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Writer's Block Festival

November 16th, 2019


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Tara Anderson

5 Things Host

Tara Anderson is a writer and a producer of audio and live events. She is the host of the podcast Five Things from Louisville Public Media, which is like show & tell for grownups. She is also the producer of The Music Box, a new music education podcast for kids, also from Louisville Public Media. She has produced audio work for NPR, the BBC World Service, and the Southern Foodways Alliance and she's written for American Theatre and Louisville Magazine. She's been the producer of the Louisville edition of The Moth StorySLAM since 2011, and she's halfway through her MFA in playwriting at Spalding. She's also a Jeopardy! champ. 


Olivia Cole

Instructor: YA Fiction; Panelist: Writers Who Return

Olivia Cole is an author and blogger from Louisville, KY. She is the author of the Young Adult A Conspiracy of Stars series (HarperCollins Katherine Tegen). Her essays have been published at Bitch Media, Real Simple, the LA Times, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and others.

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Jake dh

Author Reading

Jake dh (born Jacob Harris) is the creator and author of The BulletProof Ghost action/sci-fi novel series, which is currently in development as a comic book. He also writes the short horror series, Dreadful. He has written for Evansville Examiner as both the Video Game Examiner and Horror Examiner.  

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Asha French

Panelist: Writers Who Return

Asha French is an Affrilachian Poet who earned her doctorate in English at Emory University. A former columnist for, she has also published at Women’s Media Center, Mutha Magazine, and The New York Times. She is a textbook consultant and curriculum developer who works to build bridges between school systems and local artists communities. 

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Matt Hart

Author Reading

Matt Hart is the author of nine books of poems, including most recently Everything Breaking/for Good (YesYes Books, 2019) and The Obliterations (Pickpocket Books, 2019). Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals, including The Academy of American Poets online, Big Bell, Cincinnati Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Harvard Review,  jubilat, Kenyon Review online, Lungfull!, Mississippi Review, and POETRY, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the band NEVERNEW:

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Tim Heerdink

Author Reading

Tim Heerdink is the author of two poetry collections, The Human Remains and Red Flag and Other Poems, and a short story, The Tithing of Man. He has poems published in Poetry Quarterly, Fish Hook, and various anthologies and is the president of the Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.

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Minda Honey

Panelist: Writers Who Return

Minda Honey is an assistant professor and the director of the Creative Writing BFA program at Spalding University. Her work has been published by Vice, Teen Vogue, Playboy, the Oxford American, LA Review of Books, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and elsewhere. She's at work on a memoir about dating as a woman of color in Southern California, An Anthology of Assholes. 


Ellen Birkett Morris

Panelist: Feeding the Fire

Ellen Birkett Morris is the author of the forthcoming short story collection Lost Girls (2020) and Surrender, a poetry chapbook. Her work has appeared in journals including Shenandoah, Antioch Review, South Carolina Review and others. She was a finalist for the 2019 Rita Dove Poetry Prize, semi-finalist for the Story Quarterly Prize, and winner of the Bevel Summers Prize for fiction given by Shenandoah. Morris has an MFA from Queens University-Charlotte.

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Kenzi Nevins

Agent; Panelist: Publishing Town Hall

Kenzi Nevins is an award-winning writer and literary agent with a passion for magic realism and mythology. A graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing and theatre programs, she joined Cyle Young Literary Elite in 2018 as an agent representing illustrators and author/illustrators. She has been awarded second place for theatre journalism and critique from the Kennedy Center for American College Theatre, placed twice in the Serious Writer awards for YA fiction, and her short story, “The Last Freedom,” was published in eBook and paperback by StoryShares in 2017. At this time, Kenzi is specifically looking for illustrators, graphic novels, and picture books with extant illustrations. She's especially interested in myths and fairy tale retellings, or anything with a whimsical air. When she isn’t writing, Kenzi can be found watering her fairy garden, experimenting with little-known tea flavors, or wandering the aisles of her small-town Kentucky library.

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Mary Lou Northern

Panelist: Feeding the Fire

Mary Lou Northern’s writing has appeared in Redbook, Orion, Horizon, three anthologies, and elsewhere. Three of her plays have been produced. A semi-finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, the Tuscany Prize, and New Millennium Award, she earned a Spalding MFA. Twice a Summer Literary Seminar Fellow, she attended writing conferences at Sewanee and Vermont College.

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Megan Pillow

Author Reading

 Megan Pillow is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction and is currently a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky’s English Department. Her work has appeared, among other places, in Electric Literature, SmokeLong Quarterly,  Hobart, Paper Darts, Brevity, and Passages North, and has been featured in Longreads. She has twice been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, for Best Small Fictions, for Best of the Net, has a story featured on the 2019 Wigleaf Top 50, and has an essay honored as notable in the 2019 edition of The Best American Essays. Megan is working on a novel and completing her dissertation, an examination of the American freak show and its literature. Megan has received fellowships from Pen Parentis and the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and completed a residency with the Ragdale Foundation. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her two children, but a big part of her heart also lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Lynn Slaughter

Panelist: Feeding the Fire

Following a long career as a professional dancer/dance educator, Lynn Slaughter earned her MFA in Popular Writing from Seton Hill University. She’s the author of While I Danced, a 2015 EPIC finalist in the Young Reader’s category, and It Should Have Been You, a 2019 Silver Falchion Award finalist. 


Alice Speilburg

Agent; Panelist: Publishing Town Hall

Alice Speilburg is the founding agent of Speilburg Literary and has worked in book publishing for more than a decade. She represents narrative nonfiction and commercial fiction for adult and YA readers. Her first editing gig was on the news desk of her college daily, and she is still drawn to compelling nonfiction stories, especially those written by journalists, that deepen our understanding of culture and society. In fiction, she loves a complete immersion read that takes her to another world through the eyes of original characters. She is especially interested in stories that sidestep into history, magic, mystery, horror, or adventure. Alice previously worked at John Wiley & Sons, and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She has worked with bestselling and award-winning authors, literary and professional societies, and branded content. Alice serves as Vice President on the board of directors for Louisville Literary Arts.


Brent Taylor

Agent; Panelist: Publishing Town Hall

After years of interning in trade book publishing, Brent Taylor joined Triada US in 2014 to assist Uwe Stender while building his list of fiction and non-fiction for readers aged 0-18. He was promoted to associate agent in November 2015 and to agent in April 2017. His clients’ books have won major awards, collected starred reviews, and hit the bestseller lists. In addition to his role as an agent, he manages the agency's subsidiary rights, licenses audiobook and foreign rights to titles around the world, and attends international rights fairs. Brent describes his reading tastes as upmarket: he is passionate about books for young readers that are extremely well-written, robust with emotion, and appeal to a wide, commercial audience.


Tytianna Wells

Author Reading

Tytianna Wells, CEO and Founder of Honey Tree Publishing, LLC, is the author of 7 books for children, juvenile readers, and adults including Sweet Pea and Sugar Tea's Country Family AdventuresThe Bridge Kids, and The Healing Tree. Her newest release -- When Hip Hop Met Poetry: An Urban Love Story is a memoir about her life as a teenager that is complimented by a song, that is available on all music platforms, and a short film. Tytianna is a PhD Candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development. She enjoys reading fiction and nonfiction, performing spoken word, traveling the world, and teaching from her books in educational and community spaces.

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