2022 Conference Faculty
- Melissa Bank
Melissa Bank is the author of the best-selling story collections T he Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot . She received the Nelson Algren Award for short fiction from the Chicago Tribune and holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. Her work has been translated into 33 languages.
- Sarah Bedingfield
Sarah has been an agent with Levine Greenberg Rostan since 2016. She represents high-concept, genre-busting literary novels, domestic and psychological suspense, upmarket, big-hearted family epics, unique historical fiction, and international, diverse voices.
She reads most types of literary and upmarket commercial fiction, especially novels that show powerful imagination, compulsive plotting and unexpected points of view that say something important or new. Family dramas, cross-genre narratives with light speculative elements, darker narratives that may lead to nightmares and twisty psychological suspense are her favorite kinds of stories, particularly those set in interesting places. She loves books that highlight nature or the environment, especially in extremes.
A southerner at heart, she can’t help but gravitate toward books set in the south, but she’s a die-hard for any world immersive enough to make her miss her stop on the train or cry in public. Hailing from North Carolina, Sarah graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a double major in Psychology and English. She spent her first three years in New York teaching 11th grade English in the Bronx. She began her publishing career almost ten years ago, initially in editorial at Crown and Hogarth.
- Andrea Blatt
Andrea Blatt is a literary agent at WME. A graduate of Vanderbilt University from Kansas City, Andrea is seeking smart book club fiction, upmarket thrillers, and literary speculative fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, including journalism, untold history, and books that make the political personal.
- Sarah Bowlin
Sarah Bowlin joined Aevitas Creative Management as an agent in 2017. Before becoming an agent, she spent a decade as an editor of literary fiction and nonfiction, first at Riverhead Books and most recently at Henry Holt & Company.
She is interested in work that simultaneously captivates and challenges and in her time as an editor she worked with many acclaimed and award-winning writers including Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Sheila Heti, Salvatore Scibona, Helen Phillips, Rachel Khong, and Julie Buntin. As an agent, she works with emerging and established voices including the Giller Prize-winning Souvankham Thammavongsa, PEN Bingham Award-winning novelist Vanessa Veselka, and acclaimed voices in fiction and nonfiction including Aysegul Savas, Lynn Steger Strong, Gene Kwak, Ashley Nelson Levy, Jasmin Hakes, R.K. Russell, Sabrina Orah Mark, Elisa Albert, Ismail Muhammad, Janika Oza, and Kevin Nguyen, among others. She is interested in bold voices and work that bends genre or forms—specifically stories of strong or difficult women and unexpected narratives of place, identity, and the shifting ways we see ourselves and each other. Originally from the South, she now lives in Los Angeles.
- Stephanie Cabot
Stephanie Cabot is half French, half American and grew up in London, Paris and New England. She attended Harvard, where she studied History, and first worked in New York and London with JP Morgan. Her career as an agent began at WME in London, where she spent nine years and ran the office for the last five, before relocating to the US and to The Gernert Company in NYC, where she worked for fifteen years. Stephanie joined SLA in the Spring of 2020.
Stephanie’s interests are a reflection of her own reading tastes which have always been wide and far ranging. She represents authors from all over the world and is drawn to the international narratives whether told in story, memoir or essays as well as literary fiction reflecting diverse, global voices, speculative fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, crime and thrillers.
Stephanie has spent the past ten years involved with a small internationally focused social justice NGO, World Connect, whose mission is to empower grassroots leaders to initiate change in their communities.
- Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lesa Cline-Ransome’s first book was the biography Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College “Best Children’s Book of the Year. She later created Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele, Words Set Me Free, Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong and Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes, Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams, The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel Payne, Not Playing by the Rules: 21 Female Athletes Who Changed Sports and Overground Railroad. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received five starred reviews, was nominated for an NAACP image award, and received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. The sequel, Leaving Lymon released in Spring 2020.
Lesa’s books have received numerous honors and awards including NAACP Awards , Kirkus Best Books,ALA Notable, CBC Choice Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, and frequent collaborator, James Ransome and their family. Visit her at www.lesaclineransome.com.
- Billy Collins
Billy Collins is the author of 12 collections of poetry, most recently Whale Day: And Other Poems ( Random House, 2020). Others titles include The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Nine Horses, Ballistics and Picnic, Lightning. He is also the editor of three anthologies: Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Everyday, and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Bird Poems. His poems have been published in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, Harper's, The Atlantic, and The American Scholar, and his work appears regularly in Best American Poetry. A Guggenheim Fellow and a New York Public Library Literary Lion, he is a former Distinguished Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. He served as New York State Poet (2004-5) and United States Poet Laureate (2001-2003). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- Jordan E. Franklin
Jordan E. Franklin is a Black poet from Brooklyn, NY. A Brooklyn College alum, she received her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton where she served as a Turner Fellow. Her work has appeared in the Southampton Review, Breadcrumbs Magazine, Frontier, [PANK], and elsewhere. She was the winner of the 2017 James Hearst Poetry Prize, and a finalist of the 2019 Nightjar Poetry Contest and the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize.
Her debut poetry collection, when the signals come home, was selected by Prageeta Sharma as the winner of the 2020 Gatewood Prize and was published by Switchback Books in March 2021; her first poetry chapbook, boys in the electric age , was published by Tolsun Books in August 2021.
- Suzanne Gluck
Suzanne Gluck is the Co-Head of WME’s Worldwide Literary Department, the largest provider of authors to major publishing houses in the United States. In 2002, a year after she joined the company, she was one of the first two women elected to the William Morris Board of Directors. Over her thirty-year career in the industry, Suzanne has represented over one hundred New York Times-bestselling books across a wide variety of genres. Her books have changed the way we think about the world and have become a part of our popular culture, from groundbreaking literary fiction to works of nonfiction about history, science, and contemporary life.
Her client list includes Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt of Freakonomics; Sarah M. Broom, author of the National Book Award-winning The Yellow House; Min Jin Lee, acclaimed author of Pachinko; radio host and author Kurt Andersen; acclaimed writer and director Adriana Trigiani; Peggy Orenstein, author of the groundbreaking Girls & Sex; John Berendt, author of the record-breaking bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; MSNBC host and author Joy-Ann Reid; Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of The Female Persuasion and The Wife; and generation-defining children’s author Judy Blume.
- Naomi Gibbs
Naomi Gibbs is currently executive editor at Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House. Formerly Gibbs was senior editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Graphic and senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Gibbs previously edited such titles as Ursula K. Le Guin's No Time to Spare, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's Friday Black, and Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.
- Christopher Gonzalez
Christopher Gonzalez is a queer Puerto Rican writer living in New York. He is the author of the short story collection I’m Not Hungry but I Could Eat, which follows the lives of messy and hunger-fueled bisexual Puerto Rican men who strive to satisfy their cravings of the stomach, heart, and soul in a conflicted unpredictable world.
Gonzalez is a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction for the New York Foundation of the Arts. His writing appears in the Nation, Catapult, the Millions, Little Fiction, the Forge, L unch Ticket, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. A graduate of Vassar College, he was the recipient of the 2015 Ann E. Imbrie Prize for Excellence in Fiction Writing. His flash fiction was chosen for the 2019 Best Small Fictions anthology and named one of Wigleaf‘s Top 50 for 2020. He currently serves as a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and spends his waking hours tweeting about Oscar Isaac, book publishing, trash television, and the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich @livesinpages.
- Matthew Klam
Matthew Klam was named one of the twenty best fiction writers in America under 40 by The New Yorker. He’s a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Robert Bingham/PEN Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts. His first book, Sam The Cat and Other Stories, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year in the category of first fiction, was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Kansas City Star, and by the Borders for their New Voices series. His second book, Who Is Rich?, was selected as Notable Book of the Year by The New York Timesand The Washington Post, and was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, GQ Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Hollins College, and has taught creative writing in many places including Johns Hopkins University, St. Albans School, American University, and Stockholm University in Sweden.
- Lisa Lucas
Lisa Lucas was the youngest, first woman, and first person of color to be the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. In 2020, she accepted a position to head Pantheon and Schocken Books as the Senior Vice President.
In the past, Lisa has served as the Publisher of Guernica, a non-profit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. Before that, she was the Director of Education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks Teen Filmmaking.
In each role, Lisa has been driven by not just a love of the arts, but a love of sharing the arts and promoting diversity; she is vocal about inclusivity in publishing, insisting that the word transcends boundaries to include everyone regardless of their racial, economic, or geographic background.
- Dawn Lundy Martin
Dawn Lundy Martin is an American poet, essayist, and memoirist. She is the author of several books and chapbooks including A Gathering of Matter /A Matter of Gathering (U of Georgia Press 2007); DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books 2011), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (Nightboat Books 2015), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry. Her latest collection, Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press) won the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award in 2019. Her creative nonfiction can be found in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, n+1, boundary 2, The Believer, and The Best American Essays 2019 and 2021. She is the recipient of a 2016 Investing in Professional Artists Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments, a 2016 poetry grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 2018 NEA grant in nonfiction, and a 2022 United States Artist Fellowship.
In 2018 she co-edited Letters to the Future: BLACK WOMEN / Radical WRITING (Kore Press) with Erica Hunt. Martin is at work on two concurrent projects: a book of poems titled The Laceration, which will be published by Nightboat Books (2023), and an essayistic memoir titled When a Person Goes Missing, forthcoming from Pantheon Books. A co-founder of the Black Took Collective, Martin has also received residency fellowships from Cave Canem, MacDowell, VCCA, and Blue Mountain Center. She is the Toi Derricotte Endowed Chair in English at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.
- Beth Nguyen
Beth (Bich Minh) Nguyen is the author of the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, the novel Short Girls, the novel Pioneer Girl, and the forthcoming essay collection Owner of a Lonely Heart. She has received an American Book Award and a PEN/Jerard Award and her work has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Best American Essays. Her work has also been featured in numerous university and community reads programs, and is taught in high school and college classes around the country. Nguyen is a professor in the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
- Elizabeth Nunez
Elizabeth Nunez is the award-winning author of a memoir and nine novels, four of them selected as New York Times Editors’ Choices. Anna In-Between won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and was long-listed for an IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award. Nunez also received the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in nonfiction for Not for Everyday Use; an American Book Award for Bruised Hibiscus; and a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad and Tobago National Library. Her other novels are: Even in Paradise, Boundaries, Prospero’s Daughter, Beyond the Limbo Silence, Grace, Discretion, and When Rocks Dance. She is a cofounder of the National Black Writers Conference and executive producer of the CUNY-TV series Black Writers in America. Nunez is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, where she teaches courses on fiction writing and Caribbean women writers. She divides her time between Amityville and Brooklyn, New York.
- Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of three novels. She is the winner of a PEN/Faulkner Award, the John Gardner Award, a Whiting Award and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” award, and has been longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award. Her work has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship and a Fellowship from ART OMI and has appeared in the New York Times, Granta, LitHub, Guernica, BOMB Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review of Books among other places. She has lived in Spain, Iran, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. She is an Associate Professor at Notre Dame University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, a fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the founder of ‘Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance,’ an initiative that focuses on transformative migrations, literature, and human rights.
- Padma Venkatraman
Padma Venkatraman is the WNDB Walter Dean Myers award-winning author The Bridge Home, a 2019 Global Read Aloud; Island’s End, A Time to Dance and Climbing the Stairs. All her books have been featured on numerous best book lists, received a total of over 20 starred reviews, and won multiple honors (ALA Notable books, NYPL Notable, Kirkus Best Book, Booklist Editor’s Choice, SLJ Best Book, PW Flying Start, etc.) and awards (including two South Asia Book Awards, two Paterson prizes, a Julia Ward Howe Boston Authors Club Award, SCBWI Golden Kite award and many more).
Padma’s latest novel, Born Behind Bars, about a boy learning to fend for himself on the streets of an Indian city and fighting to save his incarcerated mother, is a Parent Magazine Book of the Month, Junior Library Guild Selection and was released in September, 2021 to starred reviews in Kirkus, SLJ, and Booklist. A beloved character from The Bridge Home reappears in Born Behind Bars.
Padma explored rainforests and coral reefs, led diversity efforts at a university, served as chief scientist on ships where she was the only female and only person of color, taught and directed a school in England, obtained a doctorate in oceanography from the College of William and Mary, and conducted environmental engineering research at Johns Hopkins University, before becoming a full-time author.
When she was nineteen, she left India on her own and is now an American. As a first-generation immigrant and a BIPOC woman with an invisible disability, she has been dedicated, for over a decade, to fighting for equity and diversity. She is the founder of Authors Take Action and Diverse Verse and her poems have been published in Poetry magazine.
- Frederic Tuten
Frederic Tuten has published five novels including The Adventures of Mao on the Long March and Tintin in the New World as well as a book of interrelated short stories, Self-Portraits: Fictions.
His memoir My Young Life spans the journeys from his Sicilian immigrant family’s kitchen table in the Bronx, to the politically volatile corridors of The City College of New York, to the arms of Mexico’s art world and finally to the dangerous, exciting streets of Alphabet City in the 1960s.
He taught film and literature at the University of Paris 8, acted in a short film by Alain Resnais, co-wrote the cult film Possession, and conducted summer writing workshops with Paul Bowles in Tangiers. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction and was given the Award for Distinguished Writing from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes as well as the O. Henry prize.
- Meg Wolitzer
Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Female Persuasion , The Interestings , The Uncoupling , The Ten-Year Nap , The Position , and The Wife , which was made into a film that garnered Glenn Close an Academy Award nomination. Wolitzer, who has also written books for young readers, was guest editor of The Best American Short Stories 2017. Her short fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s , Ploughshares , The Pushcart Prize, and The Best American Short Stories . She has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Skidmore College, and the 92nd Street Y, and along with singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche, Wolitzer was a guest artist in the Princeton Atelier at Princeton University.