Virtual MWW21 Faculty

  • Fiction: Angela Jackson-Brown 
  • Fiction/Suspense: Jessica Strawser 
  • Young Adult: Jay Coles 
  • Nonfiction/Memoir: Pam Mandel      
  • Nonfiction/Essays: Silas Hansen
  • Children’s: Chadwick Gillenwater “Professor Watermelon”
  • Poetry: Allison Joseph
  • Comics: Dirk Manning


  • Jessica Strawser
  • Jay Coles
  • Pam Mandel
  • Silas Hansen
  • Chadwick Gillenwater
  • Matthew Clemens – co-author with Max Allen Collins of the Reeder and Rogers thriller series, plus 17 TV tie-in novels

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Angela Jackson-Brown 

Angela Jackson-Brown is an award winning writer, poet and playwright who teaches Creative Writing and English at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She is a graduate of Troy University, Auburn University and the Spalding low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing. She is the author of the novel Drinking From A Bitter Cup and has published in numerous literary journals.  Angela’s play, Anna’s Wings, was selected in 2016 to be a part of the IndyFringe DivaFest and her play, Flossie Bailey Takes a Stand, was part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. She also wrote and produced the play It Is Well and she was the co-playwright with Ashya Thomas on a play called Black Lives Matter (Too). In the spring of 2018, Angela co-wrote a musical with her colleague, Peter Davis, called Dear Bobby: The Musical, that was part of the 2018 OnyxFest in Indianapolis, IN. Her book of poetry called House Repairs was published by Negative Capability Press in the fall of 2018, and in the fall of 2019, she directed and produced a play she wrote called Still Singing Those Weary Blues. Her new novel, When Stars Rain Down, to be published by Thomas Nelson, an imprint of HarperCollins, is forthcoming in April of 2021. For more information about Angela, go to her website

Jessica Strawser 

Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest, where as editorial director she became known for her in-depth interviews with such talents as David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She is the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You, named to Barnes & Noble’s Best New Fiction shortlist; Not That I Could Tell, a Book of the Month bestseller; Forget You Know Me, now new in paperback; and A Million Reasons Why, coming in March 2021 (all from St. Martin’s Press). She has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly, and others, is a contributing editor at, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, where she was named 2019 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Connect with her online at, on twitter @jessicastrawser and on Facebook and Instagram at @jessicastrawserauthor.

Jay Coles 

Jay Coles is the author of critically acclaimed Tyler Johnson Was Here, a composer with ASCAP, and a professional musician residing in Muncie, Indiana. He is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University and holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, serving with The Revolution church, and composing music for various music publishers. Jay’s equally passionate about playing drums. Find him and nerd out over making some dope beats. Jay’s forthcoming novel Things We Couldn’t Say is set to be released this fall with Scholastic!

Pam Mandel      

Pam Mandel was an early adopter of blogging as the go-to format for sharing stories about travel, starting her still online blog, Nerd’s Eye View, in 1998. Blogging was essential to her career as a writer, and in spite of the change in the media landscape, she still swears by blogging as a way to teach yourself to write and to get your work out into the world. Her work has appeared in Seattle Met, Lonely Planet, the San Francisco Chronicle, DK Eyewitness, Afar, AAA’s Via Magazine, G Adventures, and more. She’s won a handful of Solas Best Travel Writing Awards and was included in the 2018 Best Women’s Travel Writing compilation. She co-founded The Statesider, a publication curates the most interesting stories about US travel, American experiences, cultures, landscapes, regional cuisines and unforgettable characters all in one place. In November 2020, she released her travel memoir, The Same River Twice, A Memoir of Dirtbag Backpackers, Bomb Shelters, and Bad Travel

Pam calls Seattle, Washington home; she lives with multiple ukuleles and a small dog named Harley. She has a BFA in Fine Arts (Painting) from San Jose State University, an unruly garden, and there are probably dishes in her sink. Back off, her 1948 house still has the original kitchen, so there’s no dishwasher. When she’s not trying to write, she likes Star Trek, walking the dog by the water, portrait photography, and making waffles.

Silas Hansen

Silas Hansen’s essays have appeared in Colorado Review, Slate, Catapult, The Normal School, Hobart, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere. He is the nonfiction editor of Waxwing and directs the creative writing program at Ball State University.

Chadwick Gillenwater “Professor Watermelon”

Chadwick Gillenwater (also known as Professor Watermelon) is an experienced school librarian, children’s book author and creative writing teacher. Along his journey, he has collected the essential tools to teach his students the elements of writing for children. He knows what makes characters memorable, he understands what makes scenes and settings captivating, and he has discovered what simmers and twists a good plot. As Professor Watermelon, Chadwick has written three middle grade novels. He is President of the Indiana Writers Center, and he lives in Indianapolis with his husband, two dogs and one bearded dragon.

Allison Joseph

Allison Joseph lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University.  She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review.  Her books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press), Worldly Pleasures (Word Tech Communications), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry), The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press) Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry), What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press), Smart Pretender ( Finishing Line Press) and The Last Human Heart (Diode Editions). Her full-length collection, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman was published by Red Hen Press in June 2018 and is the Gold/First Place winner of the 2019 Feathered Quill Award in Poetry and is a nominated work for the 2019 NAACP Image Award in Poetry. She is the widow of the late poet and editor Jon Tribble. Her new book, Lexicon, was published in 2020 by Red Hen Press.

Dirk Manning

Dirk Manning is the writer/creator of comic series such as the supernatural noir Tales of Mr. Rhee and the genre-bending horror anthology Nightmare World. More of Dirk’s comic work includes Buried But Not Dead, Twiztid Haunted High-Ons, (nominated for three Ringo Awards, including Best Humor Comic of 2020), Hope, Butts in Seats: The Tony Schiavone Story, Love Stories (to Die For), and The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. & Dastardly Dirk. Now predominantly publishing with Source Point Press, Dirk was an early adapter in using crowdfunding to launch pre-sales of his comics and graphic novels, with Dirk’s work having raised over $250,000 and counting in pre-sales on Kickstarter alone.

Dirk is also the author of the inspirational/how-to column turned book series Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics and has contributed several short stories to the RPG game series Clockwork: Dominion for Reliquary Game Studios

His screenplay writing credits include the YouTube horror series Blackbox TV episode “The Hunger” (directed by Drew Daywalt and featuring Bonnie Aarons and Jon Gries). 

When not at his desk writing, touring on the comic convention circuit, and/or sampling his way across the best ice cream shops in the world, Dirk can be found online at and on most social media platforms as @dirkmanning.

He does not wear a top hat and scarf in real life.


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. Twilight Tales published the pair’s collected short stories in My Lolita Complex and Other Tales of Sex and Violence.  They have also authored the Reeder and Rogers thrillers You Can’t Stop Me, No One Will Hear You, What Doesn’t Kill HerSupreme Justice, Fate of the Union, and Executive Order.