Featured Presenters

Tim Bascom

Author

    Tim Bascom is author of the recent memoir Running to the Fire (University of Iowa Press, 2015), about coming of age as the son of missionaries in Ethiopia during a Marxist Revolution. His earlier memoir Chameleon Days (Houghton Mifflin) won the Bakeless Literary Prize. He is also the author of a collection of essays and a novel, and his writing has won editor’s prizes at The Missouri Review and Florida Review, being selected for Best Creative Nonfiction and Best American Travel Writing. Bascom, who received his MFA from the University of Iowa, is Director of Creative Writing at Waldorf University.

    Charles Baxter

    Author

      Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

      Elijah Burrell

      Author

        Elijah Burrell is the author of the poetry collection The Skin of the River (Aldrich Press, 2014). His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Agni, Sugar House Review, Measure, Cider Press Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Structo, and many others. He received the 2009 Cecil A. Blue Award in Poetry and the 2010 Jane Kenyon Scholarship at Bennington College. Audio versions of his poetry have recently been featured on both The Missouri Review’s and Sugar House Review’s podcasts. In 2012 Burrell joined the faculty of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. An assistant professor in Lincoln's English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism Department, Burrell teaches creative writing, literature, and advanced composition. Burrell holds an MFA in Writing and Literature (emphasis: poetry) from Bennington College. He resides in Jefferson City, Missouri, with his wife and two little girls.

        Ryan Collins

        Author

          Ryan Collins is the author of A New American Field Guide & Song Book (H_NGM_N Books) and several poetry chapbooks. He is an English Instructor at St. Ambrose University, and the Executive Director of the Midwest Writing Center. He runs the SPECTRA Reading Series in Rock Island, IL where he lives.

          Cass Dalglish

          Author

            Fiction writer and prose poet Cass Dalglish is a professor of English and a mentor in the Augsburg College Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. Her published books include the novels Nin (Spinsters Ink) and Sweetgrass (finalist for a Minnesota Book Award). A former television crime reporter, she is currently working on a third novel, a mystery set in Granada, Spain. Her book-length prose poem Humming the Blues (Calyx Books) is a jazz interpretation of the Sumerian cuneiform signs in Enheduanna’s Song to Inanna (Ancient Iraq, 2350 BCE). See her animation of the Song to Inanna on YouTube.

            John Domini

            Author

              John Domini has won awards in all genres, with fiction in Paris Review and non-fiction in The New York Times. He’s published three books of stories and three novels, as well as selections of essays and poetry. His 2016 set of stories, MOVIEOLA! (Dzanc Books) has been hailed as “the smartest kind of fun,"and “a glory.” Earlier books were praised in the New York Times and on NPR’s "All Things Considered.” Domini's grants include an NEA Fellowship and an Iowa Major Artist Award. He has taught at Harvard and Northwestern — as well as at Luther — and makes his home in Des Moines.

              Anaïs Duplan

              Author

                Anaïs Duplan is the author of Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press). Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming coming on PBS News Hour, Hyperallergic, Fence, The Journal, Horse Less Review, Birdfeast, and in other publications. She is the director of the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, a new artist residency program in Iowa City, where she is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

                David Faldet

                Author

                  David Faldet’s poetry has been published  in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Midwest, andCortland Review.  His book Oneota Flow, a natural history of the Upper Iowa was published in 2009 by University of Iowa Press.  He teaches English literature, journalism, and Luther College's first-year course: Enduring Questions.

                  Carol Gilbertson

                  Author

                    Carol Gilbertson’s poems have appeared in various journals including The MacGuffin, Christian Century, Magnolia, Concho River Review, Vineyard, Pebble Lake Review, The Cresset, New Zoo Poetry Review, and the radio program Voices from the Prairie. Her poem “Hercules” won the 2006 Flyway Sweet Corn Prize for Poetry; “On the Train from Krakow” earned second place in the 2009 MacGuffin Poet Hunt.  She has written hymn texts with a range of composers. Her poem “Night Rising” inspired composer Philip Wharton’s composition “Nightrising” for flute, oboe, and strings, and she wrote the libretto for “Birdsongs,” a song cycle for mezzo-soprano by Wharton. She co-edited the essay collection Translucence: Religion, the Arts, and Imagination (Fortress, 2004); her essay in it, on the religious imagination in the literature classroom, earned the NCTE Donald Murray Prize. Now Professor Emerita of English at Luther College, she has been the Dennis M. Jones Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities, has directed the Luther Poetry Project and a study abroad program in Nottingham, England, and was founding director of the Lutheran Festival of Writing at Luther College. She lives in Decorah, Iowa.

                    John Hall

                    Author

                      After graduating with majors in art and English, Hall served as an officer in the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam War Era. He began his career as a journalist.  As a reporter and editorial writer he won the National Newspaper Association Freedom of Information Award for investigative journalism. From there, Hall joined the University of Iowa’s Office of Public Information and University Relations as communications director for the arts. From Iowa, Hall took a position at Dartmouth College and later Walker Art Center.  

                      Throughout his career Hall has maintained his connection with poetry and the visual arts. He has been writing (unpublished) poetry himself the past eight years and in 2013 resumed drawing and painting. His latest intaglio work is a suite of four prints, entitled “Deep Noticing,” currently on display at Luther College’s Preus Library.  Each of the prints is a response to four poems by four poets. In 2012 Hall’s book, “The Last Battle,” the story of his father and the noted theologian Roger Lincoln Shinn, was published. Hall is currently working on a film based on that book.

                      Hall did graduate work at the University of Iowa School of Art & Art History and at Mankato (MN) State University. He received a BFA from the University of South Dakota. He lives with his wife Lou Ann in rural Winneshiek County. They have three grown children.

                      Jane Hamilton

                      Author

                        Jane Hamilton is the author most recently of The Excellent Lombards and The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction, as well as A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named one of the top ten books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the Miami Herald, and People. Both The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World have been selections of Oprah's Book Club. Her following work, The Short History of a Prince, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998. Her novel Disobedience was published in 2000, and her last novel When Madeline Was Young was a Washington Post Best Book of 2006. She lives in and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin.

                        Patrick Hicks

                        Author


                          Patrick Hicks is the author of ten books, including The Collector of Names, Adoptable, and This London—he also wrote the critically and popularly acclaimed novel, The Commandant of Lubizec. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, he was recently a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Competition, and the Gival Press Novel Award. His poetry has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, The PBS NewsHour, American Life in Poetry, and his first novel not only held company among only 20 books selected for National Reading Group Month, but it was listed as a Top Pick for First Year College Programs. He is the recipient of a number of grants and fellowships, including awards from the Bush Artist Foundation, the Loft Literary Center, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A dual-citizen of Ireland and America, he is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University as well as a faculty member at the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

                          Bret Anthony Johnston

                          Author

                            Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Remember Me Like This (Random House, 2014), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is also the author of the short-story collection Corpus Christi (Random House, 2004) and the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. He is the director of creative writing at Harvard University.

                            David Kamm

                            Author

                              David Kamm is an assistant professor of art and art gallery coordinator at Luther College, where he also assists in management of the school’s fine arts collection. His studio work focuses on prints, collages and mixed-media pieces, and has been included in over 130 juried, group and solo exhibitions. In addition to his studio work and teaching, he has been a participant in a Fulbright Study Abroad project to Russia, the Institute of Lutheran Scholars at Harvard University, and two National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminars. In 2007 he was an artist-in-residence at the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He has presented at several sessions of national art conferences, including the College Art Association and FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education). Kamm earned his BA in art education from Wartburg College, and his MA and MFA degrees in printmaking from the University of Iowa.

                              Athena Kildegaard

                              Author

                                Athena Kildegaard is the author of four books of poetry, Rare Momentum, Bodies of Light, Cloves & Honey, and Ventriloquy, just published by the new independent woman-run press Tinderbox Editions. Her second book was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and her third was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies and have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac. She has received grants from the Lake Region Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is the poetry series editor of the on-line journal Bloom, and she teaches at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

                                Lise Kildegaard

                                Author

                                  Lise Kildegaard is an English professor at Luther College. While she teaches everything from soup to nuts, Renaissance texts to postmodernism, her main literary project for the last several years has been translating the “square stories” of Danish author Louis Jensen. As soon as we finish up with the LC Writers Festival, she’ll be heading to Denmark to celebrate the publication of Jensen’s 1001st story.

                                  Charlie Langton

                                  Author

                                    Charlie Langton’s book of poems, Keep Silence, But Speak Out, was chosen as the second selection in the Loess Hills Poetry Series. His work has appeared in the Antioch Review, the Iowa Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and other magazines, and his poems have been included in two anthologies, Voices on the Landscape and River of Earth and Sky. He earned his MFA degree from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and lives in Decorah, Iowa.

                                    Gretchen Marquette

                                    Author

                                      Gretchen Marquette's work has been featured in The Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, Harper's, Tin House, and other places. Her first book, May Day, was released by Graywolf Press in 2016. She lives in South Minneapolis.

                                      James McKean

                                      Author

                                        James McKean has published three books of poems—Headlong (University of Utah Press), Tree of Heaven (University of Iowa Press), which won an Iowa Poetry Prize, and We Are the Bus (Texas Review Press), which won the 2011 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize—and a book of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports (Michigan State University Press). His essays have appeared in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, and The Southern Review; and have been reprinted in an edition of Best American Sports Writing and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches for the Queens University low residency M.F.A. program in Charlotte, NC, the Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, and on occasion, for the University of Iowa.

                                        June Melby

                                        Author

                                          June Melby is the author of My Family and Other Hazards (Henry Holt), a New York Times bestseller and Midwest Connections award winner. As a spoken word artist she has featured in Munich, Hamburg, London, and Amsterdam; at the Knitting Factory and CBGBs in New York, and the LA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She has three poetry chapbooks, and three cds of original music with spoken word. Her other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Utne Reader, LAWeekly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Forklift Ohio, and Fugue, among others.

                                          Sheila O'Connor

                                          Author

                                            Sheila O’Connor is the author of four novels: Tokens of Grace, Where No Gods Came, Sparrow Road, and Keeping Safe the Stars. Awards for her novels include the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction, Minnesota Book Award, International Reading Award, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and Midwest Booksellers Award among others. She teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University where she serves as Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Review.

                                            Kate Rattenborg

                                            Author

                                              Kate Rattenborg is the owner and manager of Decorah’s independent bookstore, Dragonfly Books. Kate opened her bookstore five years ago after returning to her hometown Decorah after a long and fulfilling career as a librarian with the University of Iowa Libraries and University of Minnesota Libraries.  Passionate about all things book-related, Kate is honored to have created a business that promotes literacy and reading; a business that also is community-centered, complementing Decorah’s literary and artistic aesthetics.

                                              J. D. Schraffenberger

                                              Author

                                                J. D. Schraffenberger is editor of the North American Review and an associate professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of two books of poetry, Saint Joe's Passion (Etruscan Press) and The Waxen Poor (Twelve Winters Press), and co-author of The Necessary Poetic of Atheism (Twelve Winters Press) with Martín Espada and Lauren Schmidt. His other work has appeared in Best Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. He lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with his two daughters and his wife, the novelist Adrianne Finlay.

                                                Steve Semken

                                                Author

                                                  Steve Semken founded the Ice Cube Press in 1993 as a way to use the literary arts to better learn how to best live in the Midwest. Since then he has published the work of hundreds of authors of both regional and national acclaim. He speaks and teaches throughout the Midwest on issues of creativity, entrepreneurship, writing, and publishing. In addition, he is the author of six books, most recently The Great Blues/Soul External: Rediscovering the Great Blue Heron which won a Kansas Book Award, and a novella, Pick Up Stick City: Restoration Fiction which Publishers' Weekly called “funny, poignant and more than a bit whimsical, this allegorical tale of small town and environmental care is suffused with wonder.” He has also been a writer-in-residence at the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska.

                                                  Grant Tracey

                                                  Author

                                                    Grant Tracey has published close to fifty short stories in various literary magazines, four collections, and most recently a crime novel, Cheap Amusements (Twelve Winters). He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and won an Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in 2013. He has also acted in over thirty community theatre productions most recently playing Peter in Zoo Story and Gordon in Dead Man's Cell Phone. For the past sixteen years, he's served as Fiction Editor for the North American Review.

                                                    Nick Twemlow

                                                    Author

                                                      Nick Twemlow is the author of two collections of poetry—Palm Trees, which received the Norma Farber First Book Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and Attributed to the Harrow Painter, forthcoming in fall 2017—and is a senior editor at The Iowa Review and co-editor at Canarium Books. His short films have played Athens, Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca, and other film festivals. He is assistant professor in English at Coe College, where he teaches creative writing and filmmaking.

                                                      Kali VanBaale

                                                      Author

                                                        Kali VanBaale is the author of the novels The Good Divide and The Space Between. She is the recipient of an American Book Award, the Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction, the Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novel Award, and an Iowa Arts Council major artist grant. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Numéro Cinq, The Milo Review, Northwind Literary, Poets&Writers, The Writer and several anthologies. Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA Creative Writing Program. She lives outside Des Moines with her family.

                                                        Cary Waterman

                                                        Author

                                                          Cary Waterman is the author of five books of poems, including The Salamander Migration from the U. of Pittsburgh Press and When I Looked Back You Were Gone  from Holy Cow! Press that was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. Her most recent book, Book of Fire from Nodin Press was a finalist for the Midwest Book Award. Her poems are included in the anthologies Poets Against The War, To Sing Along The Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present, and Where One Song Ends, another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry. Her poems have been awarded prizes in the Federico Garcia Lorca Poetry Contest, the Rash Awards, the Common Ground Review Poetry Contest and So to Speak, the feminist journal from George Mason University.

                                                           

                                                          Amy Weldon

                                                          Author

                                                            An Alabama native, Amy Weldon is currently associate professor of English at Luther College, where she teaches literature and creative writing. Her book The Hands-On Life: How to Wake Yourself Up and Save The World is forthcoming from Cascade Books / Wipf and Stock, and her short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in multiple journals and edited collections including Teaching Eudora Welty: Twenty-first Century Approaches, Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking, Orion, Midwestern Gothic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, The Carolina Quarterly, Fiction Southeast, and others.

                                                            Andrea Wilson

                                                            Author

                                                              Andrea Wilson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Iowa Writers' House. IWH is headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, provides literary programming throughout Iowa, and is dedicated to extending the Iowa literary legacy to all writers, editors, and literary artists who honor the power of words.