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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--Fiction)  

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal, The Evil B.B. Chow, and God Bless America, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books, the best-selling Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His memoir Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life was published in Spring 2010. His most recent book, Against Football, an anguished manifesto about the dubious morality of being a football fan, was released in fall 2014. He also, crazily, self-published three books: This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey, which is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing; Letters From People Who Hate Me, a collection of letters and responses between Steve and his indignant readers; and Bad Poetry, a collection of previously unpublished verse and accompanying self-criticism. Almond lives outside Boston with his wife, three children, and mounting debt.

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



MK Asante (General Craft Workshop)

MK Asante

MK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and professor who CNN calls “a master storyteller and major creative force.”

Asante is the author of four books, including Buck: A Memoir, which was praised by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” Buck made the Washington Post best-seller list in 2014 and 2015 and has won dozens of awards. Asante received a Sundance™ Feature Film Grant to adapt Buck into a movie, which is currently in-development.

Asante studied at the University of London, earned a B.A. from Lafayette College, and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

For more info, visit


Andrea Askowitz (General Craft Workshop--Writing a Story to be Told Aloud

& Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Nonfiction)

Andrea Askowitz

Andrea Askowitz is the author of the memoir My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy and the editor of Badass:  True Stories, the Double Album. Her stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times,, xoJane, Brain, Child and, and have aired on NPR and PBS.  She is the founder of the Knight award-winning, true-stories reading series Lip Service. And is now the executive producer and host of the podcast Writing Class Radio. Andrea grew up in Miami where she lives with her wife Victoria and children Natasha, Sebastian and Beast.

Tweet her at @andreaaskowitz and @wrtgclassradio. 


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. She edited Tigertail: Florida Flash, co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion, and is editor of The Florida Book Review. Her recent work can be found in Mystery Tribune, The Miami Rail, Necessary Fiction, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, and Just to Watch Them Die: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of Johnny Cash. She teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University. 

For more info about Lynne Barrett, visit:




Kevin Canty (General Craft Workshop--Fiction)

Kevin Canty

Kevin Canty's eighth book, a novel called The Underworld, was published by W. W. Norton in 2017. He is also the author of three previous collections of short stories (Where the Money Went, Honeymoon, and A Stranger In This World) and four novels (Nine Below Zero, Into the Great Wide Open, Winslow in Love and Everything). His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Esquire, Tin House, GQ, Glimmer Train, Story, the New England Review, Best American Short Stories 2015 and elsewhere; essays and articles in Vogue, Details, Playboy, the New York Times and the Oxford American, among others. His work has been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, German, Polish, Italian and Japanese. He lives and writes in Missoula, Montana.

For more info, visit


Alicia Clancy (Editor)

Alicia Clancy

Alicia Clancy is an Acquisitons Editor at Lake Union Publishing, the contemporary and historical fiction imprint of Amazon Publishing. Prior to her position at Lake Union, Alicia was an Assistant Editor at St. Martin's Press, and also completed a stint in sales at Palgrave and an internship at FinePrint Literary Management. She has a degree in English Literature from The University of Tennessee, and she still bleeds orange to this day (GO VOLS)!

Alicia is looking for upmarket and commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction with a commercial hook, and mystery/thrillers/suspense. The most important elements of any book to her, regardless of genre, are a strong voice and beautiful writing. She has a soft spot for books featuring diverse characters, and an even softer spot for books set in the South. She lives in Seattle, WA with her British husband and her Australian Cattle Dog, Whiskey. She is also the author of an illustrated gift book titled BE MY GALENTINE: Celebrating Badass Female Friendship (St. Martin’s Press, January 2017).


Sloane Crosley (Narrative Nonfiction)

Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley is the author of The New York Times bestselling essay collections, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, a finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor, How Did You Get This Number and the novel The Clasp. She served as editor of The Best American Travel Writing series and has contributed to a variety of anthologies. She is featured in The Library of America's The 50 Funniest American Writers and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her next book, Look Alive Out There will be published in April 2018.

For more info, visit


Twitter: @askanyone



Eugene Cross (General Craft Workshop--Screenwriting)

Eugene Cross

Eugene Cross is the author of the short story collection Fires of Our Choosing, which was long listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and was named the Gold Medal winner in the Short Story category by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. He's a continuing faculty member in Northwestern's School of Professional Studies MFA Program and has taught creative writing at Penn State, The University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and other institutions. His stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Story Quarterly, and Callaloo among others. His work was also listed among the 2010 and 2015 Best American Short Stories' 100 Distinguished Stories. He is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and fellowships from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Yaddo Artists' Colony, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Eugene lives in Los Angeles where he writes for TV.

For more info, visit:

Twitter - @EugeneCross1

Website -

FB -

Instagram -


Dean Davis (Storytelling Panelist)

Dean Davis

Dean Davis is Co-Founder and President of DeKa Storytelling Institute LLC.  He is also a Professional Trainer/Coach at Summoning Success LLC.  Prior to his new ventures, Davis taught Speech and Interpersonal Communication for nearly two decades, first at New York University and, then, at Florida Gulf Coast University where he won a university-wide award for teaching excellence and several awards for excellence in lecturing and mentoring. Davis is an Adler trained life coach from the University of Toronto with an MA in Communication from New York University and a background in theater. 


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:



Beth Ann Fennelly (General Craft Workshop--Tiny Texts)

Beth Anne Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She’s won grants and awards from the N.E.A., the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil.  Fennelly has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, a book of nonfiction, Great with Child, and The Tilted World, a novel she co-authored with her husband, Tom Franklin.  Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs will be published by Norton in fall ‘17. Fennelly and Franklin live in Oxford with their three children.

For more info, visit


Lisa Gallagher (Literary Agent)

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher joined DeFiore & Company Literary Management Inc., as a literary agent in 2014, after working at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates for five years. She is actively seeking new clients both in fiction and non-fiction, who are great storytellers, delivering both narrative urgency and dramatic tension, combined with multi-faceted characters and a transporting sense of place.  She has more than twenty-five years of publishing experience and insight from both sides of the Atlantic, and now as an agent, being a champion of authors and their work continues to be her passion.

She represents adult fiction, adult non-fiction and some YA projects, including New York Times bestselling novelists Christopher Moore and Charles Todd, Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Keller, national bestseller Hank Phillippi Ryan and memoirist Molly Bloom, author of Molly’s Game, about to be released as a major motion picture directed by Aaron Sorkin, and starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.

Formerly SVP & Publisher, William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins), Gallagher was previously Associate Publisher at Bloomsbury USA, following a move to New York from Bloomsbury's London office in 1998. Gallagher was educated at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, UK, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Barbara Hamby (General Craft Workshop--Poetry)

Barbara Hamby

Barbara Hamby is the author of five books of poems, most recently On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems (2014)  published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which also published Babel (2004) and All-Night Lingo Tango (2009). She was a 2010 Guggenheim fellow in Poetry and her book of short stories, Lester Higata’s 20th Century, won the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and Yale Review. She has also edited an anthology of poems, Seriously Funny (Georgia, 2009), with her husband David Kirby. She teaches at Florida State University where she is Distinguished University Scholar. Her sixth book of poems, Bird Odyssey, will be published by Pitt in 2018.

For more info, visit


Nathan Hill (General Craft Workshop--Fiction)

Nathan Hill

Nathan Hill's first novel, The Nix, was published in 2016 by Knopf. His short fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including The Iowa ReviewAGNIThe Gettysburg Review, and Fiction, where he was awarded the annual Fiction Prize. A native Iowan, he now lives in Naples, Florida.

For more on Nathan Hill, visit:


Twitter: @nathanreads


Shane Hinton (Panelist)

Shane Hinton

Shane Hinton’s debut story collection Pinkies was selected as a finalist for a 2016 Firecracker Award in Fiction by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. He is the editor of the anthology We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida and the author of the forthcoming novella Radio Dark. He teaches writing at the University of Tampa and lives in the winter strawberry capital of the world.

For more info, visit


David Kirby (General Craft Workshop--Poetry)

David Kirby

David Kirby's collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Kirby is the author of Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which the Times Literary Supplement of London called “a hymn of praise to the emancipatory power of nonsense.” Kirby’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His latest poetry collection is Get Up, Please. 

For more info, visit


Keith Kopka (Panelist & Small-Group Manuscript Workshop--Poetry)

Keith Kopka

Keith Kopka is the Managing Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. Before his career in poetry, he spent years touring the country as a guitar player in punk & hardcore bands, and his experiences during this time are often the subject of his writing. His poetry and criticism have recently appeared in The International Journal of The Book, Mid-American Review, New Ohio Review, Ninth Letter, and others. Kopka was a finalist for the 2016 National Poetry Series and won the 2017 International Award for Excellence from the Books, Publishing & Libraries Research Network. He is also the co-founder and Director of Operations for Writers Resist, an Assistant Editor at Narrative Magazine, a recipient of a Chautauqua Arts Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center poetry fellow.

For more info, visit:

Twitter: @KeithKopka



Susannah Meadows (General Craft Workshop--Creative Nonfiction/Reporting)

Susannah Meadows

Susannah Meadows is a journalist and the author of the new book, The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up. Meadows is a former senior writer for Newsweek. She has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times, most recently writing a column for the Arts section about books, along with reviews. A longtime reporter, the stories she’s covered include the 2004 presidential campaign, the aftermath of 9/11, Columbine, Hurricane Katrina, and the Duke lacrosse scandal. She has appeared on CBS This Morning, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, and Charlie Rose


Linda Oatman High (General Craft Workshop--YA Fiction)

Linda Oatman High

Linda Oatman High is an author of books for children and teens, as well as a journalist/playwright. She lives in Lancaster County, PA, and holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Linda has written more than 25 books, with her newest release being the middle-grade novel One Amazing Elephant (HarperCollins 2017). She was honored in England in 2012 with the Sunday Times EFG Short Story award shortlist, and her first adult novel is upcoming. Linda teaches both nationally and internationally, and more info may be found on


Michelle Richmond (General Craft Workshop--Fiction)

Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the author of five novels, including Golden State and the New York Times bestseller The Year of Fog, and two story collections, most recently Hum, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. Her new novel, The Marriage Pact, has been sold in 28 languages. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, Playboy, Best American Fantasy, and elsewhere. She has served on the board of The Authors Guild since 2010. A native of Mobile, Alabama, she makes her home in Northern California. For more info, visit:






Christopher Schelling (Literary Agent/Panelist)




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  


Megan Stielstra (General Craft Workshop/Panelist)

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections, most recently The Wrong Way To Save Your Life from Harper Perennial. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Poets & Writers, Guernica, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, and on National Public Radio. She teaches creative nonfiction at Northwestern University.

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections: The Wrong Way To Save Your Life (Harper Perennial 2017), Once I Was Cool (Curbside Splendor 2014) and Everyone Remain Calm (ECW/Joyland 2011). Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Guernica, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Cabinet of Wonders, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She teaches creative nonfiction at Northwestern University.

For more info, visit:


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


Ann Kidd Taylor (Panelist)

Ann Kidd Taylor

Ann Kidd Taylor is the author of the novel The Shark Club (2017). She is the coauthor of Traveling with Pomegranates, a memoir written with her mother, Sue Monk Kidd. Published in 2009, it appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times list, and has been published in several languages. 

Ann lives on Marco Island with her husband, son, and two dogs.

For more info, visit


Karen Tolchin (Storytelling Panel)

Karen Tolchin

Karen Tolchin has been teaching contemporary literature, creative writing, and film at the college level for a whopping two decades.  She holds a doctorate in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and a bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr College, which explains both her stores of literary knowledge and her array of nervous tics.  Her book, Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film, was cited in William Safire’s New York Times “On Language” column (2007), while her creative work has appeared in The Rumpus and Gulfshore Life Magazine.  In 2015, she won a university-wide award for teaching excellence at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she works as an associate professor of English.  She also serves as the “Ka” half of the DeKa Storytelling Institute, LLC. in Naples, Florida, and as a newly minted trustee of the Seacrest Country Day School.  She’s never happier than when she’s out on the Gulf with her eight-year-old son Charlie, scanning the horizon for dolphin activity.    


Nicole Tourtelot (Literary Agent)

Nicole Tourtelot

Nicole Tourtelot is an agent with DeFiore and Company, representing a variety of narrative and prescriptive nonfiction, including food, lifestyle, wellness, pop culture, humor, and memoir, as well as select young adult and adult fiction. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors Joyce Maynard (To Die ForLabor DayUnder the Influence) and Ben Greenman (Mo' Meta Blues with Questlove, The Slippage), journalists Maureen Callahan and Jennifer Wright, memoirists Piper Weiss and Emily Nunn, James Beard award-winning food writers Jonathan Kauffman, Rebecca Flint Marx, and Nathanael Johnson, as well as cookbook authors, bloggers, chefs, and business owners. A graduate of Columbia University, Nicole began her literary career as a researcher and writer for Stephen J. Dubner (one half of the Freakonomics duo), and then worked in the fiction department at Esquire while writing freelance journalism for various outlets including EsquireWiredGlamour, and Time Out New York, where she had a regular column. She began her agenting career at ICM in 2009, working under literary agent Heather Schroder, and with writers such as Candace Bushnell, Ben Fountain and Amanda Hesser. In 2012, Nicole became an agent at Kuhn Projects, working with clients such as Marina Abramovic, Isaac Mizrahi, Tavi Gevinson & Rookie Magazine, Charles Blow, Luke Barr, and Rosie Perez. 

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys hot yoga, surfing, cooking, and playing jazz with cowboy chords on her guitar. 

For more info on Nicole Tourtelot, visit:


Twitter: @NicoleTourtelot


Robert Wilder (General Craft Workshop--YA Fiction)

Robert Wilder 

Robert Wilder is the author of two critically acclaimed books of essays: Tales From The Teachers' Lounge and Daddy Needs a Drink. His debut novel, NICKEL, was called “A humorous, poignant, and formidable debut” by Booklist (starred review). He has published essays in NewsweekDetailsSalonParentingCreative NonfictionWorking Mother and numerous anthologies. He has been a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, The Madeleine Brand Show, On Point and other national and regional radio programs. Wilder's column, "Daddy Needs A Drink," was printed monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter for close to a decade. He was awarded the inaugural Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation. Wilder lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Visit his website at