Presenters and Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are confirmed
for the 2022 Seattle Writing Workshop.

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Amaryah Orenstein is a literary agent with Go Literary.

At the 2022 online SWW, Amaryah is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.

Amaryah has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She is particularly drawn to narrative nonfiction and memoir but enjoys any book that connects the reader to its characters and evokes thought and feeling.

Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, she worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations, including the Tauber Institute, where she edited books for Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Amaryah earned a BA at McGill University before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies in American History. She completed an MA at Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute and a PhD at Brandeis University, and currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

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Cody T Luffs debut novel, Ration, was released by Apex Book Company in 2019. Cody’s stories have appeared in Buckman Journal, Pilgrimage, Cirque, KYSO Flash, Menda City Review, and Swamp Biscuits & Tea. You can find more of Cody’s work here. He is a fiction winner of the Montana Book Festival Regional Emerging Writers Contest. He served as editor of an anthology of short fiction titled Soul’s Road.

At the 2022 online event, Cody is teaching a class.

Cody grew up listening to stories in his grandfather’s barber shop as he shined shoes, stories told to him at bedsides and on front porches, deep in his father’s favorite woods, and in the cabs of pickup trucks on lonely dirt roads. Cody’s work explores those things both small and wondrous that move the soul, whether they be deeply real or strikingly surreal.

Cody is a founding member of the Working Title writers’ collective (workingtitle.us). He has been a writing coach, mentor, and story editor for the past ten years. Working Title works with writers at all levels to deepen their craft and explore the root of their art.

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Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.16.11 PMChuck Sambuchino (@chucksambuchino) is a freelance editor, best-selling book author, and former longtime staffer for Writer’s Digest Books. For many years he edited the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET.

At the 2022 online Seattle conference, he is teaching a course on getting published, and critiquing attendee query letters.

His Guide to Literary Agents Blog was one of the largest blogs in publishing, and he wrote the platform guidebook CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. His humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, was optioned by Sony Pictures. Chuck’s books have been mentioned in Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Variety, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, Mental Floss,New York magazine, and many more media outlets. He is a successful freelance editor of queries, synopses, and manuscripts—seeing dozens of clients get agents or book deals following his consultations/edits. He loves meeting new writers.

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Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.40.52 PM.pngTara Bailey is the founder and CEO of Bailey Publishing House.

Tara founded Bailey Publishing House, LLC in 2016. She serves as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Editor.

At the 2022 online Seattle Writing Workshop, Tara is meeting virtually with writers for add-on manuscript critiques.

Tara is a ghostwriter and author of Dracula of the West Side and Number Seven (2018). She’s the author of the dark comedy play, “Deadbeat” (2017). The play premiered on May 21, 2018 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, downtown Pittsburgh. The production was produced by Wali Jamal Abdullah and directed by Kim El.

She was the featured speaker at the Celebration of Reading in June 2017 and Pittsburgh’s Write On: Black Book Expo in November 2017. Along with speaking at book festivals, BPH hosts an annual writers workshop. She’s been a featured guest on WAMO 100 radio programs and Soul Pitt Quarterly wrote an article about her company in Summer 2017 edition. In addition to her commitment to BPH, she is also Editor-in-Chief for a personal care home monthly magazine in Pennsylvania.

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Kaitlyn Johnson is a literary agent with Belcastro Literary Agency.

At the online 2022 SWW, Kaitlyn is teaching a class. She is also meeting with writers for one-on-one virtual pitches.

“As a Literary Agent with Belcastro Literary Agency, I am accepting submissions for Upper MG, as well as Young Adult and Adult.

“I love seeing contemporary from voices not already flooding our bookshelves, perspectives that not everyone can claim to be familiar with. I want fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal from non-American/non-European myths and legends, concepts relevant to the culture and plot. I’m more into ghosts/vampires rather than werewolves, but always open to being surprised. Give me historical from places we never hear of, battles and events and changes that shifted world views yet never feature in mainstream discussions. Reading of people completely unlike myself, in places I’d love to explore and learn of, captivates me.

“I’d love more LGBTQ+ storylines in all genres and ages (especially bi, ace, and trans voices!). Dying for MG with first crushes. People just being people and living life and not necessarily focusing on being forced to explain themselves. I love enemies-to-lovers and blind dates and rival romances. I’m also very much looking for more main characters living with mental health issues or disability.”

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Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, with a love for young adult books, literary fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction. He’s worked on award-winning and New York Times bestselling titles, and began his publishing career at Quirk Books.

At the 2022 online SWW, Eric is teaching a class. He is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.

A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books and the publishing industry regularly appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. He also occasionally writes books when he finds the time, like his latest, Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).

Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), middle grade, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of nonfiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, middle grade, essay collections, and blog to book ideas.

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Beth Marshea is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary.

​At the 2022 online SWW, Beth is teaching a class. She is also meeting with writers for one-on-one virtual pitches.

Beth is the owner and Lead Agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Outside of agenting, Beth, teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books. She loves the outdoors and is also a certified lifeguard.

She is seeking:

For added emphasis, in all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, from LGBTQIA+ writers, from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more non-binary representation across categories as well.

Across categories she would love to see more works that show joy in marginalized communities.

Adult nonfiction wants:

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden or weird histories, issue-driven books, and books that offer new ways to look at spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.

She is not a good fit for books on the Judeo-Christian religions.

Adult fiction wants:

Literary Fiction- She is looking for work with exceptional voice and beautiful style, unusual settings, and works that involve clever plots with dynamic characters. She wants to see work that brings to light new perspectives on old ideas. Of particular interest are multi-generational stories that show family dynamics, stories centered around found family or friendship, Currently she is especially interested in seeing works by and about BIPOC communities, especially Latinx and Indigenous writers.

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction- She’d love to see more multicultural Meet-Cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), Family Drama, stories about friendships of any kind, work that is light and fun, but emotionally poignant.

Mysteries- Would love to more atmospheric mysteries with a twist. It might be an unusual setting, or simply written from BIPOC perspective to give this genre a new voice.

Thrillers- She loves a thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing! She’s particularly looking for thrillers set outside of the United States. She does not love thrillers that feature violence towards women as their main plot.

Fantasy- Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters. She’d love to see more dark fantasies based on non-European folklore, especially Latinx (new imaginings of El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc…)!

Science Fiction- She really wants grounded Sci-Fi with characters that are engrossing, tight plots, and really beautiful voice. She prefers stories set near future, featuring unusual tech, that are not focused around the US. She’s not the best candidate for a space opera or any military Sci-Fi.

Young Adult wants:

Contemporary- She is very actively looking for stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, LGBTQIA+ Rom Coms, anything that is really poignant and pulls at your heart strings, especially if it is set outside of the U.S.

Mysteries/Thrillers- Stories with high stakes and complex friendships stretched thin. In YA, Mysteries/Thrillers of almost any kind are appealing as long as they are emotionally focused and bring a new point of view. She is not a fan of the unreliable narrators, but is a huge fan of group heists.

Fantasy- Very similar to Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending! Tales that feature friendships rather than romance as their base and really dig in to the full emotions of that particular love and struggle.

Middle Grade wants:

She’s looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that Middle School kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. She’s also interested in Fantasy that explores similar themes. Books she’s loved are: Lalani and the Distant Sea, Wonder, Pet, and Lily and Dunkin

Picture Book wants:

She’s dying to find books with really cute hooks like The Day the Crayons Quit, or nice messaging like Not Quite a Narwhal. She’d love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read, but engrossing enough for an adult to enjoy.

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Carrie Howland founded Howland Literary, LLC in 2018, after thirteen years as an agent, most recently at Empire Literary.

At the 2022 online SWW, Carrie is teaching a class. She is also taking one-on-one virtual pitches from writers.

Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines.

In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and is an active member of the Junior League. Her passions include music, pop culture, and the Midwest.

She has been featured in several publications discussing her work as an agent including Poets & Writers, SCWBI insight, Akashic Books, and Slice Magazine.

Carrie is accepting submissions for: adult literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction as well as memoir, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction.

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Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.23.45 PM.pngBrian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com.

He is the co-coordinator of the 2022 Seattle Writing Workshop. At the event, he is moderating all sessions and panels.

His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community.

Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.

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Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 2.06.14 PMEve Porinchak is an author, as well as a former literary agent.

At the 2022 online SWW workshop, Eve is teaching a class.

Since earning degrees in Biology and Psychology from UCLA, Eve has lived all over the planet and spent much of her time in and out of jail – as a creative writing teacher for teen inmates. A former agent with Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, Eve also attended medical school, served as a social worker with foster youth and homeless populations, and taught everything from first grade to college courses.

Eve writes stories featuring youth she feels have been underrepresented in children’s literature, such as those born into gang life, the abandoned, and the incarcerated who – ironically – have the most fascinating tales to tell. Her first book, the critically acclaimed ONE CUT – a haunting nonfiction story with a juvenile justice bent – launched Simon and Schuster’s new young adult true crime line, Simon True.

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Shirin Leos is the author of 20 children’s books, the best-known of which is Ruby’s Wish, an Ezra Jack Keats Award winner. Her successful debut had Publishers Weekly include her on a list of “new authors to watch;” several years and two feature articles later, she made it to their front cover as the founding goose of Goosebottom Books. You can see all her books here.

At the online 2022 SWW, Shirin is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.

When Shirin is not writing, she is an editor, writing coach, and writing retreat leader. She has been dubbed a “tiger editor” independently by two of her clients, because she gives tough developmental edits. (They did come back!)

For those who don’t like tough, there are her writing retreats. These are three- or five-night stays in beautiful and secluded surroundings, with all meals catered, and libations poured every evening when participants gather to share our work and receive feedback. There is nothing, Shirin believes, like writing in community. These few days can be the most productive of the year.

You can find notices of upcoming retreats here.

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Kimiko Nakamura is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary, representing YA and adult titles within the genres of contemporary, literary, historical, and women’s fiction. In the categories of non-fiction she specializes in cookbooks and memoir.

At the 2022 online SWW, Kimiko is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.

A graduate of Boston University’s Book Publishing program and Skidmore College, Kimiko has called the publishing industry home since 2006. From production to sales she’s worked within publishing houses to release new titles and foster backlist profits. As an agent, she uses this diverse background to assist her clients with all stages of publication, and well beyond.

Kimiko works with aspiring and established authors alike. She loves projects that reimagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper.

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Kat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

At the 2022 online SWW, Kat is teaching a class. He is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.

Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities. She is actively seeking to grow her client list and is particularly hungry for magical realism, literary leaning speculative and science fiction, women’s fiction, YA works with a lot of heart, and narrative nonfiction with something to say. In fiction, she seeks literary, upmarket, women’s, rom-coms, multicultural, speculative, magical realism, family saga, young adult, and select sci-fi and fantasy. In nonfiction, she seeks narrative nonfiction and journalistic nonfiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty. She also represents select biographies and memoirs. Learn more about Kat here.