2015 Speakers

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

Julie Hyzy
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.

Owen Laukkanen
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.

G.M. Malliet
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.

Monica McFawn
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.

Casey Rocheteau
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.

Denise Swanson
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
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.