Jennifer Acker is founder and editor in chief of The Common, and author of the debut novel The Limits of the World, a fiction honoree for the Massachusetts Book Award. Her memoir “Fatigue” is a #1 Amazon bestseller, and her short stories, essays, translations, and reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, Literary Hub, n+1, Guernica, The Yale Review, Off Assignment, and Ploughshares, among other places. Acker has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and teaches writing and editing at Amherst College, where she directs the Literary Publishing Internship and LitFest. She lives in western Massachusetts.
Kerri Arsenault is a book critic, teacher, book editor at Orion magazine, contributing editor at The Literary Hub, and author of Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Prize, an “Indie Next Pick”, and won the Maine Literary Award for nonfiction. Kerri’s work has appeared in Freeman’s, the Boston Globe, Down East, the Paris Review Daily, the New York Review of Books, Air Mail, and the Washington Post.
Kerri received an MFA in creative writing from the New School, studied in the Master Programme in communication for development at Malmö University, Sweden, and received a BA in creative writing from Beloit College. She’s served as a mentor for PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program, on the National Book Critics Circle board, and she’s had 86 jobs.
Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an acclaimed author and journalist known for her immersive, character-driven historical novels. Her fiction debut, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, was published in ten countries and was a 2001 Notable Book of the Year for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. For her second novel, March, Geraldine was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her third book, People of the Book, became an instant New York Times bestseller. Her fourth book, Caleb’s Crossing, was the winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Christianity Today Book Award, and was a finalist for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. The Secret Chord, Geraldine’s newest novel about the fascinating life of King David, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim.
Nickolas Butler is the author of four best-selling and prize-winning novels and a collection of short stories. His first book, SHOTGUN LOVESONGS, was translated in a dozen languages and twice optioned for the screen. His second novel, THE HEARTS OF MEN was shortlisted for some of France's most prestigious literary prizes and was optioned by David E. Kelley. His newest novel, GODSPEED, was published by Putnam in July. Butler lives on sixteen acres of land in rural Wisconsin adjacent to a buffalo farm with his wife, their two children, about twenty chickens, and a dog.
Maisy Card is the author of the novel, These Ghosts are Family, which was the fiction category winner for 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and was a finalist for several awards, including the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, Lit Hub, The New York Times, Guernica, and other publications. Maisy was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica and was raised in Queens, New York. She is currently an instructor for the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop and a fiction editor for The Brooklyn Rail.
Jennifer Colville is the founding editor of Prompt Press, a project connecting visual artists, book artists and writers. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Elegies for Uncanny Girls, a collection of short stories, was published in 2017 by Indiana University Press. Jennifer leads creative writing workshops on “The Inventive Female Voice,” and the intersection of writing and visual art with the Iowa City Summer Writing Festival. Year round, Jennifer works to make Iowa City's writing culture more inclusive by co-directing the Free Generative Writing Workshops, an alternative style workshop for writers of all backgrounds and life stages.
Kelly Daniels is the author of the novel, A Candle for San Simón, and the memoir, Cloudbreak, California. His essays and stories appear regularly in The Sun Magazine. He's a professor of creative writing at Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois. www.authorkellydaniels.com
David Faldet is the sixth generation of his family to live in the Driftless, so his work about the region can be considered "writing what you know" but he also finds his research and preparation to be full of adventure and surprise. He teaches at Luther College. His natural history of the Upper Iowa basin, Oneota Flow is available from U of Iowa Press. His novel King is available from Wipf and Stock. His poems have been published in a number of journals.
Peter Geye is the author of the award-winning novels, Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Wintering, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, as well as Northernmost, the third and final installment of his Eide family cycle of books. His fifth novel, The Ski Jumpers, will be published in the fall of 2022. He currently teaches the year-long Novel Writing Project at the Loft Literary Center. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he continues to live there with his family
Lisa Henner co-founded the Driftless Writing Center in 2010 to support writers of all ages and stages of craft. She prepared to write fiction by working as a hotel desk clerk, a hog futures trader, an English teacher, a wealth manager, an organic chicken farmer, and by raising two children. Originally from Chicago, Lisa now lives in Viroqua, Wisconsin, with her husband and two dogs. She recently completed her first novel.
David Hough has spent nearly forty years working in magazine and book publishing in both editorial and production positions. He started his career as an editor for TV Guide and was made the managing editor of Harcourt’s adult trade division in 1999, where he worked with authors such as William F. Buckley Jr., Mario Cuomo, Roger Rosenblatt, Joyce Carol Oates, Anthony Damasio, and Edward Gorey. He currently lives on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin and works as a freelance editor and book packager while also serving on the board of the Driftless Writing Center in Viroqua.
Kevin Koch is author of Skiing at Midnight: A Nature Journal from Dubuque County, Iowa; The Driftless Land: Spirit of Place in the Upper Mississippi Valley; and The Thin Places: A Celtic Landscape from Ireland to the Driftless. He is a Professor of English at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. When he is not teaching or writing, he can often be found bicycling, kayaking, or cross-country skiing in the Driftless Area hills and waterways.
Kristine Kopperud Jepsen is a writer and editor in rural Northeast Iowa. Her creative nonfiction has won the Diana Woods Memorial Award for Nonfiction at Lunch Ticket and appears at HuffPost, Parents.com, River Teeth, The Girlfriend (AARP), MUTHA Magazine, Literary Mama, and in several anthologies. Her hermit-crab essay “Jaw Wiring: What You Need to Know” was a flash nonfiction winner at Sweet: A Literary Confection, appeared in Creative Nonfiction's Sunday Short Reads, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Lyz’s writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored, was published in 2020 by Bold Type Books. And her third, This American Ex Wife is forthcoming from Crown. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Iowa with her two kids.
LaTanya McQueen is the author of the novel When the Reckoning Comes, forthcoming with HarperPerennial, and the essay collection And It Begins Like This, published with Black Lawrence Press. She has an MFA from Emerson College, a PhD from the University of Missouri, and was the Robert P. Dana Fellow at Cornell College. She teaches creative writing at Coe College where she is an Assistant Professor.
Andre Perry is the author of Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now. He lives and works in Iowa City.
Christine Pride is a writer, editor and 15-year publishing veteran. She has held posts at various Big Five imprints, including Doubleday, Broadway, Crown, Hyperion, and, most recently, as a Senior Editor at Simon and Schuster. Christine has published a wide range bestselling and critically acclaimed books, with a special emphasis on inspirational stories and memoirs. In the fall of 2018, Christine left her full time in-house editorial post to focus on freelance, writing and editing. Her first novel, We Are Not Like Them, written with Jo Piazza, will be published by Atria October, 2021.
Sejal Shah is the author of the debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Brevity, Conjunctions, Guernica, the Kenyon Review Online, Literary Hub, Longreads, and The Rumpus. The recipient of a 2018 NYFA fellowship in fiction, Sejal recently completed a story collection and is at work on a memoir about mental health. She lives in Rochester, New York.
Amy is the author of The Hands-On Life: How to Wake Yourself Up and Save The World (Cascade Books, 2018), The Writer’s Eye: Observation and Inspiration for Creative Writers (Bloomsbury, 2018), and Eldorado, Iowa: A Novel (Bowen Press Books, 2019). Her novel-in-progress, Creature, is based on the life of Mary Shelley. Featuring chapters on Byron, the Shelleys, William Blake, Anna Barbauld, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her beloved John Keats, her nonfiction book in progress, An Awful Rainbow: Reading the Romantics in a World on Fire, blends memoir and scholarship on boxing, skylarks, poetry, corsets, and climate change to argue that these writers can teach us how to live richly and responsibly in uncertain times. Featuring craft advice, a wide range of featured authors, and samples of work from her own students (with their thoughts on their process), her textbook Advanced Fiction Writing: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology is under contract to Bloomsbury Academic for delivery in December 2021.
Margaret Yapp is from Iowa City, Iowa. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Post Road Magazine, Cutleaf Journal, New Delta Review, Peach Mag and elsewhere. Margaret is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. You can find her on the internet @bigbabymarg and margaretyapp.com.