate Change.

Joe Hall is a Buffalo-based writer and reading series curator. His five books of poetry include Fugue & Strike (2023) and Someone’s Utopia (2018). He has performed and delivered talks nationally at universities, living rooms, squats, and rivers. His writing has appeared in places like Postcolonial Studies, Poetry Daily, Best Buds! Collective, terrain.org, Peach Mag, PEN America Blog, dollar bills, and an NFTA bus shelter. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.

A former academic and adjunct, Alix E. Harrow is a Hugo-award winning writer living in Virginia with her husband and their two semi-feral kids. She is the author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Once and Future Witches, and various short fiction. Find her on Twitter!

CJ Hauser is a multi-genre, non-binary, queer amphibian of a person who splits time between rural Central New York and Brooklyn. Their memoir, The Crane Wife is published by Doubleday in the US and Viking in the UK. They are also the author of two novels: Family of Origin and The From-Aways. Some places their work has appeared include: Tin House, Narrative Magazine, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Esquire, Third Coast, The Kenyon Review, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Elle Magazine UK, Vogue UK, and The New York Times. They hold an MFA from Brooklyn College and a PhD from Florida State University.

Born and raised in Singapore, Rachel Heng is the author of the novel Suicide Club, translated into ten languages. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers and has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the National Arts Council of Singapore, among others. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University.

Halle Hill is a writer from East Tennessee. She is a PEN/Dau Short Story Prize nominee, winner of the 2021 Crystal Wilkinson Creative Writing Prize, and a finalist for the 2021 ASME Award for Fiction. Her work is featured in Joyland, New Limestone Review, and Oxford American among others. Her debut collection, Good Women: Stories, will publish with Hub City Press in 2023.

Ivelisse Housman is a Puerto Rican-American author and illustrator. At all seven schools she attended throughout her childhood, she was infamously “that kid who gets in trouble for reading during class, but refuses to stop.” She was diagnosed with autism at 15, which made everything make a lot more sense. When she isn’t writing, she can be found making soup or tending to her houseplants. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her high school sweetheart/archnemesis and their two rescue dogs.

A Purple Heart recipient, Benjamin Inks served three years in the Army and has worked an odd array of jobs—private investigator, personal trainer, peer recovery at a crisis receiving center. So far, the highlight of his résumé was teaching literature as a grad student at George Mason University. Follow him on Instagram @Inks_Thinks

Dr. Kelly Ann Jacobson is the author or editor of many published books, including her contest-winning chapbook An Inventory of Abandoned Things (Split/Lip Press) her young adult novel Tink and Wendy (Three Rooms Press), and her young adult novel Robin and Her Misfits. Kelly received her PhD in fiction from Florida State University and teaches as the Assistant Professor of English (Creative Writing) at the University of Lynchburg and as an Instructor of speculative fiction and short story writing for Southern New Hampshire University’s online MFA in creative writing.

Tania James is the author of four works of fiction, all published by Knopf: The Tusk That Did the Damage, which was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize; Aerogrammes and Other Stories, named a Best Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and The San Francisco Chronicle; and the novel Atlas of Unknowns, which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a finalist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Her short stories have appeared in Freeman’s: The Future of New Writing; Granta; The New Yorker; O, The Oprah Magazine; and One Story, among other places. Her new novel, Loot, was published June 2023. 

Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast, which was longlisted for The Story Prize. Her work has been shortlisted for the Creative Capital Awards and been supported by residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Whiteley Center. Her interview series with the authors, editors, and curators of craft books and resources is freely available in Catapult’s Don’t Write Alone and the Kenyon Review blog. Joffre earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. After graduate school, she served as the 2020-2022 Hugo House Prose Writer-in-Residence and co-organized the Fight for Our Lives performance series. 

Alma Katsu has written eight novels. Her work has been nominated and won awards in the U.S. and internationally, and appeared on numerous Best Books lists including NPR, Apple Books, Goodreads, and Amazon. Her spy thrillers are the logical marriage of her love of storytelling with her 30+ year career in intelligence. Red Widow (2021), her first spy novel, was a NY Times Editor’s Choice and nominated for International Thriller Writers’ Best Novel. The second book in the series, Red London, was published to excellent reviews and has been optioned for a TV series.

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore. After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy, she studied philosophy at Stanford University and attended Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her debut novel, Miracle Creek, won the Edgar Award, the ITW Thriller Award, the Strand Critics’ Award, and the Pinckley Prize and was named one of the best books of the year by Time, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, and the Today showAngie Kim lives in northern Virginia with her family. Happiness Falls is her second novel.

Dan Kois is a 2001 graduate of the George Mason MFA program. He’s a longtime writer and editor at Slate, and also writes for the New York Times, the New Yorker, and other publications. He’s the author of three nonfiction books; his first novel, Vintage Contemporaries, was published in 2023, and his second, Hampton Heights, will be published in 2024. He’s the cohost of the Martin Chronicles, a podcast about Martin Amis. He lives in Arlington with his family.

Krylios is a Jamaican-born fiction writer, playwright, producer, emcee, host, actor and storyteller. He is emcee, moderator and producer for Team Rayceen Productions where you can catch him interviewing interesting and impactful people on the Team Rayceen YouTube Channel. He has hosted or announced at the Ask Rayceen Show, Artomatic, Art All Night, For Couples Only, Story District’s Outspoken & Sucker For Love, The Reel Affirmations Film Festival and the annual District of Pride showcase among many other events. He is the author of the fantasy anthology, Fears, Fantasies & Freedom from which he adapted one of the stories into the stage play “Krylios’ Leave the Door Open” which first premiered in Baltimore in 2022. 

Joe Lally plays bass guitar and is a founding member of Fugazi, Messthetics, Ataxia (with John Frusciante), and Coriky. He lives in Washington, DC.

Suzanne S. LaPierre is a Virginiana Specialist Librarian for Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia and the co-author of Desegregation in Northern Virginia Libraries (The History Press, 2023). Her writing has been published in national and international journals. In addition to a MLIS from University of South Carolina, she holds an MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

Jamey M. Long is a professor at George Mason University and a Business teacher at Prince William County Schools. He has been nominated for faculty member of the year. Long owns two small businesses and serves in his community. 

Shane McCrae is the author of several poetry collections, including In the Language of My Captor, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Gilded Auction Block, and Cain Named the Animal. His latest book is Pulling the Chariot of the Sun: A Memoir of a Kidnapping. His honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. McCrae earned a BA at Linfield College, an MA at the University of Iowa, an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a JD at Harvard Law School. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch and has earned numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. She spent five years in rabbinical school before her chronic illness forced her to withdraw, and her father told her she should write a book―just not a Jewish one because no one reads those.

Carol Mitchell is a Caribbean immigrant living in the United States. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her short stories have appeared in several Caribbean journals and she reviews books on her blog and for various journals. She has published eighteen books for children, including three with HarperCollins UK. Four of her short stories have been long-listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Gabe Montesanti is the author of the roller derby memoir, Brace for Impact. Her work has been published in HuffPost, LitHub, Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Electric Literature, and Brevity. Her essay, “The Worldwide Roller Derby Convention” was recognized as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2020. Gabe is currently at work on an illustrated memoir about performing drag.

Liza Nash Taylor was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle MagazineDeep South, and others. Her debut historical novel, Etiquette for Runaways released in 2020 from Blackstone Publishing. A stand-alone sequel, In All Good Faith, was released in 2021 and earned a starred review from Booklist. A native Virginian, Liza lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs, in an old farmhouse which serves as a setting for her novels.

DK Nnuro is a Ghanaian-born writer and is a graduate of Johns Hopkins and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has taught novel writing at the University of Iowa and is currently curator of special projects at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

Sean O’Brien is a former White House speechwriter who now teaches at Georgetown University. He served as director of speechwriting to Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, and special assistant to President Barack Obama. He lives in Washington, DC.

Chinelo Okparanta was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Her debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award, long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was nominated for numerous awards, including the Kirkus Prize and Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

Joseph A. Pisani is a professor at Grand Canyon University, Marymount University, Liberty University in the Graduate School of Education, and a Business teacher at Prince William County Schools. He has 18 years of school district administration, 15 years serving as a high school principal, and has led several division-wide professional development seminars on leadership. Pisani serves as a visiting lecturer at Randolph-Macon University in the school of Education.

Jim Popkin is a writer and investigative journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post Magazine, WIRED, Newsweek, Slate, The Guardian, and on National Public Radio. He was a senior investigative producer at NBC News as well as an on-air correspondent, and his stories have appeared on NBC’s Today, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and CNBC. Popkin has won four national Emmy Awards for outstanding journalism, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He currently resides in Washington, DC.

Ana Pugatch completed her MFA at George Mason University, where she was awarded the ’20-’21 Poetry Heritage Fellowship. Before then she lived in Asia, teaching English in China and Thailand, as well as studying Buddhism. She holds an Ed.M. from Harvard and a B.A. from Skidmore College. Her debut poetry collection, Engrams: Seven Years in Asia, won the Lena Shull Book Award. You can find more of her work on her website, www.anapugatch.com.

In addition to being a novelist, Vanessa Riley holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. She currently juggles mothering a teen, cooking for her military-man husband, and speaking at women’s and STEM events. She loves baking her Trinidadian grandma’s cake recipes and collecting Irish crochet lace. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her porch in Georgia, with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Riley lives in Atlanta.

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.

Aimie K. Runyan, author of A Bakery in Paris, writes fiction that celebrates history’s unsung heroines. When she isn’t writing, Aimie is active in the writing community as a speaker and educator. She’s a proud Adjunct Instructor for the Drexel University MFA in Creative Writing program and loves interacting with book clubs and writer groups. She is also a passionate amateur baker with a special talent for chocolate cheesecake. She lives in Colorado with her amazing husband, two (usually) adorable children, and two (always) adorable kitties. And a dragon. 

Joanne Skerrett is the author of several novels, including Abraham’s Treasure, a finalist for the CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Literature in 2011. She has worked as an editor for the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Raleigh News & Observer and is a candidate for the MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her recent work has appeared in Spellbinder literary magazine, where she won the prize for fiction in 2021, and in Rebel Women Lit. She lives in Washington, DC.

Art Taylor is the Edgar Award-winning author of two short story collections—The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions and The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense—and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for “English 398: Fiction Workshop,” originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and he has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, four Macavity Awards, and four Derringer Awards for his short fiction. 

A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, Brian Teare is the author of seven critically acclaimed books, including Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent publications are a pair of book-length ekphrastic projects exploring queer abstraction, chronic illness, and collage: the 2022 Nightboat reissue of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and the fall 2023 publication of Poem Bitten by a Man. An Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia, Brian lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books. 

Antonia Tricarico’s photography can be found in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and in the permanent punk and go-go music exhibit and archive of the Special Collections Division of the District of Columbia, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Her photos have appeared in Photo Review, Guitar World, Kerrang!, Razorcake, and Fretboard Journal. She is the creator of Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essays from Washington, DC, and Beyond, 1997-2017 and The Inner Ear of Don Zientara: A Half Century of Recording in One of America’s Most Innovative Studios, through the Voices of Musicians.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer, nonbinary artist and writer of color who teaches courses in literature, creative writing, dance, and humanities in Houston. She teaches in Goddard College’s MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts and Regis University’s Mile High MFA Program in Creative Writing. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Addie is the author of the novels Dear Twin and Unwieldy Creatures. Addie is the Fiction co-Editor and Features & Reviews Editor at Anomaly, contributing staff writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

Bryn Turnbull is the internationally bestselling author of The Woman Before Wallis and The Last Grand Duchess. Equipped with a master of letters in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, a master of professional communication from Ryerson University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from McGill University, Bryn focuses on finding stories of women lost within the cracks of the historical record. She lives in Toronto.

Chika Unigwe was born and raised in Nigeria. Widely anthologized and translated, she has won awards for her writing including the 2012 NLNG $100 000 award for On Black Sisters Street. Her newest novel is The Middle Daughter. Unigwe is a professor of creative writing at Georgia College. 

Han VanderHart is a genderqueer, Southern writer living in Durham, North Carolina. Han is the author of the poetry collection What Pecan Light (Bull City Press, 2021) and the chapbook Hands Like Birds (Ethel Zine Press, 2019). They have poetry and essays published in The Boston Globe, Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, The Rumpus, AGNI and elsewhere. Han hosts Of Poetry podcast and co-edits the poetry press River River Books with Amorak Huey.

Joan Waites is an award-winning illustrator with numerous titles published for the children’s trade and educational markets, and the author-illustrator of five picture and board books. A former adjunct faculty member of the Corcoran Museum’s school of art and design for their aspiring-artists programs, she continues to teach art for children and adults. Joan is a member of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C., and the National Art Education Association and previously served as the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI illustrator coordinator. Joan lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Visit her at www.joanwaites.com or follow her on Instagram at @joanwaites.​ 

Michael Joseph Walsh is the author of Innocence (CSU Poetry Center, 2022) and co-editor of APARTMENT Poetry. His poems, reviews, and translations from the Korean have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Guernica, FOLDER, Fence, jubilat, and elsewhere. He lives in Denver.

M.P. Woodward is a veteran of both US intelligence ops and the entertainment industry. As a naval intelligence officer with the US Pacific Command, he scripted scenario moves and countermoves for US war game exercises in the Middle East. In multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf and Far East, he worked alongside US Special Forces, CIA, and NSA. Most recently, Woodward led international distribution for Amazon Prime Video and launched Amazon original content in more than forty countries.

In the late 1970s, Don Zientara—a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War—founded Inner Ear Studio in the basement of his home in Arlington, Virginia, using the electronics training he received from the army. Inner Ear became best known for recording iconic DC punk musicians including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Mary Timony, and Fugazi.

Mary Kay Zuravleff is the award-winning author of American Ending, inspired by all four of her grandparents, Russian Orthodox Old Believers who lived in the Appalachian mining town of Marianna, Pennsylvania, and made their way to Erie. Her third novel, Man Alive!, was a Washington Post Notable Book, and she is the winner of the American Academy’s Rosenthal Award and a multiple recipient of the DC Artist Fellowship. Born in Syracuse, raised in Oklahoma City, and educated in Houston and Baltimore, she lives in Washington, DC.

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