2020 UnConference Panelists & Presenters


Chris Barton is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, Orbis Pictus honoree Dazzle Ships, and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, included on 19 state reading lists. His newest books include Fire Truck vs. Dragon, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing. Chris and his wife, YA/middle-grade novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, where Chris has advocated for greater diversity in children’s literature by co-founding the Modern First Library program with BookPeople. For more information about him, please visit www.chrisbarton.info.

 

 

Sarah Bird is the author of ten novels. Her latest, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, is a tribute to Cathy/Cathay Williams, the only woman to serve with the fabled Buffalo Soldiers. 


Her previous novel, Above the East China Sea, was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award; was an ALEX Award nominee; winner of the Texas Philosophical Society Literary Award; a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice; a Seattle Times Best Book of the Year; a Tucson Book Festival Great Books for Book Club selection; and a Marie Claire Best Summer Reads.

Sarah was a B&N’s Discover Great Writers selection; a New York Public Libraries Books to Remember; a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship honoree; a two-time winner of the TIL’s Best Fiction award; and an Austin Libraries Illumine Award for Excellence in Fiction winner. She was voted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame has been awarded the Texas Writer of the Year by the Texas Book Festival. In 2017, she won The Austin Chronicle’s Best Fiction Writer award for the sixth time and received the Texas Institute of Letters Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

 

Christopher Brown "looks to be cornering the market on future dystopias,” according to The Wall Street Journal. His debut novel Tropic of Kansas was a finalist for the Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of 2018, and he was a World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology Three Messages and a Warning. His 2019 novel, Rule of Capture, combines “cli-fi” with courtroom drama in a story publisher Harper Voyager described as “Better Call Saul meets 1984.” The follow-on to that, Failed State, is forthcoming in August of 2020. Chris lives in Austin, where he also practices law.

 


 

 

 

 

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. He is also the author of four chapbooks, most recently GESUNDHEIT! (with Sam Herschel Wein & out from Glass Poetry Press). His work appears in many publications, including Poetry, Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, and The Best American Poetry (2015 & 2019). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and a PhD from Texas Tech University. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and co-runs the journal, Underblong. He lives in Waltham, MA with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha M. Clark is the author of the novel The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast. Samantha is the regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

 

 

 

 


 

Kate Winkler Dawson is a seasoned documentary producer, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, WCBS News and ABC News Radio, Fox News Channel, United Press International, PBS NewsHour, and Nightline. She is the author of American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI and Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City. She teaches journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. 

 



Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. She represents literary fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Her clients have had both critical and commercial success. Books she has represented have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers in adult hardcover fiction, children’s books, and children’s book series. Her clients have won numerous awards including: New York Times Best Illustrated Book, The Schneider Family Award, Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. She has been a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) since 1993. She served on the Program Committee and was Program Committee Director for several years. She was also a member of the Electronic Committee.
She started her career at John Brockman Associates and then Mildred Marmur Associates. She was employed by Russell & Volkening for 6 years before she left to found Dunham Literary, Inc. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology and has a master's degree in Social Work from New York University (although she only practices with characters on the page). She frequently speaks at writers conferences and events. 

 



Owen Egerton is the writer/director of three feature films: Follow, Blood Fest, and Mercy Black which premiered on Netflix this past spring. As a screenwriter, Egerton has written for Fox, Disney, and Warner Brothers, and HBO. He’s written several novels including The Book of Harold the Illegitimate Son of God and Hollow which was named one of the Best Books of 2017 by NPR. Egerton is also one of the comics behind the Alamo Drafthouse’s Master Pancake Theater.



 

Wes Ferguson, a Senior Editor for Texas Monthly and author of The Blanco River (Texas A&M University Press, February 2017) and Running the River: Secrets of the Sabine (Texas A&M University Press, 2014), has been praised for his “sly humor and generous heart. A 2019 inductee in the Texas Institute of Letters, he is a former Managing Editor of Texas Highways, the official travel magazine of Texas.

Wes has written for several newspapers and magazines covering Bigfoot sightings, business and environmental issues, and backyard wrestling. He also briefly taught snow skiing in Australia. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked for The Daily Texan, Ferguson grew up in the Piney Woods community of Liberty City, outside Kilgore, and he got his start at The Flare, the student newspaper of Kilgore College. Ferguson’s groundbreaking profile of a miniature horse farm was chosen by the National Newspaper Association as the top business feature of 2014. In addition to his writing for Texas Monthly, he is working on a book about El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

 

 

Lance Fitzgerald heads the Penguin Random House Audio editorial team as Vice President, Content and Business Development. Under his leadership, the team has acquired audio rights for the much anticipated new novel from Elena Ferrante, The Lying Life of Adults, the international sensation How Contagion Works by Paulo Giordano, soccer legend Hristo Stoichkov’s memoir, and more. He was previously Subsidiary Rights Director for over two decades, is a member of the Frankfurt Book Fair Foreign Rights Advisory Board, and has been a featured speaker at the Writer’s League of Texas, Authors and Artists Representatives, the Columbia and NYU Summer Publishing courses, the Young-to-Publishing Group, and at the Slice Writers Conference.




 

 

 

 


Amy Gentry is the bestselling author of two novels of suspense, GOOD AS GONE (2016, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and LAST WOMAN STANDING (2019, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), as well as TORI AMOS'S BOYS FOR PELE, a book of music criticism in the 33 1/3 series. Her writing and criticism has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Austin Chronicle, Paris Review, Salon, LA Review of Books, and the Best Food Writing of 2014. She lives in Austin, Texas.



 

 

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the novel The Regional Office is Under Attack! and the acclaimed story collection The Miniature Wife, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. A graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program, he teaches writing at the University of Kentucky and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Open City, Fence, One Story, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and The Believer. 
 

 

 

 

Charlotte Gullick is a novelist, essayist, editor, educator and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Austin Community College. A first-generation college graduate, she received her AA with High Honors from Santa Rosa Junior College, a BA with Honors in Literature/Creative Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a MA in English/Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis. She graduated with a MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in May 2016.

Charlotte's first novel, By Way of Water, was chosen by Jayne Anne Phillips as the Grand Prize winner of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program, and a special author's edition was reissued by the Santa Fe Writers Project in November of 2013. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, Brevity, Barnstorm Journal, Pithead Chapel, Cleaver Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, and Hippocampus. One of her essays will be included in the Best of Brevity, which releases Fall 2020.
She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and daughter.

 

 

Kiran Millwood Hargrave was born in Surrey in 1990, and her earliest ambition was to be a cat, closely followed by a cat-owner or the first woman on Mars. She has achieved only one of these things, but discovered that being a writer lets you imagine whatever you want.

She started writing poetry in her final year at university, producing three poetry books and a play before she turned to fiction. Her bestselling debut The Girl of Ink & Stars, about a mapmaker’s daughter who must save her island, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 and the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year. Her second standalone story, The Island at the End of Everything, was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award and the Costa Children’s Book Award, and long listed for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her third book, The Way Past Winter, was the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year 2018.

Her debut YA title, The Deathless Girls, was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2020. Her first book for adults, The Mercies, was subject to a 13-way auction and debuted at number 1 on The Times Bestseller Chart, and number 5 on the Sunday Times Bestseller List.

Kiran lives in Oxford with her husband, the artist Tom de Freston, and the fulfilment of one of her earliest ambitions: their cat, Luna.


 

 Heather Holland is a freelance writer and yogi.

While her favorite style of yoga is Yin, she also enjoys and serves up a playful vinyasa flow.

She holds a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and advanced study in Yin Yoga and mindfulness facilitation. Heather currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board of the Writers’ League of Texas. When she’s not on the mat, she’s on the Green Belt. For more, follow Heather on Instagram @floatlikeaheather

 


  

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, editor, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Coyote Songs, Zero Saints, and Gutmouth. He is the book reviews editor at PANK Magazine, the TV/film editor at Entropy Magazine, and a columnist for LitReactor and CLASH Media. His nonfiction has appeared in places like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the LA Times, El Nuevo Día, and other venues. The stuff that's made up has been published in places like Red Fez, Flash Fiction Offensive, Drunk Monkeys, Bizarro Central, Paragraph Line, Divergent Magazine, Cease, Cows, and many horror, crime, surrealist, and bizarro anthologies. When not writing or reading, he has worked as a dog whisperer, witty communications professor, and ballerina assassin. His reviews are published in places like NPR, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Criminal Element, The Rumpus, Heavy Feather Review, Atticus Review, Entropy, HorrorTalk, Necessary Fiction, Crimespree, and other print and online venues. He teaches at SNHU's MFA program. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias.



Britta Jensen’s debut novel Eloia Born was long-listed for the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize and reviewers are calling the book “both a dystopian narrative and a quest story; consider it a spiritual successor to Lois Lowry’s The Giver and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.” The sequel, Hirana’s War releases October 2020. Her stories have been shortlisted for the 2017 Henshaw Press and Fiction Factory prizes and she was published in the following anthologies: Stories for Homes, volume 2 and Sakura Dreams. Britta’s plays have been performed in New York City, Japan and South Korea. She holds a BA in Acting Performance from Fordham University and an MA in Teaching of English Literature from Columbia University. She taught middle and high school English, Theatre and History for thirteen years in New York City public schools and taught for a decade overseas with DODEA. Britta spent twenty-two years overseas in Japan, South Korea, and Germany before moving to Austin, Texas.

 

Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which was named a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book among other accolades. His middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. In addition, Varian has written for the Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts middle-grade fantasy series as well as novels and short stories for YA audiences.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.
 

 

Kathleen Kent’s fifth book titled THE BURN, sequel to the Edgar-nominated THE DIME, is a contemporary crime novel set in Dallas. Kirkus gave The Burn a starred review, and The Washington Post writes, “Raymond Chandler praised Dashiell Hammett for taking crime fiction out of the drawing room and into the streets. With Betty Rhyzyk, Kathleen Kent brings those mean streets to life as excitingly as anybody has in years.” Ms. Kent is also the author of three bestselling, award-winning historical novels, The Heretic’s Daughter, The Traitor’s Wife, and The Outcasts. She has written short stories and essays for D Magazine, Texas Monthly and LitHub, and has been published in the crime/horror anthology Dallas Noir. In March 2020 she was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for her contribution to Texas literature. The author lives in Dallas.
 

 

 

 

 

A well-known literary agent at Jankow & Nesbit Associates, Kirby Kim represents both literary and commercial authors. When it comes to literary work, he's alternatively drawn to rich, sweeping stories that try to encompass a time or a place or tightly written, narratively innovative stories that bridge genres. His commercial interests include thriller, horror, speculative and science fiction, young adult, and middle grade. He also represents a range of nonfiction working with leaders and journalists in the areas of science, culture and current affairs. He's also known for representing memoir and pop culture, in particular music and comedy.

 


 

 

Sara Kocek is the founder of Yellow Bird Editors and the author of the novel Promise Me Something (Albert Whitman). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, where she taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates. Prior to pursuing her MFA, Sara graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale University, where her fiction was published in the Yale Literary Magazine and where she was awarded several of the university’s top writing prizes: the Elmore A. Willets Prize, the Francis Bergin Memorial Prize, and the McLaughlin Memorial Prize. A former full-time editorial intern at Random House and Penguin, she now lives in Austin, Texas, where she worked for several years as the Program Director for the Writers’ League of Texas before launching Yellow Bird.


 

 

 

 

Jeramey Kraatz is the author of the Space Runners series and the Cloak Society series, and he is a graduate of the MFA writing program at Columbia University. Jeramey lives in Texas, where he sometimes teaches, sometimes writes cartoon scripts, and is always up for queso. You can find him at www.jerameykraatz.com or on Twitter @jerameykraatz.

 

 

 

Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. He has also written for comics as well as "Batman: The Animated Series." As of 2018, he has written 45 novels and published 30 short-story collections along with many chapbooks and comic-book adaptations. His stories have won ten Bram Stoker Awards. a British Fantasy Award, an Edgar Award, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, a Sugarprize, a Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, a Spur Award, and a Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and several of his novels have been adapted to film.
 

 

Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four braided series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine, which includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield, and an upcoming dieselpunk fantasy, The Velocity of Revolution. He is also the co-host of the podcast Worldbuilding for Masochists, and has been a playwright, an actor, a delivery driver and an amateur chef. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family.

 

 

 

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of six books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, and, most recently, Bowlaway. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Thunderstruck & Other Stories won the 2015 Story Prize.

You can find her rather often, entirely too often, really, on Twitter.

She has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University, the University of Oregon, the University of Houston, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and boy are her arms tired.

 


Born in Riverside, California, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally-recognized performance poet and the first African-American Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. Formerly ranked #2 Female Performance Poet in the World, she is a founding member and executive director of VIP Arts Houston, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy and the arts in underserved populations. Her genre-bending poetry has engendered unconventional collaborations with groups as disparate as the Houston Rockets and the Houston Ballet. Her work has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and the TEDx circuit. Her debut recent collection, Newsworthy, wrestles with living in a culture infected by white supremacy where current media is distrusted, cursory, and impossible to escape. Mouton lives and teaches in Houston.



 

 

Sajni Patel was born in vibrant India and raised in the heart of Texas, surrounded by a lot of delicious food and plenty of diversity. She draws on her personal experiences, cultural expectations, and southern flair to create worlds that center around strong Indian women. Once in MMA, she’s now all about puppies and rainbows and tortured love stories. She currently lives in Austin where she not-so-secretly watches Mathew McConaughey from afar during UT football games. Queso is her weakness and thanks to her family’s cooking, Indian/Tex-Mex cuisine is a real thing. She’s a die-hard Marvel Comics fan, a lover of chocolates from around the world, and is always wrapped up in a story. Her debut Women’s Fiction, The Trouble With Hating You, was featured in Apple Books’ Top Ten Debuts to Read in 2020, Oprah Magazine’s Top Romances to Read in 2020, and Cosmo Top 12 Summer Reads for 2020.

 

 

 

Maya Perez is a writer and producer. Her work has appeared in Joyland, Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Misadventures Magazine, and more. She is co-editor of the books "On Story: Screenwriters and Their Craft," "On Story: Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films," and "On Story: The Golden Ages of Television," all from University of Texas Press.

 

 


 

 

 

John Pipkin is the Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at UT-Austin. His first novel, Woodsburner won the New York Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Center for the Book Novel Prize, and the Texas Institute of Letters Stephen Turner Prize. His second novel, The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter, was named Book of the Month by The London Times. John has received fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, and Dobie-Paisano, and he is currently completing a novel about the Tour de France during WWII.

 

 

 

Lara Prescott is the author of The Secrets We Kept, an instant New York Times bestseller and a Hello Sunshine x Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick. The Secrets We Kept is Lara’s debut novel and will be translated into over 30 languages and adapted for television by The Ink Factory and Marc Platt Productions.

Lara received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. She studied political science at American University in Washington, D.C. and international development in Namibia and South Africa. Prior to writing fiction, Lara worked as a political campaign consultant.

Lara's writing has appeared in The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Crazyhorse, and more. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, son, cats, and dog.

 

 

 

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho was born and raised in Toluca, Mexico. A former Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University, a Dobie Paisano fellow in fiction by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, a John Garder Fellow at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a Yaddo Fellow, and a Walter E. Dakin fellow in fiction at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he earned his MFA from The New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Texas Monthly, The Millions, and elsewhere. His debut story collection BAREFOOT DOGS won the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction, and was named a Best Book of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Chronicle, Texas Observer and PRI's The World. It was published in Spanish translation by the author, and is forthcoming in German and Dutch. Antonio lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, where he's currently at work on a novel.
 

 

 

Richard Z. Santos is the author of the novel Trust Me. He has an MFA from Texas State University. His fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in multiple publications including The Morning News, The Texas Observer, The San Antonio Express News, The Rumpus, and many more. He is a regular reviewer and features writer for Kirkus Reviews. Authors he has interviewed include David Mitchell, Sandra Cisneros, James McBride, Daniel Alarcon, Kevin Powers, and others. He moderates panels for the Writer’s League and the Texas Book Festival. He has judged a category, or two, for the WLT Manuscript Contest multiple times. In a previous career, Richard worked for some of the nation's top political consulting firms, national campaigns, and labor unions.
 

 

 

 

Chaitali Sen is a writer and educator based in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, The Pathless Sky, was published by Europa Editions in 2015. Short stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Shenandoah, New England Review, New Ohio Review, Colorado Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Catapult, LitHub, Electric Literature, Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other publications. She is a graduate of the Hunter College MFA program in Fiction and founder of the interview series, Borderless: Conversations in Art, Action, and Justice.


 

Mary Helen Specht's first novel, Migratory Animals, was published by Harper Perennial in 2015. An editors' choice by the New York Times Book Review and the Austin American-Statesmen, an IndieNext Pick, and an Apple iBook selection, Migratory Animals also won the Texas Institute of Letters Best First Fiction Award and the Writers' League of Texas work of Best Fiction.

Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, Specht has a B.A. in English from Rice University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, where she won the department’s fiction award. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including: The New York Times; The Colorado Review; Prairie Schooner; Michigan Quarterly Review; The Southwest Review; Florida Review; Southwestern American Literature; World Literature Today; Blue Mesa; Hunger Mountain; Bookslut; The Texas Observer; and Night Train, where she won the Richard Yates Short Story Award.

A past Fulbright Scholar to Nigeria and Dobie-Paisano Writing Fellow, Specht currently teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Texas Monthly has named her one of "Ten Writers to Watch."

 

 

 

Stacey Swann’s debut novel, Olympus, TX, is forthcoming from Doubleday in 2021. Her short fiction has appeared in Epoch, Memorious, Versal, and other journals.

 

 

 

Don Tate is the illustrator and/or author of more than fifty critically acclaimed trade and educational books for children. Some of the books he's illustrated include Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, Hope's Gift; and The Cart That Carried Martin. He is the author of Strong As Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became The Strongest Man on Earth, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, and It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started To Draw. Don is a two-time recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats Book Author Award, the winner of a 2016 Christopher Award, and a 2016 Texas Institute of Letters book awards recipient.

Don earned an AAA degree from Des Moines Area Community College. He has worked as a graphics reporter at the Des Moines Register and Austin American-Statesman newspapers, and as a publication designer an educational publishing company. In addition, he was the art director at an advertising and market research firm, and a graphic artist at a print shop. He also flipped burgers in high school and swept floors at the mall. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Don currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and son. In his spare time, Don is a gym-rat, having competed (in better fit days) in natural, drug-free bodybuilding.


 


Kathy Valentine has been a working musician and songwriter for over 40 years, ever since she started her first band, at age 16, in her hometown of Austin. After moving to Los Angeles, Kathy joined a band that would go on to make music history: The Go-Go’s. In this group, Kathy wrote or co-wrote some of the band’s most renowned tunes, including the hits “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” She returned to Austin in 2006 and began finding new opportunities as a public speaker, spokesperson, producer, and mentor. Her memoir, All I Ever Wanted, is out now from UT Press. 





James Wade is an award-winning fiction author with twenty short stories published in various literary journals and magazines. His debut novel, All Things Left Wild, was released on June 16, 2020 from Blackstone Publishing.

James spent five years as a journalist, before serving as a legislative director at the Texas State Capitol during the 83rd Legislative Session. He also worked as a lobbyist on behalf of water conservation in Texas.

James lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Jordan. He is an active member of the Writers' League of Texas.

 

 

 

Marit Weisenberg has a master's degree from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies and worked as a film and television executive for a number of years. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two daughters. Her previous titles include Select and Select Few. Her upcoming novel, The Insomniacs, will publish in September 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sasha West’s first book, Failure and I Bury the Body (Harper Perennial), was a winner of the National Poetry Series, the Texas Institute of Letters First Book of Poetry Award, and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Agni, Georgia Review, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at St. Edward’s University, where she received the Distinguished Teaching Award.

 

 

 

Tracy Wolff is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixty-four novels that run the gamut from young adult action adventures to new adult romance and from women’s fiction to erotica. A long-time lover of vampires, dragons and all things that go bump in the night, Tracy loves nothing more than combining her affection for paranormal creatures with her love of writing tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines.

When she’s not writing (which is a rare occurrence), she can be found trying out new recipes, offering make-up tips online, wandering comic book/gaming stores with her sons, and watching movies or plotting stories with her besties. A one time English professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family. Her most recent work, the young adult vampire novel, CRAVE, was published by Entangled Publishing in April 2020.





Jennifer Ziegler is the author of over 25 books, including everything from stand-alone novels to series work to TV tie-ins, that range in genre from quirky comedy to action-adventure to dystopian. Her books have been featured on the Lone Star List and International Reading Association’s Young Adults Choice list, recommended on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” optioned for film, and adapted into stage musicals. She also had the honor of serving as The Writers’ League of Texas’s Program Director for several years. Jennifer lives with her husband, author Chris Barton, in Austin, where she continues to write books, lead writing workshops, and give presentations at schools, conferences, and book festivals.