Special Program / The 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference

2018 Conference Presenters


The Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference presenters are journalists, authors, agents, and editors—leaders in the field of creative nonfiction. But they're also professional teachers of the craft.

Best of all, they are down-to-earth, friendly, and approachable; they'll tell you what they really think. The Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference features more than just classroom learning; this event also provides plenty of opportunities for informal interactions.

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Conference Presenters

[An asterisk (*) indicates a presenter that is available for a limited number of manuscript reviews, which can be added to a conference registration during checkout. Someone from Creative Nonfiction will contact you with information on how to schedule your review following your purchase.]

Jennifer Baker *

Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and a contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship & Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant (as well as their award for Artistic Excellence) for Nonfiction Literature. Jennifer is the editor of the short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life with Atria Books, publishing in August 2018. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Poets & Writers, The Offing, Newtown Literary, Boston Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, The Other Stories podcast, Kweli Journal, and The Female Complaint, an anthology from Shade Mountain Press. She has also contributed to Forbes.com, Lit Hub, The Billfold, School Library Journal, and Bustle, among other online publications. Learn more.

Heather Boerner

Heather Boerner is a journalist and author based in Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, NPR Shots, PBS NewsHour, The Atlantic, the San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Her book, Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory Over HIV, came out in 2014.

Robyn Coggins

Robyn K. Coggins is a writer and editor living in Pittsburgh. She gained most of her fact-checking experience while working for Pitt Med magazine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's quarterly publication. Currently, she works for the University of Pittsburgh as a senior editor. Her work has appeared in Slate, Wilson Quarterly, Pacific Standard magazine, and elsewhere. Learn more

Andrew Conte

Andrew Conte serves as the founding director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation. He is also a contributing writer at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and a best-selling nonfiction author. Andrew’s latest book, All About Roberto Clemente, tells the story of the Pirates outfielder and Puerto Rican native for advanced elementary and middle school readers. He is also the author of The Color of Sundays, which explores the role of race in the National Football League and how the Pittsburgh Steelers used the league’s prejudice to the team’s advantage, and of the best-selling Breakaway, which was re-released in paperback in fall 2016 with a new chapter on the Penguins hockey team’s latest Stanley Cup championship. Andrew is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Dickinson College. Learn more

Hattie Fletcher *

Hattie Fletcher has been the managing editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine since 2005. Essays she has edited have been reprinted in The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing and have been awarded the Pushcart Prize. She has also worked on books covering such topics as end-of-life care, personalized medicine, education, mental health, and parenting. She was a coordinating editor for the Best Creative Nonfiction series, published by W.W. Norton, and is coeditor, with Lee Gutkind, of True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine (In Fact Books, 2014).

Lise Funderburg *

Award-winning writer Lise Funderburg is the author of the bestselling memoir Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home, a contemplation of life, death, race, and barbecue. She also spearheaded the groundbreaking oral history Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race and Identity, recently re-released in a 20th anniversary edition. Lise's essays have appeared in the New York Times, Chattahoochee Review, Cleaver, National Geographic, TIME, and Brevity, among other publications. She teaches creative nonfiction at The University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University, and leads writing workshops in Philadelphia, Tokyo, and Paris.  Lise is currently curating a collection of new writing from 25 American authors, to be published in 2019 by University of Nebraska Press. Learn more.  

Patrice Gopo

Patrice Gopo’s essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and other publications, including Gulf Coast, Full Grown People, Creative Nonfiction, and online in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is the grateful recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She is the author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. Learn more.

Chris Girman

Chris Girman is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at Point Park University.  His books include the ethnographic memoir Mucho Macho and the semi-autobiographical novel The Chili Papers. He formerly practiced immigration law along the south Texas border, an experience he credits with introducing him to the importance of voice and characterization in nonfiction writing. His work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, Gender & Society, and the recent anthology What I Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming a Teacher. He is currently working on a series of stories about his time as an attorney and part-time Uber driver.

Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind is the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction and a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. Even before he was spotlighted in Vanity Fair in 1997 as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” he was the genre's most active advocate and practitioner. He has written and edited nonfiction books about subjects as varied as motorcycle subculture, child and adolescent mental illness, baseball umpires, robots, and organ transplantation and has appeared on many national radio and television shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), Good Morning America,Talk of the Nation,  All Things Considered, and BBC World. His book  You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction, From Memoir to Literary Journalism to Everything in Between is “reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing,” according to Kirkus Reviews—"an accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.”

Jessica Handler *

Jessica Handler is the author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir and Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss. Her nonfiction has appeared on NPR and in Tin House, Drunken Boat, the Bitter Southerner, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and More Magazine. A founding member of the Decatur Writers Studio in Decatur, Georgia, she teaches creative writing and coordinates the Minor in Writing at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and lectures internationally on writing well about trauma. Learn more.

Daisy Hernández

Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism. Her essays and fiction have been published in Aster(ix), Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, Rumpus, and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review among others. A journalist and former editor of ColorLines magazine, Daisy has reported for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Slate, and her writing has been aired on NPR's All Things Considered. She is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio.

Stephen Knezovich

Stephen Knezovich has worked for Creative Nonfiction in numerous capacities since 2008 and is currently the director of publicity and marketing. In addition to his work at CNF, he is a writer and collage artist.

Steven Kurutz

Steven Kurutz is a features reporter for the New York Times whose work has been anthologized in the New York Times Book of New York, More New York Stories and elsewhere. Before joining the paper, he held staff writer positions at the Wall Street Journal and Details. In addition, he writes essays and fiction, and his work has appeared in the Southern Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, and Creative Nonfiction's True Story, which selected his essay "Fruitland" for its debut issue. He is the author of Like a Rolling Stone: The Strange Life of a Tribute Band (Random House, 2008). He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

Dinty W. Moore *

Dinty W. Moore is author of The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, the memoir Between Panic & Desire, and many other books. He has published essays and stories in the Southern Review, the Georgia Review, Harper's, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Arts & Letters, and the Normal School, among numerous other venues. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.

Virginia Morell *

Virginia Morell is a science journalist and author. A contributing correspondent for Science since 1990, she covers evolutionary and conservation biology and animal behavior. Her reporting keeps her in close communications with leading scientists in these fields. Morell is also a contributor to National Geographic and has written for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Discover, Audubon, National Wildlife, Outside, and other publications. 

Morell is also the author of four celebrated books. Her most recent, Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel (Crown 2015), is a New York Times Bestseller, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, and a Kirkus Reviews “Best Book of the Year.” She lives in Ashland, Oregon, with her husband, writer Michael McRae, and their unemployed American Working Farm Collie, Buckaroo, and his cat pal, Scout Kitten Carson.

Meghan O'Gieblyn *

Meghan O'Gieblyn's essays have appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, n+1, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, and her work was included in The Best American Essays of 2017. She has taught online writing courses with Creative Nonfiction since 2012. Her essay collection is forthcoming from Anchor Books.

Mike Rosenwald

Michael Rosenwald is a longtime staff writer at the Washington Post. He has also written for the New Yorker, Esquire, Smithsonian, GQ, BusinessWeek, Popular Science, Garden & Gun, Tin House, Creative Nonfiction, Men’s Journal, and ESPN the Magazine. A former finalist for the National Magazine Award in feature writing, Rosenwald’s story “The Flu Hunter” appears in the anthology Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007, edited by Richard Preston. He has an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the editor of an anthology of Gay Talese’s sportswriting, The Silent Season of a Hero, which was published by Bloomsbury. Rosenwald lives in Maryland and is working on a book about a submarine.

Anjali Sachdeva *

Anjali Sachdeva worked as a journalist in the US and Ireland before earning her MFA from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, and Carnegie Mellon University, and for six years she served as Director of Educational Programs at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation. Her work has appeared in Off Assignment, Creative Nonfiction, the Iowa Review, Yale Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. She currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. Her debut short story collection, All the Names They Used for God, will be published in 2018 by Spiegel & Grau.

Bryant Simon

Bryant Simon is an award-winning teacher and professor of history at Temple University. He is the author of Boardwalk of Dreams, Everything but the Coffee, and The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government and Cheap Lives. His research and scholarship has earned  honors from the Fulbright Commission, Humboldt Foundation, Urban History Association, Organization of American Historians, and the Smithsonian Institution. His work and popular commentary have been featured in the New Yorker, Washington Post, Raleigh News and Observer, and numerous other outlets. Over the last five years, Simon has lectured around the world and taught at the National University of Singapore, University of Tubingen, and University of Erfurt, and he is member of the American Society of Historians and has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians since 2008.

Aadam Soorma

Aadam Soorma is the founder and lead strategist at Whom Creative, a digital media agency based in Pittsburgh, PA. His creative practice guides clients through their day-to-day online storytelling, primarily via social media. He received his MS in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University and his BS in magazine journalism from Ohio University. Connect with Aadam and his musings via Twitter: @asoorma.

Barrett Swanson *

Barrett Swanson was the 2016-2017 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He was the recipient of a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and his short fiction and essays have been distinguished as notable in Best American Nonrequired Reading (2014), Best American Essays (2014, 2015, and 2017), and Best American Sports Writing (2017). His work has appeared recently in the New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, New England Review, American Short Fiction, Boston Review, The Point, LA Review of Books, Dissent, and Mississippi Review, and is forthcoming in Orion, Salmagundi, Pacific Standard, the Southern Review, and Guernica.

Peter Trachtenberg *

Peter Trachtenberg is the author of 7 Tattoos (Crown, 1997), The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning (Little Brown, 2008), and Another Insane Devotion (Da Capo, 2012), a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. His essays, journalism, and short fiction have been published in the New Yorker, Harper’s, BOMB, TriQuarterly, O: The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times Travel Magazine, A Public Space, the L.A. Review of Books, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and StoryQuarterly. His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered. Trachtenberg is an associate professor of English and director of the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh; he also teaches at the Bennington Writers Seminars. He’s the recipient of a NYFA artist’s fellowship, the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, Whiting and Guggenheim fellowships, and residencies at Yaddo and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. The Book of Calamities was given the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.” He lives in Pittsburgh.

Becky Tuch

Becky Tuch has written nonfiction for Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review online, and Role Reboot, and was a cofounding member of the literary blog Beyond the Margins. Her fiction has been awarded prizes and fellowships from The Macdowell Colony, Briar Cliff Review, Glimmer Train, and Moment magazine and was recently chosen for Sundress Press's Best of the Net anthology. Other stories have appeared in Day One, Salt Hill, Barrelhouse, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of the Review Review, listed in Writer's Digest as among the 101 Best Websites for Writers. Learn more

Chad Vogler

Chad Vogler has been an assistant editor at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation since 2012, and is currently the principal fact checker for Creative Nonfiction and True Story magazines.


Rachel Beck

Rachel Beck has been in the publishing industry since 2009. She got her start as an intern at two literary agencies, reading mostly young adult and thrillers. She then worked as an editor at Harlequin, acquiring contemporary romance and women's fiction. In 2015, she decided to transition her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for her authors because she loves finding new talent and helping authors' dreams of publication come true.

Rachel is currently on the hunt for strong nonfiction voices, and would especially love to see some true crime, compelling narrative memoirs, career/personal development/growth books, or select works in the health sector (especially interested in cancer, Alzheimer's, brain/memory books). Follow her @Rachel_C_Beck

Chris Bucci

Chris Bucci is a Literary Agent and Proprietor at CookeMcDermid. He represents bestselling authors such as Bob Rae, Timothy Caulfield, Susan Delacourt, James Grainger, and Kerri Sakamoto. Most recently senior editor at McClelland & Stewart, he worked primarily with non-fiction, bringing to the M&S catalogue the likes of Alain de Botton, Christopher Hitchens, Paul Watson, and Sir Martin Gilbert.

He began his career at the University of Toronto Press and soon became an acquisitions editor in social sciences and cultural studies. Bucci joined HarperCollins Canada in 2003 as a non-fiction editor. Moving to M&S in 2004, Bucci helped revitalize the McClelland & Stewart non-fiction program, establishing relationships with international authors, agents, and publishers.

For narrative nonfiction, he is currently looking for popular science, sports, popular culture, politics, essays, and history.

Anna Knutson Geller

Anna Knutson Geller has over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry, ranging from editor to literary scout to rights director to agent. In 2016, she founded Write View, a literary agency focused on spirituality, inspirational memoir, and creative and practical nonfiction.

Anna began her publishing career in Paris, working as an assistant at the literary agency Agence Michelle Lapautre and as a junior editor at Editions Plon. In 2008 she moved to New York to join Maria B. Campbell Associates, where she scouted books for international publishers as well as for Warner Bros. As Director of Foreign and Subsidiary Rights at The Book Group, she negotiated translation, film, and audio deals on behalf of bestselling authors such as Joshua Ferris, Paula McLain, Celeste Ng, and Helen Simonson. She has been on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course since 2011.

Anna’s main area of interest is spirituality, as well as nonfiction on topics such as mindfulness, intentional living, health and wellness, relationships and parenting, travel, and personal finance. She is also looking for inspirational memoir.

Leslie Meredith

Leslie Meredith is a literary agent with Mary Evans Inc. Previously, she was a book editor, most recently for fifteen years at imprints of Simon & Schuster. She began in publishing with an internship at The University of Pittsburgh Press, was a senior editor at McGraw-Hill, Bantam, and Ballantine, and editorial director at Harmony/Crown. Leslie graduated from The Winchester-Thurston School and Swarthmore College.

Leslie edited bestsellers by Sy Montgomery, Jean Twenge, Ben Mezrich, Lawrence Krauss, Stacey O’Brien, Mark Obmascik, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Patricia McConnell, Stephen Jay Gould, Christiane Northrup, Caroline Myss, Jack Kornfield, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

She is interested in memoir; narrative nonfiction; science, psychology, health, nature, and animals; and spirituality and mind-body-spirit practices.

Rayhané Sanders

Rayhané Sanders attended NYU and began her publishing career at Newsweek Magazine. She then moved to book publishing, working first for Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham Books and then for William Morris Endeavor, where she worked with New York Times bestselling authors and recipients of such honors as the PEN/Hemingway Award, PEN/New England Award, Guggenheim and Wallace Stegner Fellowships, National Endowment for the Arts grants, and more. Rayhané began to represent authors at WSK Management, where she worked with a slew of internationally bestselling authors and added a New York Times bestseller and winners of the Hopwood Award, Oregon Book Award, and Massachusetts Book Award, among others, to her list.

She represents and is on the lookout for literary and historical fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, propulsive narrative nonfiction, essay collections, and select memoir. She likes projects that are voice-centered and site-specific, whether that be a place, profession, or subculture. Though quality of writing is the most important factor, she is particularly interested in fresh voices telling fresh stories we haven’t heard before (including for YA audiences), and she is fond of immigrant stories and stories concerned with race, sexuality, specific cultural settings, cross-cultural themes, and notions of identity.

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