- Fiction – Katrina Kittle: author of The Blessings of the Animals, The Kindness of Strangers, Two Truths and a Lie, and Traveling Light; and for young adults, Reasons to be Happy
- Fiction – Martin Seay: his fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in a variety of publications; author of The Mirror Thief, an 2018 Illinois Reads title
- Fiction/Mystery – Mia P. Manansala: award-winning mystery author of Arsenic and Adobo, and the sequel, Homicide and Halo-Halo; book coach
- Fiction/Thriller – Matthew Clemens: co-author with Max Allen Collins of the Reeder and Rogers thrillers; the J.C. Harrow mysteries; and the John Sand thrillers; plus 17 TV tie-in novels
- Young Adult – Michelle Falkoff: author of young adult novels Questions I Want to Ask You, Pushing Perfect, and Playlist for the Dead; lawyer, and fiction teacher at the University of Chicago
- Poetry/Memoir – Kathleen Rooney: award-winning author of nine books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including the memoir Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object; founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres
- Nonfiction/Essays – Jack Heffron: award-winning nonfiction author of hundreds of magazine articles, columns, and short stories; best known for The Writer’s Idea Book
- Thursday evening keynote – Jane Friedman: 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers, editor of The Hot Sheet, author of The Business of Being a Writer
- Friday evening, “Autopsy of a Novel” (The Light Always Breaks) – Angela Jackson-Brown: award-winning writer, poet and playwright, author of novels Drinking From a Bitter Cup, House Repairs, When Stars Rain Down
MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION TEAM:
- Fiction – Katrina Kittle
- Fiction/Mystery – Mia P. Manansala
- Fiction/Thriller – Matthew Clemens
- Young Adult – Michelle Falkoff
- Nonfiction/Essays – Jack Heffron
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Fiction – Katrina Kittle
KATRINA KITTLE is the author of Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, The Kindness of Strangers (winner of the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction), The Blessings of the Animals, and Reasons to Be Happy. Katrina’s new novel, Morning in This Broken World, is forthcoming in June of 2023. She teaches creative writing workshops through Word’s Worth Writing Connections, focusing on craft and motivation (and is especially good at jumpstarting stalled writers). She is a public speaker, most often leading her “Leap and the Net Will Appear” and “Happy Class” workshops. She has been on faculty for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, the Chicago Writers Association Conference, The Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, and the Writer’s Block Conference in Louisville. She is currently a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Dayton. Katrina has a thing for goats, gardening, and going barefoot; and is addicted to coffee, pedicures, and movies. She is on Instagram and Twitter @katrinakittle.
Fiction – Martin Seay
MARTIN SEAY’S debut novel The Mirror Thief was published by Melville House in 2016. He has been awarded a fiction fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and his short stories and essays have appeared in Joyland, MAKE, Gargoyle, the Believer, and the Gettysburg Review. Originally from Texas, he lives in Chicago with his spouse, the writer Kathleen Rooney.
Fiction/Mystery – Mia P. Manansala
MIA P. MANANSALA (she/her) is a writer and certified book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture. Her debut novel, Arsenic And Adobo, is out now, and the sequel, Homicide And Halo-Halo, released February, 2022.
Fiction/Thriller – Matthew Clemens
MATTHEW CLEMENS and his collaborator, Max Allan Collins, have penned 17 TV tie-in novels including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Dark Angel, Bones, and Criminal Minds. Wolfpack published the pair’s collected short stories in Murderlized: Stories. They have also authored the Reeder and Rogers thrillers: Supreme Justice, Fate of the Union, and Executive Order for Thomas & Mercer, as well as What Doesn’t Kill Her. They authored the J.C. Harrow mysteries: You Can’t Stop Me, and No One Will Hear You for Kensington, as well as the John Sand thrillers: Come Spy With Me, Live Fast, Spy Hard, and To Live and Spy In Berlin for Wolfpack. Those novels were collected in November, 2021 for the Wolfpack omnibus: No Time To Spy.
Young Adult – Michelle Falkoff
MICHELLE FALKOFF is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Law School, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of Playlist For The Dead, Pushing Perfect, Questions I Want To Ask You, and How To Pack For The End Of The World. She lives in Chicago and teaches at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Poetry/Memoir – Kathleen Rooney
KATHLEEN ROONEY is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a nonprofit publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait, a collective of poets and their typewriters who compose poetry on demand. The author of the national best-seller Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press 2017), her most recent novel is Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey (Penguin, 2020) and her latest poetry collection Where Are the Snows will be published by Texas Review Press in Fall of 2022. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and teaches at DePaul.
Nonfiction/Essays – Jack Heffron
JACK HEFFRON was a founding editor of the new Story magazine, which twice won the National Magazine Award for fiction, and he worked in book publishing for years as editorial director of Writer’s Digest Books, Story Press, Emmis Books, and Clerisy Press (now Adventure-Keen). As author and ghostwriter, he has published books on subjects ranging from sports to marketing to the paranormal. He’s best known for The Writer’s Idea Book, which has remained in print for more than twenty years and become a classic in the field of writing instruction His short stories have been published in literary journals and twice have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize while his nonfiction has appeared in numerous magazines and been noted in Best American Travel Writing.
Thursday evening keynote – Jane Friedman
JANE FRIEDMAN has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.
Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, NPR, PBS, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.
Jane has delivered keynotes and workshops on the digital era of authorship at worldwide industry events, including the Writer’s Digest annual conference, Stockholm Writers Festival, San Miguel Writers Conference, The Muse & The Marketplace, Frankfurt Book Fair, BookExpo America, and Digital Book World. She’s also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, and has held positions as a professor of writing, media, and publishing at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia.
Friday evening – Angela Jackson-Brown, Autopsy of a Novel (The Light Always Breaks)
ANGELA JACKSON-BROWN is an award-winning writer, poet and playwright who teaches on the graduate faculty of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, KY. She is a graduate of Troy University, Auburn University and the Spalding low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing. She has published her short fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and poetry in journals like The Louisville Journal and the Appalachian Review. She is the author of Drinking From a Bitter Cup, House Repairs, and her recently published novel, When Stars Rain Down. When Stars Rain Down is a highly acclaimed novel that received a starred review from the Library Journal and glowing reviews from Alabama Public Library, Buzzfeed, Parade Magazine, and Women’s Weekly, just to name a few. In the summer of 2022, her next novel, The Light Always Breaks, will be published by Harper Muse, an imprint of Harper Collins.