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2016 Speakers

Read up on the speakers we have confirmed for this year’s events!

 

Patricia Abbott
Patricia Abbott is the author of the acclaimed novel CONCRETE ANGEL, along with more than 100 stories in print, online, and in various anthologies. Her story MY HERO won the Derringer Award. She makes her home in Detroit, and is most recently the author of the Anthony nominated SHOT IN DETROIT.

Ruth McNally Barshaw
Ruth McNally Barshaw wrote and illustrated six novels for the Ellie McDoodle series and is now creating picturebooks. She and her husband travel widely teaching writing and story-creation workshops to kids and teachers. She performs on harmonica once a year with an all-author band called Erin Murphy's Dog. See her work and author visit information at www.ruthexpress.com

Benjamin Busch
Benjamin Busch is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. After graduation from Vassar College, where he majored in Studio Arts, he served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2005 where he was wounded in the battle for Ramadi. He is writer/director of the award winning films Sympathetic Details and BRIGHT and was an actor and military consultant on the HBO mini-series, Generation Kill. He also portrayed Officer Colicchio for three seasons in the HBO series The Wire. He has three traveling exhibitions of photography and a forthcoming book of selected images. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Dust to Dust (Ecco), winner of the Debut-litzer Prize, GLCA Award for Creative Nonfiction and Michigan Notable Book Award. His essays have arrived in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and NPR's All Things Considered. His work has been featured in Best American Travel Writing, notable in Best American Essays and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and a National Magazine Award. He is the winner of the James Dickey and Laurence Goldstein Prizes for poetry and his poems have appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Five Points, The Florida Review, Epiphany, Oberon, Nimrod and Michigan Quarterly Review among others. He teaches independent writing workshops across the country as well as college, university and high school visiting writer events and participates in veteran programs such as Words After War, Theater of War and Talking Service. He teaches nonfiction in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Sierra Nevada College, Tahoe and lives on a farm in Michigan where he is a stonemason by day and an illustrator at night. Find him on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/BenjaminBuschWriter

Ava Chin
Ava Chin is the author of Eating Wildly, which won 1st Prize in the 2015 M.F.K. Fisher Book Awards. Kirkus called Eating Wildly "A delectable feast of the heart," and Library Journal chose it as one of the "Best Books of 2014." Her writing has appeared in The New York Times ("Urban Forager"), the Los Angeles Times, Marie Claire, Saveur, and Eating Well, among others. She has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar's Program, the Asian American Writers' Workshop, and the Ucross Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. A former slam poet, she is an associate professor of creative nonfiction at CUNY and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. The Huffington Post named her one of "9 Contemporary Authors You Should Be Reading."

Desiree Cooper
Desiree Cooper is a former attorney, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and Detroit community activist whose fiction dives unflinchingly into the intersection of racism and sexism. Using the compressed medium of flash fiction, she explores intimate spaces to reveal what it means to be human. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Callaloo, Detroit Noir, Best African American Fiction 2010 and Tidal Basin Review, among other online and print publications. Her first collection of flash fiction, Know the Mother, will be published by Wayne State University Press in 2016. Cooper was a founding board member of Cave Canem, a national residency for emerging black poets. She is currently a Kimbilio Fellow, a national residency for African American fiction writers.

Tom Daldin
Host and co-creator of Under The Radar Michigan, Tom Daldin is an Emmy award-winning producer, actor and writer who has created programs that have aired across Michigan and around the U.S. on PBS. He has also won a number of "best actor" awards in both commercial television and industrial films. Growing up in Birmingham, Michigan, Tom has always been a fan of travel. At the age of 12 he joined the World Adventure Series Club at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where his mother would drop him off to watch travel log films. After graduation from Oakland University with a degree in journalism, Tom, his wife Cathy and their children have turned Michigan into their vacation playground, exploring its many wonders and attractions. Tom loves people and loves where he lives.

Casey Daniels
Casey Daniels has a degree in English, experience as a journalist and writing teacher, and lots of ideas for more Pepper Martin mysteries. As Kylie Logan, she writes three series: the Button Box mysteries, the Chili Cook Off Mysteries, and the Literary Ladies series. When she's not writing, she's usually with her family and two dogs, Ernie, an adorable Airedale pup, and Oscar, a rescued Jack Russell who spends far too much time watching TV. Daniels enjoys knitting, gardening and of course, stomping through cemeteries in search of history, stories and inspiration.

Vicki Delany
As Eva Gates, Vicki Delany is the author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series from Penguin Obsidian, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, featuring Boston-transplant librarian, and highly reluctant sleuth Lucy Richardson. The first in the series, By Book or By Crook, was released in February 2015. Vicki Delany began her writing career as a Sunday writer: a single mother of three high-spirited daughters with a full-time job as a computer programmer. Sunday afternoon was – and at that, only now and again – the only time she had to spend all by herself, with a single candle on her desk for a bit of atmosphere, a Bruce Springsteen tape in the tape deck, and a nice cup of tea at her elbow. When she felt like really letting loose, the tea might have turned into a glass of wine. The years passed, as they tend to do, and the three daughters, somewhat hesitantly, flew the coop, leaving Vicki more time to devote to her writing. She was able to write three novels of suspense, set in Ontario, two of which, Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory were published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2007, Vicki took early retirement from her job as a systems analyst with a major bank and sold her house in Oakville, Ontario. At that time In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first book in a police procedural series set in the British Columbia Interior was published. After travelling around North America for a year with her dog, Shenzi, she bought a home in bucolic, rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch and can write whenever she feels like it. Since settling in Prince Edward County, Vicki has continued with her writing career, publishing books in several different sub-genres as well as a book for adults with low literacy skills.

Kelly DiPuccio
Kelly is the award-winning author of several children’s books, thousands of To-Do lists, and a few recipe cards. Two of her books, Grace For President and The Sandwich Swap, were New York Times bestsellers. Like most kids who grew up in the 1970’s, Kelly had a pet goat and bought all her clothes from the Sears catalog. Like most teenagers who grew up in the 1980’s, Kelly had really big glasses and feathered hair. Today, Kelly lives with her husband and three children in southeastern Michigan, where she enjoys writing just about everything except her own bio.

Maureen Dunphy
Maureen Dunphy, author of Great Lake Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridge to Adventure (Wayne State University Press, 2016), made 27 trips to 136 Great Lakes Basin islands while doing research for her book. Maureen teaches writing workshops for Springfed Arts and, through Dunphy Consulting Services, coaches writers and provides editing services for individuals and institutions. She has taught writing courses at Oakland University, the University of Windsor, and Oakland Community College and facilitates writing workshops on islands and on the mainland. She has published poetry in Beyond the Lines: Writing What You Couldn't Say, fiction in Bear River Review, and nonfiction in Peninsula: Essays and Memoirs from Michigan. She lives on the mainland of the "Mitten State" but frequently escapes to Great Lakes islands, often to her cottage on Ontario's Pelee Island in Lake Erie.

Matt Faulkner
A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Matt Faulkner has written and illustrated a number of children's books. His work has won wide praise for its humor, exuberance and sensitivity. In addition, he is a contributing illustrator to such national periodicals as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Matt is married to author and children's librarian, Kristen Remenar. They live with their 3 kids and 3 cats on the lower right corner of the Michigan mitten. He teaches illustration at the Art Academy University in San Francisco.

Kelly Fordon
Prior to writing fiction and poetry, Kelly Fordon worked at the NPR member station in Detroit and for National Geographic magazine. Her fiction, poetry and book reviews have appeared in The Boston Review, The Florida Review, The Kenyon Review (KRO) and various other journals. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks, On The Street Where We Live, which won the 2011 Standing Rock Chapbook Contest, Tell Me When it Starts to Hurt, which was published by Kattywompus Press in May 2013 and The Witness Chapbook, released by Kattywompus Press in January 2016. The Witness won the 2016 Eric Hoffer Prize for the Chapbook and was shortlisted for the Grand Prize. Her novel-in-stories, Garden for the Blind, was published by Wayne State University Press in April 2015 and was chosen as a Michigan Notable Book, a Foreword Reviews' Indiefab Finalist, a Midwest Book Award Finalist and an IPPY Bronze Medalist in the Short Story category. She works for Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit as a writer-in-residence.

Brian Freeman
Brian Freeman is an international bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride and Cab Bolton series. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages and have appeared as Main Selections in the Literary Guild and the Book of the Month Club. He is widely acclaimed for his "you are there" settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots. His seventh novel SPILLED BLOOD won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards given out by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his fifth novel THE BURYING PLACE was a finalist for the same award. His debut thriller, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel and was a nominee for the Edgar, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry Awards. IMMORAL was named International Book of the Month, a distinction shared with authors such as Harlan Coben and Lisa Unger. Brian's newest thriller is SEASON OF FEAR, the latest to feature Florida detective Cab Bolton. Bestselling author Linda Castillo says: "SEASON OF FEAR has everything: unexpected plot twists that keep on coming, a smart and charming hero, and a setting that's as sultry and dangerous as a tropical storm. It will blow you away." His books include: IMMORAL, STRIPPED, STALKED, IN THE DARK (also called THE WATCHER overseas), THE BURYING PLACE, THE BONE HOUSE (the first book in his Cab Bolton series), SPILLED BLOOD, THE COLD NOWHERE, and SEASON OF FEAR. He also has two bonus stories in his Jonathan Stride series, the short story "Spitting Devil" and the novella TURN TO STONE. Top bestselling authors recommend Brian's novels. Lisa Gardner calls him "a master of psychological suspense." Michael Connelly says, "This guy can tell a story." In addition to his thrillers, Brian is also the author of witty, romantic novels, including WEST 57 (under the name B.N. Freeman) and THE AGENCY (under the name Ally O'Brien). PEOPLE Magazine called THE AGENCY "a delight," and the Chicago Tribune called it "perfectly irresistible." Brian was born in Chicago and grew up in San Mateo, California, before moving to Minnesota. You can write to him at brian@bfreemanbooks.com and find him on the web (bfreemanbooks.com), Facebook (facebook.com/bfreemanfans), Twitter (@bfreemanbooks), and Instagram (bfreemanbooks).

Mother Goose
Mother Goose, Trudy Bulkley, appears monthly at Hollander's in Kerrytown. She has done so for twenty years, plus some. 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."

Barbara Gregorich
Barbara Gregorich has written hundreds of books for hire, among them Boxcar Children mysteries and BrainQuest workbooks; books for royalties; and self-published books. Her novel She's on First was called "the best book that's written on the idea of the first woman to play professional baseball," and her nonfiction title Women at Play won the SABR-Macmillan Award for Best Baseball Research of the Year. She served as an Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar, speaking on the topic of women in baseball. Barbara's Chicago detective Frank Dragovic solves mysteries in Dirty Proof and Sound Proof. Her most recent title, Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples, Plus Dead Bodies, has been praised as "an accessible primer for writers of all skill and experience levels."

William Kent Krueger
Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University--before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He's been married for over 40 years to a marvelous woman who is an attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves. Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O'Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage--part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last five novels were all New York Times bestsellers. "Ordinary Grace," his stand-alone novel published in 2013, received the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition for the best novel published in that year. "Manitou Canyon," number fifteen in his Cork O'Connor series, will be released in September 2016. Visit his website at www.williamkentkrueger.com.

Ellen Longsworth
Ellen Longsworth is Professor of Art History at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, where she has taught since 1985. She earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College with a double major in studio art and art history, a Masters degree from The University of Chicago, and her Doctorate from Boston University. She studies Italian Renaissance sculpture, specifically Lombard funerary sculpture, although she has an article on the early sculpture of Michelangelo, and her most recent is a discussion of North Italy's groups of life-sized polychromed terracottas. Professor Longsworth was born in Indiana and raised in Ohio.

Donald Lystra
Raised in cities and small towns around Michigan, Donald Lystra worked on electrical power plants before beginning to write fiction in his mid-50s. His first book, a coming-of-age story set in northern Michigan in 1957 entitled Season of Water and Ice, captured both the Midwest Book Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award in 2010. His second book, released in September, 2013, is a story collection entitled Something that Feels like Truth. It received widespread praise with the American Library Association's Booklist calling it "luminous" and "a stellar collection of masterfully crafted gems," and the Kansas City Star saying "Lystra draws the bleak, beautiful landscape of the Great Lakes region in quick, sharp strokes, and brings its inhabitants to life with compassion and tenderness." Something that Feels like Truth was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. In addition, it won the Midwest Book Award for short fiction in 2014 and was honored with the gold medal for "Best Regional Fiction" in 2014 from the Independent Publishers Association. Lystra has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, where he was honored with the Gerald Freund award for emerging writers, and his short fiction has 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.

Andrew Mozina
In Andy Mozina’s debut novel, Contrary Motion (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), a divorced concert harpist is still chasing his dream of being an orchestra player as his life comes apart . Contrary Motion has already made some waves. The New York Post declared it a “Must Read”, BookPage says it ” both entertains and draws out emotion,” and Booklist gave the novel a starred review. Mozina grew up in Brookfield, Wisc., a suburb of Milwaukee. He studied economics at Northwestern University and later attended Harvard Law School for a year. He earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University. He moved to St. Louis where he completed a doctorate in English literature at Washington University. Finally, after graduate school, he moved to Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1999 to teach literature and creative writing at Kalamazoo College. Mozina's first collection, The Women Were Leaving the Men (2007, Wayne State University Press), is the winner of the 2008 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Fiction and a 2008 finalist for the Glasgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writers. His second collection, Quality Snacks, was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor short fiction prize and other awards (2014, Wayne State University Press). He is also the author of Joseph Conrad and the Art of Sacrifice (2001, Routledge). Mozina has published fiction in Tin House, Ecotone, Fence, The Southern Review and Missouri Review. His work has received special citations in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, and New Stories from the Midwest. He has been interviewed about his work on public radio stations in Kalamazoo and Milwaukee. Mozina lives in Michigan with his wife, Lorri, and daughter, Madeleine.

Loreen Niewenhuis
Loreen grew up in Michigan and has lived there most of her life. She pursued a life of science, getting a Bachelor, then Master of Science degrees. She worked in various aspects of that world including a hospital laboratory, basic animal research, and a bone marrow transplant group. While taking a break from this work to raise her young sons, Loreen began writing fiction. This evolved into a passion and she returned to school to get her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Spalding University. In 2009, her short story collection, Scar Tissue, was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award. From the time she was a young girl climbing sand dunes and splashing in its cool waters, Loreen has felt connected and drawn to Lake Michigan. She decided to explore the lake fully by walking around it. The fascinating account of her journey, A 1,000-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH was released in March 2011 by Crickhollow Books. It is available wherever books are sold. Loreen’s novella, Atlanta, was released in June 2011 by Main Street Rag Publishing, For her second adventure, Loreen decided to explore more of the Great Lakes system. in 2012 she completed A 1,000-MILE GREAT LAKES WALK which allowed her to touch all five Great Lakes. The book about her journey was published by Crickhollow Books in 2013. Loreen recently completed her third 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventure. This time she explored many of the ISLANDS of the Great Lakes.The book about this journey was released in 2015: A 1,000-MILE GREAT LAKES ISLAND ADVENTURE.

Kristen Remenar
I'm an author, children's librarian, teacher, and a national speaker on literacy for the Bureau of Education & Research. Aside from my deep, abiding love for chocolate, children's books are my passion. Unlike chocolate, the more books I get my hands on, the better. I am thrilled to announce that GROUNDHOG'S DILEMMA is available! My debut picture book is published by Charlesbridge and is illustrated by the award-winning author/illustrator (and super-cute husband), Matt Faulkner. For those with a snarky, dark sense of humor, please visit the website of my alter ego, Helen Wrath, for my new adult book: DRAW WITH A VENGEANCE: GET EVEN IN INK AND LET KARMA HANDLE THE REST. I also teach seminars for preschool teachers, librarians, media specialists, authors, and illustrators.I have a new handbook and seminar called The Best Books to Teach the Common Core State Standards for Reading (K-3). I write for ReaderKidZ, Nerdy Book Club, and Curious City. I am lucky enough to be married to the very talented author/illustrator Matt Faulkner. Together we have three lovely children and two mostly-lovely cats. The FaulkneRemenars live in Michigan. Visit my contact page to connect!

Hank Phillippi Ryan
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate. She's won 33 EMMYs, 13 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism. A bestselling author of eight mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, two Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a "master at crafting suspenseful mysteries" and "a superb and gifted storyteller." Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, won both the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. TRUTH BE TOLD, is the Agatha Award winner for Best Contemporary Novel and an Anthony Award nominee for Best Novel. TRUTH BE TOLD was also a Library Journal BEST BOOK OF 2014, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal, which raves, "Drop everything and binge read!" She won a second Agatha Award in 2015 for Best Nonfiction, as editor of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an anthology of essays by mystery authors, which was also honored with a Macavity Award and Anthony Award. Ryan's newest novel, WHAT YOU SEE, is an Agatha nominee and a Library Journal Best of 2015, with a starred review which raves, "Mystery readers get ready: you will find yourself racing to the finish." It's also an RT Book Reviews Top Pick for "Exceptional suspense!" Her first award-winning series starring reporter Charlotte McNally is now available in all-new editions. She's a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime. Visit her online at HankPhillippiRyan.com, on Twitter @hankpryan and Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor.

B.A. Shapiro
B.A. Shapiro is the New York Times bestselling author of The Muralist, The Art Forger, The Safe Room, Blind Spot, See No Evil, Blameless, and Shattered Echoes. She has also written four screenplays and the non-fiction book, The Big Squeeze. The Art Forger has been on many bestseller lists—including the New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Amazon, and Kindle—and has won many awards including The 2013 New England Book Award for Fiction. She lives in Boston and is working on her eighth novel.

Carrie Smith
Carrie Smith is the Senior Vice President and Publisher of Benchmark Education Company. Her writing awards include three Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the author of SILENT CITY (2015) and the forthcoming FORBIDDEN CITY. She lives in Manhattan.

John Smolens
John Smolens was educated at Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Iowa. He taught at Michigan State University, and is currently teaching in the Master of Fine Arts program at Northern Michigan University, where he has been the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2010 he received the Michigan Author of the Year Award from The Michigan Library Association. John is the author of 11 novels, including the recent historical novel, WOLF'S MOUTH.

Shanda Trent
I must still be a kid, because I love picture books! My love of reading started at the bookmobile in my tiny town of Cannonsburg, Michigan. Sure, I graduated to chapter books, YA and adult novels. Picture books remain my first love. I have worked with young children for 30 years. So I have read thousands of picture books--to my own daughters, to small groups of toddlers and preschoolers, and classrooms of elementary children. I know what kids love, and what brings them back to a beloved book again and again. I personally have been drawn to books in verse. I used to write parodies in verse as a child and teenager. Don't be afraid when I tell you that the voices in my head speak in rhyme. But only when I am writing. Though sometimes that is in the car. Or the shower. Or grocery store. And that brings me to my first published picture book, Farmers' Market Day. This book started as a grocery list, years ago when my kids were young. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I made the most of the learning experiences out in the world. The grocery store was prime teaching territory. The story moved venue to the Farmers' Market, one of our favorite hangouts in Ann Arbor. I have several other quirky, funny picture book manuscripts making the rounds. I hope you'll follow my progress, and share in my love of picture books, especially those I've written! I am the author of FARMER'S MARKET DAY and GIDDY UP BUCKAROOS.

Sarah Zettel
Darcie Wilde is a pen name of the award-winning, multi-genre, bestselling author Sarah Zettel. Living and working in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ms. Wilde has always loved mystery and suspense. She is currently the author of the bestselling historical Rosalind Thorne mysteries. As Delia James, she draws inspiration for her cozy Witch's Cat mysteries from her real life cat Buffy the Vermin Slayer. When not writing, Ms. Wilde spends time cooking, reading and hiking with her husband Tim, and raising their rapidly growing son, Alexander.