Frances Dinkelspiel is an author, journalist, and the co-founder and executive editor of Cityside, a nonprofit civic news organization that oversees Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Her most recent book is Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, which was a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards and a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association award in nonfiction. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, a Chronicle Best Book of 2008, and a Northern California Independent Booksellers Association best book of the year. Frances’ articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, People magazine and AARP magazine. www.francesdinkelspiel.com
Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico to parents from the state of Michoacán. He graduated from the University of California-Riverside, then went on to earn an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. His first novel, Still Water Saints, was published by Random House in 2007. His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was published by Random House in March 2013. Alex’s work has appeared in several anthologies and journals. His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León. His latest is Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime (Unnamed Press 2019). Alex teaches at UC-Riverside where he serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing. www.alexespinoza.com
Photo Credit: Tracy Hall
Glen David Gold is the author of the best selling novels Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside and the memoir I Will Be Complete. He has written short stories, essays and journalism for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Playboy, McSweeney’s, Wired and Zyzzyva, and comic books for DC, Marvel and Dark Horse. His dramatic work includes stuff you’ve never heard of nor seen anywhere, and easily-available episodes of the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and The Thrilling Adventure Hour.
Debra Gwartney is the author of a hybrid memoir, I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize and the Willa Cather Award from Women Writing the West. Debra’s first book is a memoir, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her essay “Suffer Me To Pass,” published in VQR, was the winner of a 2020 Pushcart Prize. Other work has appeared in Granta, Tin House, American Scholar, The Normal School, Creative Nonfiction, Prairie Schooner, Washington Square Review, Kenyon Review, Salon, Triquarterly Review, The New York Times “Modern Love” column, etc. She is a contributing editor at Poets & Writers Magazine, and lives in Western Oregon.
Sands Hall‘s recent memoir, Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, (Counterpoint), was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book in Religion and Spirituality. She is also the author of the novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), a Willa Award Winner, Women Writing the West, and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; as well as a volume of essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. Stories and essays have been published in such places as Iowa Review, New England Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books, and she has written several produced plays. Professor Emeritus at Franklin & Marshall College, Sands is a writing coach and teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and for the Community of Writers, among other conferences. She is also a theater artist and a singer/songwriter. Sands lives in Nevada City, California. Please visit https://sandshall.com/
Photo Credit: Tracy Hall
Lauren Markham is a writer based in California whose work has appeared in outlets such as Guernica, Harper’s, Orion, Freeman’s, Lithub, Best American Travel Writing, The New Republic, Narrative, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times and VQR, where she is a contributing editor. Lauren is the author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life, which was awarded the Northern California Book Award, The California Book Award Silver Medal, and the Ridenhour Prize. She teaches in the MFA programs at Ashland University and the University of San Francisco. www.laurenmarkham
Photo credit: Ben Gucciardi
Gregory Pardlo is an essayist and Pulitzer Prize-winning for poet. His most recent book is Air Traffic, a memoir in essays. His poetry collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other honors include fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for translation. His first poetry collection Totem won the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and Director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden. www.pardlo.net
Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths
JULIA FLYNN SILER is a nonfiction author and journalist. She began her writing life as a reporter in Los Angeles and Chicago, and then as a foreign correspondent in London for BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty and Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Venture, both New York Times bestsellers. Her most recent book is The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown, a finalist for a California Book Award. A graduate of Brown University, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Ms. Siler has served on Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism’s alumni board, the board of the non-profit Litquake Foundation in San Francisco, and U.C. Berkeley’s Bancroft Library’s Friends Council. She was named a National Endowment for the Humanities “Public Scholar” in 2016-2107 and will be a Distinguished Careers Institute fellow at Stanford University in 2022-2023. She and her husband Charlie Siler have two sons and live in Northern California. Ms. Siler is a participant and longtime staff member of the Community of Writers. www.juliaflynnsiler.com
Photo credit: Stephanie Mohan
Martin J. Smith is an award-winning journalist and author of five suspense novels, including the Edgar Award-nominated Straw Men and the thriller Combustion; and five nonfiction books, including The Wild Duck Chase, the essay collection Mr. Las Vegas Has a Bad Knee, and the forthcoming Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads (Bower House, April 2021). A participant at the Community of Writers in 1992, Smith has been returning as a faculty member since 2002. https://martinjsmith.com/
Photo credit: Brett Hall Photography