PANEL SESSION I
Sustaining Your Writerly Practice
Liz Bedell, moderator, is a freelance editor, writing coach, and writer based in Northampton. A longtime English teacher, she is currently working on a novel set during the Great War and THE CARE AND FEEDING OF A WRITER’S SOUL, a nonfiction book about sustaining one’s writing practice. She also facilitates StoryCatchers writing workshops for children and teens locally and works as a college essay coach.
Irish native Áine Greaney’s essays have been published in Salon.com, Forbes Women, Edutopia, The Feminist Wire, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Writers Digest Magazine. Her four published books include two novels (Simon & Schuster, U.K. and Syracuse U.P), a short story collection (Flume Press) and a how-to book on writing from Writers Digest Books. Among her recognitions and shortlists are the Rubery International Book Awards, the Indie Lit Awards, a Best American Essay citation, and a Pushcart Prize nomination.
Christian McEwen is a freelance writer and cultural activist. Her play LEGAL TENDER: WOMEN & THE SECRET LIFE OF MONEY opened this past spring with four sold-out performances. Her latest book is WORLD ENOUGH & TIME; ON CREATIVITY AND SLOWING DOWN (2011), now in its fifth edition. A linked booklet of “slow quotes” — THE TORTOISE DIARIES — will appear this fall. McEwen lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Holly Wren Spaulding came of age among a community of socially engaged artists. After completing her studies in creative writing at University of Michigan and Trinity College (Dublin), and teaching poetry at a small college, she now directs Poetry Forge (Easthampton) and Poetry Boot Camp (Michigan),where she’s dedicated to defending a space for the radical imagination in the midst of 21st-century life. With author Matt Rigney, she co-founded STORYhouse Partners. Her second collection of poems, PILGRIM, is forthcoming in 2014.
Daniel Jones, author of LOVE ILLUMINATED: EXPLORING LIFE’S MOST MYSTIFYING SUBJECT (WITH THE HELP OF 50,000 STRANGERS), has edited the Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times since 2004. His previous books include two essay anthologies – MODERN LOVE and THE BASTARD ON THE COUCH – and the novel AFTER LUCY, a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Parade, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. He lives in Northampton with his wife, writer Cathi Hanauer, and their two children.
Robin Maltz left an abusive home at fifteen for Hollywood, first as a groupie then hooking for money and drugs. She lived in Ibiza, Spain, with a Broadway playwright, spent a year in London as a punk, and started a career in the music business in Los Angeles, London, then New York before giving it all up in her mid-twenties in the pursuit of a normal life. Her memoir THE PRACTICE OF BEING NORMAL is forthcoming. She is a writer of personal essays and a regular contributor to PurpleClover.com, a literary magazine.
Bill Newman, a trial and appellate lawyer, has been the director of the western Massachusetts office of the American Civil Liberties Union since 1987. Bill also hosts a weekday talk radio show on WHMP and its affiliated stations, writes a regular column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and is the author and voice of the widely distributed radio commentary The Civil Liberties Minute. His columns, expository writing, and creative non-fiction have been published in numerous trade and general-interest publications including Hampshire Life magazine and The Massachusetts Review. His new book is titled WHEN THE WAR CAME HOME.
Moderator Darlene Smith-Ash is a freelance writer whose profiles, features, and reviews have been published regionally. She has hosted events and judged writing contests for Friends of East Longmeadow Library and Barnes & Noble, where she facilitated writers’ workshops. Recognized by Springfield Cultural Council as a poet of many voices, she has presented at gatherings and formal readings from Baltimore to Boston. As a Certified Master Tutor in the Writing Center of HCC she helps to guide students through the nuances of fact, fiction, and life.
Who’s Speaking and Why Does it Matter?
Ellen Meeropol is the author of two novels, HOUSE ARREST (2011) and ON HURRICANE ISLAND (coming in 2015). Her short fiction and essays have been published in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Beyond the Margins, The Drum, and The Writers Chronicle. A former pediatric nurse practitioner and part-time bookseller, Ellen holds an MFA in fiction from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine.
PANEL SESSION II
Building a Platform
Linda Cardillo is the author of the critically acclaimed novels DANCING ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS and ACROSS THE TABLE, in addition to novellas and a children’s book. She writes about the old country and the new, the many ways we love, the tangle and embrace of family, and finding courage in the midst of loss. She is currently working on a trilogy set in sixteenth-century Italy.
Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work, which places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, gender, reproductive rights, and reproductive health, has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, HLNtv.com, Bitch Magazine, RH Reality Check, The Frisky, and more. She blogs at The Mamafesto. She is also the editor of the well-received anthology THE GOOD MOTHER MYTH: REDEFINING MOTHERHOOD TO FIT REALITY (Seal Press, 2014).
Jean Stone is the author of 17 novels (women’s fiction) published by Random House and HarperCollins (as Abby Drake). Her novel GOOD LITTLE WIVES has been optioned for a Lifetime TV movie. She also co-authored DARE TO DREAM, about Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Tim Daggett. A western Massachusetts native, she received a BA in English from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. She claims she keeps writing because she cannot seem to stop.
Moderator Julie Winberg’s essays based on her 10-year stay in Italy were published in Plumb Lines. Articles on 19th-century women travelers in Bulgaria, Iceland, and Switzerland appeared in the international magazine Esperanto. A novel involving a fictional Hemingway is in progress.
Pen in the Sickroom
Moderator Jeanne Borfitz, a nurse practitioner, is writing a memoir, DELIVERING THE AFTERDEATH, about experience with the life and death of her severely disabled son, Tyler. Publications include co-authoring THE HOME CARE BOOK: A PARENTS GUIDE TO CARING FOR CHILDREN WITH PROGRESSIVE NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE published by the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases organization, as well as medical and special needs parenting articles. Jeanne is a member of the Great Darkness writing group in the Northampton area.
During the challenging times of caring for eight family members and friends until their deaths, Joanna Lillian Brown journaled about her thoughts, fears, and special moments shared, giving her a path for reflection and comfort. These deeply spiritual experiences removed her fear of death and provided much of the information for her first book, CARING FOR DYING LOVED ONES: A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS, published in 2010 by Levellers Press.
Jan Freeman, author of HYENA, AUTUMN SEQUENCE, and SIMON SAYS (nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and two new manuscripts, has directed Paris Press since 1995, and recently published Virginia Woolf’s ON BEING ILL WITH NOTES FROM SICK ROOMS by Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen, afterward by Rita Charon, founder of the new discipline of narrative medicine. With support from MassHumanities, Paris Press sponsors workshops and readings about illness, caregiving, and narrative medicine.
Nell Lake is the author of THE CAREGIVERS: A SUPPORT GROUP’S STORIES OF SLOW LOSS, COURAGE, AND LOVE, a work of narrative journalism released by Scribner in February. Lake was the founding editor of the Nieman Narrative Digest, now Nieman Storyboard, a project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. She has written for Harvard magazine, the Boston Globe, Yankee, and other publications; taught writing at Boston University, worked as a magazine editor, and reported for public radio.
Suzanne Strempek Shea’s ten books include the newly published THIS IS PARADISE: AN IRISH MOTHER’S GRIEF, AN AFRICAN VILLAGE’S PLIGHT AND THE MEDICAL CLINIC THAT BROUGHT FRESH HOPE TO BOTH. She’s been featured on NBC’s Today and NPR, and in USA Today and The Washington Post. She has freelanced for publications including The Boston Globe, Yankee, and Bark. Suzanne teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program and is writer in residence at Bay Path University.
Critiquing for Growth
Liz Bedell is a freelance editor, writing coach, and writer based in Northampton. A longtime English teacher, she is currently working on a novel set during the Great War and THE CARE AND FEEDING OF A WRITER’S SOUL, a nonfiction book about sustaining one’s writing practice. She also facilitates StoryCatchers writing workshops for children and teens locally and works as a college essay coach.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. She has also ghostwritten a Christian chapter book. Cheryl lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.
Jean Marie Ruiz received her MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her short story “Pilgrims’ Progress” received MARY’s fiction award in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in Jacaranda Review, West/Word, Rain City Review, and the anthology Love’s Shadow. She is at work on a semi-autobiographical novel about living in Spain during the 1980s.
Darlene Smith-Ash is a freelance writer whose profiles, features, and reviews have been published regionally. She has hosted events and judged writing contests for Friends of East Longmeadow Library and Barnes & Noble, where she facilitated writers’ workshops. Recognized by Springfield Cultural Council as a poet of many voices, she has presented at gatherings and formal readings from Baltimore to Boston. As a Certified Master Tutor in the Writing Center of HCC she helps to guide students through the nuances of fact, fiction, and life.
PANEL SESSION III
The Poetry Process in Perspective
In her writing, Sally Bellerose loves to mess with rhythm, rhyme, and awkward emotion. Bellerose writes about class, sex, illness, absurdity, and lately, growing old. Her poetry has been widely published and is featured in LADY BUSINESS, Sibling Rivalry Press. Her novel THE GIRLS CLUB, Bywater Books won the Bywater Prize, the Rick Demarinis Award, the Writers at Work Award and an NEA Fellowship. Bellerose’s current project is a short story collection FISHWIVES which features old women behaving badly.
Moderator Terry S. Johnson has explored careers as a newspaper advertising clerk, a library reference assistant, and a professional harpsichordist before serving as public school teacher and educational workshop leader for twenty-five years. She earned her MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. COALESCENCE, published by WordTech, is her first book.
Gail Thomas has published two books of poetry, NO SIMPLE WILDERNESS: AN ELEGY FOR SWIFT RIVER VALLEY (Haley’s) and FINDING THE BEAR (Perugia). Her work has appeared in more than thirty journals and anthologies, and she has won national prizes for poems that appear in her new book WAVING BACK which will be published by WordTech in 2015. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Ucross, and she teaches at Smith College.
Five literary agents will meet individually with conference attendees and join a panel in which they will share their slant on the genres they represent and tell what they look for in manuscripts and query letters. See Agents page for details.