2016 Faculty and Panelist Biographies

The distinguished participants in this summer's conference are all active and successful novelists, poets, screenwriters, critics, scholars, or publishing professionals. In addition to our graduate program faculty, other speakers and presenters join us from all over the country. This page includes all presenter biographies. Biographies of Workshop and Critical Seminar leaders and of participants in the Poetry Symposium can also be found on the pages with the descriptions of those programs.

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Robin Wayne Bailey, this year's Genre Fiction Keynote, is the author of fifteen novels and over two hundred short stories.  His novels include the ongoing Frost series of books and stories, the Brothers of the Dragon trilogy, the young-adult series, Dragonkin, and such stand-alone novels as Shadowdance and Swords Against the Shadowland.  Many of his short stories have been collected in two volumes, Turn Left to Tomorrow and The Fantastikon: Tales of Wonder. Also an editor, he is responsible for Through My Glasses Darkly: Five Stories by Frank M. Robinson, as well as Architects of Dreams and the forthcoming Little Green Men - Attack, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.  He's produced two books of poetry: Zombies in Oz, an assortment of humorous "zombie" poems, and The Geometries of Love. He was a two-term president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and one of the founders of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, now located in Seattle, Washington and part of Paul Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

Bruce Bennett, recipient of the 2015 Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing, is the author of nine full-length books of poetry and more than twenty-five poetry chapbooks. His most recent books are Something Like Karma (Clandestine Press, 2009) and Subway Figure (Orchises Press, 2009). His most recent chapbooks are The Wither’d Sedge (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and Swimming In A Watering Can (FootHills Publishing, 2014). His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), was chosen by Booklist as “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999.” He was awarded a Pushcart Prize for his villanelle, "The Thing's Impossible," which appeared in the Fall 2011 Issue of Ploughshares. He received his AB, AM, and PhD from Harvard, and taught at Oberlin College from 1967-70, where he co-founded and served as an editor of Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. In 1970 he moved back to Cambridge, where he co-founded and served as an editor of Ploughshares. In 1971, he married Bonnie Apgar, a Renaissance art historian, and for two years he and Bonnie lived in Florence, Italy. In 1973 he began teaching at Wells College in Aurora, NY. He and Bonnie have two children, Evan and Millicent. Evan is an architect and Millicent is an editor, and both live with their families in New York City.

Kelsey L. Bennett is a writer, critic, educator, and recipient of a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant.  Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, The New Criterion, Brontë Studies, The Colorado Review, Notes on Contemporary Literature, Gunnison Valley Journal, and elsewhere.  Her book of literary criticism, Principle & Propensity: Experience and Religion in the Nineteenth-Century British and American Bildungsroman, was published with the University of South Carolina Press in 2014.  She received her B.A. in Classics from St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver.  Currently she lives in Gunnison, Colorado, where she directs the Honors Program and teaches literature at Western State Colorado University.

For six years, Michael Brody has directed, with his wife Jennifer, the Crested Butte Film Festival, a four day celebration of narrative and documentary film. In that time, total attendance has jumped a remarkable 147%. The festival is known for its challenging, provocative and international selections and has become a favorite of many filmmakers. Before that, he graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Creative Writing, Filmmaking, and Philosophy. His first screenplay The Sun King was optioned by Hollywood producer Jeff Mackler. In 2010, he wrote, directed and produced the low-budget feature film, Document. In 2012 he was hired to adapt the novel Created Equal for the screen. Most recently, he was invited to submit his TV pilot Sanctuary to Sundance's esteemed Episodic Story Lab, and is now working on another adaptation.

Thomas Cable has devoted a lifetime to the study of the English language and its prosodic development in poetry. Now emeritus professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, he has also taught in France and at the University of Illinois. Among his books are A History of the English Language (with Albert C. Baugh) and The English Alliterative Tradition. His interests range from the metrics of Old English verse to the treatment of meter by today’s New Formalists.

Broughton Coburn, this year's Creative Nonfiction Keynote, graduated from Harvard College in 1973, then fulfilled a destiny with the Himalayas -- where he has worked two of the past three decades. He developed documentary films and oversaw environmental conservation and development efforts for the World Bank, UNESCO, World Wildlife Fund, and other agencies. But he's known mainly as an author.

Nepali Aama: Life Lessons of a Himalayan Woman (Anchor/Doubleday; now in its fourth edition), documents Aama's life as an elderly, subsistence farmer in the foothills of the Himalayas. The sequel, Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart (Anchor/Doubleday) is the dramatic and poignant tale of their 12,000-mile odyssey in search of the soul of the United States. In addition to acclaim as an illustrated lecture program, this story has been widely excerpted and a feature film screenplay is in progress.

In 1997, Coburn was awarded the American Alpine Club's Literary Achievement Award for his body of work. His third book, Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (National Geographic Books) reached #17 on the New York Times Bestseller list and was selected as a "Pick" for 1997 by Publisher's Weekly. It has sold over 400,000 copies, an unusual showing for a large format illustrated book.

Coburn also authored a young adult photo-biography of Sir Edmund Hillary, Triumph on Everest, for National Geographic Books. This was selected as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People for 2001 by the National Council for Social Studies and the Children's Book Council. In April of 2001 his collaboration with Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to The Top of Everest (HarperSanFrancisco), his fifth book, reached #7 on the prestigious BookSense list, #24 on the New York Times list, was granted an Honorary Mention at the 2001 Banff Mountain Book Festival, and was a finalist for the coveted 2001 Books for a Better Life Award.

Coburn has also written magazine articles for New Age, Rock and Ice, The Denver Post Magazine, Co-Evolution Quarterly, Worldview and other magazines. In addition to lecturing, he is now editing a large format book on the Himalaya, and is writing a series of historical fiction titles set in the Himalaya in the 1960s and '70s. He is the Special Projects Director for the American Himalayan Foundation, a charitable organization based in San Francisco that brings education, health care and environmental conservation to villagers like Aama. Learn more about him at http://broughtoncoburn.com/.

Russell Davis is Director of Western’s Genre Fiction Concentration. He has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. He has also worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. He is a regular speaker at conferences and schools, where he teaches writing, editing and the fundamentals of the publishing industry. He is a past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and his newest work, The End of All Seasons, is a collection of short fiction and poetry that came out in 2013.

New York Times Best-Selling Author Stacia Deutsch serves as Visiting Professor in Western's Genre Fiction Concentration. She has written more than a hundred children's books. In addition to her award-winning creative chapter book series Blast to the Past, Stacia has also ghost-written for a popular girl's mystery series, published non-fiction texts, and penned a young adult romantic comedy called In the Stars. She has written junior movie tie-in novels for summer blockbuster films including Batman, The Dark Knight and the New York Times Best Sellers Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Jr. and The Smurfs. She is currently writing stories for Lego. In 2013, she earned her MFA from Western. Find her at www.staciadeutsch.com, @staciadeutsch and www.facebook/staciadeutsch.

Paul Edwards is chair of the Communication Arts, Languages and Literature Department and professor of Communication Arts at Western State Colorado University.  He has taught since 1980 and has acted in, directed, and written dozens of plays for a variety of theatre groups. Currently he is working with a colleague in the Art Department at Western on redefining aesthetics and broadening its application to human life. He has a permanent love affair with the Colorado Rockies (the region, not the baseball team).

Mary Beth Fielder is an award winning filmmaker and teacher.  She has written screenplays for Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros and her work for television has appeared on Fox, Nickelodeon and ABC.  Fielder has taught film directing, screenwriting and acting at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Loyola Marymount University, Tel Aviv University and Chapman University.


Natalie Gerber is Associate Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia. Her essays on modernist poetry and poetics have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Thinking Verse, Style, and Paideuma. She has organized poetics seminars and workshops at the West Chester Poetry Conferences, the Modernist Studies Association, and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. She is currently at work on A Poet’s Field Guide to the English Language.

Poet, weekly newspaper columnist, and Rainbow Family elder, Art Goodtimes of Norwood weaves non-traditional coil baskets, grows 25+ varieties of organic heirloom potatoes and is serving his 5 term in Telluride as Colorado’s only Green Party county commissioner. Poet-in-residence of the Telluride Mushroom Festival since 1981 (www.telluridemushroomfest.org), founder and director of various Talking Gourds poetry events since 1989 (talkinggourds.weebly.com), poetry editor for the national mycological magazine Fungi (www.fungimag.com) and co-editor of an on-line poetry zine (sagegreenjournal.org), Art served as the first Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope (2011-13) and his most recent book is Looking South to Lone Cone: the Cloud Acre Poems (Western Eye Press, Sedona AZ, 2013).

Emily Grosholz is a poet who teaches philosophy and poetry at the Pennsylvania State University, and has been an advisory editor for The Hudson Review for over thirty years.  Her seventh book of poetry, Childhood, published by Accents Publishing with drawings by Parisian artist Lucy Vines, has raised over $2000 in the past year for UNICEF from sales of the book. It has been translated into Japanese by Atsuko Hayakawa, with illustrations by Chihiro Iwasaki; an Italian translation by Sara Amadori is underway, and Turkish, Russian, Hebrew and Bengali translations are in planning stages. A baker's dozen of her poems appeared in Fall 2015, in the Hudson Review and in PN Review, including two elegies for Maxine Kumin, a poem about her recent visit to the Gunnison Valley Observatory, two poems about Rome and two poems about the ferryboat from Helsinki to Tallinn. She recently submitted the manuscript of a philosophical monograph on number theory and cosmology as well as a proposal for a book on poetry and mathematics to the same publishing house, and a set of poems to Think, and she is translating a wonderful essay by Yves Bonnefoy on Yeats for a collection due out soon from Carcanet.

James Gunn, this year's winner of the Writing the Rockies Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Creative Writing, has had a career divided between writing and teaching, typified by his service as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and as president of the Science Fiction Research Association, as well as having been presented the Grand Master Award of SFWA and the Pilgrim Award of SFRA and been inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He has taught fiction writing since 1960 and created the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, where he is now Emeritus Professor of English. He has published more than 100 short stories and has written or edited 44 books, including The Immortals, The Listeners, The Dreamers, Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, The Road to Science Fiction, and, most recently, Transcendental and its sequel, Transgalactic. His many nonfiction works include The Science of Science-Fiction Writing.

Kyle Harvey is the editor of Fruita Pulp, an online poetry journal. He was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award (Hyacinth, Lithic Press 2013), as well as the winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Life in Poetry, Electric Cereal, Fat City Review, Heavy Feather Review, HOUSEGUEST, Metatron, Ossuary Whispers, Pilgrimage, Pith, SHAMPOOThink Journal and The Wallace Stevens Journal. Lithic Press recently published his serial poems July and Farewell Materials and Reality Beach, recently, a package of broadsides titled, The Alphabet’s Book of Colors: Supplemental Notes for Philipp Otto Runge’s Die Farbenkugel. Harvey, an acclaimed singer-songwriter and nominee of multiple Omaha Entertainment Awards, is preparing to record his fourth full-length studio album.

Alissa Johnson is an editor at the Crested Butte News and an award winning writer. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street JournalDirt Rag Magazine, Wilderness News, and Mountain Gazette among other publications. Her writing has won awards from FundsforWriters and the Colorado Press Association, and she holds an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University (WCSU). She is the founder of WritingStrides and has taught at WCSU and Western State Colorado University. www.writingstrides.com.


Kase Johnstun lives and writes in Ogden, Utah. He is the author of recently released Beyond the Grip Craniosynostosis (McFarland & Co), which has been featured in Pennsylvania Parenting Magazine, Portland Family Magazine, The Ogden Standard Examiner, and many other places, as well as having mentions in the Chicago Tribune and the Seattle Times. It was recently awarded the Gold Quill (First Place) in Creative Nonfiction by the League of Utah Writers for 2015. His work has been published widely by literary journals and trade magazines, including, but not limited to, Yahoo Parenting, Creative Nonfiction Magazine, and The Chronicle Review. He is the co-editor/author of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front (The History Press), which was name the Salt Lake Tribune’s book of the month for August 2014 and the League of Utah Writers Recommended Read in Nonfiction 2015 (Third Place). His essay collection Tortillas for Honkies was named a finalist for the 2013 Autumn House press Nonfiction Awards (most of the essays in the collection have found homes in places like The Watershed Review, Label Me Latino/a, Prime Number Literary Magazine, and Animal Literary Magazine). Most recently, he was the writer-in-residence at JIWAR international artist residency in Barcelona, Spain where he finished one novel and wrote most of another.

A. M. Juster is the author of seven books: a collection of Petrarch translations, Longing for Laura (Birch Brook Press 2001); a book of original poetry and translations, The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville Press 2003), which Rachel Hadas selected as the winner of the 2002 Richard Wilbur Award; The Satires of Horace (University of Pennsylvania Press 2008); Tibullus’ Elegies (Oxford University Press, 2012), Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles (University of Toronto Press, 2015); Sleaze & Slander (Measure Press, 2016) and The Billy Collins Experience (White Violet Press, 2016). His translation of and commentary on the Elegies of Maximianus will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in the spring of 2017.

His work has appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, Hopkins Review, Rattle, The Paris Review, Barrow Street, North American Review, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Criterion and other publications. He has won The Formalist’s Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award three times, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, and numerous awards for his public service, including Humanitarian of the Year from the Alzheimer’s Association. He has been a featured poet in Light and The Barefoot Muse, a Father Walter Ralston fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Poet of the Month of the Academy of American Poets, and an adjunct instructor in formal poetry at Emerson College. He is a graduate of Yale and Harvard with two honorary doctorates.

Julie Kane, this year's Poetry Keynote, holds a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. from Boston University, and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, where her dissertation on the villanelle won the Lewis P. Simpson Dissertation Award. Her poetry books include Rhythm & Booze (2003), a National Poetry Series winner; Jazz Funeral (2009), winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; and Paper Bullets (2014), a collection of light verse. The Vietnam memoir that she co-authored with Kiem Do, Counterpart (1998), became a History Book Club Featured Alternate. Julie’s poems and translations appear in over fifty anthologies including Penguin’s Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, Norton’s Seagull Reader, and Best American Poetry 2016. She has collaborated with composer Dale Trumbore on the one-act opera Starship Paradise, premiered by Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia, and with composer Kenneth Olson on City of Lights for orchestra and soprano, premiered by the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony. Composer Libby Larsen’s settings of Julie’s poems have been recorded on CDs by The American Boychoir and by mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer. Julie’s scholarly essays have been published in Twentieth Century Literature, Literature/Film Quarterly, Modern Language Quarterly, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, and other journals and edited collections. The 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate, she is a Professor of English and recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

Stephen J. McConnell is an award-winning writer, former investigative news reporter, founder of a Denver-based content development company, and director of marketing and content for Golden, Colorado-based Conundrum Press. Stephen’s career in writing, marketing, and content development has run the gamut from tweets to white papers to novels to poetry and everything in between. His more than 2,000 articles, stories, blogs and other writings have appeared in numerous publications throughout the U.S. and internationally. He was the publisher of an environmental news website that reached an international audience. He earned a master’s degree from New York University in professional writing in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree from Radford University in English in 2005. In 2016, he published an eBook on creative writing, In Search of You. Creative Writing: Journey, Style, Method.

As the Editor in Chief at Fulcrum Publishing – a Colorado-based company that has published industry-leading materials on Native Americans, conservation, history, and gardening for the past thirty years – Rebecca McEwen works in all aspects of book publishing and production. Her work encompasses everything from initial manuscript review, through acquisitions and editing, to directing design and printing. With more than 20 years in the industry, she has specialized in educational publishing for publishers in the United States, as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and previously taught political science at Villanova University and worked at the Brookings Institution and for the Clinton administration in the 1990s. He is interested in civil service reform generally and school reform in particular. Since December 2015 he has edited the Journal of School Choice (http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wjsc20/current), having prior served as book review editor. In concert with others Bob has written or edited 11 scholarly books which have sold dozens of copies and are so boring that his own mother refused to read them. These include President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2012), The Obama Presidency: Change and Continuity (Routledge, 2011), A Guide to Charter Schools (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006), Beyond a Government of Strangers (Lexington, 2005), and School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools (Westview 2001). He recently co-edited two books appealing to very different audiences:The Politically Correct University (published by conservative AEI), and Judging Bush (published by liberal Stanford University Press). He is now working on a book on education policy in the Obama years and beyond, and another on Arizona charter schools. His more than 70 scholarly publications have appeared in journals including Public Administration Review, Computers and Education, the Journal of School Leadership,Social Science Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Research, and Education Next. His more than 100 op-eds have appeared in venues including the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Baltimore Sun. In 1987 Bob played for the University of Minnesota’s National Champion College Bowl team. In his non-existent free time Bob hikes in the mountains. He is married to April Gresham Maranto. Their bosses, Tony and Maya, were born in 1999 and 2004 respectively, and attend Root Elementary and Woodland Junior High in Fayetteville.

J S Mayank is Director of Western’s Screenwriting Concentration. He is a British-Indian filmmaker, represented by ICM Partners and Ensemble Entertainment. He has several TV projects and features in development at the moment. His first sci-fi feature script, Slate, earned him a spot on the 2009 BLOODLIST (the Horror/Sci-fi/ Thriller Blacklist). He was invited by Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival to the prestigious 2010 Tribeca All Access Program for his feature script Marathon. For his directorial debut, Mayank was granted an opportunity by the band Radiohead to create a concept music video for their song Weird Fishes / Arpeggi. He worked alongside visual artist extraordinaire John Langdon (Angels & Demons) to design special ambigrams for the video. Most recently, Mayank’s script for EMIT won a Grand Prize at the Table Read My Screenplay contest, beating out over 1200 other scripts, and winning him a trip to Sundance (2012) where a table-read of it was performed. Since then, he’s directed Emit starring Jack Coleman (Heroes, The Office, Scandal), and the short has played at over 30 festivals all over the world, including NBC|Universal Shortcuts festival and the Philip K. Dick fest in New York, Fantasia, SCI-FI London, Sci-fi Fantasy – Athens, Edinburgh, Newport Beach, New York, Las Vegas, Brazil, garnering several awards, stellar reviews and high praise for its inventiveness and creative vision. Mayank has an MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University and an MA in Communication & Film from Wake Forest University. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

Candace Nadon is visiting professor of Genre Fiction in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. has an MFA in Fiction from Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English with Creative Concentration from Georgia State University. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Hartskill Review in The Fourth River, Platte Valley Review, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, and Mary: A Journal of New Writing, among others. She edited the book Our Place Two, and contributed to the forthcoming textbook Primary Research and Writing. Candace is a fifth generation Coloradan and currently lives in Durango, Colorado, where she teaches at Fort Lewis College and is working on a novel.


Christopher Norris completed his PhD in English at University College London in 1975. After an early career in literary and music criticism (during the late 1970s, he wrote for the now-defunct magazine Records and Recording), Norris moved in 1991 to the Cardiff Philosophy Department. In 1997, he was awarded the title of Distinguished Research Professor in the Cardiff School of English, Communication & Philosophy. He has also held fellowships and visiting appointments at a number of institutions, including the University of California, Berkeley, the City University of New York, Aarhus University, and Dartmouth College. He is one of the world's leading scholars on deconstruction and the work of Jacques Derrida. He has written numerous books and papers on literary theory, continental philosophy, philosophy of music, philosophy of language and philosophy of science. He has recently turned to poetry -- more specifically, the verse-essay -- as a medium for discussing ideas and reflecting on various literary and philosophical themes. This is part of his project to revive a genre that had its British heyday in the eighteenth century but was then eclipsed by movements like Romanticism and Modernism with their very different -- indeed sharply opposed -- aesthetic doctrines. Some of his recent work has appeared in the journal THINK, which is published by Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

The son of two psychiatrists, this year's Screenwriting Keynote JD Payne grew up just outside Washington DC. He met his writing partner, Patrick McKay, in high school, where the two wrote and directed original plays together. JD spent two years as a Mormon missionary living in Rome, Italy, and then attended college at Yale University, where he graduated with honors. Following school, JD moved out to Los Angeles in 2006. In 2010, JD and Patrick sold their original script Goliath to Relativity Media; since then, they have collaborated on more than a dozen screenplays, including projects for Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, and Paramount Pictures. He was on the first-writer-in team for Star Trek Beyond, which has its commercial release on July 22, during Writing the Rockies.

For Paramount, JD and Patrick's work includes writing The Deadliest Warrior for producer Shawn Levy, Boilerplate for producer JJ Abrams, and collaborating with Roberto Orci on the script for Star Trek Beyond. Their recent projects include a re-imagining of Flash Gordon for 20th Century Fox, with Matthew Vaughn (Kingsmen; X:Men: First Class) currently attached to direct; rewriting Winter's Knight for Sony and directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg (Kon Tiki; Pirates of the Caribbean 5), and creating and writing the pilot for Hellfire, an X-Men spinoff show for the FOX TV network. JD and Patrick are represented by UTA and Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment. JD is married to the love of his life, opera singer Rachel Payne (who is singing in the summer's new opera workshop at Writing the Rockies). The two have one son, and live in Los Angeles.

Frederick Ramey is one of two owner-publishers of the independent Unbridled Books, a press specializing in commercial literature. Previously, he was a founding editor of BlueHen Books—Putnam’s erstwhile literary imprint—and through the 1990s was Publisher and Executive Editor of MacMurray & Beck, an award-winning press in Denver, Colorado.



Clay Reynolds, Professor of Arts and Humanities and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Dallas, is the author of twenty volumes, including nine novels and one collection of short fiction. A Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1992 and an NEH Fellow for the same year, his work has been honored with awards by the Writers’ League of Texas, The Texas Commission for the Arts, Western Writers’ Association, and other literary and writing organizations. With more than 1,000 additional publications to his credit, he also was editor for the crime and mystery section of the library reference series, What Do I Read Next?  for the years 2007-2008. His website is http://www.clayreynolds.info/.

Dr. Niles David Ritter is a professional mathematician currently working for Thomson Reuters Incorporated. He telecommutes from Utah near Zion National Park, where he lives with his wife, dog and cat, and serves as the Literary Chair for The Zion Canyon Council for Arts and Humanities (Z-Arts). Niles received his PhD in Mathematics in 1984 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying the theory of nonlinear wave propagation and mathematical physics. He taught for several years at UCLA with research sabbaticals at the Courant Institute in New York and the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Djursholm, Sweden, before moving on to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. While at JPL he worked for fifteen years supporting ground data processing for planetary missions such as Voyager, Galileo and Mars Lander. He was also actively involved in both artificial intelligence and arts restoration efforts at the lab, using multispectral imaging to guide the restoration of wall paintings in the tomb of Queen Nefertari. He has been a writer his entire life. His poetic efforts, inspired by both nature and science, have been called “Quantum Rants” by his fellow writers. He has given lectures on how the arts and sciences influence and inform each other, and has for some time been at work on a novel entitled The Pythagorean Concerto, based on the relationship between mathematics and music. His other interests include juggling, astronomy, origami and calligraphy, and he is also a certified teacher of International-style Ballroom and Latin dancing.

Michaela Roessner is visiting Professor of Genre Fiction in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She holds an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She has published four novels, as well as assorted short fiction and nonfiction in publications that include Asimov’s Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, OMNI Magazine, Canada’s Room Magazine and anthologies that include Full Spectrum 2 and Intersections. Her first novel, Walkabout Woman, won the Crawford and John W. Campbell awards. She has also had work short-listed for the Calvino Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Millennium Publishing short fiction contest. Her current major projects include a number of short fiction pieces, finishing up her novel The Waters of Babylon, completing the last of her trio of novels that center around the early life of Catherine de Medici, and participating in several group ekphrastic commissions.​

Danny Rosen runs the Lithic Press and the Lithic Bookstore and Gallery in Fruita, Colorado. The backbone of the bookstore is poetry and science. He has worked as a geologist, and as an independent teacher giving astronomy presentations in schools throughout western Colorado in the portable Western Sky Planetarium. Part of each year between 2003 and 2008 he ran an observatory and taught astronomy and geology in Namibia. His second chapbook, Ghosts of Giant Kudu, was published by Kattywompus in 2013. His poems have appeared in Fruitapulp, San Pedro River Review, Comstock, Pilgrimage, Malpais Review, and Santa Fe Literary Journal. He lives among dogs in Colorado’s western desert.

David J. Rothman is Director of Writing the Rockies and also serves as the Director of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. His most recent volumes of poetry, both of which appeared in 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press). A book of essays about mountains and mountain towns, Living the Life (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Appalachia, Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and scores of other newspapers, journals and periodicals. He co-founded the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press (now owned by the Samizdat Group of Denver), and currently serves as Poet-in-Residence of Colorado Public Radio. He has served as Executive Director, President, and a Board Member of the Robinson Jeffers Association, and currently serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Jan Schreiber is a poet and critic whose work has gained a wide audience with the publication of his recent book Sparring with the Sun, a collection of essays on twentieth-century poets and theories of poetry. A founder of Canto: Review of the Arts and a co-founder of the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Western State Colorado University, he is also a visiting scholar at Brandeis University and a study group leader at the university’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, with a special interest in Renaissance and modern verse. Previous books of poetry include Digressions, Wily Apparitions, Bell Buoys, and two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His poems appear in both print and on-line anthologies. His newest collection is Peccadilloes. He is co-founder of the Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Writing the Rockies.

Caleb J. Seeling is the Director of Western's Certificate in Publishing. He began working in publishing in 2006 and founded Samizdat Publishing Group in Denver in 2009. The company has since expanded, forming two imprints (Conundrum Press and Samizdat Creative), publishing between 20-30 books altogether each year. An active member of several publishing and arts organizations, Caleb is also a social entrepreneur, finding ways to serve the greater community and disadvantaged youth through strategic partnerships with organizations such as Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Youth on Record. He has also recently published his first graphic novel, The Battle Begins, with David C. Cook Publishing, illustrated by Eisner-award winning artist Sergio Cariello. The sequel, The Seeds of Struggle, will appear in fall 2015 and he is under contract for two more. Caleb is a native Coloradan based in Golden, where he lives with his wife Angela, four children, and three chickens.

George Sibley is a freelance writer and retired educator who has lived in the Upper Gunnison River valley most of the past 50 years. From 1988 through 2007 he taught journalism and regional studies at Western and coordinated special projects for the college, including the annual Headwaters Conference, Water Workshop, and Environmental Symposium. He currently serves on the board of the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy, and is education coordinator for the Gunnison River Basin Roundtable. His most recent work is Water Wranglers, a commissioned history of the Colorado River District and the development of Colorado’s share of the Colorado River, published by the Colorado River District. Raspberry Creek Books also recently published an expanded second edition of his 2004 book, Dragons in Paradise, a collection of essays and poetry about contemporary life from a mountain perspective. Prior to that, he wrote Part of a Winter, published by Crown Publishing, an account of life in the Colorado Rockies. He has also authored short histories of Crested Butte and Crawford, Colorado. His essays and articles have appeared in national publications – Harper’s Magazine, Technology Illustrated, High Country News, New Age Journal and Old West and regional publications like Colorado Central and Mountain Gazette. He lives in Gunnison with his partner, Maryo Gard Ewell, and has two grown offspring, Sam and Sarah Sibley.

John Talbot is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Brigham Young University, and is a poet and scholar specializing in the relationship of Ancient Greek and Latin to English literature. He took his doctorate in Classics at Boston University. His third book, a study of Greek lyric meters in English poetry, is under contract from the Bloomsbury (London). His second book, a volume of poems called Rough Translation, was published in 2012. His first book is also a volume of poems, The Well-Tempered Tantrum. He is currently writing chapters on Auden, Lowell, and nineteenth century translation for The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. His articles on ancient languages and English literature have appeared in such venues as Classical Journal, Classical and Modern Literature, Studies in Philology, Essays in Criticism, Arion, Translation and Literature, and the International Journal of the Classical Tradition. His literary criticism has appeared in The Yale Review, The Weekly Standard, and (frequently) in The New Criterion and he has lately contributed chapters to the volumes Ted Hughes and the Classics (Oxford University Press, 2009), Perceptions of Horace: A Poet and his Readers (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English (Oxford University Press, 2006). His verse translation from the Greek appears in the Norton anthology The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (Norton, 2009). He regularly publishes poems in such journals as Poetry, The Yale Review, The American Scholar, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, The New Criterion, Arion, Southwest Review, Quarterly West, Agenda, Atlanta Review, Literary Imagination, and others both in the US and Britain.

Dr. Mark Todd, founder of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, has been a Professor of English at Western since 1988. He currently serves as Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, and as Editor-in-Chief for Western Press Books. He has 25 years of professional journalism experience, having published hundreds of news stories, features, columns, and editorials in local through international markets. He also served as editor and publisher of both a newspaper and a regional magazine and, at one point, digested online news for the Lycos daily news service. Mark has performed his poetry and given fiction readings across the country and in Europe. His books include two collections of poetry, Wire Song (Conundrum, 2001) and Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe (Ghost Road, 2008). He is author of the science fiction novel Strange Attractors (Write in the Thick, 2012) and co-author with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd of the paranormal comedy / fantasy trilogy The Silverville Saga: The Silverville Swindle (Ghost Road, 2006), which was reissued as Little Greed Men (Raspberry Creek, 2011); All Plucked Up (Raspberry Creek, 2012); and The Magicke Outhouse (Raspberry Creek, 2013). All were nominated for Colorado Book Awards and Little Greed Men was also nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award. Currently, he and Kym are at work on a creative nonfiction book about hauntings in frontier mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.

Toni Todd is Associate Conference Coordinator for Writing the Rockies, and a Lecturer in the Communication Arts, Languages and Literature Department at Western. She also serves as Vice President of the Gunnison Arts Council Board of Directors. She has worked as a radio and print journalist in the Gunnison Valley, and as a ski instructor, boot-fitter, wine-tasting pourer, bank teller, census enumerator and berry picker. Toni holds an MFA from the University of Alaska at Anchorage, her short fiction has been published in several literary journals, and her freelance stories are often featured in local publications. Her current passion is the ukulele, an endeavor that draws more on enthusiasm than talent as a final measure of success. Toni is also a volunteer DJ at KBUT Community Radio in Crested Butte, host of “The Aloha Connection,” a Hawaiian Music show that airs on Saturday afternoons.

Dave Trendler is Director of Sales and Marketing for VeloPress, the leading publisher in endurance sports. On any given day, Dave might write ad copy, launch a two-month content marketing campaign on one of 30 websites, analyze shipping costs on sales from velopress.com, or prepare a sales presentation for the book trade. Dave serves as President Emeritus of the Board of Directors of PubWest, a non-profit trade association that supports small and medium-sized book publishers. He got his start in B2B marketing for a Baltimore-based commercial screen printer then worked as a market researcher for the fundraising division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest pro-business lobbyist. He spent several years marketing for VeloGear, a cycling mail order catalog and website, before moving full time to VeloPress. He has a B.A. in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. With his wife and young boys, he enjoys some of Colorado’s favorite pastimes: skiing, hiking, backpacking, camping, cycling, and running.

Frederick Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has held academic positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Kenyon College (where he was editor of The Kenyon Review), and the University of Exeter in England. Among his many books are Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science, Shakespeare and the Nature of Time, Paradise (poetry) and Genesis: An Epic Poem.

Wendy Videlock’s poems have appeared widely, most notably in Poetry, Hudson ReviewRattle, The New Criterion, Poetry Review (UK), and The New York Times. She is the author of the chapbook What’s That Supposed to Mean (Exot Books), and two full-length collections with Able Muse Press: Nevertheless (2011, a finalist for the 2012 Colorado Book Award in poetry) and The Dark Gnu (2013), the latter a book for “children of all ages.” Her newest book, the satirical Slingshots and Love Plums, also appears from Able Muse Press. Wendy is a visual artist who often works in alcohol inks, and her work has been shown in several Colorado galleries. She lives with her husband in western Colorado.

Richard Wakefield has taught for many years at the University of Washington and at Tacoma Community College.  As a contributing critic to the Seattle Times he has written articles, reviews, and essays on current fiction, poetry, and biography. He is the author of Robert Frost and the Opposing Lights of the Hour and of a poetry collection, East of Early Winters, which received the Richard Wilbur Award.  His second collection, A Vertical Mile (Able Muse Press), was short-listed for the Poets Award.

Alan Wartes is an award-winning Colorado journalist, screenwriter, director and musician. He has also written and directed for the stage for many years. Two of his screenplays have recently been named as finalists in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition — the short script for The Tesla Files and another feature called The Bottle Business. He will travel to Nashville in late April for the award ceremony to see if either (or both) win the top prize in their category. The Tesla Files began as a project in one of the summer workshops run by JS Mayank, the Director of the Screenwriting Concentration in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

David Zimmerman has spent nearly twenty years acquiring and editing Christian nonfiction, most recently at NavPress in Colorado Springs. He is the author of two books and a short story called “The Parable of the Unexpected Guest."


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