Panelists, Washington Writers Conference 2018

E.A. Aymar​ co-edited and contributed a story to​ The Night of the Flood, a forthcoming novel-in-stories featuring 14 of today's most exciting crime fiction writers. He writes a monthly column for the Washington Independent Review of Books and is managing editor of the Thrill Begins. His ​stories have appeared in a number of top crime fiction publications​. ​

Tayla Burney’s work has appeared in the Washington Independent Review of Books and the Washington Post. A longtime public-radio producer, she created the WAMU Books event series. Additionally, Tayla is behind the weekly literary-event newsletter “Get Lit, D.C.” Follow her on Twitter at @taylakaye. 

Tara Campbell is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and an MFA candidate at American University. Her publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, b(OINK), Booth, Spelk, Litbreak, and Queen Mob's Teahouse. Her debut novel, TreeVolution, was published in 2016, and her short-story collection, Circe's Bicycle, is forthcoming this spring.

Maya Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries — By Cook or by CrookScam Chowder, and Final Fondue — set on Maryland’s Eastern ShoreIn her latest book, The Tell-Tale Tarte, the search for the murderer of a Poe performer leads a café manager and her grandfather to a local “House of Usher” and to the graveyard where Poe is buried. Under the name of Mary Ann Corrigan, she has published stories in the Chesapeake Crimes anthologies. She taught writing, American literature, and detective fiction at Georgetown University and NOVA Community College.

Peter Cozzens is the author or editor of 17 books on the American Civil War and the American West. He recently retired from a 30-year career as a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as an army captain. His newest book, The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, was awarded both the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History and the Caroline Bancroft Award. The Earth Is Weeping was a Smithsonian Top History Book of 2016, as well, and made several other best books of the year lists. In 2002, Cozzens received the American Foreign Service Association’s highest award. He has also received an Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater, Knox College. Cozzens is a member of the advisory boards of the Lincoln Prize and of the Western Writers of America. He is at work on a book tentatively titled Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation. Cozzens lives with wife Antonia Feldman in Kensington, Maryland.

Paul Dickson is the author of more than 60 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. He has been a full-time independent writer since 1968, when he left his first and final job in journalism. He has written on a number of topics, but his most common areas are 20th-century American history, baseball, and the American language. His most recent book is Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son. He is working on a book about the 1940 draft and creation of a million-man Army before Pearl Harbor tentatively titled The Rise of the Fishbowl Army.

E.J. Dionne Jr. is a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and university professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University. Dionne provides regular political analysis for MSNBC, NPR’s "All Things Considered," and ABC News’ "This Week." He is the author of seven books and has edited or co-edited six other volumes. His most recent books are One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (2017), co-authored with Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann, and Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism – From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond (2016). Other works include Our Divided Political Heart (2012); Why Americans Hate Politics (1991); Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right (2008); and We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama (2016), co-edited with MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid.

Meg Eden's work is published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, RHINO, and CV2. She teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. Eden has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel, Post-High School Reality Quest, was published by California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

Margaret Engel directs the Alicia Patterson Foundation, which gives grants to journalists. She was a Washington Post reporter and managing editor of the Newseum. She serves on the board of the Nieman Foundation and chairs the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards board. She and her twin sister, Allison, wrote the play “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” which has had record-setting runs in 26 cities. Their play “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End” premiered at Arena Stage in 2015. They co-wrote Food Finds: America’s Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Themwhich ran on the Food Network for seven years. Their new book, with writer Reise Moore, ThriftStyle, is being filmed for TV. Engel and her husband, Bruce Adams, wrote three Fodor’s travel guides to America’s baseball parks.

John A. Farrell is the author of Richard Nixon: The Life, a long list nominee for the 2017 PEN, Carnegie and Plutarch prizes in biography.  His biography of Speaker Tip O’Neill won the Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress, and Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, was awarded the Los Angeles Times prize for the best biography of 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and a former White House correspondent for the Boston Globe, where he also worked on the Spotlight team. He is at work on a biography of Sen. Edward Kennedy. 

Sherry Harris is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. She is the vice president of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers. Sherry is also a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime and of Mystery Writers of America. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors. 

Caroline Kitchener is an associate editor at the Atlantic. She graduated from Princeton in 2014 with a degree in history and gender and sexuality studies. She is the author of Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, Voxthe Daily Beast, and the Guardian. She lives in Washington, DC, with her partner. 

Nik Korpon is the author of The Rebellion's Last Traitor, Queen of the Struggle, and The Soul Standard, among others. He lives in Baltimore.

Laurence Leamer is an award-winning author who has written five New York Times bestsellers. His latest book, The Lynching, was a finalist for an Edgar Award as the best nonfiction true-crime book of the year. He is at work on a book about Donald Trump’s life in Palm Beach. Leamer’s one-person play, “Rose,” about the Kennedy matriarch, was an off-Broadway hit and has played in a number of cities across America.

David Litt wrote speeches for Barack Obama from 2011 to 2016, covering a wide range of domestic policy issues. For four years, he was also responsible for the president’s comedy monologue at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and he currently serves as head writer/producer at Funny or Die’s office in Washington, DC. His New York Times bestselling memoir, Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years, was published in September 2017.

Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was a finalist for 2017 Compton Crook Award, and its sequel will be published in October 2018. She is also the author of the Little Hands Signing board-book series from Familius Press, as well as many resource books for parents and educators.

Alice McDermott’s eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, was named a finalist for the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction. Her seventh novel, Someone, was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Someone was also longlisted for the National Book Award. Three of her previous novels — After This, At Weddings and Wakes, and That Night — were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Charming Billy won the National Book Award for fiction in 1998 and was a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award. That Night was also a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Harper’s, Commonweal, and elsewhere. She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

Eugene L. Meyer is an award-winning journalist and author and a former longtime reporter and editor at the Washington Post whose work has also appeared in the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, and many other national and regional publications. He is the author of Chesapeake Country and Maryland Lost and Found…Again. His third book, Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army, is being published this spring by Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press. Find him on Twitter at @genemeyer.

Joe Romm is the founding editor of Climate Progress, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called "the indispensable blog." He is also chief science advisor for the Showtime program “Years of Living Dangerously,” which won the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series. In 2009, Rolling Stone named him one of its 100 "people who are reinventing America," and Time named him a "Hero of the Environment″ and “the Web’s most influential climate-change blogger." Romm is author of nine books, including Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, which New York Magazine said was “the best single-source primer on the state of climate-change science.”

John F. Ross' fifth book, a life of the explorer and visionary John Wesley Powell, will be published this summer by Viking. His most recent book is Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed. The Wall Street Journal called his third book, War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier, "a lively, evocative and moving biography." Formerly the executive editor of American Heritage and Invention & Technology magazines, he is the recipient of the 2011 Fort Ticonderoga Award for Contributions to American History.

Bob Schieffer has been a reporter for 60 years, 48 of them as a correspondent and contributor to CBS News. Early in his career, he was a reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. In 1965, he became the first correspondent from a Texas newspaper to report from Vietnam. That led to television and, in 1969, he joined the Washington bureau of CBS News. Schieffer has won virtually every award in broadcast journalism and is the author of five books; the latest, Overload: Finding the Truth in Today’s Deluge of News, was published in October.

Salley Shannon is incoming president of the Washington Independent Review of Books. She is a past president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA) and has authored several books and written for numerous publications, including Reader's Digest, Parents, Women's Day, Smithsonian, Fitness, and Washingtonian. Salley recently "ghosted" a memoir and is now writing a novel. 

Colleen J. Shogan writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press and Harlequin. She is a Next Generation Indie winner for Best Mystery and was short-listed for a RONE. A political scientist by training, Colleen is a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great programs such as the National Book Festival. 

David O. Stewart is the bestselling author of four award-winning works of history, including The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution and Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships that Built America. He also has published three historical mysteries; The Lincoln Deception was named the best historical novel of 2013 by Bloomberg View. He also has won the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati, the Washington Writing Award, and the William H. Prescott Award of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.

Delancey Stewart is an award-winning author of contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and women's fiction. Some of her 15 books are traditionally published (digital editions only), and some are indie. Like most romance authors, she books in specific series, which currently include the Gotham Series, Kings Grove, and Love in the Vines. Stewart also is co-owner of the editing and story shop Evident Ink.

Art Taylor is the author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, two Macavity Awards, and three consecutive Derringer Awards for his short fiction. His work has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, and he edited Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015, winner of the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection. Taylor is an associate professor of English at George Mason University, and he contributes frequently to the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Mike Tidwell predicted in vivid detail the Hurricane Katrina disaster in his award-winning 2003 book, Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast. In 2006, he published The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities. His four other nonfiction books center on nature and travel. Tidwell’s most recent documentary film, “We Are All Smith Islanders,” details the dangers and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake region. Tidwell serves as executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Jake Weber is a translator living in Maryland. He has published fiction in the Baltimore Review, Bartleby Snopes, the Potomac Review, and the Green Hills Literary Lantern. He won the 2016 Washington Writers' Publishing House Fiction Contest, and the winning book, Don't Wait to Be Called, was recently published. He is currently trying to find an agent for his second book, a farcical novel about the National Security Agency called The Prince of Zendia: A Totally True, Made-up Story about the National Security Agency. He blogs about whether fiction is really good for you at

Tim Wendel, a writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of 13 books, including Summer of ’68, Castro’s Curveball, and Cancer Crossings: A Brother, His Doctors and the Quest for a Cure to Childhood Leukemia. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic, Gargoyle, Washingtonian, GQ, and Esquire. 

John R. Wennersten is an historian and environmental-policy writer currently living on Capitol Hill in Washington. He is professor emeritus of American History at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. A nationally recognized writer and consultant, his work has appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, the Progressive, the Nation, and Mother Earth News. Selected by the Maryland Humanities Commission as a Maryland Millennial Scholar, Wennersten also received the Maryland Writer's Award from the Maryland Arts Council for his book The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay. His most recent book, Rising Tides: Climate Refugees in the 21st Century, co-authored with Denise Robbins, documents the impact that climate change is having on the world and the consequences of large migrating populations in search of a better habitat.

Paula Tarnapol Whitacre is a transplanted New Englander who now lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She became a freelance writer shortly after DC’s “Blizzard of 1996,” when she realized she could make a living from home instead of trudging downtown to an office. Her biography of Julia Wilbur, A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time, tells the story of a woman — an abolitionist from Rochester who worked as a relief agent in Union-occupied Alexandria during the Civil War and then spent the rest of her life in Washington —who made an even larger mid-life change than she did.

Jennifer Bort Yacovissi’s debut novel, Up the Hill to Home, tells the story of four generations of a family in Washington, DC, from the Civil War to the Great Depression. Jenny is a member of PEN/America and the National Book Critics’ Circle, writes a monthly column for the Washington Independent Review of Books, and reviews regularly for both the Independent and the Historical Novels Review of the Historical Novel Society. She is chair of the 2018 Washington Writers Conference and is president of the Annapolis chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association.

Melissa Scholes Young is the author of the novel Flood. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Narrative, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, and Poets & Writers. She’s a contributing editor for Fiction Writers Review and editor of the Grace & Gravity anthology. She teaches at American University in Washington, DC, and is a Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow.





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