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Conference Faculty



Author and Editor     

William Kenower is the author of Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt,  Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence, and Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion. He's also Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine, and host of the podcast Author2Author. In addition to his books, he’s been published in The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, Edible Seattle, Parent Map, and has been a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.

Learn more at



Agent and Founder, Red Fox Literary Agency

Before co-founding Red Fox Literary, LLC with Karen Grencik in 2011, ABIGAIL SAMOUN was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years. The books she edited received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre Honor. As an agent, Abigail represents authors and illustrators working in a range of genres, from board books to young adult novels, novelty to nonfiction. Her clients include Hannah Harrison, Matt Faulkner, Betsy Franco, Elizabeth Haidle, Carlyn Beccia, and Dan Krall.

In addition to agenting, Abigail is the author of several children’s books, including Sterling Publishing’s Little Traveler board book series illustrated by Red Fox’s own Sarah Watts and What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle).


Agent and Founder, Bradford Literary Agency 

Laura Bradford established the Bradford Literary Agency in 2001. Her clients include both debut and award-winning and best-selling authors. She strives to showcase diverse voices in all genres and would love to bring more LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors (and protagonists!) into the publishing world. She is actively building her client list and represents work in the following categories: romance (historical, romantic suspense, category, contemporary, erotic), speculative fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thrillers, young adult, upper middle grade, illustration as well as some select non-fiction. She is especially interested in acquiring graphic novels and anything #ownvoices. 

Recent items on her wish list include: plus-sized heroines, manuscripts with disabled rep, a mystery/suspense series with a female protagonist that is an expert in a thinky field (like the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs), deep, juicy middle grade with a lot of emotional gravitas, a historical mystery series with a slow burn romance, multigenerational women's fiction with some cool time periods and settings, middle grade with non-traditional family dynamics, stories of Black joy (any age), funny, escapist YA, forced proximity survival stories (stranded on an island? plane crash in the mountains? snowed in? Any age. She loved Baby Island AND Six Days, Seven Nights.

She is a member of the Association of Association of American Literary Agents (AALA), the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and is an RWA-recognized agent. Learn more at or on Twitter at @bradfordlit



Publishing Director

Alaska Northwest Books/West Margin Press

Jennifer Newens is the publishing director at Alaska Northwest Books, an Imprint of West Margin Press. Though based now in Berkeley, California, the company has deep roots publishing Alaska-based subject matter that goes back decades.  

Alaska Northwest is dedicated to creating beautiful books and sharing unique voices and important stories from all over the state of Alaska. Genres span many categories, including nature and travel, history and memoir, literary fiction, food and lifestyle, and an array of children’s titles. Jen leads a small team that is committed to creating a better understanding of our world through purposeful content, engaging design, and authentic experiences. 


Editor, Before You Hit Send

Freelance editor and publishing strategy consultant Angela James is a veteran of and long-time advocate for digital publishing. She has enjoyed seventeen years of experience in her field, including successfully launching, building and serving as editorial director for first Samhain Publishing and then Harlequin’s Carina Press for a combined 15 years of editorial lead and strategy experience. 

She has edited bestselling books and authors, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Paper Princess by Erin Watt, as well as hundreds of other authors such as Shelly Laurenson/G.A. Aiken, Shannon Stacey, A.M. Arthur, Jaci Burton, Lauren Dane, Alexa Riley, Lisa Marie Rice, Ilona Andrews, Eve Vaughn, Lilith Saintcrow, Josh Lanyon, Jen Frederick, K.A. Mitchell, Lucy Monroe and more. She was profiled in Fast Company magazine as a digital pioneer in the romance publishing industry, has been named New York Romance Writers of America’s Golden Apple Editor of the Year, and is the creator of Before You Hit Send, the popular online self-editing and writing workshop for authors. 

For more information about Angela’s freelance editorial and consulting services, or Before You Hit Send, visit You can also find Angela on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


Shane Castle is an assistant professor of writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a senior affiliate editor of Alaska Quarterly Review. His short fiction has appeared in journals including Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, West Branch, Salamander, Columbia Journal, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency


Editor and Author, Relevant Publishers

Sharon Aubrey is the Managing Director of Relevant Publishers LLC, an award-winning publishing house in Sutton, Alaska. Aiming to change the world, one mind at a time, Relevant Publishers LLC accepts books in a variety of genres and houses eleven authors. In addition to managing the company, Sharon has personally written and released several books in nonfiction and children’s fiction genres. Her most recent title, Jared the Giant, The Secret was inspired by her love of children’s education. In 2018 and 2019, she served at the Young Writer’s Conference in Palmer, Alaska. A member of the Alaska Writer’s Guild since 2017, she is an ardent promotor of the Alaskan book niche, Alaskan authors, and mentoring others. Sharon was awarded the Lin Halterman Memorial Grant Award in 2020 and the Alaska Adaptation and Innovation Grant in 2021. 


Editor and Publisher, Cirque Press  

Sandra Kleven is publisher and editor at Cirque Press in partnership with Michael Burwell of New Mexico.  For eleven years, they have produced the widely acclaimed journal, Cirque, then, in 2018, they established Cirque Press (CP).  To date CP has published books by 25 literary authors and poets of the region.  Kleven has been published in various journals including, Alaska Quarterly Review, Stoneboat, F- Zine, Oklahoma Review, Praxilla, and Topic. She's been awarded prizes from F-Zines, F'Aire Words contest and the UAA, Alaska Daily News competition.  Her books include Defiance Street: Poems and Other Writing and two titles for children aimed at the prevention of sexual abuse. Since 2013, she has facilitated the long-running monthly event, Poetry Parley.  In 2015, her name was placed on the Wall of Honor for Northshore Schools, near Seattle. Her home is in Anchorage, Alaska where she works as clinical director for a tribal organization.  


Editor and Author, Red Sweater Press  

Caitlin M.S. Buxbaum is a writer, teacher, and publisher from Wasilla, Alaska. She wrote more than 600 stories as a reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, and has taught or substitute taught multiple subjects in 19 different schools throughout the Mat-Su Borough School District. She has published eight books of poetry, photography, and fiction through her company, Red Sweater Press, and currently serves as the Mat-Su Vice President of Alaska Writers Guild. Learn more at and



Jena Benton Lasley is an elementary school teacher, writer, illustrator, and creator of the Simply 7 interview series, where you can find many interviews with a variety of picture book authors and illustrators on her blog.  She has a BA in Journalism and English, and is a member of SCBWI and 12X12. Visit her at her website at



Kristen Ritter is a playwright, writer, and comedy performer living in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a Fulbright Fellow and an Alaska Literary Award recipient. Her writing has been supported by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Kennedy Center, the U.S. Department of State, the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, and Theater Alaska. Her work has been developed at the Valdez Theater Conference and with assistance from Brown/ Trinity Rep. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Vassar College. She's served on writing panels and presented at writing conferences on topics ranging from joke structure to feminist representations in literature. When she's not writing, she enjoys backpacking, rock climbing, and performing improv comedy. 


Lorna is a Pacific Northwest writer and speaker. Her narrative nonfiction and poetry have been recognized by Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Oregon Poetry Association, and have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Wednesday, Jellyfish Review, About Place Journal, Writers Resist, and elsewhere. Lorna also speaks publicly on motherhood, resilience, and her experience in AmeriCorps. She serves on the Boards of the Oregon Poetry Association and Alaska Writers Guild, and is former president of Write On The River. She is at work on a memoir about going from LA party girl to trail worker in rural Alaska, a project that started through journaling. When not wrangling her two small children, she fantasizes about being interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. More at


Relishing opportunities to create worlds of adventure, romance, and horror, C.G. Williams’ research has led to interesting places, experiences, and wonderful friends.

C.G. Williams found it very beneficial to be raised in a large family that valued learning and intellectual pursuits. Finding music, film, books, culture and science, informing creative work to house ideas, emotions, and ideologies. Writing has been an expansive journey, helping C.G. Williams to understand the world within and without.


Ethan Jacko Atwater is the son of Stephen G and Barbara J Atwater.  As a lover of stories, Ethan enjoyed listening to his great, great uncle Walter’s fables and learning about the Dena’ina people and culture in this way. Ethan lives in Anchorage but tries to get to Pedro Bay as often as possible.


Barbara Jacko Atwater is the daughter of George and Dolly(Foss) Jacko of Pedro Bay, Alaska.  Her great uncle, respected Dena’ina Elder Walter Johnson, told her many Dena’ina fables that she and her son felt needed to be shared with the greater public.  A retired teacher, she and her husband Stephen divide their time between Pedro Bay and Anchorage, Alaska.  


Tricia Brown began her writing and editing career in newspapers, then moved into magazines, and then stepped into book publishing (each move lengthened her deadlines!)

She is the author of eleven books for children and many more for adult audiences. Learn more at


Matthew Lasley grew up in the interior of Alaska, living the quintessential Alaskan life of subsistence, dog mushing, outhouses and mining. In 2019, Matthew debuted as an author with the picture book, Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story, illustrated by Jacob Souva and published by Alaska Northwest Books, an imprint of West Margin Press. Pedro’s Pan tells the story of Pedro, a prospector, through the eyes of his gold pan, teaching the reader about searching for gold while exploring such emotional issues as identity and perseverance while back matter provides educational facts about the real Felix Pedro, panning and gold.

Matthew enjoys sharing his story and experiences whenever he can. He has enjoyed talking to children across the country through World Read Aloud Day and Read Across America Week. If you would like to have him visit your class in person or virtually, please contact him at


Brooke Hartman is an Alaskan mom and award-winning author of fun books for kids. Her debut picture book, Dream Flights on Arctic Nights (West Margin Press, 2019) received a starred review from Kirkus and was a Children’s Bookshelf best book of the year, and her 2020 release, Lotte’s Magical Paper Puppets, the Woman Behind the First Animated Feature Film (2020, Page Street Kids) was a Poetry and Prose First Edition Book Selection. This spring, she released her latest titles: The Littlest Airplane (April 2022, West Margin Press) and Pega Sisters Go to Camp (May 2022, Page Street Kids), and has four more titles releasing in 2023. 

Brooke also serves as an adjunct instructor of writing and publishing for Alaska Pacific University and is a member of the board of directors for the Alaska Writers Guild. When she isn’t writing, you can find her flying, fishing, and having fun with her family, enjoying all the magic life has to offer. Follow her adventures at or on social media @BrookesBooksAK.


Mia Heavener is of Norwegian, Polish, and Yup’ik heritage. Her experience in rural Alaska is both personal and professional. After graduating from MIT with a degree in civil engineering, Mia returned home to design water and wastewater systems in Alaskan Native villages. During the summers, she commercial fishes with her family in Bristol Bay. She believes that everyone should have a good whiff of the tundra at least once in their life, if not twice. She has an MFA from Colorado State University. Her fiction has appeared in Smokelong QuarterlyCortland Review and Willow Springs. She is the author of the novel Under Nushagak Bluff. 


Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Dave Onofrychuk came to Alaska in 2005 to earn his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. In 2010, he joined the faculty at Alaska Pacific University, where he now teaches as an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Composition and Founding Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. His fiction has appeared in Stoneboat Journal, Blindman Brewing’s beer can Session Stories, and Fifth Wednesday Journal, where it has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Anchorage with his wife and two sons.


Jamey Bradbury is the author of The Wild Inside (William Morrow 2018) and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Her novel has been translated into five additional languages, and her short fiction has appeared in Black Warrior ReviewSpark + EchoSou'wester, and Zone 3. She serves on the board of the Alaska Writers Guild. In addition to writing freelance articles for local publications, Jamey also works as a communications specialist for Cook Inlet Tribal Council. More at


Corinna Cook is the author of Leavetakings, an essay collection (University of Alaska Press 2020). She is a former Fulbright Fellow, an Alaska Literary Award recipient, and a Rasmuson Foundation awardee. Corinna’s creative work appears in Flyway, Alaska Quarterly Review, Alaska Magazine, Brink, and elsewhere; her journalism appears in venues including Yukon North of Ordinary and GlacierHub; her critical articles appear in Assay and New Writing; and she writes about teaching for Pedagogy and American Literary Studies. Corinna holds degrees from Pomona College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and her PhD is in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. More at


Karen Kiely is a lifelong Alaskan who has never lived in an igloo and doesn’t know anyone who has. She writes romance in the contemporary and paranormal lanes, filled with sensuality, humor, and recognizable Alaskan details. When she's not writing or talking to her writing friends, she's reading, listening to podcasts, and masquerading as furniture for her cats while catching up on her streaming queue.


Twitter:  @kkielyauthor

Facebook: @karen.kielyauthor.3


Neva Post grew up in a log house in Interior Alaska where she walked uphill both ways to school at temperatures of negative forty Fahrenheit with only the aurora borealis to light her way. At least, that’s how she remembers it.

She’s equally happy on a snowy trail or coaxing vegetables to grow in her garden during the long Alaskan summer days. When she’s not waxing skis or chasing voles out of her cabbage, she’s at her computer. Neva’s novels include paranormal elements—she can’t help it—with smart and dependable characters who always get their HEA. 


M.C. MoHagani Magnetek (pronounced: emcee mahogany magnetic) is married to her best friend, Juanita. She and her wife reside in Anchorage, AK at their Wonder Woman Wonderdome. She is a prolific writer who is cooler than ice water, has earned degrees in Anthropology (B.A.) English (B.A.) Forensic Death Investigation (graduate certificate) and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Literary Arts. She is currently working on getting her life together. A Coast Guard veteran, Community Organizer and a Human Rights Advocate who is world renown, nationally recognized and locally accepted as the undisputed people’s champ because she believes poetry is therapeutic. 

Some of her published works include “Shhh Be Quiet” Building Fires in the Snow (2016). “Acrimonious Black Woman Sparks Climate Change Debate with the President” Alaska Women Speak (Spring, 2019). “Girlfriend, What’s Your Recipe for Lemonade” Woman Scream: The International Poetry Anthology of Female Voices (2020). Her first novel: “The Mad Fantastic, 2098” (2020). “Death by a Thousand Kisses: A Ms. Mahogany Bones Murder Mystery” (2021). “That One Magnetek Time I Jumped Over Five Cars” Wheels on Ice: Stories of Cycling in Alaska (2022)


Fantasy, romance, adventure, and sass... These are what Elizabeth's stories are made of... An Alaskan author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and fantasy romance novels, she believes a story isn't complete without a dragon and a happily ever after. While Elizabeth has plied a variety of trades, from renaissance faire wench to archaeologist, she now works as an editor and author. When not writing, Elizabeth loves throwing herself into a great book, indulging her creative whims, nudging unique flowers and edible plants to grow, beachcombing for treasure, indulging her nerd needs, collecting Alaska folklore, and wrangling her two cats (one of which might be a zombie). 


Christa is currently working on a contemporary romance series slated to be published in 2023. She enjoys writing romantic suspense, historical, and entertaining contemporary romances with strong female characters and the perfect match for their mate. She writes both series and stand-alone novels from her home office located in Alaska, where she lives with her husband and their Labradoodle, Jake, who is always curled up nearby.





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