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Elizabeth McKenzie’s most recent novel is The Portable Veblen, longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction. She is the author of the novel MacGregor Tells The World, a Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle best book of the yearand Stop That Girl, shortlisted for The Story Prize. Her fiction has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The New Yorker, The AtlanticBest American Nonrequired Reading, and others. Elizabeth is senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and the managing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader. 

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Shanthi Sekaran is a writer and educator from Berkeley, California. Her recent novel, Lucky Boy (Penguin Random House), was named an Indie Next Great Read and an Amazon Editors’ Pick. The New York Times calls it “brilliantly agonizing” and USA Today says “Lucky Boy pulses with vitality, pumped with the life breath of human sin and love.” Shanthi’s stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Canteen Magazine, The Rumpus and LitHub. She’s a visiting writer at St. Mary’s College of California, and has two sons.

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Vanessa Hua is the author of  Deceit and Other Possibilities, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and a finalist for the California Book Award. A columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, she has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She received a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights Reporting, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her novel, A River of Stars, is forthcoming (Ballantine, August 2018.)

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Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Her YA novel, Under the Mesquite, won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award, was named a Morris Award finalist, and received a Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award among many other accolades. Two other YA books, Summer of the Mariposas and Shame the Stars, are widely read at public schools and universities all over the U.S. Guadalupe is currently at work on her fourth YA novel, All the Stars Denied, due for publication in spring 2018.

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Linda Joy Myers is president of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and author of the award-winning memoir Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness, and four books on craft, two of them co-authored with Brooke Warner. Linda Joy also writes for the Huffington Post, and co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months. A memoir coach for the last 20 years, Linda Joy urges others to “just start now”—to write their story and experience its power for healing and transformation.



Poet Laureate of Sacramento, Indigo Moor is also a playwright and author. His full-length stageplay, Live! at the Excelsior, was a finalist for the Images Theatre Playwright Award and has been optioned for a full-length film. Indigo teaches at the Stonecoast MFA Program; he is on the advisory board for the Sacramento Poetry Center; he is a Cave Canem fellow, the resident artist at 916 ink, and a graduate member of the Artist’s Residency Institute for Teaching Artists. Indigo spends his days cleverly disguised as a mild-mannered Physical Design Engineer for computer companies.

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Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. Her first book of non-fiction, Survivor Café: the Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, was published in September 2017 and has been featured on National Public Radio and in The New York Times. Elizabeth’s essays and poems have appeared in the NY Times Magazine, Elle, the Forward, and in several anthologies. Her book reviews appear frequently in the San Francisco Chronicle

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Nina Sadowsky is a screenwriter, film producer, novelist and entertainment lawyer (in recovery). Her first novel, Just Fall, is now in development as an original series for STARZ. Her second novel, The Burial Society, is due out in 2018. She has written numerous original screenplays and adaptations for such companies as The Walt Disney Company, Working Title Films, and Lifetime Television, and serves as adjunct faculty at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts program, teaching both writing and producing.



Jason S. Ridler is a writer, improv actor, and left-wing military historian. His novels include Hex-Rated, the first installment of the Brimstone Files series for Nightshade Press, Rise of the Luchador, and Death Match.  He’s also published over sixty stories and numerous academic publications. FXXK WRITING! A Guide for Frustrated Artists collects the best of his column of the same name, and his next historical work, Mavericks of War, is forthcoming from Stackpole Books. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Jason holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada and is a Teaching Fellow for Johns Hopkins University.

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Jane Friedman is an established authority on the publishing industry. The co-founder of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, Jane is also a columnist with Publishers Weekly and a professor with The Great Courses. Jane has delivered many presentations on the digital era of authorship. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, and has held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.

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Susan Chang is a Senior Editor at Tor Books. She acquires and edits books for the Starscape middle grade and Tor Teen young adult imprints. Like many editors, she has eclectic tastes, and is open to be queried about anything and everything. For chapter books she is looking for high-concept books or series with an educational hook; for middle grade, action and high-stakes adventure; and in young adult, stories that are thought-provoking and emotionally truthful. She is also interested in non-fiction in the areas of popular science, archaeology, anthropology, biography, and history. She does not acquire picture books, new adult, or adult titles. 



Duvall Osteen is a literary agent at Aragi Inc., where she’s had the opportunity to work with a long list of distinctive authors, including Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, Denis Johnson, and Anne Carson. She represents fiction, narrative non-fiction, and graphic novels. Her literary interests include writing rooted in place, especially the South, multigenerational storytelling, music, literary suspense, and humor.  Duvall holds a Masters of Arts in Southern Cultural Studies from the University of Mississippi.



Kerrie Flanagan is an author, writing consultant, publisher and accomplished freelance writer with over 18 years’ experience. Her new book, The Writers Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, will be released in July of 2018. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications including Writers Digest, Alaska Magazine, The Writer, FamilyFun, The Writer’s Market and six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She has also self-published seven books under her label, Hot Chocolate Press. 



Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received a BA from Willamette University with a focus on eighteenth-century literature. After graduation he spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest and attended the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference as an Under-25 scholar. His debut novel, My Absolute Darling published in 2017, was hailed as a masterpiece by Stephen King.

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Norma Watkins grew up in Mississippi and studied writing with Eudora Welty. Her memoirs, The Last Resort and That Woman From Mississippi tell the story of civil rights struggles and growing up in a time when neither blacks nor women had power. She is professor emerita at Miami Dade College where she held an endowed chair, and teaches creative writing for Mendocino College.