Panelists, Washington Writers Conference 2016

Program Bios (alphabetical by first name)

Amanda Holmes Duffy is the author of I Know Where I Am When I'm Falling (Oak Tree Press 2014). Her stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Christian Science Monitor, and Rattapallax. She has been a frequent contributor to the Washington Independent Review of Books and has edited art gallery and museum listings for the New Yorker. With her U.S. Foreign Service husband, she has lived in Venezuela, Argentina, Russia, Belgium, and Italy and taught college writing at American University of Rome, Emerson College, and Northern Virginia Community College.

Andrew Gifford, born and raised in Washington, DC, is the founder and director of the Santa Fe Writers Project. Over the years, to fuel his crippling publishing habit, he’s worked as a caterer, a bookseller, a groundskeeper, in call centers, as the wire editor for an Associated Press company, as a business writer for Oxford Intelligence, and as a development editor for the American Psychological Association books department.

Audrey Wolf has had a career as a literary agent, for over 35 years. She negotiates contracts with book publishers and magazine and newspaper publishers. Five years ago, she started an arm to the Audrey R. Wolf Literary Agency called New Publishing Partners to fit in with the enormous development of self-publishing. NPP has produced a number of books and is a big focus of the current Wolf Literary Agency. She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and the Women’s Media Group.

Barry Svrluga has worked at the Washington Post since 2003 and is currently the national baseball writer. He previously reported on and blogged about the Washington Nationals and is the author of National Pastime, which details the franchise's relocation from Montreal and its first season in the nation's capital, and The Grind: Inside Baseball's Endless Season. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and daughter.

B.J. Robbins has worked in publishing for over three decades, first in publicity at Simon & Schuster, and later as marketing director and then senior editor at Harcourt. Her LA-based agency, established in 1992, handles both fiction and narrative nonfiction, with a list that includes many award-winning and bestselling authors such as Deanne Stillman, J. Maarten Troost, James Donovan, Steven Graham Jones, and Nafisa Haji. 

Bob Woodward is an associate editor of the Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first in 1973 for the coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2002 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has authored or coauthored 18 books, all nonfiction bestsellers, published years from 1974 to 2010. The Last of the President’s Men was published in October of 2015.

Brenda Copeland is an executive editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she has worked since 2010. Brenda publishes a vibrant mix of fiction and nonfiction, from the commercial to the literary, and looks for strong stories told with a strong voice. Over the course of her career, Brenda has published such bestselling authors as Dean Koontz, Claire Cooke, Cecily Von Ziegesar, and Melissa de la Cruz, as well as Gotham and Deepak Chopra.

Claire Anderson-Wheeler is an associate agent at Regal Hoffmann & Associates, New York. She previously worked at Christine Green Author’s Agency, London, and Anderson Literary Management, New York. She grew up in Ireland, Belgium, and Switzerland, although she was born in Washington, DC. She holds a law degree from Trinity College, Dublin and a Master’s in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

David O. Stewart, president of the Washington Independent Review of Books, has written four nonfiction prize-winning books of American history (on subjects ranging from the Constitutional Convention to James Madison, Aaron Burr, and Andrew Johnson) and two historical mysteries, starting with The Lincoln Deception (2013), called the best historical novel of the year by Bloomberg View. The Babe Ruth Deception will be published in October. 

Dawn Michelle Hardy has been described as a “literary lobbyist” by Ebony magazine for her ability to help authors reach their readership using strategic and creative promotions, award recognition, along with national and local media attention. In her role as literary agent with Serendipity Literary, Dawn facilitates workshops on platform building, writing book proposals, and the art of creating a memoir at conferences nationwide. 

Debbi Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of Identity Crisis, the first book in the Sam McRae Mystery Series, featuring Maryland lawyer-sleuth Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. She has also written and published a young adult novel, Invisible Me, and several short stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award. Debbi has also written two feature film screenplays: one featured prominently at ScriptDC and an adaptation of her first novel.

Deborah Grosvenor worked as an editor before establishing her agency, her best known acquisition being The Hunt for Red October. She represents fiction and narrative nonfiction: history, memoir, biography, politics, food, adventure, and science. Clients include Tom Oliphant, Eleanor Clift, Curtis Wilkie, Henry Allen, Scott Wallace, Tom Dunkel, Peter Cozzens, and Stephen Coonts, among others.

Dina Gold is the author of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin. She is co-chair of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, on the board of the Washington DC JCC, and a senior editor at Moment Magazine. She was previously an investigative journalist and producer at the BBC.

Donna Britt, author of Brothers (& Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving, is a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and has won top journalism honors from organizations including the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors.

E.A. Aymar is the author of I'll Sleep When You're Dead (2013) and You're As Good As Dead (2015), both from Black Opal Books. He also writes a monthly column for the Washington Independent Review of Books and is managing editor of the Thrill Begins (for the International Thriller Writers). His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a number of top crime fiction publications. He holds a Master's in literature and lives outside of Washington, DC.

Eugene L. Meyer is a former Washington Post reporter and editor and the author of Chesapeake Country-Second Edition, published in 2015 by Abbeville Press, and Maryland Lost and Found…Again, (paperback editions, 2000 and 2003). He serves on the board of the Washington Independent Review of Books and is editor of the quarterly B’nai B’rith Magazine, a contributor to the New York Times, and a contributing editor for Bethesda Magazine.

Hal Bock wrote sports for 40 years at the Associated Press, covering every major event on the sports calendar from the Final Four to the Kentucky Derby, from Wimbledon tennis to Masters golf, as well as 30 World Series and 30 Super Bowls. After retirement, he taught journalism for seven years at Long Island University. He is the author or 13 books, including the narratives for The Associated Press Pictorial History of Baseball, Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball Drawings, and, most recently, The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty.

Holly Smith is managing editor of the Washington Independent Review of Books, as well as a college lecturer, longtime freelance writer, and co-author of Seafood Lover's Chesapeake Bay (Globe Pequot Press). Her work has appeared in the Washington Post,, USA Today Travel’s 10Best, More Mirth of a Nation (HarperCollins), Salon, and elsewhere. She earned a master’s degree in creative nonfiction from Johns Hopkins. She has four children and spends her free time hiding from them. Follow her on Twitter at @HSmithWrites.

James Grady has published more than a dozen novels, most famously his first, Six Days of the Condor, which became the movie “Three Days of the Condor,” starring Robert Redford. He’s received France’s Grand Prix du Roman Noir and Italy’s Raymond Chandler medal. The London Daily Telegraph named him one of “50 crime writers to read before you die,” and, in 2015, the Washington Post compared his prose to George Orwell and Bob Dylan. 

James L. Swanson is the Edgar Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. Newsweek named his Manhunt and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood as the two greatest nonfiction crime books ever written. His other books include the young-adult bestseller The President Has Been Shot: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Jen Michalski is the author of the novels The Summer She Was Under Water (2016, QFP) and The Tide King (Black Lawrence Press 2013), a couplet of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc 2013), and two collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than 80 publications, and she was named as "One of 50 Women to Watch" in 2013 by the Baltimore Sun. She is the host of the reading series Starts Here! and editor of the journal jmww.

Jennifer Weltz, president of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc., has made over 2,000 deals domestically, internationally, and for film over two decades. She represents, fiction, nonfiction, genre, young adult, middle, and picture book authors. Her interests are varied with strong writing, plot, and voice married to a unique story as the unifying factor.

John Ross' most recent book is Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed. The Wall Street Journal called his previous 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 editor of American Heritage and Invention & Technology magazines, he is the recipient of the 2011 Fort Ticonderoga Award for Contributions to American History. Before that, he was on the board of editors of Smithsonian Magazine.

Kirsten Carleton, of Prospect Agency, is drawn to books that capture her attention early on with a dynamic plot and innovative storytelling that blends or crosses genres. In particular, she's interested in novels that bend and blur genres; literary takes on high-concept world-building; diverse characters in stories that are not just about diversity; antiheroes she finds herself rooting for; characters with drive and passion; girls and women in STEM fields; settings outside the US/Europe; well-researched historical settings; YA noir/thriller/mystery; and stories that introduce her to a new subculture and make her feel like a native.

Kitty Kelley is America's bestselling investigative biographer. Her in-depth and revealing examinations of high-profile subjects include Oprah, the Bush family, the British Monarchy, Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In 2012, she published Capturing Camelot: The Iconic Images of Stanley Tretick, donating royalties to the D.C. Public Library Foundation. Let Freedom Ring (2013) commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, with all proceeds going to the Children’s Defense Fund.

Lawrence De Maria’s articles led the New York Times coverage of the 1987 Wall Street meltdown. Later, he ran the financial newsletter division of Forbes. In recent years, he helped expose the $7 billion Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme and was managing editor of the Naples Sun Times weekly. The author of 15 self-published Amazon thrillers and a Marine Corps veteran, he writes a monthly column for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Marcos L. Martínez is a founding editor of Stillhouse Press and a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction. He teaches English at George Mason University in Northern Virginia and is a former Sally Merton Fellow; his work has appeared in Whiskey Island, the HIV Here and Now Project, the Washington Blade, and RiverSedge.

Mark LaFramboise, a native of Chicago, is the head book buyer on the adult side at Politics and Prose, where he’s worked since February 1998. Prior to that, he was book buyer/manager at Stone Lion Bookstore in Fort Collins, Colorado, and bookseller at Copperfield & Co. Booksellers in Macomb, Illinois, where he completed a master’s degree in American literature. 

Mark Olshaker has authored nine nonfiction books and five novels, including Einstein’s Brain and The Edge, and is an Emmy-winning documentarian. His books with former FBI Special Agent John Douglas, beginning with Mindhunter and, most recently Law & Disorder, have sold millions of copies worldwide. He is currently writing a book on the impact of infectious disease with epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm.

Michael Landweber lives and writes in Washington, DC. He is the author of two novels: We (Coffeetown, 2013) and Thursday, 1:17 p.m. (Coffeetown, 2016). His short stories have appeared in literary magazines such as Gargoyle, Fourteen Hills, Fugue, Barrelhouse, and American Literary Review. He is an associate editor at Potomac Review and a contributor to the Washington Independent Review of Books. 

Neely Tucker writes nonfiction by day at the the Washington Post and fiction by night. Love in the Driest Season, a memoir, was named one of the 25 Best Books of 2004 by Publisher’s Weekly, the American Bookseller’s Association, the New York City Library, and others. The Ways of the Dead and Murder, D.C., the first novels in the Sully Carter series, have earned praise, with the U.K.’s Daily Mail naming the latter one of the three best crime novels of 2015.  

Nora Pouillon, advocate of a healthy lifestyle, has been chef/owner of Washington’s Restaurant Nora for 36 years. Her memoir, My Organic Life: How A Pioneering Chef Helped Shape The Way We Eat Today, details her journey from her birthplace of Austria to America, how she became a leader of the organic movement, and Restaurant Nora becoming the first certified-organic restaurant in the nation. 

Pat McNees was a book editor (Harper & Row, Fawcett) and a freelance journalist when she discovered her present niche: helping people and organizations tell their life story. A commissioned biography of a Midwestern industrialist led to histories of several organizations, including the NIH Clinical Center and the University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry. Past president of the Association of Personal Historians, she co-edited its anthology, My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History. At the Writer’s Center and in Montgomery County libraries, she teaches the workshop “My Life, One Story at a Time.”

Paul Dickson has written more than 65 nonfiction books and numerous articles, mostly about things that intrigue him, which translates to a concentration on writing about the American language, baseball, and 20th-century American history. His narrative works include The Bonus Army: An American Epic with Thomas B. Allen. His biography Bill Veeck-Baseball's Greatest Maverick, published in 2012, has received several awards. His most recent book is Contraband Cocktails

Paul Levine, a veteran entertainment lawyer, represents writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers, developers, production companies, and theater companies in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, the visual arts, publishing, and advertising. He has had many books developed as movies-for-television, television series, and feature films.

Ron Childress began publishing short stories in the 1980s. Originally planning to teach English, he changed careers after a year starving as a college adjunct. Moving from Florida to the DC area, he worked as an editor for a professional association and as a technical writer/programmer for a marketing company that served high-tech clients. His debut novel, And West Is West, won the 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize, founded by Barbara Kingsolver.

Salley Shannon’s work has been commissioned by a number of national magazines, including Reader's Digest, More, Parents, Parenting, Smithsonian, Fitness, the L.A. Times Magazine, and others. She is a former columnist for Women's Day and Working Mother Magazine. The author of two books on healthcare policy, Salley recently finished her first stint as a ghostwriter and presently is engaged in a commercial fiction project.

Stephen Hunter, a retired film critic for the Washington Post — where he earned a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism — is now a full-time novelist. Along with two collections of criticism and a nonfiction work, Hunter has penned 18 fiction titles, including, most recently, I, Ripper.

Will Pittman has worked with the Washington Independent Review of Books as a jack-of-all-trades since its inception. He became involved with Books Alive: the Washington Writers Conference to tap into the energy of this area’s literary community. He has been a member of the Washington Biographers Group for nine years. He teaches English 101 at the University of Maryland College Park and writes a monthly column for the Independent under the name of Y.S. Fing. 



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