Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a writer of international acclaim, the author of three books: the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, and the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. Having earned a graduate degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins, she has since won the prestigious Orange Prize, given annually for the best novel written by a women in English. She has also received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.



Geoffrey Becker

Geoffrey Becker’s new novel, Hot Springs (Tin House Books, 2010) received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, which called it “a remarkably taut narrative and a rousing testament to humanity’s capacity for resilience.”  He is also the author of Black Elvis (U. of Georgia Press, 2009), a collection which won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction, and two previous books of fiction, Bluestown and Dangerous Men.  Geoff’s awards and honors include an NEA Fellowship, the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, the Nelson Algren Award, inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology, and two Maryland Arts Council Prizes.



Michael Downs  

Michael Downs’ book of memoir and literary journalism, House of Good Hope (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize. His short fiction has been mentioned among other distinguished stories in the Best American Short Stories series and earned him a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Five Points, River Teeth, and other journals. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches creative writing at Towson University and directs the school’s reading series.


Gregg Wilhelm

Gregg Wilhelm is Executive Director of CityLit Project, which he founded in Baltimore in 2004.  CityLit nurtures the culture of literature by presenting literary festivals, conducting writers’ workshops, creating literary arts programs, and inspiring youth to enjoy reading and writing. He has been in the publishing business since 1992, working as an editor, designer, production manager, and marketer. Gregg serves as publisher of CityLit Press and teaches in the communications department at Loyola University.


Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg’s debut story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), was selected for the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” Program, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award. She is the 2010-2011 Tickner Fellow at the Gilman School. 

Jessica Anya Blau

Jessica Anya Blau’s debut novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES (Harper Perennial), was chosen as a Best Summer Book by the Today Show, the New York Post, and New York Magazine.  The San Francisco Chronicle and other national newspapers chose it as one of the Best Books of the Year.  Her new novel, Drinking Closer to Home (Harper Perennial), will be out January 18, 2011.  Currently, Jessica is teaching at Goucher College in Maryland.


Susan Cohen


I grew up by the shore, and most of my earliest memories have something to do with sand, waves, shorebirds and sunburns. For me, writing about nature is often a way of returning to my childhood geography (without the sunburns).

 I am the editor of Shorewords: A Collection of American Women’s Coastal Writings (University of Virginia Press, 2003) and the co-editor with Florence Caplow of Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental and Place-based Writing (University of Utah Press, 2010). I have written numerous nonfiction essays about nature and place, including (but not limited to): “Wipeout: Or Making Waves,”  “Tidal: Subtidal,”  “Dear Bowl,” and others. I am currently working on a new anthology: Water and Words: The Literature of the Chesapeake Bay.

  As a Professor of English at Anne Arundel Community College, I teach a variety of courses: a Fiction Writing Workshop, a Nonfiction Writing Workshop, Introduction to Creative Writing, Contemporary American Literature to The Literature of the Chesapeake Bay. I earned my MA in Creative Writing and my Ph.D. in American literature at the University of Maryland.  Over the past fifteen years I have developed a specialty in the Literature of the Environment, and I recently began co-leading Women’s Nature Writing Retreats—this summer’s retreat was held at the base of Mount Ranier.


Lisa Couturier

Lisa Couturier is the author of a collection of literary essays, "The Hopes of Snakes and Other Tales from the Urban Landscape" (Beacon Press 2006), which was reviewed as "a book to savor, to know, to love and to share."   Couturier began her career in writing as a national magazine editor for New Woman, where she covered social justice, animal and environmental issues.  Her freelance work as a travel writer took her to many remote areas in South and Central America and Indonesia.  Her writing has been published in Sierra Club's American Nature Writing series, National Geographic's Heart of a Nation, E magazine, Isotope, Tiferet, New Woman, and in various other anthologies, literary journals and magazines.  Her most recent "compassionate reportage" is a disturbing look at the world of horse auctions and slaughter, which appears in the July/August 2010 issue of ORION magazine.  Her essay about urban coyotes is forthcoming in the anthology  "Trash Animals".  Couturier lives on an agricultural reserve in Maryland with her family and is currently at work on a memoir about Thoroughbred racing and her seven horses.   

Wil S. Hylton

Wil S. Hylton is a Writer at Large for GQ magazine, where he covers politics, science, and adventure travel. His work has also appeared in Harpers, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Outside magazines, and was included in the books, Best Political Writing of 2005, Best Music Writing of 2003, and Best Business Stories of 2002. In the line of duty, he has interrogated U.S. Presidents, bicycled across Cuba, crawled inside a nuclear reactor, scaled the world’s tallest active volcano, and conducted grueling overnight research at the Playboy Mansion.

James Magruder

James Magruder's stories have appeared (or will appear) in Bloom, Subtropics, The Normal School, The Gettysburg Review, Mary, and the anthologies Boy Crazy and New Stories From the Midwest. His debut novel, Sugarless (University of Wisconsin Press), was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award and the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize. He was a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference this summer, and he teaches at Swarthmore College and the Yale School of Drama.

Susan McCallum-Smith

Susan McCallum-Smith is a freelance editor and writer of fiction, non-fiction and reviews. Her work has been featured, or is forthcoming, in The Scottish Review of Books, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Gettysburg Review, and in the anthologies City Sages and The Pushcart Prize. She is the literary editor of Urbanite, a contributing editor of The Baltimore Review and a contributing reviewer to Maryland Public Radio. Entasis Press published her short story collection, Slipping the Moorings, in early 2009. She was born in Scotland, received her degrees in creative writing from Johns Hopkins and Bennington College, and currently lives in Baltimore.

Elisabeth Murawski  

Elisabeth Murawski is the author of Zorba’s Daughter, which was selected by Grace Schulman for the 2010 May Swenson Poetry Award, Moon and Mercury, and two chapbooks, Troubled by an Angel and Out-patients. She was a Hawthornden fellow in 2008. Publications include The Yale Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Southern Review, Antioch Review, The New York Quarterly, et al. “Abu Ghraib Suggests the Isenheim Altarpiece” won the 2006 Ann Stanford Prize. She currently resides in Alexandria, VA.


 Cynthia Sanders

Cynthia Blake Sanders is an experienced intellectual property and media lawyer with a practice spanning copyright, trademark, fair use, licensing, advertising, and technology transfer issues.  She represents publishers, advertisers, advertising agencies, filmmakers, record labels, producers, performing artists, visual artists, songwriters, authors, graphic designers, health care companies, colleges and universities, trade associations, and software developers.  A textile artist and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Cynthia is an active member of Baltimore’s arts community. She is a volunteer attorney and serves on the board of Maryland Lawyers for the Arts. She also serves on the boards of the Advertising Association of Baltimore (AAB), and the Black Cherry Puppet Theater, and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland, School of Law where she teaches Entertainment and Sports Law.  Cynthia is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Intellectual Property and Entertainment and Sports Law Sections. She earned her B.F.A from MICA in 1985 and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1999. Cynthia lives in the Roland Park community of Baltimore with her husband, artist D.S. Bakker and children Anna and John. Cynthia enjoys running, yoga and gardening.


Rob Spillman

Rob Spillman is Editor and co-founder of Tin House, an eleven-year-old bi-coastal (Brooklyn, New York and Portland, Oregon) literary magazine, as well as the Executive Editor of Tin House Books and co-founder of the Tin House Writers Festival, now in its seventh year. He is also the editor of Gods and Soldiers: the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing, which was published in 2009.



Laura Wexler

Laura Wexler is the author of the nonfiction book, Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America (Scribner, 2003). She lives in Baltimore, where she is on the faculty of the Goucher College M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction and teaches memoir and literary journalism courses at Hopkins and UMBC. She serves as Senior Editor of Baltimore Style Magazine and is co-founder and co-producer of The Stoop Storytelling Series. Her writing has appeared most recently in The Washington Post Magazine.


Marion Winik

Longtime NPR commentator Marion Winik (  is the author of The Glen Rock Book of the Dead, First Comes Love, The Lunch-box Chronicles, and five other books. She has a monthly advice column in Ladies Home Journal, she reviews  books for Newsday, and she teaches in the creative writing MFA program at the University of Baltimore. Her essays have been seen in Urbanite, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Real Simple, Health, and many other publications; she has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show. She lives in the Evergreen neighborhood of Baltimore with her 10-year-old daughter Jane and their miniature dachshund, Beau.