Our Fall Residency @ Home Guest Faculty

We are pleased to announce the writers and industry professionals who will be joining us for our upcoming Fall Residency @ Home. We so wish we were all gathering in Rancho Mirage by the fire pits at the Rancho Las Palmas, but we’ll make do in Zoom boxes at home for a little while longer. It’s easier when we know we’ll be joined by:

Kendra Atleework is the author of Miracle Country, a memoir mapping the intersection of family, history, and landscape in California, out now from Algonquin Books. Kendra grew up in the high desert of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Ellen’s writing helped her survive her homesickness while she was living in the wet, green Midwest. Her dreams came true when she received the 2016 Ellen Meloy Desert Writer’s Award, which helped her complete her first book. Her writing has appeared in Best American Essays 2015, online with The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She lives in Bishop, California.

Chelsea Benson came to Echo Lake after earning her Master’s Degree in Producing from AFI in Los Angeles. She holds a BA degree in Film Production (with a minor in Literature) and a BFA degree in Dance from the University of Arizona. As a performer, she brings a unique perspective on entertainment as it relates to film and television and provides a fresh approach to the management team at Echo Lake.

Sara Birmingham is Associate Editor of Ecco Press after formerly serving as an editor at FSG.

Cecil Castellucci is the award winning and New York Times Bestselling author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Shade, The Changing Girl, Boy Proof, Soupy Leaves Home, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, The Female Furies and Odd Duck. In 2015 she co-authored Star Wars Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. She is currently writing Batgirl for DC Comics and The Little Mermaid for Dark Horse Comics. Her two newest graphic novels are Girl on Film (Boom!) and The Plain Janes (Little Brown). Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons,, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint, Vertigo SFX: Slam! and many other anthologies. In a former life, she was known as Cecil Seaskull in the ‘90s indie band Nerdy Girl. She has written two opera librettos Les Aventures de Madame Merveille (World Premiere in 2010) and Hockey Noir: The Opera (World Premiere 2018). She is the former Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two-time MacDowell Fellow, and the founding YA Editor at the LA Review of Books. She lives in Los Angeles.

Elsie Choi most recently oversaw TV and film development for Mad Rabbit, a joint venture with Red Arrow Studios, writer/director/producer Kari Skogland (Emmy-nominated and BAFTA-winning director of THE HANDMAID’S TALE) and Peter Sussman (Founder & former CEO, Alliance Atlantis). Choi began her career at Morgan Stanley executing financings for cultural institutions such as The Getty Center and American Museum of Natural History, and then transitioned to marketing and publicity at DreamWorks Pictures in New York and Los Angeles. She went on to head development for Bruce Willis’ company, Willis Brothers Films, where she produced award-winning documentary and narrative features that have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca and Toronto Film Festivals.

Jalysa Conway is a screenwriter whose credits include Grey’s Anatomy, 9-1-1: Lone Star and both a Rideback TV Incubator Fellowship and the UbiSoft Women’s Film and Television Fellowship. Jalysa is a veteran of the US Air Force and holds an MFA from the Low Residency MFA at UC Riverside.

Bryan Davidson is a Los Angeles-based writer and animation development executive. As a playwright his work War Music was premiered at the Los Angeles Theatre Center by Echo Theatre Company and Playwrights Arena, and moved to the Geffen Playhouse. It received an Ovation Award for World Premiere Play. His work has been produced by the Greenway Court Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, Moving Arts, and have been seen at La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival. He has been commissioned multiple times by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to create pieces for their Toyota Symphonies for Youth series at Disney Concert Hall. He worked for ten years as a Senior Creative Executive for Disney Animation, where he developed titles including Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Zootopia and Frozen. He also developed shows in a variety of formats, including television specials, virtual reality experiences, theatrical shorts and scripted live-action documentaries.

Diana Marie Delgado is the Literary Director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center and has more than twenty years of experience working in not-for-profits focused on advancing social justice and the arts. She has worked at a range of organizations, including The Clinton Foundation, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, and now the University of Arizona Poetry Center. A published poet, her first collection, Tracing the Horse, was a New York Times Noteworthy Pick and follows the coming-of-age of a young Mexican-American woman trying to make sense of who she is amidst a family and community weighted by violence and addiction. Her chapbook, Late-Night Talks with Men I Think I Trust, was the 2018 Center for Book Arts winner and she has published poetry in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, New York Times Magazine, Colorado Review and Tin House. Her literary interests are rooted in her experiences growing up Chicana in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. She has extensive experience working both in and with communities color, after spending more than a decade working and writing in New York City. Delgado, the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college, transferred from Mount San Antonio community college to UC Riverside, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in Poetry. She possesses a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University and her selected honors and awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Hedgbrook, and Breadloaf. She is a CORO leadership fellow and member of the Iyengar Foundation. A playwright as well, Delgado had directed plays at both INTAR and La MaMa. She is a member of the CantoMundo and Macondo writing communities.

Adam Deutsch is the Publisher and Editor of Cooper Dillon Books. Adam Deutsch has his M.A. from Hofstra University and M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been on the editorial staff of a number of presses and journals, including Ninth Letter and Barn Owl Review. He lives in San Diego, teaches college composition and writing at Grossmont College, and has work recently or forthcoming in Poetry International, Thrush, Spinning Jenny, Ping Pong, and Typo.

Rae Dubow is the director of Talking Out Loud. She believes that everyone can be trained to communicate more effectively. Using techniques that she has taught for many years, she has a developed a system for public speaking that will help you create a dialogue with your audience. A former actress, Rae received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has coached and directed actors since the late 1990s and has worked with many writers on their public presentations. She has taught in private schools, and at universities including the University of California, Riverside.

Natasha Marin (curator of Black Imagination, 2020 McSweeney’s) is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and others. In 2018, Marin manifested BLACK IMAGINATION: The States of Matter, The (g)Listening, and Ritual Objects– a triptych of audio-based, conceptual art exhibitions in and around Seattle, WA. BLACK IMAGINATION is community-based, ongoing and continues to amplify, center, and hold sacred a diverse sample of Black voices including LGBTQIA+ black youth, incarcerated black women, black folks with disabilities, unsheltered black folks, and black children. Marin’s viral web-based project, Reparations, engaged a quarter of a million people worldwide in the practice of “leveraging privilege,” and earned Marin, a mother of two, death threats by the dozens.

Susan Scarf Merrell is the author of Shirley: A Novel, now a major motion picture starring Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg. She is also the author of A Member of the Family, and The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships. She co-directs the Southampton Writers Conference, is program director (along with Meg Wolitzer) of the novel incubator program, BookEnds, and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature at Stony Brook Southampton. She served as fiction editor of The Southampton Review. Essays, book reviews and short fiction appear most recently in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Common Online, The Washington Post, and East Magazine.

Robert Mitas is a film and television producer, most recently serving as Executive Producer of Ratched on Netflix. He is also the producer of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Flatliners, and Beyond the Reach and spent several years as the Executive Vice President of Furthur Films, where his projects included Sentinel, It Runs in the Family, The In-Laws, Swimfan, Don’t Say a Word, One Night at McCool’s and many others.

Joshua Mohr is the author of the memoir “Sirens” (2017), as well as five novels including “Damascus”, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written “Fight Song” and “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel “All This Life” won the Northern California Book Award. He is the founder of Decant Editorial.

Katharine Noon is the Artistic Director of the Ghost Road Company. A partial list of her Director/Conceiver credits includes Super Duper (immersive Zoom experience) 2020, Asterion at The Getty Villa, The Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw, and a previous workshop presentation at Atwater Village Theatre (2016-17). In 2015 a commission from the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles and the Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw to direct A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians by Dorota Maslowska at the Lillian Theatre in Los Angeles. The Bargain and the Butterfly that performed at South Coast Repertory Theatre in 2014, Kommuna Warsawa in Warsaw in 2013 and premiered in Los Angeles in 2013. Pantofelnik’s Suitcase by Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk was staged at Atwater Village Theatre in 2011 and toured to the Korczak Festival in Warsaw in 2013. Stranger Things (collaborator/performer) premiered at the Ko Festival in Amherst and AVT in Los Angeles in 2011. Home Siege Home, an adaptation of the Oresteia in 3 parts (conceiver/director) performed at NaCl (New York), Arcata Playhouse, Getty Villa and [Inside] the Ford in 2008/2009. Other works include Orestes Remembered: The Fury Project, Powerhouse Theatre and Fury Factory Festival in San Francisco. The company has made numerous trips to Poland to collaborate with companies such as Studium Teatralne and most recently Teatr ZAR. Other directing credits include the premieres of The Dark Ages, by Laurel Ollstein for Playwrights’ Arena, Desperate for Unfettered by Jen Maisel for the Dog Ear Collective and American Klepto for EST’s (Ensemble Studio Theatre) Winterfest, and one of The Car Plays for Moving Arts. She was one of the Co-founders of The Edge of the World Theater Festival and served on the national steering committee for NET (Network of Ensemble Theaters). Katharine is also the recipient of the Lee Melville Award for contribution to Los Angeles Theatre and is a Professor in the Theatre Department at Loyola Marymount University. Recently she collaborated (as lyricist and co-book writer) with Mark Seldis and David O on Paderewski in America, a musical commissioned by the Mickiewicz Institute and presented at the Geffen Playhouse.

Maret Orliss is an assistant Op-Ed editor for the Los Angeles Times. She previously helped lead The Times events department, including programming the Festival of Books for 15 years. She is a former bookseller, a regular visiting faculty member for UC Riverside-Palm Desert’s MFA program, a lifelong Californian and a graduate of Occidental College.

Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture.” She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. Her newest story collection is The Secret Habit of Sorrow (Counterpoint Press, 2018). She lives in South Pasadena, California with her family.BJ Robbins opened her Los Angeles-based agency in 1992 after a multifaceted career in book publishing in NY. She started in publicity at Simon & Schuster and was later Marketing Director and then Senior Editor at Harcourt. Her agency represents quality fiction, both literary and commercial, and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, biography, narrative history, pop culture, sports, travel/adventure, medicine and health.

Hugh Ryan is the author of When Brooklyn Was Queer, the first-ever LGBTQ history of Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Out, and other venues. He earned an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and he received a 2016-2017 Martin Duberman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and a 2018 residency at the Watermill Center. In 2010, Hugh founded the Pop-Up Museums of Queer History which spearheaded his organization to better represent communities and their history throughout the greater New York City area and across the country. Hugh Ryan is a regular speaker at colleges, universities, and community centers. Hugh has given numerous lectures and has run writing workshops on topics ranging from the queer history of New York City to writing postmodern nonfiction while preaching to his audience the importance of knowing your community’s roots. Some of his talks have included queer history, AIDS activism, and museum praxis at museums, colleges, community centers, and punk houses of all kinds. He sits on the Board of Advisors for the NYC LGBT Center Archives, the academic journal QED, and the Museum of Transgender History and Art.

Annmarie Sairrino is the President of Akatsuki Entertainment USA. Annmarie shapes a unique environment for the identification of Japanese creative properties that have high potential to be adapted into global English-language entertainment. With the necessary understanding of Chain of Title for Japanese properties, which presents a critical but very difficult aspect of the process of bringing a Japanese creative property to market, she is able to oversee a team in both LA and Tokyo to specifically clear and make available many sought-after titles. Recently, she has been active in procuring and developing prominent and iconic Japanese properties for production in the English language for global consumption and has active relationships throughout the entertainment industry which include major producing companies, studios and prominent producers. Previously, having worked with entertainment industry veteran Sandy Climan for over 14 years, Ms. Sairrino served as Vice President, Creative Affairs, at Entertainment Media Ventures (EMV), a Los Angeles-based company focused on media investment, strategy advisory work, and the development of creative properties.

Carey Salerno is the executive editor & director of Alice James Books where she has been serving underrepresented voices in the literary community since 2008. She is also the author of Shelter (2009) and coeditor of Lit From Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books (2013). She teaches poetry writing for the University of Maine at Farmington. Salerno teaches or lectures on poetry and editing at places across the nation as well. You may find her poems–and articles and interviews regarding her other professional work–in print and online.

Mark Seldis is Producing Director of The Ghost Road Company with whom he co-created and directed Excavate the Monster at 24th Street Theatre and Duck[t] Tape Soup at Shakespeare Festival/LA. Mark also produced the tour of Clyt at Home to Amherst, MA, the various incarnations of Ghost Road’s Four Dervishes, the ensemble’s Oresteia adaptation (including Orestes Remembered, Elektra, and Home Siege Home), Stranger Things, The Bargain and the Butterfly (including at SCR and in Warsaw), Asterion (including The Getty Villa and Grotowski’s Laboratorium in Poland) and Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy. In 2007, on behalf of Ghost Road he helped coordinate the Los Angeles productions of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Plays/365 Days and co-directed Ghost Road’s week of the play. He has directed world premieres of two of Ken Urban’s plays (Absence of Weather for Moving Arts at LATC and Nibbler for Theatre of NOTE) and he directed one of The Car Plays for Moving Arts and FLASH Theatre plays written by Tom Jacobson and Oliver Mayer for Playwright’s Arena. Recently he collaborated (as director and co-book writer) with Katharine Noon and David O on Paderewski in America, a musical commissioned by the Mickiewicz Institute and presented at the Geffen Playhouse. In 1999 Seldis co-founded The Edge of the World Theatre Festival and in 2000 co-created the L.A. History Project for Edgefest. Mark is also currently the Managing Director of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, prior to which he worked for sixteen years at The Music Center, first as Project Manager for Education, then as Program Manager for the Programming Department. He continues to serve as Senior Lecturer at Loyola Marymount University’s Theatre Department, where he has taught for over 12 years. Mark also directed The Ovation Awards for three years and served as Managing Director and Producer for The Actors’ Gang for ten years. He is a recipient of the Lee Melville Award for Excellence in Los Angeles Theater.

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton born and raised in New Orleans, studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her most recent novel, The Revisioners, won a 2020 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and a George Garrett New Writing Award; was a California and Northern California Book Award finalist, a 2020 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award Finalist and a Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing finalist; was nominated for the 2020 Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize; and was a national bestseller as well as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and was the recipient of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Zyzzyva, The Paris Review; O, The Oprah Magazine; The New York Times Book Review; and other publications. She lives in Oakland with her family.

Bridget Smith (@bredalot) joined JABberwocky as an agent in May 2019. She grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Brown University with a BA in anthropology in 2010. After graduation, she interned at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand bookstore, and read submissions for In 2011, she started as an assistant at Dunham Literary, and she remained there as an agent for nearly eight years. In her spare time, she runs, plays Irish fiddle, and co-hosts the podcast Shipping & Handling with fellow agent Jennifer Udden of New Leaf Literary.

Olivia Taylor Smith is the Executive Editor of Unnamed Press.

Kevin Smokler is a writer, documentary filmmaker and host with a focus on popular culture. He’s the author of the books Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies (2016) called “An absolute delight” by Library Journal, the essay collection Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books you Haven’t Touched Since High School (2013) which The Atlantic Wire called “truly enjoyable” and the editor of “Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times,” A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2005. His essays and criticism has appeared in the LA Times, Salon, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Decider and on National Public Radio. In 2020, he co-directed and co-produced the feature-length documentary film Vinyl Nation on the contemporary renaissance of vinyl records in America. Vinyl Nation has been called “a lively, engaging affair” by Film Threat and a “populist unifier” by Salon. Kevin has been fortunate to lecture, teach and host cultural events for venues and organizations across North America including New York Comic Con, M.I.T, South by Southwest, The LA Times Festival of Books and The Commonwealth Club of California. He’s appeared in conversation onstage with comedians, playwrights, authors, magazine publishers, architects, musicians and filmmakers. In 2013, he was BookRiot’s first ever Writer-in-Residence and has been a 3-time Artist-in-Residence at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois and an alumni of the Asylum Arts network. He currently serves as Educator-in-Residence for the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, a Creator-in-Residence for The Battery in San Francisco and as a member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, he has lived for the last 20 years in his adopted home of San Francisco with his wife and far too many books and vinyl records.

Jamison Stoltz is the Executive Editor of Abrams Press.

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland, and the short story collection, Growing Things and Other Stories. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.

Oscar Villalon is the managing editor at ZYZZYVA and the former books editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. His writing has appeared most recently in Freeman’s, Zocalo, and The Believer, and he’s a contributing editor to Lit Hub. He lives with his wife and son in San Francisco’s Mission District.

If you are applying to the program for Spring and are interested in visiting for a day, please contact us at