Read up on the speakers we have confirmed for this year’s events!
Scott Beal's poems have appeared recently in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Muzzle, Southern Indiana Review, Sonora Review, and other journals. He won a 2014 Pushcart Prize for the poem "Things to Think About." His first full-length collection, Wait 'Til You Have Real Problems, was published by Dzanc Books in November 2014. Beal teaches full-time in the Sweetland Center for Writing, the English Department Writing Program, and the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program at the University of Michigan. He has led many poetry and fiction workshops for the Neutral Zone, the InsideOut Literary ArtsProject, 826michigan, and other organizations, and he currently serves as a writer-in-the-schools for Dzanc Books in Ann Arbor. He earned his MFA from the University of Michigan in 1996, where he received several Hopwood Awards. He co-authored Jangle the Threads with Rachel McKibbens and Aracelis Girmay (Red Beard Press, 2010) and Underneath: The Archaeological Approach to Creative Writing with Jeff Kass (Red Beard Press, 2011). His chapbook, Two Shakespearean Madwomen Vs. the Detroit Red Wings, won the Fall 1998 Chapbook Contest from White Eagle Coffee Store Press. The manuscript for Wait 'Til You Have Real Problems was a 2012 finalist for the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize from Pleiades Press and the ABZ Press Poetry Prize. Beal has competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam and has been a featured performer at schools, bookstores, and poetry slams around the country, including the Green Mill in Chicago, the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe in New York, and the Cantab Lounge in Boston. He curates and co-hosts the Skazat! monthly poetry series in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he lives with his two daughters. Scott is a new friend.
Mother Goose, Trudy Bulkley, appears monthly at Hollander's in Kerrytown. She has done so for almost twenty years. She also captivates audiences at schools, libraries and festivals throughout Southeast Michigan. Old Mother Goose knows that her "Melodies will never die, while nurses sing or babies cry." Trudy is an old friend, who has attended every bookfest to date. Welcome back, Mother Goose!
Michael Byers is the author of the story collection The Coast of Good Intentions and two novels, Long for This World and Percival's Planet. Recipient of a Whiting Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Byers' work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. His nonfiction has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Best American Travel Writing, and elsewhere. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he is the director of the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan.
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Bonnie Jo Campbell grew up on a small Michigan farm with her mother and four siblings in a house her grandfather Herlihy built in the shape of an H. She learned to castrate small pigs, milk Jersey cows, and, when she was snowed in with chocolate, butter, and vanilla, to make remarkable chocolate candy. When she left home for the University of Chicago to study philosophy, her mother rented out her room. She has since hitchhiked across the U.S. and Canada, scaled the Swiss alps on her bicycle, and traveled with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus selling snow cones. As president of Goulash Tours Inc., she has organized and led adventure tours in Russia and the Baltics, and all the way south to Romania and Bulgaria. Her collection Women and Other Animals details the lives of extraordinary females in rural and small town Michigan, and it won the AWP prize for short fiction; her story "The Smallest Man in the World" has been awarded a Pushcart Prize. Her novel Q Road investigates the lives of a rural community where development pressures are bringing unwelcome change in the character of the land. Her critically-acclaimed short fiction collection American Salvage, which consists of fourteen lush and rowdy stories of folks who are struggling to make sense of the twenty-first century, was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in Fiction. For decades, Campbell has put together a personal newsletter - The Letter Parade - and she currently practices Koburyu kobudo weapons training. She has received her M.A. in mathematics and her M.F.A. in writing from Western Michigan University. She now lives with her husband and other animals outside Kalamazoo, and she teaches writing in the low residency program at Pacific University. Bonnie Jo is an Old Friend.
Kayla Coughlin, a strong advocate of early literacy and lifelong learning, is a Library Technician at the Ann Arbor District Library. She performs family-friendly stories for hundreds of people every week and collaborates with Ann Arbor Open students to promote the oral tradition of family storytelling. She also directs the "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 and the international "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest. As a professional fun-haver, she enjoys organizing youth library events and showing off AADL's amazing collection throughout the Ann Arbor community. This fall she will attend the University of Michigan to pursue a Master's degree in Library and Information Science.
Darrin Doyle has lived in Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Osaka (Japan), Cincinnati, Louisville, Manhattan (Kansas, not the other one), and Mount Pleasant. His short stories have appeared in Puerto del Sol, The Long Story, Cottonwood, Alaska Quarterly Review, Night Train, Harpur Palate, Laurel Review, The MacGuffin, and other journals. He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Sewanee Writers Conference and the NY Summer Writers Institute and teaches at Central Michigan University. He is the author of the novels Revenge of the Teacher's Pet: A Love Story (LSU Press) and The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo (St. Martin's Griffin) and the story collection "The Dark Will End the Dark"(Tortoise Books). He teaches at Central Michigan University. Darrin is a new friend.
Jerzy Drozd is the author/illustrator of The Front: Rebirth and has worked on Antarctic Press's Ninja High School as well as projects for Marvel Comics, VIZ Media, and others. He recently worked with writer Dan Mishkin and artist Ernie Colón on The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination, published Abrams ComicArts. He is currently writing and illustrating his fantasy webcomic Boulder and Fleet: Adventurers for Hire. He has produced several long-running podcasts including Comics Are Great, Kids' Comics Revolution!, Art & Story, Lean into Art and more. He shares his passion for comics by teaching cartooning workshops in libraries and schools and is a co-founder of the annual Kids Read Comics festival. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and two cats. Jerzy is an old friend.
“A historian with the soul of a poet" is how Booklist described him in its starred review of The Secret Game, while Ann Arbor's own Jennifer Conlin, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, called Ellsworth "an elegant and deeply talented writer." Born and raised in Oklahoma, his work has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the BBC, the American Experience, and NPR. The author of Death in a Promised Land, a groundbreaking history of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, his new book, The Secret Game, published by Little, Brown, about a long-buried civil rights milestone, wrote one reviewer, "reminds us who heroes are and what they can be." Scott lives with is wife, Betsy, and their sons, Johnny and Will, in Ann Arbor, where he also teaches at the University of Michigan. Bonus trivia for mystery fans: he is a great-great nephew, twice removed-or something like that-of Arthur Upfield, the Australian mystery writer. Scott is a new friend.
Amanda Flower, a three-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. Amanda is a new friend.
Andrew was born in Birmingham, England. He went to school in St Albans, Hertfordshire and later attended the University of Sheffield where he studied English Literature and Drama. After graduation Andrew set up and ran a small independent theatre company which showcased a range of original material to local, regional and national audiences. Following a critically successful but financially challenging appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Andrew moved into the telecommunications industry as a 'temporary' solution to a short-term cash crisis. Fifteen years later, after carrying out a variety of roles including several which were covered by the UK's Official Secrets Act, Andrew became the victim / beneficiary of a widespread redundancy programme. Freed once again from the straight jacket of corporate life, he took the opportunity to answer the question, what if ... ? He is now the author of four suspense novels, most recently RUN! (October 2014). Andrew is married to novelist Tasha Alexander, and the couple divide their time between Chicago and the UK. Andrew is an Old Friend.
Andrea Hannah lives in the Midwest, where there are plenty of dark nights and creepy cornfields as fodder for her next thriller. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Of Scars and Stardust, was published by Flux in October 2014. She graduated from Michigan State University with a M.A. in special education. When she’s not teaching or writing, she spends her time chasing her sweet children and ornery pug, running, and dreaming up her next adventure. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @andeehannah, and at www.andreahannah.com Andrea is a new friend.
Julie Hyzy's very first job had her flipping burgers and chopping onions at a neighborhood hot dog stand. She traded that experience for a job as a singing waitress at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour -- but gave that up when she started college (and because she couldn't carry a tune). Over the years, she's acted in community theater productions, appeared in television commercials, and crashed a previously all-male fraternity to become one of the first female brothers in Loyola University's Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. Julie had dreams of becoming a writer, but family, friends, and frat brothers convinced her otherwise. Having held positions as junior officer at a downtown bank, office manager at an architectural firm, and financial advisor at a prestigious wealth management company, she realizes that the business degree was probably a good choice -- but fiction is truly her passion. Now, with some well-earned life experience behind her, she's delighted to finally be able to make writing a priority in her life. Julie is the author of the New York Times bestselling White House Chef mysteries as well as the Manor House mystery series. She is the winner of both the Barry Award and the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original. Julie is an old friend.
David James writes books about stars and kisses and curses. He is the author of the YA novel, Light of the Moon, the first book in the Legend of the Dreamer duet, as well as the companion novellas, The Witch's Curse and The Warrior's Code. A Legend of the Dreamer anthology, Shades of the Stars, was released July 2013, and includes the exclusive novella, The Enchanter's Fire. The final book in the duet, Shadow of the Sun, will be released in late 2013. Living in Michigan, David is addicted to coffee, gummy things, and sarcastic comments. He enjoys bad movies, goofy moments, and shivery nights. David is a new friend.
Laura Kasischke teaches in the University of Michigan MFA program and the Residential College. She has published seven collections of poetry and seven novels. She lives with her family in Chelsea, Michigan. Laura is an Old Friend.
Jeff Kass teaches Tenth Grade English and Creative Writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and is the founder and director of the Literary Arts Program at Ann Arbor's Teen Center The Neutral Zone. Knuckleheads, his debut short story collection was awarded Independent Publishers' Gold Medal for Best Short Fiction Collection of 2011 and his debut full-length poetry collection My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave was released by Dzanc Books in fall of 2014. He has performed his work all across the country and taught writing workshops to thousands of teenagers. In his spare time, he, wait - he doesn't have any spare time. Jeff is a new friend.
Owen Laukkanen's 2012 debut, THE PROFESSIONALS earned rave reviews from critics and readers alike. The story of four recent university graduates who turn to kidnapping in a failing job market, The Professionals was hailed as, "a brutally beautiful piece of work" by New York Times bestseller John Sandford, "a high-octane adrenaline and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride" by bestseller C.J. Box, and, "a first-class thriller by a terrific new voice" by John Lescroart. Mystery Scene Magazine called it one of the year's best debuts, while Kirkus Reviews named it one of the top 100 novels of the year. Now, Laukkanen is back with CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, which reunites FBI Special Agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota state investigator Kirk Stevens in another explosive blockbuster. Kirkus Reviews raves, "Fans of crime thrillers shouldn't miss this or anything else with Laukkanen's name on the cover. The writing is so crisp, the pages almost turn themselves," while Booklist writes, "Laukkanen has clearly avoided the sophomore slump." A graduate of the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker reporting before turning to fiction. He currently lives in Vancouver, where he's hard at work on the third and fourth installments in the Stevens and Windermere series. Owen is a new friend.
Conceived in New York City, born in Oklahoma, and raised in Detroit, Lisa Lenzo is the author of Strange Love, a novel-in-stories published by Wayne State University Press in 2014 and the recipient of a Michigan Notable Book Award for 2015. Acclaimed author Ann Beattie chose Lenzo's first story collection Within the Lighted City for the 1997 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and it was published by University of Iowa Press. Lenzo has also received a Hemingway Days Festival Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award, and she was the 2013 first prize winner in a contest sponsored by the Georgetown Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Mississippi Review Prize Issue, The Italian American Reader, Sacred Ground: Stories About Home, Tales from the Concrete Highway, Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes, and on NPR. Lenzo grew up in Highland Park and Detroit and is a summa cum laude graduate of the MFA program at Western Michigan University. She now lives with her husband near Saugatuck, Michigan, where she drives a bus in the afternoons so she can spend her mornings writing. Lisa is a new friend.
Thomas Lynch is the author of five collections of poems and four books of essays. A book of stories, Apparition & Late Fictions, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, is now available in paperback and can be purchased in bookstores and online. A "Classic Contemporary" edition of Skating with Heather Grace, his first book of poems, has just be reissued by Carnegie-Mellon University Press. In 2011, Paraclete Press published The Sin Eater: A Breviary -- a collection of his sin-eater poems accompanied by black and white photographs by Michael Lynch and cover art by Sean Lynch. Salmon Press, The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland published an Irish edition in 2012. The Good Funeral - Death, Grief & The Community of Care, co-authored with theologian, Dr. Thomas G. Long, was published in September, 2013. Thomas Lynch's work has been the subject of two film documentaries. PBS Frontline's The Undertaking, aired nationwide in 2007, won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts and Culture Documentary. Cathal Black's film, Learning Gravity, produced for the BBC, was featured at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and the 6th Traverse City Film Festival in 2009 where it was awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore. He has taught with the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, with the graduate program in writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and with the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. He is a charter member of the faculty of the Bear River Writers Conference at Walloon Lake in Michigan. Thomas Lynch's essays, poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic and Granta, The New York Times and Times of London, The New Yorker, Poetry and The Paris Review and elsewhere. He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, Co. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage. Tom is an Old Friend.
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist whose work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives with her family on the East Coast. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a weekly or monthly pick by Indie Next, LibraryReads, People Magazine, SheReads, PopSugar, Publishers Weekly, the Boston Globe, and Audible.com. Greer is a new friend.
G.M. Malliet is the author of the St. Just mystery series as well as the Max Tudor series. She has been nominated for or won the Agatha, the Anthony and the Macavity Awards, as well as being the winner of a Malice Domestic grant. Malliet did post-graduate work at Oxford University after earning a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, the setting for her first series, the St. Just mysteries. Raised in a military family, she spent her childhood in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, and Hawaii and has lived in places ranging from Japan to Europe, but she most enjoyed living in the U.K. She and her husband live across the river from Washington, D.C., in the colonial "village" of Old Town, Alexandria. Her hobbies include reading, hiking in the Blue Ridge, cooking vegetarian meals, and planning the next vacation. She writes full time nearly every day, and is writing a screenplay in addition to her mystery novels and short stories. She gets her ideas from people watching, particularly in airport waiting areas, train stations, parks, and restaurants. She changes her mind frequently about who would be the best actor to portray St. Just or Max Tudor. Currently, Hugh Grant for Max Tudor is tied with Colin Firth and Rufus Sewell. She feels Jude Law would make a perfect DCI Cotton (Max's crime-solving sidekick). She feels the same about Laurence Fox, although she imagines he is tired of playing sidekicks. She spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about this. Gin is a new friend.
Jeffrey Marks was born in Georgetown, Ohio, the boyhood home of Ulysses S. Grant. Although he moved with his family at an early age, the family frequently told stories about Grant and the people of the small farming community. At the age of twelve, he was introduced to the works of Agatha Christie via her short story collection, The Underdog and Other Stories. He finished all her books by the age of sixteen and had begun to collect mystery first editions. After stints on the high school and college newspapers, he began to freelance. After numerous author profiles, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer Craig Rice. That biography (which came out in April 2001 as Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. The Ambush of My Name is the first mystery novel by Marks to be published although he has several mystery short story anthologies on the market. He followed up with Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s and Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography. His work has won a number of awards including the an Anthony in 2009 for his Anthony Boucher biography, Barnes and Noble Prize, and he has been nominated for an Edgar (MWA), an Agatha (Malice Domestic), a Maxwell award (DWAA), and an Anthony award (Bouchercon). Today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his dogs. Jeff is an Old Friend.
I have always been a writer. Creating fiction, long and short, is my passion. I made my living writing technical documentation in the software industry, wrote features and essays as a free-lance journalist, edited medical texts, and produced several published articles and a doctoral dissertation in the field of linguistics. And before that I wrote fiction and news articles. I am active in Sisters in Crime, the vice-president of the New England chapter, and a member of Mystery Writers of America. I am also a long-time member of the Society of Friends (Quaker), currently serving as Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. As a former organic farmer I know the language and tensions of someone like Cam Flaherty, the farmer in the Local Foods mysteries. I lived in southern Indiana for five years and loved the slow pace and language of its natives. Currently residing in Amesbury, Massachusetts, I am originally a fourth-generation Californian. I have two grown sons, and live in an antique house with my beau, our three cats, and several fine specimens of garden statuary. Edith is a new friend.
Raymond McDaniel is the author of Murder, Saltwater Empire, Special Powers and Abilities and the forthcoming The Cataracts, all from Coffee House Press. He teaches in the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan, and his first comic book was Superboy #202, a 100 Page Super Spectacular. Raymond is a new friend.
Monica McFawn lives in Michigan and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University. Her fiction has appeared in the Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Web Conjunctions, Missouri Review and others. She is the author of a hybrid chapbook, "A Catalogue of Rare Movements" and her plays and screenplays have had readings in Chicago and New York. Most recently her short story collection, "Bright Shards of Somplace Else" was the winner of the 2013 Flannery O'Connor Award, as well as being the recipient of a Michigan Notable Book Award. Monica is a New Friend.
Jenny Milchman is a suspense writer from New York State, who lived for seven months on the road with her family on what Shelf Awareness called "the world's longest book tour." Jenny's debut novel, COVER OF SNOW, was published by Ballantine/Penguin Random House in January 2013, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, as well as praise from the New York Times, San Francisco Journal of Books, the AP, and many other publications. It was an Indie Next and Target pick, won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for best suspense novel of 2013, and was nominated for the 2013 Macavity and Barry Awards for best first novel. RUIN FALLS, also an Indie Next Pick, was published by Ballantine in 2014 to starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and chosen as a "10 Best of 2014" by Suspense Magazine. Jenny's third novel, AS NIGHT FALLS, will be published by Ballantine on June 30th, 2015. Jenny is Vice President of Author Programming for International Thriller Writers, and the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, which was celebrated by over 800 bookstores in all 50 states and multiple foreign countries in 2014. Jenny's short story The Closet was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in November 2012. Another short story, The Very Old Man, was published by EQMM in the July 2014 issue, and the short work Black Sun on Tupper Lake appeared in the anthology ADIRONDACK MYSTERIES II. On her blog, Jenny hosts the Made It Moments forum, which has featured more than 300 international bestsellers, Edgar winners, and indie authors. She also founded the literary series Writing Matters, which attracted guests coast-to-coast and received national media attention, and teaches writing and publishing for New York Writers Workshop.
Tiya Miles is a Professor of Afroamerican Studies, American Culture, History, Native American Studies and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include African American and Native American intersectional and comparative histories and narratives, as well as slavery, public history, and the historical experiences of women. She is the author of two prize-winning works of history, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (2005) and The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (2010), as well as a debut novel titled The Cherokee Rose (2015). She has published various articles and essays on women's history and black and Native interrelated experience, and is co-editor, with Sharon P. Holland, of Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (2006). She is married to Joseph Gone, a community psychologist who specializes in Native American mental health and well-being. Together, they have twin daughters and a younger son. The Gone-Miles family lives on a tree-lined street in a hundred-year-old house in Ann Arbor.
Bethany Neal writes young adult fiction with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and has worked as an interior designer, photographer, and teacher’s assistant at a K-8 school. She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, dessert, sour gummy candies, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, predestined love, not growing up, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar. My Last Kiss is her debut novel. It is the subject of this year's Book Cover Contest, which Ms. Neal will help to judge.
Aline Ohanesian was born in Kuwait and immigrated to So. Cal at the age of three. After getting her MA in History, she abandoned her PhD studies when she realized her heart belonged to the novel. Her writing was a finalist for the PEN Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction and the Glimmer Train Best New Writers Award. Orhan’s Inheritance is her first novel and is currently being translated into several languages. Aline is an alumni of the Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley writer's conferences. She lives and writes in San Juan Capistrano, CA with her husband and two young sons.
I was born and reared in Mississippi, and grew up with the stories of Faulkner, Welty, and Street. I received a BA in English from Auburn University, and completed graduate work for a Master's in Library Studies from UM in 1996. I have had the great good fortune to have worked as a librarian in three public library systems in Washtenaw County, with the last 16 years at AADL and 13 as its Director. I was honored by the Kerrytown Bookfest Board with the Book Community Award in 2007, and am very pleased to be a participant in this year's festival.
Joining us this year is Kelly Nichols, half of the writing team known as P.J. Parrish. P.J. Parrish is the New York Times bestselling author of ten Louis Kincaid and Joe Frye thrillers. The author is actually two sisters, Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols. Their books have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today best seller lists. The series has garnered 11 major crime-fiction awards, and an Edgar® nomination. Parrish has won two Shamus awards, one Anthony and one International Thriller competition. Her books have been published throughout Europe and Asia. Parrish's short stories have also appeared in many anthologies, including two published by Mystery Writers of America, edited by Harlan Coben and the late Stuart Kaminsky. Their stories have also appeared in Akashic Books acclaimed Detroit Noir, and in Ellery Queen Magazine. Most recently, they contributed an essay to a special edition of Edgar Allan Poe's works edited by Michael Connelly. Before turning to writing full time, Kristy Montee was a newspaper editor and dance critic for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Nichols previously was a blackjack dealer and then a human resources specialist in the casino industry. Montee lives in Fort Lauderdale and Nichols resides in Houghton Lake, Michigan. The sisters were writers as kids, albeit with different styles: Kelly's first attempt at fiction at age 11 was titled The Kill. Kristy's at 13 was The Cat Who Understood. Not much has changed; Kelly now tends to handle the gory stuff and Kristy the character development. But the collaboration is a smooth one, thanks to lots of ego suppression, good wine, and marathon phone calls via Skype. Kelly is an old friend.
Laura Pershin Raynor
As a child, I was a story sponge whenever family gathered. All it took was a “tish mit menschem”, a table with people, for the stories to fly. My Grandma Dinah, who lived to be 105 years old, raised me on the tales of the Old Country, providing me with a landscape for my own stories. As a fourth generation storyteller from a family filled with wacky characters, I have been telling tales of secret messages, delicious recipes gone wrong and outrageous tricksters, for the past thirty years. I've had the honor of performing as a Teller in Residence at the International Storytelling Center , and I've been featured at the Celebration of Light Festival in TX, the Timpanogos Festival in UT and the Mariposa Festival in CA, to name a few. Laura is an old friend.
Casey Rocheteau was the recipient of the inaugural Write A House permanent residency in Detroit in September, 2014. She has attended Callaloo Writer's Workshop, Cave Canem, and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Sicily. She has performed throughout the United States from Portland, ME to Portland, OR, and has led writing and performance workshops for youth and adults alike. For over a decade, Casey has been involved with spoken word and slam poetry and was a member of the 2012 Providence Slam Team. She's released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record. Her first collection of poetry, Knocked Up On Yes, was released on Sargent Press in 2012. Her second collection of poetry will be published on Sibling Rivalry Press in early 2016. Casey is a new friend.
Mary Doria Russell
MARY DORIA RUSSELL was born in suburban Chicago in 1950. Her mother was a Navy nurse and her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant. She and her younger brother Richard consequently developed a dismaying vocabulary at an early age. She learned discretion at Sacred Heart Catholic elementary school; how to diagram sentences at Glenbard East High; cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois; social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston; and received her doctorate in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan. Mary and Don Russell have been happily married for an unusually high percentage of the years since 1970. Don is a software engineer and one of the founders of AllTech Medical Systems, which designs and manufactures medical imaging equipment for the Chinese domestic market. Don and Mary live near Cleveland, Ohio, with a tubby, opinionated dachshund named Annie Fannie Sweet Feet. Annie is the model for the fictional Rosie in Dreamers of the Day, which Mary claims “includes the finest portrait of a 16-pound black and tan long-haired dachshund in modern American literature.” Ms. Russell is the author of eight novels, including THE SPARROW, DOC, EPITAPH and A THREAD OF GRACE. She has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the Hugo award, as well as winning many other awards and prizes, including the Arthur C. Clarke Prize for Best Novel (The Sparrow).
John Smolens has published nine books, eight novels and a collection of stories. His stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as The Massachusetts Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Columbia Journal of Literature and Art, Redbook, Yankee, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He hold degrees from Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Iowa. Over the past 30 years, he has taught at Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Northern Michigan University, where he is the former director of MFA Program in Creative Writing. He now writes full-time and lives in Marquette. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Michigan Author of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association. His new novel, Wolf's Mouth, will be published by Michigan State University Press, Spring 2016. A frequent and popular bookfest speaker, he is this year's writer-in-residence.
Curtis Sullivan is co-owner and proprietor of Vault of Midnight, the internationally recognized and award winning comic book shop based out of Michigan. An Ann Arbor native by birth, day-laborer and cook by trade, Sullivan (along with co-owner Steve Fodale) opened Vault's doors in 1996 in a one-room schoolhouse in the midst of the comic book industry's darkest epoch. Vault of Midnight can now be found in the premier retail districts of Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, with more expansion forthcoming. Sullivan's goal is nothing less than a total sea change in the way planet earth views comic books and the shops that sell them. He is also co-host of the Super Skull podcast and a professional amateur chef.
Ed Surovell is the 2015 Community Book Award winner. Mr. Surovell has generously offered his time on numerous state and local boards including the Michigan History Foundation, the Library of Michigan Foundation, The Historical Society of Michigan and was president of the Michigan Historical Commission. He is also the current vice president of the governing board of the Ann Arbor District Library and its longest serving member (1996). He is also a member of the prestigious Grolier’s Club which limits its membership to 800 and promotes books worldwide. Surovell is considered one of the state’s premier collectors of books on early Michigan history, books on books, and Indian language bibles and other Indian language religious publications. He also specializes in books produced by Michigan publishers including those from Father Gabriel Richard’s Press of Detroit, King Jesse James Strang's Press of Beaver Island and Dr. Chase' Steam Printing Press of Ann Arbor. He has one of the most complete collections of books published by Dr. Chase. Surovell. A graduate of Columbia University, moved to Ann Arbor in 1968 and quickly became one of its leading realtors, selling his business in 2012, he is a consultant to the current owner. Before moving to Ann Arbor he worked at several New York Publishers including Harcourt Brace & World as an editor of grammar and spelling books. Surovell says, "I root for all libraries and libraries are central to democracy and the struggle to improve one’s self." He will be presented with the award the day of the bookfest by the director of the Ann Arbor District Library, Josie Parker.
Denise Swanson, The New York Times best-selling author of the Scumble River Mystery series, began writing after coming face-to-face with evil. She quickly decided she would rather write about villains than encounter them in her daily life. She was also shocked to discover that getting a book published was nearly as difficult as vanquishing scoundrels. Denise was nominated for RT Magazine's Career Achievement Award. Her fellow nominees included Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. She has spoken at hundreds of library events and other civic organizations. She has also been interviewed on radio and TV. Her continuing Scumble River Mystery series is set in Scumble River, a fictional small town in Illinois, and features Skye Denison, a full-figured school psychologist-sleuth who is torn between a handsome police chief and an urbane coroner. All of her books are in multiple printings and many have featured in the Barnes & Noble Mass-Market Mystery, IMBA and BookScan Best-Sellers lists. They have also been BookSense 76 Picks and Top Picks for RT Magazine, as well as nominated for the Agatha Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Reviewers Choice Award. Five of her recent books, Murder of a Stacked Librarian, Murder of the Cat's Meow, Murder of a Wedding Belle, Murder of a Bookstore Babe and Murder of a Creped Suzette, débuted on The New York Times Best-Sellers List! Denise Swanson lives in Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr, and their cool black cat Boomerang. Unlike her protagonist Skye, Denise realizes she can never really move very far from her hometown. But several times a year she and Dave sneak away for a little adventure. Denise is an old friend.
Vu Tran's fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, A Best of Fence, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, and other publications. He has received honors from Glimmer Train Stories and the Michigan Quarterly Review, and is a recipient of a 2009 Whiting Writers' Award and a 2011 Finalist Award for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. His first novel, Dragonfish, will be published by WW Norton in August 2015. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and his PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a Glenn Schaeffer Fellow in fiction at the Black Mountain Institute. Mr. Tran is a new friend.
Douglas Trevor is the author of the short story collection The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space, which won the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction, and the novel Girls I Know, which was the recipient of the 2013 Balcones Fiction Prize. Trevor's work is forthcoming in The Iowa Review and Ploughshares Solos, and has appeared most recently in The Notre Dame Review, The Minnesota Review, and New Letters. He has also had stories in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, Black Warrior Review, The New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and more than a dozen other publications. Four of Trevor's stories have been nominated for Pushcarts; others have been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, where he teaches in the Helen Zell Writers' Program. Doug is an old friend.
Scott Woods is the author of We Over Here Now (2013, Brick Cave Books) and has published and edited work in a variety of publications. He has been featured multiple times in national press, including multiple appearances on National Public Radio. He was the President of Poetry Slam Inc. and MCs the Writers' Block Poetry Night, an open mic series in Columbus, Ohio. In April of 2006 he became the first poet to ever complete a 24-hour solo poetry reading, a feat he bested with six more annual 24-hour readings without repeating a single poem.
Nick Yribar is general manager and Global Director of Results at Vault of Midnight. An Ann Arbor native by birth, day-laborer and writer by trade, Yribar has been with Vault of Midnight since 2008. He is also co-host of the Super Skull podcast and a middling chef, at best.
Lara Zielin is a young-adult author whose Midwestern roots run deep. Her debut novel, DONUT DAYS, was an ALA/YALSA best book for young readers and a Lone Star Reading List selection. She also writes romance novels under the name Kim Amos. You can find out more about her love for donuts, cheese, and her three -legged beagle (which she calls a threegle) at www.larawrites.com.