Presenters and Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are confirmed
for the 2023 Seattle Writing Workshop.


William Kenower is the author of Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt, Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence, and Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion, and the Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine.

In addition to his books he’s been published in The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, Edible Seattle, Parent Map, and has been a featured blogger for the Huffington Post. He also hosts the popular podcast Author2Author.

At the 2023 in-person SWW, William is teaching.


Amanda Sun is a published YA author and proud Nerdfighter. She is an Associate Editor at Scholastic Canada.

At the 2023 Seattle workshop, Amanda is offering add-on virtual manuscript critiques for attendees.

Amanda is the author of the Paper Gods series, a YA Fantasy set in Japan about dangerous drawings coming to life. She also wrote HEIR TO THE SKY, which was nominated for the Aurora Award for Best YA Novel of 2016. She has contributed to several award-winning anthologies, including the Asian SF/F anthology WHERE THE STARS RISE, STRANGERS AMONG US, THE SUM OF US, TESSERACTS FIFTEEN, and SHADES WITHIN US.

Many of her novels and short fiction have been Aurora Award nominees and Junior Library Guild selections, as well as Indigo Top Teen Picks and USA Today features. When not reading or writing, Sun is an avid cosplayer and crafter. She has a degree in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, and will happily write your name for you in Egyptian hieroglyphs if you ask.


Denise McConduit is a published Children’s Book Author. At the 2023 SWW, she is offering add-on virtual manuscript critiques for attendees.

See all of her kidlit books here.

Denise lives in New Orleans, Louisiana the birthplace of jazz and other unique customs like Mardi Gras, Jazz Festivals, and Debutante balls. Denise grew up in a large family of thirteen children. As a child she used to entertain her siblings by reading and putting on plays. She began writing poetry at an early age and then studied art. Her first magazine article was published in 1982 in Black New Orleans magazine. Later she had articles published in Essence Magazine and the New Orleans Tribune magazine. She currently writes a weekly column for the Times Picayune newspaper focusing on the recovery of her neighborhood after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Preserving cultural traditions through family stories is important to Denise. It’s how she grew up and it’s what she passes on. Her first book, “D.J. and the Zulu Parade” is about the adventures of her son, “D.J” when he rode in a Mardi Gras Parade. That book led to two other stories about the intrepid boy: “D.J. and the Jazz Fest” and “D.J. and the Debutante Ball”. McConduit feels that writing culturally rich books are essential because it’s important for children see themselves in literature.

Her newest book is titled, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read. In this book young readers will meet Robbie, a stubborn little boy who doesn’t like to read. His wish is granted when a magic sorcerer removes the words from everything and that’s when his world gets topsy-turvy! He soon learns that life without reading is nothing to wish for! Denise often advises aspiring young authors, “Do you have any interesting or funny characters in your family? If you do, you may want to write a story about them. I did!”

McConduit has four children, Crishelle, Monique, Erika and D.J. It was her son D.J.’s experience as a page in the Zulu Parade that gave her the idea for the first book in the series. Denise has always been an avid reader and writer. Her personal mission is to write fun and meaningful stories for children.


Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 9.40.30 PM.pngGabrielle Prendergast is the bestselling author of numerous books for children and teens. She is the author of many books for kids (young adult, middle grade, and picture books).

She studied at the University of New South Wales in Australia, at San Francisco State University and the University of British Columbia. After years of working in the music industry, in social welfare, and the film industry, Gabrielle began writing books when she became a mother, so she could work from home. Her books have received nominations for the White Pine Award, the Canadian Library Association Award, the Vancouver Book Prize and several other honors. She won the BC Book Prize for her YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever and the Westchester Award for her YA novel in verse Audacious. Born in the UK and both an Australian and New Zealand citizen, Gabrielle now lives in East Vancouver in a permanent state of “under-construction”.

At the 2023 in-person Seattle event, she is offering virtual manuscript critiques for attendees as an add-on element.


S.Z. Estavillo is a writing coach, social media instructor, and former literary agent.

At the 2023 Seattle Writing Workshop, she is offering add-on virtual manuscripts as an add-on for conference attendees

She has a master’s degree in television, radio, and film and a bachelor’s degree in film. She has also worked with studios and agencies critiquing manuscripts and greenlighting film screenplays.

“My specialty is directing content from concept through completion. I have extensive professional writing experience that marries well with content direction, management, strategy, and social media marketing. The content creation, production process, and utilizing social media for marketing are what I absolutely love to do. I not only direct, write, create multi-media and social content for companies but also in my free time because it is my passion.”


Michele Cacano has published both fiction and nonfiction over the years, in magazines, anthologies, and zines. She is co-founder and lead facilitator of the Seattle Writers Meetup, est. 2007, that currently meets once a week in Seattle. The group is large and diverse, with a focus on supporting writers in their personal writing goals and helping them create the best writing possible.

At the 2023 SWW, Michele is teaching a class.

Michele counts many diverse Renaissaince humans among her influences, such as Benjamin Franklin, Katharine Hepburn, Leonardo DaVinci, Elvis Presley, Cher, Carl Jung, Dorothy Parker, Amadeus Mozart, Clive Barker, Craig Ferguson, Debbie Harry, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Tristan Tzara, and David Bowie. Art is paramount to life, and all aspects of life are opportunities for art and artistic expression.

During the years of her public education, Michele won numerous awards for her horsemanship, visual art, creative writing, and leadership skills. Her high school sponsored travels to The United Kingdom and Europe provided further perspective on life and the arts for Michele and her work. With dreams of living the artist’s life in New York squeezed by financial restrictions, she moved to London at age eighteen, only to return before the end of the year. Then, at the age of twenty, she made a permanent change of address to Seattle, where she has since married, raise several cats, and created a successful business of her own, in massage therapy. Her love of travel has continued with much time spent in Tokyo and Japan, Morocco, Mexico, Canada, and other parts of the United States.

In the nineteen-nineties, most of Michele’s employment was in the restaurant trade, making a living as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, and a juice bar manager. But, always there were the artistic side streams of interest and income, as a jewelry maker, a singer, a dancer, a drummer, a writer, a tarot card reader, a stage emcee for poetry slams, a contributor of art and words to zines, a music and event reviewer. Even now, Michele enjoys a variety of music, art, theatre, literary, and performance events and communities.


Leslie Varney is a literary agent and co-president of Prentis Literary.

At the 2023 in-person Seattle WW, Leslie is teaching a a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

She specializes in adult speculative fiction — science fiction and fantasy — for adults, young adult, and middle grade. Leslie has also established herself as a specialist in genre-bending fiction, enthusiastically representing authors whose works defy easy classification.

“It was never my plan to learn to read. In fact, I resisted it with all my five-year-old might, which was fairly significant. My favorite times were when my dad would read to me and I was afraid that when I learned to read myself, those lovely times would end. But my dad’s plan was different and his will was equal to mine. After many knock-down battles, and lots of Dick and Jane, I reluctantly learned.”

“I grew up during the mid-70s on my family’s hippie farm, situated in a small middle-class town in the Hudson Valley. This would have made me unique in any case, but the fact that we had no television was downright bizarre. While all my friends were watching re-runs of the “Brady Bunch” (again), I was re-reading “A Wizard of Earthsea” (again). Or “Watership Down”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “The Crystal Cave”, whatever was around. Luckily for me, there were always books around. And, since my dad’s favorite books tended to the fantasy and science fiction genres, my house was a fantastic playground of interesting ideas and wonderful stories. I was known as the weird kid who always had a book with her. If you couldn’t find me, I was probably hiding in Oz. Instead of doing my boring chores, I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her chores were exciting frontier adventures! There were no limits when it came to stories and there was always somewhere wonderful to visit.”

“I am pleased as punch that now I get to help authors bring new worlds, new ideas, and new magic to the literary world. I will always love the oral story-telling tradition, but my appreciation for the written work knows no bounds and I love being a part of bringing that passion to new readers. It turns out that my dad’s plan was better than mine after all.”


Jennifer Bardsley believes in friendship, true love, and the everlasting power of books. A graduate of Stanford University, she lives in Edmonds, Washington, with her husband and two children.

She is the author of several books published by Montlake. See all her books here.

Bardsley’s column I Brake for Moms has appeared in the Everett Herald every week since 2012. She also writes young adult paranormal romance under the pen name Louise Cypress. When Bardsley is not writing books or camping with her Girl Scout troop, you can find her walking from her house to the beach every chance she gets.

She is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary Agency. At the 2023 in-person SWW, Jennifer is teaching, and offering add-on in-person manuscript critiques for attendees.


Christina Braver writes sexy, small town, contemporary romance set in the Pacific Northwest. Her latest book is YOUR HEART, book 3 in the Perry Harbor series.

At the 2023 SWW, Christina is teaching a class.

“My stories are about real people and real love with the guaranteed HEA we all need. After growing up in Nashville, TN, and wandering the Midwest for college, I moved 2000 miles away from my mama to Seattle, WA with the love of my life. We were just starting out in this world of rain, tech, coffee, and outdoor sports. Spoiler alert: we survived. I learned to write while completing a million drafts of my thesis to earn an MA in Clinical Psychology and I have worked as a social worker, as a project manager in the healthcare tech industry, and now as a full-time writer. I have always been interested in what motivates us to do what we do, and I love to see how my characters surprise me.

“I’ve been a romance novel enthusiast for decades and I love to escape into stories about strong heroes with softer sides and independent heroines with a bit of sass. Reality is hard enough so when I throw rocks at my characters, I try not to make them boulders. I strive to support allyship in my writing and portray diversity in everyday life. Together, we will save the world.

“When I am not writing, I can be found reading in my favorite corner chair, sipping wine and laughing way too loud with friends, or cooking dinners that always take twice as long as the recipe suggests. I live outside Seattle, WA with my husband who shares his bourbon and two teenagers who keep us both on our toes.”


Anjanette Barr is a Literary Agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. She has been working in various branches of the writing and publishing world for over a decade, and being an agent is the perfect way to synthesize her interests and talents.

At the 2023 SWW, Anjanette is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

She spent the pandemic earning a certificate in Literary Representation from UCLA Extension. She also holds a B.A. in Japanese Studies from William Jewell College.

Anjanette lives with her family of six in Juneau, Alaska.


– Association of American Literary Agents
– Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
– Alaska Writers Guild
– Catholic Writers Guild

Learn more about Anjanette on her agent page here.


Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.23.45 PM.pngBrian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of He is current the director of Writing Day Workshops.

He is the coordinator of the 2023 Seattle Writing Workshop. At the event, he is teaching different classes.

His blog during his tenure at Writer’s Digest, 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.