Fiction | Nonfiction | Memoir | Poetry | Screenwriting | Top Authors | Literary Agents



Jane Smiley +

Jane Smiley is one of America’s greatest living writers. She is the author of some twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including A Thousand Acres, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. Reviewing her Last Hundred Years trilogy (2015), The Guardian said that it “surely confirms her place alongside Roth, Updike and Bellow as one of the truly great chroniclers of 20th-century American life.” They go on to name her the American Tolstoy.

The New York Times writes, “Jane Smiley is the sort of writer who secretly drives other writers a little bit crazy. She’s prolific and successful, untroubled by neuroses or blockages, with no messy blots of drinking or drug-taking on her résumé.

“She seemingly writes the way her idol Dickens did — as easily as if it were breathing. And she is modest and charming, friends with just about everyone, including her several ex-husbands (to whom the new book is dedicated, along with the incumbent spouse.

“What’s more annoying, Ms. Smiley made up her mind at an early age that she was going to master not just one genre but all of them. She has so far published an epic, The Greenlanders, a detective story Duplicate Keys, a tragedy A Thousand Acres probably her most famous book, which retells the King Lear story, a comedy Moo and a romance The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, not to mention a racetrack novel Horse Heaven and one that recycles Boccaccio’s “Decameron” Ten Days in the Hills.

“Jane Smiley has such a clear, strong, American voice, there is no mistaking her work for any other,” says novelist Diana Abu-Jaber. “She's my favorite kind of writer, mingling vivid plots with ingenious characters with subtle, nuanced interiority. She writes with such generous heaps of humor and grief, you feel a little richer and keener for reading her books.”



Garth Stein +

Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, told from the perspective of a racecar-loving dog, sold over four million copies in 35 languages and spent more than three years on The New York Times bestseller list. It spun off a Young Reader edition, children’s picture books, a play, and is in development as a movie.

Pushing beyond his unorthodox use of a dog narrator, Stein says he considers a house to be a character in his latest book, A Sudden Light. Stein says this “ghost story” examines father-son relationships in a Northwestern timber baron family. The novel evolved out of Stein’s critically acclaimed play, Brother Jones.

All of Stein’s novels are set in his native Pacific Northwest and involve themes of family ties, forgiveness and redemption. Previous novels are: Raven Stole the Moon, and How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets.

Before turning full-time to writing, Stein was a documentary filmmaker who directed, edited, and/or produced several award-winning films, including The Lunch Date and The Last Party (starring Robert Downey, Jr.). Stein’s multi-media leanings crop up with an interactive website with bonus information about elements of A Sudden Light and his offering of book club “kits” for the book, which include a CD of relevant songs and poems, temporary tattoos, matchboxes and lemonade cups.

Stein co-founded Seattle7Writers, a literacy non-profit, which brought together 36 authors to write a novel, Hotel Angeline, in six days before live and Internet audiences. He lives in Seattle with his wife, sons, and their dog.


Learn more about Garth at

Scott Turow +

Scott Turow calls his life as an author of best-selling legal thrillers blessed. “You get up every morning, you play with your imaginary friends.” Among them are an attorney investigating war crimes in Bosnia (Testimony) and twin brothers whose lives are intertwined (Identical), and dozens more in novels that include Innocent, Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof. Turow’s books have been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and have been adapted for movies and television.

Most of Turow’s books are set in his fictional Kindle County – which feels a lot like Chicago, where he litigates white-collar crime as a partner in the Chicago office of the Dentons law firm. But Testimony shifts courtroom drama to the International Criminal Court. Author Jeffrey Toobin calls it “Turow's most ambitious and complex work… the best kind of thriller, one that stimulates the mind as well as thrilling the heart.”

One of Turow’s non-fiction books, One L, is considered an indispensible primer on the first year of law school. Another, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer’s Reflections on Dealing With the Death Penalty, grew out of his experiences regarding the death penalty. In 1995, Turow won a reversal in the murder conviction of Alejandro Hernandez, who was exonerated after 11 years in prison. He also has served on a commission to review Illinois’ capital punishment policy and the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

Turow also contributes to a variety of periodicals and plays in a rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders (with Stephen King, Matt Groening, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson), which raises funds for literacy.

Learn more about Scott at

Sara Gruen +

Sara Gruen is best known for her runaway bestseller Water for Elephants, a Depression-era tale about a travelling circus. It sold over 10 million copies and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for four years. The book earned Gruen a reported $5 million advance for her next two books, was made into a film, and was optioned as a Broadway musical.

“I continue to be surprised,” at the success of Water for Elephants Gruen said in a Writer’s Digest interview in 2008. “You work hard on a book and throw it out there and then it’s beyond your control. I don’t know what makes one book fly and another not. It’s all very mysterious.”

The Canadian-born author’s scrupulous research and exploration of human-animal relationships are hallmarks. Her debut novel, Riding Lessons, and its sequel, Flying Changes, feature horses. Ape House (2010) focuses on language-proficient bonobo apes. Her most recent book, At the Water’s Edge (2015) follows three Americans to World War II Scotland to unearth the mystery of the Loch Ness monster. The book debuted at No. 6 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Animals in Gruen’s previous novels were characters. But in At the Water’s Edge, the Loch Ness Monster looms in the background. The monster, Gruen told National Public Radio in 2015, “is metaphoric for sort of the obvious things like Hitler, and of course what happened to some of the characters, but it's largely indicative of the monsters within us, and recognizing these monsters.”

Gruen supports many charitable organizations that protect and help animals. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and sons, horses, dogs, cats, and a goat.

Kristin Hannah +

By the time Kristin Hannah speaks at the 2018 KWF, both the movie version of The Nightingale, directed by Game of Thrones director Michelle MacLaren, and Hannah’s new novel, The Great Alone, should be out in the world.

While researching for The Nightingale (2015), the tale of two sisters in pre-World War II France, Hannah found “the historical stories of the women of the French Resistance … mesmerizing, heartbreaking, intimate and universal. I was appalled that their stories were not better known.” Thanks to her book, now they are. And though she’s been writing 30 years and published more than 20 books, Hannah was blown away by its popularity. It was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, an Amazon top five book-of-the-year, and best book of the year by Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. Her other books include Home Front, Winter Garden, True Colors, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane.

Hannah’s many awards include the Golden Heart, the Maggie, and the 1996 National Reader's Choice award, the RITA Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction.

The Great Alone is set in 1970s Alaska, where the protagonist, Leni, deals with her struggling Vietnam vet father and her counterculture mother. Fun fact Hannah shared at the 2016 KWF: she writes all her novels longhand on a legal pad.

Kristin will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Christina Baker Kline and Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman +

Alice Hoffman is the distinguished author of more than 30 novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. She writes with equal aplomb of witches and mermaids, of modern dilemmas and momentous historical events.

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison calls Hoffman’s masterpiece about the survivors of Masada The Dovekeepers “beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature.” Author Molly Antopol praises Hoffman as “a spectacular writer—generous and compassionate, elegant and fierce.” Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine.

Hoffman’s latest novel, The Rules of Magic (2017), is a prequel to Practical Magic, a 1995 romantic fantasy about a family of witches, which was made into a 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Other recent novels include The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful.

 Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, reworks themes from Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools.

Hoffman’s young adult novels, including Aquamarine (also a film), Green Angel, The Ice Queen and Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition that Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of the year. She wrote the original screenplay of Independence Day, and her short fiction has appeared in numerous periodicals. Hoffman lives in Boston with a sheepdog named after a character from one of her novels.



Alice will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Christina Baker Kline and Kristin Hannah.

Nicholas Delbanco +

Nicholas Delbanco, making his second appearance at the KWF, has had a storied career as a writer, editor, teacher and literary judge. He has written 29 books of fiction and non-fiction (plus essays, short stories and reviews). He founded and led Bennington College’s writing program and is Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he headed its renowned MFA and Hopwood Awards programs.

Delbanco has chaired the Fiction Panel for the National Book Awards, and served as judge for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner award in fiction. He wrote the well-loved books on the craft of writing, The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction by Imitation, and, with Alan Cheuse, the college text Literature, Craft and Voice.

Author Valerie Laken wrote of Delbanco’s role as a mentor: “He’s made a career of bringing together, supporting, and celebrating writers, and in doing that he made them all believe—not just in themselves, but in the value of literature itself.”

About his recent work The Count of Concord , Russell Banks wrote that Delbanco “brought his entire array of amazing gifts into play and has written a wonderfully sad, funny, bawdy, and intellectually adventurous novel.”

In the introduction to his non-fiction work about older artists, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age (2011), Delbanco wrote:

“This book is about tribal elders in the world of art. What interests me is lastingness: how it may be attained. For obvious reasons, this has become a personal matter; I published my first novel in 1966 and very much hope to continue.”

To learn more about Nicholas visit his website



Nicholas Delbanco will be teaching the Voice is Everything Master Class.

Christina Baker Kline +

Christina Baker Kline

It’s one thing to write accurately about real people and real events of the past. It’s another thing to pull a character from one’s imagination. Christina Baker Kline has shown with her best-selling books A Piece of the World (2017) and Orphan Train (2013) that she can do both at the same time.

Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s best-known painting, Christina’s World, rented a studio to the artist, and was his friend and confidant for 30 years. Kline breathes life into Olson by blending deep historical research, her own knowledge of Maine, and even aspects of her own grandmother, also born in 1893.

Kline worked a similar magic in Orphan Train, which shed light on the 1854-1929 practice of relocating orphaned children from East Coast slums to the rural Midwest – where some were integrated into loving families and others harshly treated as indentured servants.

Orphan Train spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, including five weeks at No. 1, has 3.5 million copies in print, and is under consideration for a movie. Kline enraptured a standing-room-only crowd at the 2016 Kauai Writers Festival with her talk about orphan train history.

In addition to five other novels – including Bird in Hand, Desire Lines and Sweet Water – Kline has written or edited five works of nonfiction on the topics of parenting, grief, and women’s studies. She has taught at Yale, New York University, and the University of Virginia, and served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University. She lives with her husband and sons in New Jersey and Maine.

Christina will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Alice Hoffman and Kristin Hannah.

Learn more about Christina at

Ellen Bass +

Ellen Bass's highly praised poetry includes the volumes Like a Beggar (2014), The Human Line (2007), and Mules of Love (2002). Her subject matter ranges widely, yet anchors in relationships among people and their world, with razor-sharp detail.

Poet Dorianne Laux calls Bass “a poet of the elemental, always struggling to manage the science and biology of life with the mysteries of religion, philosophy and consciousness. In doing so, she helps us to appreciate the small miracles of this common life that we often take for granted.  It’s as if she is so startled to be alive, she can’t help asking every moment to stop and let her examine it, ask it a question.”

Poetry by Bass appears frequently in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and many other journals. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. Among her many awards are Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Lambda Literary Award. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University and around the country at a variety of workshops. Ellen founded poetry workshops at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz, Calif. jails.

Former student Cairn Findley calls Bass “one of those rare poets whose craft equals her extraordinary teaching skills. She is an advocate for all writers and displays this in her wise and compassionate feedback.”

Bass co-edited, with Florence Howe, the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! (1973). She is also the co-author of several non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (1988) and Free Your Mind, (1996), a supportive guide for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth, and their allies.

Ellen Bass will be teaching The Life of Poetry Master Class.

To learn more about Ellen visit her website

Elena Delbanco +

Elena Delbanco  recently retired after teaching for twenty-seven years at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Before moving to Ann Arbor, she worked at Bennington College in Vermont, where she and her husband, the writer Nicholas Delbanco, together with the late John Gardner, founded the Bennington Writing Workshops. Delbanco has long been engaged in the world of classical music. Her father was the renowned cellist Bernard Greenhouse (of the Beaux Arts Trio), who owned the Countess of Stainlein ex-Paganini Stradivarius violoncello of 1707. The imagined fate of that instrument, upon her father's death, inspired The Silver Swan, her first novel.

Despite spending much of her life in the company of authors, Delbanco came late to writing. This has given her perspective on beginning to write at this stage of life. The story of her conception of The Silver Swan and seeing it through rounds of edits, publication, and finding critical acclaim inspired many attendees of the 2016 Kauai Writers Conference. We are pleased to have her back.

Jeff Arch +

Jeff Arch was teaching high school English when his spec script for Sleepless In Seattle sold in 1990. The screenplay was nominated for Academy, Writers Guild of America, and BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards. Arch’s life has never been the same. He has written for many Hollywood studios and producers and directors, including Penny Marshall, Ron Howard and Barry Levinson.

Four other movies have been made from Arch's scripts: Disney’s sled-dog adventure Iron Will; The CBS romantic comedy Sealed with a Kiss; an adaptation of Mort Kondracke’s memoir about his wife’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Saving Milly, nominated for a Humanitas award; and the indie comedy Dave Barry’s Complete Guide To Guys, which Arch also directed.

Arch wrote the book for Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical, and the novel, The Bell Tower. Upcoming are Roy To The World, a coming-of-age novel, and a script adaptation of Beauty Of The Broken, the hit novel by Tawni Waters.

Arch has taught at seminars and conferences all over the US and abroad. He encourages aspiring writers not to mimic hits or write to trends, but to to mine their own life experiences for unique material. He and his wife live in Southern California and Maine, depending on the weather.


Jeff Arch will be teaching The Script Only You Can Write Master Class.

Read this article to learn more about Jeff.



Amy Ferris +

Amy Ferris is an author, editor, playwright and screenwriter, whose memoir, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From A Midlife Crisis, was adapted into an Off-Broadway play. Her screenplay Funny Valentines, was nominated for a BET best screenplay award. She co-wrote the film, Mr. Wonderful; co-edited the anthology Dancing at The Shame Prom; and edited of Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue.

Offered as middle-of-the night dispatches from Ferris’ insomniac journey through menopause, Marrying George Clooney, “contains a lethal combination; it’s honest, brave and hilarious,” Patricia Elam wrote of it. “There is no ground too sacred for Ferris to tread upon if it means shedding light to generously help another soul smart enough, lucky enough, daring enough to read her.”

Ferris’ travels the country giving her popular workshop “Women Writing/Righting Their Lives” and co-teaches “Women Writing to Change the World” at the Omega Institute, of which Ferris writes: “Now, more than ever, we need to come together, get clear on the stories we need to tell, and put them out there.

Ferris serves on the advisory board of the Women's Media Center (founded by Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and Jane Fonda) and co-founded The Milford (Penn.) Readers and Writers Festival, which “aims to inspire conversations between people who love to read books and people who write them.” Her morning post on Facebook, “This is what I know. Post Coffee. Pre Wine” is followed by thousands.

To learn more about Amy visit her website



Amy will be collaborating with Linda Schreyer in The Power of Words, a memoir Master Class.

Kaui Hart Hemmings +

Kaui Hart Hemmings’debut novel The Descendants (2007) set an emotional family comedy-drama in her native Hawaii. It was made into a 2011 film which won an Oscar for the screenplay and a Golden Globe.

Hemmings followed up with The Possibilities (2014), a novel about the tragicomic journey of a mother grieving the death of her son in an avalanche. People magazine called it “funny, insightful, and unsentimental” and Oprah called it a “must-read.”

Hemmings latest novel, How to Party With an Infant (2016) follows a quirky single mom, Mele Bart, who leans on her San Francisco parenting group for emotional support and cookbook-writing ideas. The New York Times Book Review says the book “perfectly captures modern parenthood among the privileged… We cheer for her warm, self-deprecating characters and hope they continue to laugh together instead of crying alone.”

Hemmings has also written young adult fare: the novel Juniors (2015) tells the story of Lea, a San Francisco girl who tries to find her place at a new school in Hawaii, and House of Thieves is an earlier collection of short stories. Hemmings says she enjoys writing about “that world of the teenage mind — everything is so immediate and there’s so much living in the present.” She lives in Hawaii with her husband and two children.

To learn more about Kaui read this article about her and The Descendants.

Roxan McDonald +

Roxan McDonald has dedicated herself to helping people find their voice both on the page and in their lives. She currently leads writing groups in Santa Cruz, Oakland and Monterey. Roxan is an assistant teacher with Ellen Bass at Esalen Institute.



Roxan will be assisting Ellen Bass in The Life of Poetry Master Class.

Joshua Mohr +

Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, was recently published.


To learn more about Joshua visit his website

Joshua Mohr will be teaching the 5-Sense Psychology Master Class.

Linda Schreyer +

Linda Schreyer Linda Schreyer is an award-winning television writer. She has mentored countless writers to completion of their books, taught classes since 1995 and currently leads Slipper Camp - a popular structured online writing course, and conducted large writing workshops for organizations. Her books include, From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster, a biography of producer Mark Damon. Tears and Tequila (with Jo-Ann Lautman) is her first novel. You can find more about Linda at at her IMDB profile.

Linda will be collaborating with Amy Ferris in The Power of Words: Writing/Righting Our Lives Master Class.

David Sterry +

David Sterry is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. He is the author of 16 books on a wide variety of subjects, from memoir to middle grade fiction, sports to reference. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages, optioned by Hollywood, and appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. Before writing professionally, David was a comic and an actor. His one man show, based on his memoir, Chicken, was named the number one show in the United Kingdom for its entire run at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, Fringe by The Independent.


Learn more about David's literary work at

To learn more about his work with authors visit

David Sterry will be teaching the Master Class Your Author Platform: How to Build an Audience before You Have a Published Book with Arielle Eckstut.

Arielle Eckstut +

Arielle Eskstut Arielle is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. She is the author of nine books including She is the author of nine books including The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and The Secret Language of Color: The Science, Nature, History, Culture and Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet.

She is also an agent-at-large at the Levine Greenberg Rostan 
Literary Agency, where for over 25 years, she has been helping hundreds of talented writers become published authors.

Lastly, Arielle co-founded LittleMissMatched, the iconic company that sells socks that don't match in packs of three.


Arielle Eckstut will be teaching the Master Class Your Author Platform: How to Build an Audience before You Have a Published Book withDavid Sterry.

To learn more about Arielle's work with authors visit

Literary Agents & Editors:

Stephanie Cabot +

Stephanie Cabot is a literary agent with the Gernert Company, one of the true powerhouse agencies in New York. Gernert represents John Grisham among many others. Stephanie is the agent for Priya Parmar, a member of our 2016 faculty, author of the highly-acclaimed Vanessa and Her Sister.  Half French, half American, Stephanie was educated in Europe and in the US where she majored in history at Harvard. Her agenting career began in London and she spent nine years at William Morris - London, the last five as Managing Director, where she built a list of international, bestselling and prize-winning authors. She moved back to the States in 2005 with her husband and four children, joined The Gernert Company, and is now selectively adding writers from a variety of genres, including crime/thrillers, commercial and literary fiction, latte lit, and non-fiction. She is especially interested in writers who tell original stories with strong narratives and distinctive characters. She divides her time between New York and New England.


Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Stephanie.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Stephanie.

Steve Fisher +

Steve Fisher is senior vice president in the Literary department at APA, one of the largest diversified talent agencies in the industry with headquarters in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, Atlanta and London. Based in the agency's Beverly Hills offices, Fisher’s extensive roster of playwrights, authors, literary estates and intellectual properties includes Dorothy Allison (National Book Award nominee for “Bastard Out of Carolina”); Alison Bechdel (author of the acclaimed graphic memoir and Broadway show, “Fun Home");  the estates of Arthur C. Clarke; Patrick O’Brian (“Master and Commander” series) Peter Matthiessen and Truman Capote; Lee Child (“Jack Reacher” franchise, starring Tom Cruise); Jim Sallis (author of “Drive”, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan) ; bestselling suspense author John Saul; John Connelly, and Pulitzer Prize winners Phil Caputo (“Rumor of War”), Gregory Maguire (“Wicked”), and Burrows & Wallace (“Gotham”).

Prior to joining APA, Fisher worked in similar capacities at ICM, Innovative Artists and H.N. Swanson. He began his career in television journalism in New York, where he worked as head of research at World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and as a producer at CNN.

For more about Steve, read this article




Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Steve.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Steve.

Molly Friedrich +
The Friedrich Agency was formed in 2007 by Molly Friedrich, and is located in New York City. We represent a small list of beloved writers, mainly in the categories of literary and commercial fiction for adults and young adults, as well as narrative non-fiction and memoir.

For more about Molly, read this article

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Molly.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Molly.

Jeff Kleinman +

Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent, intellectual property attorney, and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, a New York literary agency which works with all of the major U.S. publishers (and, through subagents, with most international publishers).  As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn a great variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something – a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. Books of his clients include the bestsellers The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist; Eowyn Ivey), Widow of the South (Robert Hicks), and Mockingbird (Charles Shields), among many others.

Jeff Kleinman will be teaching the Master Class Finding & Working with an Agent

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Steve.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Steve.

Jamie Raab +

Jamie Raab is a legend among publishers. For thirty years she headed Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette, and published hits ranging from commercial blockbusters by novelists like Nicholas Sparks, Nelson DeMille and Scott Turow, to zeitgeisty nonfiction books by Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Al Franken and Amy Sedaris.

This year she stepped down, along with fellow Grand Central veteran Deb Futter, to launch a new publishing division of MacMillan, Celadon Books. She’s especially eager to find idea-driven narratives and nonfiction books, and works about politics.

Along with Futter, she wants to publish novels that straddle the line between commercial and literary, and cited Noah Hawley’s thriller “Before the Fall” as an example.

Kauai Writers Conference is thrilled to have her at this auspicious moment in her career. She’s a true leader of the publishing world, just setting out in search of new authors. She comes to Kauai in hopes of finding them among our attendees.

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Jamie.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Jamie.

Andy Ross +

Andy Ross opened his literary agency in 2008. Prior to that, he was the owner of the legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley for 30 years. During that time, he sold more than 10 million books and hosted over 5000 events for some of the world’s greatest authors. In 1989, Cody’s was fire bombed in retaliation for the store featuring Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. This made them the first victim of Islamic terrorism in The United States, which goes to show that bookselling can be a dangerous business. They never stopped selling the book.

Andy’s agency represents books in a wide range of non-fiction genres including: narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, and current events . They also represent literary, commercial, historical, crime, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. For non-fiction he looks for writing with a strong voice, robust story arc, and books that tell a big story about culture and society by authors with the authority to write about their subject. In fiction, he likes stories about real people in the real world. No vampires and trolls, thank you very much. He doesn’t represent poetry, science fiction, paranormal, and romance.

Authors Andy represents include: Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado, Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Michael Parenti, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Michele Anna Jordan.

Andy also works as a freelance editor.


Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Andy.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Andy.

Emma Sweeney +

Emma Sweeney Agency LLC is a boutique literary agency based in New York City. They’ve had eight New York Times bestsellers, including At the Water's Edge, In The Shadow of the Banyan, How It All Began, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Meddling Kids, Making Rounds with Oscar, and The Joy of Living. Their authors have won The Booker Prize and the American Book Award, been short-listed for the Orange Prize, and are Guggenheim Fellows as well as the recipients of NEA grants. Emma and her agency specialize in general fiction, historical fiction and narrative nonfiction projects including memoir, history, science and religion. They work with co-agents in every territory, from the UK and Australia to Germany, Spain, France, Italy, eastern Europe, and Asia, and make dozens of foreign rights sales (as well as audio and first serial sales) for clients every year. She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives and the Women's Media Group, where she served as president in 2003. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in English Literature. Emma is also a writer whose own books include Tulipa (Artisan, 2000) and As Always, Jack (Little, Brown, 2002;)


Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Emma.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Steve.


Jon Fine +

Jon Fine is one of the world’s most knowledgeable people about non-traditional publishing: self-publishing, collaborative publishing, and hybrid publishing models. He served for six years as Director of Author and Publisher Relations for Amazon, and left in 2015 to lead his own firm, Jon Fine Law and Media. He was the primary interface between Amazon and the vast number of authors who used its self-publishing platform.

Before Jon’s tenure at Amazon, self-publishing was relatively unimportant compared to the traditional world of agents, publishing houses, editors and publicists. Now, thanks in no small part to Jon’s contributions, self-publishing and hybrid publishing rival traditional publishing in the literary world.

This seismic shift in the industry has created new opportunities as well as new challenges for authors and publishers.

As both a lawyer and an expert advisor, Jon provides strategic, legal, business and creative consulting in digital and traditional media for content creators, publishers and other media companies, start-ups, and other members of the creative community. He is exceptionally proficient in content licensing, contract drafting and negotiation, copyright, publishing strategy, marketing, brand development, and M&A, advertising, First Amendment, privacy, and other matters across digital and traditional media.

There is no better person in the world to help writers navigate and prosper from this new landscape of publishing. We are fortunate to have him as a faculty member and workshop leader at KWC 2108.

INDIVIDUAL CONSULTATIONS: In his role as Director of Author and Publisher relations for Amazon, Jon helped shape what has become by far the world’s biggest self-publishing platform, and guided many hundreds of authors to profit from it. In his current role as an independent publishing consultant at Jon Fine Law and Media, he has helped both authors and publishers to understand and succeed in the new landscape he was so intimately involved in creating. Kauai Writers Conference is fortunate to have Jon available to give a limited number of individual consultations to authors. He will discuss your work and help you learn which publishing option is best for you, and how to use it to your best advantage.

Together with April Eberhardt, Jon will be teaching the master class Navigating Today’s New Publishing Landscape: A Roadmap for Authors

April Eberhardt +

April Eberhardt, a literary change agent and author advocate, is passionate about helping authors be published in the most effective and satisfying way. After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, Ms. Eberhardt joined the literary world, where she saw strategic opportunity to play a role in the changing world of publishing.

Ms. Eberhardt advises and assists authors worldwide as they choose the best pathway to publication for their work, be it indie or traditional, digital or print. She represents authors traditionally, and also provides guidance to those who wish to explore non-traditional paths to publication. She serves as a consultant to new publishing startups, and is a reader for the Best American Short Stories series published annually by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She divides her time between San Francisco, New York and Paris.

Read this interview to learn more.

Together with Jon Fine, April will be teaching the master class workshop Navigating Today’s New Publishing Landscape: A Roadmap for Authors

Choosing Your Best Path to Publication | Publishing & Marketing

What’s the most suitable and satisfying path to publication for you and your manuscript? Let’s discuss the specifics of your project, as well as your own personal goals, dreams, timetable and budget. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each publishing choice, including traditional publication, as well as partner-, assisted-, cooperative- and self-publishing. Working together we’ll identify the route(s) with the highest likelihood of success for you and your work. Then we’ll clarify next steps and specific to-dos, so that by the end of our conversation you’ll be empowered with practical, useful knowledge and a solid plan.

Brooke Warner +

Brooke Warner 

She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner in 2012 as a response to the barriers to traditional publishing getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy’s online community, She Writes, had been founded on the principle of connecting and serving women writers everywhere, offering a community for established and aspiring writers. Brooke had been the Executive Editor at Seal Press for eight years, and was witnessing firsthand the contracting publishing environment, where she personally was having to reject beautifully written books on a regular basis because the submitting author didn’t have a strong enough author platform.

Kamy and Brooke envisioned a company where authors would be invited to publish based on the merit of their writing alone. They wanted to found a press for women writers that would be a platform—that could launch their writing careers, and where they could legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts.

In 2013, She Writes Press secured traditional distribution through Ingram Publisher Services and established itself as a real player in the hybrid publishing world. This relationship secured the right for SWP authors to submit their books for review through traditional channels, creating a more level playing field. SWP authors have been featured in O! magazine, People, and USA Today, and have been reviewed in all of the trade magazines: Publishers Weekly; Kirkus; Booklist; Library Journal; and featured on Shelf Awareness.


Brooke is available for individual sessions to discuss you manuscript.

Celebrate and learn on beautiful Kauai with bestselling authors, top literary agents and publishers.

Four days of close personal guidance in small groups with living masters of their genres. Choose from Fiction, Memoir, Screenwriting, Poetry and more.

“If there be such a thing as a spirit of place, this conference has and profits from it: beauty abounding, an open-hearted generosity, a glad dedication to the work of words. You will arrive and stay enthralled.” — Nicholas Delbanco


One on one sessions with top literary agents who came to Kauai to get to know you and your work.

“As a literary agent, I’ve been to more than fifty of these conferences. Kauai Writers Conference is my absolute favorite. Usually I’m lucky if I find one author I want to represent. Last year I met seven here with real promise. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s in paradise. ” — Andy Ross


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