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.

Audrey Bohanan portraitAUDREY BOHANAN has taught poetry and writing for The Johns Hopkins University, the University of New England, and Champlain College's Writers' Conference. Her work has been widely published, and her first book, Lime, received the Gerald Cable Book Award in 2004. She has been the recipient of a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship and a finalist for a "Discovery"/The Nation award. Her second book, in progress, was a finalist for The National Poetry Series and the Carolina Wren Poetry Award in 2009. She lives off the grid in Maine, where she and her husband own and manage a small commercial tree farm.

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.

Carver portraitJEFFREY A. CARVER is a science fiction writer and teacher whose work includes a novelization of Battlestar Galactica and the Nebula-nominated novel Eternity's End. Currently he's writing the latest volume in his hard-SF series The Chaos Chronicles. His greatest drive in writing is character, story, and a healthy sense of wonder. As a teacher, Carver has worked with students at MIT, Odyssey, Bread Loaf, and his own Ultimate SF Workshop in the Boston area. His online course at is free to all, and his website can be found at and his blog at

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.

Craig Shaw Gardner portraitCRAIG SHAW GARDNER has written 33 novels last time he looked, along with a whole bunch of short stories. A lot of his novels have been humorous fantasy, with titles like A MALADY OF MAGICKS and TEMPORARY MONSTERS. A lot of his short stories have wandered into mystery and horror. He has previously taught at the Odyssey Workshop, and at the Ultimate SF Workshop in Cambridge alongside that Jeffrey Carver guy. He is a past president of the Horror Writers Association, and had a New York Times bestseller with his novelization of BATMAN (the one with Michael Keaton.) You can read more about him at

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 New Issues Poetry Prize (forthcoming spring 2014).  She is the recent recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in poetry, as well as support from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund and The Vermont Studio Center.  Her poems have appeared recently in Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Green Mountains Review, Failbetter, Rattle and elsewhere.  She teaches English and Creative Writing at Montpelier High School in Montpelier, Vermont and is a MFA degree candidate at Warren Wilson College.  She lives in Plainfield, Vermont with her two children.

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.

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.

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.

Patrick portraitWILLIAM PATRICK's works have been published or produced in a number of genres: creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and drama. His latest book, The Call of Nursing: Stories from the Front Lines of Health Care, published in July of 2013, presents twenty-three occupational portraits that reveal a profession which often hides in plain sight. Saving Troy, published by SUNY Press in 2009, is a creative nonfiction chronicle of a year spent riding along with professional firefighters and paramedics. From that experience, Patrick also wrote a screenplay, Fire Ground, as well as a radio play, Rescue, which was commissioned by the BBC and aired on BBC 3. An earlier teleplay, Rachel's Dinner, starring Olympia Dukakis and Peter Gerety, was aired nationally on ABC-TV, and his third feature-length screenplay, Brand New Me, was optioned by Force Ten Productions of Los Angeles and used as the basis for the remake of The Nutty Professor. His memoir in poetry, We Didn't Come Here for This (1999), was published by BOA Editions, as was These Upraised Hands (1995), a book of narrative poems and dramatic monologues, and a novel, Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, that won the 1990 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for fiction. William Patrick founded and directs the New York State Summer Young Writers Institute, which is entering its 16th year, and he is also a faculty member of Fairfield University’s MFA Program in Writing. More information is available at

Robinson portraitLEWIS ROBINSON is the author of the novel Water Dogs (Random House, 2009) and Officer Friendly and Other Stories (HarperCollins, 2003), winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award.His short fiction and essays have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Tin House, The Missouri Review, The New York Times Book Review and on NPR’s program Selected Shorts.  He has taught fiction writing at the University of Iowa, the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program, Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program, and was the writer-in-residence at Phillips Academy.  He lives with his wife and two young kids in Maine.    

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.

Ryan WalshRYAN WALSH is the author of The Sinks, winner of the 2010 Mississippi Valley Poetry Chapbook contest (Midwest Writing Center Press). His poems have appeared in Ecotone; FIELD; Forklift, Ohio; Green Mountains Review; Narrative, and elsewhere. He received a B.A. from Warren Wilson College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After 8 years of teaching at the University of Michigan's experiential New England Literature Program (NELP), he now lives in Johnson, VT, where he is the Writing Program Director at the Vermont Studio Center.