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we are updating this list daily. check back for more new speakers!

keynote speakers

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Nate Marshall is an award-winning writer, editor, educator, and MC. His most recent book, Finna, was recognized as one of the best books of 2020 by NPR and The New York Public Library. His first book, Wild Hundreds, was honored with 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. He was also an editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Marshall co-wrote the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks with Eve Ewing. He also wrote the audio drama Bruh Rabbit & The Fantastic Telling of Remington Ellis, Esq., which was produced by Make-Believe Association. Marshall records hip-hop as a solo artist and with the group Daily Lyrical Product.

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K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel BESTIARY (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2021, her chapbook BONE HOUSE was published by Bull City Press. Her short story collection, GODS OF WANT, is forthcoming from One World, as well as a novel titled ORGAN MEATS. She lives in California.

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Nicole Counts is a Senior Editor at One World, an imprint of Random House, where she works with Fatimah Asghar, Morgan Parker, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Donovan X. Ramsey, Brittany Packnett, Nate Marshall, Danielle Geller, and Gabriella Burnham, among others. She started her career in marketing and publicity at PublicAffairs and Bold Type Books. She is a member of POC in publishing and a volunteer with Well-Read Black Girl. She was a finalist for the 2020 PW Star Watch.

presenters & panelists

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Manuel Aragon is a Latinx writer, director, and filmmaker from Denver, CO. He is currently working on a short story collection, Norteñas. Norteñas is a collection of speculative fiction short stories centered in the Northside, a Mexican and Mexican- American centered part of Denver, and the people, ghosts, and demons that live there.

His work has appeared in ANMLY. His short story, "A Violent Noise," was nominated for the 2020 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. He is a 2021 Periplus Collective Fellow.

He is a graduate of NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. His film work - writing and directing - has been featured on MTV, Pitchfork, and Stereogum. He most recently won the CineLatino Pitch Latino Award for Emerging Filmmakers with my web series, Welcome to the Northside, a comedic take on gentrification and Latino displacement in North Denver. 

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Linda Camacho is an agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, founded in 2000 and home to talents like Rick Riordan and Sophie Blackall. Linda graduated from Cornell with a B.S. in Communication and has held various positions at Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. She's done everything from foreign rights to editorial, to marketing, to operations and received her MFA in children's writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Linda represents bestselling and award-winning authors such as Yamile Saied Méndez, K. O'Neill, and Wendy Xu.

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Sonali Chanchani is an agent at Folio Literary Management, where she represents literary and upmarket fiction and narrative nonfiction. In fiction, she’s looking for smart, funny novels about identity and coming of age, braided narratives of friendship and/or family, and nuanced psychological suspense. In nonfiction, she’s drawn to reported narratives that speak to larger social, cultural, and political issues. Across the board, she’s particularly interested in character-driven stories that center historically underrepresented voices. Sonali is a member of the Association of American Literary Agents, where she serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She earned her degree in English and Narrative studies from the University of Southern California and began her career in publishing at Kaya, an independent press dedicated to publishing authors from the Asian diaspora.

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Jane Chun joined Janklow & Nesbit in May 2019. Prior to working at J&N, she worked on a freelance project for HG Literary and interned at Writers House and Maximum Films. She is particularly interested in stories focused on underrepresented communities and prose that is cinematic and atmospheric with good rhythm. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, she is drawn towards compelling, individualistic voices that make her feel as though the writer is in the room with her, telling her their story with intimacy and honesty as if they were already acquainted.

 

For fiction, Jane is seeking commercial, upmarket, and literary works in both adult and MG/YA about the finding and rebuilding of identity, diaspora, family and community, and examinations of power in relationships. She is also looking for fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction that delves into sharp social commentary and has meticulous worldbuilding and settings that don’t feel like Western Europe. For historical fiction, she likes hidden histories and anything set in a time or place she’s not familiar with or focuses on a community that has often been overlooked if it’s a time/place she knows. In terms of nonfiction, she is primarily looking for memoir and narrative nonfiction with similar themes to her interests in fiction. She is also deeply interested in graphic novels and nonfiction.

 

Jane is a native New Yorker and attended NYU, where she received a B.A. in History and M.S. in Publishing. She loves film and TV, avidly follows soccer/football, and enjoys finding restaurants to add to her list of favorite places to eat.

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Jessica Chun I have worked in publishing for about fifteen years with a focus on marketing nonfiction books. I am currently a Senior Director of Marketing at Little, Brown Spark and Voracious, where I focus primarily on books in these categories: social science, health, business, cookbooks, illustrated books, and more.

 

I advise authors on how to build their digital platforms, strategize preorder campaigns, collaborate on social media and digital campaigns, and advise on all aspects of the book marketing campaign. I have the pleasure of working with some amazing authors such as Daniel Kahneman, Marie Kondo, Dr. Mark Hyman, Leah Thomas, Tricia Hersey, Christopher Kimball, Brad Leone, and many more.

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Priya Doraswamy's love for books, people, and background in law makes her career as a literary agent the perfect fit for her passions and talents. Priya enjoys working with publishers and writers from around the world. Although physically in New Jersey, her work hours are zone-free. She does admit to occasionally losing track of time zones and waking a writer with an early morning phone call.

Priya is drawn to all genre of fiction and nonfiction. Prior to her agency career, she was a practicing lawyer in New Jersey. Originally from Bangalore, India, Priya immigrated to the New York area many moons ago. For a period of time she relocated with her family to Singapore, and there, began her career as a literary agent. She founded Lotus Lane Literary in May 2013 and continues her journey with writers and publishers.

 

Looking for:

Upmarket contemporary womens fiction, romcoms, literary fiction, mystery/thriller/crime, true crime, and historical fiction centered around American  women heroes in all walks of life. Only unpublished manuscripts please.

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Maria Heater studied literature at American University and began her career in education, teaching in South Korea and Singapore before transitioning to the literary world. After attending the Denver Publishing Institute in 2016, she interned for two literary agencies and managed an independent bookstore before joining Nelson Literary Agency as an associate in 2019. She has been a Pitch Wars mentor and a mentee in programs through POC in Pub and SFWA. She enjoys reading in almost every genre, but is most drawn to historical, speculative, and mystery. She loves bad weather, because it’s the best excuse to stay inside and read.

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Sam Hiyate worked at the literary magazines Blood & Aphorisms and The Quarterly in the 90s. He ran the edgy micropublisher, Gutter Press, from 1993 to 2002, as publisher, and launched the literary division of The Lavin Agency in 2003, building a client list and completing his first deals. He's keen to discover and help new writers prepare their works for market, and to help them build lasting careers with their talent. Sam is also the host of the podcast Agent Provocateur, giving a behind-the-scenes view into publishing and agenting.

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Kat Kerr joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say.

 

For a full list of her submissions interests, please visit www.maassagency.com/kat-kerr

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Ali Lake is a young agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates building her list in nonfiction, fiction, and YA. She loves books that show her a new corner of the world or an unexpected facet of human experience through an original, surprising voice. Previous to joining J&N, she worked at ICM Partners. She has a BA in English and French Literature from Columbia University.

Ivan Lett

Ivan Lett is a Senior Publicist at Basic Books and Seal Press. Previously, he worked in Publicity and Marketing roles at Yale University Press and St. Martin’s Press, and as Director of Communications for Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He lives in New York.

Cheryl Lew

Cheryl Lew Originally from San Francisco, Cheryl Lew began working in publishing almost 10 years ago and is currently a Senior Publicity Manager at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She specializes in children’s and young adult literature, where she has collaborated with a variety of literary luminaries, public figures, award-winning and bestselling creators, and debut voices. She previously held positions at Holiday House Books for Young Readers and Media Connect, the publishing arm of Finn Partners, one of the largest international PR agencies.

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Henry Lien is a 2012 graduate of Clarion West. He is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series. His short fiction has appeared in publications including Asimov’s, Analog, and F&SF, and he is a four-time Nebula Award finalist. Henry also teaches writing for institutions including UCLA, the University of Iowa, and Clarion West and won the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award. Henry has previously worked as an attorney and fine art dealer. Born in Taiwan, Henry currently lives in Hollywood. Hobbies include writing and performing campy science fiction/fantasy anthems, and losing Nebula Awards.

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Lena Little I've worked in publicity for 15 years across Alfred A. Knopf & Pantheon, Politics & Prose, National Geographic, and Little, Brown. Some of the authors I’ve worked with include Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman, Esmeralda Santiago, Alan Hollinghurst, Anne Carson, Sharon Olds, Kevin Young, Oliver Sacks, Christopher McDougall, Attica Locke, Beth Macy, Clint Smith, Andrew Sean Greer, James Hannaham, Katie Couric, Chigozie Obioma, Mary Gabriel, Jenny Slate, Jared Diamond, and Daniel Kahneman.

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Sandy Lu  founded Book Wyrm Literary Agency in 2020 after working as a literary agent for more than a decade at other boutique agencies, most recently the L. Perkins Agency. Her client list includes Kindle bestsellers, Stoker Award and Hammett Prize nominees, Goodreads Choice Awards finalists, and New York Times Best of the Year recipient.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Sandy immigrated to the United States in her teens and has lived in New York ever since. She holds BAs in psychology and sociology from Queens College, with minors in music, business, and Japanese.  Prior to becoming an agent, she worked as a business/operations manager in the theater industry.

Sandy’s areas of study and work experience greatly inform her interest in submissions.  In fiction, she is seeking stories that will draw her in with a unique voice, make her miss her bedtime with a thrilling plot, and characters that will stay with her long after she turns the last page. Bonus points if you can make her laugh out loud or unable to hold back tears in public. Sandy especially loves historical fiction and anything dark, twisted, or with a supernatural bent.

In non-fiction, she’s looking for projects that can make connections about different topics in an unexpected way, explicate complex research for a general audience, introduce the reader to cutting-edged science or previously little known historical facts and figures, teach us new ways to think or clever skills that can improve our daily life, and expand our knowledge and understanding of the world—past, present, and future

Sandy is actively looking for new voices in the following:

 

Fiction: literary and commercial fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA.

 

Non-fiction: narrative nonfiction, history, biography, science, business, psychology, pop culture, and food writing.

 

Not Looking For: Picture books, graphic novels, religions/spirituality, politics/current affairs, sports, parenting, poetry, or screenplays.

                                                             

Clients: M. H. Boroson, B.J. Graf, Heather Levy, Elizabeth Lewes, Mary Carroll Moore, Jeneva Rose, and Randall Silvis.

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Adrian Miller is a food writer, James Beard Award winner, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, Colorado.

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.  From 1999 to 2001, Miller 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 went on to serve as a senior policy analyst for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. From 2004 to 2010, he served on the board for the Southern Foodways Alliance. In June 2019, Adrian lectured in the Masters of Gastronomy program at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche (nicknamed the “Slow Food University”) in Pollenzo, Italy. 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’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. Adrian’s third book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, will be published Spring 2021.

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Kiana (Kiki) Nguyen  is a literary agent at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

After dropping out of University of Albany in 2015, Kiki Nguyen had her first publishing internship with Wunderkind PR. There, she discovered a practical industry for her codependent love of fiction. In 2016, Kiki went on to intern with DMLA where she soon joined the team full-time as an assistant literary agent.

Kiki is now building her client list within young adult and adult fiction with a focus on queer and BIPOC authors. When not working, she is playing Among Us or shouting about film/tv on Twitter.

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Amanda Orozco is a literary agent at Transatlantic. She graduated from NYU with her Masters of Science in Publishing: Digital and Print Media. Before joining Transatlantic, she worked in Subsidiary Rights at Little, Brown and at Park & Fine Literary and Media. While at NYU, she interned at the National Book Foundation, Shreve Williams Public Relations, and The Gernert Company. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Angelique Palmer

Angelique Palmer is a performance poet, Kindergarten Teacher and Spoken Word instructor at Wilkes University. A finalist in the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam, she is also a member of the 2017 Busboys and Poets/Beltway Poetry Slam Team.

 

After 10 self-published chapbooks, her first full length book, THE CHAMBERMAID’S STYLE GUIDE, debuted on Sargent Press in 2016. Her second book is the 2021 follow-up ALSO DARK on Etruscan Press.

Her publications include Drunk in A Midnight Choir, Wus Good?: A POC Magazine, Borderline, and The Mud Review. The New Orleans native, and Florida State University Creative Writing graduate now calls Northern Virginia home. She makes her own ice cream and yogurt.

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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 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. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found eating couscous in Morocco, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest. 

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Mariah Stovall is an agent at Trellis Literary Management. She has also worked at Howland Literary, Writers House, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Gallery Books. She represents adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, essay collections and memoir, and is looking for writers with strong voices and intersectional and interdisciplinary perspectives. She gravitates toward surprising, strange, challenging stories that are obsessive in content and craft, and that center flawed, outsider characters. She’s most passionate about music, mental health/illness, Black America, linguistics, histories of objects and ideas, accessible but accurate science, and deep dives into subcultures and social movements—but great writing can get her interested in any topic. She is MFA-agnostic and has a hands-on, collaborative approach to editing her clients' work.

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Elaine Tassy is the first Race, Diversity and Equity Reporter at Colorado Public Radio. She began her position in February after working as a newspaper reporter at the Albuquerque Journal, Baltimore Sun, Grand Rapids Press, and Los Angeles Times, and college journalism instructor at schools including Temple University, University of The Bahamas, Temple University and St. Joseph's University. She is also the author of "How The Sun Lost Its Shine: A Newsroom Memoir," about some of the challenges of working in a daily newsroom as a black woman. She has a BA in English from Wesleyan University, and an MA in Journalism from Ohio State University. 

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Hannah VanVels Ausbury is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. Hannah has worked various bookish jobs including a stint as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, an editor for scholarly and academic essays and journals, and as an 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 on Lake Michigan with her partner, two German Shepherds, and two cats.

more presenters & panelists bio's coming soon!