Workshop Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of Birds of Paradise, an Indie Books Pick, as well as of the award-winning memoir, The Language of Baklava. Her best-selling novel, Crescent, was awarded the 2004 PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction and the American Book Award. Her first novel, Arabian Jazz, won the 1994 Oregon Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and her novel, Origin, won the Northwest Booksellers Award. A frequent contributor to NPR, Diana teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami. She is currently at work on a new novel, Gracie at the Table.



Workshop Leaders

Paige Ackerson-KielyPAIGE ACKERSON-KIELY is the author of the poetry books My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer, In No One's Land, and other works of poetry and prose. She lives in Vermont and works at a homeless shelter.

Howard AxelrodHOWARD AXELROD's memoir, The Point of Vanishing, about the two years he lived in solitude in northern Vermont, is forthcoming from Beacon Press, 2015. His work has appeared in 25 and Under: Fiction (Norton/DoubleTake), The Moral Intelligence of Children (Random House), and The New York Times Magazine, Shambhala Sun, Harvard Magazine, and The Boston Globe. He received the Michael C. Rockefeller fellowship from Harvard, and has been awarded residencies from the Blue Mountain Center, Ucross, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Axelrod has taught literature and writing at Harvard, University of Arizona, and Grub Street.

Philip Baruth portraitPHILIP BARUTH is a novelist and award-winning commentator for Vermont Public Radio. His latest novel, The Brothers Boswell (Soho Press), tracing the famous friendship between James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, was selected as one of the Best Books of 2009 by The Washington Post. His novel, The X President was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 2003. Referred to as a member of "the new generation of up-and-coming writers" by the Washington Post, Philip teaches Vermont Literature and creative writing at the University of Vermont, where he has served on the Faculty senate and is currently Associate Chair of the English Department.

Beeber portraitSTEVEN LEE BEEBER Steven Lee Beeber is author of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk (Chicago Review Press, 2007), editor of AWAKE! A Reader for the Sleepless (Soft Skull Press, 2008), and associate editor of the literary journal, Conduit. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Fiction, Harper’s, The New York Times, and elsewhere. As a writer and journalist he has collected garbage in the nation’s wealthiest suburb, dealt blackjack at a nudist colony, been an undercover judge at a teenage beauty pageant, and had his life threatened by Richard Hell. He currently is working on a novel about the early Jewish community in Atlanta, writing a column for the German magazine, Spex, and teaching fiction and creative nonfiction at Lesley University and Grub Street.

Morrison portraitSARAH BRAUNSTEIN is the author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton), winner of the 2012 Maine Book Award for Fiction. The novel was a finalist for the 2011 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction. In 2010 Sarah was named one of “5 Under 35” fiction writers by the National Book Foundation. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, AGNI, Ploughshares, The Sun, Nylon Magazine, Maine Magazine, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. She co-wrote a play, String Theory: Three Greek Myths Woven Together, which was produced in New York City in 2009 and at Vassar College in 2010. Sarah has taught at Harvard University, the Stanford University Online Writer’s Studio, and Colby College. She is currently the Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin College, where she teaches in the Gender & Women’s Studies Department, and she is on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MSW from Smith College.

Tim Brookes portraitTIM BROOKES is the author of nine books, including Guitar, The End of Polio, and Thirty Percent Chance of Enlightenment. He was born in a small house in London, of parents who were poor, honest and liked going for very long walks, preferably in the rain. My education consisted of being forced to take written exams every five or six weeks, and eat school lunches of liver and onions-until I got to Oxford, where we had written exams every eight weeks and had lunches of pickled onions and Guinness.

This was quite enough to make me flee the country and seek gainful employment in Vermont, where I have lived for 29 years, writing a great deal and trying to grow good raspberries. Only one of my books has been translated into another language; it appeared in Dutch as "Geen plek om een koe kwijt te raken." My favorite color is russet. If I had my life all over again, I would take more risks, like smuggling the liver out of the dining hall wrapped in my handkerchief.

Michael Chorney portraitMICHAEL CHORNEY is a self-taught musician, composer, and arranger who has lived and worked in Vermont for 30 years. He has been called "one of the Green Mountains' most inventive musician-composers." As a bandleader, Michael has created and led viperHouse, Magic City, Orchid, 7 Deadly Sins, and his newest ensemble, the Michael Chorney Sextet.

Michael has also produced fellow Vermonter Anais Mitchell's albums Hymns for the Exiled and The Brightness. Over the past three years they have collaborated on Mitchell's folk opera, Hadestown (Righteous Babe, 2010). Michael's arrangements feature the playing of producer/bassist Todd Sickafoose, Jim Black, Josh Roseman, Tanya Kalmanovich and Marika Hughes. Guests singers include Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown and the Haden Triplets.

In 2009, Michael received a New Works Grant from the Vermont Community Foundation, as well as a commission from the Flynn Theater, for his new works for sextet.

Jim Ellefson portraitJ.C. ELLEFSON is the director of the YVWC and is currently Poet-In-Residence at Champlain College. His poems have been published throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Japan, and he has taught writing and literature at Shanghai University, the Universidade Dos Acores, and now at Champlain, where he chairs the committee for verbal insurrection. Jim and his wife, Lesley Wright, own and operate Stoney Lonesome Farm.

Rose Gorman portraitROSE GORMAN is an advice columnist, book reviewer, and fiction writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has appeared in Buzz! Entertainment Guide, The Bridge, Paste Magazine, Six Bricks Press’ Six Little Things and other publications. Rose is currently the Program Manager at NY Writers Coalition, a community writing organization that provides free creative writing workshops in New York City. There, she facilitates writing groups for LGBTQ seniors and homeless youth, teens recovering from addiction, and other groups. Learn more about her work with NYWC at

Geof Hewitt portraitGEOF HEWITT lives in Calais, Vermont. Vermont's slam champion, Geof has been teaching, editing, writing, performing, and passing out wolf calls for forty-five years. This makes him sound like an oracle, and he is. His latest books are Only What's Imagined (poems) and Hewitt's Guide to Slam Poetry and Poetry Slam, which comes with a DVD and won the Mom's Choice award for poetry in 2008. His collection of selected and new poems, The Perfect Heart, is due from Mayapple in the fall. (Photo credit to Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

Jenny Land portraitJENNY LAND studied literature and creative writing at Dartmouth College, the University of Oxford, England, and at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She writes and publishes poetry and short fiction. Her novel "The Spare Room" was published by Voyage Press in 2012, and she will have a collection of poetry co-authored with poet Adrienne Raphel, "By Sea and By Plane", published in 2014. A native Vermonter, Jenny teaches at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Kerrin McCaddenKERRIN McCADDEN is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by David St. John. She has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Vermont Studio Center, as well as a Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award and support from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, Verse Daily, American Poetry Review, Rattle, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore and other journals. She holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and teaches at Montpelier High School. She lives in Plainfield, Vermont.

Morrison portraitNINA LOUISE MORRISON is a playwright, director, actor and dramaturg with an MFA from Columbia University. Her plays have been workshopped and produced by the One-Minute Play Festival, Company One, Fresh Ink Theatre Company, Wax Wings Productions, Bostonia Bohemia and Interim Writers.  She is a member of Project: Project, an ensemble theatre company. Before moving to Boston, Nina was the Senior Program Associate at the Philadelphia Theater Initiative. She studied acting at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the New Actors Workshop, and Oberlin College. She currently teaches playwriting at Grub Street writing center in downtown Boston and theatre and literature at Mount Ida College.

Tom PaineTOM PAINE is the author of The Pearl of Kuwait (a novel about a Vietnamese marine who falls in love with a Kuwaiti princess during the Gulf War and goes AWOL with his surfer dude buddy to rescue her ), and Scar Vegas-- a book of ten stories set around the globe. His stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, The New England Review, Playboy and in the O. Henry Award and Pushcart Award anthologies. Scar Vegas was a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway award. He teaches at The University of New Hampshire, and is a graduate of Princeton and the Columbia MFA program.

KL Pereira portraitKL PEREIRA chapbook, Impossible Wolves, was published by Deathless Press is 2013. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are forthcoming or appear in Shimmer Zine, Lightning Cake, The Golden Key, Innsmouth Free Press, Innsmouth Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Jabberwocky, The Medulla Review, Bitch Magazine and other publications. Pereira’s work on fairy tales, sexuality, Wonder Woman, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are featured on Studio 360 and other radio programs, cited in numerous publications, and assigned in courses all over the United States and Canada. Find Pereira online on and @kl_pereira and in person at Grub Street where she is the manager of The Grub Daily, a blog for the whole writer, and a long-time instructor of amazing adult and teen writers.

Schlossberg portraitLINDA SCHLOSSBERG Linda Schlossberg received her PhD in English from Harvard University, where she teaches courses in literature and creative writing and serves as the Assistant Director of Studies for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She has received writing grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, several awards for excellence in teaching, and was thrilled to be voted one of Harvard’s “favorite professors” by the graduating classes of 2010 and 2011. Her novel Life in Miniature (Kensington, 2010) was chosen as a Book Club recommendation by the Harvard Book Store as well as a Book Club selection for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Linda lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Stracher portraitCAMERON STRACHER Cameron Stracher is the author of two memoirs, Dinner with Dad (Random House, 2007) and Double Billing (William Morrow 1996), a novel, The Laws of Return (William Morrow 1994), the YA thriller, The Water Wars (Sourcebooks 2011), and a non-fiction book about the 1970’s running boom, Kings of the Road (Houghton Mifflin 2013). His essays and opinion pieces have been frequently published in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. When he’s not writing, he is a media lawyer whose clients include The National Enquirer and Star magazines, the producers of the hit television series Dog the Bounty Hunter and Extreme Weight Loss, and Al Roker Entertainment. Both he and his wife are graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Becky TuchBECKY TUCH is the founding editor of The Review Review. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and The Somerville Arts Council and invitations to residencies at Ragdale and The Vermont Studio Center. Her fiction has won awards from Moment Magazine, Glimmer Train, Briar Cliff Review, and has been short-listed for a Pushcart Prize. Other writing has appeared in Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, HTMLGiant, Hobart, and elsewhere. She lives in Pittsburgh.