About | Code of Conduct
Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation | 96 S. Grant Ave. | Columbus, OH 43215Email: email@example.com | Phone: 614-645-2275
Author Can No Longer Attend
Khadijah L. VanBrakle is a Muslim woman of color living with her family in the southwestern US. As someone born and raised in Canada to American parents, she writes to ensure teens who share her Black & American Muslim dual marginalization see themselves on the printed page. She was chosen as one of the recipients of a two-year, 2021 Highlights Foundation Muslim Storytellers Fellowship.
C.L. Clark (they/she) is a BFA award-winning editor and Ignyte award winning-writer, and the author of Nebula-nominated novel The Unbroken, the first book in the Magic of the Lost trilogy. She graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her work has appeared in various SFF venues, including Tor.com, Uncanny, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Vanessa A. Bee is a consumer protection lawyer and essayist. Born in Cameroon, she grew up in France, England, and the United States. Vanessa holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada and a law degree from Harvard. She lives in Washington, DC.
Her experimental memoir, HOME BOUND: An Uprooted Daughter’s Reflections on Belonging, was published via Astra House in Fall 2022.
Lisa McMann splits her time between Tempe, AZ, Sacramento, CA, and Vancouver, BC. She is married to fellow children’s author, Matt McMann, and they have two adult children. Her son is artist Kilian McMann and her daughter is actor Kennedy McMann.
Lisa was born in Holland, Michigan, and she lived there until 2004, when she moved to Arizona with her family. Her first book, Wake, came out in 2008.
In her spare time, Lisa likes to take walks along Tempe Town Lake and on the Arizona State University campus, shop at local stores, and cook. She also enjoys watching TV and movies, and loves to read fantasy, realistic fiction, memoirs, and books about cooking.
Lisa is the author of over two dozen books for young adults and children. Some of her most well-known books are The Unwanteds series for middle grade readers and the Wake trilogy for young adults. She hopes to keep writing books for a long time.
Lynette Eason is the USA Today bestselling author of Life Flight and Crossfire, as well as the Danger Never Sleeps, Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children.
Mary Robinette Kowal is the four-time Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Award winning author of The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, the Lady Astronaut Universe, and The Spare Man. She is a cast member of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Uncanny, and Year’s Best anthologies. Mary Robinette, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.
Natalie D. Richards writes books that will keep you up way past your bedtime. A champion of literacy and aspiring authors, Richards is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and writing groups. In addition to writing, she spends her days working at a local public library. Richards lives with her wonderful family in Columbus, Ohio. When she’s not writing or reading, you can probably find her wrangling Wookiee, her enormous dustmop of a dog.
B.L. Blanchard is an author, a mother, and an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, a federally-recognized tribe. She graduated from UC Davis’s inaugural undergraduate Creative Writing Honors Program in 2006 and was a Writing Fellow at Boston University School of Law. B.L. Blanchard is originally from Sault St. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and now lives in California with her family. She can stare at maps all day and is always looking for new podcasts and shows about true crime.
Mary A. Turzillo won a Nebula award (“Mars Is No Place for Children” 1999) and two Elgin awards (Sweet Poison, with Marge Simon, 2014, and Lovers & Killers, 2012, solo).
Her novel Mars Girls (Apex) features two young Martian women rescuing themselves from Face-on-Mars crazies. Her purrfectly delicious story collection Cosmic Cats & Fantastic Furballs appeared March 2022 from WordFire. As the 11th rated woman épée fencer in the US in her age class, she lives with scientist-author-fencer Geoffrey Landi.
Jeff Chenault is an author, producer, music historian, and exotica DJ. He has written for various publications including Cool and Strange Music Magazine Tiki News, Bachelor Pad Magazine, and Tiki Magazine.
In addition to his first book on the Kahiki Supper Club, a famous Polynesian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, he has published its companion, The Kahiki Scrapbook, with co-authors David Meyers, Elise Meyers Walker and Doug Motz.
Susan Azim Boyer writes young adult and women’s fiction featuring Iranian American heroines (whom she *never* encountered growing up), who make messy, complicated choices that rapidly snowball into avalanches. JASMINE ZUMIDEH NEEDS A WIN is out now; her second young adult book, THE SEARCH FOR US, is coming on 10.24.23. She is working on what will be her adult debut.
She lives in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area with her husband, Wayne, and her sweet rescue pup, Jasper. Her son, Alec, lives in New York.
Robyn Gigl, the author of the Erin McCabe legal thrillers, is an attorney, speaker and activist who has been honored by the ACLU-NJ and the NJ Pride Network for her work on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Court’s Committee on Diversity Inclusion and Community Engagement, she’s practiced law for more than 40 years, representing clients in state and federal courts. She is active in the New Jersey State Bar Association where she is a member of the Women in the Profession Section and a Past Chair of the Bar’s LGBT Rights Section. She also is a member of the Board of Directors of Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Organization. She lives in New Jersey and is a frequent lecturer on diversity issues.
Tom Betti is dedicated to bringing history to life through entertaining story telling. He co-led various local history tours for over a decade, where he brought dry humor and wit. He served on the board of Columbus Landmarks Foundation for two full terms and chaired the Education Committee charged with leading the organization’s educational tours and extensive programming. Tom was lead researcher on the National Register of Historic Places nominations for both the Hartman Hotel Building and the Athletic Club of Columbus.
Tom has coauthored many books with Doreen Uhas-Sauer on local Columbus history available through The History Press. He serves on the board of the Pan Am Museum Foundation and host the Pan Am Podcast. A native of the Cleveland, Ohio area, it is fitting that his condo resides in the historic 1898 Hartman Hotel Building in Columbus, Ohio with his pug, Roosevelt.
Doreen Uhas-Sauer is a past president of Columbus Landmarks Foundation and a current trustee of Green Lawn Cemetery Association. She has served on Columbus’s Historic Resource Commission, is currently involved with the Christopher Columbus Statue Committee, and was recently reappointed to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Board by the governor as a public historian. Doreen is also a prolific author on Columbus history topics and you can check out many of her books through the library.
Jenna Miller (she/her) writes Young Adult books about fat, queer, nerdy girls who deserve to be seen and have their voices heard. When she’s not obsessing over words, she can be found making charcuterie boards, befriending people online, cross stitching, or adventuring in the Minneapolis area.
Mar Romasco-Moore (she/they) is the YA author of I Am the Ghost in Your House and Some Kind of Animal, as well as Ghostographs, a collection of short stories paired with vintage photographs. Krazyland is her middle-grade debut. She is also an instructor at Columbus College of Art and Design.
Justine Pucella Winans (they/she) is a queer and nonbinary writer who resides in Los Angeles with their husband and cats. Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything is their debut YA novel. Their debut MG novel, The Otherwoods, will release Fall 2023 from Bloomsbury. When not writing, they try their best at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, read an alarming amount of manga, and try to make pasta even a fourth as good as their nonna’s.
Matthew Caracciolo is the author of Moon Ohio and The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea. As a travel writer, his work has appeared on Amateur Traveler, Only In Your State, Columbus Navigator, Columbus: A Book Project, and his blog “Travel is Fatal.” He’s currently a Tour Researcher and Writer with Shaka Guide and lives in the Columbus area with his family.
Courtney Kae (they/she) writes the sweet and steamy happily ever afters that give her queer little heart great joy. She lives in Southern California with her husband, child, and growing hoard of plants. Some of her favorite things include: movie nights, mountain air, and pretending she doesn’t have a coffee “problem”. Courtney’s debut novel, In The Event Of Love, released on August 30, 2022 with Kensington and Headline Eternal, and the sequel, In The Case Of Heartbreak, will follow on July 25, 2023.
Lydia Conklin (they/them) has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative Writing Fellowship from Emory University, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, The Paris Review, One Story, and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Last year they served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan and they are currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was published by Catapult in North America and Scribner in the UK.
Phil Stamper is the bestselling author of The Gravity of Us, As Far as You’ll Take Me, Golden Boys, and other queer books for kids and teens. He currently works in author development for a major book publisher in New York City, where he lives with his husband and their dog. Small Town Pride is his debut middle grade novel.
Kate Fussner (she/her) is a novelist, teacher, and accidental poet living in Massachusetts with her wife and dramatic dog. When not reading or writing, Kate can be found spending time with her family, baking, or singing her favorite musicals. Kate believes in the power of a good laugh and a good cry, and hopes her stories will provide readers with both.
James Bird’s debut middle-grade novel, The Brave, was a Book Riot Best Book of 2020. He is also a screenwriter and director at the independent film company, Zombot Pictures; his films include We Are Boats and Honeyglue. Originally from California, James Bird is of Ojibwe descent, and now lives in Massachusetts with his wife, the author and actor Adriana Mather, and their son.
M. Elizabeth Weiser is a professor of rhetoric and museology at The Ohio State University, specializing in public memory and national narratives. She is the author of Museum Rhetoric: Building Civic Identity in National Spaces and other books.
The Fertile Earth and The Ordered Cosmos, published by Ohio State Press, was edited by M. Elizabeth Weiser, Timothy R. W. Jordan, and Richard D. Shiels.
Ric S. Sheffield has researched, taught, and lectured extensively about rural diversity in general, and the Black experience in small town America in particular. As co-director (with Prof. Howard Sacks, Kenyon College) of the award-winning Community Within: Black Experience in Knox County, Ohio project and co-director (with Prof. Brooke Bryan, Antioch College) of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s (GLCA) Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) program, he has designed and executed projects intended to explore minority communities in small town America. He also offers workshops on exploring diversity in rural geographies and cultural contexts.
Negesti Kaudo is a Midwestern essayist who holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago and has worked as a copywriter, a sex toy columnist, and an adjunct writing instructor. She is the youngest recipient of the Ohioana Library Association’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant for unpublished writers under 30. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Best American Experimental Writing, Seneca Review, and elsewhere. Ripe is her first book.
Conrade C. Hinds (born 1953) is a registered architect in Ohio and New York and a retired Project Manager for the City of Columbus, Dublin Road Water Plant. He is a graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where he studied architecture and industrial technology and has taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Engineering Technology Dept. at Columbus State Community College for 25 years. Originally from Nashville, Tenn., he has lived in Central Ohio for 46 years. As a licensed auctioneer, he likes to give back to the community by donating his services to a variety of charitable fund-raising events. In addition to being a 50-year veteran and teacher of the yodeling arts, he is also a storyteller with a special focus on forgotten history. To help bring a story to life he will often incorporate the use of puppets and marionettes in his presentations. Mr. Hinds also serves on the board of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.
Suzanne Gordon is Senior Policy Analyst at the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute and the author of many books, most recently, Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans.
A Buckeye not by birth but by choice, Renee Casteel Cook is a Columbus based author of culinary history and travel titles including The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook and Ohio Ice Cream: A Scoop of History. Her passion for both writing and chocolate are equally matched, making this book a labor of nothing but love. Eternally impressed at the drive and dedication of food focused entrepreneurs and the continuing commitment of generational family run businesses, Renee strives to successfully share their stories, capturing a curated selection of legacies both established and developing. Her hope is to inspire future creators of all types, to take the leap towards what they love.
Ruth P. Watson is the author of Blackberry Days of Summer, An Elderberry Fall, Cranberry Winter, and Strawberry Spring. A musical stage play, Blackberry Daze, is based on her debut novel. She is the recipient of the Caversham Fellowship, an artist and writer’s residency in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where she published her first children’s book in Zulu, Our Secret Bond. She is a freelance writer and member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and has written for Upscale, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other publications. She is an adjunct professor and project manager, who lives with family in Atlanta, Georgia.
Thao Thai is a writer living in Ohio with her husband and daughter. Her work engages with tangled family relationships and the intersections of motherhood and identity. She’s been published in Cup of Jo, Eater, Catapult, Sunday Long Read, and more. A recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, she has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and earned fellowships in creative writing. She received her MFA from The Ohio State University and her MA from The University of Chicago.
Rasheed Newson is a writer and producer of Bel-Air, The Chi, and Narcos. He currently resides in Pasadena, California with his husband and two children. My Government Means to Kill Me is his debut novel.
Vibrant, humorous, and fraught with entanglements, Rasheed Newson’s My Government Means to Kill Me is an exhilarating, fast-paced, coming-of-age story that lends itself to a larger discussion about what it means for a young, gay, Black man in the mid-1980s to come to terms with his role in the midst of a political and social reckoning.
Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 books. Two-time winner of the HOLT Medallion and a Carol Award finalist, Gray lives in Colorado, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Ariel Delgado Dixon was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. Her short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, The Mississippi Review, The Greensboro Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from Boise State University and currently lives in Philadelphia.
Wesley Chu is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the author of The Art of Prophecy, Time Salvager, The Rise of Io, and The Walking Dead: Typhoon. He won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. His debut, The Lives of Tao, won the Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award. Chu is an accomplished martial artist and a former member of the Screen Actors Guild. He has acted in film and television, worked as a model and stuntman, and summited Kilimanjaro. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Paula, and two boys, Hunter and River.
Neely Tubati Alexander is a first-generation Indian American mother of two. Originally from the Seattle area where Love Buzz, her debut novel, is largely set, she seeks to tell lighthearted, female-driven stories with diverse characters and strong women who pursue both love and careers. If she’s not tucked away at the little desk in her bedroom writing, you can find her at some kiddo activity, drinking wine, or watching reality TV, usually the last two together. She lives in Arizona with her family.
Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than fifty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names, for Harlequin, Kensington, Sourcebooks and Crooked Lane Books. When Julie’s not creating new worlds or fostering the epic love of fictional characters, she can be found in Kent, Ohio, enjoying her blessed Midwestern life. And probably plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends.
Julie Anne writes under the pseudonyms Bree Baker (Seaside Café Mysteries), Jacqueline Frost (Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries), and Julie Chase (Kitty Couture Mysteries).
Rajani LaRocca, MD, was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. She earned a BA and an MD from Harvard and spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats.
Hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today’s most prolific and popular African American authors of romance and women’s fiction, Rochelle Alers is a highly-sought public speaker and writer. Her stories of charming, small-town contemporaries often deal with women’s issues and female bonding with a focus on diversity. Along the Shore is the latest novel in her multicultural, heartfelt Book Club series.
Erin Bartels is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better Things, The Words between Us, All That We Carried, and The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water. A two-time Christy finalist and winner of two 2020 WFWA Star Awards and the 2020 Michigan Notable Book Award, Erin has been a publishing professional for twenty years. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son.
Lynn H. Blackburn is the award-winning author of Unknown Threat and Malicious Intent, as well as the Dive Team Investigations series. She believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. Blackburn is passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.
Lucy Jane Bledsoe is the author of several works of fiction, including A Thin Bright Line, which was a Lambda Literary Award and Ferro-Grumley Award finalist. She is the winner of an American Library Association Stonewall Award, a Yaddo Fellowship, a California Arts Council Fellowship in Literature, two National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowships, and a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Award. A native of Portland, Oregon, she now lives in Berkeley, California.
Francesca Lia Block is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five widely-translated books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry, and she has also written various essays, reviews and screenplay adaptations of her work. She has received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as praise from the New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, among others.
Sara Brunsvold creates stories that speak hope, truth, and life. Influenced by humble women of God who find his fingerprints in the everyday, she does the same in her life and her storytelling. Sara’s recognitions include the 2020 ACFW Genesis Award for Contemporary Fiction. She lives with her family in Kansas City, Missouri, where she can often be spotted writing at a park or library.
Denny S. Bryce writes historical fiction and is the bestselling author of Wild Women and the Blues. She is an adjunct professor in the MFA program at Drexel University, a book critic for NPR, and a freelance writer. Articles she’s written have appeared in USA Today, FROLIC MEDIA, and Harper’s Bazaar. She is also a public relations and marketing professional who spent more than 20 years running a public relations firm specializing in event management. A member of the Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Tall Poppy Writers.
Tara Conklin is a writer and former lawyer whose first novel, The House Girl, was a New York Times bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick, Target book club pick and has been translated into 8 languages. Her second novel, The Last Romantics, was published in February 2019 to wide acclaim.
Before turning to fiction, Tara worked for an international human rights organization and at corporate law firms in London and New York. She was born in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and grew up in western Massachusetts. She holds a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from NYU School of Law and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Tara now lives in Seattle with her family where she writes, teaches at Hugo House and works with private clients on manuscript development.
Jen Devon wrote her first romance when she was eight. Now she writes vivid, cinematic love stories about imperfect people finding their perfect match. A former biology academic and lecturer, she currently works in the tech industry and dreams of writing full-time. She’s an avid gardener, photographer, and boardgamer, a thrift store enthusiast and unapologetic nerd. She’s a mom of six (three kids, three rescue mutts) and lives in central Ohio with her engineer husband.
J.R. Dawson (she/they) has published shorter works in places such as F&SF, Lightspeed, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Omaha with her spouse and three dogs in the middle of a city park. Having earned a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast, Dawson works at Nebraska Writers Collective and other Midwestern nonprofits that teach kids the power of performance and storytelling. The First Bright Thing is her first novel.
Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty-three years. He doesn’t mind.
Grace Ellis is a New York Times bestselling, Eisner and GLADD Media Award-winning author. She is best known for co-writing and co-creating Lumberjanes and is also the author and creator of the Image Comics series Moonstruck, writer of Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge and Batwoman: Truth and Justice for DC Comics. Flung Out of Space is her first graphic novel for adults.
Tori Eldridge is the IndieBound bestselling author of the Lily Wong mystery thriller series, winner of the 2021 Crimson Scribe Award for Best Book of the Year. Her shorter works appear in the inaugural reboot of Weird Tales Magazine and horror, dystopian, and other literary anthologies. Her horror screenplay The Gift earned a semi-finalist spot for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship.
Before writing, Tori performed as an actress, singer, dancer on Broadway, television, and film, and earned a 5th degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts. She is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Norwegian descent and was born and raised in Honolulu where she graduated from Punahou School with classmate Barack Obama. Tori’s deep interest in world culture and religions has prompted her to visit nine countries, including Brazil.
Jess Everlee writes decadent romance from the Northeast Ohio split-level she shares with her small family of furballs and fellow humans. She holds a BA from the Ohio State University, where she studied English and gender studies with a focus on Victorian literature and public health topics. While that background resulted in an eclectic résumé, her passion for reading and writing has never wavered. She has a deep love of interesting art, offbeat communities and admittedly pretentious coffee-brewing systems.
Amanda Flower is a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over forty-five mystery novels. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Romantic Times, and she had been featured in USA Today, First for Women, and Woman’s World. She currently writes for Penguin-Random House (Berkley), Kensington, and Sourcebooks. In addition to being a writer, she was a librarian for fifteen years. Today, Flower and her husband own a farm and recording studio, and they live in Northeast Ohio with their adorable cats.
Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. Her debut adult historical mystery, The Murder of Mr. Wickham, released in May 2022. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King, A Refuge Assured, and The Windy City Saga. Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.
Sara Herchenroether taught American Literature and AP English at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, New York for seven years and another year in New Haven. She holds a Masters’ Degree in Teaching and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts. Sara Herchenroether currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, four young children, one old dog and two cats.
Allegra Hyde is the author of Eleutheria and the story collection Of This New World. A recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, Hyde’s writing has also been anthologized in Best American Travel Writing, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions. Her stories, essays, and humor pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, American Short Fiction, BOMB, and many other venues.
Hyde has received fellowships and grants from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Elizabeth George Foundation, the Lucas Artist Residency Program, the Jentel Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, and elsewhere.
She currently teaches at Oberlin College.
Nishanth Injam received an MFA from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where he won the Chamberlain Award and the Frederick Busch Prize in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of a PEN/Dau Prize for Best Debut Short Story and the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Emerging Writer Award from the Key West Literary Seminar. His work has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review—which won an ASME Award in fiction for its publication of his work—and Catapult’s Best Debut Short Stories 2021.
Rosalie Knecht is the author of Relief Map, Who is Vera Kelly? and Vera Kelly is not a Mystery, an Edgar Award winner and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, as well as Vera Kelly Lost and Found, published June 2022. She is the translator of Cesar Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind. She lives in Philadelphia, PA.
Joe Medo is a fiction writer and journalist who lives in Chicago. Winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a finalist for the Story Prize, Meno is the best-selling author of several novels and short story collections including Marvel and a Wonder, The Great Perhaps, The Boy Detective Fails, and Hairstyles of the Damned. He is a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College, Chicago.
Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries, set in 1920s Appalachian Ohio and inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff. Under her given name, she writes the “Level Up Your Writing (Life)” column for Writer’s Digest and teaches for Writer’s Digest University. She was formerly a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. She is a three-time recipient of the Individual Excellence Award in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council, a two-time recipient of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant, and has been a John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio).
GennaRose Nethercott is a writer and folklorist. Her first book, The Lumberjack’s Dove, was selected by Louise Glück as a winner of the National Poetry Series. Whether authoring novels, poems, ballads, or even fold-up paper cootie catchers, her projects are all rooted in myth—and what our stories reveal about who we are. She tours nationally and internationally performing strange tales (sometimes with puppets in tow) and composing poems-to-order for strangers on an antique typewriter with her team, the Traveling Poetry Emporium. She lives in the woodlands of Vermont, beside an old cemetery.
Katherine Reay is a national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels, including Dear Mr. Knightley, The Printed Letter Bookshop and The London House. She has enjoyed a lifelong affair with books and brings that love to her stories. Katherine’s has also written one full-length nonfiction work, Awful Beautiful Life. She holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and currently lives outside Chicago, IL. When not writing, Katherine hosts the “What the Dickens” Book Club on Facebook and weekly chats with authors and booksellers at “The 10 Minute Book Talk” on Instagram. Her work has also been featured in national magazines and online publications.
Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of historical romance, mystery, and fiction novels featuring realistic multicultural communities and powerful persons of color. To fuel her interest in the Regency and early-Victorian eras, she made time for attending renaissance fairs and consuming period novels and films while obtaining her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University, as well as a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. A frequent speaker at literary, women’s, and STEM events, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her military husband and teenage kid.
Lucy A. Snyder is the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 15 books and over 100 published short stories. Her most recent books are the collection Halloween Season and the forthcoming Tor Nightfire novels Sister, Maiden, Monster and The Star-Stained Soul. She also wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, the nonfiction book Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, and the collections Garden of Eldritch Delights, While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, and Best Horror of the Year. She lives near Columbus, Ohio.
Amy Spalding is the author of several novels, including the bestselling We Used to Be Friends and The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), which was named a best book of 2018 by NPR, the Boston Globe, Kirkus, and more. Amy grew up in St. Louis and now lives in Los Angeles. She has a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest, where in her decade as editorial director she became known for in-depth interviews with such talents as David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She is the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You; Not That I Could Tell (a Book of the Month bestseller); Forget You Know Me; and A Million Reasons Why, named to Most Anticipated lists from Goodreads, SheReads, Frolic & E! News.
The Next Thing You Know is a People Magazine Pick for Best New Novel (all from St. Martin’s Press). She has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly, and others, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, where she was named 2019 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Lauren Thoman lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, two children, and a rotating number of dogs and fish. Her pop culture writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Parade, Vulture, and Collider. When she’s not writing, she’s probably on the hunt for tacos or coffee, or buried underneath a pile of dogs.
Mia Tsai is a Taiwanese American author of speculative fiction. She lives in Atlanta with her family and, when not writing, is a hype woman for her orchids and a devoted cat gopher. Her favorite things include music of all kinds (really, truly) and taking long trips with nothing but the open road and a saucy rhythm section. She has been quoted in Glamour once. In her other lives, she is a professional editor, photographer, and musician.
Marie Vibbert is a veteran science fiction writer, with over 80 short stories published to magazines including Nature, Vice, Amazing Stories and Analog. Her work has been translated into Czech, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Her debut novel, Galactic Hellcats, made the long list for the British Science Fiction Award in 2021. The Gods Awoke is her third book.
As an amateur genealogist and family historian, Eric Walker was impelled to write his debut novel Lost Souls Recovered when he discovered the richness of family stories. As he read historical documents and talked to relatives, he envisioned a way to bring to life in fiction form many of his ancestors who lived a hardscrabble life and who worked to overcome hardship. He believes the written word can unlock doors as well as the imagination and unite our spirits through our visions. He is working on a second novel involving land loss in the early post-Reconstruction era. He is a lawyer and lives in Ohio.
Laura Warrell is a contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. She has taught creative writing and literature at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and through the Emerging Voices program at PEN America in Los Angeles, where she lives.
Journalist and mystery writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins is the author of the central Ohio-set crime novel The End of the Road; seven books in the Andy Hayes private eye series, about a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns quarterback turned investigator, including the Shamus Award-nominated An Empty Grave; and the editor of Columbus Noir, featuring stories by fourteen Columbus area writers set in distinctive city neighborhoods. Andrew’s nonfiction books include No Winners Here Tonight, the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio, and Hatred at Home, about a post-9/11 federal prosecution of three alleged terrorists in Columbus.
Christy and Carol Award–winning author Jaime Jo Wright has captured audiences with her numerous thrilling and mysterious novels, including The Premonition at Withers Farm, The Souls of Lost Lake, and On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor. Featuring rich characterization and an intricate plot with just the right amount of spookiness, Wright’s latest stand-alone spotlights the curse of a dilapidated French castle.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Darling, Beautiful Sorrows, the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and Nameless. She won the Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for her short story “Loving You Darkly” and the Arterial Bloom anthology. Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas.
Bart Yates is the author of six novels, including The Language Of Love and Loss, Leave Myself Behind, The Brothers Bishop, and (writing as Noah Bly) The Third Hill North of Town. He is also a musician, and plays and teaches clarinet, saxophone, and bass guitar. He began teaching private music lessons in Massachusetts in 1989, and then moved to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1999. A novel-writing class taught by Gordon Mennenga at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival was the catalyst for his first novel (Leave Myself Behind). Bart still lives in Iowa City, with an extremely well-stocked refrigerator and the world’s best cat.
Timothy G. Anderson is an associate professor of geography at Ohio University.
Settling Ohio, co-authored with Brian Schoen, draws from scholars working in archaeology, education, history, geography, and politics to tell a nuanced story about the people and dynamics that reshaped Ohio and determined who would control it.
Neema Avashia is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003, and was named a City of Boston Educator of the Year in 2013. Her book has been called “A timely collection that begins to fill the gap in literature focused mainly on the white male experience” by Ms. Magazine, and “A graceful exploration of identity, community, and contradictions,” by Scalawag. Another Appalachia was a finalist for the New England Book Award.
Paul Hlava Ceballos has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Artist Trust, and the Poets House. His work has been published in POETRY, Pleiades, Triquarterly, Poetry Northwest, and BOMB, among other journals and newspapers. His collaborative chapbook, Banana [ ] / we pilot the blood shares pages with Quenton Baker, Dr. Christina Sharpe, and Torkwase Dyson. He received his MFA from New York University and currently lives in Seattle.
Darren C. Demaree is the author of seventeen poetry collections, most recently “clawing at the grounded moon”, (April Gloaming, August 2022). He is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Best of the Net Anthology and the Managing Editor of Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.
Lifelong Franklin County resident Nellie Kampmann works professionally in the field of history. Her love of the subject has led her to volunteer with several Columbus history and historical preservation organizations. She has been a guest historian on Columbus Neighborhoods and The Dead Files. At her day job, her specialty is dealing with death records. While her co-workers have nicknamed her the “Mistress of Death,” she is more of an aging hippie with a gardening addiction. Her previous book, A Haunted History of Columbus, Ohio, reflects her interest in all things spooky.
Wendy Koile has spent most of her life exploring the nooks and crannies of Ohio. When not traveling or writing, Wendy works full-time as the Director of Teaching and Learning at a community college in Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in teaching and one in English. She currently has four books published with The History Press and is working on ideas for the next one.
A graduate of Miami University and The Ohio State University, David Meyers can’t seem to keep from writing stuff. His lifelong interest in history has led him to turn out a number of non-fiction books on a variety of topics, especially those neglected by others. He frequently collaborates with his daughter, Elise Meyers Walker. He has also authored several novels and a handful of works for the stage, including two full length musicals. In 2019, he was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his work.
Elise Meyers Walker earned degrees from Hofstra University and Ohio University. A former board member of the Columbus Historical Society and the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, she describes herself as an analyst, researcher, performer, author, organizer, project manager, event planner, teacher, saleswoman, Lego artist, mother, and adventuress. Her particular interest is true crime.
Elise co-authored several books with her father and collaborator, David Meyers.
Tim Raab played football at Marion Harding High School in central Ohio. Playing in the Buckeye Conference against some of the most iconic teams in Ohio high school football history, he learned firsthand what it was that made Ohio the premier state for football. A lifetime student of history, he has visited just about every school and town in Ohio that plays high school football to write this book. He has written numerous articles on technology, management and leadership and authored an action novel titled Friday at Four and numerous articles on ’60s rock-and-roll for www.rebeatmag.com.
James Renner is an investigative journalist, podcaster, and critically acclaimed author of both nonfiction and fiction books, including True Crime Addict and The Man from Primrose Lane. Previously the host of Lake Erie’s Coldest Cases on ID Discovery, he currently hosts the podcasts “The Philosophy of Crime” and “True Crime This Week.” He is the founder and director of The Porchlight Project, a nonprofit that provides genetic genealogy for cold cases in Ohio. He lives in Akron with his wife and children.
Brian Schoen is the chair of the Department of History and the James Richard Hamilton/Baker & Hostetler Distinguished Professor of Teaching in the Humanities at Ohio University. He is the author of The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War and has coedited three other collections.
Settling Ohio, co-authored with Timothy Anderson, draws from scholars working in archaeology, education, history, geography, and politics to tell a nuanced story about the people and dynamics that reshaped Ohio and determined who would control it.
Amy Spears (she/her) graduated from Denison University with a degree in cinema and creative writing. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she is in her second decade as a skater with Ohio Roller Derby. She spent several years active in the leadership of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association and has given presentations, workshops and talks about the sport at Pecha Kecha Columbus, the Roller Derby World Summit, and Rollercon. Her digital essay (with Julie Driscoll) “Worlds Collide! facebook, family & George Costanza” was published in Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion, and her prose and poetry have appeared in Columbus Alive, Lynx Eye, and Wine X. A self-described “collector of hobbies,” she’ll try just about anything once.
Amy and Samantha Tucker co-authored Collective Chaos: A Roller Derby Team Memoir.
Samantha Tucker (she/her) is an antiracist teacher, writer, and editor in Columbus, Ohio. Sam writes personal essays, memoir, and cultural critique, having earned her MFA and MA in creative nonfiction. Her essay “Fountain Girls,” originally published in Ecotone, is a listed notable in Best American Essays 2017 and is anthologized in Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: An Anthology. Other essays have been published with Literary Hub, Columbus Alive, BUST, Brevity, and Guernica. In her spare time, Sam loves protest, mutual aid, roller derby, and karaoke. She is also quite vain about her hair.
Jane Ann Turzillo has been nominated twice for the Agatha for her books Wicked Women of Ohio and Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio. She is also a National Federation of Press Women award-winner for Ohio Train Disasters and others. A full-time author and speaker, she concentrates on true crime and history. As one of the original owners of a large weekly newspaper, she covered police, fire and hard news.
Mary Jane White is a poet and translator awarded NEA Fellowships in both poetry and translation. Her MFA is from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She practiced law for four decades.
Tamika Burgess is a storyteller with over a decade of novel, TV/film, and personal essay writing. Born to parents who migrated from Panamá, Tamika has always taken a particular interest in writing themes that explore her Black Latina identity. Because of her passion for spreading knowledge of Black Panamanian culture, Tamika has been featured on various websites, podcasts, and panels. When she is not writing, Tamika is somewhere cozy online shopping and listening to a podcast. Tamika resides in sunny, Southern California.
J. Anderson Coats has received two Junior Library Guild awards, two Washington State Book Awards, and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. Her newest books are A Season Most Unfair, a middle grade historical set in medieval England about a girl with something to prove; and The Night Ride, a middle grade action-adventure about horses in danger and kids who want to save them – if they can. She is also the author of Spindle and Dagger, The Green Children of Woolpit, R is for Rebel, The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming, and The Wicked and the Just.
Sydney Dunlap is a former elementary school teacher who has worked with at-risk youth in a variety of settings, and she enjoys reading and writing heartfelt, hopeful fiction that expands young readers’ awareness of tough topics. She is a published poet and has also written for a newspaper. A lifelong animal lover, Sydney lives with her family in a home where the dogs and cats outnumber the people.
Author Reese Eschmann is a proud product of Chicago Public Schools. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Chicago and worked as a school social worker for six years. When she’s not writing or taking naps, Reese enjoys rock climbing, baking, and making movies with her family. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their hound dog.
Polly Farquhar is the author of Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream and Itch. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the Ohio State University, and her short stories for grown-ups have been published in literary magazines. She is also the recipient of multiple Individual Artist Grants from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides with her husband and daughters in the Columbus, Ohio area. Originally from upstate New York, her favorite place to canoe is the Adirondacks.
Margaret Peterson Haddix is the New York Times-bestselling author of more than 40 books for kids and teens, including the Shadow Children series, the Missing series, and the Greystone Secrets series. Her books have been published in more than 20 countries and honored with the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award and numerous state reader’s choice awards, including the Buckeye Book Award.
Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio, and graduated from Miami University. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper reporter, a newspaper copy editor, and a community college instructor. She and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, and they have two grown children.
Caroline Huntoon (they/them) is an author and educator who writes middle grade and young adult fiction across genres. Their forthcoming novels include Skating on Mars (May 2023) and Linus and Etta Could Use a Win (spring 2024), both from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. Caroline lives with their feisty child, Winifred, in Ypsilanti, MI.
Kevin Johnson, aka “Captain Create”, studied screenwriting and filmmaking, graduating with honors, earning a Bachelors of Arts from Temple University. He loves to inspire future storytellers via school visits and speaking engagements.
The adopted son of two loving educators, Kevin fell in love with stories at an early age. From drawing his favorite comic superheroes to making movies with his dad’s Super 8mm camera, Kevin became enchanted with the magic of storytelling.
While his birthplace, Philadelphia, will always remain home, Kevin loves to travel and find inspiration for his next tale.
Kenneth Kraegel is the author-illustrator of the picture books Green Pants and King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson, which was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year, as well as the board book This Is a Book of Shapes and the first chapter book Wild Honey from the Moon. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his family.
Thao Lam fled from Vietnam to Canada with her family as a child. Learning English was difficult, and it was picture books that helped her understand this new world and ignited her passion for visual storytelling. She has an insatiable love for colored and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages.
Chiquita Mullins Lee oversees arts education programs including Poetry Out Loud and Arts Partnership for the Ohio Art Council (OAC). A playwright, poet, and fiction/ creative non-fiction writer, Chiquita won individual artist/excellence awards in creative writing from GCAC and OAC and is published in national publications, including Fifth Wednesday, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and Falling Star Magazine. Her plays have been staged by PAST Productions, A Portable Theatre, and CATCO, which premiered, Pierce to the Soul, about folk artist, Elijah Pierce. She co-authored You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce with Carmella Van Vleet.
Chiquita writes and performs onstage with Word Warriors Creative Writing Ministry at New Covenant Believers Church; with Wild Women Writing’s productions of Lost Lake by David Auburn, and Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare, among others; and in PAST PRODUCTIONS’ presentation of Sisters by Marsha Jackson.
Torrey Maldonado was born and raised in Brooklyn’s Red Hook projects. He has taught in New York City public schools for over 25 years and his fast-paced, compelling stories are inspired by his and his students’ experiences. His popular young readers novels include What Lane?, which won many starred reviews and was cited by Oprah Daily and the NY Times for being essential to discuss racism and allyship; Tight won the Christopher Award, was an ALA Notable Book, and an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year; and his first novel, Secret Saturdays, has stayed in print for over ten years.
As a professional musician, Matt McMann played an NFL stadium, a cruise ship, and the International Twins Convention. Now he writes the kind of spooky mystery-adventure books he loved as a kid. He’s hiked the Pacific Northwest, cruised Loch Ness, and chased a ghost on a mountain. While he missed Bigfoot and Nessie, he caught the ghost. He enjoys brainstorming new books with his wife, New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann; viewing his son Kilian McMann’s artwork; and watching his daughter, actor Kennedy McMann, on television.
Wes Molebash is a cartoonist in Southern Ohio. He’s the author of several popular webcomics including “You’ll Have That” and “MOLEBASHED.” In addition to his webcomic work, he’s provided freelance illustration work for clients like Target, The Ohio State University, and PBS Kids. When he’s not drawing comics, he’s hanging out with his wife and kids or playing video games or eating unhealthy foods.
Amber Morrell is an author and librarian hailing from Southern California. She writes whimsical fantasy and science fiction for children and adults. Her work explores the liminal spaces between science and magic. In her free time, she plays D&D, watches Star Trek, and makes TikTok videos about esoteric knowledge. The Alchemy of Letting Go is her first novel.
Doan Phuong Nguyen was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when she was in elementary school. After growing up in the South, she settled in the Midwest. DoanPhuong loves anything pink and cute but enjoys writing incredibly sad, emotionally evocative novels – Mèo and Bé is her debut novel about a young girl who follows a sweet kitten through war-torn Vietnam during the war.
Growing up, Merrill Rainey spent most of his Saturday afternoons watching monster movies, and going on imaginary adventures. Today, he is a cowboy boot-wearing, picture-book-creator, and paper-toy-maker. Merrill’s work focuses on exploring creativity and imaginative play. His current titles include Roar! I’m a Dinosaur, Oink! I’m a Pig and Color, Cut, Create. Merrill also works for many children’s magazines like Highlights, Cricket, Ranger Rick, and Humpty Dumpty.
Carmella Van Vleet is a former teacher and the award-winning author of almost 2 dozen books for kids and adults, including the award-winning middle-grade novel Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter and the picture book To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space (co-authored with astronaut Kathy Sullivan). Carmella likes lists, exclamation points, and baking shows. But not necessarily in that order. Carmella lives in Columbus, Ohio.
She co-authored You Gotta Meet Mr. Pierce with Chiquita Mullins Lee.
Erik Jon Slangerup grew up in a magical time, before cell phones or the internet. It was called the eighties. He spent most of it roaming outdoors unsupervised, which inspired him to write tales of adventure. Molly and the Machine is his debut middle grade novel. He has also written several picture books, including the award-winning Dirt Boy. Erik is the father of six, which has been his biggest adventure yet. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Tricia Springstubb is the author of books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, a chapter book series, and middle grade novels. Readers Digest named her most recent picture book, Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures, one of the hundred best books for children ever written. Kirkus Review called her recent middle grade novel The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, “a perfect thing in the world of juvenile literature”. In a starred review, The Horn Book called her newest novel, Looking For True, “Because of Winn-Dixie for a new generation.” A frequent speaker at schools, libraries and conferences, Tricia lives in Cleveland Heights.
Jessica Vitalis is a Columbia MBA-wielding author on a mission to write entertaining and thought-provoking literature. She founded “Magic in the Middle,” a series of free monthly recorded book talks, to help educators introduce young readers to new fantasy books. Her work has been translated into three languages, and she was recently named a 2021 Canada Council of the Arts Grant Recipient and featured on CBCs Here and Now.
David Wilson is both an artist and writer who teaches Graphic Narrative at Kent State University. David studied comic writing at the School of Visual Art, worked as an interior artist at Double Take Comics, was an inker on Planet of the Apes: Visionaries at Boom! comics, and publishes independent comics and graphic narratives such as his ongoing series The Everyday. He has worked on the visual side of the publishing industry since 2011 doing graphic design and illustration for companies such as The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, New York Magazine, Forbes, and more.
David co-authored Play Like a Girl with Misty Wilson.
Retired 7th-grade football star Misty Wilson received her M.A.T. from Kent State University and currently teaches fourth grade. Her students, especially those struggling with their identity and where they fit in, inspired Misty to share her own story.
Misty co-authored Play Like a Girl with David Wilson.
Merrill Wyatt grew up in Wauseon, Ohio, a small town nestled in the farm fields and woods of Northwest Ohio. She now lives in Sylvania, Ohio with her husband, teenage daughter, three cats, and a guinea pig who doesn’t like her very much. She teaches Business and Careers classes to middle schoolers. Many of whom would rather she mind her own business and not make them think about future careers, thank you very much.
Wyatt’s hobbies include kayaking and walking in Metroparks. (Which might sound boring, but it really isn’t. There could be a water monster in the Maumee River. There might be treasure buried somewhere in one of those parks. You never know.)
Kaija Langley was born in Northern NJ and raised on a healthy diet of library books, music and theater performances, and visits to the family farm in rural North Carolina.
The author of the award-winning picture book, When Langston Dances, she loves long road trips, dancing wherever music moves her, and adventures near and far with her Beloved.
Her debut middle grade novel, The Order of Things, is forthcoming from Nancy Paulsen Books on June 6, 2023. A second picture book, A Century for Caroline, with Denene Millner Books, is scheduled for Fall 2024.
Kristy Boyce lives in Columbus, OH and teaches psychology as a senior lecturer at The Ohio State University. When she’s not spending time with her husband and son, she’s usually writing, reading, putting together fairy gardens, or watching happy reality TV (The Great British Bake-Off and So You Think You Can Dance are perennial favorites). Kristy is the social media coordinator for Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI.
Erik J. Brown (he/him) is an award-winning writer based in Philadelphia, PA.
His debut Young Adult novel, All That’s Left in the World, was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award, shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and won the UK reader’s choice Books Are My Bag award.
In 2021 he was selected as a Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow.
When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodeling his haunted house with his husband, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu, Charlie.
Federico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, and illustrator. He was born in Port Clinton, Ohio. He received a BA in chemistry from the College of Wooster, and an MD from Brown University. He is on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, and is an active member of several writing groups. His Pepito the Squirrelpicture books were self-published in 2021. His woodwork, furniture, and books have been featured in magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. He lives in Massachusetts with his husband, and their Westie & Whippet.
Anna Gracia was born and raised in Minnesota, where she survived on Dairy Queen blizzards and the sheer audacity of Jessica Wakefield. Her YA debut, Boys I Know, was both an Indies Introduce and an Indie Next pick, and was featured in The New York Times, Paste, Buzzfeed, and Seventeen. When not writing, you can find her napping or wishing she was napping.
RaeChell Garrett has written everything from marketing plans to health insurance benefit schedules, but she much prefers writing novels about the ups and downs of carefree girls falling in love and finding their way in the world. She lives in Michigan where she’s likely to be found trying a new recipe, talking sports with her husband or philosophizing on life with her two teenagers. Promposal is her debut novel.
Brian D. Kennedy writes books for young adults. Born and raised in Minnesota, he now lives in New York City with his husband and their very photogenic dog. When he’s not writing, Brian can be found working at an LGBTQ non-profit. His slightly unhealthy obsessions include: seeing as many Broadway shows as possible, buying weird trinkets off eBay, and all things Dolly Parton.
Susan Lee has had a lifetime of careers, from bartender to network engineer to HR executive at some of today’s most successful companies. But one thing has always been clear throughout: she was born to be a storyteller. And she has channeled her myriad of experiences into her writing of lighthearted, quirky novels about the oftentimes hilarious human condition. And love. Always love. She currently lives in Southern California (fighting her inner New Yorker from breaking free too often) with a pack of three feisty chihuahuas and a too-hearty obsession with K-pop and K-dramas.
Mindy McGinnis is the author of several young adult novels, including The Initial Insult, Heroine, The Female of the Species, and A Madness So Discreet, winner of the Edgar Award. She writes across multiple genres, including postapocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy. While her settings may change, you can always count on her books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us. Mindy lives in Ohio.
Kristi McManus is a Registered Nurse by trade, but avid reader and enthusiastic book lover all her life. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys photography, art, and considers napping to be a form of cardio. She lives in Toronto with her husband.
Ellen O’Clover writes stories about finding your people, falling in love, and figuring it all out (or trying to, anyway). She grew up in Ohio and studied creative writing at the Johns Hopkins University before moving west to Colorado. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her reading fiction about big feelings, trying new recipes with mixed results, or hiking in the Rockies. She lives in Denver with her rocket scientist husband and a perfect bulldog.
Rod Pulido, author, filmmaker, and self-proclaimed “World’s Biggest Ube Fanatic,” grew up in Cerritos, California. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Film Production from California State University, Long Beach. His directorial debut,The Flip Side, became the first feature by a Filipino filmmaker to world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Rod strives to uplift and entertain with stories that highlight the Fil-Am experience. He enjoys collecting comic books and working out at the gym— stereotypes be damned!
Skye Quinlan (they/them) is a queer author of YA fiction who hides away all day writing. They’re an avid reader, a hoarder of crystals and gemstones, and an Astral Elf Druid in D&D. Their debut novel, Forward March, released in March of 2022 and was described by the School Library Journal as, “A wonderful ace rom-com bursting at the seams with representation.” Skye lives in Ohio with their wife, two dogs, a snake, and two lizards, and is represented by Moe Ferrara at BookEnds Literary Agency.
Edward Underhill (he/him) is a queer trans man who grew up in the suburbs of Wisconsin, where he could not walk to anything, which meant he had to make up his own adventures. He began writing (very bad) stories as a kid and wrote his first (also very bad) novel in his teens. In college, he studied music composition, before earning a master’s degree in film music composition. After a few years living in very tiny apartments in New York, he moved to California, where by day he writes music and by night he writes stories, which aren’t as bad as they used to be. When not doing either of these things, he’s probably gardening or hanging out with his cat. You can find him online on his website.
Shannon Watters is the co-creator and co-writer of the award-winning hit comic book series Lumberjanes. She is also a former senior editor and former founder/head of BOOM! Box line at BOOM! Studios. She loves vintage nonsense, cooking elaborate meals, and funny words. She lives with her partner in Los Angeles.
ASHLEY AUDRAIN’S debut novel, The Push, was a New York Times, Sunday Times (London), and number-one international bestseller, and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. It has sold in more than forty territories, and a limited television series is currently in development. Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, and prior to that she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children.
Doug Motz is a lifelong resident of Franklin County and is passionate about Columbus and its history. He is a Past President of the Columbus Historical Society and has led tours for CHS, and the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.
He is a co-author of Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, Ohio, the Lost Restaurants of Columbus and Lost Restaurants of Central Ohio and Columbus. He lives in the Berwick neighborhood of Columbus with his husband Todd Popp and their dog, Gracie.
Jayne Allen is the pen name of Jaunique Sealey, a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School. An avid traveler, she speaks three languages and has visited five continents. Drawing from her unique experiences as an attorney and entrepreneur, she crafts transcultural stories that touch upon contemporary women’s issues such as workplace and career dynamics, race, fertility, modern relationships and mental health awareness. Her writing echoes her desire to bring both multiculturalism and multidimensionality to a rich and colorful cast of characters inspired by the magic uncovered in everyday life. She calls the Black Girls Must Die Exhausted series “the epitaph of my 30s.” A proud native of Detroit, she currently lives in Los Angeles.
Amina Akhtar is a former fashion writer and editor. Her satirical first novel, #FashionVictim, drew critical acclaim and was covered in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Martha Stewart Living and more. Akhtar has worked at Vogue, Elle, the New York Times, and New York Magazine, where she was the founding editor of the women’s blog The Cut. She’s written for numerous publications and currently lives not too far from the Sedona vortexes.
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