The following writers, editors, and literary agents will join us for the 2022 Colgate Writers Conference.

Faculty

Biography

Kyle Bass
photo by Brenna Merritt

Kyle Bass is the author of the play Possessing Harriet, which premiered at Syracuse Stage in 2018, was subsequently produced at Franklin Stage Company, and will be produced at the East Lynn Theater Company in 2022. His new plays are salt/city/blues, which will have its premiere at Syracuse Stage in 2022, Citizen James, or The Young Man Without A Country, a one-person show on James Baldwin, commissioned by Syracuse Stage, which streamed nationally in 2021, the libretto for Libba Cotton: Here This Day, a new opera based on the life of American folk music legend Libba Cotten, commissioned by The Society for New Music, and Wakeman & Toliver, commissioned by Franklin Stage Company. Kyle’s other full-length plays include Tender Rain, Bleecker Street, and Baldwin vs. Buckley: The Faith of Our Fathers. With Ping Chong, Kyle is the co-author of Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo, which premiered at Syracuse Stage and was subsequently produced at La MaMa Experimental Theatre. Kyle is the co-author of the original screenplay for the film Day of Days (Broad Green Pictures, 2017), and he was script consulted on Thoughts of a Colored Man, which premiered at Syracuse Stage in 2019 and opened on Broadway in 2021. Kyle’s plays and other writings have appeared in the journals Callaloo and Stone Canoe, among others, and in the essay anthology, Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk about Writing. Kyle is assistant professor in the Department of Theater at Colgate University, and resident playwright at Syracuse Stage.

Biography

Photograph of author Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard is the author of Black is the Body: Stories from My Mother's Time and Mine, which was named one of the best books of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews and National Public Radio. Black is the Body won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose. Emily’s previous books include: Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; and Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendship, which was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age; and, with Deborah Willis, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, which received a 2010 NAACP Image Award. Her work has appeared in: Harper’s, TLS, The New Republic, The New Yorker, O the Oprah Magazine, Image, Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. She has received fellowships from the Alphonse A. Fletcher Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Arts Council, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. Emily was the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Senior Research Fellow in African American Studies at Yale University. A 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, Emily lives in South Burlington, Vermont, with her husband and twin daughters.

 

Biography

Photograph of Greg Bottoms

Greg Bottoms is a memoirist, essayist, and Professor of English at the University of Vermont, where he teaches nonfiction writing. His books include Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness, The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art, Fight Scenes, Spiritual American Trash: Portraits from the Margins of Art of Faith, and Lowest White Boy. Acclaim for his books includes an Esquire nonfiction “Book of the Year,” a Booksense Nonfiction Pick from independent book sellers, a “Top Indie Fiction Pick” from Library Journal, and long-list recognition from the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Story Prize.

Biography

Carrie Brown
Photo by Aaron Mahler

Carrie Brown is the author of seven novels and a collection of short stories. She has won many awards for her work, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for her first novel, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for work by an American woman writer, The Great Lakes Book Award, and, twice, the Library of Virginia Award for fiction. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in journals including Tin House, the Southern Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, and The Oxford American. She has taught for many years at Sweet Briar College in Virginia alongside her husband, the writer John Gregory Brown. 

Recordings

 

Biography

John Gregory Brown

Born and raised in New Orleans, John Gregory Brown is the author of the novels Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery; The Wrecked, Blessed Body of Shelton Lafleur; Audubon’s Watch; and A Thousand Miles from Nowhere. His honors include a Lyndhurst Prize, the Lillian Smith Award, the John Steinbeck Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award, and the Library of Virginia Book Award. His visual art has been displayed in individual and group exhibitions and has appeared online and in print in Hayden’s Ferry Review, the New England Review, Flock, The Brooklyn Review, Gulf Stream, and elsewhere. He is the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, where he lives with his wife, the novelist Carrie Brown.

Recordings

 

Biography

Jonathan Dee
Photo by Jessica Marx

Jonathan Dee is the author of seven novels, including A Thousand Pardons, Palladio, and The Privileges, which was a runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. He is a National Magazine Award-nominated literary critic for Harper’s and The New Yorker, a former Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent novel, The Locals, was longlisted for the inaugural Aspen Institute Literary Prize for “a work of fiction with social impact.” It was named a Best Book of 2017 by, among others, the Washington Post, Guardian, Vox, Kirkus, and Seattle Times. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University. 

Biography

Color image of Naomi Jackson

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. The Star Side of Bird Hill was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad, including Harper’s, The Washington Post, brilliant corners, Poets & Writers, and The Caribbean Writer. Jackson is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark. She was the 2018-19 Writer-in-Residence at Queens College and previously taught at the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, City College of New York, and Oberlin College. 

Biography

Photograph of author Jules Gibbs

Jules Gibbs is the author of the poetry collections Snakes & Babies (2021) and Bliss Crisis (2012), both published by the Sheep Meadow Press. Her work was selected for the Best New Poets anthology, and has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is the poetry editor for the national political magazine, The Progressive, as well as for Corresponding Voices, a bilingual magazine of cross-cultural and intersectional poetics based at Punto de Contacto Gallery, where she serves on the board of directors, and also curates the Cruel April reading series. Jules has won awards from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation in Poetry, and has been awarded fellowships from the Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She's been a visiting professor at Hamilton College and Colgate University, has taught poetry and creative nonfiction at the Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse, and has been a poet-in-residence in Syracuse and Houston city schools. She teaches literature and creative writing at Syracuse University.

Biography

Marie Mutsuki Mockett - Nonfiction

Marie Mutsuki Mockett was born to an American father and Japanese mother. American Harvest: God, Country and Farming in the Heartland (Graywolf) won the 2021 Northern California Book Award for General Nonfiction and is a tribute to the complicated and nuanced history of the United States and its people. Her memoir, “Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye,” was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award. She lives in San Francisco, and teaches fiction and nonfiction at the Bennington Writing Seminars. 

Biography

Photograph of Chinelo Okparanta
Photo by Kelechi Okere

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of Happiness, Like Water and Under the Udala Trees. Her honors include an O. Henry Prize and finalist selections for the International DUBLIN Literary Award, the NAACP Image Award in Fiction, and the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, among others. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists, and in 2018, she was selected to serve as a fiction judge for the U.S. National Book Awards. Her second novel, Harry Sylvester Bird, is due out in July.
 

Biography

Photograph of author Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He is the author of six books of poems, The Common Wages, Silver and Information (National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth), Mercy Seat, The Other Lover (University of Chicago), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Songs for Two Voices, and most recently Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the LA Times Book Prize. Devotions was awarded the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and many others. Essays and reviews of his have appeared in Harvard Review, Boston Review and Newsday.  He teaches at Syracuse University.

Biography

Dana Spiotta
Photo by Jessica Marx

Dana Spiotta is the author of five novels, most recently Wayward, which the New York Times called a "virtuosic, singular and very funny portrait of a woman seeking sanity and purpose in a world gone mad." Spiotta has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  She was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize, the St. Francis College Literary Prize, and the John Updike Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Recordings

 

Biography

Photograph of Justin Torres
photo by Gregory Cowley

Justin Torres has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications, as well as non-fiction pieces in publications like The Guardian and The Advocate. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Justin's novel We the Animals has been translated into fifteen languages and was recently adapted into a film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library. The National Book Foundation named him one of the 2012's 5 under 35. He was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an Assistant Professor of English at UCLA.

Panelists

Biography

Coming soon

Biography

Photograph of Pamela Cannon

Pamela Cannon is an executive editor, specializing in nonfiction. She is recognized for acquiring, developing, and publishing high profile books and New York Times bestsellers, consisting of both lesser-known authors as well as more established personalities and brands. Many of her projects have gone into development for television/streaming/film and have trended on social media.  Her areas of acquisition include: voice-driven narrative nonfiction, memoir, celebrity, narrative prescriptive, humor, entertainment, pop culture, cooking, lifestyle, and illustrated titles.

After a 14-year run at Ballantine Books, a Division of Penguin Random House, where she acquired and edited titles including the bestsellers, All About Me! by Mel Brooks, The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley, and Rachael Ray 50, a cookbook, Pamela launched Cannon Literary Services, a full-service editorial company catering to authors, agents, and book and magazine publishers. CLS offers a suite of services, currently specializing in a wide range of nonfiction subjects, customized to meet a client’s specific needs. Services include: concept edits, developmental editing, line editing, writing coaching, proposal writing, proposal re-tooling, full book collaborations, content creation for brands, and more. Clients include: Random House, Harper Collins, William Morrow, Clarkson Potter, Zibby Books,  Bon Appetit, New York Times, and Milk Street, CAA, Folio Literary, The Gersh Agency, Empire Literary, Fletcher & Co., David Black Agency, and numerous authors.

Biography

Headshot of Bronwen Hruska

Bronwen Hruska, President and Publisher of Soho Press, has tripled the independent book publisher’s annual sales over the past decade. Founded in 1986 by Laura and Alan Hruska and legendary editor Juris Jurjevics, the award-winning press remains committed to publishing the highest quality fiction from bold new literary voices under its three imprints: Soho Crime, focusing on mysteries and thrillers steeped in a vivid sense of place and culture; the eponymous Soho Press, curating some of the most interesting and authentic voices on the literary scene; and the company’s newest addition, Soho Teen, which publishes compelling young adult fiction dealing with themes of identity, voice, and self-discovery. Before coming to Soho, Hruska worked for twenty years as a journalist and screenwriter. Her novel, Accelerated, was published by Pegasus Books in 2012.

 

Biography

Photograph of Sarah Leavitt

Sarah Levitt represents critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction writers. Her list includes journalists, academics, historians, scientists, and musicians, among others.

Levitt graduated summa cum laude as a University Honors Scholar and Founders’ Day Award recipient from New York University, with a BA in Classics and English literature. Prior to joining Aevitas, Levitt was as an agent at The Zoë Pagnamenta Agency, where she also handled contracts and foreign rights.

As an Aevitas agent based in New York, she is most interested in narrative nonfiction in the areas of popular science, big ideas, history, humor, pop culture, memoir, and reportage, in addition to voice-driven literary fiction with a bold plot and fresh, imaginative characters. She’s excited by strong female and underrepresented voices, the strange and speculative, and projects that ignite cultural conversation.

Biography

Photograph of Halimah Marcus

Halimah Marcus is the Executive Director of Electric Literature, an innovative digital publisher based in Brooklyn, and the editor of its weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading. She is also the editor of Horse Girls (Harper Perennial, 2021), an anthology that reclaims and recasts the horse girl stereotype, which was a New York Times “New and Noteworthy” pick. Her short stories have appeared in Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, One Story, BOMB, The Literary Review, and The Southampton Review. Halimah has an MFA from Brooklyn College, and lives in the Catskill region of New York.

Photograph of Mike McGandy

Michael J. McGandy is Editorial Director of the Three Hills at Cornell University Press. Three Hills, a trade imprint begun in 2017, publishes smart, entertaining, and provocative fiction and non-fiction with a focus on New York stories. He is the editor of the forthcoming memoir from Rachel Dickinson, The Loneliest Places, is developing an eclectic mix of non-fiction trade titles including David Gellman’s Liberty’s Chain, Jessica DuLong’s Saved at the Seawall, and Peter Conners’s Cornell ’77. Prior to arriving at Cornell University Press in 2008, McGandy worked at Rowman & Littlefield, W. W. Norton, and Macmillan Library Reference.

Biography

Photograph of Soumeya Roberts

Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts joined HG Literary in 2017 after agenting at Writers House and the Susan Golomb Literary Agency, where she was also Foreign Rights Director. Prior to representing authors as a literary agent, Soumeya was a book scout at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. At HG Literary, she represents literary novels and collections, upmarket fiction, and non-fiction, both narrative and prescriptive. Though she is primarily seeking Adult genres, she also represents select, realistic middle-grade and YA. Soumeya is also the Vice President of Foreign Rights and handles international translation licensing on the agency’s behalf. She is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and serves on their International Rights Committee. She is also a member of the Women’s Media Group and the Center for Fiction’s debut fiction prize committee. Originally from the California Bay Area, Soumeya began her career in the editorial department of an independent publisher in San Francisco, and is still drawn to the editorial process and the independent West Coast spirit. She now lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Biography

Photography of Johnny Temple
Photo by Mariexxme

Johnny Temple is the publisher and editor in chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Temple has taught courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University, Wesleyan University, and Pratt Institute; and is the cochair of the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council, which organizes the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the bands Girls Against Boys, Soulside, and Fake Names, which have toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including The Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum.
 

Guest Speakers

Biography

Photograph of Greg Ames

Greg Ames is the author of Buffalo Lockjaw, a novel that won a NAIBA Book of the Year Award, and Funeral Platter, a collection of twenty short stories, including three that have been featured on Selected Shorts. His work has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Sun, Southern Review, Catapult, and McSweeney's, among others. He's an associate professor at Colgate University.

Biography

Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian is the author of seven books of poems, including Ziggurat and Ozone Journal, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and four books of prose, including Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir, and Vice and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture. He directs creative writing at Colgate.

Recordings

 

Biography

CJ Hauser

CJ Hauser teaches creative writing and literature at Colgate University. Her novel, Family of Origin, was published by Doubleday in July 2019. She is also the author of the novel The From-Aways and her fiction has appeared in Tin House, Narrative Magazine, TriQuarterly, Esquire, Third Coast, SLICE, Hobart, and The Kenyon Review. She has received McSweeney's Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, The Jaimy Gordon Prize in Fiction, and Narrative's Short Story Prize.

Recordings

Biography

Photograph of author Eleanor Henderson

Eleanor Henderson grew up in Florida and attended Middlebury College and the University of Virginia, where she earned her MFA. Her most recent book is the memoir Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage (Flatiron, 2021), which was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of 2021 by Vogue. She is also the author of two novels, The Twelve-Mile Straight (Ecco, 2017) and Ten Thousand Saints (Ecco, 2011), which was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times and a finalist for the Award for First Fiction from The Los Angeles Times. It was also the basis for the movie adaptation 10,000 Saints starring Ethan Hawke. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including Agni, Ninth Letter, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Poets & Writers, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Best American Short Stories. With Anna Solomon she is also co-editor of Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers (FSG, 2014). The Chair of the Writing Department and the Robert Ryan Professor in the Humanities at Ithaca College, she lives in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and two sons.

Staff

Biography 

Photograph of Jennifer Brice

Jennifer Brice is the author of Unlearning to Fly, a memoir in essays, and The Last Settlers, a work of literary journalism. Her essays have appeared in American Nature Writing, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Under The Sun, and River Teeth, among others. She teaches literature and creative writing at Colgate.

Recordings

Biography 

Photograph of Gabrie'l Atchison

Gabrie'l J. Atchison is an Adjunct Professor of Women's Transgender and Queer Studies (WTQS) at Wells College. Her essays have appeared in Sojourners, Southern Studies and Herizons. She is the series editor of Environment and Religion in Feminist/Womanist, Queer and Indigenous Perspectives for Lexington Books.