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Writing Chicago: Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference

Faculty

James Tadd Adcox

James Tadd Adcox is the author of a novel, Does Not Love (Curbside Splendor Publishing 2014), and a book of flash fiction, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge (Tiny Hardcore Press/PANK Books 2012). He has taught fiction and poetry at Purdue University, The University of Illinois-Chicago and StoryStudio Chicago. He lives in Chicago.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius completed his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on fiction from Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, where he received the Distinguished Thesis Award for his novel manuscript Fishhead. Soup., now under consideration by Curbside Splendor Press. A finalist for The Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists competition, Ignatius was also a recent interdisciplinary Ragdale Foundation resident in Lake Forest, Illinois. In addition, he became the 2014 Writer-in-Residence at el Ranchito Cielito con Nopales in La Union, New Mexico. He has moderated writers’ panels and participated as a guest panelist at the 2015 Chicago Writers Conference; as well, he performed and read his writing in the “Ante Up Storytelling: Heartbreak Edition” event on Valentine's Day at Second City's Beat Lounge this year, and is scheduled to read his work at the popular Sunday Salon (SuSa) in Roscoe Village on the 26th of June. Ignatius teaches advanced writing and creative experimentation in the Integrated Design and Strategy graduate program at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. His writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, Newcity, the Chicago Tribune, LaTolteca Zine, and Gander Press Review. He lives in Evanston and makes a living as a graphic designer and teacher. In his spare time, he plays lead guitar in Reverend Ruin, a hard rock band to which he also contributes his songwriting talents.

Ian Belknap

Ian Belknap is a Chicago writer/performer and founder/Overlord of WRITE CLUB, the world's greatest competitive readings series (Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, with more cities on the way). He is author/performer of the solo shows Bring Me the Head of James Franco, That I May Prepare a Savory Goulash in the Narrow and Misshapen Pot of His Skull Wide Open Beaver Shot of My Heart: A Comedy With a Body Count, Terminal Ferocity, and Uncle Dad is Rip-Shit, You Guys. He curated and hosted the monologue shows Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Ian's Dog & Pony Show. Ian's work has been featured in the live lit shows This Much is True, Truth and Lies, That's All She Wrote, Story Club Chicago, Fictilicious, Essay Fiesta, Guts & Glory, Fillet of Solo Theater Festival, and the Rhino Theater Festival, among others. He served as Fact Checker for The Encyclopedia Show, and is on the masthead of The Paper Machete as the Dean of Mean. Ian has been on panels and presented at TEDx Greenville, Arts & Business Council of Chicago, League of Chicago Theatres, Printers, Row Book Fair, Chicago Writers, Conference, and Decatur Book Fest, among others, and has appeared as a guest lecturer at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. He has performed at The Poetry Foundation, The Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago, and Museum of Contemporary Art, among many other venues. He teaches independently and at StoryStudio Chicago, and as an Instructor at Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). His work has appeared in The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Chicago Literati, Story Club Magazine, and the Reading Out Loud podcast. He is co-editor and contributor to Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of WRITE CLUB (Hope & Nonthings, 2014), and co-host of the WRITE CLUB podcast. Photo credit: Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Photography

Bobby Biedrzycki

Bobby Biedrzycki is a writer, performer, educator, and human rights activist who resides in Chicago, IL. His stories, poems, and performances have appeared on pages, stages, and public spaces around the globe. His work is rooted in cross-disciplinary collaboration that focuses on creating social change. Bobby works in the Department of Education and Community Engagement at the Goodman Theatre, is a company member of 2nd Story, and is faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Excellence-in-Teaching Award. Bobby is deeply committed to collaborating with youth artists working to change the world, and is @bobbyfloats on all forms of social media.

Janet Burroway

Janet Burroway is the author of plays, poetry, children's books, and eight novels including The Buzzards, Raw Silk, Opening Nights, Cutting Stone (all Notable Books of The New York Times Book Review), and the 2009 Bridge of Sand. Her lays have received readings and productions in Chicago, New York, London, San Francisco, Hollywood, and various regional theatres; Parts of Speech was the 2014 winner of the Brink award from Renaissance Theatreworks in Milwaukee. Her most recent play is Boomerang, a modern take on Lear for the Sideshow Theatre Company in Chicago. Her Writing Fiction, now in its ninth edition, is the most widely used creative writing text in America, and Imaginative Writing is in its fourth edition. She is author of the memoir Losing Tim (Think Piece Press, 2014), and editor of the essay collection A Story Larger Than My Own: Women Writers Look Back at Their Lives and Careers (U. Chicago, 2014). Winner of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council, she is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Florida State University.

Henry Carrigan

Henry Carrigan is Assistant Director and Senior Editor at Northwestern University Press. Before coming to NUP, he was publisher at Continuum International. He writes about books for Publishers Weekly, BookPage, and Library Journal, and he writes about music for American Songwriter, No Depression, Engine 145, the Bluegrass Situation, and Country Standard Time. He has written for numerous newspapers including Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Charlotte Observer, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Orlando Sentinel, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Washington Post Book World. He taught Humanities at Lake Forest College, Russian Literature at Northwestern University, Humanities at Otterbein College in Ohio, and Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and worked for ten years as a reference librarian at the Westerville Public Library in Westerville, OH. He has led numerous workshops on collection development at the local, regional, and national levels, and he speaks widely on topics ranging from writing and book reviewing to book publishing. Over the past four years, he has been a regular contributor to a number of reference books published by Salem Press, including Magill's Literary Survey. In the early years, Henry was a columnist for Library Journal for three years as well as Forecasts editor at Publishers Weekly for five years.

Suzanne Clores

Suzanne Clores is a memoirist and fiction writer. She is the author of Memoirs of a Spiritual Outsider (Conari 2000, Kindle 2011) and the founder of The Extraordinary Project, an online collection of our most unusual human experiences. Her work has aired on Chicago Public Radio and is forthcoming on the Los Angeles Public Radio program Strangers. She has written for Salon, The Huffington Post, The Nervous Breakdown, SMITH, and numerous trade publications. She has an MFA from the University of Arizona and lives with her family in Chicago.

Danny M. Cohen

Danny M. Cohen is the author of the young adult historical novel Train, the short stories "The 19th Window" and "Dead Ends," and academic articles including "Overlapping Triangles and Masks of Holocaust Memory." A learning scientist and education designer, Danny is an assistant professor of instruction at Northwestern University where he teaches the design of Holocaust and social justice education, including how to teach Holocaust literature and film, and how to write about violence and atrocity. He sits on the editorial advisory board of the British journal The Holocaust in History and Memory, he was a faculty fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, and he was an inaugural Governor-appointed member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission. Danny is originally from London and is the founder of Unsilence Project (unsilence.org), a nonprofit dedicated to hidden stories of human rights.

Bea Cordelia

Bea Cordelia is an award-winning, Chicago-bred writer, [solo] performer, & teaching artist, specializing in issues of gender, sex[uality], queerness, & the body.  Six of her plays have been produced to date, and many of her poems and essays published, including the self-published chapbook of poetry 28.06 // Dear Sylvia. Most recently, her "life-changing" autobiographical solo show Chasing Blue recently featured in The Brick’s inaugural Trans Theatre Festival in Brooklyn. She has been featured at the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, the Green Mill, Links Hall, Salonathon, The Fly Honey Show, the Chicago Home Theatre Festival, OUTspoken! LGBTQ Storytelling, Homolatte, Sappho’s Salon, and many more events and venues throughout Chicagoland.  She is currently in residence with Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts Chicago Performance Lab at The University of Chicago.

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the author of the nonfiction books Defending the Damned (Atria/Simon & Schuster 2007) and The Wrong Man (Avon, 1995). His next book, The Brain Defense, is scheduled for publication in 2017 from The Penguin Press. His award-winning writing has appeared in Utne Reader, Chicago magazine, The Rumpus, Writer’s Digest, and many other publications. He has taught creative nonfiction writing at Loyola University Chicago and at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Christa Desir

Christa Desir writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her novels include FAULT LINE, BLEED LIKE ME, OTHER BROKEN THINGS, and LOVE BLIND. She lives with her husband, three children, and overly enthusiastic dog outside of Chicago. She has been working as a rape victim activist for nearly twenty years, both in hospital ERs as an advocate and as a public speaker. She is a founding member of the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit organization for rape survivors that conducts an international survivor-based testimonial writing workshop, including working with incarcerated teens. She also works as a romance editor and once a week can be found working the stacks at Anderson’s Bookshop.

Eileen Favorite

Eileen Favorite's first novel, The Heroines (Scribner, 2008), was named a best debut novel by the Rocky Mountain News and has been translated into five languages. Her essays, poems, and stories have appeared in many publications, including, The Toast, Triquarterly, The Chicago Reader, Poetry East and others. She's received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council for poetry and for prose. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Graham School of Continuting Liberal and Professonal Studies at the University of Chicago. She's currently completing a young adult novel.

Beth Finke

Beth Finke’s memoir Long Time, No See was published by University of Illinois Press and was on the BookSense Top Ten list of University Press books in 2003. Her children’s book Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound (Blue Marlin Publications) won an ASPCA/Henry Bergh Children's Literature Award and is featured on the PBS Martha Speaks book club list. Beth leads four weekly memoir-writing classes for Chicago senior citizens every week and moderates a blog for Easter Seals National Headquarters in Chicago. She received a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and is hard at work writing a book about those memoir-writing classes she leads. Learn more about Beth by following her blog: www.bethfinke.wordpress.com.

Ricardo Gamboa

Ricardo Gamboa is an artist, activist and academic working in his native Chicago and New York City. In Chicago, he is a company member of Barrel of Monkeys, Southside Ignoramus Quartet and Free Street Theater. He is the founding Artistic Director of Teatro Americano and founding adult partner of the controversial youth ensemble The Young Fugitives. In New York, he was a fellow of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics EmergeNYC program, company member of the New York Neo-Futurists, and has performed at a range of institutional and underground venues. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana; received his Master’s in Arts Politics from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in American Studies at NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. His short film “The Southside Has Many Beauty Queens” was winner of the Best Short at Chicago Latino Film Festival and his feature debut “Maydays” received standing-only crowds and critical praise from the festival. Gamboa is the winner of several awards, fellowships and grants including a MacArthur Foundation International Connections Award and Latino ImPACT Playwrights Award. This year, he was a finalist for Sundance Film Festival Latino Film Fellowship and Latino Screen Writing Project. He is a Critical Collaborations Fellow at NYU’s Global Network University (2016- 2018). He has worked with over 5,000 young people in the United States and Latin America.

Adrienne Gunn

Adrienne Gunn is a writer, editor, and humorist based in Chicago. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and her work has appeared in various literary magazines including McSweeney’s and PANK. Adrienne previously served as managing editor and fiction editor of TriQuarterly, the literary magazine of Northwestern University, and she regularly performs stand-up and storytelling throughout Chicago. In 2016, Adrienne’s first one-woman show Mother of the Year! debuted at Stage 773 to sold-out audiences.

Miles Harvey

Miles Harvey’s work includes The Island of Lost Maps, a national and international bestseller that USA Today named one of the ten best books of 2000. He is currently working on The King of Confidence, an account of the rise and fall of mid-nineteenth-century conman and American original James Strang and the turbulent period of history out of which he emerged. A former Knight-Wallace fellow in journalism at the University of Michigan, Harvey teaches creative writing at DePaul.

Julianne Hill

Julianne Hill is a freelance writer, reporter and multimedia content producer. Her award-winning nonfiction has appeared in outlets including NPR’s "This American Life" and "Morning Edition," PBS, The History Channel, Real Simple, Triquarterly Online and Writer’s Digest. Hill’s stories often focus on health. She served as a Rosalynn Carter Fellow, awarded to journalists covering mental health, and as a National Press Foundation Fellow, given for work focusing on HIV-AIDS. She also worked as a team member earning the George Foster Peabody Award for PBS science show "The New Explorers." She also writes essays. Her "This American Life" piece "One Brain Shrinks, One Brain Grows" looks at a young boy’s struggle with his father’s degenerative brain disease. Her essay film "So, Mary?" screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival and others. Her Pushcart-nominated essays have appeared in The Round, Chicago Quarterly Review, Health and others. Hill studied journalism at Ohio University and received a Master’s in Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Northwestern University. She teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Chicago.

Naomi Huffman

Naomi Huffman is the editor-in-chief at Curbside Splendor Publishing and the managing editor at featherproof books. She is the founder and co-curator of the monthly live nonfiction series The Marrow, and produces the Book Fort, a roving tent of interactive literary events that augments the annual Pitchfork Music Festival. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Rumpus, Newcity, and Bookslut. She is currently at work on a novel.

Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson is a poet, playwright and novelist. Her poetry has been honored with the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, the American Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Carl Sandburg Award and the Chicago Sun-Times/Friends of Literature Book of the Year Award, among others. Her poetry collection It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time was recently published from NU Press/Triquarterly Books. Her book of poetry And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New was nominated for the National Book Award. Her novel, Where I Must Go, was awarded an American Book Award.

Jac Jemc

Jac Jemc is the author of The Grip of It, forthcoming from FSG Originals in 2017. Her first novel, My Only Wife (Dzanc Books) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award, and her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books) was named one of Amazon's best story collections of 2014. She edits nonfiction for Hobart

Gretchen Kalwinski

Gretchen Kalwinski is a Chicago-based writer and editor. Her articles, reviews, interviews, and travel stories have appeared in Time Out Chicago, Chicago Reader, Orbitz.com, Chicago Booth Magazine, and Make Literary Magazine. She received her B.A. from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Northwestern University. She's currently working on her first novel and a short-story collection.

Garnett Kilberg Cohen

Garnett Cohen has published three collections of short stories, most recently Swarm to Glory (2014). Her fiction has won many awards, including the Crazyhorse National Fiction Prize, The Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, and a Special Mention from the Pushcart. Her nonfiction has twice received Notable Essay Citations from Best American Essays (2011 and 2015). She has published nonfiction in such places as The Gettysburg Review, The Antioch Review, Brevity, and The Rumpus. Her fiction has appeared widely in such journals as The Literary Review, American Fiction, Cimarron Review, Ontario Review, TriQuarterly and others. She has served as the Fiction Editor for The Pennsylvania Review and Hotel Amerika, Guest Nonfiction Editor at Fifth Wednesday, the Review Editor for Another Chicago Magazine, and a general editor at The South Loop Review. She is currently the co-editor of Punctuate: A Nonfiction Magazine, and a professor in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago.

Jacob Knabb

Jacob S. Knabb is a Social Media and Communications manager for a large not-for-profit. He was Senior Editor at Curbside Splendor Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of Another Chicago Magazine and taught publishing and creative writing at Lake Forest College. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of poems and will be guest-editing The Collagist in November of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @jacobsknabb.  

Laurie Lawlor

Laurie Lawlor is the author of 37 works of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.  She is the recipient of the Illinois Reading Council’s Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children.  Her Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World won the John Burroughs Riverby Award for Excellence in Nature Writing in 2012, the Green Earth Book Award Honor, the Amelia Bloomer Project List, and the National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2013.  Pioneering Women Scientists, a biography of six remarkable Americans, will be published in spring 2017.  Her distinguished historical fiction for middle grade readers includes Addie Across the Prairie, nominated for six state reading awards. Young adult titles include Dead Reckoning, He will Go Fearless, and The Two Loves of Will Shakespeare. Trained as a journalist at Northwestern University, she has taught creative writing at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies and Columbia College of Chicago.  She leads writing workshops throughout the Midwest.  Visit www.laurielawlor.com.

Andrew Marikis

Andrew Marikis is a storyteller, actor, teaching artist and dinosaur enthusiast. As a storyteller, Andrew performs all over Chicago and is host and producer of Story Club South Side – a hybrid curated & open-mic storytelling show in the Bridgeport neighborhood. As an actor he’s worked with Lifeline, Irish Theatre of Chicago, BoHo, Filament and Adventure Stage Chicago among others. As a teaching artist, he’s the lead teaching artist with the ASC Trailblazers and an ensemble member of Adventure Stage Chicago. As a dinosaur enthusiast, he’s dressed up as Sue the T-Rex twice - once for compensation. You can find out more at www.AndrewMarikis.com.

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and has since lived in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He now lives in Chicago, and is an assistant professor at Northwestern University. His collection of short stories Best Worst American will be published by Small Beer Press in 2017. His work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Ecotone, TriQuarterlyConjunctions, the Santa Monica Review, National Public Radio's Selected ShortsNorton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. He is currently at work on a novel.

Eric Charles May

Eric Charles May is the author of the novel Bedrock Faith, which was named a Notable African-American Title by Publisher’s Weekly, and a Top Ten Debut Novel for 2014 by Booklist magazine. May is an associate professor in the fiction-writing program at Columbia College Chicago, and the 2015 recipient of the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award. A former reporter for The Washington Post, his fiction has also appeared in Fish Stories, Solstice, Hypertext, Flyleaf Journal, F, and Criminal Class magazines. In addition to his Post reporting, his nonfiction has appeared in Sport Literate, Chicago Tribune, and the personal essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious By A Low-Flying Duck. He has taught at the Stonecoast, Solstice, Northwestern University, and Chicago writers’ conferences, and in Chicago he’s read personal essays with 2nd Story, and That’s All She Wrote, and oral tellings at the Grown Folks’ Stories and Here’s the Story personal essay programs.

Marty McConnell

Marty McConnell lives in Chicago, where she coaches individuals and groups toward building thriving, sustainable lives and organizations. An MFA graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and Indiana Review. Her first full-length collection, “wine for a shotgun,” received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards, and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Part of the vanguard of poets fusing and refusing the delineations between literary and oral poetry, she is a seven-time National Poetry Slam team member, the 2012 National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) Champion, and appeared twice on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.”

Jarrett Neal

Jarrett Neal earned a BA in English from Northwestern University and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His poems, fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Good Men Project, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Chelsea Station, Best Sex Writing 2015, Requited Journal, New City, and other publications. His first collection of essays, What Color Is Your Hoodie?: Essays on Black Gay Identity is available from Chelsea Station Editions. He is assistant director of the Academic Support Center at Aurora University where he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Adult and Higher Education. He lives in Oak Park, IL.

Bayo Ojikutu

Bayo Ojikutu‘s critically-acclaimed first novel, 47th Street Black (2003), received both the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Award. His second novel, Free Burning (RH/Crown - 2006), has been called “Gritty lyrical [and] intense,” by Kirkus Book Review, “the most foreboding love letter the city [Chicago] has ever received” (Tim Lowery- Timeout Chicago), and “a searing portrayal of one of the shameful realities within an oft unjust society” (Denolyn Carrol – Black Issues Book Review). Ojikutu's fiction has appeared in various anthologies, magazines and collections. His work has garnered nominations for the Pushcart Prize. Ojikutu is currently working on a third novel. The author and his family reside in the Chicagoland area. photo credit: Jacob Knabb

Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, “Weapons of Mass Creation”, The New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning”. Nnedi Okorafor’s books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), Kabu Kabu (A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner). Her latest works include her novel The Book of Phoenix, her novella Binti (a finalist for a Nebula, Hugo and a British Science Fiction Association Award) and her children’s book Chicken in the Kitchen (winner of an Africana Book Award). Nnedi is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY). Learn more at Nnedi.com. Photo by Nnedi Okorafor

Roger Rueff

Roger Rueff is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose works have been produced around the world and translated into seven languages.  He served as the lead writer for the EU Health Programme animated Web series “Boys & Girls” and is currently creating/developing a half-hour television series to be co-produced by Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. (RAI), the Italian national broadcasting company. He is also the author of Discovering the Soul of Your Story, a unique approach to story creation and development that he supports and teaches online at www.soulofyourstory.org.

Ozge Samanci

Ozge Samanci is an artist and an assistant professor at the Radio TV Film Department of Northwestern University. She is a graphic novelist and she makes interactive art installations. Her interactive-digital media installations and other collaborative works have been exhibited internationally. Her autobiographical graphic novel, Dare to Disappoint, was published by Farrar Straus Giroux in November 2015. Dare to Disappoint received media attention in The New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, New Republic, Paste Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, PBS-Chicago Tonight, the Daily Beast. Dare to Disappoint will be translated into Korean, Dutch, and Turkish. Ozge's drawings have appeared in Slate magazine and Huffington Post.​

Doug Seibold

Doug Seibold has been a publishing professional in Chicago since 1986. For more than 15 years he worked as a freelance writer and editor for organizations that published magazines, books, and educational content. In 2003, he founded Agate, which is now a diversified independent publishing company with five distinct imprints. In 2005, he created Agate Development, an educational content provider that creates content for large education publishers, educational institutions, and other organizations. In 2006, Agate acquired Surrey Books, a 25-year-old Chicago-based book publisher, which is now run as an imprint of Agate. In 2012, Agate established a partnership with the Chicago Tribune to publish ebooks created from Tribune content under its Agate Digital imprint. In February 2012, Publishers Weekly identified Agate as the fastest-growing small press in America from 2009–2011.

Deborah Seigel

Deborah Siegel is an expert in women, politics, and the unfinished business of feminism across generations. She’s the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild (Palgrave), co-editor of the literary anthology Only Child (Random House), founder of the group blog Girl w/Pen and co-founder of She Writes, the largest online community for women who write. Her work has appeared in venues including The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN.com, The Forward, Slate, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, and Psychology Today, in multiple anthologies, and on her blogs. She has been featured on The Today Show, at TEDx, and in The New York Times. Deborah earned her PhD in English and American Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a Visiting Fellow at Barnard College and the University of Michigan. She is is a Visiting Scholar in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University and a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Deborah is currently engaged in a multimedia experiment in thinking aloud, and in community, about the gendering of early childhood, which encompasses illustrated essays, a Pinterest board (Tots in Genderland), a Tumblr (The Pink and Blue Diaries), and more. When not writing about her boy/girl twins, she teaches and coaches others, including many writers, seeking a bridge to a more public voice. Visit her at http://www.deborahsiegelphd.com.

Fred Shafer

Fred Shafer is a literary editor, writer, and teacher of writing. He was an editor with TriQuarterly, the international literary journal published by Northwestern University, where he has taught a sequence of courses in fiction writing in the School of Professional Studies for many years. He also leads three private workshops for advanced short story writers and novelists. More than thirty books have been published by members of his workshops, including ten in the last four years. He has consulted with film directors on scripts; one motion picture on which he received a screen credit won six first prizes at the Milan Film Festival, including best film and best screenplay. His own essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in several periodicals.

Michele Weldon

An award-winning journalist and author for more than three decades, Michele Weldon is emerita faculty at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, a senior leader with The OpEd Project and director of Northwestern's Public Voices Fellowship for the past five years. Weldon's latest book, Escape Points: A Memoir was an Editor’s Choice for best books of 2015 by Booklist and a finalist in the Society of Midland Authors excellence awards for memoir. Her other books include, I Closed My Eyes (Hazelden/ HCI); Writing to Save Your Life (Hazelden/HCI, 2001); and “Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page.” Her e-book chapter through SheBooks, “Just Me And My Three Sons” was released in 2014 and is an audiobook. Weldon has written chapters in seven other books and has written columns, news and features for outlets including New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Medium, Narratively, Nieman Narrative Digest, OZY, Pacific Standard Magazine, Parenting, Quartz, Slate, USA Today, Writer’s Digest,  womensenews, Woman’s Day and hundreds more. She directed TEDX Northwestern2014, has narrated lessons for TED Ed and competed in the Moth Story Chicago GrandSlam in 2012.

S.L. Wisenberg

S.L. Wisenberg is the author of a story collection, The Sweetheart Is In; an essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, & Other Obsessions, and a nonfiction chronicle, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, based on her blog. Her MFA is in fiction from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop; her BS is in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism. She was a feature writer for the Miami Herald and has published prose and poetry in The New Yorker, PloughsharesTikkunNew England ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review and many other places. Her nonfiction has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, River TeethFourth Genre, Lilith, Colorado Review, and The Progressive. She's received a Pushcart Prize and grants and awards from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Illinois Arts Council, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is working on a book of creative nonfiction, Moments in Selma & Other Glimpses of the South, to be published by the University of Georgia Press. She is former director of Northwestern’s MA/MFA in Creative Writing program, where she continues to teach creative nonfiction workshops. Photo by Adine Sagalyn

Erika T. Wurth

Erika T. Wurth’s novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, was published by Curbside Splendor. Her first collection of poetry, Indian Trains, was published by The University of New Mexico’s West End Press and her second A Thousand Horses Out to Sea is forthcoming from Mongrel Press. She teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, such as Boulevard, Drunken Boat, and South Dakota Review. She is represented by Peter Steinberg. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.