Read up on the speakers we have confirmed for this year’s events!
Tasha Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily series and the novel ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE. She attended the University of Notre Dame, where she studied English and Medieval History. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her latest Lady Emily book is BEHIND THE SHATTERED GLASS. She and her husband, novelist Andrew Grant, divide their time between Chicago and the UK.
Ruth McNally Barshaw
Ruth McNally Barshaw has been drawing and writing her whole life. She grew up in the Detroit area and now lives in Lansing, Michigan. As a kid she often drew pictures to go with famous stories, and she also kept sketch journals of her life. She visited Mexico as a teenager with her high school Spanish club and wrote two essays which won an award from the Detroit News Scholastic Writing Awards. As an adult she has worked in advertising, drawing cartoons, illustrated for newspapers, created all sorts of art, and won six national essay-writing contests. Then she started writing and illustrating kids’ books, where she discovered that’s what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Her books, published by Bloomsbury USA, include Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen will Travel(2008), Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School (2009) and Ellie McDoodle: Best Friends Fur-Ever (August 2010). Now all six of the "Ellie" titles are available as "The Ellie McDoodle Diaries".
Charles Belfoure is an author and architect who lives in Westminster MD. A graduate of the Pratt Institute and Columbia University, his practice is in historic preservation working as both an architect and historic preservation consultant with a specialty in historic tax credit consulting. He has written architectural histories including being the co-author of The Baltimore Rowhouse and Niernsee & Neilson, Architects of Baltimore, the author of Monuments to Money: The Architecture of American Banks, and Edmund Lind, Anglo-American Architect of Baltimore and the South. He was the recipient of a grant from the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation and the Graham Foundation. HIs books have won awards from the Maryland Historical Trust. The Paris Architect is his first novel.
Dave Coverly admits there is no overriding theme, no tidy little philosophy that precisely describes what his cartoon panel "Speed Bump" is about. "Basically," he says, "if life were a movie, these would be the outtakes." These "outtakes" now appear in over 400 newspapers and websites, including the Washington Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, and Detroit Free Press. There have been four "Speed Bump" book collections published: A Collection of Cartoon Skidmarks (2000, Andrews McMeel), Cartoons for Idea People (2004, ECW Press), Just One %$#@ Speed Bump After Another (2005, ECW Press), and Laughter is the Best Medicine (2014, Sellers). Dogs Are People, Too (Henry Holt) is to be published in 2015. "Speed Bump" cartoons also appear on different lines of greeting cards, published by American Greetings, Paperlink (London), RSVP, and Marian Heath. Coverly grew up in Plainwell, Michigan, and began cartooning seriously in 1986 as an undergraduate student at Eastern Michigan University, where he penned a comic panel called "Freen" for the Eastern Echo. He also studied in England during this time, and returned to EMU to receive his bachelor's degree in both philosophy and imaginative writing in 1987. He continued his cartooning in graduate school at Indiana University, where his panel in the Indiana Daily Student won numerous national awards; he was graduated from IU with a master's in creative writing in 1992. While taking a year off from graduate school, Coverly was an art director for a public relations firm, and an editorial cartoonist for the Battle Creek Enquirer. In 1990, he returned to Indiana and became the editorial cartoonist for The Herald-Times in Bloomington. His cartoons were regularly reprinted in such publications as Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, and USA Today. In 1994, Creators Syndicate picked up his cartoon panel "Speed Bump." In 1995, 2003, and 2014, "Speed Bump" was given the Best Newspaper Panel award by the National Cartoonists Society. In 1998, the same organization gave him the award for Best Greeting Cards. Coverly has had two picture books published with author Jim Tobin, Sue MacDonald Had a Book (2010, Henry Holt), and The Very Inappropriate Word (2013, Henry Holt), which was named an Editor's Choice by The New York Times. Coverly's first chapter book, Speed Bump & Early Bird (Henry Holt), is to be published in 2015. In addition to his syndicated work, Coverly's cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, The Observer (UK), The Irish Times, SNOB (Moscow), Road & Track, and are a regular feature in Parade, the most widely read magazine in the world with a circulation of 73 million. He donates cartoons and artwork to both of PETA's magazines, Animal Times and Grrr! For Kids, and is the featured cartoonist for the popular dog gift box company, BarkBox. Coverly is also very active in the USO, and has traveled overseas to bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and even aboard the USS Enterprise, to draw cartoons for both wounded and active duty service members. In 2009, Coverly was given the prestigious Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, the highest honor awarded by The National Cartoonists Society. More information on the award and its past winners may be found at www.reuben.org. In 2012, Eastern Michigan University asked Coverly to give the spring commencement address, and presented him with an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts. Coverly works out of an attic studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is married to Chris, and they have two daughters, Alayna and Simone. His website is www.speedbump.com.
Deborah L. Diesen
Deborah Diesen's first book, The Pout-Pout Fish, was published in 2008 and spent two weeks on the New York Times bestseller list for children's picture books. It was selected as the 2009 "Michigan Reads" book. The Pout-Pout Fish was followed by a sequel in 2010, The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big-Big Dark. A third adventure for Mr. Fish and his friends, The Pout-Pout Fish Goes To School, will be published summer 2014. Debbie is also the author of a new series of mini-adventures for The Pout-Pout Fish, board books created especially for babies and very young toddlers. The first of these, Smile, Pout-Pout Fish, was released in January, and will be followed by Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish next year. Her other books are a rhyming story called The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade and a non-rhyming story called Picture Day Perfection. Previously a bookseller and a reference librarian, she now works at a small nonprofit organization. She and her family live in Grand Ledge, MI. She is a lifelong fan of Fox In Socks.
Cecilia Escobar is an artist who reflects into the daily, mundane readings of life by exploring classical paradigms. Cecilia experiments with different levels of the books, constructing and deconstructing them using different media and challenging the structural concept of books.
Loren D. Estleman
Loren D. Estleman is the author of over sixty novels, including the Amos Walker Private Eye series, many Westerns, and historical mystery fiction set in Detroit. He has won the Spur Award, tbe Western Heritage Award and the Shamus Award. He has been nominated for the Edgar Award and the National Book Award. He is a past winner of the Kerrytown BookFest Community Book Award, as well as a frequent bookfest panelist and speaker. His 23rd Amos Walker novel was published in March of 2014 and his latest Western, RAGTIME COWBOYS, in May. He lives in Whitmore Lake with his wife, the author Deborah Morgan.
Don Faber is author of THE TOLEDO WAR, winner of the 2009 Michigan Notable Book Award. Former editor of the Ann Arbor News, he also served on the staff of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, won a Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in the Michigan Senate, and was a speechwriter for Michigan governor George Romney. He is also the author of THE BOY GOVERNOR: STEVENS T. MASON AND THE BIRTH OF MICHIGAN POLITICS.
With 36 illustrated books to his credit, Matt Faulkner enjoys working on projects of both historical and fantastical natures (and he concentrates very hard not to get them confused). His author/illustrated book A Taste of Colored Water (Simon and Schuster) won the Comstock Honor award from the Minnesota State University and was also chosen as a finalist by the California Commonwealth Club for its 2009 Book Award. And the Horn Book said of his newly released graphic novel Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (Disney/Hyperion)- "Faulkner creates a vivid and compelling internment-camp drama for young readers"! Matt is married to author, librarian and national speaker on early literacy Kris Remenar and lives with their kids in the lower right hand corner of Michigan.
Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal. He has also written and illustrated Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, Lightship, The Racecar Alphabet, and Five Trucks. He is the illustrator of the Poppy Stories series, by Avi; Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; Kate Messner's Marty McGuire novels; and Lynne Cox's forthcoming Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas. His books have received four Robert F. Sibert Honor awards, an Orbis Pictus Award, an Orbis Pictus Honor, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and have twice been selected for The New York Times' annual 10 Best Illustrated Books list. Brian was born and raised in Temple, Texas. He graduated from Brown University and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit him online at brianfloca.com.
Richard Gilbert worked in newspapers and university press book publishing, each for more than a decade, was a Kiplinger fellow in journalism at Ohio State, and earned an MFA in creative nonfiction at Goucher College. He has taught writing at Ohio State, Indiana University, Ohio University, and Otterbein University. He currently teaches English and journalism at Otterbein, on the banks of Alum Creek in Westerville, Ohio. He is the author of SHEPHERD: A MEMOIR. He is married to Kathy Krendl; they have two grown children, Claire and Tom.
Lawrence Glazer began his writing career after serving fifteen years as a Circuit Judge in Lansing, Michigan. He previously served as chief legal advisor to Michigan Governor James Blanchard. His book, Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson, was awarded the 2011 Independent Publisher Gold Medal for biography. Glazer earned a degree in history from Wayne State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He currently writes a bi-monthly column on politics and pubiic policy for Domemagazine.com.
Debra Jean-Smith Golden
I Love books! I love reading them, illustrating them, writing them, and making them. Making "art books" allows me to combine painting, collage, (paper) sculpture, story telling, and oftentimes words. I thank Barbara Brown and Alvey Jones for their instruction, inspiration, and encouragement. I enjoy making flutter books that spill out works of my poetry, tunnel books that encourage the viewer to look into a scene from various viewpoints, and accordion books that have grown to as long as 9 feet in length. I teach workshops and classes at WCC (Washtenaw Community College) where I am adjunct faculty in Community Enrichment. A recent class featured "house books" where the books were house shaped and interior pages revealed what was inside in words and pictures.
Michael Harvey is a writer, journalist, and documentary producer. He is the author of the Michael Kelly private eye novels as well as the stand alone novel THE INNOCENCE GAME. He is the co-creator, writer and executive producer of the Prime Time Emmy-nominated television series Cold Case Files and a former investigative producer for CBS in Chicago. Michael's work as a documentary producer and journalist has won numerous national and international awards, including multiple Emmys and an Academy Award nomination for the Holocaust documentary Eyewitness. Michael earned a law degree from Duke University, a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a bachelor's degree in classical languages from Holy Cross College. Michael was born and raised in Boston and graduated from Boston Latin School. He now lives in Chicago with his wife, Mary Frances, and their dog, Maggie. Michael also owns The Hidden Shamrock, home to a great pint of Guinness and a place Michael Kelly likes to frequent.
ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy's shooting range. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. Her manuscripts have been finalists in the Golden Heart, Marlene, Daphne Du Maurier, and Golden Gateway contests and she won Suzanne Brockmann's 2010 Haiku Contest. She's a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America and has volunteered for several chapters, including serving as the Greater Detroit area president. In 2012, Elizabeth fulfilled a lifelong goal when she sold her first five novels.
Anna Lee Huber
Anna Lee Huber was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. From a young age, her imagination was boundless. She spent her summers with her four brothers and one sister playing Star Wars, wearing snow boots and her mother's old nightgowns while swinging plastic bats as light-sabers, and The A-Team hanging off the riding lawn mower (what else were they supposed to use for the van?). In the fourth grade, she penned her first story and asked her teacher to read it to the class. Sure, it was titled Prom Duty, and a ten-year-old doesn't really know much about high school dances, but she chalked it up as her first success. She went on to write several more stories, including a series featuring her own gang of mystery-solving teens, keeping her pen moving despite teenage hormones and a cross-country move to South Carolina. Having dreamed of becoming a Rock Star, more along the lines of Amy Grant than Britney Spears, Anna attended college in Music City USA-Nashville, Tennessee. There, she met her husband while acting in a school production of Our Town. They married just before she graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Psychology. Discovering she was better trained to sing opera than Top 40, and uncertain where her future lay, she found work as an administrative assistant while she tried to find herself again. While pondering her choices, Anna rediscovered her need for creative expression. She began arranging music, and returned to her love of writing fiction. She now pens the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series for Berkley Publishing. Anna is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband and troublemaking tabby cat, Pita. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.
Linda McComb Hundt grew up in Lansing, Michigan with a huge sweet tooth, loving her Easybake Oven, and dreaming of owning her own pie shop someday! She married her high school sweetheart, John Hundt in 1985, graduated from Michigan State Univ. with a degree in Education in 1988, and worked as a substitute teacher until 1989. Because teaching jobs were scarce, Ms. Hundt went to work in the political arena while her daughters, Ellie and Betsie were young. In 2002, after struggling with depression for many years, Linda quit her job to pursue her life-long dream of starting her pie shop business. As a home-based business, she sold her fare at farm markets and high-end restaurants. In 2005, the business grew into a retail café bakery in DeWitt Michigan. The entire business is based on love and nostalgia through the business’ mission, comfort food, vintage ambiance, and merchandise.. Ms. Hundt and Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe have won numerous baking, restaurant, and business awards. Her book, SWEETIE-LICIOUS: EAT PIE, LOVE LIFE, is a 2014 Michigan Notable Book Award winner. Linda has been featured in numerous national, state, and local television segments, magazine, and newspapers including Country Living, Midwest Living, and Parade. Linda is a sought-after keynote speaker, speaking on faith, dreams, and love, as well as giving pie baking demonstrations for hundreds of people at a time. Linda resides in a century-old farmhouse with her sweet husband. Her two beautiful daughters are attending college. Linda believes that Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe can change the world one pie at a time through good food, good pies and good deeds and if you eat pie, you will inevitably, love life.
Janet Webster Jones
Janet Webster Jones, the daughter of a librarian, is a retired educator from the Detroit Public Schools where she spent a 40-year career. She has been in the bookselling business for 25 years. Her foray into book selling started while teaching a class about a study tour she had taken to Egypt. When she regularly brought in books about ancient African history to share what she learned with the class, an attendee suggested she sell the books at a church Christmas bazaar. Along with other serendipitous experiences, a vending business emerged and she found herself taking books to events and selling them to attendees (today's version of a Pop-Up Business). Jones opened her first brick and mortar store, Source Booksellers, inside the Spiral Collective, a shared space with two other women-owned, African American businesses on Cass Avenue and Willis Street in Detroit's Midtown area in 2002. The bookstore moved in 2013, right across the street to its current home in the new Auburn Building at 4240 Cass Avenue, Suite 105.
Chris Lindsay is the organizer of the Michigan Beer and Book Club, a group that focuses on books written by Michigan authors or feature Michigan in some way. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature in 2002 and currently works in sales for an audio-visual installation company in Ann Arbor.
Mardi Jo Link
Mardi Jo Link is the author of Bootstrapper, a memoir about single parenthood, thundersnow, meat chickens, and spiritual survival in northern Michigan. It was published in 2013 by Knopf and awarded the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association's Booksellers Choice award, the Elle magazine Reader's Prize, and named a Michigan Notable Book. Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz has optioned the film rights. Mardi has also written two true crime books, When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore's Secret, both published by the University of Michigan Press. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and her personal essays have appeared in Bellingham Review, Creative Nonfiction, Publishers Weekly, and Terrain. She lives in Traverse City.
Don Lystra began writing fiction in his mid-fifties, following a career in engineering. His first book, a coming-of-age story set in northern Michigan in 1957 entitled Season of Water and Ice, captured both a Michigan Notable Book Award and the Midwest Book Award for fiction in 2010. His second book, a story collection entitled Something that Feels like Truth, was also the recipient of a Michigan Notable Book Award and received the Midwest Book Award for short fiction in 2014. In addition, it was awarded a gold medal for "Best Regional Fiction" from the Independent Publishers IPPY Awards. Lystra has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, and his short fiction received Special Mention in the Pushcart Prizes. He and his wife divide their time between Ann Arbor and a farm in northern Michigan. He has two grown children.
Susan Elia MacNeal
New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Dilys, and Left Coast Crime awards. The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill's Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International's Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 2013 Dilys Award for "the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling," Mr. Churchill's Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine's Best Debut of 2012, Deadly Pleasures' Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target's "Emerging Authors" series. The sequel, Princess Elizabeth's Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by Oprah.com as "Mystery of the Week" and one of "Seven Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader)," as well as Target's "Emerging Author" series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award's Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award. His Majesty's Hope made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target’s "Emerging Authors" series. It was nominated for a 2013 Left Coast Crime Award for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award. Book #4, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, will be published in July 2014.
Hannah McMurray is co-editor of the literary and arts journal, harlequin creature. Published twice a year, the journal resists the ephemerality of words written in a digital world by creating an entirely analogue publication. Each copy of every issue of harlequin creature is individually typed on a typewriter, before being hand bound with letterpress or silkscreen printed covers: a limited number of copies per issue include original artwork by a featured artist. Born in Ireland, and raised in Scotland, Hannah now lives in Ann Arbor, where she is a doctoral candidate in German Studies at the University of Michigan.
Ken Mikolowski is the author of three books of poetry: Thank You Call Again, little mysteries, and Big Enigmas. His new book THAT THAT will be published by Wayne State University Press in 2015. He teaches poetry writing at the Residential College of The University of Michigan. For more than thirty years he was publisher, editor and printer of The Alternative Press.
Bob has spent his entire career involved with government. He started out as a teacher in the Detroit Public Schools and then worked in Lansing for the Michigan House of Representatives, Governor Blanchard, the Michigan Department of Transportation, as well as the Michigan Department of Education. As Assistant Wayne County Executive, Bob helped write the Wayne County Airport Act, and also ran the county's legislative office in Lansing. Bob currently works as a policy advisor to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) on a part time basis and has written Built in Detroit: A story of the UAW, a Company and a Gangster. For more about Bob and his book, check out www.builtindetroit.net.
Tim O'Mara, our writer in residence, has been teaching math and special education in the New York City public schools since 1987. He has written several short stories, and his second Raymond Donne mystery, Crooked Numbers (Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press), hit bookstores October 15, 2013. O’Mara’s top-selling debut mystery, Sacrifice Fly (Minotaur, October 16, 2012), was nominated for the 2013 "Best First Novel" Barry Award. The novel introduced the series hero Raymond Donne, a Brooklyn public schoolteacher who was once an up-and-coming police officer until a tragic accident destroyed his knees and the future he envisioned on the force. O'Mara was inspired to create the character of Raymond Donne after making home visits while a schoolteacher in a disadvantaged section of the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. Further moved by his many interactions with the Youth Officers of the NYPD while he served as a middle school dean - and his brother's stories as a police sergeant over the years - O'Mara believed that a character with experience in both worlds would make a great protagonist. For the past 13 years, he has hosted and co-produced a bi-weekly reading series of poetry and prose in New York's East Village with We Three Productions. He lives with his family in Manhattan, where he currently teaches in a public middle school, and is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and several teacher unions. O'Mara's third Raymond Donne mystery, Dead Red, will be released by St. Martin's/Minotaur Books in early 2015. He is currently writing Smoked, a crime e-novella available for sale eventually at Bookxy.com, for Stark Raving Group, "a shameless purveyor of titillating short novels at ridiculously low prices."
Jim is the author of many graphic novels about scientists, ranging from physicists to paleontologists to behaviorists. His most recent are the New York Times bestselling Primates, about Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas and Feynman, a book about the Nobel-prize winning physicist, bongo-playing artist, and best-selling author Richard Feynman. It debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels. His books are probably the only ones to have received praise from both Nature and Vampirella Magazine…and everything in between, from Physics World to Entertainment Weekly to Discover to Variety to Time. His new book, The Imitation Game, a biography of Alan Turing illustrated by Leland Purvis, is available at Tor.com. He comes to comics via careers in nuclear engineering and librarianship, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Chad Pastotnik initially earned a BFA in printmaking and focuses on intaglio copper and relief wood engraving techniques which find their way into book forms as they are both highly detailed types of prints and lend themselves well to the smaller format. Chad has also had formal training in bookbinding as well as restoration and repair techniques, these skills led him to establish Deep Wood Press in 1992 along the banks of the Cedar River in northern Michigan's beautiful Antrim County. Within the first few years there was a determined need for text for these book forms and the first press and a few scattered cases of type began the formal act of publishing for Deep Wood. Since then the equipment, the workplaces and the vision have continued to evolve and improve and the ever continuing explorations of “the book as art” is at hand. The primary focus of the press is, and always has been, the production of limited editioned fine press books with an emphasis on the natural environment and humanities interaction with nature. Another standard of the press is the inclusion of artwork printed from the original plates of intaglio, wood engraving, collagraphs and linoleum cuts as created by the artists hand. Great attention is paid to tradition and detail, books are printed in types that are cast on premises are composed by hand then printed on handmade or mouldmade sheets gathered from all points of the globe. Inks are often hand made from raw ingredients and all aspects of the finished book follow archival practices to insure that the volume will continue to exist in the centuries to come. Collaborations and commissions have been done with other printmakers, writers and poets that share a similar call from their respective muses, these projects are always especially fun as they inevitably lead to new discoveries and challenges. Over the past 22 years Deep Wood Press has produced over forty book titles and countless commissioned works and is present in some of the finest museums, libraries and university collections in the country including the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, Always by Ann Stott, Xander's Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. He is the author/illustrator of the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn, which won the 2010 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. His second graphic novel Around the World received the 2012 Carolyn W.Field Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association and two Eisner Award nominations. His latest graphic novel, Bluffton, is about summertime, vaudeville, and the young Buster Keaton. Along with winning a 2014 Michigan Notable Book Award, it has been nominated for three Eisner Awards including Best Graphic Album. His first picture book, Druthers, arrives in September 2014. Matt lives in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
"I always try to treat the book itself as the artwork," Chris Raschka says. "I don't want you to stop while you're reading one of my books and say, 'Oh! What a gorgeous illustration!' I want you to stop at the end of the book and say, 'This is a good book.' " Chris Raschka is one of those people who knew from an early age what he wanted to be when he grew up. "It was never a question in my mind," he says. "As long as I can remember, I always knew what I would do: I would become a biologist." Somewhere along the line, however, after having to kill a mouse with his bare hands, Chris Raschka began to change his mind. "I understood it intellectually," he says, "but I just wasn't cut out to do that." Fortunately, Chris Raschka's squeamishness turned into a boon for the realm of children's books. He decided to shift his focus to painting and drawing, and has since produced a range of outstanding books that has PUBLISHERS WEEKLY calling him "one of the most original illustrators at work today." Chris Raschka illustrated A POKE IN THE I: A COLLECTION OF CONCRETE POEMS, a critically acclaimed anthology that was both a NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Best Illustrated Children's Book and a PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Best Book of the Year. "I approached it with a version of the Hippocratic oath," Chris Raschka says of the playful volume. "That was my goal: do no harm to these poems, which are all beautiful. I wanted my illustrations to be little welcoming introductions--a way in." And most recently, Chris Raschka has once again teamed up with his A POKE IN THE I partner Paul B. Janeczko to bring an equally lauded creation to poets everywhere. A KICK IN THE HEAD: AN EVERYDAY GUIDE TO POETIC FORMS teaches readers the excitement and challenge that can be found in playing by the rules of poetry. Receiving starred reviews from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, KIRKUS REVIEWS, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, and BOOKLIST, the title seamlessly unites text and art. Chris Raschka's whimsical torn-paper artwork lends thoughtful details to essence of the book-that poetry is fun. Previously, Chris Raschka turned his talents to Dylan Thomas's timeless prose poem A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, creating fluid illustrations that honor the poet's words, evoking their musical cadences and bringing a fresh appreciation for this most lyric work. Named a NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW Best Illustrated Children's Book, this beautiful edition "should bring Dylan Thomas's work to a new generation of children," says President Jimmy Carter. The illustrator was also a force behind I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE, a picture book cowritten by legendary children's book author Bill Martin Jr. and fellow literacy expert Michael Sampson. "My parents have always respectfully refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance," Chris Raschka says. "That's why I was drawn to this project--in America, we each have the freedom to choose, including the freedom to choose whether or not to say the pledge." His aim was that his quirky images, with their simple, stylized line drawings, would "bring a sense of inclusion. That is my hope, for everyone: to make the Pledge come alive." A different sort of collaboration went into the tongue-in-cheek TABLE MANNERS, a hilarious picture book that Chris Raschka wrote and illustrated together with artist Vladimir Radunsky, a long-time friend. Chris Raschka grew up in suburban Chicago, but then "fled to New York," where he now lives with his wife, son, and a variety of pets. When not working on books, the artist likes to walk around the city, knit sweaters without a pattern, go to the opera, practice yoga, and surf, a pastime that once cost him a tooth.
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.
Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. As a recent fellow of the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, she traveled to Bulgaria to engage with an international community of writers, translators, and readers. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review. Her first collection of stories, published in April of 2014, is titled INCENDIARY GIRLS. She also serves as writer-in-residence for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Theresa Schwegel was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of four crime novels set in and around the Chicago area. Her debut, Officer Down, was published in 2005, and subsequently won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. In 2008, she received the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation in recognition for an emerging artist with ties to Chicago. Her fifth novel, The Good Boy, was released in November 2013.
Sue William Silverman
Sue is the author of three memoirs and a craft book on how to write memoir. She is also a professional speaker on such topics as sexual addiction, child abuse prevention, family dynamics, and her journey as a Jewish writer. She delivers presentations at colleges and universities, professional conferences, and social service organizations. She also speaks about the importance of writing your life story. Sue has appeared on many national radio and television programs such as The View, Anderson Cooper-360, CNN-Headline News, the Discovery Channel, a John Stossel Special on ABC-TV, the Montel Williams Show, the Ricki Lake Show, the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. She was also featured in an episode of "The Secret Lives of Women" on WE-TV. Sue teaches writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her latest book is THE PAT BOONE FAN CLUB: MY LIFE AS A WHITE ANGLO SAXON JEW.
Simone St. James
Simone St. James is a lifelong reader of ghost stories and other spooky reads, but it wasn't until she was an adult that she discovered two wonderful genres: romances and old, classic gothics. Wishing she could read something that combined the three, with a 1920's setting thrown in as well (and having written two full novels that were rightfully rejected everywhere and will forever live under the bed), she wrote THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, which was the book she really wished to read. An agent's representation and a publishing contract soon followed, and she has been happily writing in her chosen, made-up genre ever since. THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE won two of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® awards, as well as Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Book. Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to become a full-time writer. She lives just outside Toronto with her husband and an elderly cat who is probably sleeping as we speak. When not writing, Simone can be found traveling, cooking, staying active and healthy, gardening badly, and reading, reading, reading. Among her favorite authors (besides the geeky history and research books she loves) are Mary Stewart, Daphne duMaurier, Deanna Raybourn, Susanna Kearsley, Jacqueline Winspear, Victoria Holt, Kate Morton, George R. R. Martin, and Stephen King. How’s that for a mix? And of course, along with the rest of the planet, she is eagerly awaiting the next season of Downton Abbey and Sherlock on the BBC.
Erin Stead is the Caldecott Medal winning illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2010 (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2010). She and her husband, author and artist Philip Stead, with whom she co-created A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Bear Has a Story to Tell, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bear Has a Story to Tell was named a Best Children's Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews. Erin also illustrated And Then It's Spring written by Julie Fogliano and named a 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a Best Children's Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.
Philip C. Stead
Philip C. Stead is the author of the Caldecott Medal winning book A Sick Day for Amos McGee, also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010 and a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2010, illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Stead. Together with Erin, he also created Bear Has a Story to Tell, an E.B. White Read-Aloud Award honor book. Philip, also an artist, has written and illustrated several of his own books including Hello, My Name is Ruby, Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat, A Home for Bird, and his debut Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast, which was applauded by School Library Journal for "its wry humor and illustrations worthy of a Roald Dahl creation." Philip lives with Erin and their dog, Wednesday, in a 100-year-old barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sam Thomas is the author of THE MIDWIFE'S TALE and THE HARLOT'S TALE. He has a PhD in history with a focus on Reformation England and recently leaped from the tenure track into a teaching position at a secondary school near Cleveland, Ohio. Visit him at www.samthomasbooks.com
James Tobin won the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography for Ernie Pyle's War and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight. His most recent book is THE MAN HE BECAME: HOW FDR DEFIED POLIO TO WIN THE PRESIDENCY. Educated at the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in history, he teaches narrative nonfiction in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at Miami University in Oxford, OH.
Douglas Trevor is the author of the novel Girls I Know (SixOneSeven Books, 2013), and the short story collection The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space (University of Iowa Press, 2005). Thin Tear won the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, Black Warrior Review, The New England Review, and about a dozen other literary magazines. He lives in Ann Arbor, where he is an Associate Professor of Renaissance Literature and Creative Writing in the English Department at the University of Michigan.
Ann Ross Whitney
Luckily I was born into a family that loved books. From the earliest age I was read to, and then encouraged to read to myself. There were weekly trips to the library, the joy of novels and the agony of not being able to check a book out from the adult section. Every vacation included the combing of Used Book stores, or Book barns, or library sales. From an early age I was also fascinated by history, and my family loved to travel. I envied those who had lived and known a world and time different than my own. I thought I would live my life surrounded by books and live my life through books. I planned to be a history professor, but at University I understood that history a story. It is a great story, but I needed something else. I changed, and the world changed. My own interest became art, including the art of the book. The world became electronic and the page became the screen, and stories floated off into space. I am still passionate about books and art and words. I like to imagine the history and future of books and reading. Ann Ross Whitney lives in an old house near Albany, New York with a husband, thousands of books, an iPad and magic walls.
Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.
Gary Wozniak has spent his entire adult career in the financial arena. With close to 30 years of hands on consulting, training and leadership experience he has helped hundreds of companies achieve economic success. In addition, Gary has owned several business ventures from restaurants to the health care arena. He has a unique ability to analyze a client's financial condition and make recommendations regarding strengths/weaknesses, stability and the potential for capacity building. As the lead author of the RecoveryPark project in Detroit, Gary has brought together a coalition of 125+ government, education, non-profit and for-profit entities to vision a community development and large-scale metropolitan agriculture project. 5 years in the making, RecoveryPark is poised to define what "triple bottom line" urban projects will model themselves after in the coming years. This project offers insight into financially self-sustainable models offering lifestyle options that end population losses in core city neighborhoods while attracting employment opportunities that will eventually fuel further development ideas.