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2014 Presenters

The 2014 Write On The River Conference was another amazing experience…here’s  a look at the fantastic writers and professionals who came to Wenatchee to inspire, empower and transform your writing!  Click here for descriptions of our presenters’ exciting workshops.

Are you an outstanding writing or publishing Presenter interested in joining our 2015 faculty? Click here to download the proposal applicationWOTRCallForPresentations2015

Jess Walter – 2014 Keynote

Jess WalterJess Walter is the author of eight books. He’s been a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/​USA Literary prize and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. His latest novel, Beautiful Ruins, is this year’s NCW Regional Read and was called “A literary miracle” by NPR Fresh Air and “A high-wire feat of bravura storytelling,” by the NYT Book Review. In the U.K., Beautiful Ruins has been named one of the best books of the year by GQ, the Irish Times, the Daily Mail, and the Sunday Times, which calls it “a bravura feat of narrative versatility. His other books include The Financial Lives of Poets, The Zero, and Citizen Vince. Libraries in the five-county region of North Central Washington will hold discussions of Beautiful Ruins. 

“As talented a natural storyteller as is working in American fiction these days.” — Washington Post

 Larry Brooks – Sunday Intensive Workshop Presenter

Larry BrooksLarry Brooks is the author of two writing books, Story Engineering and Story Physics, and the creator of Storyfix.com, a popular fiction craft website. He has presented workshops for Write on the River, the Willamette Writers Conference, the Oregon Writers Colony and a variety of writing groups nationwide. His newest novel is Deadly Faux, from Turner Publishing, which is also re-releasing his backlist of five titles.

Craig English – Special Two-Hour Saturday Extended Workshop Presenter

Craig EnglishCraig English’s latest novel (ebook), The Anvil of Navarre, is an epic tale of love, revenge and sexual identity (https://www.facebook.com/CraigEnglishBooks). Craig’s nonfiction includes Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice (paper, ebook, audio) (www.anxioustoplease.com). His article, “Set Your Writing Free,” appeared on the October 2012 cover of The Writer Magazine. Craig’s latest project, Black Swan, is a tale of wall street greed, dragons, and a mild-mannered Shakespeare professor, Harold Swan.

Craig is a sought-after teacher and keynote speaker at conferences. He brings 25 years of experience to his dynamic workshops at such venues as the University of Washington, the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, The Esalen Institute, Hollyhock Retreat Centre (British Columbia), Breitenbush Retreat Center, Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, Willamette Writers Conference, and Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

He has been featured on radio shows across the United States and for twenty-five years has worked as a professional actor on Seattle area and regional stages. He has done more than 50 television and radio commercials, and CD ROM game voice-overs. He has acted in more than 20 productions of Shakespeare and was a certified fight choreographer.

Andrea Hurst- 2014 Literary Agent

Andrea HurstWhen not visiting local farmer’s markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea Hurst enjoys her role as President of Andrea Hurst Literary Management. She works with both major and regional publishing houses. Her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times best-selling authors including Dr. Bernie Siegel. As an agent, she represents high profile adult nonfiction in the areas of self-help, lifestyle, pets, cooking, health and memoir. She is actively looking for well-crafted fiction, with an emphasis in women’s commercial fiction. In addition to working in the publishing field for over 25 years, Andrea has presented at writing conferences internationally and featured as a keynote speaker.  Ms. Hurst currently represents both Larry Brooks and Craig English, members of our Write On The River faculty this year!

Andrea is a published author in fiction, The Guestbook, and nonfiction for several books including A Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment and acting as co-author for A Book of Miracles. She is a skilled developmental editor, an instructor for the MFA program at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers’ Digest. She enjoys working with authors who have something meaningful to share and are driven by their enthusiasm and desire to create books that touch lives, make a difference and leave readers with an unforgettable impression. 

Click here for more information on your options for pitching your project to Andrea Hurst at Write On The River.

Jennifer Gilbert – 2014 Publisher

JenniferGilbertJennifer Gilbert is a Seattle area native who was born to a family that loves the outdoors and athletic endeavors. She spent eleven years in corporate marketing before a wakeup call shifted her focus to Books and Publishing. She is a Book Marketing Manager at Seattle publishing platform Booktrope, www.booktrope.com. The Booktrope platform supports teams of writers, editors, artists, and marketers who work together to create and sell ebooks and print books. It’s not traditional publishing (less focus on bookstores, more creative team approach), and it’s not self-publishing (not all manuscripts are accepted)—it’s a new model where teams of professionals come together, create and market books, and share the royalties. Authors are expected to do a lot of social media marketing themselves, but are allowed significant creative involvement in the book production process. In addition to serving as the Book Marketing Manager for many titles, Jennifer project manages, proofs, and provides light edits for a variety of authors. Her focus is on Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, New Adult, and Young Adult books. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four-year old son. And she can state with conviction that her “job” makes a difference every single day in the lives of her authors.

Click here for more information on your options for pitching your project to Jennifer Gilbert at Write On The River.

 Jason Brick

Jason BrickJason Brick came to writing after years of owning and managing brick-and-mortar businesses. This unusual background gave him training in business, personal development and coaching. He divides his time between writing, speaking to writers about business, and speaking to business owners about writing.

His book Mastering the Business of Writing spent a month at the #1 Amazon bestseller for its category during the Summer of 2013. You’ll find his work in Black Belt, Northwest Travel, Draft, Willamette Writer and trade magazines for the martial arts, fitness, gaming and financial industries. Some of his corporate clients include American Express, Livestrong and Mint.com. His first major fiction publication Coming Home, was published last winter.

In his spare time, Jason plays tabletop games, studies martial arts and works hard at spoiling his family. He lives in Oregon with his wife, two sons and two cats.

Wendy Call

Wendy CallWendy Call has served as Writer in Residence at twenty institutions, including universities, national parks, high schools, visual art centers, and a public hospital. Northwest locales include Harborview Medical Center, Hedgebrook, North Cascades National Park, Richard Hugo House, and Seattle University. She co-edited the widely used craft anthology Telling True Stories (Penguin, 2007). Her book No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy won Grub Street’s National Book Prize for Nonfiction. Her current literary projects, a series of essays about national parks and translations of indigenous Mexican poetry, are supported by 4Culture, Jack Straw Productions, and the Seattle CityArtist Program. Her essays and poem translations have appeared recently in Guernica, Kenyon Review online, Orion, World Literature Today,Yes! magazine and other journals. Wendy has been on the faculty of many writers conferences, including the Boston’s Muse and the Marketplace, Bellingham’s Chuckanut Writers Conference, Port Townsend Writers Conference, and Whidbey Writers Conference. She currently teaches on the BFA faculty of Goddard College and lives in Seattle.

Scott Driscoll

An award-winning instructor (the University of Washington, Educational Outreach award for Excellence in Teaching in the Arts and Humanities 2006), Scott Driscoll holds an MFA from the University of Washington and has been teaching creative writing for the University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education for twenty years. Driscoll makes his living as a writer and teacher. Whilefinishing Better You Go Home—literary fiction, Coffeetown Press, October 2013, a novel that grew out of the exploration of the Czech side of his family in the 1990s after Eastern Europe became liberated—Driscoll kept busy freelancing stories to a variety of magazines, both commercial and literary. He most often writes feature stories on subjects ranging from health to philanthropy to education to general reporting for Alaska and Horizon Airlines Magazines, but he also does profiles and book reviews, including an October 2010 profile for Ferrari Magazine 11, and a July/August ’08 profile in Poets and Writers Magazine. His short stories and narrative essays have been published extensively in literary journals and anthologies, including Image Magazine, Far From Home (a Seal Press anthology), Ex-Files: New Stories About Old Flames (a Context Books fiction anthology featuring high-profile writers such as David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, and Junot Diaz), The Seattle Review, Crosscurrents, Cimarron Review, The South Dakota Review, Gulfstream, American Fiction ’88 and others.

Elizabeth Fountain

Ellizabeth FountainElizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to Ellensburg and pursue her dream of writing novels. Her first book, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, was five years in the making, and offered lots of opportunities to give up along the way; that might be why it’s a tale of people, aliens, and dogs who face the impossible, and do it anyway. An independent publishing house in Calgary, Champagne Book Group, released the novel in April 2013. Now Liz has three more novels in progress, including a second book, You, Jane, to be published by Champagne in 2014.

Liz takes breaks from writing to teach university courses, give workshops and presentations on writing, spend time with family and friends, and take long walks while leaning into the diabolical Kittitas Valley wind. She holds degrees in philosophy, psychology, and leadership, which contribute to a gently humorous view of humanity well suited to tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs. Liz strives to live according to a line from British singer-songwriter Chris Rea: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.”

Arlene Kim

Arlene KimArlene Kim, a Korean-American writer, earned a BA in literature from Brown University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota, where she received the Gesell Award for Poetry, judged by poet Major Jackson, and the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize. In 2012, Poets & Writers magazine featured her as one of their debut poets of the year for her first book What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and a winner of the American Book Award.

Her work appears on- and off-line in places such as 111O, diode, SPLIT,Blackbird, Cha, Terrain, cant, DIAGRAM, NPR, Hollow Earth Radio, Lit Fix, Breadline, Magazine of Yoga, and elsewhere. She has taught writing workshops and has been a guest poet at the University of Minnesota, Hamline University, University of Maine, Bellevue College, the Richard Hugo House, and the AWP Conference.

She grew up in Northern Virginia and gradually made her way westward, via Minneapolis, to Seattle, where she now lives, works, reads for the poetry journal DMQ Review and writes poems, prose, and bits between.

Audra Middleton

AudraMiddletonAudra Middleton is a somewhat neurotic and terminally sarcastic mother of three from Ephrata. Audra’s love of writing began in the third grade, when she was chosen to go to a young author’s conference based on a story, “The Dragon Cookie,” which she wrote about a giant cookie that comes to life.

Audra went to college thinking she would go into journalism, graduated college thinking she would go into publishing, and then went back to school to get her teaching degree. Audra enjoyed teaching, but once her oldest was born, she chose to stay home. At the encouragement of friends Audra started writing again, the result being her first novel, Watcher, which was released January 2013 by Champagne Book Group.

Since getting published, Audra has been asked to speak about her writing journey at several local venues and recently spoke at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference. This fall she went back to work as a kindergarten teacher, but has continued to write books. Her second novel, a humorous paranormal thriller called Hitchhiker was released in November, and her second fantasy novel, Abomination, will be released April 2014.

Suzanne Selfors

Suzanne SelforsSuzanne Selfors is a Pacific NW native who began writing her first novel at age 39, the same day her daughter began first grade. In the ten years that she has been writing, she’s published eleven books for children, with four more scheduled for 2014.

Her young adult novels, including Saving Juliet and Coffeehouse Angel (a Scholastic best-seller), and her middle grade novels, including Smells Like Dog and To Catch a Mermaid, have earned starred reviews, Indie picks, Junior Library Guild Awards, been included on numerous state lists and have been translated into a dozen languages and counting. She’s also sold movie option rights. The first book in her latest series for children, The Imaginary Veterinary, was named one of the top 20 children’s books of 2013 by Amazon.com.


Peter Stark

Peter StarkPeter Stark was born in Wisconsin to an adventurous and outdoorsy family and began traveling when young in canoes, on skis, and also by more conventional means. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and anthropology from Dartmouth College and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. After a brief stint in newspapers, and based in Missoula, Montana, he went on to work as a full-time freelance writer specializing in subjects on the outdoors and adventure, exploration history, wilderness and indigenous peoples, and the physiology of the human body under extreme stress.

His articles have appeared in Outside (where he is a long-time correspondent), Smithsonian, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Men’s Journal and many other publications. His books include Driving to Greenland (essays about the Arctic); Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance (Ballantine Books); At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness (Ballantine); and The Last Empty Places: A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map (Ballantine).

His most recent book, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire; a Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival, tells the harrowing tale of the quest to settle a Jamestown-like colony on the Pacific Coast and will be published in March 2014 by Ecco/HarperCollins. “A breathtaking account of an expedition that changed the geography of a young nation and its place in global commerce and politics” – Booklist.

More about Peter Stark’s books, articles and contact information can be found at peterstarkauthor.com.

Gavin and Nathan Seim

Brothers SeimWe are Gavin and Nathan Seim, two brothers who love words. We’ve been working together for years on short stories and fantasy adventure. We work side by side, building our brand and writing as one, but to the power of two. We also write freelance nonfiction, including educational topics, and are educational and promotional filmmakers. It can be really annoying working with your brother. But in the end, two brains are better than one.