To learn more about this year’s festival panelists, hover over each of their portraits.
Allison Augustyn was a rock music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Seattle Times, a guest speaker on NPR’s Sound Opinions, and a writer for Kill Your Idols, edited by Jim DeRogatis. She opened five exhibits as a head writer at the Field Museum of Natural History, and she coauthored the PROSE Award–winning book Gems and Gemstones. She has been recognized by Artist Trust and Pitch Wars, and she has published fiction in The Masters Review, Doll Hospital, and Whole Terrain. She is also on the board of directors at Hugo House, a writing nonprofit in Seattle.
Anastacia-Renée is a multi-genre writer, interdisciplinary artist, and creative writing and poetry workshop facilitator. She is the 2018–2019 Seattle Civic Poet and was the 2015–2017 poet-in-residence at Hugo House. A Cave Canem fellow, TedX speaker, and Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of five books: Forget It, (v.), 26, Kiss Me Doll Face, and Answer (Me), and her writing has appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Fight and the Fiddle, Women of Resistance, Sinister Wisdom, Revise the Psalm, Split This Rock, Berkeley Poetry Review, and many other publications.
Anna Quinn owns The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Bookstore in Port Townsend, Wash. She is a published poet and essayist with 28 years of experience teaching and leading writing workshops across the country. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Psychology Today, Literature Circles and Response, Instructor, Washington 129, and more. Her debut novel, The Night Child, was a No. 1 Amazon bestseller in psychological literary fiction and selected as a 2018 Best Book Club Book.
Ayn Carrillo-Gailey’s memoir, Pornology, has been adapted into the upcoming feature film A Nice Girl Like You, starring Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Jackie Cruz (Orange Is the New Black). Ayn has written for Elle, Latina, Documentary, Showtime, and Fox Studios, and she is currently finishing her first novel.
Bob Friel is an award-winning writer, photographer, and filmmaker who lives on Orcas Island. He is the author of three books: Underwater Maldives and Underwater Bahamas include collections of his marine photos; The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw is a true-crime bestseller. He also produces the science-adventure video series Salish Sea Wild! for the SeaDoc Society, and he is a volunteer with the Large Whale Entanglement Response Network and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Cere Demuth has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1992. She is a mother, grandmother, occasional photographer, and writer. She has spent most of her life on the beautiful islands of the Pacific Northwest. She works psychodynamically with children, adolescents, and adults on San Juan and Orcas Islands, specializing in issues related to trauma, addiction, and attachment. Her memoir, The Way We Stay (2018), is about her son’s recovery from a 12-year addiction to opioids.
Claire Gebben is the author of two books and has written articles and essays for numerous publications. Her memoir, How We Survive Here (2018), recounts the discovery of 19th-century ancestral letters in an attic in Germany, which propels her on a transatlantic quest. Her novel, The Last of the Blacksmiths (2014), is based on the true story of her German immigrant ancestors. She is a public speaker on the topics of writing family history and tips for creating a legacy with family papers and genealogy.
Claudia Rowe’s first book, The Spider and the Fly, won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for memoir. It weaves her reporting on a series of crimes into an increasingly personal examination of the writer-subject relationship. Author Gillian Flynn called it “a must-read.” A social-issues journalist for nearly three decades, Claudia has won numerous national reporting awards and twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Seattle.
Daphne Durham is the executive editor of MCD/FSG, where she has published such writers as Shirley Barrett, Katrina Carrasco, Kristi Coulter, Ryan Gattis, Araminta Hall, and Liska Jacobs. Previously she spent more than 15 years at Amazon.com diving into all aspects of the book business, including buying, merchandising, editorial, acquisitions, and publishing. As editor-in-chief and publisher for Amazon Publishing, she launched and developed core genre imprints, managed acquisitions across all categories, and created Amazon’s first digital literary journal, Day One.
Elizabeth Austen, former Washington State Poet Laureate, is the author of Every Dress a Decision (a 2012 finalist for the Washington State Book Award in poetry) and two chapbooks. She celebrated World Poetry Day 2018 reading at UNESCO in Paris alongside a dozen poets from around the world. She’s currently working on a poetry manuscript titled States of Emergency.
Jennie Shortridge is the author of five novels, including Love Water Memory and When She Flew, and she previously worked as a freelance writer and editor. Her books have been translated into several languages, optioned for film and TV, and selected as American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next picks and Library Journal’s Editors’ Picks. She is the cofounder and executive director of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Northwest authors who raise money and awareness for literature and literacy.
Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times bestseller list, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector. The author of 20 internationally published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery and is a core member of Seattle7Writers. Press & Guide said, “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin’s latest nail-biter, The Betrayed Wife, will be in bookstores this summer.
Kurt Lustgarten is a writer and commercial director. He has sold television projects cowritten with his partner and fiancée, Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, to Universal and Amazon. Together, they also created several comic book series for Boom! Studios, including Misfit City and Smooth Criminals, with an upcoming title in development. He holds an MFA with honors in film from Columbia University, where he was awarded the Simon Kinberg Fellowship in Screenwriting.
Michelle Brower represents New York Times bestselling novelist and poet Erika L. Sánchez, New York Times bestselling writer Tara Conklin, and bestselling historical fiction author Hazel Gaynor, among others. Her authors have been honored as finalists for the National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Prize, PEN/Hemingway, and PEN/Open Book, as well as selected for the Target Book Club, Buzzfeed Book Club, and B&N Book Club. She began her career in agenting at Wendy Sherman Associates. Before joining Aevitas, she was a senior VP at Folio Literary Management.
Oscar Villalon is the managing editor of the San Francisco literary journal ZYZZYVA. His writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer, The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, and other places, including on NPR.org. A contributing editor to Lit Hub, he is a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and the former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Samuel W. Gailey is the critically acclaimed author of Deep Winter, hailed by The New York Times as “beautifully written.” New York Journal of Books describes his latest novel, The Guilt We Carry, as “the Breaking Bad of the book world.” Samuel has also worked as a screenwriter for Showtime and Fox.
Jed Myers is the author of Watching the Perseids, winner of the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award; The Marriage of Space and Time; and three chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels, winner of the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award. His recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, and Southern Poetry Review.
Deborah Nedelman, PhD, MFA, is the coauthor of two nonfiction books: A Guide for Beginning Psychotherapists and Still Sexy After All These Years. Her short fiction appears in The Concho River Review, Contemporary World Literature, Persimmon Tree, Adelaide Literary Award Anthology, The Masters Review, and Literary Orphans, among other places. Her first novel, What We Take for Truth, will be available in June 2019. She is also a manuscript coach and leads writing workshops, and she lives on Whidbey Island.
Geoffrey Brock is the author of two collections of poems, Weighing Light and Voices Bright Flags; the editor of The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry; and the translator of numerous volumes of Italian poetry and prose. His poems appear in journals such as Poetry, the Paris Review, and The Yale Review, as well as in the Best American and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas, where he edits The Arkansas International.
Journalist Jennifer Haupt spent a month in Rwanda in 2006, interviewing genocide survivors and aid workers. She returned to Seattle with something unexpected: the bones of a novel. Her work has been published in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Seattle Times, Spirituality & Health, and other publications. In the Shadow of Ten Thousand Hills is her debut novel.
Joe Ray has been writing food and travel stories from around the world for newspapers and magazines since 2000. He is a kitchen product reviewer who specializes in the Smart Kitchen for WIRED magazine, and he is the author of Sea and Smoke, a cookbook and travelogue based on James Beard Award–winning restaurant the Willows Inn. He was the 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, and he runs Type Set, a coworking space for writers in Seattle.
Kim Bast knew at an early age that her life’s focus would be food. She has prepared meals at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, at base camp on Mt. Rainier, and in many fine kitchens in between. As coauthor of Bounty: Lopez Island Farmers, Food, and Community, she developed recipes to accompany photographs and profiles of 28 farmers from Lopez Island, Wash. She lives with her husband on a farm on Lopez, where she has discovered that growing food is as much fun as cooking it.
Maddi’s Fridge, Lois Brandt’s first picture book, has been universally praised by teachers, librarians, parents, and—most significantly—young readers. It received a 2014 Christopher Award and the International Literacy Association’s 2015 Book Award for Primary Fiction, among other honors. When she is not working on her own projects, Lois teaches writers of all ages, helping her students tell the stories they hold close to their hearts.
Natalie Singer is the author of the memoir California Calling: A Self-Interrogation (2018). Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in Proximity, Hypertext, Literary Mama, Largehearted Boy, The Nervous Breakdown, Full Grown People, the anthology Love and Profanity (2015), and elsewhere. Her awards include the Pacific Northwest Writers Association nonfiction prize and the Alligator Juniper nonfiction prize, and she holds an MFA from the University of Washington.
Paula MacKay is a freelance science writer-researcher and field biologist. She has studied wild predators with her husband, Dr. Robert Long, for the past two decades. She served as managing editor for Noninvasive Survey Methods for Carnivores (2008) and earned an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University in 2015.
Sonora Jha is the author of the novel Foreign and a professor of journalism at Seattle University. She was formerly a bureau chief with The Times of India and a contributing editor for East Magazine, Singapore. Her recent political essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, and The Establishment, among other publications. She was the 2016–2018 prose writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House and currently serves on the board of Hedgebrook.
Bryan Sipe has written for the likes of Paramount Studios, HBO, Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight, and NBC. He wrote the original script for the film Demolition and adapted the Nicholas Sparks novel The Choice. He’s currently adapting Zack McDermott’s memoir Gorilla and the Bird, a seven-part limited series for HBO to be directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, with production slated to begin in late 2019.
Donna Miscolta’s story collection, Hola and Goodbye, winner of the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, was published in 2016. It won an Independent Publishers Award for Best Regional Fiction and an International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-Focused Fiction. She is also the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced (2011). Recent stories and essays have appeared in The Fourth River, Cascadia, Moss, Blood Orange Review, and The Seattle Review of Books. She recently retired after 30 years of service as a project manager in county government.
Heather Durham is the author of a memoir in essays, Going Feral: Field Notes on Wonder and Wanderlust (2019), explorations of a restless human animal seeking authenticity and belonging in the more-than-human world. She holds a master of science degree in environmental biology and a master of fine arts degree in creative nonfiction, and she currently works behind the scenes at Wilderness Awareness School in the foothills of the Washington Cascades.
Jennifer Worick is the editorial director of Sasquatch Books and a New York Times–bestselling author of more than 25 books. As an editorial director, she seeks out the most gifted writers, chefs, artists, and thought leaders in the Pacific Northwest and brings their talents to a national audience. Prior to joining Sasquatch, she helped burgeoning authors develop winning book proposals through her consulting company, The Business of Books.
Katrina Carrasco’s writing has appeared in Witness, Post Road, CrimeReads, Lit Hub, and other publications. She has been awarded multiple residencies, including at Yaddo, Jentel, and Blue Mountain Center, and she received a 2017 Grants for Artist Projects award from Artist Trust. The Best Bad Things is her first novel.
Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently What We Do with the Wreckage, which won the 2017 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her stories have been widely published in journals, including One Story, Ploughshares, and North American Review.
Mare Heron Hake is a poet, editor, and workshop leader in the greater Tacoma area. She is the poetry editor and copublisher of Tahoma Literary Review, as well as a cofounder and organizer of the Red House Writers, a biannual educational weekend. She holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Washington in creative writing and literature, along with an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.
Neal Thompson is a journalist and the author of five books, including Kickflip Boys: A Memoir of Freedom, Rebellion, and the Chaos of Fatherhood and the critically acclaimed biography A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley. He lives in Seattle with his family.
Paul Nelson is a poet and interviewer. He founded the Cascadia Poetry Festival and SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB), which has produced hundreds of poetry events and 600 hours of interview programming with legendary poets and whole systems activists, including Allen Ginsberg, Brenda Hillman, and many others. His books include American Prophets: Interviews, 1994–2012 (2018), American Sentences (2015), A Time Before Slaughter (2009), and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (2013).
Thom Caraway teaches writing, editing, and publishing at Whitworth University, where he is also the editor of Rock & Sling. His most recent collection of poems is What the Sky Lacks (2018). From 2013 through 2015, he was the poet laureate for Spokane. In September 2018, he embarked on a foolishly extensive kitchen remodel project, and he may never be finished.
Elisabeth Eaves is the author of Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents and Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping. Her work has been anthologized in This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home and The Best American Travel Writing. She cofounded Type Set, a writers’ coworking space in Seattle.
J. Ryan Stradal is the author of the bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which was translated into 12 languages and won the American Book Association’s Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Debut of the Year. His next novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, is forthcoming from Viking in July 2019.
Jessica Gigot is a poet, farmer, teacher, and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, Wash., called Harmony Fields that makes artisan sheep cheese and grows organic herbs. Her first book of poems, Flood Patterns, was published in 2015, and her writing appears in a number of national and regional journals, including Orion, About Place, The Hopper, and Poetry Northwest.
Keetje Kuipers’ third poetry collection, All Its Charms, was published in 2019. Her poems have appeared in more than a hundred magazines, as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Previously a Wallace Stegner Fellow, a Bread Loaf Fellow, and the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, Kuipers is currently senior editor at Poetry Northwest.
Kristen Millares Young is the author of Subduction, a novel forthcoming from Red Hen Press in April 2020. A prizewinning journalist and essayist, she is serving as the 2018–2020 prose writer-in-residence at Hugo House. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, and The New York Times.
Margot Kahn is the author of Horses That Buck, the biography of a world-champion rodeo cowboy, and coeditor of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice collection This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Lenny Letter, The Rumpus, Publishers Weekly, BUST, and elsewhere.
Nicole Chung’s debut memoir, All You Can Ever Know, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award, and named a best book of the year by nearly two dozen outlets, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, NPR, TIME, Newsday, Library Journal, Real Simple, and Goodreads. Nicole has written for The New York Times, GQ, Longreads, The Atlantic, Slate, Vulture, The Cut, and Hazlitt, among many others. She is the editor in chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast.
Award-winning journalist Rebecca Clarren has been writing about the rural West for nearly 20 years. Her journalism, for which she has won the Hillman Prize, an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, and nine grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, has appeared in such publications as Mother Jones, High Country News, The Nation, and Salon. Her first novel, Kickdown (2018), was shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize. She lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two young sons.
Tina Schumann is the author of three poetry collections: As If (2010), winner of the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize; Requiem: A Patrimony of Fugues, winner of the 2016 Diode Editions Chapbook Competition; and Praising the Paradox (Red Hen, 2019). She is the editor of the IPPY Award–winning anthology Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen, 2017). Her work received the American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, a Pushcart nomination, and finalist status in the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Cimarron Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nimrod, and Verse Daily, among other places.