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Visiting Writers Forum

Launching Careers

The goal of Ringling College’s Creative Writing major is to launch careers, one student at a time. And the College’s Visiting Writers Forum is just one of the ways that happens for our students.

A number of industry professionals visit Ringling College each year as part of the College’s Visiting Writers Forum. The series is a critical part of the academic program for Creative Writing students at Ringling. Visiting professionals include game writers, graphic novelists, screenwriters, novelists, journalists, editors, and literary agents.

Every Creative Writing major at Ringling College participates in this author conversation series that includes a robust Q&A period with the audience. Because this series focuses on both the craft and the industry of writing, students discover various blueprints for success directly from successful, working professionals.

The Visiting Writers Forum is hosted by the Creative Writing department and underwritten by a generous grant from the Isermann Family Foundation.

Planning to attend?

Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to attend the events. Community members attending in person should park in a visitor parking space on campus. Registration is not required. 

 

Contact

Creative Writing Program
Dr. Ryan G. Van Cleave
2700 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234
creativewriting@ringling.edu

Fall 2024 Schedule

Each forum is held from 7-8 pm in the Goldstein Library (room 113) and is free and open to the public. 

Jason Cannon is a storyteller and storycoach. He is an award-winning actor, director, playwright, improviser, and teacher, as well as a best-selling author, publisher, and podcaster. He has an MFA in Directing, an MA in Drama, and over 25 years experience in professional theatre. Jason has 100+ credits as an actor, 120+ credits as a director, and his ninth produced play as a playwright is CLOWNS LIKE ME, which just closed its 8-week run Off-Broadway. He has written three books, and his independent imprint Ibis Books has published memoirs, plays, poetry, and fiction by a dozen other authors. Proud member AEA and SDC. Visit Jasoncannon.art, PageandStage.art, and IbisBooks.shop

Sandra Gurvis is the author of 18 commercially published books and hundreds of magazine articles. Her works have been featured on radio and television and in newspapers and magazines.

Sandra’s nonfiction titles include Day Trips from Columbus, 4rd ed.(forthcoming 2025); Myths and Mysteries of Ohio;  Ohio Curiosities, 2nd ed.; Careers For Nonconformists, which was a selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club; and more. Her biography, Paris Hilton, was translated into Chinese.

Sandra is also the author of two novels, The Pipe Dreamers, set in a fictional Ohio college during the Vietnam protests of the late 1960s/early ’70s, and Country Club Wives, about women, money, and homeless animals in New Albany–oops, New Wellington–Ohio. Country Club Wives was also optioned as a television series by Insight Productions out of Toronto. She has also written a collection of essays and shorter works, Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady and Other Possibly Demented Meanderings.

Three Ringling Circus: A History of Sarasota, Florida, and the Famous Ringling Brothers was published by Pineapple/Rowman & Littlefield in Jan. 2024, Sandra is also working on Doing Hard Time In Geezerville, the first in a series of three satire/mystery/romances set in The Villages. Read more at https://www.sandragurvis.com/ 

Rob Sanders is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He is known for his funny and fierce fiction and nonfiction picture books and is recognized as one of the pioneers in the arena of LGBTQ+ literary nonfiction picture books. Rob’s nonfiction work continues to break new ground, including the first picture books about the Pride Flag, the Stonewall Uprising, a transgender Civil War soldier, a gay presidential candidate, and the first gay marriage in America. His work also continues to introduce readers to heroes of the LGBTQ+ community—from Harvey Milk to Gilbert Baker, from Cleve Jones to Bayard Rustin, and more. His fiction explores friendship, relationships, standing up for others, and being allies. Blood Brothers, his first middle grade novel, written in powerful, raw verse, was released in July 2022 and selected as a 2023 NCTE Notable Novel in Verse. Rob’s book Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington (co-authored with Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Byron McCray) was this year’s recipient of the Jane Addams Book Award and was nominated for a Lammy Award.

A native of Springfield, Missouri, and a graduate of Missouri State University, Rob has lived and worked in Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee. After earning a BS in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Religious Education, Rob worked for 15 years in children’s religious educational publishing as a writer, educational consultant, editor, editorial group manager, and product developer.

In 2006, Rob moved to Florida and began working as an elementary school teacher. Soon he was serving as a district writing trainer and resource teacher. But most of the time he could be found in fourth-grade classrooms teaching students about books and words and reading and writing. He took early retirement in December 2020 to focus on his writing career. Read more at robsanderswrites.com

Previous Visits

Spring 2024

jayhandelman

Jay Handelman has been an editor and reporter at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune since 1984 and has served as theater critic since 1986. He is a past chairman of the American Theatre Critics Association and now serves as president of the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association. He has served on the faculty of the National Critics Institute and as an American delegate to International Association of Theatre Critics world congresses in Finland, Warsaw, and Beijing.

Mesha Maren

Hermitage Fellow Mesha Maren is the author of the novels Sugar Run and Perpetual West (Algonquin Books). Her short stories and essays can be read in Tin House, The Oxford American, The Guardian, Crazyhorse, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Sou’wester, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She was the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an assistant professor of the practice of English at Duke University and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia. https://meshamaren.com/

Brandel

Hermitage Fellow Brandel France de Bravo is the author of Provenance (a Washington Writers Publishing House poetry prize winner) and the chapbook Mother, Loose (Accents Publishing, Judge’s Choice Award). She is co-author of the parenting book Trees Make the Best Mobiles: Simple Ways to Raise your Child in a Complex World and editor of the bilingual anthology Mexican Poetry Today: 20/20 Voices.

Her poems and essays have appeared in 32 Poems, the Cincinnati Review, Conduit, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of four artist fellowship grants from the Washington, DC, Commission on the Arts, which also awarded her the Larry Neal Writers’ Award in poetry.

As a public health professional, she has run an HIV prevention program in Africa, designed harm-reduction strategies for intravenous drug users in Central Asia, and developed materials to help cancer patients in the U.S. make informed decisions about their care. She teaches a meditation program developed at Stanford University called Compassion Cultivation Training© and volunteers for the nonprofit Insight on the Inside, which shares meditation practices to inspire and empower the incarcerated, returning citizens, people transitioning from homelessness, and all affected by poverty, aging, and illness. https://www.brandelfrancedebravo.com/

Don Bruns

USA Today bestselling author Don Bruns is the author of three mystery series. His first novel, Jamaica Blue was championed by author Sue Grafton and became the cornerstone for his Caribbean series. His second series, the Stuff series, involves two twenty-four-year-old private detectives in Miami. The books have been praised for their humor, their compelling story lines and the characters. A starred review in Booklist compares the novels to Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. Bruns’s newest series, the Quentin Archer mysteries, involves a New Orleans homicide detective and a voodoo practitioner who team up to solve crime in the Big Easy. Read about the series here.

Traveling the country as a guitar playing comic, Bruns worked the Playboy Circuit, Las Vegas, and a number of night clubs across the country. As a writer, he has traveled the country for book signings, signing twice at the Playboy Mansion. Bruns is a musician, song writer, advertising guru, painter, cook, stand-up comic and novelist who has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. https://donbrunsbooks.com/

Fall 2023

Robert Plunket was born in Greenville, Texas, in 1945 but raised in Havana and Mexico City. He is the author of the novels Love Junkie and My Search for Warren Harding, and he has written for Healthy Aging, This Week in Ft. Myers Beach, and Sarasota Magazine. He is currently retired and lives in a trailer park in Englewood, Florida, where he enjoys collecting old quilts and raising succulents from scratch.

A former foreign correspondent for the San Francisco-based Pacific News Service, Stan West remains a working journalist, reporting for the Wednesday Journal and WPNA-AM. He’s been a conflict journalist and culture reporter for most of his career. A documentarian who co-coordinates the Oak Park International Film Festival, West has written and co-authored several award-winning nonfiction books, including Suburban Promised Land. West teaches in the Ringling College of Art and Design Creative Writing program.

Jarret Keene earned his Ph.D. in creative writing at Florida State University. A beloved and highly sought-after professor, Keene is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches American literature and the graphic novel. He has written a travel guide, a rock band biography, poetry collections, and edited short-fiction anthologies, including Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas. His most recent book is Hammer of the Dogs, a science fiction dystopian novel.

By some accounts, Roy Peter Clark is America’s writing coach, devoted to creating a nation of writers. A Ph.D. in medieval literature, he is widely considered the most influential writing teacher in the rough-and-tumble world of newspaper journalism. Clark has authored or edited more than twenty books about writing, reading, language, and journalism. Humorist Dave Barry has said of him: “Roy Peter Clark knows more about writing than anybody I know who is not currently dead.” Clark lives with his family in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he has become famously fond of pelicans.

Spring 2023

CooperLevyBakerCooper Levey-Baker is a writer and journalist. His fiction has appeared in the Sierra Nevada Review and Burrow Press’s Fantastic Floridas series, and his journalism has won multiple awards from the Florida Magazine Association and the Florida Society for Professional Journalism. Dead Fish Wind is his first novel.

Watch the video.

KenHite

For more than 20 years, Ken Hite has worked as a full-time writer and role-playing game designer, contributing to many popular games including GURPS, Mage: The Ascension, Savage Worlds, and the Star Trek role-playing game. He’s the author of Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents role-playing games, and he serves as lead designer on the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. Since 2012, he’s run Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a weekly podcast with fellow author and game designer Robin Laws.

In addition, Hite is Ringling College’s Creative Writing 2023 Writer in Residence and will be a guest expert in the Anyone’s Game Tabletop Game Design Conference.

Watch the video.

RyanRivasRyan Rivas is the author of Nextdoor in Colonialtown (Autofocus 2022). He is the Publisher of Burrow Press, and the Coordinator of MFA Publishing at Stetson University’s MFA of the Americas creative writing program. Rivas is a former Macondo Writers Workshop fellow, and his work has appeared in The Believer, The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012, and elsewhere.

Watch the video.

SaraNFisk

Sarah N. Fisk (they/them) is a former mechanical engineer who made the switch to publishing in 2011. They have worked in the publishing industry as an editorial assistant, author’s assistant, publicist, and art director. Fisk is a former Pitch Wars mentor, board member, and Agent Liaison. They host the podcast Queries, Qualms, & Quirks and have a passion for spreadsheets. In addition to serving as a literary agent at Tobias Literary Agency, Fisk writes YA novels as Sarah Nicolas and romance under the name Aria Kane.

Watch the video.

Spring 2022

Brooke Vitale is a children’s book editor with nearly twenty years’ experience at some of the world’s top publishing companies, including Penguin/Random House and Disney. Over the course of her career, she’s edited thousands of traditionally published and self-published children’s books. Among her favorites (and most successful) published books were Hide and Hug Olaf by Kevin Lewis, which sold over 400,000 copies, and Olaf’s Night Before Christmas, which sold over 250,000 copies.

But she’s more than just a children’s book editor. She’s also a children’s book author in her own right, with more than 100 published books. Among her favorites that she’s written are The Magic is in You, The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, The Goonies: The Illustrated Storybook, the Timmi Tobbson Young Explorers chapter book series, and numerous Star Wars: The Mandalorian books.

 

Migdalia Cruz is an award-winning playwright who has written more than fifty plays, operas, screenplays, and musicals. Her work has been produced across the U.S. and abroad at various venues including Mabou Mines, Classic Stage Company, Playwrights Horizons, INTAR, and Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others. Her plays include Salt, Fur, Miriam’s Flowers, Lucy Loves Me, Dreams of Home, Telling Tales, ¡CHE-CHE-CHE!, Latins In La-La Land, Cigarettes and Moby-Dick, Lolita de Lares, Yellow Eyes, and Running For Blood: No. 3 (a radio play). Cruz wrote book and lyrics for the musicals Rushing Waters, Welcome Back to Salamanca and When Galaxy Six and The Bronx Collide; the libretto for an opera, Street Sense; and lyrics and monologues for Frida: The Story of Frida Kahlo.

In 1996, she received the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award for Another Part of The House, and she has been honored with the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright Award. Her recent projects include Yellow Eyes at Visión Latino in Chicago and Latins in La-La Land at College of Wooster, Ohio. She is currently writing a play about Chekhov, marriage, consumption, and the writing of Three Sisters as Chekhov is dying.

 

Sigrid Nunez has published eight novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation CityThe Friend, and, most recently, What Are You Going Through. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan SontagThe Friend, New York Times bestseller, won the 2018 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize. In France, it was longlisted for the 2019 Prix Femina and named a finalist for the 2019 Prix du Meilleure Livre. It was also a finalist for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award. Nunez’s other honors and awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. This year she was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Nunez has taught at Columbia, Princeton, and the New School, and has been a visiting writer or writer in residence at Boston University, Amherst, Smith, Baruch, Vassar, Syracuse, and the University of California, Irvine, among others. Currently teaching in the MFA program in creative writing at Hunter College, she has also been on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and of several other writers’ conferences across the country. She lives in New York City.

 

Cameron Kunzelman is a game critic whose work appears regularly at Paste Games, where he is Editor at Large, and at Waypoint, where his weekly Postscript column deals with endings, death, and final bosses. His writing has also appeared at Kotaku, The Atlantic, Quartz and other venues. 

Kunzelman has a monthly podcast (Just King Things) where he and his co-host are reading and discussing all of Stephen King’s books in publication order. He also creates his own games and interactive stories such as Epanalepsis, Alpaca Run, and Catachresis: A Way Too Scary Game.

Fall 2022

Daniel KnaufDaniel Knauf  is an American television screenwriter, producer, and comic book writer. Knauf worked as a health insurance broker for 22 years before he sold his first TV show, Carnivàle, to HBO. The show lasted two of its six proposed seasons and earned 15 Emmy nominations, winning five. Following Carnivàle, Knauf produced and wrote on the hit STARZ series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and served as writer-Showrunner on Dracula for NBC. Knauf also served as executive producer and writer on 66 episodes of the NBC hit series The Blacklist (2014-17) starring James Spader. He has also worked on the Marvel comics Iron Man and Eternals.

Watch the video.
Cancelled due to Hurricane Ian Kevin Coval Kevin Coval is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning poet, playwright, author, screenwriter, and editor of more than 10 collections and anthologies including The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the age of Hip-Hop and A People’s History of Chicago. Coval is a creative consultant and founder of Breakbeat Creatives, a creative agency that helps brands such as Apple, Nike, Adidas, Beats, Gatorade, and more, tell stories, build innovative programming, and connect to local artistic communities in authentic and meaningful ways. His writing has been featured on/in The Daily Show, National Public Radio, The New York TimesChicago TribuneSource Magazine, Slam and WSLAM, Rock the Bells, Sarasota Magazine, CNN.com, and four seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

A Florida native, Heather Sellers, is the author of writing craft books, poetry collections, children’s books, a short story collection, and a memoir, You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know, which was featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, the Today ShowGood Morning AmericaThe Rachael Ray Show, and NPR. Her recent essays appear in The New York TimesReader’s DigestReal SimpleGood HousekeepingThe Sun, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Her essay “Haywire” was selected for the Best American Essays by Leslie Jamison and “Pedal, Pedal, Pedal,” won a Pushcart Prize in 2018. She is the director of the undergraduate and MFA creative writing programs at the University of South Florida.


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Gloria Muñoz is a Colombian-American writer, translator, and advocate for multilingual literacy and writing. She’s the author of Danzirly/Dawn’s Early, which was selected for the 2019 Ambroggio Prize by Rosa Alcalá. She’s also the recipient of the New York Summer Writer’s Institute Fellowship, a Creative Pinellas Artist Grant, the USF Humanities Institute Poetry Award, and a Think Small to Think Big Artist Grant. Muñoz has worked alongside botanists, musicians, dancers, historians, classicists, visual artists, conservationists, and neuroscientists. Muñoz is a co-founder of Pitch Her Productions and she’s one-half of the songwriting team Moonlit Musíca.

Watch the video.

Fall 2021

Erik Bork won two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a writer-producer on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, for executive producer Tom Hanks (and Steven Spielberg, on Band of Brothers). Bork has sold original series pitches to the broadcast networks, worked on the writing staff of primetime drama series, and written feature screenplays for Universal, HBO, TNT, and Playtone. He teaches for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, and National University’s MFA Program in Professional Screenwriting. He has also been called one of the “Top Ten Most Influential Screenwriting Bloggers” for his website, Flyingwrestler.com, and offers consulting and coaching to writers at all levels. His book The Idea: The 7 Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction was released in September 2018.

Twitter: @flyingwrestler

Headshot of Rachel Harrison

Rachel Harrison is the author of the forthcoming novel Cackle. Her debut, The Return, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Guernica, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and as an Audible Original. She lives in Western New York with her husband and their cat/overlord.

 

After a youth in eastern Canada spent daydreaming, reading, role-playing, and scribbling through plays and short stories, Brooke officially started his jack-of-all-trades narrative career as a writer, producer, and voice director on AAA titles for software giant Electronic Arts. These days, he continues to consult as a writer for the video game industry while acting as a consulting creative for all things transmedia, directing voiceover, speaking, and lecturing, while creating exciting original IP on multiple platforms. One of Burgess’ most noteworthy projects is being writer/creator of the world’s first motion-comic epic, Broken Saints.

Spring 2021

Stephen says that he’s “the author of 23 or 25 or so books, 300+ stories, some comic books, and other stuff. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and has a few broken-down old trucks, one Ph.D., and way too many boots.”

Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction. Although his recent work is often classified as horror, he is celebrated for applying literary stylings to a variety of speculative genres. Currently, he serves as the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Rob Sanders is a writer who teaches and a teacher who writes. For many years, he worked at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon, FL, where he taught students about books and words and reading and writing. Each day, he headed back home to write fierce and funny picture books for kids. Now he’s freshly retired from teaching, yet Sanders still likes to grow things, teach things, learn things, and read things.

He’s the author of many picture books, including Outer Space Bedtime Race, Rodzilla, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg, Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights, and Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.

An RPG designer and videographer originally from Ontario, Canada, Banana Chan is one half of the board game publishing company Game and a Curry. She enjoys writing smaller, weirder LARPs that are too obscure to function. She currently lives in New York, where she creates videos, writes games on the subway, and eats lasagna.

Her most recent successful Kickstarter project was Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall—“An RPG of Chinese immigrants running the family restaurant by day, and dealing with the hauntings of Jiangshi by night!”

 

Headshot of Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of a bestselling book of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments, which was named a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in non-fiction, and four award-winning poetry collections, most recently, Oceanic (2018). Awards for her writing include fellowships from the Mississippi Arts Council, Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for poetry, National Endowment of the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her writing has appeared in NYTimes Magazine, ESPN, and Best American Poetry. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

 

Calvin Alexander Ramsey was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Roxboro, NC. It has been his ambition to become a writer since childhood, a dream he fully realized when five days before the 9/11 bombings in 2001, Ramsey says he “found his voice.” He’s now a playwright, photographer, painter, and children’s book author. 

Ramsey says his work is guided by the African proverb: “When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning down.” To impede permanent losses from the annals of history, he researches each topic religiously, consulting original documentation, secondary sources, and persons who may have survived the era he is addressing. With the objective of shedding light on the overlooked and sometimes missing pages of African American history, Ramsey’s writings stimulate, educate, and bring the audience closer to a truth in American history—a truth that does not always reflect a reality that is easy to view.

 

Fall 2020

Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books. She is also the author of two adult books, The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults and Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, and three picture books, Wings, Thunder Trucks, and A Year of Everyday Wonders. Prior to her work at Lee & Low, she spent sixteen years at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where she published a wide array of acclaimed titles and served as the continuity editor for the last two books of the Harry Potter series. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Elizabeth Sims learned the art of fiction by listening to tall tales on her father’s knee, and by reading all sorts of books brought home by her mother, a teacher. (These ranged from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to the Canterbury Tales, from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Ernest Hemingway.)

Today Sims is the author of the Rita Farmer Mysteries, the Lambda and GCLS Goldie Award-winning Lillian Byrd Crime Series, and other fiction. Her work has been published by a major press (Macmillan) as well as several smaller houses, and she’s written short works for numerous collections and magazines. She publishes independently under her personal imprint, Spruce Park Press.

In addition, Sims is an internationally recognized authority on writing. She’s written dozens of feature articles on the craft of writing for Writer’s Digest magazine, where she’s a contributing editor. Through her articles, coaching, and editing, she has helped thousands of fledgling authors find their win.

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 37 books, including SWING, THE WRITE THING, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious Carnegie Medal, Caldecott-Medal and Newbery-Honor winning picture book THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, HOW TO READ A BOOK, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, and, his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER

The Host and Executive Producer of the television program, WordPlay, a new kids television program, Alexander is also a regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, and the recipient of numerous awards, including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. Alexander currently serves as the inaugural Innovator-in-Residence at the American School in London, and the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that aims to Change the World One Word at a Time

Writers Guild Award-winning, three-time Emmy Award-nominated writer Alex Rubens is an executive producer of The Twilight Zone, a co-executive producer of Rick and Morty, and one of the luckiest people ever to walk the earth. He’s gotten to work on projects like Key & Peele, Community, Big Mouth, and Long Shot, and to cowrite the major motion picture Keanu with Academy Award-winning writer Jordan Peele. He has also worked as a teacher, a tutor, a ghostwriter, a script reader, a transcriptionist, a cashier, a personal assistant, and a dishwasher. He was born in New York and now lives in California with his wife and their cat.

 

Over a 30-year career, Ann VanderMeer has won numerous awards for her editing work, including the Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award. Whether as editor-in-chief for Weird Tales for five years or in her current role as an acquiring editor for Tor.com, VanderMeer has built her reputation on acquiring fiction from diverse and interesting new talents. As co-founder of Cheeky Frawg Books, she has helped develop a wide-ranging line of mostly translated fiction. Featuring a who’s who of world literature, Ann VanderMeer’s anthologies include the critically acclaimed Best American Fantasy series, The Weird, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Sisters of the Revolution, and the forthcoming Big Book of SF (Vintage).

Spring 2020

Lucienne Diver works as a literary agent for the Knight Agency. She’s also a novelist, having authored the Vamped young adult series and the Latter-Day Olympians series, among other books. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many anthologies, including Strip-Mauled and Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories. Diver “lived in Florida with her husband and daughter, the two cutest dogs in the world, and enough books to fill an entire store and perhaps some day collapse the second floor of her home into the first.”

Native Floridian Craig Pittman was born in Pensacola, and he graduated from Troy State University (Alabama) where his muckraking work for the student newspaper prompted an agitated dean to label him “the most destructive force on campus.” He has since covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including “hurricanes, wildfires, and the Florida Legislature.” As a Tampa Bay Times reporter, Pittman chronicles some of our state’s weirdest and wackiest moments, some of which went on to appear in his book Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country.