Program Staff

Amy Margolis, Director, Iowa Summer Writing Festival

Amy Margolis

Director, Iowa Summer Writing Festival
Amy Margolis began her career with the Festival as a graduate assistant in 1990 and continued as associate director through the nineties. She's directed the program since 2000. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She’s taught creative writing in the Festival, at the University of Iowa, and as a visiting writer in programs nationwide. Her fiction and nonfiction appear in The Iowa Review, most recently in the Spring 2023 issue. Amy is currently at work on a memoir-in-shards about her life as a dancer in the late seventies, at the onset of the AIDS crisis.
Photo of Program Manager Becca Klaver

Becca Klaver

Program Manager
Becca Klaver is the author of the poetry collections Ready for the World, Empire Wasted, and LA Liminal. She has taught at colleges and universities around the country and through community programs such as Iowa City Poetry, the Midwest Writing Center, and the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio. She directed the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College, helped run the BA and MFA creative writing programs at Columbia College Chicago, and has independently hosted salons, talk series, and reading groups. As an editor, Becca co-founded Switchback Books and is co-editing the anthology Electric Gurlesque. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she holds degrees from the University of Southern California (BA), Columbia College Chicago (MFA), and Rutgers University (PhD).
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Alisa Weinstein

Program Coordinator
 Alisa received a BFA in Drama and MA in Educational Theatre from New York University, and a PhD in Anthropology from Syracuse University; she also studied at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and conducted dissertation research on a Fulbright-Nehru scholarship. Among her other writing, she authored scripts for India’s Sesame Street, Galli Galli Sim Sim, and is currently at work on an ethnography on tailors working in Jaipur, India. A co-founder of Home Ec. Workshop in Iowa City, she often teaches knitting and sewing to crafters of all ages. At the University of Iowa, she teaches an anthropology course on fashion and culture, and previously served as youth programs coordinator for the International Writing Program.
Danielle Wheeler

Danielle Wheeler

Online Course Coordinator
Danielle was the 2010-2011 Rona Jaffe fellow in Poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she earned her MFA. Her work can be seen in places like Image Journal, diode, and elsewhere. She currently coordinates online learning for the Magid Center for Writing at the University of Iowa and is at work on a collection of essays.

2023 Instructors

Click name to view instructor's 2023 workshops.

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Susan Aizenberg

Susan Aizenberg is the author of three full-length poetry collections: A Walk with Frank O’Hara and Other Poems (forthcoming from University of New Mexico Press in the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series) Quiet City (BkMk Press 2015) and Muse (Crab Orchard Poetry Series 2002). Her most recent collection, First Light, is a fine arts letterpress collection of 11 poems with original linocuts by artist Kevin Bowman (Gibraltar Editions 2020). Aizenberg is also the author of Peru in Take Three: 2/AGNI New Poets Series (Graywolf Press 1997), and co-editor, with Erin Belieu, of The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (Columbia University Press 2001). Her awards include a Crab Orchard Poetry Series Award, the Levis Reading Prize, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Book Award, and the Mari Sandoz Award from the Nebraska Library Association. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals, among them On the Seawall, Plume, The Summerset Review, Nine Mile, Cultural Daily, Hole in the Head Review, Blackbird, The Night Heron Barks, Bosque, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and The Journal, and have been reprinted or are forthcoming in several anthologies, most recently, A Constellation of Kisses (Terrapin Press 2019). Aizenberg is Professor Emerita of Creative Writing and English at Creighton University and now lives and writes in Iowa City.
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Mary Allen

Mary Allen is the author of The Deep Limitless Air: A Memoir in Pieces, published by Blue Light Press, and The Rooms of Heaven, published by Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Books. She has received an NEA creative-writing grant, and her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Real Simple, Library Journal, CNN On-line, Shenandoah, Tiferet Journal, The Chaos, and Beloit Fiction Journal, and in the anthology If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. She won Tiferet Journal’s yearly spiritual writing contest in 2013 and received an honorable mention in that contest in 2019. She received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught in the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa. She is a full-time writing coach and lives in Iowa City.
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Kate Aspengren

Playwright Kate Aspengren’s work has been produced throughout North America, including at The Loft Theatre at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The New American Comedy Festival, and in New York at the West End Theatre and the Bank Street Theatre. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop, Kate teaches playwriting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Nancy Barry

Nancy K. Barry

Nancy K. Barry (Ph.D., University of Illinois) has taught for the Festival for 25+ years. She was an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Iowa and, until her recent retirement, a Professor of English at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Luther's collegiate writing resource center, The Nancy K. Barry Writing Center, honors Nancy's 30 years working with students as writers. Her numerous essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, Agora, and elsewhere. Her radio essays have been featured on WOI, WSUI, and "The Best of Our Knowledge." Nancy is the author of a one-woman play about surviving breast cancer, Lessons from Cancer College. 
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Timothy Bascom

Tim Bascom’s newest book, CLIMBING LESSONS, is a collection of brief playful essays about the father-son bond in his Kansas-based clan.  Bascom is the author of four other books, including two prize-winning memoirs about coming of age in Ethiopia: CHAMELEON DAYS and RUNNING TO THE FIRE.  His essays and stories have been published in Best Creative Nonfiction and Best American Travel Writing, also receiving editor’s prizes at the Missouri Review, Florida Review, and Briar Cliff Review.  Today, he directs the Kansas Book Festival.   
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Linda Bendorf

Linda M. Bendorf (M.A.T., J.D., University of Iowa) is an award-winning instructor and writing coach who has inspired both novice and seasoned writers in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival for nearly three decades! Linda's recent essay, Quest for the Rufous-Capped Warbler, appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest. The essay reveals how intuition and hard work help us to find the birding and writing! Linda is director of Blue Sage Writing, which offers one-on-one coaching, manuscript editing, workshops and private writing retreats. Linda’s essays, features, and poetry have also appeared in The Sun Magazine, the Chicago Tribune Media Group’s Triblocal, The University of Iowa’s The Daily Palette, USA Today, Gannett News Service Wire, Des Moines Register, Instructor, The Iowan, and Gather Magazine. Linda and her husband, Carl, live on Colorado’s Front Range where they hike, bird, bike, garden and marvel at the ever-changing sunsets over the Rockies.
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Venise Berry

Venise Berry is the author of three national bestselling novels: So Good, An African American Love Story (1996); All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale (2000); and Colored Sugar Water (2002). Her memoir Driven: love, career and the pursuit of happiness recently released in 2018. She is currently finishing her fourth novel, Pockets of Sanity. Berry has co-edited two anthologies, Black Culture & Experience: Contemporary Issues (2015) and Mediated Messages and African American Culture: Contemporary Issues (1996). She is also the co-author of two nonfiction film books, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (Scarecrow Press, 2015 & 2007) and The 50 Most Influential Black Films (Citadel 2001). Her numerous short stories, journal articles, and book chapters appear widely in creative and academic circles. Berry is an associate professor of Journalism and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She is also a fiction faculty member in the Solstice Low-Residency Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Visit Venise online at
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Kelly Dwyer

Kelly Dwyer's third novel, Ghost Mother, will be published by Union Square & Company in Fall 2024. Kelly taught in the University of Wisconsin system for fifteen years and has taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival for over twenty-five years. Whether working with authors in person or online, Kelly is passionate about helping other writers achieve success. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Oberlin College, Kelly grew up in San Pedro, California, and now divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. Kelly also writes flash fiction and plays, which have been performed in New York City, Boston, and Glasgow. Feel free to visit
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Hope Edelman

As the "mother" of motherless daughters, Hope Edelman is the author of eight nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers, and her most recent book, The AfterGrief. Her books have been published in 17 countries and 11 languages and have sold more than 1 million copies. Motherless Daughters, often considered required reading for any woman who has lost a mother, is now in its third edition and has been in print for nearly 30 years. Hope speaks at venues and conferences all over the world and has appeared frequently on television, including Today, Good Morning America, CNN, KTLA, CBC, and Good Morning Australia. Trained as a life coach by Martha Beck International and with additional training in narrative therapy, she also does one-on-one work to help individuals explore loss as a means of personal growth. Hope has two daughters and lives outside of Los Angeles (with summers in Iowa City).
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Mieke Eerkens

Mieke Eerkens is a Dutch-American writer who grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, an MA in English from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She has been an instructor in the Magid Center Undergraduate Writing Program at the University of Iowa, UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program in Los Angeles, and at Amsterdam University College and Leiden University College in The Netherlands, among others. Her writing has appeared in outlets such as The Atlantic, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of Books, Pen America, Pank, Guernica, and Creative Nonfiction. Her work has further been anthologized in Best Travel Writing 2011; Norton’s Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts; and A Book of Uncommon Prayer, selected as a “notable essay” in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015, and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. All Ships Follow Me (Picador), a book about her parents’ respective experiences in WWII and the inheritance of war trauma, was published in 2019. She is currently working on a memoir about her younger years travelling with the circus. She lives in Amsterdam.
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Jennifer Fawcett

Jennifer Fawcett grew up in rural Ontario and spent many years in Canada making theatre before coming to the United States. Her debut novel, Beneath the Stairs, was published by Atria Books and has been optioned for television by Black Bear Pictures. Her short story, Reasons Not to Have Children, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her plays have been produced in theatres across the country and Off West End in London, England. She lives in the Hudson Valley, where she teaches writing and is working on her second book which will be published by Atria Books in Summer 2025.
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Hugh Ferrer

Hugh Ferrer (M.F.A. in fiction, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is the associate director of The University of Iowa International Writing Program. For more than fifteen years, he was an editor at The Iowa Review, and over the last two decades, he has taught a variety of courses at The University of Iowa, introducing undergraduates to fiction writing, international literature, journal publishing, and Iowa City’s literary culture.
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Max Garland

Max Garland's newest book of poems is Into the Good World Again (2023). Previous books include The Word We Used for It, winner of the Brittingham Poetry Prize, The Postal Confessions, winner of the Juniper Prize, and Hunger Wide as Heaven, winner of the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. He has received an NEA Poetry Fellowship, Michener Fiction fellowship, Bush Artist Fellowship, inclusion in Best American Short Stories, and fellowships in poetry and fiction from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Born and raised in Kentucky, where he worked for many years as a rural letter carrier on the route where he was born, he is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and was the first Writer-in-Residence for the city of Eau Claire. He's also a songwriter and musician, and the former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin.
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Cecile Goding

Cecile Goding is from a small county in South Carolina, where she coordinated adult literacy efforts before moving to Iowa City. She is also from New England, Saudi Arabia, and the Silicon Valley. For her poems, she has won the Theodore Roethke and Richard Hugo prizes, a fellowship from the SC Academy of Poets, and a Bread Loaf scholarship. Her poetry, essays and short fiction have appeared in anthologies, journals, newspapers, and on small screens. Recent projects involve a memoir, a collaboration with an Arabic writer on a fiction collection, and a sci-fi opera.
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Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch is the author of eight collections of poems and the acclaimed memoir This Body I Wore. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The American Scholar, The LA Times, The Washington Post and The Pushcart Prize anthology. She has taught in public schools, prisons, MFA programs and, for twenty-one years, at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Her website is
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Vince Gotera

Vince Gotera teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems in Dreams & Nightmares, The Ekphrastic Review, failed haiku, The MacGuffin, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany), Yellow Medicine Review, and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar ( 
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Robin Hemley

Robin Hemley has published fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction. His most recent books are the autofiction, Oblivion, An After-Autobiography (Gold Wake, 2022), The Art and Craft of Asian Stories: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology, co-authored with Xu Xi (Bloomsbury, 2021) and Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood (Nebraska, 2020, Penguin SE Asia, 2021).  He has previously published four collections of short stories, and his stories have been widely anthologized.  His widely-used writing text, Turning Life into Fiction, has sold over a hundred thousand copies. His short stories have been featured on NPR’s “Selected Shorts” and his essays and short stories have appeared in such journals as Creative Nonfiction, Conjunctions, Guernica, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and many others. He is the Founder of the international nonfiction conference, NonfictioNOW and was the director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa for nine years, inaugural director of The Writers’ Centre at Yale-NUS, Singapore, and is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His websites are and
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Charles Holdefer

Charles Holdefer (M.F.A., The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop; Ph.D., Sorbonne) is the author of six novels, including Don’t Look at Me (2022), Bring Me the Head of Mr. Boots (2019) and The Contractor (2012), which was an American Booksellers Association “Book Sense Pick” and was translated into several languages. His short fiction has won a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in the New England Review, North American Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Litro and elsewhere. His other books include George Saunders’ Pastoralia: Bookmarked (nonfiction) and Magic Even You Can Do (fiction hybrid). He also writes essays and reviews for various magazines and taught for many years at the University of Poitiers, France. Visit Charles at
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Wayne Johnson

Wayne Johnson (M.F.A. The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is the author of, among other books, six novels, a collection of stories, a memoir, and two nonfiction works. Three of his books have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, two were New York Times Notable Books of the Year, one was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series and finalist for book of the year, and another a Kansas City Star Book of the Year. His awards include a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, inclusions in O. Henry and Best American Short Stories collections, and a Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project Fellowship in L.A., sponsored by Steven Spielberg. As a ghostwriter/editor he has seen tens of books to completion, and as a script doctor has worked on over forty films. Wayne has a new novel, The Witch Tree, forthcoming in June, 2023, and full length features in development with movie companies and streaming television.
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Jared Joseph

Jared Joseph’s most recent writing has been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Iowa Review, and Action. His book Drowsy. Drowsy Baby is available from Civil Coping Mechanisms Press, and A Book About Myself Called Hell was published by Kernpunkt Press in February 2022. Jared holds a PhD in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Los Angeles where he writes, plays music, and drinks coffee like it's a hot dog eating contest.
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Malinda McCollum

Malinda McCollum is the author of The Surprising Place, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in The Paris Review––which awarded her the Plimpton Prize––McSweeney's. ZYZZYVA, Epoch, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has taught at the University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. She's currently an assistant professor at the College of Charleston, where she teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs.
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James McKean

James McKean writes poetry and non-fiction. He’s published three books of poems, Headlong, Tree of Heaven, and We Are the Bus, and two books of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports, and Bound. His work has appeared in magazines and collections such as The Atlantic, Poetry, The Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Best American Sports Writing 2003, and Basketball: Great Writing About America’s Game. His awards include the 1987 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writer Award in Poetry, the 1994 Iowa Poetry Prize, the 2011 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize from Texas Review Press, and a Pushcart Prize. McKean lives in Edmonds, WA, and teaches for the Queens University M.F.A. Creative Writing Program, the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
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June Melby

June Melby is the author of My Family and Other Hazards (Holt, 2014), a memoir about her family’s retro 1950s miniature golf course in Wisconsin. It won the Midwest Connections award, as well as being a New York Times Bestseller. As a spoken word artist she has performed at literary festivals, national poetry slams, and on many European tours. She recorded several cds of poetry and original music with her band June Melby and Her Future Enemies. Her work has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio; Ilanot Review; Muse/A Journal; Forklift Ohio; Fugue; McSweeney’s Internet Tendency; Versal; Utne Reader; Water~Stone; LAWEEKLY; and Kaffee.Satz.Lesen v.2, out of Hamburg, Germany. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa and currently lives in a log cabin in the woods with her husband.
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Michael Morse

Michael Morse teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York and has taught at The University of Iowa and The New School. His first book, Void and Compensation, was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has published poems in various journals—including A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, Field, The Iowa Review, and Ploughshares—and in anthologies that include The Best American Poetry 2012 and Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days. Honors include fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. He received his M.F.A. in Poetry from The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is a poetry editor for The Literary Review.
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Beau O'Reilly

Beau O'Reilly is a Chicago playwright, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Writing Program, a frequent teacher at the Iowa Summer Writing Program, and a working artist with more than 40 years of experience. Beau’s past work includes stories on “This American Life,” performance events at the Poetry Foundation and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and as front man for the rock n’ roll cabaret band Maestro Subgum and the Whole. Beau is a co-founder of the Curious Theatre Branch, a curator of the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, and a member of the folk-cabaret band The Crooked Mouth. Beau’s play, “One Boppa; Two Acts” appears in the anthology Curious Plays (2022), and a volume of his own work is forthcoming from JackLeg Press.
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Lon Otto

Lon Otto’s most recent book is The Flower Trade, a novel published last year by Brighthorse Books. He has three collections of stories—A Man in Trouble (Brighthorse Books), Cover Me (Coffee Hours Press), and A Nest of Hooks (U. of Iowa Press), winner of the Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction, and the craft ebook Grit: Bringing Physical Reality into Imaginative Writing (Writers Workshop Press). His writing in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry is in many anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize, American Fiction, Flash Fiction and Flash Fiction Forward, Townships, and Not Normal, Illinois (Indiana U. Press), and in the craft text Best Words, Best Order (St. Martin’s Press). Several of his stories have been broadcast on NPR’s Selected Shorts. He has a Ph.D from Indiana University and is professor emeritus at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he taught literature and writing for many years.
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Tricia Park

Tricia Park is a concert violinist, writer, and educator. Since making her concert debut at age thirteen, Tricia has performed on five continents and received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She is the host and producer of an original podcast called, “Is it Recess Yet? Confessions of a Former Child Prodigy.” She is a Juilliard graduate and received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Tricia was awarded a Fulbright Grant to Seoul, Korea, where she worked on a literary and musical project. She has also been awarded the Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency and the Bucheon Residency Programme in South Korea. Her writing has appeared in Cleaver Magazine and F Newsmagazine. She was also a finalist for contests in C&R Press and The Rumpus. Tricia has served on faculty at the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa and has worked for Graywolf Press. She is the co-lead of the Chicago chapter of Women Who Submit, an organization that seeks to empower women and non-binary writers. Currently, Tricia is Associate Director of Cleaver Magazine Workshops where she is also a Creative Non Fiction editor and faculty instructor, teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and maintains a private studio of violin students and writing clients. Learn more about Tricia at: Listen to Tricia play violin at:
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Rachel Pastan

Rachel Pastan is the author of four novels, most recently In the Field. Based on the life of Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock, the novel was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 2022 Science + Literature award. Pastan’s 2014 novel, Alena was named an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times Book Review. She is also the author of two other books, Lady of the Snakes and This Side of Married.
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Juliet Patterson

Juliet Patterson is the author of Sinkhole: A Legacy of Suicide (Milkweed Editions, September 2022) and two full-length poetry collections, Threnody, (Nightboat Books 2016), a finalist for the 2017 Audre Lorde Poetry Award, and The Truant Lover, (Nightboat Books, 2006), winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award. A recipient of a Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in non-fiction, and a Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, she has also been awarded fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Minneapolis-based Creative Community Leadership Institute (formerly the Institute for Community and Creative Development).
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Suzanne Scanlon

Suzanne Scanlon is the author of the forthcoming Committed (Vintage / Anchor Books, 2024), a critical memoir about women, reading, and mental illness. Also a fiction writer, Scanlon’s previous books include the novels Promising Young Women (Dorothy, 2012) and Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi, 2015). Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Granta, BOMB, Fence, The Iowa Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, and elsewhere. Scanlon has received fellowships from The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ox-Bow Artists Residency, and the Ragdale Foundation. She has an MFA from Northwestern University’s Litowitz Creative Writing program, and currently teaches at the School of Art Institute Chicago.
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Leslie Schwartz

Leslie Schwartz has written two award-winning novels, Jumping the Green and Angels Crest. and a memoir, The Lost Chapters; Finding Recovery and Renewal One Book at a Time. She won the James Jones Award for best first novel for Jumping the Green and was named Kalliope Magazine’s Woman Writer of the Year. She has also been the recipient of many awards, including three artist-in-residence grants from the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs, the West Hollywood/Algonquin Award for Public Service in the Arts, and a California Council for the Humanities Fellowship. Her two novels have been published in 13 languages. Angels Crest was also adapted for the screen and premiered in theaters in 2013. Her essays and articles have most recently appeared in Salon, LitHub, The Rumpus, Brevity, The Washington Post, Great Weather for Media, Pithead Chapel and Narratively Speaking. She has taught writing at various universities and creative institutions, and currently offers private mentoring and editing services. Schwartz holds an M.F.A. in Writing and is at work on her fourth book, a novel. For the past three years she has also been working on a project that includes digital media, an art installation and writings on silence and creativity. She lives in Iceland, and in a remote cabin in Mt. Hood, Oregon. Visit her online at
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Sandra Scofield

Sandra Scofield has written seven novels, a book of short stories, a memoir, a book of essays, and two craft books, The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer, and The Last Draft: A Novelist's Guide to Revision. Her new novel, Little Ships, is forthcoming in early 2024. She is on faculty at Lasell University's Solstice MFA Program, and has taught with the Iowa Festival since forever.
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Robert Anthony Siegel

Robert Anthony Siegel is the author of a memoir, Criminals (Counterpoint,) and two novels. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Paris Review, The Drift, The Oxford American, Tin House, and Ploughshares, and has been anthologized in Best American Essays 2023, O. Henry Stories 2014, and Pushcart Prize XXXVI. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan, a Mombukagakusho Fellow in Japan, a Writing Fellow at FAWC in Provincetown, and a Paul Engle Fellow at the Iowa Writers Workshop. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and a BA from Harvard. His website is
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Carol Spindel

Carol Spindel is a writer, potter, ACLU activist, and grandma living in Urbana, Illinois, who retired after teaching creative nonfiction for more than twenty years at the University of Illinois. Her most recent book is I Give You Half the Road, a nonfiction account of the lives of five people she has known since they were children in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Her essays have touched on many topics and been published in many places, including Guernica, The Washington Post, Oxford American, and aired on her local NPR station, where one of her commentaries won a PRNDI Award for "Best Writing." When her first memoir, a New York Times Notable Book, went out of print, she re-published it herself (see A longtime Festival teacher, she is delighted to see the Festival return to Iowa City.
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Ian Stansel

Ian Stansel is the author of the short story collections Glossary for the End of Days (Acre Books, 2020) and Everybody’s Irish (FiveChapters, 2013), a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the novel The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous venues such as Ploughshares, Salon, Joyland, The Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. A native of the Chicago area, he holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the University of Houston. He currently directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville. He lives in Kentucky with his wife, the writer Sarah Strickley, and their two daughters.
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Sarah Strickley

Sarah Anne Strickley is the author of the short story collection, Incendiary Devices (Tolsun Books, 2023); the novella, Sister (Summer Camp Publishing, 2021); and the short story collection, Fall Together (Gold Wake Press, 2018). She’s a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowship, an Ohio Arts grant, a Glenn Schaeffer Award from the International Institute of Modern Letters, the Copper Nickel Editors’ Prize for Prose and other honors. Her stories and essays have appeared in Oxford American, A Public Space, Witness, Harvard Review, The Southeast Review, The Normal School, Ninth Letter, storySouth and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. She’s a term Assistant Professor of creative writing at the University of Louisville and serves as faculty editor of Miracle Monocle, UofL’s award-winning literary journal. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, the writer Ian Stansel, and their children.
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Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Elizabeth Stuckey-French grew up in Lafayette, Indiana and attended Purdue University. She is the author of three novels, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, Mermaids on the Moon, and Where Wicked Starts, co-authored with Patricia Henley, as well as a collection of short stories, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa. Along with Janet Burroway and Ned Stuckey-French, she is a co-author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft. Her short stories have appeared in The Normal School, Narrative Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, Five Points, and The O’Henry Prize Stories 2005. She was awarded a James Michener Fellowship and a Florida Book Award and has won grants from the Howard Foundation, the Indiana Arts Foundation, and the Florida Arts Foundation. She teaches fiction writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Website:
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Anthony Varallo

Anthony Varallo is the author of What Did You Do Today?, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, forthcoming from the University of North Texas Press in Fall 2023. His other books include a novel, The Lines (University of Iowa Press), as well as four previous short story collections: This Day in History, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award; Out Loud, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize; Think of Me and I’ll Know (Northwestern University Press); and Everyone Was There, winner of the Elixir Press Fiction Award. He is a professor of English at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, where he directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing and serves as fiction editor of swamp pink literary journal.
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Sharon Oard Warner

Sharon Oard Warner is Professor Emerita of English/Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico.  She is the author of two novels, a short story collection, and an edited anthology of stories on AIDS. Her craft book, Writing the Novella, was published in 2021.  Warner’s essays and articles have appeared in The AWP Chronicle, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Studies in Short Fiction, Studies in the Novel and elsewhere.  A guest blogger for, she is currently working on a historical novella set in Taos, New Mexico. 
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Kali White VanBaale

Kali White VanBaale is the author of the novels The Monsters We Make (as Kali White) and The Good Divide and The Space Between (as Kali VanBaale). She’s the recipient of an American Book Award, an Eric Hoffer Book Award, an Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction, two State of Iowa major artist grants, and was a finalist for the All Iowa Reads in 2022. She’s a regular contributor to the A&E Network True Crime blog series, and her short stories and essays have appeared in The Coachella Review, The Chaffey Review, Midwestern Gothic, Nowhere Magazine, Poets&Writers, and The Writers’ Chronicle among others. Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a core faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA in writing program where she was named adjunct professor of the year in 2022 and a RISE Scholar in 2023. She lives in Iowa with her family.

Eleventh Hour Lecture Series Presenters

Eleventh Hour Lecture Series Presenters

Anna Bruno photo

Anna Bruno

Anna Bruno is the author of Ordinary Hazards (Atria), her debut novel released in 2020. She teaches at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and coaches professionals in creative business communication. Previously, Anna managed public relations and marketing for technology and financial services companies in Silicon Valley. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an MBA from Cornell University, and a BA from Stanford University. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, two sons, and blue heeler.
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Georgie Fehringer

Georgie Fehringer is a writer. They are the TU Dortmund Post-MFA Teaching Fellow for 2023-2024 and a reviewer for Publisher’s Weekly. Their writing has appeared in Black Warrior Review, The Chicago Review of Books, and The Rumpus, among others. They received an MFA from the University of Iowa. Depending on the season you can find them in Dortmund, Germany or Seattle, WA.
Jared Joseph photo

Jared Joseph

Jared Joseph’s most recent writing has been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Iowa Review, and Action. His book Drowsy. Drowsy Baby is available from Civil Coping Mechanisms Press, and A Book About Myself Called Hell was published by Kernpunkt Press in February 2022. Jared holds a PhD in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Los Angeles where he writes, plays music, and drinks coffee like it's a hot dog eating contest.
Elizabeth Stuckey-French photo with dog

Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Elizabeth Stuckey-French grew up in Lafayette, Indiana and attended Purdue University. She is the author of three novels, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, Mermaids on the Moon, and Where Wicked Starts, co-authored with Patricia Henley, as well as a collection of short stories, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa. Along with Janet Burroway and Ned Stuckey-French, she is a co-author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft. Her short stories have appeared in The Normal School, Narrative Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, Five Points, and The O’Henry Prize Stories 2005. She was awarded a James Michener Fellowship and a Florida Book Award and has won grants from the Howard Foundation, the Indiana Arts Foundation, and the Florida Arts Foundation. She teaches fiction writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Website: