Mitchell S. Jackson is a recently named TED2016 Fellow, and he is the critically-acclaimed author of "The Residue Years" (Multnomah County Library's Everybody Reads selection for 2015, winner of The Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and finalist for the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel prize, the PEN/Hemingway award for first fiction, The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for best fiction by a writer of African descent, and other accolades). Mitchell S. Jackson grew up black in a neglected neighborhood in America's whitest city, Portland, Oregon. In the 1990s, those streets and beyond had fallen under the shadow of crack cocaine and its familiar mayhem. In his commanding autobiographical novel, Mitchell writes what it was to come of age in that time and place, with a breakout voice that's nothing less than extraordinary. Mitchell received an M.A. in writing from Portland State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New York University. He speaks and lectures all over the world, and he currently serves on the faculty of New York University and Columbia University.
Arthur Bradford is an O Henry Award-winning writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker. His newest book, "Turtleface and Beyond," (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) is an Oregon Book Award 2016 finalist, and was named one of The Oregonian's Best Northwest Books of 2015. Arthur's writing has appeared in Esquire, McSweeney's, Vice, Men's Journal, and many other publications. His first book "Dogwalker," was published by Knopf and Vintage paperback in 2002, and has been translated into ten languages. In 2012, McSweeney's published "Benny's Brigade," a children's book. Arthur is also the creator and director of the acclaimed "How's Your News?" documentary series, versions of which have been broadcast on HBO/Cinemax, PBS, and Channel Four England. He developed the concept into a series for MTV which ran throughout 2009. In 2011, Arthur directed the Emmy-nominated documentary, "Six Days to Air," about the making of "South Park," for Comedy Central. He is currently shooting a feature documentary about Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Arthur lives in Portland and works at a juvenile detention center.
Valerie Geary is the author of "Crooked River," an Oregon Book Award 2016 finalist and an Indie Next Great Read. Her short stories have appeared in Weekly Rumpus, Day One, Menda City Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Foundling Review, the UK publication Litro, and others. Valerie grew up in Albany, Oregon, and spent most of her childhood tromping through the woods, reading in her tree fort, and writing stories that featured heroic raccoons, squirrel detectives, and alien teachers. She majored in English Literature at Vanguard University of Southern California, where she worked at a bookstore and as a tutor in the university's writing center. One bright summer she tripped through the Spanish countryside, taking language classes at the University of Salamanca and falling in love with churros con chocolate. She currently lives in Portland with her family. In addition to writing and reading, Valerie also enjoys gardening, hiking, sailing, and playing disc golf.
April Henry loves to kill people--but only on paper. Henry is the New York Times-bestselling author of 19 mysteries and thrillers for adults and teens. "Blood Will Tell," is the second in her Point Last Seen series. Later this year, she will release a new mystery "The Girl I Used to Be." She won an Oregon Book Award 2015 for "The Body in the Woods." She can pick her way out of handcuffs with a bobby pin and makes a killer cinnamon roll. April has supported HomeWord Bound since its very first year.
Bart King, the author of many funny books for kids and immature adults, was once described as "Portland's very own Dave Barry." But it turned out the speaker was referring to David Barry, a local dad known for his groan-inducing puns, so that's hardly a ringing endorsement. Bart's latest book is "The Big Book of Superheroes." Later in 2016, Bart's first novel, a humorous science fiction adventure called "The Drake Equation," will be published by Disney Hyperion. The novel's editor also worked with Rick Riordan (of "Percy Jackson" fame) on his books. Pretty cool, right? RIGHT?
Margaret Malone is the author of the story collection "People Like You" from Atelier26, which was named one of The Oregonian's Best Northwest Books of 2015. Her writing has appeared in The Missouri Review, Oregon Humanities, Propeller Quarterly, Coal City Review, Swink, latimes.com, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a B.A. in Philosophy and now lives with her husband, filmmaker Brian Padian, and two children in Portland. Margaret has been a volunteer facilitator with the nonprofit Write Around Portland and is a co-host of the artist and literary gathering SHARE. She is the recipient of an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, two Regional Arts & Culture Council Project Grants, and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. Though she's a former tribe-member of the Dangerous Writers, in her heart she will always spend Thursday nights at the northeast corner of the table in Tom Spanbauer's basement.
Liz Prato was born and raised in Denver, where the mountains are majestic, but everything else is brown and flat. In the '80s, she sported a bleached blond faux-hawk and attended Lewis & Clark College. After college, she worked a series of McJobs, then worked as a nonprofit fundraiser, then became a massage therapist and moved to Portland, then got serious about studying the craft of writing. Liz's short story collection, "Baby's on Fire," (Press 53) was named one of Multnomah County Library's Best Books of 2015. Her short stories and essays have also appeared in over two-dozen literary journals and magazines. She was the Guest Prose Editor for the Summer 2013 issue of VoiceCatcher, and edited the fictional anthology, "The Night, and the Rain, and the River" (Forest Avenue Press, 2014). Awards include the 2010 Minnetonka Review Editor's Prize, 1st place in the 2005 Berkeley Fiction Review Sudden Fiction Contest, four Pushcart Prize nominations, and a scholarship to the 2012 Sewanee Writers' Conference. She began teaching at the Attic Institute in 2008, and has taught creative writing for several literary organizations throughout Oregon. Liz lives with furry feline friends and her best friend/husband, who is a bookseller, musician, and writer. She dreams of being in Paris or Kaua'i pretty much every day.
Marcia Coffey Turnquist is a writer and former television broadcaster who recently published her debut novel, "The God of Sno Cone Blue," winner of a 5-star indieBRAG Medallion. The driving force of the novel is a series of letters delivered periodically and mysteriously to Grace, a Portland girl coming of age in the late 1960s. Her dying mother wrote the letters, but they only surface after she's gone, as if from the grave, ultimately disclosing a secret that forever changes Grace's life. Prior to writing novels, Marcia worked as a television journalist, anchoring and reporting for KOIN-TV. For most of her seven years there, she anchored the noon news and reported for the evening newscasts. Marcia holds a B.A. in Communications from Linfield College in McMinnville, where she also minored in political science. She has a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University in the greater Chicago area. Marcia and her husband, Ed, have two children in college and live in the outskirts of Portland, where she continues work on her next book.
Ellen Urbani is the author of "Landfall" (Forest Avenue Press, 2015), a work of historical fiction set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the memoir "When I Was Elena" (The Permanent Press, 2006), a Book Sense Notable selection documenting her life in Guatemala during the final years of that country's civil war. Her autobiographical essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of bestselling pop-culture anthologies as well as the New York Times. Ellen earned a B.A. in Writing and Design at the University of Alabama in 1991. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 1991-1993, she returned stateside to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from Marylhurst University in 1996, specializing in oncological illness and trauma survival. Ellen currently lives on a working farm near Portland with her husband, two young children, and a passel of barnyard pets.