Matt Almos is Resident Director of Burglars of Hamm, an acclaimed theater ensemble based in Los Angeles that has been creating original comedies since 1998. We have been called “the Talking Heads of LA theatre” (LA Stage Magazine),“maybe the closest thing LA has to the Pythons” (Backstage) and “Los Angeles’ goofiest social satirists” (Los Angeles Times). He has served as resident director and co-writer for virtually all major productions for the Burglars. The Burglars have been honored with Ovation Awards, Stage Raw Los Angeles Theater Awards, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, LA Weekly Theater Awards, Backstage Garland Awards, and more. Latest major production, the musical The Behavior of Broadus, was commissioned by L.A.’s Center Theatre Group (which include the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatres). He served as director, co-writer and principal composer for this show. The award-winning premiere production was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a wickedly entertaining watershed for the general theatrical landscape,” and was published by Samuel French in 2017. Matt holds an MFA from Cal Arts and previously spent over a decade working at Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment as Creative Entertainment Studio Executive.
Alexandra Barreto has been working on sets for over eighteen years as an actress, writer, producer and director. Alexandra’s directorial debut, “Lady Hater,” a short film based on the feature script premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, and was named ‘Top 5 not to be missed shorts from the Tribeca Film Festival,” by FORBES Alexandra’s first feature she produced, TOO LATE, starring Academy Award Nominees John Hawkes and Robert Forster premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and was released theatrically in over thirty cities. It’s currently available on Netflix and iTunes. Past projects include writing and directing the first political commercial to air on Comedy Central. She produced, “The Dungeon Master,” which won Best Short at the Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, and Best Comedy Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and “Method,” written by herself and Chad Crone, which premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and was singled out as one of the best of the fest by the Huffington Post. Shorts International is distributing both films. In addition, she’s produced five short films including, “F*ck The Parents,” starring Pamela Adlon (“Better Things,” “Californication”) and Twitter sensation Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”). As an actress she’s guest starred and/or recurred on television shows spanning all genres from“Pushing Daisies” to “Justified” to “Parenthood” to, most recently, a five year run on “The Fosters.” She is currently recurring on the FX breakout hit, “Mayans MC.”
Sean Berard is a manager at Grandview Talent Management.
Robin Burcell an FBI-trained forensic artist, worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades as a police officer, detective and hostage negotiator. Her thriller about an FBI forensic artist, FACE OF A KILLER, debuted November 2008 with a starred review from Library Journal. THE KILL ORDER was named in Library Journals Best Books of 2014 in Thrillers. She is the two-time Anthony Award-winning author of four previous novels featuring SFPD Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie: Every Move She Makes, Fatal Truth, Deadly Legacy and Cold Case. Burcell currently co-writes with international best-selling author Clive Cussler on the Fargo series. Pirate, their first co-written book, was released in 2016. The Romanov Ransom, next in that series, came out in 2017, followed by The Gray Ghost.
Sheila Callaghan’s plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright’s Horizons, Yale Rep, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court, and Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, among others. Sheila is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the prestigious Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. These include SCAB, CRAWL FADE TO WHITE, CRUMBLE (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), WE ARE NOT THESE HANDS, DEAD CITY, LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING, KATE CRACKERNUTS, THAT PRETTY PRETTY; OR, THE RAPE PLAY, FEVER/DREAM, EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH, ROADKILL CONFIDENTIAL, ELEVADA, BED, and WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE WITH SALAD. She is published with Playscripts.com and Samuel French, and several of her collected works are published with Counterpoint Press. She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Florida State University, and Spalding University. Sheila is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb and a member of the Obie winning playwright’s organization 13P. Sheila is also an alumni of New Dramatists. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of “18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World.” She was also named one of Variety magazine’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” of 2010. Sheila was a longtime writer/producer on the hit Showtime comedy Shameless and a founder of the feminist activist group The Kilroys. She was nominated for a 2016 Golden Globe for her work on the Hulu comedy series Casual and a 2017 WGA Award for her Shameless episode “I Am A Storm.”
Chiwan Choi is the author of 3 books of poetry, The Flood (Tía Chucha Press, 2010), Abductions (Writ Large Press, 2012), and The Yellow House (CCM, 2017). He wrote, presented, and destroyed the novel Ghostmaker throughout the course of 2015. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, ONTHEBUS, Esquire.com, and The Nervous Breakdown. Chiwan is a partner at Writ Large Press, a Los Angeles based indie publisher, focused on using literary arts to resist, disrupt, and transgress, and a member of The Accomplices. Chiwan was born in Seoul, Korea, spent his early childhood in Asunción, Paraguay, and now splits his time between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Patrick Coleman makes things from words, sounds, and occasional pictures. His first novel, The Churchgoer, was released by Harper Perennial on July 30, 2019. It is being adapted for television by Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective) starring Matthew McConaughey for FX. His debut collection of poems, Fire Season, was written after the birth of his first child by speaking aloud into a digital audio recorder on the long commute between the art museum where he worked and his home in a rural neighborhood that burned in the Witch Creek Fire of 2007. It won the 2015 Berkshire Prize and was released by Tupelo Press on December 1, 2018. His short-form prose has appeared in Hobart, ZYZZYVA, Zócalo Public Square, the Writer’s Chronicle, the Black Warrior Review, Juked, and the Utne Reader, among others. The Art of Music, an exhibition catalogue on the relationship between visual arts and music that he edited and contributed to, was co-published by Yale University Press and the San Diego Museum of Art. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and a BA from the University of California Irvine. He lives in Ramona, California, with his wife and two daughters, and is the Assistant Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego.
Chad Gomez Creasey is the executive producer of NCIS: New Orleans. His career in TV stretches back to 2007, when he began as a staff writer on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, followed by successful stints writing and producing on top shows like Pushing Daisies and Castle. He was raised in Boulder, Colorado. Graduated summa cum laude with a degree in political science from Pepperdine University. Later earned an MFA in Film & Television Producing at the Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC School of Cinema-Television.
Maggie Downs is an award-winning writer based in Palm Springs, California. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Palm Springs Life, and McSweeney’s and has been anthologized in The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True Stories from the World’s Best Writers and Best Women’s Travel Writing. Braver Than You Think, her first book, was an instant Amazon bestseller. Find out more at maggiedowns.com.
Mary Evans is the owner of Mary Evans Inc, a literary agency. Mary Evans is an 8th generation Hoosier. When she grew up and moved East to attend Barnard College, she had a part-time job working at Columbia University’s M.F.A. program. While there, she got a glimmer of the game of publishing and she knew she wanted to devote her professional life proving that the pen is mightier than the sword. Post college, she started her own career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. After a little over a year, she went to a position at The Viking Press. While there her Irish-Catholic mother stopped asking her to go to law school and reveled in any account of her daughter occasionally working alongside Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who had just started her own career in publishing. After leaving Viking and working at a literary agency for seventeen years, she opened her eponymous agency on May 1, 1994. Her interests include great literature and non-fiction which describes or reveals worlds formerly unknown or obscure. She is particularly interested in progressive politics, alternative medicine, science and technology for the lay reader, social commentary, American history and culture–anything which is a great read. Her authors have appeared innumerable times on the New York Times Bestseller list, have won or been nominated for every major literary prize, including the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner.
Ashley Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA from The University of California at Riverside. Her essays and poems can be found in 32 Poems, Pleiades, The Rumpus, Thrush, Hobart, Phoebe, Birmingham Poetry Review, and many other journals. Mag teaches creative writing at Southern Methodist University and for Writing Workshops Dallas; she serves as the interviews editor for Underblong Journal. For more information, please visit maggabbert.com.
Jasper Grey is a Los Angeles based Manager and Producer who runs Vendetta Management, an independent management company dedicated to championing emergent female and diverse voices in addition to an established roster of award-winning tv and film Writers and Directors. Jasper also represents production companies and financing entities that enable a holistic approach to development and production of content. With a penchant for darker themed material, Jasper is constantly on the look for tomorrow’s Cronenberg, Wachowski or Tarkovski. The team Jasper has built at Vendetta Management has more than five decades of experience developing and producing some of the world’s biggest blockbusters including 300, V for Vendetta, and Safe House. Vendetta Management also represents commercial productions companies that build branded content and animation for some of the largest companies in the world including Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, Ford and Marvel.
Matt Groesch is a film, TV, and digital producer at 5 More Minutes Productions.
Carina Guiterman is an Editor at Simon & Schuster. Before joining S&S, Carina was an Editor at Little, Brown, where she started in 2013. Some of the books Carina acquired and edited include Jell-O Girls by Allie Rowbottom, The Futures (and the forthcoming Necessary People) by Anna Pitoniak, The Party by Elizabeth Day, Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed, Talent by Juliet Lapidos, and Feast Days by Ian MacKenzie. Originally from Washington, DC, Carina graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Political Science. At Simon & Schuster, Carina will continue to acquire literary and upmarket fiction, as well as select narrative non-fiction, including memoirs and essay collections. Her taste in fiction spans many genres: domestic and psychological suspense, coming of age, family sagas, adventure stories, and more. She is always drawn to books that challenge the expected tropes of a genre and that combine captivating, smart prose with strong narrative momentum to pull the reader in and illuminate the contradictions and complexities hidden inside all of us.
Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of seven novels, including the critically-acclaimed Detective Elouise Norton series. Her standalone thriller THEY ALL FALL DOWN was published in April 2019 and pays homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The third in her Lou Norton series, Trail of Echoes, received a coveted Kirkus Star and was one of Kirkus Reviews ‘Books That Kept Us Up All Night.’ Land of Shadows and Skies of Ash (Forge) were included on the Los Angeles Times’ “Books to Read This Summer” for 2014 and 2015, and the New York Times called Lou Norton “a formidable fighter–someone you want on your side.” Lou was also recently included in The Guardian’s Top 10 Female Detectives in Fiction.” She is also collaborating with James Patterson and BookShots on “The Good Sister” in the New York Times bestselling The Family Lawyer. A featured writer on NPR’s acclaimed ‘Crime in the City’ series and the National Endowment for the Arts weekly podcast, Rachel has also served as a mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer Program and is currently on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. She was named one of Apple iBooks’ “10 Authors to Read in 2017.” She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
Dara Hyde’s a senior agent at the Hill Nadell Literary Agency in Los Angeles and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and young adult. Before joining Hill Nadell, Dara spent over a decade as an editor and rights and permissions manager at independent publisher Grove Atlantic in New York. A graduate of Bard College, Dara has always balanced her love of film and literature. At the agency she assists with foreign and film rights for the whole agency in addition to managing her own clients. Dara has taught or spoken at a number of writers’ conferences and events, including 826LA, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, BinderCon, New Orleans Writers’ Conference, Pima Writers’ Workshop, PubWest, Long Beach Comic Expo, IWOSC, Antioch University LA MFA, Chapman University MFA, UC Riverside MFA and UCR Palm Desert MFA. You can follow her on Twitter @dzhyde.
David Hyde began his publicity career at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, one of the legendary independent bookstores in the United States, where he learned about the importance of building—and nurturing—a local community. In 1998, he moved to New York City with his college sweetheart, two cats and two bags for the opportunity to work at Vintage Books, the prestigious paperback imprint in the Knopf Group at Random House. At Vintage Books, David worked on publicizing acclaimed literary writers like Alexander McCall Smith (The # 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY), Jonathan Lethem (MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN), Richard Russo (The Pulitzer Prizewinning EMPIRE FALLS) and James Ellroy (THE COLD SIX THOUSAND); as well as bestselling nonfiction books including Erik Larson’s ISAAC’S STORM and Gary Kinder’s SHIP OF GOLD IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA. As a lifelong reader, he was blessed to have worked at one of the great and historic publishing houses, but he left after five years for the chance to work on behalf of the world’s greatest superheroes and some of the most talented writers and artists creating graphic novels and comic books today. At DC Comics, David brought unprecedented sustained mainstream attention to the art form with regular exposure in the ASSOCIATED PRESS, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, HUFFINGTON POST, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, THE NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY, while also working with corporate communications, movie productions and toy launches tied into the comic book line.
Liska Jacobs is the acclaimed author of Catalina, an Entertainment Weekly and Elle best of Spring pick, and The Worst Kind of Want, named a best book of Spring by Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Publishers Weekly, among many others. An LA native, Liska Jacobs’s essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Chicago Review of Books, The Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Dinah Lenney on the East Coast, outside Boston and New York City, and graduated from a small public high school just north of Manhattan. She earned her Bachelor’s at Yale and a Certificate of Acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School, eventually moving to Los Angeles where, among other roles, she landed the long-recurring part of Nurse Shirley on NBC’s critically acclaimed series, ER. Dinah’s continued to work on stage, in film, and on television, playing a wide range of roles in theatre and musical theatre, and guest-starring on series too many to mention, among them Law and Order, Without a Trace, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Sons of Anarchy. She’s taught in acting programs at Universities all over the country, and is the co-author, with Mary Lou Belli, of Acting for Young Actors (Random House). Dinah’s memoir, Bigger than Life, was published in the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press, and excerpted for the “Lives” column in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Her memoir-in-essays, The Object Parade, was published by Counterpoint Press, and she co-edited Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction for W. W. Norton with the late Judith Kitchen. An editor-at-large at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Dinah also serves as core faculty for the Bennington Writing Seminars (where she took an MFA in Creative Nonfiction in 2003). She’s written essays and reviews for literary journals, anthologies, and newspapers, print and online, and was especially mentioned in the Pushcart Anthology XXXIV and in Best American Essays 2017. She lives with her husband in Echo Park, close enough to Dodger Stadium to hear the roar of the crowd. Her latest book, Coffee, has just been released.
Tembi Locke started her onscreen career with the iconic comedies like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Friends. Recently, you can find her in roles on The Magicians, NCIS: LA, and the Netflix hit series, Never Have I Ever to name a few. She is the creative voice behind The Kitchen Widow, a web series and grief support community that has received mentions in The New York Times and The Guardian. Her first book, From Scratch, was chosen by Reese Witherspoon as the Hello Sunshine Book Club pick in May 2019. An instant New York Times bestseller as well as 2020 Audie Awards Finalist and Goodreads Best Books finalist, From Scratch has been called “incandescent,” “mesmerizing,” and “a captivating story of love lost and found.” Currently, Tembi is developing and co-writing the Netflix limited series based on my book. Zoe Saldana will star and serve as executive producer, along with Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine.
George Morgan is the Playwright in Residence at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of Rocket Girl, as well as more than a dozen stage plays and musicals, including Second to Die, Nevada Belle, and Thunder in the Valley. He is the son of two rocket scientists, including Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s first female rocket scientist. His latest book, Rocket Age, has just been released. He holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Guy Nicolucci is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer. He was one of the original writers on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and also wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Mr. Nicolucci has also written for numerous award shows and specials, including the Emmy Awards and the Comedy Central Roasts. Three of his feature screenplays have been aired by Lifetime Television, while a fourth is in production. He has taught film and television writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Dramatic Writing; Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television; NYU Tisch School of the Art, Singapore; and at Columbia University’s Summer Arts program. He is currently a visiting professor of screenwriting at Montclair State University. Mr. Nicolucci received his M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the University of California, Riverside, and his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Heather Scott Partington is our Critic-in-Residence and is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She lives in Elk Grove, California with her husband and two kids. Her criticism and interviews have appeared in major newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times , USA Today, Newsday, the Star Tribune, Paste Magazine, and the Journal of Alta California, as well as top literary publications such as The Believer, The National Book Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, The Millions, On the Seawall, The Nervous Breakdown, Entropy, Kirkus, and Literary Hub. In 2017, Heather was awarded one of seven inaugural emerging critic fellowships from the National Book Critics Circle. Her nonfiction, journalism, and features have appeared in Under the Gum Tree, Las Vegas Weekly, Sacramento News & Review, Electric Literature, and Goodreads, among others. Heather’s interview of author Yann Martel was included in the paperback edition of his novel, The High Mountains of Portugal. Heather is the former book reviews editor of The Coachella Review and has appeared as a guest on Literary Disco and KCOD’s Open Book. A classically trained dancer, Heather’s pre-writing life included decades of ballet and contemporary dance. She performed as an apprentice to Sacramento Ballet, and was a company member in CORE Contemporary Dance. Heather earned her Associate professional certificate in Cecchetti Classical Ballet from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Since 2002, Heather has been teaching at her alma mater, Elk Grove High School, where she has served at various points as a dance teacher, English teacher, AVID teacher, Performing Arts Department Chair, and AVID Program Coordinator. Heather holds a BA in English Literature from the University of California, Davis and an MFA in Fiction from the University of California, Riverside.
Katherine MacDonald is the Senior Vice President of Paramount Pictures. She finds, buys and develops material including original pitches, submissions, books and adaptations. Prior to this, she has been the liaison between the Production and Marketing teams at Paramount and Vice President of Worldwide Research at the studio. Previously, she was Head of Research at MGM, Director of Research at Lionsgate and worked in both Marketing and Distribution at New Line Cinema. Katherine also has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of California- Riverside, Low Residency Program and BFA in Film Production from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. During her career, Kate has worked on a variety of both large and more targeted films such as Wedding Crashers, the Saw franchise, World War Z, the Star Trek and Transformers franchises, SpongeBob animated movies and The Big Short. Her first book The Marketing Edge for Filmmakers: Developing a Marketing Mindset from Concept to Release was released in 2019.
Tom Provost After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin’s prestigious Plan II Honors program, with emphases in both English Literature and Film, Tom moved to Los Angeles where he has worked steadily writing, directing, editing and acting. (And, for while at least, waiting tables.) He was hired to adapt a script for Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman’s production company, Revelations, a screenplay made into the film “Under Suspicion” starring Freeman and Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman. The screenplay was nominated for an Edgar Award. Provost was director of “The Presence”. He also wrote the film and is one of the producers. The genre-twisting ghost story stars Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, Shane West, Golden Globe Nominee Justin Kirk, and Tony Curran. After winning numerous awards on the festival circuit including Best Picture and Best Director, Lionsgate picked up the movie which was released in Fall 2011. A graduate screenwriting professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Provost works steadily as a script doctor and consultant. He also teaches the popular series of classes on filmmaking called “Cinema Language: The Art Of Storytelling”, both in Los Angeles and around the country, often in conjunction with Mark Stolaroff’s “No Budget Film School”. He holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UC Riverside.
Mark Sarvas is the American Book Award-winning author of the novels MEMENTO PARK (FSG) and HARRY, REVISED (Bloomsbury). Winner of a 2019 American Book Award, MEMENTO PARK was also a finalist for the prestigious Sami Rohr Prize, and won the 2019 Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award. It was shortlisted for the JQ Wingate Literary Prize, and longlisted for the Sophie Brody Medal. Sarvas was also longlisted for the 2020 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. His debut novel, HARRY, REVISED, was published in more than a dozen countries around the world, earning raves from Le Monde to The Australian. A finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s 2008 Fiction Award and a Denver Post 2008 Good Read, HARRY, REVISED has been called “A remarkable debut” by Booker Prize winner John Banville. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bookforum, The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Barnes and Noble Review, Truthdig, The Modern Word, Boldtype and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN America, and has judged the PEN Center USA Fiction Award, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Kirkwood Prize and The Tournament of Books. He is a contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He began his literary career as the host of the popular and controversial literary weblog “The Elegant Variation” (retired), a Guardian Top 10 Literary Blog, a Forbes Magazine Best of the Web pick, and a Los Angeles Magazine Top L.A. Blog. It has been covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Scotsman, Salon, the Christian Science Monitor, Slate, The Village Voice, New York Newsday, The New York Sun, NPR’s Day to Day and All Things Considered, and others. His short fiction has appeared in The Drawbridge, Troika Magazine, The Wisconsin Review, Apostrophe, Thought Magazine, Pindeldyboz and as part of the Spoken Interludes, Vermin on the Mount and Swink reading series in Los Angeles. He lives in Santa Monica, where he was a recipient of a 2018 Arts Fellowship, and he teaches advanced novel writing in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from Bennington College, and has been selected as a 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Guild Hall in South Hampton, NY.
Sandy Smith has 30 years of experience as an editor and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside/Palm Desert. She’s ghost-written a successful cookbook for Globe Pequot; published two romance novels under a pen name, as well as a number of short stories and articles; and recently completed her first literary novel. She’s edited a broad variety of literary and genre fiction for adults and children, particularly YA/MG, romance, and thrillers/suspense/noir. In nonfiction, she has a special interest in cookbooks and memoir. Clients she’s worked with include Bloomsbury; Little, Brown; Random House BFYR; Soho; Chicago Review; Macmillan; and Candlewick.
Mike Sonksen Equally a scholar and performer, Mike Sonksen, also…known as, Mike the Poet, is a 3rd-generation L.A. native acclaimed for poetry performances, published articles and mentoring teen writers. Following his graduation from U.C.L.A. in 1997, he has published over 500 essays and poems. Mike has an Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in English and History and his prose and poetry have been included in programs with the Mayor’s Office, the Los Angeles Public Library’s “Made in LA,” series, Grand Park, the Music Center and the Friends of the Los Angeles River. Mike has taught at Cal State L.A., Southwest College and Woodbury University. In June of 2018 one of his KCET essays was awarded by the LA Press Club. His new book, Letters to My City, is out now.
Jamison Stoltz is the Executive Editor of Abrams Press. Previously he served as the Senior Editor of Grove Books.
Rider Strong After being cast as Gavroche in Les Miserables at nine years old, Rider Strong began his career as an actor, becoming best known for his roles on Boy Meets World and the cult horror film, Cabin Fever. Moving behind the camera with his brother, Rider has written and directed short films that have played over 60 festivals worldwide and won both audience and juried awards. In addition to his screenwriting, Rider’s writing has appeared in The Believer, Bullet Magazine, Whiskey Island, Shondaland, and more. His play Never Ever Land premiered at Theatre Unleashed in Los Angeles in the fall of 2019. He graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University and received his M.F.A. in Fiction and Literature from Bennington College.
Michael Torres was born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. His debut collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press 2020) was selected by Raquel Salas Rivera for the National Poetry Series. His honors include awards and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, VONA Voices, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, and the Loft Literary Center. Currently he’s an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Visit him at: michaeltorreswriter.com
Michael Wiegers has been acquiring and editing books for Copper Canyon Press since 1993, and currently serves as the Press’s Executive Editor/Editor in Chief. He has edited two retrospective volumes of the poetry of Frank Stanford, including What About This, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and received the Balcones Poetry Prize. He edited the anthologies The Poet’s Child and This Art, and translated poems for Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry, which he co-edited with Mónica de la Torre. He is also the poetry editor of Narrative and regularly speaks about the art of publishing at universities and colleges around the world. He is currently at work on a book about the poet W.S. Merwin.