Presenters

Ron A. Austin

Author

    Ron A. Austin holds an MFA from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and is a 2016 Regional Arts Commission Fellow. Avery Colt Is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, his first collection of linked stories, won the 2017 Nilsen Prize. The book will be released in fall of 2019. Austin’s short stories have been placed or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Story Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Midwestern Gothic, Juked and other journals. He, his partner Jennie, and son Elijah live in St. Louis with a whippet named Carmen.

    Jasmin Darznik

    Author

      Jasmin Darznik's novel Song of a Captive Bird was selected as a New York Times Book Review "Editors' Choice" as well as one of 2018's "Best Books" by Vogue, Ms. and Newsweek. Jasmin is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother's Hidden Life. Her books have been published and are forthcoming in seventeen countries and her essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Jasmin was born in Tehran, Iran and came to America when she was five years old. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Now a professor of English and creative writing at California College of the Arts, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

      Yasmina Din Madden

      Author

        Yasmina Din Madden lives in Iowa and her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in PANK, The Idaho Review, Word Riot, The Masters Review: New Voices, Hobart, Fiction Southeast, Carve, and other journals. Her story "At the Dog Park" was shortlisted for The Masters Review Anthology: 10 Best Stories by Emerging Authors, and her flash fiction was shortlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions of 2017 and Pulp Literature's Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction. She teaches creative writing, literature, and women's and gender studies at Drake University. 

        Adrianne Finlay

        Author

          Adrianne Finlay received her PhD in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. Originally from Ithaca, New York, she now lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with her husband, the poet J. D. Schraffenberger, and their two young daughters. She is an associate professor of English and the Program Director of Creative Writing at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. Her debut novel, Your One & Only, released in 2018 with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and she has a forthcoming novel that will be available in 2020. When she’s not writing, reading, or grading, she’s making soap to sell locally, raising money for type 1 diabetes research.

          David Gonzalez

          Author

            David Gonzalez is a professional storyteller, poet, playwright, musician and public speaker. He is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, and is the proud recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth "Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence". Mr. Gonzalez was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience" for The Frog Bride. David has created numerous productions, including the critically acclaimed ¡Sofrito! with The Latin Legends Band, and MytholoJazz, both of which enjoyed sold-out runs at New Victory Theater. Sleeping Beauty was co-commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn College, and The McCallum Theater. David was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, and appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. The Man of the House was commissioned by, and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013.

            Vince Gotera

            Author

              Vince Gotera is a professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. Poetry collections include Fighting Kite, Ghost Wars, Dragonfly, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in Altered Reality Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Crooked Teeth Literary Magazine, Eye to the Telescope, Voices de la Luna, and other venues. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.

              Katherine Hannigan

              Author

                Katherine Hannigan is the author of the New York Times bestseller Ida B…And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster and (Possibly) Save the World and True (…Sort Of), which was a California Young Reader Award nominee and an Iowa Children’s Choice selection. She has also written and illustrated Emmaline and the Bunny (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year), Gwendolyn Grace (an Atlanta Parent Best Book of 2015), and Dirt+Water=Mud. She received an M.F.A. in studio art, and has worked as an assistant professor of art and design at Iowa State University, and as the education coordinator for a Head Start program in New York. She grew up in Western New York, and now lives in Iowa.

                Gwen Hart

                Author

                  Gwen Hart is the author of the poetry collections The Empress of Kisses (winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize from Texas Review Press), Lost and Found (David Robert Books), Dating the Invisible Man (The Ledge Press), and Losing Ohio (Finishing Line Press). Her poems and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Calliope, Litro, Heater, Measure, Midwestern Gothic, and Main Street Rag. She teaches writing at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, and is the faculty advisor for Hot Dish Magazine.

                  Geoff Herbach

                  Author

                    Geoff Herbach is the author of several young adult novels, including Stupid Fast, FatBoy vs. The Cheerleaders, and most recently Hooper (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2018). His books have received the Cybils Award for best YA Fiction, The Minnesota Book Award, and Outstanding Book by a Wisconsin author. They've been listed amongthe year's best by the American Library Association, the American Bookseller's association, and the International Literacy Association. Before writing for young adults, Geoff wrote the literary novel The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, performed comedy, produced radio, and traveled around the country telling weird stories in rock clubs. He teaches creative writing in the English Department at Minnesota State, Mankato.

                    Debra Marquart

                    Author

                      Debra Marquart is the author of six books including, Small Buried Things: Poems (2015), The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere (2007), and a co-edited anthology of experimental writing, Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Prose Sequence (2016). She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine and is a Professor of English in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University. The Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Marquart has delivered over 250 invited readings and keynotes at universities and conferences from New York and Washington to Greece and Ireland.

                      Jennifer Morales

                      Author

                        Jennifer Morales is a poet, fiction writer, and performance artist based in rural Wisconsin. Recent publications include poems in MAYDAY and in "Pulsamos," a special issue of Glass Poetry dedicated to the Pulse nightclub victims, and a novel excerpt in Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars (Flashpoint, 2017). Her first book, Meet Me Halfway (UW Press, 2015), a short story collection about life in hyper-segregated Milwaukee, was Wisconsin Center for the Book’s 2016 “Book of the Year.” The book was also a finalist for the Midwest Book Award, won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and was part of the inaugural LGBTQ Writers in the Schools program in the New York City Public Schools, among other honors. Morales is president of the board of the Driftless Writing Center, based in Viroqua, Wis. www.moraleswrites.com

                        Sheila O'Connor

                        Author

                          Sheila O’Connor is the author of five novels. Her fiction, poetry and lyric essays have appeared in Bellingham Review, Alaska Quarterly ReviewBaltimore Review, and elsewhere. In fall 2019, her hybrid novel V will be published by Rose Metal Press. Awards include the Michigan Prize for Literary Fiction, International Reading Award, and Midwest Booksellers Award among others. Her books have been among the Best Books of the Year by Booklist, VOYA, Chicago Public Library, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers. She teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University and serves as Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Reviewwww.sheilaoconnor.com

                          Jim O'Loughlin

                          Author

                            Jim O'Loughlin is the author of the flash fiction collection, Dean Dean Dean Dean (Twelve Winters Press). He teaches English at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls where he also coordinates the Final Thursday Reading Series, which is beginning its 19th season.

                            Jill Osier

                            Author

                              Jill Osier is the author of three chapbooks of poems: from (2018), winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, Should Our Undoing Come Down Upon Us White (2013), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and Bedful of Nebraskas (2012). She has served as the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy. Osier is a graduate of Luther College and lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.

                              Kathryn Savage

                              Author

                                Kathryn Savage is a recipient of the 2018 Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize. A hybrid writer, her work appears or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, poets.org, the Guardian, Poets & Writers, Ploughshares, the Village Voice, Star Tribune, and The Best Small Fictions of 2015. She currently teaches writing at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), and at the University of Minnesota, and serves as a program manager at The Loft Literary Center. Her work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Napa Valley Writers' Conference, Minnesota State Arts Board, Millay Colony, Ucross Foundation, Coffee House Press: In the Stacks, Weisman Art Museum, and the Gullkistan Center for Creativity in Laugarvatn, Iceland.

                                Julie Schumacher

                                Author

                                  Julie Schumacher is the author of nine books, including the national bestseller Dear Committee Members, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Ms. Schumacher is the only woman to have won the Thurber Prize. Schumacher’s first novel, The Body Is Water, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Chronicle for Higher Education and other publications; most recently, she is the author of Doodling for Academics – a Coloring and Activity Book, and a novel, The Shakespeare Requirement. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing program at the University of Minnesota.

                                  Kaethe Schwehn

                                  Author

                                    Kaethe Schwehn is the author of a post-apocalyptic novel, The Rending and the Nest, as well as a memoir, Tailings, and the poetry collection Tanka & Me. She is the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. Her poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. She has been the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award. She lives in Northfield and teaches composition and creative writing at St. Olaf College.

                                    Amy Weldon

                                    Author

                                      An Alabama native, Amy Weldon is professor of English at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is the author of The Hands-On Life: How to Wake Yourself Up and Save The World (Cascade Books, 2018), The Writer’s Eye: Observation and Inspiration for Creative Writers (Bloomsbury, 2018), and Eldorado, Iowa: A Novel (Bowen Press Books, 2019). Her essays, reviews, and short fiction have appeared in a wide variety of journals, including Orion, The Hopper, About Place, Midwestern Gothic, The Common, and The Carolina Quarterly, and edited collections on pedagogy, food, and travel. Dr. Weldon is a graduate of Auburn University (B.A., 1996) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D, 2005).

                                      Erika Wurth

                                      Author

                                        Erika T. Wurth’s publications include a novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, two collections of poetry and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. Her novel You Who Enter Here is forthcoming from SUNY. A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Boulevard, Drunken Boat, The Writer’s Chronicle, Waxwing and The Kenyon Review. She is represented by Peter Steinberg. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.