2015 Writers Workshops Staff

Writers Workshops Staff

LISA ALVAREZ‘s essays and short stories have appeared in the American Book Review, Los Angeles Times, OC Weekly, Faultline, Santa Monica Review, Green Mountains Review and in anthologies, includingSudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America. With Alan Cheuse, she edited Writers Workshop in a Book: The Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction. She is a professor of English at Irvine Valley College and co-directs the Writers Workshops at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

MAX BYRD is the author of a number of detective novels including California Thriller, which won the Shamus Award as well as the historical novels Jefferson, Jackson, Grant, Shooting the Sun and The Paris Deadline, which was named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the ten best crime novels of 2013. He reviews regularly for The New York Times Book Review and is a Contributing Editor for The Wilson Quarterly. [F] www.maxbyrdbooks.com

ALAN CHEUSE is the author of five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, and the memoirFall out of Heaven. His novel To Catch the Lightning is an exploration of the intertwined plights of real-life frontier photographer Edward Curtis and the American Indian. His novel Song of Slaves in the Desert tells the story of a Jewish slave-owning family in South Carolina and the Africans they enslave. His latest collection of short fiction is An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring and Other Stories. A new version of his 1986 novel The Grandmothers’ Club will appear in March 2015 asPrayers for the Living. He is a regular book reviewer for NPR’s radio program “All Things Considered.” [F/NF]

MARK CHILDRESS the author of seven novels: A World Made of Fire, V for Victor, Tender, Crazy in Alabama, Gone for Good, One Mississippi, and Georgia Bottoms. He has written screenplays (including “Crazy in Alabama,” an official selection of the Venice Film Festival) and several children’s books. He is working on the libretto for Gregory Vajda’s opera of “Georgia Bottoms.” (F) www.markchildress.com

JOHN DANIEL is the author of nine books of poetry and prose. His works in essay and memoir, includingRogue River Journal and The Far Corner, have won three Oregon Book Awards for Literary Nonfiction, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and James Thurber Writer-in-Residence at Ohio State University—and a former logger, hod carrier, railroader, and rock climbing instructor—Daniel lives with his wife, Marilyn Daniel, in the Coast Range foothills west of Eugene, Oregon. [NF] www.johndaniel-author.net

LESLIE DANIELS is currently the guest fiction editor ofThe Louisville Review, former fiction editor of Green Mountains Review. Her writing has appeared inPloughshares, The Missouri Review, New Ohio Review,and The Santa Monica Review, among others. Her novel, Cleaning Nabokov’s House, was published by Simon & Schuster, and in translation in four languages, is under option for film. She is on the faculty of Spalding University MFA program. (F) www.lesliedaniels.com

GILL DENNIS was, with Tom Rickman, founding director of the Community of Writers Screenwriting Program. His screenwriting credits include Return to Oz,Walk the Line, and Forever. Current projects include adaptations of Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza, Richard Ford’s Canada (with Ford), Cathouse (with Tatia Pilieva) based on Leslie Daniels’ Cleaning Nabokov’s House, andSnowball, based on Colangelo-Bryan’s memoir of Guantanamo. He is Master Filmmaker in Residence at the American Film Institute Conservatory and won the L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Award for Distinguished Direction in Theatre. He teaches the Finding the Story Workshop. [F/NF]

TYLER DILTS is the author of the novels A King of infinite Space, The Pain Scale, and A Cold and Broken Hallelujah. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Best American Mystery Stories, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. He teaches at California State University, Long Beach. His latest novel, No Straight Thing, will be published in 2015. [F]

ALEX ESPINOZA holds an MFA in writing from UC Irvine. He’s the author of Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León, both published by Random House. His work has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Huizache, The Southern California Review, the American Book Review, and on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His awards include the Margaret Bridgman fellowship in fiction from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 fellowship in prose by the NEA, and an American Book Award. Alex is an associate professor of English at Fresno State. [F] www.alexespinoza.com

JANET FITCH is the author of the novels Paint It Blackand White Oleander. Her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Black Clock, Room of One’s Own, and Los Angeles Noir, and she is a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. A film version of her novel Paint It Black will be going into production in 2015. [F] Fitch regularly blogs at janetfitchwrites.wordpress.com.

LYNN FREED’s books include six novels, a collection of stories, and a collection of essays. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, andNarrative Magazine, among others. She is the recipient of the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two PEN/O. Henry Awards, fellowships, grants and support from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim Foundation, among others. Born in South Africa, she now lives in northern California. [F/NF]www.lynnfreed.com

DAGOBERTO GILB is the author of Before the End, After the Beginning; The Flowers; Gritos; Woodcuts of Women; The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña; and The Magic of Blood, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in many magazines, most recently Harper’s, The New Yorker, and Callaloo, and is reprinted widely. Gilb is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. He makes his home in Austin. [F/NF] www.dagobertogilb.com

SANDS HALL is the author of the novel Catching Heaven, a Random House Reader’s Circle selection, andTools of the Writer’s Craft, a book of writing essays and exercises. Her short fiction has appeared in Green Mountains Review, New England Review, and The Iowa Review, and her produced plays include an adaptation of Alcott’s Little Women and the comic drama Fair Use. She recently produced a CD of her songs, calledRustler’s Moon. [F] www.sandshall.com

DANA JOHNSON is the author of Elsewhere, Californiaand Break Any Woman Down, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and was a two-time nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her work has appeared in the literary journals Slake, Callaloo, and The Iowa Review, among others, and anthologized in Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, and California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California where she teaches literature and creative writing. [F] www.danajohnsonauthor.com

LOUIS B. JONES is the author of the novels Ordinary Money, Particles and Luck, California’s Over, Radiance,and Innocence. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Open City, The Sun, Santa Monica Review, and the Pushcart Prizeanthology. He co-directs the Writers Workshops at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. (F/NF) www.louisbjones.com

YIYUN LI has published two story collections and two novels, including her latest, Kinder Than Solitude. She has won numerous awards, including the 2010 MacArthur Fellowship and the 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. [F] www.yiyunli.com

ELIZABETH ROSNER’s third novel, Electric City, and her full-length poetry collection, Gravity, were both published in October 2014. Her first novel, The Speed of Light, was translated into nine languages. Short-listed for the Prix Femina, the book won literary prizes in the US and Europe, including the Prix France Bleu Gironde; the Great Lakes Colleges Award, and the Ribalow Prize.Blue Nude, her second novel, was named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosner’s essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, The Forward, Hadassah Magazine, and several anthologies. [F] www.elizabethrosner.com

ALICE SEBOLD is the author of the memoir Lucky and the novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon. She has edited The Best American Short Stories and selected and edited a series of books under her own imprint for Europa Editions. Her work has been translated into over 40 languages. [F/NF]

JULIA FLYNN SILER is a San Francisco-based author and journalist. She is the author of The House of Mondavi (Gotham, 2007), a New York Times bestseller, and Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure(Grove/Atlantic, 2011.) She is a former staff writer and foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal andBusinessWeek. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is now at work on a history set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, forthcoming from Knopf in 2017. [NF] www.juliaflynnsiler.com

MARTIN J. SMITH is editor-in-chief of Orange Coastmagazine in Newport Beach, California, and was senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine for eight years. Bloomsbury released his latest nonfiction book,The Wild Duck Chase, about the world of competitive duck painting, in 2012. A documentary film based on the book, titled The Million Dollar Duck, is scheduled for release in 2015. Diversion Books published Smith’s latest novel, The Disappeared Girl, in March 2014. His first stand-alone thriller, Combustion, will be released in Fall 2015. [F/NF] www.martinjsmith.com

GREGORY SPATZ’s most recent book publications are a short story collection, Half as Happy (WA State Book Award finalist) and the novel Inukshuk. Recipient of a 2012 NEA literature fellowship, his stories have appeared in The New England Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Santa Monica Review, Iowa Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. He teaches in and directs the creative writing MFA program at Eastern Washington University; he also plays fiddle in the twice Juno-nominated bluegrass band John Reischman and the Jaybirds, and bouzouki in the acoustic world music quartet Mighty Squirrel. [F] www.gregoryspatz.com

DIANA WAGMAN is the author of five novels, most recently Life #6, forthcoming in 2015 from Ig Publishing. Her second novel, Spontaneous, won the 2001 USA Pen West Award for Fiction. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Black Clock, Conjunctions, The Colorado Review, and elsewhere and as part of the n + 1 anthology MFA vs. NYC. She is an occasional contributor to the Los Angeles Times. [F]

TIPHANIE YANIQUE is the author of the novel, Land of Love and Drowning, which won the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and a collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which won her a listing as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. BookPage listed her as one of the “14 Women to Watch in 2014.” Her writing has won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor in the MFA program at the New School in New York City. [F] www.tiphanieyanique.com

Literary Agents & Editors

ELISE CAPRON is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. A graduate of Emerson College, Elise holds a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has been with the Dijkstra Agency since 2003. A few of her recent and soon-to-be-published books include Tiphanie Yanique’s The Land of Love and Drowning andHow to Escape From a Leper Colony, Courtney Brkic’sThe First Rule of Swimming, Jane Vandenburgh’s The Wrong Dog Dream: A True Romance, Jonathon Keats’Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age, Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse which was picked as a “Top Ten Book of the Year” by Publishers Weekly, Jack Shuler’s upcoming The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose, and many more.

MICHAEL V. CARLISLE a founder of InkWell Management, has been involved with the Community of Writers for many years. His fiction and nonfiction client list includes prize-winning as well as debut authors. A former director of the AAR, a not-for-profit organization of independent literary and dramatic agents, Michael is an active member of PEN. He directs the Nonfiction Program of the Community of Writers.

LUCY CARSON joined The Friedrich Agency in early 2008, where she is now both Agent and Director of Film & Television Rights. During her seven years with The Friedrich Agency, Lucy has worked with such authors as Sue Grafton, Lisa Scottoline, Ruth Ozeki, Terry McMillan, Jane Smiley, and Elizabeth Strout on the adult side, and children’s authors Judy Blundell, Anna Banks, Jessica Khoury, and Josh Sundquist. Her list is focused on fiction and narrative non-fiction for both adults and teens.

ANN CLOSE is a Senior Editor at Alfred A. Knopf. Her fiction writers include Sarah Bird, Jay Cantor, Gish Jen, Brad Leithauser, Jane Mendelsohn, Alice Munro, and Norman Rush. Among her nonfiction writers are Tony Hiss, Martin Sherwin, David Shields, Julia Flynn Siler, Alec Wilkinson, and Lawrence Wright. She is the recipient of a Roger Klein Award for Editorial Excellence.

LAURA COGAN is the editor of ZYZZYVA literary magazine. The San Francisco- based journal celebrates its 30th year in print in 2015.

ASYA MUCHNICK is an Executive Editor at Little, Brown. She acquires literary fiction, upmarket crime fiction, and narrative nonfiction, including history, biography, cultural history, and popular science. Among the authors she has worked with are Naomi Alderman, Jo Ann Beard, Mark Childress, Michael Connelly, Janet Fitch, Nancy Goldstone, Pete Hamill, Richard Lange, Paul Lynch, Stephenie Meyer, Daniel O’Malley, Sebastian Rotella, Alice Sebold, David Sedaris, Anita Shreve, and Peter Trachtenberg.

ELIZABETH SCHARLATT is editor and publisher of Algonquin Books, a company founded in Chapel Hill in 1983 and publishers of general fiction and narrative nonfiction. Prior to joining Algonquin in 1989, she had worked as an editor at Random House and Macmillan. In 1994 she received the PEN Publisher’s Award.

DANIEL SMETANKA has worked in various aspects of the publishing industry for over twenty years. As an Executive Editor at Ballantine/Random House, Inc., he acquired and published many award-winning books including The Ice Harvest by Scott Philips, The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner, Down to a Soundless Sea by Thomas Steinbeck, and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, a 2001 finalist for the National Book Award. He currently serves as Executive Editor for Counterpoint Press. His projects include works by Linda Gray Sexton, James Brown, Janna Malamud Smith, Neil Jordan, Dana Johnson, Karen E. Bender, Joshua Mohr, Emma Woolf, Tara Ison, Maria Hummel, Andrea Portes, Kim Addonizio, and Lisa Bloom.

PETER STEINBERG is a New York literary agent who has represented numerous New York Times bestsellers. His clients have been nominated for or awarded Edgars, the Pulitzer Prize, the Story Prize, The Paris Review Discovery Prize, PEN/Faulkner and National Book Awards. His list includes narrative non-fiction, commercial and literary fiction, memoir, health, history, lifestyle, humor, sports and young adult.

ANDREW TONKOVICH edits the West Coast literary journal Santa Monica Review and hosts “Bibliocracy,” a weekly literary arts show on Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California. He writes about books, politics and people for the Orange County Register andOC Weekly online at “OC Bookly.” Recent or forthcoming fiction, essays and reviews appear in Free Inquiry, Faultline, Juked, Ecotone, Los Angeles Review of Booksand Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013. He teaches at UC Irvine and works on behalf of the labor union representing Librarians and Lecturers.

Special Guests

ELANA KUCZYNSKI ARNOLD is a writer of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. Her first three novels (Sacred, Burning and Splendor), all published by Random House, were released in 2012 and 2013. Her most recent two novels, The Question of Miracles(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Infandous(Lerner/Carolrhoda LAB) have earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Elana has an MA in English/Creative Writing (Fiction) from UC Davis, where she has taught Adolescent Literature and Creative Writing. She lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband, kids, and more than a few pets. She attended the Community of Writers in 1995, while an undergraduate at UC Irvine, and again in 1998.

KIM CULBERTSON‘s first YA novel, Songs for a Teenage Nomad, was published in 2010. It was followed closely in 2011 by her second novel, Instructions for a Broken Heart, which was named a Booklist Top Ten Romance Title for Youth: 2011 and also won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction. Scholastic published her third YA novel, Catch a Falling Star, in April of 2014 and will release her next YA novel,The Possibility of Now, in 2016. She facilitates the creative writing classes for the high school program at Forest Charter School in Nevada City. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students.

FRANCES DINKELSPIEL is the author of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, which was a San Francisco Chroniclebestseller and notable book of the year, and the forthcoming Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California. She is the co-founder and editor of the award-winning news site,Berkeleyside, and has written for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angles Times, and Peoplemagazine. www.francesdinkelspiel.com

ANNE LAMOTT is the author of seven novels, includingHard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, Blue Shoe, All New People, Crooked Little Heart, and Imperfect Birds. She has also written several bestselling books of nonfiction, including Operating Instructions; Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son; and a writing guide; Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Her collections of autobiographical essays on faith are Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith; Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith; Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith; Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers and most recently Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. Her new book of essays, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace was published by Riverhead in 2014.

MICHELLE LATIOLAIS is Professor of English at the University of California at Irvine. She is the author of the novel Even Now, which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. Bellevue Literary Press published her second novel, A Proper Knowledge, in 2008. She has published writing in three anthologies, Absolute Disaster, Women On The Edge: Writing From Los Angeles and Woof! Writers on Dogs. Her stories and essays have appeared inZYZZYVA, The Antioch Review, Western Humanities Review, Santa Monica Reviw, Iowa Review, Northwest Review, and several others. Widow, a collection of stories, involutions and essays, was released in January 2011 from Bellevue Literary Press.

MALCOLM MARGOLIN is the founder of Heyday Books, established in 1974. The mission of Heyday Books is to deepen people’s appreciation and understanding of California’s cultural, natural, historic, literary, and artistic resources. He is the author of four books, including The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area. To mark Heyday’s 40th anniversary, Heyday just published The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher. www.heydaybooks.com

KEM NUNN is the author of six novels, including the National Book Award nominee Tapping the Source, Tijuana Straits, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, The Dogs of Winter, Pomona Queen, Unassigned Territory, and in 2014,Chance. In addition to writing novels, he writes screenplays for television and film, most notably John from Cincinnati, which he co-created with David Milch,Deadwood, and currently, Sons of Anarchy. His articles and book reviews have appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Surfer, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

CHARLIE OLSEN started his publishing career at InkWell in 2007 representing children’s books, graphic novels and illustrated works, and compelling narrative non-fiction. He represents award-winning graphic novelists, including New York Times bestsellers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, and Cartoonist’s Studio Prize-winner Noelle Stevenson; distinguished children’s book authors including New York Times bestseller Andrea Cremer, Amy Ewing, Zoë Ferraris, and Gus Gordon; and he also represents non-fiction, including Whisk(e)y Distilled by Heather Greene.

JASON ROBERTS is the author of A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler (HarperCollins), and the forthcoming Two Shipwrecks: Survival, Obsession and Courage in Lands Beyond the Sea (Norton). He is the winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging writers, sponsored and awarded by Michael Chabon, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award. www.jasonroberts.net

AMY TAN’s novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, andThe Valley of Amazement, all New York Timesbestsellers. She was co-writer and co-producer of the film The Joy Luck Club, and was the librettist for an opera based on The Bonesetter’s Daughter. She has also published a book of essays, The Opposite of Fate; two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa; and numerous articles for magazines including The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, and National Geographic. Tan’s work has been widely anthologized and translated into 35 languages. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Community of Writers. She is currently working on a nonfiction book called The Mind of a Writer. www.amytan.net

PAULS TOUTONGHI is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of the novels Red Weather and Evel Knievel Days. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, VQR, The Boston Review, Zoetrope, Glimmer Train, The Harvard Review, and One Story, as well as online for Salon, The Rumpus, Bookslut, The Millions, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. www.paulstoutonghi.wordpress.com