Debra Gwartney

Debra Gwartney is the author of two memoirs, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and, most recently, I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize, and shortlisted for the Oregon Book Award. Debra’s work has appeared in such journals as Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Scholar, Tin House and others, including the NYT “Modern Love” column. She teaches in the MFA Program at Pacific University, and lives in Western Oregon.

Christine Hemp

Christine Hemp has aired her essays and poems on NPR; she has sent a poem of hers into space on a NASA mission to monitor the birth of stars; and her program Connecting Chord has united cops and youth offenders—in Britain and the U.S.—through poetry. She is a speaker for Humanities Washington; her talk, “From Homer to #hashtags,” addresses our rapidly changing language. Hemp’s debut memoir, Wild Ride Home: Love, Loss, and a Little White Horse was released this spring by Arcade/Skyhorse. Her work has appeared recently in the New York Times,, and Psychology Today. She teaches at Hugo House Seattle and the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with two horses, two cats, and one husband.


Amy Tan

Amy Tan: Born in the U.S to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan rejected her mother’s expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist. She chose to write fiction instead. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, and The Valley of Amazement, all New York Times bestsellers. She is the author of two memoirs, The Opposite of Fate and Where the Past Begins, and two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat. Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club and was creative consultant for Sagwa, the Emmy-nominated PBS television series for children. She wrote the libretto for the opera based on her novel, The Bonesetter’s Daughter. With music composed by Stewart Wallace, the opera had its world premiere in 2008 at the San Francisco Opera. The 30th edition of The Joy Luck Club with a new forward by Amy Tan was released in Spring of 2019.

Photo Credit: Julian Johnson