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Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Sanibel Island Writers Conference
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Tom DeMarchi, Director
Sanibel Island Writers Conference

Reed Hall 242
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565







Steve Almond:

General Craft Workshop--Characterization

Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Creative Nonfiction  

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including the NYT bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His recent book, Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country, is a literary investigation of our moral erosion as a nation. It is not a comedy. His short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, the Best American Mysteries, and Best American Erotica anthologies. Isn’t that weird? He hosts the Dear Sugars podcast with Cheryl Strayed and lives with his wife  and children outside Boston. He is tired.

For more on Steve Almond, including music recommendations, visit:



Andrea Askowitz:

General Craft Workshop--How to Write a Story to Tell Out Loud

Andrea Askowitz

I’m the author of the memoir My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy (Cleis 2008) and the editor of Badass: Lip Service True Stories, the Double Album (Lominy Books 2015). My stories have appeared in various publications including The New York TimesSalonThe Rumpus429Brain, ChildxoJaneManifest-Station, and AEON and have aired on NPR and PBS. For nine years, I created and produced the true-stories reading series Lip Service and received a John S. and James L. Knight Arts Challenge Award. Currently, I teach memoir writing and co-host the podcast Writing Class Radio, which in just two years has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. Also, I’m just putting the finishing touches on a new essay collection currently titled, No One Knows I’m Famous.

For more or or contact me @andreaaskowitz or @wrtgclassradio or


Julianna Baggott:

General Craft Workshop--Young Adult Fiction

Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott is the author of over twenty books including literary novels, four collections of poems, and weird whimsy for children. She's published two New York Times Notable Books of the Year, an ALA Alex Award Winner, and Kirkus Best Book of the Year. She teaches in Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts and at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Lynne Barrett:

General Craft Fiction Workshop--Plot and Structure

Lynne Barrett

Lynne Barrett’s third story collection is Magpies (Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards), and she is the author of What Editors Want, a guide to submitting to literary magazines. In fall 2018, Jai-Alai Press is publishing Making Good Time, her anthology of creative nonfiction telling true South Florida transportation stories Her recent short stories can be found in New Flash Fiction ReviewMystery TribuneThe Miami RailNecessary FictionFort Lauderdale Magazine, and Just to Watch Them Die: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of Johnny Cash. She is editor of The Florida Book Review and teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University. 

For more info about Lynne Barrett, visit:



Twitter: @lynnebarrett


Jenny Bent:

Literary Agent

Jenny Bent

Jenny Bent was born in New York City but grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in a house full of books where she spent many lazy afternoons reading in a sunny window seat. She went on to England to get a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University, and then worked at several boutique agencies before joining Trident Media Group in 2003. In 2009 she left to found The Bent Agency. In the course of her career, she has represented a great many New York Times-bestselling authors, a list which currently includes Stephanie Garber, AG Howard, Governor John Kasich, Lori Nelson Spielman, Goldy Moldavsky, Yangsze Choo, Lynn Weingarten, Lynsay Sands, Lori Wilde and Julia London. Bent is currently looking for commercial and literary fiction for adults and children as well as select nonfiction including memoir and humor. In adult fiction, she particularly enjoys women’s fiction and crime/suspense. She also loves novels—for grown-ups or children—that have an element of magic or fantasy to them or that take her into a strange and new world, whether real or imaginary. All of the books that she represents speak to the heart in some way: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story telling. She loves books that make her laugh, make her cry, or ideally do both.
twitter: @jennybent


Jill Bialosky:


Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts at Ohio University, a Master of Arts from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of three novels, House Under Snow, The Life Room and most recently, The Prize; four volumes of poetry, The End of Desire, Subterranean, a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, Intruder, a finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize and The Players. She has published two works of nonfiction, History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life, a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award and the Ohioiana Book Award in nonfiction and Poetry Will Save Your Life. She co-edited with Helen Schulman, Wanting a Child. Bialosky’s poems and essays have been published in many magazines, among them Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Harpers, O, the Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Redbook, The Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Poetry and The Yale Review.

Jill Bialosky is an Executive Editor and Vice President at W. W. Norton & Company. She edits fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Some titles she has edited include The Burning Girl by Claire Messud, The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood, History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn, The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, The Booker short list Madeliene Thien’s Do not Say We Have Nothing, and Neel Mukerhjee’s Booker short list novel, The Lives of Others, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (finalist for the Pulitzer and National Book awards), Family Life by Akhil Sharma, one of the ten best books in the New York Times Book Review. Other fiction authors are Molly Antopol, Kirsten Valdez Quade, Manil Suri, Rose Tremain, Mark Slouka, Bonnie Jo Campbell, John Dufresne, and Lan Samantha Chang. She has edited all of Mary Roach’s bestselling books including Stiff and most recently, Grunt. Some of the poets she has worked with include Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich (recipient of the National Medal of Honor from the National Book Award), Ai, (winner of the National Book Award,) BH Fairchild, (winner of the National Book Critics Circle award), Stanley Plumly, (winner of the National Book Critics Circle award), Philip Schultz (Pulitzer Prize winner), Eavan Boland, Joy Harjo, Alice Oswald, Mark Doty, Li-Young Lee, Kim Addonizio, Kimiko Hahn, Alice Fulton, Marie Howe, David Baker, Dorianne Laux, Gerald Stern, Robert Bly, Matthew Dickman and Cate Marvin.


Emily Black:

General Craft Workshop--Memoir

Emily Black author photo

Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir, and the Still Point of the Turning World, which was a New York Times bestseller. Sanctuary: Resilience Redefined is forthcoming from Random House in 2019, and Cartography for Cripples: A Story of the Body, is forthcoming from the New York Review of Books in 2020. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, VOGUE, among other publications. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program and at the School of Medicine at the University of California-Riverside. She lives in the Inland Empire with her husband, writer and editor Kent Black, and their family.


Brock Clark:

General Craft Workshop--Fiction

Brock Clarke

Brock Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently the collection The Price of the Haircut (published March 2018) and the novels The Happiest People in the World (which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Pick, an Indie Next Pick, and an Amazon Book of the Month choice), Exley (which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (which was a national bestseller, and American Library Associate Notable Book of the Year, a #1 Book Sense Pick, a Borders Original Voices in Fiction selection, and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice pick). His books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and have been awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Prairie Schooner Book Series Prize, a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Fellowship, among others.  He lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches creative writing at Bowdoin College.


John Dufresne:

General Craft Workshop--Flash Fiction

Morning Writing Exercises

John Dufresne

John Dufresne is the author of two short story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad, the novels Louisiana Power & LightLove Warps the Mind a Little, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Deep in the Shade of ParadiseRequiemMass. and No RegretsCoyote, and books on writing, The Lie That Tells a Truth and Is Life Like This? His short stories have twice been named Best American Mystery Stories. He's written the screenplays for The Freezer Jesus and To Live and Die in Dixie.

For more information on Dufresne, visit:


Tod Goldberg:

General Craft Workshop--Writing Villains (Day 1) and

The Art of Black Comedy (Day 2)

Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg is the New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including Gangster Nation, Gangsterland, a finalist for the Hammett Prize, The House of Secrets, which he co-authored with Brad Meltzer, Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the popular Burn Notice series. A former columnist and book critic for Las Vegas Mercury and Las Vegas Weekly, Goldberg has received five Nevada Press Association Awards and in 2016 was awarded the Silver Pen Award by the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. His nonfiction and journalism appears widely, including in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books and, recently, Best American Essays. In addition, he co-hosts the popular podcast Literary Disco and founded and directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside, where he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing.

twitter: @todgoldberg

instagram: @todgoldberg 


Stephanie Elizondo Griest:

General Craft Workshop--Travel Writing

Stephanie Elizondo Griest  

Stephanie Elizondo Griest is the award-winning author of three travel memoirs: All the Agents & SaintsMexican EnoughAround the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; and the best-selling guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, VQR, Believer, and Oxford American and edited Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010. Her coverage of the borderlands won a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting. An Associate Professor of Creative Nonfiction at UNC-Chapel Hill, she has performed on five continents, in capacities ranging from a Moth storyteller to a literary ambassador for the U.S. State Department. 

Visit her website at


Major Jackson:

General Craft Workshop--Poetry

Major Jackson

Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry, including Roll Deep, which won the 2016 Vermont Book Award and was hailed in the New York Times Book Review as “a remixed odyssey.” His other volumes include Holding CompanyHoops, and Leaving Saturn, which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Jackson has published poems, essays, and book reviews in American Poetry ReviewCallalooThe New YorkerThe Paris ReviewPloughsharesPoetryTin HouseNew York Times Book Review, and in several volumes of Best American Poetry. A recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among other honors, he is the Richard A. Dennis Green & Gold Professor at the University of Vermont. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review.





Steve Kistulentz:

General Craft Workshop--What Makes a Good Story?

Steve Kistulentz

Steve Kistulentz is the author of the novel Panorama, (Little, Brown & Co.) chosen by the Chicago Review of Booksas one of the most anticipated novels of 2018. He is also the author of two award-winning collections of poetry, Little Black Daydream (2012), an editor’s choice selection in the University of Akron Press Series in Poetry, and The Luckless Age (2010), selected from over 700 manuscripts as the winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. He has previously taught at the Johns Hopkins University; the University of Iowa, where he was the Joseph and Ursil Callan Scholar; the Florida State University, where he was an Edward and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellow for Excellence in Thought; Millsaps College; and the University of Tampa, where he directed the MFA program and ran the Lectures Reading Series. In 2015, he joined the faculty at Saint Leo University in Florida as the founding director of a new low-residency graduate creative writing program. 

Twitter: @kistulentz




Joyce Maynard:

General Craft Workshop--Memoir

Joyce Maynard 

Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life,” in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in over fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines and a longtime performer with The Moth. Maynard is the author of nine novels and three memoirs, including the New York Times bestselling novel To Die For and the best-selling memoir, At Home in the World—translated into sixteen languages. Her darkly comic novel, To Die For was adapted for the screen by Buck Henry for a film directed by Gus Van Sant. She is currently at work on her tenth novel, and adapting an earlier work, Under the Influence, for the screen. Maynard’s most recent memoir, The Best of Us—about finding her husband and losing him to cancer four years later—was published in Fall 2017. In 2002 Maynard founded The Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala, where she hosts a weeklong workshop in personal storytelling every winter. She is a fellow of The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. 

 For more info, visit


Tom McAllister:

General Craft Worklshop--Fiction

Tom McAllister

Tom McAllister is the author of the novels How to Be Safe and The Young Widower's Handbook, as well as the memoir Bury Me in My Jersey. His shorter work has been published in Best American Nonrequired ReadingThe MillionsThe Rumpus, and Hobart, among others. He co-hosts the Book Fight! podcast, and is nonfiction editor at Barrelhouse. He lives in New Jersey and teaches at Temple University. 



Annemarie Ní Churreáin:

General Craft Workshop--Poetry

Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Poetry

Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from North West Ireland. In 2016 she received a  Next Generation Artists Award from the Irish Arts Council. Her debut collection of poetry Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) has been shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the U.S. Julie Suk Award (N.C,). Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Jack Kerouac House Orlando and Hawthornden Castle Scotland). She is the recent recipient of the inaugural John Broderick Award 2018.

More info at


January Gill O'Neil:

General Craft Workshop--Poetry

January Gill O'Neil 

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (2014) and Underlife (2009), both published by CavanKerry Press. A third collection, Rewilding, will be published by CavanKerry Press in November 2018. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. She is a board of trustees member with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Montserrat College of Art. Misery Islands was selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Additionally, it was selected by Mass Center for the Book as a Must-Read Book for 2015, and won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award. January’s poems and articles have appeared in or are forthcoming with the Academy of American PoetsAmerican Life in PoetryPlume, Harvard Review, Harvard Review’s Renga for Obama, Green Mountains Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, Sou’Wester, North American Review, The MOM Egg, Crab Creek Review, and Cave Canem anthologies II and IV, among others. Underlife was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize. In 2009, January was awarded a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant. She was featured in Poets & Writers magazine’s January/February 2010 Inspiration issue as one of its 12 debut poets. A Cave Canem fellow, she runs a popular blog called Poet Mom (





Jane Roper:

General Cradft Workshop--Memoir

Jane Roper

Jane Roper is the author of a memoir, Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins, and a novel, Eden Lake. Her second novel, Grateful, is forthcoming. Jane received her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has appeared in Salon, Babble, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband, singer-songwriter Alastair Moock, and twin daughters.

Twitter: @janeroper 



Michael Ruhlman:

General Craft Workshop--Food Writing

Michael Ruhlman

Michael Ruhlman attended the Culinary Institute of America as a journalist in whites in order to write a book about what you need to know in order to be a chef. He came out with the ability to cook and it redirected his life. Since The Making of a Chef, Ruhlman has written more than twenty-five books of non-fiction, fiction, memoir and cookbooks, the latter both on his own and as a collaborator with chefs such as Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert. He’s best known for his writing about food and cooking, both at home (Ratio, Ruhlman’s Twenty: Twenty Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto) and in professional kitchens (the trilogy Making of a Chef, Soul of a Chef, Reach of a Chef). A contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications, his most recent book is Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America. He lives in Providence, RI, and New York City.

Twitter and Instagram: @ruhlman

FB fan page:

FB page:


Christopher Schelling:

Literary Agent/Panelist

Christopher Schelling



Christopher Schelling is a literary agent whose list spans a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including New York Times bestselling memoirist Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors, This Is How) and bestselling YA novelists Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl) and Cinda Williams Chima (The Seven Realms, The Heir Chronicles). Schelling has been representing writers since 1997, and started his own agency, Selectric Artists, in 2011. He is also the publisher of Roadswell Editions, a curated ebook imprint with a list including Jon Katz (Listening to Dogs), Kathe Koja (The Mercury Waltz) and Kim Stanley Robinson (A Short Sharp Shock). Prior to being an agent, he held Executive Editor positions at Dutton and HarperCollins.

For more info on Schelling, visit: or

Twitter: @CRSRipley  


Mark Evan Schwartz:

General Craft Workshop--Screenwriting

Mark Evan Schwartz

Mark Evan Schwartz is Associate Professor of Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, and a screenwriter with credits on over a dozen produced feature films, television shows, and television movies. Starting out as a Production Assistant for Francis Coppola, he went on to become Story Analyst for the Geffen Company, Story Editor for Galactic Films MGM, and Head of Story and Development for Nelson Entertainment, the international distributor of the blockbuster comedy When Harry Met Sally,  contemporary classic The Princess Bride, and Best Picture Academy Award winner The Last Emperor. His screenwriting credits include Little Men (Warner Brothers Family Entertainment) and Star Quest (Concorde/New Horizons), produced by the legendary Roger Corman. His black comedy, Jackals, was optioned by Propaganda Films and Partisan in Paris, France. Tenured, he previously served as Coordinator of the Screenwriting Track, Associate Dean of the School of Film and Television, and was a recipient of a Crimson and Blue SFTV Professor of the Year Award. He holds an MFA is from Boston University College of Fine Arts, is the author of How to Write: A Screenplay (Bloomsbury Academic), currently in its second edition, and has recently completed his first novel.      


Darin Strauss:

General Craft Workshop--Narrative

Darin Strauss

A recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Library Association Award, and numerous other prizes, Darin Strauss is a national- and internationally-bestselling author. His books have been New York Times, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly and NPR Best Books of the Year, among other honors; he has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, NBC News, among many others. 

Strauss recently finished a short stint as an opinion columnist at Al-Jazeera America, has written screenplays for Disney, Gary Oldman, and Julie Taylor, and currently has a production deal with Sony Pictures Television. He is the Clinical Professor of Fiction at NYU's creative writing program. His work has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries. 

For more info, visit:

Twitter: @darinstrauss