2019 Conference Faculty

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*Please note we have not yet announced the faculty for the 2020 Chuckanut Writers Conference. Please check back in December 2019 and sign up to receive our e-newsletter for announcements about next year's event.*

AliceAcheson QuentonBaker Terry Brooks

Alice B. Acheson

Quenton Baker

Terry Brooks

Kate Carroll de Gutes Claudia Castro Luna Tara Conklin

Kate Carroll de Gutes

Claudia Castro Luna

Tara Conklin

Omar El Akkad Laurie Frankel

Omar El Akkad

Hannah Elnan

Laurie Frankel

KimFu Natalie Grazian LyandaLynnHaupt

Kim Fu

Natalie Grazian

Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Sonora Jha Margot Kahn Nancy Pearl

Sonora Jha

Margot Kahn

Nancy Pearl

Ely Shipley Claire Sicherman GarthStein

Ely Shipley

Claire Sicherman

Garth Stein

Anastacia-Renee Tolbert Jane Wong


Jane Wong



Alice B. Acheson — publishing


Drawing on 40+ years of publishing experience (McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Crown Publishing, plus many smaller publishers), Alice B. Acheson consults on national and regional book marketing and publishing. Her work as a publicist has been recognized with numerous New York Times bestsellers (four simultaneously).

She is particularly proud of her efforts for Douglas Wood’s Old Turtle—the author's first book from a publisher who had never published a children's book nor marketed any of their books nationally. It won the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year and sold 800,000 copies prior to its re-sale to Scholastic. Her successful efforts won the Literary Market Place Outside Services Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity.

For the past 30+ years, she has worked independently as a publicist and now consultant, advising authors on a marketing and publishing campaign for their books. In response to the changes brought on by technology, she points out that “everything has changed, nothing is new.” Last summer,  four of her clients received requests for their manuscripts at four distinct writers conferences.

Alice lives in Friday Harbor, WA, and can be contacted at AliceBA7@gmail.com.



Quenton Baker — poetry


Quenton Baker is a poet and educator from Seattle. His current focus is anti-blackness and the afterlife of slavery. His work has appeared in jubilat, Vinyl, Apogee, Pinwheel, The James Franco Review, and Cura and in the anthologies Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters and It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop.

He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of the 2016 James W. Ray Venture Project award and the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from Artist Trust. He is the author of This Glittering Republic (Willow Books, 2016).


This Glittering Republic


Terry Brooks — fiction

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks published The Sword of Shannara in 1977 after seven years of working on the manuscript. It became the first work of fiction to ever appear on the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, where it remained for over five months. He published The Elfstones of Shannara in 1982 and The Wishsong of Shannara in 1985, both bestsellers.

Since that time, he has written numerous novels in the Shannara, Landover, and Word/Void series, including being hand-selected by George Lucas to write the novelization of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

“The Shannara Chronicles,” a first season, 10-episode TV show, premiered January 5, 2016, on MTV. It adapts The Elfstones of Shannara and features the creative talents of Jon Favreau, Al Gough, Miles Millar, Jonathan Liebesman, and Terry Brooks as an executive producer.

Terry Brooks lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest and on the road meeting his fans.


Shannara Running with the Demon Magic Kingdom for Sale

Kate Carroll de Gutes — nonfiction

Kate Carroll de Gutes

Kate Carroll de Gutes's book, Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, won the 2016 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and a 2016 Lambda Literary Award in Memoir. Her latest book, The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons From the Best & Worst Year of My Life, won the IPPY for LGBT Essay.

Kate has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and is a wry observer who writes about grief, the drama of dating at midlife, riding bikes, and the joys and challenges of authentic living.


The Authenticity Experiment by Kate Carroll de Gutes Objects in Mirror


Claudia Castro Luna — poetry, nonfiction

 Claudia Castro Luna

Claudia Castro Luna is the Washington State Poet Laureate (2018-2020). She served as Seattle’s Civic Poet from 2015-2017. She is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press) and This City, (Floating Bridge Press), a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, a 2014 Jack Straw fellow, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and an individual artist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture.

Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MA in urban planning, a teaching certificate, and an MFA in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Poetry NorthwestLa BlogaCity Arts, and Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, among others. Her non-fiction work can be read in the anthologies The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the US (Northwestern University Press); Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative (Kalin); and in This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press).

Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children. 

WebsiteFacebook Twitter

Killing Marias ThisCity_Cover_Cropped-200x300


Tara Conklin — fiction

Tara Conklin

Tara Conklin is a writer and former lawyer whose first novel, The House Girl, was a New York Times bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick, Target book club pick and has been translated into eight languages. Her second novel, The Last Romantics, is forthcoming in February 2019 from William Morrow/Harper Collins.

Before turning to fiction, Tara worked for an international human rights organization and at corporate law firms in London and New York. Her writing has appeared in This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, The Bristol Prize Anthology, and Pangea: An Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe.

Tara was born in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and grew up in western Massachusetts. She holds a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from NYU School of Law, and a master of law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She now lives in Seattle with her family.


The Last Romantics The House Girl


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.


American War


Hannah Elnan — Sasquatch Books

A lifelong bookworm, Hannah Elnan acquires nonfiction for adults for leading independent press Sasquatch Books. Sasquatch Books’ mission is to seek out and work with the most gifted writers, chefs, naturalists, artists, and thought leaders in the Pacific Northwest and bring their talents to a national audience. Our authors’ passion for what they do becomes ours as we help transform their vision into beautifully crafted books that represent the adventurous spirit and DIY lifestyles of the region.

Hannah is looking for lifestyle books (including house, home, and crafts), gardening and outdoors, creative inspiration, gift books, and journals. She also has a particular interest in women’s issues, social issues, science, and cute animals.

Her books include Moorea Seal’s bestselling 52 Lists series (with over 1 million copies in print); books, journals, and paper products with Instagram sensation @Flora.Forager; and the award-winning Dead Feminists by Chandler O’Leary & Jessica Spring. Before joining Sasquatch Books in 2014, Hannah worked at Ballantine Bantam Dell and Elyse Cheney Literary Associates. Outside of work, she can be found tending to her jungle-like garden, in the kitchen trying new recipes, or in the yoga studio.



Laurie Frankel — fiction

Laurie Frankel

Laurie Frankel is the bestselling, award-winning writer of three novels. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. Her books have been translated into more than 25 languages.

Her most recent novel won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Fiction. A former college professor, she now writes full-time in Seattle. Her fourth novel, One Two Three, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books.


This Is How It Always Is Goodbye for Now The Atlas of Love


Kim Fu — fiction, poetry


Kim Fu's most recent novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (2018), was called “propulsive” and “skillful” by The New York Times. Her previous novel For Today I Am a Boy (2014) won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, as well as a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Kim's debut poetry collection How Festive the Ambulance received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and it includes a 2017 National Magazine Awards silver medal winner.

Kim’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, The New York Times, Hazlitt, and the Times Literary Supplement. She has received residency fellowships from the Ucross Foundation, Berton House, Wildacres, and the Wallace Stegner House. She is an instructor-advisor at the Humber School for Writers and lives in Seattle.


 Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore For Today I Am A Boy How Festive the Ambulance


Natalie Grazian — Martin Literary Management

Natalie Grazian

Natalie is an associate agent of adult fiction at the Seattle-based Martin Literary Management. She has a BA in English and minor in Spanish from Santa Clara University. Upon graduating, she worked as a publishing sales representative for W. W. Norton and interned for two literary agencies: Kimberley Cameron & Associates and Martin Literary Management. For two years, Natalie was the fiction editor of The Santa Clara Review, the oldest literary magazine on the West Coast.

Natalie is building her client list in adult fiction. She looks for the sweet spot between commercial and literary, where the writing is excellent and the plot keeps the pages turning.

She gravitates toward sharp, stylish psychological thrillers, witty contemporary rom-coms, and historical stories that explore an underrepresented perspective. Rather than solidly sci-fi or fantasy, she prefers speculative elements that allow the writer to dig deeply into some aspect of humanity (as in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro).

The common denominator in the fiction she loves is a strong voice and a strong hook. Her thematic interests include complicated families, immigrant identity and experience, powerful character transformations, and questions of fate vs. free will. More than anything, she looks for assured prose, a strong sense of place, finely-tuned plots, and smart, distinctive characters who make the unrelatable relatable.



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


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.




Margot Kahn — nonfiction

Margot Kahn

Margot Kahn is the author of the biography Horses That Buck (University of Oklahoma Press). The book won the High Plains Book Award and was named a best book of 2008 by New West. She is also co-editor, along with Kelly McMasters, of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press/Hachette).

Her essays, reviews and poetry have appeared in The Rumpus, Tablet, River Teeth: A Journal of Narrative Nonfiction, Lenny Letter, The Los Angeles Review, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Tinderbox, Crab Creek Review, Whiskey Island, High Desert Journal, Failbetter, BUST and Publishers Weekly, among other places, and have been anthologized in You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person and Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze.

Margot holds an MFA from Columbia University and has received grants and residencies from the Ohioana Library Association, the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, Bread Loaf and the Jack Straw Writers Program. She lives in Seattle with her husband and son.


This is the Place Horses That Buck


Nancy Pearl — fiction, nonfiction

Nancy Pearl

Both personally and professionally, Nancy Pearl’s life has been shaped by her love of books and reading. Inspired by her childhood librarians, she went on to become a librarian herself, working in the public library systems in Detroit, Tulsa, and Seattle. She retired as the executive director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library and went on to write the “Book Lust” series, four titles filled with recommendations of good books to read.

She has received many awards and honors, including being the 50th recipient of the Women’s National Book Association Award in 2004 and was named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal in 2011. She speaks about the pleasures of reading to literacy organizations, libraries, and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR's Morning Edition and other public radio stations. When she’s not reading or writing, Nancy enjoys long distance walking and spending time with her family. Her first novel, George & Lizzie, was published by Touchstone Books in 2017.


George and Lizzie Book Lust Book Lust to Go


Ely Shipley — poetry

Ely Shipley

Ely Shipley is the author of Some Animal (Nightboat Books); Boy with Flowers, winner of the Barrow Street Press book prize judged by Carl Phillips, the Thom Gunn Award, and finalist for a Lambda Literary Award; and On Beards: A Memoir of Passing, a letterpress chapbook from speCt! Books.

His poems and cross-genre work also appear in Seneca Review, Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, Interim, Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Witness, Diagram, Gulf Coast, Fugue, Third Coast, and elsewhere.

He holds an MFA from Purdue University and a PhD from the University of Utah. He taught for many years in NYC and now teaches at Western Washington University.


Some Animal On Beards Boy with Flowers


Claire Sicherman — nonfiction

Claire Sicherman

Claire Sicherman is the author of Imprint: A Memoir of Trauma in the Third Generation (Caitlin Press, 2018). Combining narrative with experimental epistolary forms such as letters to her son, journal entries and lists, Claire weaves in the story of the traumatic birth of her son with the intergenerational effects of trauma related to the murder of most of her ancestors in the Holocaust, breaking the silence that surrounded her family’s stories for so long. Claire examines how the body holds memories of traumatic experiences, and the importance of honoring and remembering.

Claire is a graduate of the Humber School For Writers, has a degree in comparative religion from the University of British Columbia and completed a post-graduate program in journalism at Langara College in Vancouver. She facilitates journaling circles and writing retreats on beautiful Salt Spring Island, which also incorporate yoga and Ayurvedic food workshops.




Britt Siess — Martin Literary Management


Britt Siess has seen all aspects of the publishing industry. She is a former bookseller, has interned for the Taryn Fagerness Agency, Wales Literary Agency, and Martin Literary & Media Management. Prior to joining Martin Literary as an Associate Literary Manager, she was with the sales division of The Quarto Group where she worked in domestic and foreign book sales.

At this time, Britt is accepting Middle Grade, YA, and Adult submissions for stories with fantastic or supernatural elements. She is also accepting queries for graphic novels for young readers, preferably from author/illustrators. To read more about what she is currently looking for, see her wish list at brittsiess.com.

Britt tweets publishing tips, news, and tidbits about her life as an agent @BrittSiess. She can be reached at Britt@MartinLit.com.


Garth Stein — fiction


Garth Stein is the author of four novels, including the international bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain, which spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list and will soon be released as a major motion picture by Fox 2000. He has also written four children’s picture books and a full-length play.

Garth is the co-founder and co-executive director of Seattle7Writers, a non-profit collective of 90 northwest authors whose mission is to energize readers, writers, booksellers, and librarians. He is also a founding board member of Seattle City of Literature, which is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Garth lives in Seattle with his wife and three sons, and is currently working on a new novel and a graphic novel, both to be released in 2019.


A Sudden Light The Art of Racing in the Rain Raven Stole the Moon


Anastacia-Renee — poetry

Anastacia-Renee Tolbert

Anastacia-Renee is a multi-genre writer, educator, and interdisciplinary artist. She is the Seattle Civic Poet, recipient of the 2018 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist award for Washington artists (Artist Trust), 2017 Artist of the Year, and former 2015-2017 poet-in-residence at Hugo House.

She is the author of five books: Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.) (Gramma Press), 26 (Dancing Girl Press), Kiss Me Doll Face (Gramma Press), and Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press). She has received writing fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, Ragdale, Mineral School, and Hypatia in the Woods.

Her cross-genre writing has appeared in a Tedx talk and the anthologies: Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, and Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. Her work has also appeared in Ms. Magazine, Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, The Fight & the Fiddle, Duende, Poetry Northwest, Synaesthesia, Banqueted, Torch, Mom Egg Review, The Magazine of Glamorous Refusal, and many more.

She teaches poetry, creative writing, and “How to be an Effective Ally” workshops at Hugo House, libraries, universities, and high schools.


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


Jane Wong — poetry

Jane Wong

Jane Wong's poems can be found in Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry ReviewThird Coastjubilat and others.

A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Hedgebrook, and Bread Loaf.

She is the author of Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James Books, forthcoming), and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University. In 2017, she received the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist award for Washington artists.


Overpour Kudzu Does Not Stop

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