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2020 Conference Faculty

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 AnastaciaRenee2 Literary Agent Michelle Brower
Omar El Akkad


Michelle Brower

Omar El Akkad

Sierra Golden looking over her right shoulder with a body of water in the background.

Sierra Golden

Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Ramon Isao

Sonora Jha

Laura Kalpakian smiling with wisteria and green leaves behind her.

Elizabeth Kracht

Sonora Jha

Laura Kalpakian

Elizabeth Kracht

Priscilla Long

Casandra Lopez sits on a red sofa.
Jory Mickelson in front of a black background.

Priscilla Long

Casandra López

Jory Mickelson

Tiffany Midge wearing a blue scarf in front of a brick wall with snow in the background.
Kristen Millares Young in front of a cloudy, gray sea. Craig Popelars

Tiffany Midge

Kristen Millares Young

Craig Popelars

Nathan Vass

Kami Westhoff
Leni Zumas in front of a white background.

Nathan Vass

Kami Westhoff

Leni Zumas


Anastacia-Renee — poetry, multi-genre


Anastacia-Renee is a writer, TEDx Speaker, Deep End Podcast co-host and interdisciplinary artist. The recipient of the 2018 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award for Washington Artist (Literary), Seattle Civic Poet (2017-2019), and Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House (2015-2017), she has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, Mineral School, Hypatia in the Woods, and The New Orleans Writers Residency.

Anastacia-Renee's work has been published in Foglifter, Cascadia Magazine, Pinwheel, The Fight and the Fiddle, Glow, The A-Line, Ms. Magazine and a host of others.


Forget It by Anastacia-Renee Tolbert 26 by Anastacia-Renee Tolbert

Michelle Brower — literary agent

Literary Agent Michelle Brower

Michelle Brower has represented National Book Award finalist Erika L. Sánchez, the New York Times bestseller The House Girl by Tara Conklin; bestselling historical fiction author Hazel Gaynor; the Barnes & Noble Discover Pick The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler; and After Disasters by Viet Dinh, which was named a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Prize.

After graduating from New York University with a MA degree in literature, Brower began her career in agenting at Wendy Sherman Associates. Before joining Aevitas, she was a Senior Vice President at Folio Literary Management.

Brower represents fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her interests include book club fiction (a commercial concept with a literary execution), literary fiction (including with an element of genre), and smart women’s fiction. She also represents select young adult, middle grade, and memoir projects. Some of her favorite non-client writers are Emily St. John Mandel, Maggie Shipstead, Tana French, and Barbara Kingsolver. She splits her time between New York and Seattle.

Website Twitter



Omar El Akkad — fiction, journalism

Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad is an Egyptian-Canadian author and journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and numerous other locations around the world. He is the recipient of Canada’s National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists.

His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into a dozen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and has been nominated for more than a dozen other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, GQ, and more than a dozen other publications and outlets. Omar lives in the woods just south of Portland.


Book cover of American War by Omar El Akkad


Sierra Golden — poetry

Sierra Golden looking over her right shoulder with a body of water in the background.

Sierra Golden received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. As winner of the 2018 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, her debut collection, The Slow Art, was published by Bear Star Press. The Slow Art was also a finalist for the 2019 Washington State Book Award and the 2019 WILLA Literary Award in Poetry.

Golden's poems appear in literary journals such as Prairie Schooner, Permafrost, and Ploughshares. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies by Hedgebrook, Hugo House, and The Elizabeth George Foundation.

Although she calls Washington State home, Golden spent many summers in Alaska, working as a commercial fisherman. She now works in communications at Agros International, a nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty among farming families in rural Latin America.


Book cover of The Slow Art by Sierra Golden. The cover is a cloudy sky with fishing nets and buoys.


Lyanda Lynn Haupt — nonfiction


Lyanda Lynn Haupt is an award-winning author, naturalist, ecophilosopher, and speaker whose writing is at the forefront of the movement to connect people with nature in their everyday lives. Her newest book is Mozart’s Starling (Little, Brown, April, 2017).

Lyanda’s previous books include: The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild (Little, Brown in fall, 2013), finalist for the Orion Book Award; Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness (Little, Brown in July 2009), winner of the 2010 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award; Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks (Little, Brown, 2004); and Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds (Sasquatch), winner of the 2002 Washington State Book Award.

Lyanda has created and directed educational programs for Seattle Audubon, worked in raptor rehabilitation in Vermont, and been a seabird researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the remote tropical Pacific. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Orion, Discover, Utne, LA Times, Image, Huffington Post, Wild Earth, and Conservation Biology Journal. She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter, a mixed backyard chicken flock, and Carmen the starling, featured in her newest book.


Mozart's Starling The Urban Bestiary Crow Planet


Ramon Isao — fiction, screenwriting


Ramon Isao standing in front of green bamboo.

Ramon Isao is a recipient of the Tim McGinnis Award for Fiction, as well as fellowships from Artist Trust and Jack Straw Cultural Center.

His writing appears in The Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, Hobart, American Reader, and elsewhere.

His screen credits include Zombies of Mass Destruction, Dead Body, and Grow Op (in which he co-stars).

He has an MFA from Columbia University, and serves as fiction editor at New Orleans Review.



Sonora Jha — fiction, nonfiction

Sonora Jha

Sonora Jha is the author of the novel Foreign (Random House India, 2013) and is a professor of journalism at Seattle University. She was formerly a chief of bureau with The Times of India and a contributing editor with East Magazine, Singapore before arriving in the United States on a fellowship to earn a PhD in political communication from Louisiana State University. Her recent political essays have appeared in The New York Times, Seattle Times, and The Establishment, among others. She was the prose writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House from 2016-2018.

Sonora is currently at work on a book of feminist essays and a second novel. She was awarded the 2017 Barry Lopez Fellowship at Playa Summer Lake, Oregon. She serves on the board of Hedgebrook, a global literary non-profit, and has recently served on juries for Artist Trust, Hedgebrook, and Hugo House.




Laura Kalpakian — fiction, nonfiction

Laura Kalpakian smiling.

Laura Kalpakian is the author of sixteen novels and four collections of short fiction published in the US and the UK.

Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and nominated for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, her work has garnered acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Her short stories have appeared in the Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and the US, UK, and India Good Housekeeping, as well as many other magazines and literary journals. Her latest novel, The Great Pretenderswas released in April 2019.

A native Californian, Laura has a BA from the University of California, Riverside and a Masters in history from the University of Delaware. She studied Literature in the PhD program at University of California, San Diego where she developed a special affection for 19th century fiction, for memoirs and autobiographies, and for writers of the Great War era, 1900–1930. When a UCSD professor told her she had too much imagination for grad school, she turned to the writing of novels.

She is the mother of two sons, Emmy award-winning film and television composer, Bear McCreary, and singer-songwriter and music producer, Brendan McCreary. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.




Elizabeth Kracht — literary agent, craft

Elizabeth Kracht

Elizabeth Kracht joined Kimberley Cameron & Associates in 2010 to broaden her perspective on the publishing industry. She represents both literary and commercial fiction as well as nonfiction, and brings to the agency experience as a former acquisitions editor, freelance publicist, and writer.

Elizabeth's career in publishing took root in Puerto Rico where she completed her BA in English and worked as a copyeditor for an English-language newspaper. When she returned to the mainland she found her "vein of gold" in book publishing. She thrives on working closely with authors to build their careers.

Elizabeth's eclectic life experience drives her interests. She appreciates writing that has depth, an introspective voice, and is thematically layered. Having lived in cities such as New York, San Francisco and San Juan, Puerto Rico, she is compelled by multicultural themes and characters and is drawn toward strong settings.

In fiction, she represents literary, commercial, women's, thrillers, mysteries, historical, and crossover YA. In nonfiction, she is interested in high concept, health, science, environment, prescriptive, investigative, true crime, voice- or adventure-driven memoir, sexuality, spirituality, and animal/pet stories.


Cover of The Author's Checklist by Elizabeth Kracht. A pencil on a yellow background.


Priscilla Long — nonfiction, poetry

Priscilla Long

Priscilla Long is a writer of poetry, essays, creative nonfiction, fictions, science, and history. She has an MFA degree from the University of Washington and teaches writing.

Her guide to writing is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. Her book of poems is Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press, 2015). Her collection of linked literary nonfiction is Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press). Her handbook for artists of all kinds is Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators. Her scholarly history book is Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry.

She wrote an every-Wednesday column at The American Scholar website titled "Science Frictions." The complete set of 92 pieces covered everything from Saturn to salt.

Priscilla serves as founding and consulting editor of, the online encyclopedia of Washington State history.


The Writers Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long


Casandra López — poetry, nonfiction

Casandra Lopez sits on a red sofa.

Casandra López is a California Indian (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño) and Chicana writer who has received support from CantoMundo, Bread Loaf, and Tin House.

She’s the author of the poetry collection, Brother Bullet, and has been selected for residencies with the School of Advanced Research, Storyknife, Hedgebrook and Headlands Center for the Arts.

Her memoir-in-progress, A Few Notes on Grief, was granted a 2019 James W. Ray Venture Project Award. She’s a founding editor of As/ Us and teaches at Northwest Indian College.


Brother Bullet by Casandra Lopez


Jory Mickelson — poetry

Jory Mickelson in front of a black background.

Jory Mickelson is the award-winning author of Wilderness//Kingdom (Floating Bridge Press).

Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jubilat, diode, The Rumpus, The Puritan, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and other journals in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They are the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and hold fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and Centrum's Port Townsend Writers Conference.

They are a graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA program and the former poetry editor of 5×5 Lit Mag and the creator of the blog Literary Magpie. They have taught workshops and retreats on a wide variety of topics including mindfulness, meditation, writing about place, and poetry as a spiritual practice. They live in Bellingham, WA.


Wilderness Kingdom by Jory Mickelson


Tiffany Midge — nonfiction, poetry

Tiffany Midge wearing a blue scarf in front of a brick wall with snow in the background.

Tiffany Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and raised in the Pacific Northwest. A former humor columnist for Indian Country Today, she taught writing and composition for Northwest Indian College and served as poet laureate for Moscow, Idaho.

Her books include The Woman Who Married a Bear (winner of the Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry and a Western Heritage Award) and Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed (winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Award).

Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Offing, Waxwing, World Literature Today, Lit Hub, First American Art Magazine, and more. Her humor memoir is Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s (University of Nebraska Press).

Midge’s McSweeney’s essay “An Open Letter to White Women Concerning The Handmaid’s Tale and America’s Cultural Amnesia” won a 2019 Pushcart Prize and her subversively comic collection of poems, Horns, is forthcoming from Spokane’s Scablands Books. Midge is the 2019 Simons Public Humanities fellow for University of Kansas Hall Center for the Humanities.


Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's by Tiffany Midge


Kristen Millares Young — fiction, nonfiction

Kristen Millares Young in front of a cloudy, gray sea.

Kristen Millares Young is the author of Subduction, a novel forthcoming from Red Hen Press on April 14, 2020. A prize-winning investigative journalist, book critic, and essayist, Kristen serves as the 2018-2020 Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House.

Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, Poetry Northwest, Crosscut, Hobart, Moss, Proximity, Seattle’s Child, Pacifica Literary Review, KUOW 94.9-FM, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Miami Herald, Buenos Aires Herald, and TIME Magazine.

Her personal essays are anthologized in Pie & Whiskey, a 2017 New York Times New & Notable Book; Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity; and Advanced Creative Nonfiction: A Writer's Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury of New York and London, 2021).

Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer and a Peabody in 2013. Her stories have been recognized by the Society for Features Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Kristen has been a fellow at UC Berkeley’s Knight Digital Media Center, the Jack Straw Writing Program, and the University of Washington Graduate School, where she was a Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Scholar.

Kristen graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a 2003 degree in history and literature and earned her MFA from the University of Washington in 2012. She teaches creative writing in English and Spanish at Hugo House, the University of Washington Continuum College, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, Write Doe Bay, and the Seattle Public Library.

From 2016 to 2019, Kristen served as board chair of InvestigateWest, a nonprofit news studio she co-founded in 2009. InvestigateWest’s reporting has led to the passage of a dozen new laws to improve the environment and the lives of foster families, people of color caught in the criminal justice system, health care workers, and advocates for government transparency.


Subduction by Kristen Millares Young


Craig Popelars — publisher

Craig Popelars

A thirty-year veteran of book publishing, Craig Popelars serves as publisher of Tin House Books. Prior to joining Tin House in 2019, Craig served as associate publisher and director of marketing of Algonquin Books. During his twenty-five years at Algonquin, Craig helped launched numerous bestsellers including Water for Elephants, An American Marriage, and The Drunken Botanist, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, while also publishing critically acclaimed works by Julia Alvarez, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jonathan Evison, Richard Louv, and Lee Smith. He serves as Chair of Appalachian State University’s library board (his alma mater), and also on the board of Shelf Awareness. A craft beer snob, avid mountain biker, trail runner, and occasional alpinist, Craig resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter.

Tin House has earned a reputation as a publisher of award-winning and critically acclaimed literary and commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry. Tin House is interested in acquiring high-quality fiction, memoir, poetry, and graphic novels/memoirs from new, singular voices and nonfiction works by writers that bring context and nuance to their investigations of our world—including narratives that focus on contemporary social issues, cultural criticisms, race relations, women’s issues, social and environmental justice, science and nature, the media, and small-format gift books. Tin House is dedicated to writers at every stage of their careers and devoted to supporting diverse and underrepresented voices in the literary landscape.


Nathan Vass — fiction, nonfiction

Nathan Vass

Nathan Vass is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and author by day, and a Metro bus driver by night, where his community-building work has been showcased on TED, NPR, The Seattle Times, and KING5, and landed him a spot on Seattle Magazine’s 2018 list of the 35 Most Influential People in Seattle.

Nathan graduated with a BFA in photography from UW in 2009, and his work has been featured in the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, and more, with 40 photography shows, 9 films and a local bestselling book of bus stories, The Lines That Make Us, which was a 2019 Washington State Book Award Finalist in nonfiction.


Vass-TheLinesThatMakeUs-Cover - Nathan Vass


Kami Westhoff — fiction, nonfiction, poetry

Kami Westhoff is the author of Sleepwalker, winner of Minerva Rising’s Dare to Be Contest, and Your Body a Bullet, co-written with Elizabeth Vignali.

Her poetry and prose have appeared in journals including Booth, Carve, Hippocampus, Meridian, Third Coast, Passages North, Redivider, Waxwing, and West Branch. Her story “The Ways You Are Gone,” won Carve Editor’s Prize in 2007, and was recently published in Carve’s Ways of Looking, Volume 1.

Kami received an MA from Western Washington University, and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A former member of the faculty at Whatcom Community College, she currently teaches creative writing at Western Washington University, where she serves as faculty advisor for Jeopardy Magazine.

She has had the honor of teaching at the Port Townsend Writers Conference and for the Sue Boynton Poetry Workshops, and will serve as a judge for the 2020 Boynton Poetry Contest. Kami lives in Bellingham, WA, with her family.

 Sleepwalker Cover - Kami Westhoff Your Body a Bullet Cover - Kami Westhoff


Leni Zumas — fiction

Leni Zumas in front of a white background.

Leni Zumas won the 2019 Oregon Book Award for her national bestselling novel Red Clocks, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the Neukom Prize for Speculative Fiction. Red Clocks was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named a Best Book of 2018 by The Atlantic, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Entropy, and the New York Public Library. Vulture called it one of the 100 Most Important Books of the 21st Century So Far.

Zumas is also the author of Farewell Navigator: Stories and the novel The Listeners. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, The Times Literary Supplement, Guernica, BOMB, The Cut, Portland Monthly, Tin House, and elsewhere.

Her work has received support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives near Portland, Oregon, and directs the creative writing program at Portland State University.


RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas

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