The authors and presentations featured at Texas Writes in ATX


Jennifier duBois

Jennifer duBois is the author of three novels, most recently The Spectators. Her novel A Partial History of Lost Causes, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. The National Book Foundation named her one of its 5 Under 35 authors. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. An alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University’s Stegner Fellowship program, duBois is the recipient of a Whiting Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing grant. She teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.

Presentation: "Inventing Narrative: Finding Your Way to Fiction"

For new fiction writers, movoing beyond one's own personal narrative can sometimes be daunting. How do you find a method that can help spark the process of creative invention? This session will offer specific strategies for finding your way.

Owen Egerton

Owen Egerton is an author, performer, and filmmaker. He is the writer/director of the films Mercy Black, Blood Fest,and Follow. He’s the author of several books including The Book of Harold, the Illegitimate Son of God, Everyone Says That at the End of the World, the short story collection How Best to Avoid Dying, and Hollow which NPR listed as one of the best books of 2017. He also wrote and starred in the Zach Scott produced play The Other Side of Sleep. As a screenwriter he has written for Warner Brothers, Fox, Disney and many others. Egerton is also the host of the reading series One Page Salon. Egerton and his wife, poet Jodi Egerton, wrote the writing craft book This Word Now. Egerton has been honored as one of Austin’s top comics performing with The Sinus Show and Master Pancake Theater. He’s been voted Austin’s favorite author by the readers of the Austin Chronicle seven times.

Presentation: "Burning Words: Bringing Risk into Your Writing"

How do you set your writing on fire and feed the flames until the pages blister? From the blank page to the final revision, learn how to bring risk into your writing, how to find the red-hot core of your piece. Diving into techniques and inspiring examples for plot, character, and theme, this session will cover the craft methods for building tension, nailing a structure, as well as creating worlds that ripple with life. We’ll also talk about the importance of passion in the writing process and how to translate that passion to the page.

Meg Gardiner

Meg Gardiner is the author of fourteen acclaimed thrillers. Her novels have been bestsellers in the U.S. and internationally, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. The Nightmare Thief won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense Audiobook of the Year. UNSUB won the 2018 Barry Award for Best Thriller. Her latest novel is Into the Black Nowhere

Presentation: "Hard Choices: Putting Your Characters to the Test"

How do you create compelling characters and put them in memorable conflict? In this session, learn about heroes, antagonists, and how, by forcing them to face hard choices, you can ramp up the suspense and tension in your story.



Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent’s latest book, The Dime, is a contemporary crime novel set in Dallas, based on a short story published in the crime anthology, Dallas Noir. The New York Times picked The Dime as one of their “Latest and Greatest” in crime fiction. A Kirkus starred review says, “Kent’s detective is Sam Spade reincarnated as a brilliant modern woman.” The Dime has been optioned by 20th Century Fox for a TV series, produced by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. Ms. Kent is also the author of three bestselling historical novels, The Heretic’s Daughter---recipient of the David J. Langum Sr. award for American historical fiction---The Traitor’s Wife, and The Outcasts, which was the recipient of the American Library Association’s 2014 top choice for Historical Fiction, as well as the recipient of a Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western fiction. She lives in Dallas.

Presentation: "Criminal Minds: The Elements of Crime Writing"

Whether you're writing historical fiction or crime novels, certain craft elements remain the same: an engaging story, robust and multi-dimensional characters, pacing and building tension within the narrative. This presentation will focus on effective strategies for writing exciting stories in teh crime and mystery genres: building durable, nuanced characters, the distillation of authentic dialogue, narrative pacing, and dynamic conflict resolution.

Jeramey Kraatz

Jeramey Kraatz is the author of The Cloak Society series and forthcoming Space Runners series, both from HarperCollins. His short prose has been featured in places like Salon, Gizmodo, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Jeramey is a graduate of Texas Christian University and the MFA writing program at Columbia University. He lives in Texas, where he writes scripts for the cartoon industry and sometimes teaches.

Presentation: "Double Talk: Making Dialogue Work for You"

On its surface, dialogoue might seem like the eaiest thing in the world to write. Afer all, most of us speak to other people every day. In literature, however, dialogue can be a fickle beast, one that needs to do double (if not triple or quadruple) work to justify its existence on teh page. It's what progresses plots, reveals persoanlity, builds tension, and can be the key to making your characters memorable. In this session, learn the vital role dialogue and voice play in writing and how you can use them to amp up your own work.

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho was born and raised in Toluca, Mexico. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 31 and began to write in English at 35. A former Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University and a Dobie Paisano fellow in fiction by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, he earned his MFA from The New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Texas Monthly and elsewhere. He is the author of the story collection Barefoot Dogs (Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction 2015) and the forthcoming novel The Healing Room.

Presentation: "Twisting Facts into Stories: Reality in Fiction and Nonfiction"

Writers are often asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" The answer is usualy some version of this: "All around me." We draw upon current events, personal memories and family anecdotes, and weird news from all sorts of media for our storytelling material. The bestr writers know how to turn those random, unexpected pieces of inspiration into fully-developed essays, stories, and novels. In this session, learn how to observe reality with the eyes of a journalist and the imagination of a fiction writer in order to translate facts and events into riveting stories in any genre.

Chaitali Sen

Chaitali Sen is the author of The Pathless Sky. Her fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Ecotone, New England Review, New Ohio Review, Colorado Review, Catapult, LitHub, Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Quarterly Review, and other journals. She holds an MFA from Hunter College and currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Presentation: "The Beauty of Work: Writing about the Workplace in Fiction and Memoir"

Given how much time people spend at work, it's surprising how little we see of the workplace in literature. There is so much potential for the development of plot, characterization and theme by depicting the daily work of the people who occupy your story. This interactive seminar will include writing exercises based on your ow work experiences or job describptions pulled from various sources, including help wanted ads and workplace blogs.

ire'ne lara silva

ire’ne lara silva is the author of three poetry collections: furia, Blood Sugar Canto, and CUICACALLI/House of Song; an e-chapbook, Enduring Azucares; as well as a short story collection, flesh to bone, which won the Premio Aztlán. She and poet Dan Vera are also the co-editors of Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, a collection of poetry and essays. ire’ne is the recipient of a 2017 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant, the final recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldúa Milagro Award. ire'ne is currently working on her first novel, Naci.

Presentation: "Dismantling Doubt: A Few Tools and Writing Exercises"

Everyone--from the beginning writer to the most established writer--has to deal with doubt at some time or another. Whether it has to do with rejections, finding the time and energy to do our writing, or fearing that our current project is beyond our ability, doubt can easily keep us from seeking publication or doing or work. In this session, we'll discussoin approaches to getting over, under, around, and/or through doubt.

Rachel Starnes

Rachel Starnes is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace and Other Missions Impossible. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from California State University, Fresno and her BA from the University of Texas. Her essays have appeared in The Colorado Review, Front Porch Journal, and O Magazine. Born in Austin, Texas, she has lived in Scotland, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Florida, California, and Nevada.

Presentation: "The Problem of Memory in Creative Writing"

This talk will examine the problem of memory by drawing on a blend of literature, art, and neuroscience in order to grapple with the question of how one selects, recounts, and handles moments of imperfect memory in writing, whether it's for fiction, poetry, or nonfiction projects. Learn the difference, both in neurobiological terms and literary ones, between "objective truth" and "narrative truth," and reveal ways in which the writer can help a reader (and is, indeed, obligated to) understand the difference between the two. Expect to come away with a variety of best practices for handling reconstructed memories, with the chance to participate in a few writing exercises to jog the memory and look at old events from new perspectives.


Sasha West

Sasha West’s first book, Failure and I Bury the Body, was a winner of the National Poetry Series and the Texas Institute of Letters First Book of Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Presentation: "Sharpening Your Descriptive Powers"

No matter what you write, details are the way into a reader's head and a reader's heart. In this interactive workshop, attendees will explore ways to sharpen descriptive powers using exercises of poetic attention. How can we cultivate the kind of curiosity that helps us see the resonant particulars of the world more deeply? How can we craft meaningful, intensive moments of connection for our readers?