Browse our conference schedule, speaker bios, and find the links to catch up on our 2020 community programming! 

2020 conference schedule

*The schedule below is subject to updates and changes. All times are in Denver Mountain time zone.

Friday July 31


4:00 p.m. --  Writing Lab + Meet & Greet


6:00 p.m. -- Writing Lab + Meet & Greet

Saturday August 1


8:45 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.


Opening of our inaugural [margins.] conference by Nate Marshall

2020 is our year to explore Authenticity in Voice


10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Writing Craft Track


Sugar and Voice and Everything Nice: How Character Voice Shapes the Stories We Tell

Learn the secrets of voice from Sandhya Menon, the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of five published novels (with many more in the pipeline)!  Ever wonder why some characters suck you in and have you eagerly turning the pages while others seem flat or cardboard-like? How does character voice play into the age group and genre of novels? How can you tell if you’re writing a YA, middle grade, or adult novel—and how can you shape your character’s voice to suit the story you want to tell? These tips and more will be shared in a webinar, so come prepared with a pen, a notebook, and lots of questions!  


Publishing/Business Track


Trade Publishing 101

Speaker: Erin L. Cox

From editorial to marketing and publicity, from book covers to book design--if you're wondering how it all happens and what to expect in the winding publishing journey, this session will guide you through the trade publishing processes.


Community & Activism Track


Panel: Forward Paths: Ideas and Happenings

Hosted by Kerrie Joy, Panelists: Ausma Zehanat Khan, Leah Koch, Lillie Lainoff, Pablo Defendini

So many writers from the margins find ourselves using our artistic spaces to fight for inclusion and equity. Join as we hear about actions that are happening and how they got off the ground. Maybe that next step to the project you've been dreaming is just around the corner.


1:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track

Panel: Voices in KidLit

Hosted by Sandhya Menon; Panelists: Eric Smith, Karol Ruth Silverstein, Mahogany L. Browne

So many stories to tell at so many different stages of life. Join to hear KidLit writers chat about how they find the voice for their story, or how their story found its own voice.


Publishing/Business Track


Panel: Working with Bookstores

Hosted by Kalani Kapahua; Panelists: Angela Maria Spring, Kathy Burnette, Leah Koch

How can you work with bookstores to get your book in front of readers? Experienced booksellers are here to get you ready.


Community & Activism Track

Cohort Writing Group: Black Writers

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith

Join to connect with fellow Black writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.

2:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Session 1: Building Your Poetry Manuscript

In Conversation: Diana Khoi Nguyen and José Olivarez

In this dialogue, two award-winning poets will discuss key moments in the preparation of a manuscript, from topics such has how to know when you have enough material, to methods of organization and structure, as well as critical details like titles and epigraphs.


Session 2: How to Come Up With Unique Story Concepts

Speaker: Henry Lien

This workshop guides writers through concept generation, analysis, and development to create concepts that are unique and personal. Workshop techniques will include combining ideas to form unique hybrids; method acting and role-playing exercises; and surrealist parlor games.


Publishing/Business Track


Self-Publishing 101+

Erica Ridley went from self-publishing novice to hitting bestseller lists like USA Today and the New York Times. She'll walk you through how to get started, key strategies, best practices, what she would have done differently, as well as tips and tricks for maximizing opportunities at each vendor.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Queer Writers

Hosted by: pavlos stavropoulos and Chris Aguilar-Garcia

Join to connect with fellow Queer writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


4:00 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Poetry as the Language of Resistance 

Hosted by Suzi Q. Smith, Panelists: Alejandro Jimenez, Bobby LeFebre, Kerrie Joy, and Tongo Eisen-Martin


Panel 2: Voices in Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Hosted by R. Alan Brooks; Panelists: Ebony Flowers, Jose Pimienta, Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand, Lonnie Allen


Publishing/Business Track


Querying from the margins and beyond

Speaker: Mariah Stovall

An interactive querying workshop for writers in all stages of the process, with a special focus on the challenges that writers from marginalized groups face. Topics will include query basics--like formatting, word count, comparative titles and author bio--as well as in-depth advice on how to decode common responses from agents, how to tell if an agent is the right match for you and your work, and how to advocate for yourself throughout the process.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Disabled Writers

Hosted by: Lara Ameen

Join to connect with fellow Disabled writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Open Mic & Awards Ceremony

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith


Sunday August 2

8:00 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.


Yoga session: Thank you to our friend Euda K. Best of Denver's Satya Yoga Co-Op for inviting us to join in morning yoga to restore and start the day!

9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.


Publishing/Business Track


Lit Agents on What’s Trending

Conversation with Eric Smith and Kristin Nelson

These agents know what's been selling, what editors are asking for; and now, they'll share with you!


Community & Activism Track


Panel: Movement Building & New Publishing Spaces

Hosted by: Bunmi Ishola; Panelists: Katerina Jeng, Pablo Defendini, Sailaja Joshi

How does the publishing world move forward? While we work to shift resources in the traditional publishing world, we also need to envision new avenues for sharing our stories and build our own spaces. We're chatting with some folks who have done just that.


10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel: Voices in Spec Fic

Hosted by Lara Ameen; Panelists: Erika T. Wurth, K. Tempest Bradford, Henry Lien, Gabino Iglesias


Publishing/Business Track


Anatomy of A Deal: A Literary Agent Explains What is Negotiated when the Magic Day Arrives

Speaker: Kristin Nelson

When a publisher offers to buy a novel, a literary agent negotiates upfront all the hard stuff, the “key” deal points, before going to contract. Aspiring authors will get an inside look at what that negotiation entails so you’ll be savvy when that magical day arrives, your dream comes true, and a publisher offers for your book.

Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Latinx Writers

Hosted by: Bobby LeFebre

Join to connect with fellow Latinx writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Lyrics and Literature

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith, Panelists: Bianca Mikahn, Stephen Brackett, Steven Dunn


Panel 2: Voices in Romance

Hosted by Farrah Rochon; Panelists: Anna Zabo, Mina Esguerra, Tracey Livesay


Publishing/Business Track


Panel: Zine Submissions

Hosted by: Eric C. Wat; Panelists: Pablo Defindini, Tiffany Soga

Thinking about submitting to a literary zine to get your work in print, but not sure where to start or how to make the most of the opportunities? These lit mag editors are here to help.

Community & Activism Track


Roundtable: Intersections and Responsible Representation

Hosted by: K. Tempest Bradford

Writing inclusively means writing responsibly. Easier said than done, right? Join this roundtable discussion to tease out questions, share resources, get feedback. We're all building a better world together, let's start by sharing the lessons we've been learning.


2:00 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Diversity Plus: Storyforms

Speaker: Henry Lien

This workshop uses case studies to explore how elements that we consider staples of European/Western storytelling, such as the three-act story structure, the empowerment arc, characters with flaws, and stories based on problems, are not universal across all cultures. Attendees will learn about the East Asian four-act structure and storytelling that is not based on conflict, tension, and resolution.


Publishing/Business Track

Session 1: The Vocation of Poetry

Speaker: Eloisa Amezcua

In this workshop and conversation, we'll discuss navigating the "business" side of poetry including publishing, speaking engagements, and collaborations. We'll also examine the "work," paid and unpaid, that's asked of writers in the poetic ecosystem and how to decide what's best for you!

Session 2: Creating Anthologies

Speaker: Lydia Rogue

This session will take a look at what goes into editing a collection of shorter pieces from a variety of authors. From choosing a theme to soliciting submissions to handling the editorial work, this talk will go over everything you need to know about constructing a successful anthology.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Asian-American Writers

Hosted by: Katerina Jeng

Join to connect with fellow Asian-American writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Poets & Playwrights on Drama

Hosted by: Bobby LeFebre, Panelists: ayla x. c. sullivan, Confidence Omenai, Kenya Mahogany Fashaw, Monica Prince


Panel 2: Nonfiction & the Storyteller

Hosted by: Chris Aguilar-Garcia; Panelists: Adrian Miller, Ausma Zehanat Khan

Let's explore the different ways we narrate to tell nonfiction, from the personality of voice to blending truth and imagination.


Publishing/Business Track


The Business of Writing

Speaker: Courtney Milan

Most of us write for a number of reasons—but whatever they are, if you expect to earn money off your writing, your writing is also a business. This workshop covers the basics of the business of writing: keeping records for taxes, tracking income and expenses, understanding profit/loss, and figuring out when to invest to grow your business, and when to keep your money.

Agent Pitch & Query Feedback Speed-Date Sessions


Sign up for a 10-minute Speed Date Session to make and refine your book pitch!

*Sign-up information will be provided to attendees during the conference.

Agent Pitch Session: Kristin Nelson, Literary Agent & Founder, Nelson Literary Agency

August 2 - beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Hannah VanVels, Literary Agent, Belcastro Agency

August 4 - beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Eric Smith, Literary Agent, P.S. Literary

August 4 - beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Query Feedback Session, Mariah Stovall, Literary Assistant, Writers House

August 4 - beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Erin L. Cox, Literary Agent, Rob Weisbach Creative Management

August 4 - beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Query Feedback Session: Angie Hodapp, Director of Literary Development, Nelson Literary Agency

August 4 - beginning at 3:30 p.m.

our 2020 opening speaker

  • Nate Marshall 2 by Mercedes Zapata.jpg

    Nate Marshall

    Nate Marshall is a writer, rapper, and educator from the South Side of Chicago. He is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year and The Great Lakes College Association’s New Writer Award. Marshall is also an editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015) and the co-author, with Eve Ewing, of No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. He is the Assistant Director of Wabash College’s Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies where he also serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Black Studies. His rap album, Grown came out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. Marshall is a member of The Dark Noise Collective and co-director of Crescendo Literary. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Poetry Foundation, and The University of Michigan.

2020 conference presenters

The wordsmiths, creators, publishing industry magicians who will share their know-how with you at [margins].

*Please note speakers and presentations are subject to change.

  • Adrian Miller

    Adrian Miller is a food writer, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, CO. Adrian received an A.B. in International Relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. He is currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and, as such, is the first African American and the first layperson to hold that position. Miller previously served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton with his Initiative for One America—the first free-standing office in the White House to address issues of racial, religious, and ethnic reconciliation. Miller also served as a senior policy analyst for Colorado governor Bill Ritter Jr. He has also been a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Miller’s first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time won the James Beard Foundation Award for Scholarship and Reference in 2014. His second book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas was published on President's Day, 2017. It was a finalist for a 2018 NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work—Non-Fiction," and the 2018 Colorado Book Award for History. 

    In 2018, Adrian was awarded the Ruth Fertel "Keeper of the Flame Award" by the Southern Foodways Alliance in recognition of his work on African American foodways. In 2019, Adrian received the Judge Henry N. and Helen T. Graven award from Wartburg College in Waverly,

    Iowa, for being "an outstanding layperson whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling and who is making a significant contribution to community, church, and our society." In June 2019, Adrian lectured in the Masters of Gastronomy program at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche (nicknamed "Slow Food University") in Pollenzo, Italy. Adrian is

    currently working on a history of African American barbecue, tentatively titled Black Smoke.


    Facebook: Soul Food Scholar Fan Page

    Instagram: @soulfoodscholar

    Twitter: @soulfoodscholar

  • Alejandro Jimenez

    Alejandro is an Emmy-nominated performance poet and writer who has shared his work at 3 TEDx Events, at the National Poetry Slam, and a plethora of colleges, universities,

    and high schools. As a formerly undocumented immigrant, from Colima, Mexico, his work centers around cultural identity, immigrant narratives, memory, land, masculinity, and the intersection of them all. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More at

  • Angela Maria Spring

    Angela Maria Spring is the owner of Duende District, a mobile boutique bookstore by and for people of color. She holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is on the board of the American Booksellers Association. You can find her recent poems in PANK, Radar Poetry, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and Pilgrimage. Her essays and reviews are at Catapult, LitHub and Follow her online at Twitter at @BurquenaBoricua.

  • Angie Hodapp

    Angie Hodapp is the Director of Literary Development at Nelson Literary Agency. She holds a BA in English and secondary education from the University of Northern Colorado and an MA in English and communication development from Colorado State University. A graduate of the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver, she has worked in professional writing, editing, and education for more than twenty years. A frequent presenter at writing conferences and events, and the author of Query Craft and Do You Need a Literary Agent, she loves helping writers improve their craft and learn about the ever-changing world of publishing.

  • Anna Zabo

    Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and can be easily plied with coffee. Anna is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

    Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Ausma Zehanat Khan

    Ausma Zehanat Khan is the author of The Unquiet Dead, published by St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books, and winner of the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. Works in her critically acclaimed Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series include The Language of Secrets,  A Death in Sarajevo, Among the Ruins, and A Dangerous Crossing. In A Deadly Divide, the fifth and latest book in the series, Detectives Khattak and Getty investigate a mosque shooting in Quebec, and explore the after-effects of a rising tide of Islamophobia in both the province and the nation.  CrimeReads named Khan one of the Rising Stars of Crime Fiction in the 2010s, and both CrimeReads and Library Journal named A Deadly Divide one of the best crime novels of 2019.

    Khan has been featured in a Shondaland profile of Muslim Women Authors Everyone Should Know, and as Ms. Chatelaine in Chatelaine magazine. Most recently, she was profiled on Public Radio International. She frequently appears on CBC Radio, and has been interviewed by the BBC World Service and BBC Radio Woman's Hour, as well as appearing on CTV Your Morning, CBS and The Agenda. 

    A frequent lecturer and commentator, Khan holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, from Osgoode Hall Law School. She completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of Ottawa, and her B.A. in English literature & sociology at the University of Toronto.

    Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The first magazine to address a target audience of young Muslim women, Muslim Girl re-shaped the conversation about Muslim women in North America. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries, and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews, including CNN International, Current TV, and Al Jazeera "Everywoman". 

    Khan practiced immigration law in Toronto and has taught international human rights law at Northwestern University, as well as human rights and business law at York University. She is a long-time community activist and writer, and currently lives in Colorado with her husband.

  • ayla xuan chi sullivan

    ayla xuan chi sullivan is a playwright, actor, educator, and activist. The co-founder and Director of Education for Shift23 Media, they are mainly interested in interdisciplinary arts, free & radical arts education, sweet snuggles, and hauntings. They are Denver’s Second Youth Poet Laureate and have been published in Suspect Press, OUTFRONT, and interviewed for Colorado Public Radio, Westword, and 303 Magazine. As a playwright, their plays We are the Wake, WHITEWASH, TRANS/ACTIONS (co-written with Woodzick), and pieces for The Non Binary Monologue Project have premiered in Boulder; meanwhile, their immersive, self produced autobiography, Last Stop, and Denver Comic Con commissioned, TesserACT: Dimensions of Gender, premiered in Denver. BFA: University of Colorado Boulder. MFA: Columbia University.

  • Bobby LeFebre

    Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity, and social change.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR, and Poets.Org.  In 2019, LeFebre was named Colorado’s 8th Poet Laureate, making him the youngest and first person of color to be appointed to the position in its 100 year history.  LeFebre holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Metropolitan University of Denver and a master’s degree in Arts and Culture from the University of Denver.

  • Confidence Zora Simone Omenai

    Confidence Zora Simone Omenai is a Nigerian American, single mother of five and writer who

    creates transformative work across genres. A respected poet, emerging playwright and voice-over actor, she teaches writing as a vehicle for community building and mobilization. Confidence honed her writing skills at Oklahoma State University. Confidence successfully competed on hundreds of stages across the United States. After a 3 year stint as a Slam Poetry Coach for over 20 high schools in Tulsa, she relocated to Denver, Colorado. She proved her poetic prowess, joining the ranks of Slam Nuba. Confidence represented Slam Nuba at the Women of the World Poetry Slam for three consecutive years from 2015-2017, twice ranking in the top ten of more than a hundred performers from across the globe. Represented by Go Voices Talent agency her voice is featured in national commercials. 

    She divides her time and talent between playwriting. studying the craft of acting and pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts. Confidence is committed to working collectively to fight fatphobia, anti-Black racism, and

    dismantling systems of oppression.

  • Courtney Milan

    Courtney Milan’s books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller. 

    Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an exceptionally perfect dog, and an attack cat. Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.

  • Diana Khoi Nguyen

    A poet and multimedia artist, Diana Khoi Nguyen is the author of Ghost Of (Omnidawn 2018), which was selected by Terrance Hayes. In addition to winning the 92Y "Discovery" / Boston Review Poetry Contest, 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Colorado Book Award, she was also a finalist for the National Book Award and L.A. Times Book Prize. A Kundiman fellow, she currently teaching in the Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and will be an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh starting in the fall.

  • Eloisa Amezcua

    Eloisa Amezcua is from Arizona. Her debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón. A MacDowell fellow, she is the author of three chapbooks and founder/editor-in-chief of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry. Her poems and translations are published in New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and others. Eloisa is the founder of Costura Creative and lives in Columbus, OH. Her second collection of poems, Fighting Is Like a Wife, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press.

  • Ebony Flowers

    Ebony is a cartoonist and an ethnographer. She was born and raised in Maryland. She holds a BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Maryland College Park and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she wrote her dissertation as a comic (mostly). Her expertise is in qualitative research and evaluation, picture-based methods, curriculum studies, and S.T.E.A.M. education. Ebony is a 2017 Rona Jaffe Award recipient, a 2019 Ignatz Award recipient for Promising New Talent, and a 2020 Believer Award recipient for Fiction. She won 2020 Eisner Award for Best Short Story. Ebony was also nominated for a 2020 NAACP Image Award for Literacy (Young Adult Fiction). She lives in Denver, CO.

  • Eric Smith

    Eric Smith is an author and literary agent living in Philadelphia. He’s worked on New York Times bestselling and award-winning books. 

    As a Young Adult author, his latest novels include The Girl and the Grove (Flux) and Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press). He can be heard talking about books on Book Riot’s HEY YA! podcast with Kelly Jensen. Learn more about him and the books he writes (and represents!) on his website,

  • Eric C. Wat

    Eric C. Wat is the author of SWIM (Permanent Press, 2019), a novel about an Asian American gay man and  drug addict who has to plan his mother's funeral while trying to stay sober. He is also an accomplished oral historian. His first book, The Making of a Gay Asian Community (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) is a foundational text for queer Asian American historiography. The follow-up, Sex Positive: A Community Memoir of the Asian American AIDS Movement, is forthcoming. In the late 1990s, he was on the editorial board for dIS.orient Journalzine, a literary journal dedicated to the art and writing of Asian Pacific Americans. Eric lives and writes in Los Angeles, where he is working on his second novel.

  • Erica Ridley

    Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of witty, feel-good historical romance novels, including The Duke Heist, first in the Wild Wynchesters series starring a motley crew of caper-committing siblings. Other fan-favorite series, The Dukes of War, Rogues to Riches, and The 12 Dukes of Christmas, feature roguish peers and dashing war heroes amid the splendor and madness of Regency England. Erica has also penned gothic love stories and paranormal romantic comedies. 

    When not reading or writing romances, she can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest. 

    Chat books and travel with Erica on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as @EricaRidley, or visit to find out more!

  • Erika T. Wurth

    Erika T. Wurth’s publications include two novels, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend and You Who Enter Here, two collections of poetry and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Buzzfeed, Boulevard, Lithub, The Writer’s Chronicle, Bitch, Waxwing and The Kenyon Review. She will be faculty at Breadloaf in 2021, is a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Scholar, attended the Tin House Summer Workshop, and has been chosen as a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver, where she lives with her partner, her two stepchildren, and her extremely fluffy dogs.

  • Erin L. Cox

    Erin L. Cox has worked in publishing for over 20 years, as a publicist at Scribner and HarperCollins, book publishing director at The New Yorker, and Business Development Director at Publishing Perspectives. Erin has worked with such writers as novelists Meg Wolitzer, Stephen King, Maile Meloy, CBS Sunday Morning contributor Faith Salie, golfer John Daly, fashion journalist Louise Roe, and memoirist Frank McCourt. Currently, Erin is a literary agent at Rob Weisbach Creative Management, PR/Marketing consultant at ELC Productions, Executive Producer at House of SpeakEasy, and Adjunct Professor at Pace University.

  • Farrah Rochon

    Farrah Rochon, USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project, hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her Holmes Brothers and New York Sabers series. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. 

  • Henry Lien

    Henry Lien is an author from Taiwan, now living in Hollywood, CA. He is a graduate of Brown University, UCLA School of Law, and Clarion West Writers Workshop. He is the author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series. Henry also teaches writing in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. He previously worked as an attorney and fine art dealer. He is a four-time Nebula Award finalist and won the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Instructor of the Year award. Hobbies include writing theme songs for his novels and losing Nebula awards.

  • Hannah VanVels

    Hannah VanVels is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency, representing children’s literature and select adult genres. Hannah’s life is consumed by all things bookish, and when she’s not working on books, she can usually be found curled up with a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine. She earned her BA at the University of Michigan and holds MA degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago. In addition to agenting, Hannah owns a freelance editing business. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, a freelance editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and most recently as the acquiring editor at a young adult imprint with HarperCollins Publishing. Hannah loves working closely with authors and coming alongside them to make their vision come to life on page. She lives in West Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats.

  • José Olivarez

    José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he is the coeditor of the anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. In 2019, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.

  • Jose Pimienta

    Jose Pimienta grew up in Mexicali, Mexico. They attended Savannah College of Art and Design where they met wonderful friends and majored in Sequential Art. In 2009 they moved to Los Angeles and it’s been non-stop adventures since.

    Jose has collaborated with various authors to create graphic novels such as The Leg, From Scratch and Soupy Leaves Home. In 2018, they self-published their author-debut graphic novel Suncatcher, which was eventually picked up by RH Graphic. Currently, Jose is writing and illustrating more comics. They also love listening to albums and going on long walks.

  • K. Tempest Bradford

    K. Tempest Bradford is a science fiction and fantasy writer, writing instructor, media critic, reviewer, and podcaster. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines including Strange Horizons, PodCastle, Sunspot Jungle, In the Shadow of the Towers, and many more. She’s the host of ORIGINality, a podcast about the roots of creative genius, and contributes to several more. Her media criticism and reviews can be found on NPR, io9, and in books about Time Lords. When not writing, she teaches classes on writing inclusive fiction through LitReactor and Writing the Visit her website at

  • Kalani Kapahua

    Kalani Kapahua is a bookseller from Seattle. He studied creative writing at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from the University of Denver's Publishing Institute. He currently works as the Offsite Event Manager with Third Place Books. He was previously a featured playwright at the American Repertory Theater's Annual Young Playwright's Festival and is currently a contributing reviewer at The International Examiner and serves as a judge for the Washington State Book Awards.

  • Karol Ruth Silverstein

    Karol Ruth Silverstein grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute. She worked in film/TV production for a few years following grad school before turning her focus to writing full time.

    Now writing all genres of children’s books and screenplays, Karol currently serves on the board of SCBWI-Los Angeles and is a member of the Writers Guild of America West where she is active on the Writers with Disabilities Committee.

    Her debut young adult novel Cursed (Charlesbridge Teen, 2019)—winner of the 2020 Schneider Family Book Award (teen category)—is loosely drawn from her experience of being diagnosed with a painful chronic illness at 13. She has identified as disabled since the age of 21, a shift that was, in many ways, an empowering one for her.

    Karol is happiest working in her home office (generally in her PJs) but can occasionally be convinced to leave the house for karaoke nights with her writer friends. She lives in West Hollywood, CA with her two exceptionally fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.

    Follow her on Twitter @KRSilverstein and Instagram @KRSilverstein2019. Visit her site:

  • Katerina Jeng

    Katerina is a Filipina-Taiwanese-American writer, activist, and creative entrepreneur. Her poetry unearths the numinous wisdom of the wild woman, an inner guide that we all possess. Katerina is the co-leader of Slant'd, a storytelling collective that cultivates the community Asian Americans want, need, and deserve. She is also an inclusive marketing consultant and the Strategic Director of Spectacle, a Denver-based content marketing agency.

    In the past, Katerina has orchestrated programs like Flickr’s first-ever 20 Under 20, launched dozens of products as both a marketer and product manager, and earned her Bachelors of Arts in English and Music from Cornell University. She's been dubbed one of the "Most Influential Asian Americans of 2017," and has been featured on Talks at Google, TEDx, Creative Mornings, CBS News, and more.

  • Kathy M. Burnette

    Kathy M. Burnette (Black, she/her) is a school librarian turned bookseller. She owns Brain Lair Books, which specializes in diverse books and discussion.  Brain Lair Books partners with several local organizations to bring authors and illustrators in for visits. This mission-driven bookstore fundraises for local schools and other organizations that support children from underrepresented populations providing free books and supplies to local families.

  • Kenya Mahogany Fashaw

    Kenya Mahogany Fashaw is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of 5280 Artist Co-Op. Kenya is a Spoken Word artist, actress, and playwright. She was a member of 2012 Denver Slam Nuba’s (“we cut heads”) slam team. She was also a recipient of the Denver Center of Performing Art Playwrights Group. She wrote and directed “Colorism, Breaking The Chains of Complexion,” produced by 5280 Artist Co-Op in 2015, and won a Henry Award for “Best New Play” in 2018. She was also nominated for another Henry award for “1 Night 6 Plays,” produced by 5280 Artist Co-Op in 2019, which included two of her micro scripts-- Hiphop Matrimony: A Hiphop Musical and Cages: No More Boundage. Kenya was Honored as a Colorado Creative in Westword in February 2020. Kenya creates stories to normalize people of color and to change their narratives.

  • Kerrie Joy

    Kerrie Joy is an artist, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer. Born in Brooklyn and raised on a church pew in Newburgh, NY, Kerrie brings her east coast flare and fervency to the stage for every single performance. The truth of her words and the power of her delivery have been said to lift her listeners out of their seats. It is that same magic that has brought her to stages such as the Red Rocks Amphitheater, TEDx MileHigh, the 2018 Denver Womxn's March and MLK Marade, and many more. Kerrie channels her creativity through poetry, hip hop, song, short story, graphic design, and fashion. She uses these artistic mediums as vehicles to spread consciousness and inspire civic engagement. Kerrie has partnered with organizations such as Project VOYCE, Tennyson Center for Children, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, Bro. Jeff's Cultural Center, the American Heart Association, and more, to serve as an organizer of ideas through creative delivery, teaching her students about the political framework within the arts and how it can be used to build collective power. Reveling in her awkward nature, Kerrie also brings a conscious vulnerability and learned confidence to the classroom where she challenges her students to journey to their truest, and most dynamic, selves. She shows them how to always assume a posture of learning while developing their innate ability to affect meaningful change simply by telling their stories.

    Kerrie is currently the co-executive director of The Kaleidoscope Project, co-host of The SIP Podcast, and co-organizer of the Defund DPD “Amend The Charter” campaign while working on her first music/poetry album and much more. Learn more at

  • Kristin Nelson

    Kristin established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade and a half of her career, she has represented over forty-five New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers. One of her client’s books,Bird Box, is now a successful Netflix movie. Her goal as an agent is simple: she wants every client of hers to make a living solely from writing and 90% of her clients do just that. Those clients include Marie Lu, Josh Malerman, Jamie Ford, Hugh Howey, Gail Carriger, J.D. Barker, E.R. Ramzipoor, Ally Carter, Stacey Lee, Swati Teerdhala, Scott Reintgen.

    When she is not busy selling books, Kristin attempts to play golf & tennis. She also enjoys playing Bridge (where she is the youngest person in her club), and can be found hiking in the mountains with her husband.

    Please visit for submission guidelines and her popular blog Pub Rants for her latest post: Kristin can also be found on Twitter @agentkristinNLA and on Facebook

  • Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand

    Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand is a Sicangu Lakota and Cherokee artist that hails from Taos, New Mexico. Her passion for community and social justice has led her to speak on matters of equality and cultural representation in pop culture. She has spoken on such matters at colleges, schools, conventions, and art festivals.  She studied Media Arts and Animation for four years at the Art Institute of Colorado and is an entrepreneur with big dreams. Kristina has started two businesses. Bad Hand Illustrations in which she works freelance in illustration and as a graphic designer specializing in branding, product and logo design. And áyA Studios LLC. a publishing and media company that focuses on the empowerment and enrichment of independent artists. She has 10 years of experience in after school and summer programs. Most notably for her work with Pop Culture Classroom in their comic-based literacy curriculum and as a Community Liaison with Jeffco Indian Education; providing social-emotional, cultural and academic support through arts to American Indian students K-12.

    Kristina grew up traveling, singing and dancing with her family at powwows. She spent most of her high school career independently experimenting with mixed media, participating in youth art shows, painting murals, and doing set design for her high school drama class. She entered the realm of comic and book illustration in 2013 and has been published seven times since. She remains strongly connected to her artistic network and community. Currently she spends her days as a teaching artist with Think 360 Arts, Art Students League of Denver, and as an OBH Liaison within the Jeffco Indian Education Program.

  • Lara Ameen

    Lara Ameen is a screenwriter, fiction writer, disability activist, media researcher, and PhD student in Education with an emphasis in Disability Studies at Chapman University. She received an MFA in Screenwriting from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and a BA in Film Studies with a minor in Disability Studies from UC Berkeley. She has given lectures and presented on panels with prominent actors, writers, and showrunners about disability representation in film, television, and Young Adult fiction at the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, Skylight Theatre, American University, Chapman University, CalArts, CSUN, and UCLA. Her scripts have placed in Screencraft’s Bahamas Screenwriters Residency Program, Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition. She is a 2018 recipient of the NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship. Her short fiction has been published in Prismatica Magazine and Disabled Voices Anthology (Rebel Mountain Press). 

    She currently conducts disability representation research as part of the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Project for the Academy Film Archive’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Passionate about intersectional disability representation, she hopes to publish a short story collection as well as Young Adult and Adult speculative fiction novels about queer disabled characters who save the world. As a screenwriter, she wants to become a showrunner for a supernatural/sci-fi/fantasy TV drama series featuring a diverse cast of disabled characters portrayed by disabled actors.

  • Leah Koch

    Leah Koch is one of the owners of The Ripped Bodice Bookstore, the only romance focused bookstore on the West Coast. Along with her sister Bea, Leah raised $91,000 on Kickstarter to bring the dream of a romance-only bookstore to life. The Ripped Bodice features a vast and diverse selection of romance fiction. 

    In addition to bookselling, Leah also consults for Sony Pictures Television and spearheads The Ripped Bodice State of Diversity in Romance Publishing report and the Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. Leah grew up in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to attend USC. She enjoys hanging out with her three cats, watching women's soccer, and of course reading.

  • Lillie Lainoff

    Lillie Lainoff is a writer based in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Yale University and a former Div I NCAA athlete and NCAA Championship competitor, she currently coaches fencing and is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers. She’s received awards from Glimmer Train and Scholastic and is also the winner of the 2019 LA Review Literary Award for Short Fiction. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post Outlook, Washington City Paper, and via the Disability Visibility Project, amongst other places. One for All, her debut novel, will be published by FSG in Winter 2022.

  • Lonnie MF Allen

    Lonnie MF Allen made his start in comics in the ’90s DIY zine culture. Since then, his work has appeared in The Westword, Birdy, and Out Front magazine. He has done comic book writing for Image Comics, and was named one of Westword's “100 Colorado Creatives.” He has won a DiNKy award for the best Colorado Comic, and was called one of the best cartoonists around by the Denver Post. He has illustrated for the Colorado Sun and both illustrates and art directs for Suspect Press. His latest project, Chrome Seoul is a Korean cyberpunk comic book series.

  • Lydia Rogue

    Lydia Rogue is a writer and poet living in Portland, Oregon. They write stories and nonfiction that centers trans people, when they're not writing sappy love poems for their spouse or wrangling their four rats. 

    They originally moved to the Pacific Northwest for school, having earned a BA in Environmental Studies/Journalism at WWU. 

    Their second book, Trans-Galactic Bike Ride, is a speculative fiction anthology about trans people on bikes in space. It's due out in late 2020 through Microcosm Publishing. You can find them online at and on Twitter @LydiaRogue

  • Mahogany L. Browne

    Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer, and educator. Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club & Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research, and Rauschenberg. 

    She is the author of Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, Black Girl Magic (Macmillan), Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books), and Dear Twitter (Penmanship Books). She is also the founder of the Woke Baby Book Fair (a nationwide diversity literature campaign) and, as an Arts for Justice grantee, is excited to release her first YA Novel Chlorine Sky in January 2021. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

    Learn more here!

  • Mariah Stovall

    Mariah Stovall is a literary assistant to Susan Golomb at Writers House, where she works with Imbolo Mbue, Wayétu Moore, Angie Kim, Mira T. Lee, Sanjena Sathian, Vauhini Vara, Tiffanie Drayton, Brando Skyhorse, Jim St. Germain, Thomas Mullen, Gabe Hudson, Becky Mandelbaum, Diana Clarke, Rachel Kushner, Nell Zink, JoAnne Tompkins, and others. 

    She is a graduate of Pitzer College and previously worked in Publicity at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and in the Publisher's Office at Gallery/Scout Books. She represents Chantal Johnson, a Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow, and will begin representing more writers in Fall 2020. 

    Mariah's fiction and nonfiction have appeared on the Paris Review, Poets & Writers, Joyland, Literary Hub, Hobart, and HelloGiggles, and she is working on her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @retiredpunk.

  • Mina V. Esguerra

    Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance novels. Visit to learn more about her writing, publishing experiments, events, and advocacies.

    When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, publisher, and publishing mentor. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” for writers and publishers, and #romanceclass for aspiring romance writers.

  • Monica Prince

    Monica Prince teaches activist and performance writing at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem ([PANK], 2020), Instructions  for Temporary Survival (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and Letters from the Other Woman (Grey Book Press, 2018). She is the managing editor of the Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly, and the co-author of the suffrage play, A Pageant of Agitating Women, with Dr. Anna Andes.

  • Pablo Defendini

    Pablo Defendini is a designer and developer for hire, with a focus on editorial design for digital media. He helped launch, before moving on to work for companies that sit in the overlap between publishing and technology, like Open Road Media and O’Reilly. Pablo was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, lives in New York City, and works with people all over the world.

  • pavlos stavropoulos

    Born and raised outside of Athens, Greece, pavlos stavropoulos currently resides in occupied Arapahoe/Cheyenne territory in so-called Colorado, USA. pavlos is a longtime community activist, organizer, and educator involved in local, regional, and international ecological, liberatory, indigenous, queer, and anarchist struggles, including solidarity projects around austerity and refugee issues in their native Greece. The founder of Woodbine Ecology Center, which focuses on sustainable communities and indigenous perspectives, pavlos is a certified permaculture designer and instructor, a water and sustainability educator, a community organizer, a street medic, and a father. In the mornings pavlos writes queer speculative fiction and translates Greek literature. A 2018 Princeton Hellenic Translation Workshop and 2018-2020 Lighthouse Book Project participant, pavlos has been published in ProgenitorAsymptote, Exchanges, New Poetry in Translation, Denver Quarterly, Timber, and The Thought Erotic.

  • R. Alan Brooks

    R. Alan Brooks teaches writing for Regis University’s MFA program and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. He’s the writer/creator of “The Burning Metronome” and “Anguish Garden” - graphic novels featuring social commentary, as well as The Colorado Sun’s weekly comic, “What’d I Miss?” 

    He also hosts the popular “MotherF**ker In A Cape” comics podcast, which focuses on marginalized members of the geek world, and has written comic books for Pop Culture Classroom, Zenescope Entertainment, and more. In addition, Alan is a musician and noted stage host, regularly emceeing celebrated events, like the DINK Awards Show and Arise Music Festival.

  • Sailaja Joshi

    Sailaja N. Joshi is a design thinker, intersectional feminist, mother to two, a bibliophile, an entrepreneur, lover of bold, modern design, diversity activist, and an aspiring dog owner.

    A Massachusetts native, Sailaja grew up a voracious reader. From Leo the Lop to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Amelia Bedelia, she loved every book she read. If you were to ask her today what her favorite book is, she'd likely say either the Harry Potter series OR The Tao of Pooh. It really depends on the day.

    She has always been interested in exploring multicultural generations and loves using those skills in new and exciting ways as the CEO and founder of Mango and Marigold Press. Mango and Marigold Press is an award-winning independent publishing house that shares the sweet and savory stories of the South Asian experience. Founded in 2014, the company has produced fourteen books across four different product categories and been featured on The Today Show, Us Weekly, People Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post and so much more.

  • Sandhya Menon

    Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels with lots of kissing, girl power, and swoony boys. Her books have been featured in many cool places, including on The Today Show, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, NPR, Seventeen, Entertainment Weekly, and Buzzfeed. Her first book, When Dimple Met Rishi, also won the Colorado Book Award. Her latest book, Of Curses and Kisses, is Gossip Girl meets Beauty and the Beast set at an elite boarding school in the mountains, and is the first in a brand-new series. A full-time dog servant, Sandhya makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado.

  • Steven Dunn

    Steven Dunn is the author of two novels from Tarpaulin Sky Press: Potted Meat (2016) and water & power (2018), and the chapbook Our Migrations (Business Bear Press, 2018 & 2019). Potted Meat was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, shortlisted for Granta Magazine’s Best of Young American Novelists, and adapted to a short film by Foothills Productions. The Usual Route has played at L.A. International Film Festival, Houston International Film Festival, and others. He was born and raised in West Virginia, and teaches at Regis University's Mile High MFA.

  • Tiffany Soga

    Tiffany Soga is a Lawsuit Investigations Editor at a legal publication by day and Managing Editor of Slant'd magazine by night! Prior to switching over to the print mag world, she was the former Managing Editor of The Rational, a digital publication, as well as an academic pursuing a doctoral degree in English at King's College London. Today, she resides in her quaint Pasadena cottage just outside of Los Angeles and in her spare time, loves dog watching from her window, reminding people to vote, and complaining about people who aren't wearing masks.

  • Tongo Eisen-Martin

    Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book titled, Someone's Dead Already was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award.

  • Tracey Livesay

    Tracey Livesay’s upcoming release, Like Lovers Do, is a friends to lovers story set against the romantic backdrop of Martha’s Vineyard. It’s the second book in her popular Girls Trip series from Avon—novels featuring a group of women who met and formed a lifelong bond during their first year of college and based on her real-life annual trips with her best friends. In addition to winning the 2020 Emma Award for Best Interracial Romance, she’s been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly and on CBS This Morning. A graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law and a former criminal defense attorney, Tracey lives in Virginia with her husband–who she met on the very first day of law school–and their three children. When not answering the call of wife, mother or author, she watches planner videos on YouTube and daydreams about her next designer purse purchase.

2020 community programming schedule

Catch up on our free and open community programming that has been taking place throughout this past year! 

2020 Community Programming Schedule:

Saturday, April 18, 11:30a ET/9:30a MT, Facebook Live - Working with an Editor: Q&A session with Sylvan Creekmore, Associate Editor at St. Martin's Press

Thursday, May 7, 6:45p ET/4:45p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - The Lit Agency and You: Q&A session with Hannah VanVels (Corvisiero Literary Agency) and Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary Agency) 

Thursday, May 14, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation: Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre with debut César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, author of Migrating to Prison: America's Obsession with Locking up Immigrants

Wednesday, May 20, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation: Colorado Book Award Winner Diana Khoi Nguyen with debut Deborah Jang, author of Float True. Co-hosted with slant'd. 

Wednesday, June 3, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation, Lit & Film Discussion: Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat, with debut Olivia Abtahi, author of the upcoming Perfectly Parvin.

Saturday, June 6, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live- Mining the Modern Gothic, with Elisabeth Thomas, Author of Catherine House, in-conversation with Angela Marie Spring. Co-hosted with Duende District Bookstore.