Beth Kephart, keynote
Beth Kephart is the author of eighteen books, publishing memoir, young adult literature, a corporate fairytale, and an autobiography of a river called Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir (Gotham), based in part on Kephart’s teaching at Penn, won the 2013 Books for a Better Life Award (Motivational Category), was featured as a top writing book by O Magazine, and was named a Best Writing Book by Poets and Writers. Small Damages (Philomel), a young adult novel that takes place in southern Spain, was named a 2013 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book and a best book of the year by many publications. Going Over (Chronicle), a young adult novel about the Berlin Wall, was the 2014 Parents’ Choice, Gold Medal Winner/Historical Fiction, named a Booklist top historical novel for youth, and was voted a 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime by Goodreads, among other honors. Kephart’s 2014 Shebooks e-memoir, Nest. Flight. Sky.: On Love and Loss One Wing at a Time, was recently selected for a print anthology. Her 2013 middle grade historical novel, Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent (Temple University Press), was named a top book of the year by Kirkus. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages.
Kephart is a National Book Award nominee and a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize, among other honors. Her essays are frequently anthologized. She writes a monthly column on place and memory for thePhiladelphia Inquirer, is a frequent contributor to the Chicago Tribune’sweekly books magazine, has given keynote addresses on the state of literature and teaching, and has judged numerous literary competitions for the National Book Awards and PEN, among others. A frequent workshop leader and the strategic writing partner in a boutique communications firm, Kephart maintains an award-winning literary/photography blog at: www.beth-kephart.blogspot.com.
A.S. King is the award-winning author of highly-acclaimed young adult novels including Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietzand the upcoming I Crawl Through It. After fifteen years living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania. Find more at www.as-king.com.
Joyce Hinnefeld, interviewer/Q&A moderator
Joyce Hinnefeld, professor of English and chair of the English Department at Moravian College, is a published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her short story collection Tell Me Everything and Other Stories (1998) won the 1997n Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize in Fiction, and her stories and essays have appeared in various print and digital magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the novels In Hovering Flight (2008) and Stranger Here Below (2010).
Workshop Leaders, Writer Shop Talk Presenters, and Panelists
Paul Acampora, Workshop Leader
Paul Acampora writes novels and short stories for young readers. Kids, parents, and critics praise his work for its laugh-out-loud humor, rollicking dialogue, and heartfelt characters. His books include Defining Dulcie, Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face, and his newest novel, I Kill the Mockingbird, a comedy/caper about three friends who sabotage their summer reading list. Paul is a popular leader of writing workshops for schools, libraries, and conferences. You can follow Paul on twitter (@PaulAcampora) or learn more about him at www.paulacampora.com.
Javier Ávila, Shop Talk Presenter
Javier Ávila is the recipient of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña Poetry Award (The Dead Man’s Position, 2010), the Pen Club Book of the Year Award (The Symmetry of Time, 2005), and the Olga Nolla Poetry Award—twice, for Broken Glass under the Carpet (2003) and The Symmetry of Time (2005). His best-selling novel Different (2001) earned him critical acclaim and was made into a movie entitled Miente (2009). Two of his other novels, The Professor in Ruins (2006) and the controversial La profesión más antigua (The Oldest Profession, 2012), explore Puerto Rico’s academic underworld. Criatura del olvido (Creature of Oblivion) was awarded another PEN Club Poetry Award in 2008. That same year, Ávila was honored with the prestigious Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts, Literary Arts and Publications Award given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. Ávila’s latest book, Vapor (2014), is a bilingual anthology that brings together poems from his four award-winning books. Ávila has been a distinguished educator for sixteen years. After several years at the University of Puerto Rico, he continued his teaching career at Northampton Community College, where he is a Professor of English.
Josh Berk, Shop Talk Presenter
Josh Berk is the author of the teen novels The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (named a best book for teens of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews & Amazon.com) and Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator (2012). He has also written the "Lenny & The Mikes" series for younger readers (beginning in 2013). He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he serves as Executive Director of the Bethlehem Area Public Library.
Beverly Donofrio, Workshop Leader
Beverly Donofrio, recently dubbed a master memoirist by the Daily Beast, published three memoirs: the New York Times bestseller, Riding in Cars with Boys, which was made into a popular movie; Looking for Mary, a Barnes and Noble Discover pick; and Astonished, called "astonishing," by more than one reviewer. Her three children's books are much praised (the latest, Where's Mommy, was chosen by the New York Times as a Best Children's Book of 2014); her NPR documentaries are perennially rebroadcast; and her personal essays have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Clair, More, Allure, Spirituality and Health, The Village Voice, Huffington Post, Slate, as well as numerous anthologies. She is an instructor at Wilkes University's Low Residency MFA program and is currently at work on a collection of essays and also a play, with music.
Nic Esposito, Panelist, Independent Publishing
After developing urban farm projects in West Philadelphia with the organization Philly Rooted, which he co-founded, Nic Esposito and his wife Elisa currently operate Emerald Street Urban Farm as well as their own homestead populated by their son, Luca, a dog, a cat, and a whole bunch of chickens. He writes about social change, urban farming and sustainability for blogs and magazines and spoke on urban farming at the 2010 TED X conference in Philadelphia. He is the author of Seeds of Discent and Kensington Homestead is his first work of non-fiction. He is the founder of The Head & The Hand Press and The Head & The Hand Workshop.
Mark Harris, Moderator, Independent Publishing Panel
Mark Harris (moderator) is a former environmentalist columnist with the LosAngeles Times Syndicate and author of the book on green burial, Grave Matters (2008, Scribner). His current book project is a memoir organized around notions of home and architecture. Mark is also an adjunct instructor of writing at Moravian College and a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. Website: www.gravematters.us
Bathsheba Monk, Panelist, Independent Publishing
Bathsheba Monk is the founder and president of Blue Heron Book Works, LLC (BHBW), which specializes in uncommonly fine memoirs, series fiction and seriously good fiction. The philosophy of BHBW is that while good writing can be learned, good storytellers are born, and the editors at BHBW love to work with storytellers to bring their stories to life. After her honorable discharge from the US Army, Monk studied and worked in Europe for 10 years before moving to Boston, where she was Manager of Real Estate and Conceptual Planning for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and earned her MFA from Emerson College at night. She has had two critically acclaimed literary novels published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is co-writing a series of murder mysteries for BHBW, and is editing an anthology of letters, journal and blog entries titled Songs of Ourselves: America’s Interior Landscape. She lives in Allentown, PA with her husband, Paul, and cats Kipling and Betty Boop.
Catherine Moore, Saturday-Morning Workshop Leader
Dr. Catherine Moore is a Moravian Academy Upper School English Teacher and has taught at Moravian Academy for nine years. In addition to holding a Ph.D. in English Literature, Dr. Moore has a Master’s degree in Theatre, with a concentration in Theatre History, from Northwestern University and a Master of Studies postgraduate degree in Research Methods in English Literature and D.Phil. coursework from the University of Oxford. Dr. Moore has transformed the short story anthology course with its traditional narrative study to an experiential ‘story laboratory’, filled with blended learning, collaborative activities, and story fieldwork in our community. In this Power of Story course, when we experience our fieldwork with Elementary students, High School student pairs, storytellers, and senior citizens and leverage the connections made through social media and web tools, we learn to understand stories, their emotional power, and their ability to relate experience about ourselves in a dynamic way.
Nate Pritts, Panelist, Independent Publishing
Nate Pritts is the Director and Founding Editor of H_NGM_N (2001), an independent publishing house that started as a mimeograph ‘zine and which has grown to encompass an annual online journal, an occasional digital chapbook series, a continuing series of single-author books and sporadic limited edition/low-fi projects. He is also the author of six books of poetry, most recently Right Now More Than Ever (2013). Publishers Weekly described his fifth book, Sweet Nothing (2011), as “both baroque and irreverent, banal and romantic, his poems […] arrive at a place of vulnerability and sincerity.” POETRY Magazine called his The Wonderfull Yeare (2009), “rich, vivid, intimate, & somewhat troubled” while The Rumpus called Big Bright Sun (2010) “a textual record of mistakes made and insights gleaned…[in] a voice that knows its part in self-destruction.” Pritts is an Assistant Professor at Ashford University where he serves as Curriculum Lead and Administrative head of the Film program.
Kate Racculia, Workshop Leader and State of Publishing Roundtable Participant
Kate Racculia is a freelance writer living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of two novels, Bellweather Rhapsody, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014, and This Must Be the Place, published in 2010 by Henry Holt & Company. This Must Be the Place was chosen as a Must Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She has her MFA from Emerson College, and has taught fiction and novel writing at Grub Street, Boston’s creative writing center. Kate has been a bookseller, a planetarium operator, a bassoonist, a coffee jerk, a designer, a proposal writer, a manuscript consultant, and a prospect researcher.
Rachel Roland, Saturday-Morning Workshop Leader
Rachel Roland is a professional business communicator with 25 years of experience in the communications/public relations industry. The work experiences that have shaped her include Med*Star Communications, Touchstone Theatre, and Walter Cronkite’s television production company in Washington, DC. She worked for AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Agere Systems and never left her desk. Rachel has worked as a television producer, a marketing and public relations director, an employee relations manager and a freelance writer and video producer. Currently employed as a manager in the Corporate Communications department of a large multi-national corporation, she also does professional communications consulting and public speaking. She also has experience in Reader’s Theatre, storytelling and juggling. Rachel holds an undergraduate degree in Speech/Communications from Kutztown University. In 2005, while working full time, she completed a Master of Science (MS) in Communications Management from the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.
Ruth Knafo Setton, Shop Talk Presenter and Moderator, State of Publishing Roundtable
Born in Morocco, Ruth Knafo Setton loves to travel in search of myths and gods that connect us all. The author of the novel The Road to Fez, she is the recipient of literary fellowships and awards from the National Endowment of the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and PEN. Her poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Jerusalem Post, The Literary Traveler, Best Contemporary Jewish Writing, Women Writing Desire, Tiferet, and The North American Review. She teaches Creative Writing on Semester at Sea and at writing workshops around the world. She is working on a new novel and a collection of creative nonfiction. She writes a blog for The Jerusalem Post, and a travel/writing one that can be found on her website: www.ruthknafosetton.com/.
Bridget Smith, State of Publishing Roundtable Participant
Bridget Smith is an associate agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. She represents middle grade, YA, and adult novels, with special interest in fantasy & science fiction, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her tastes run to literary and character-driven novels. Previously, she was an intern at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand book store in Connecticut, and evaluated short story submissions for Tor.com under Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. She graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA. Currently she reads, runs, and watches more television than is probably good for her.
Jennifer Udden, State of Publishing Roundtable Participant
Jennifer Udden grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2008 with a BA in Politics and an English honors thesis. She wrote her thesis on anxiety in British detective fiction. After a brief stint working in fundraising for a nonprofit off-Broadway theater, she joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2010. She represents speculative fiction (both science fiction and fantasy, adult and young adult), urban fantasy, and mysteries, as well as historical, erotic, contemporary, and paranormal romance. She is actively seeking diversity in projects and in authors, including (but not limited to) diversity of gender, sexuality, ability, background, and race.
Lee Upton, Workshop Leader
Lee Upton’s collection of short stories, The Tao of Humiliation, was selected as one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews and received starred reviews from both Kirkus and Library Journal. Her sixth collection of poetry, BOTTLE THE BOTTLES THE BOTTLES THE BOTTLES, recipient of the Open Book Award, appeared this year from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. A professor of English and writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, she is the author of thirteen books, including the novella The Guide to the Flying Island, and a collection of essays, Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition Boredom Purity & Secrecy. Her awards include the Pushcart Prize, the BOA Short Fiction Award, the Miami University Press Award for the Novella, the National Poetry Series Award, and awards from the Poetry Society of America.
B.J. Ward, Workshop Leader
BJ Ward is the author of four books of poetry. His most recent, Jackleg Opera:Collected Poems 1990-2013 (IO Poetry Series/North Atlantic Books), received the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. His poems have been featured on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” New Jersey Network’s “State of the Arts,” and the web site Poetry Daily, as well as in publications such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Green Mountains Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Sun, The Literary Review, and The Normal School, among others. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Inside Jersey, The Worcester Review, and Teaching Artist Journal. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts. In a piece entitled “10 Dynamic Jersey Artists Not Named Springsteen,” The Star-Ledger cited Ward as “making a difference,” noting his poetry’s “music and physicality.” He co-directs the Creative Writing program at Warren County Community College.
Stephanie Powell Watts, Shop Talk Presenter
Stephanie Powell Watts, associate professor of English at Lehigh University, was one of ten recipients of the Whiting Writers’ Award in 2013. Her debut short story collection, We Are Taking Only What We Need, received the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence in January of 2013, and O magazine named the collection as one of 2013’s Best Summer Reads. It was one of two finalists for The Hemingway Foundation /PEN Award, as well as a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, the John Gardner Short Story Award, and the Foreword Review Prize, and was on the longlist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. It has been listed as one of the best books of 2012 by The New Yorker, The Kansas City Star, and other publications. Stories from the collection have appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology in 2008 and Best New Stories from the South anthologies in 2007 and 2009, and two stories were cited as Distinguished Stories in the 2009 and 2011 Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Chuck Wendig, State of Publishing Roundtable Participant
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is
co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.