Speakers and topics for the HBU Writers' Conference

2014 Conference Speakers

SPEAKER BIO
Dana Gioia Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. (Gioia is pronounced JOY-uh.)

As Chairman of the NEA, Gioia succeeded in garnering enthusiastic bi-partisan support in the United States Congress for the mission of the Arts Endowment, as well as in strengthening the national consensus in favor of public funding for the arts and arts education. (Business Week Magazine referred to him as "The Man Who Saved the NEA.")

Gioia's creation of a series of NEA National Initiatives combined with a wider distribution of direct grants to reach previously underserved communities making the agency truly national in scope. Through programs such as Shakespeare in American Communities, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, NEA Jazz Masters, American Masterpieces, and Poetry Out Loud, the Arts Endowment has successfully reached millions of Americans in all corners of the country.

Gioia has published four full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia's 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture.

Gioia's many literary anthologies include Twentieth-Century American Poetry, 100 Great Poets of the English Language, The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, and Literature for Life. His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, and The Hudson Review. Gioia has written two opera libretti and is an active translator of poetry from Latin, Italian, and German. In 2011 Gioia became the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California where he teaches each fall semester.

Gioia has been the recipient of ten honorary degrees. He has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Laetare Medal from Notre Dame. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Sonoma County, California.
 
Bao-Long Chu Bao-Long Chu earned an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Originally from Vietnam, his poems are anthologized in several books, including Good, Watermark and Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath. His libretto, Bound, for Houston Grand Opera's East + West initiative will premiere during the 2014 Vietnamese Lunar New Year. As Associate Director for Writers in the Schools, he plans and implements WITS' creative writing programs.

 
Editors of Numerous Houston-area Journals and Magazines Zachary Martin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Washington Square, The Southeast Review, OffCite, Sugar & Rice, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He currently serves as the Editor of Gulf Coast.

Austin Tremblay was born and raised in North Carolina. He is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Houston. Before graduate school, he worked as an actor and playwright. Austin’s writing has been featured in Gulf Coast, Smartish Pace, cream city review, Bateau, and other journals. He edits the literary journal Owl Eye Review.

Scott Chalupa writes to live in Houston, TX, where he is co-editor for Glass Mountain. A Howard Moss Prize winner, he was a juried poet for Houston Poetry Fest 2013, read in the 2013 Houston Public Poetry series, and was interviewed on “The Front Row” on Houston NPR. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Aletheia, the Houston Poetry Fest Anthology 2013, Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine, and Dark Matter, and Two Hawks Quarterly. Occasionally, he’s been spotted teaching workshops in places like the Houston Alzheimer’s Association and Houston Public Libraries.

Anthony Sutton currently lives in Houston, Texas where he received his B.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston where he received the Gulf Coast Fellowship in Undergraduate Creative Writing. Poems by Anthony have appeared or are forthcoming in Nothing. No One. Nowhere., Anklebiters Press, and The Aletheia. He’s currently poetry editor for Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine, and social media coordinator for Ostrich Review.

 
J. Matthew Boyleston, Ph.D. J. Matthew Boyleston is Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Houston Baptist University. He has written for The New Orleans Review, The Spon River Poetry Review, The Madison Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and many other publications. He was a finalist for the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry and The Melissa Lantis Gregory Poetry Prize and a semi-finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

 
Doug TenNapel About Doug TenNapel: When I was in 6th grade, I thought I wanted to be an animator. But doing 24 drawings to make a character take two steps across the room was more an act of micro management than an exploration of life. I told stories through movies, video games and television cartoons before finding paradise in the art form of making books.

I'm 6'8" so that makes me stand out of the crowd in a literal sense. My artwork naturally followed suite by coming out a little off center. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to sell out just a little bit more and fit in better with the crowd. If I was happy sticking out I wouldn't spend so much time slouching. But I can no more write different books than I can stop being 6'8".

Once you know that I'm a convinced Christian, married 20 years to the most amazing woman I've ever met and trying to be a good father to four kids that are every bit as miraculously unique as you are, there isn't much more to learn about me. Okay, that and I like newts. Wait, and that I read G.K. Chesterton and smoke a pipe every Sunday afternoon with my friends. Hold on, I also ran two Marathons this year, mostly because I didn't think I could do it. I play loud music from the 70s when I write and listen to lectures while I draw. There's nothing better than ice cream buried in caramel.

http://tennapel.tumblr.com/post/22060513332/doug-tennapel-books
 
Sara Cooper Sara Cooper comes to Houston from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she received an MFA in poetry. While there, she directed a college-access program for high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and taught writing through The Border Book Festival’s Emerging Voices Program, The Women’s Intercultural Center, and Las Cruces’s Writers in the Schools program. Since becoming a Writer in Residence with Houston’s WITS three years ago, she has introduced alternative media to the writing classroom, including filmmaking and blogging through collaborations with the Aurora Picture Show and a Houston-area high school. She currently teaches at the University of Houston, where she is pursuing a Ph.D in English. Her writing has appeared in The Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, and Arizona Highways.

 
Tina Winograd Tina Winograd, bestselling editor, President GCFW, is one of the founders and board members of the Gulf Coast Federation of Writers. Tina’s goal is to educate writers in the technical and non-tangible aspects of writing. With GCFW, she hopes to bring together the Houston writing community to offer more learning opportunities to everyone. Tina is also a freelance editor. Several of her clients are on the NYT and other bestselling lists. She loves editing because it gives her a chance to help other writers improve their storytelling techniques.

 
Garret Johnson Garret Johnson teaches Creative Writing and English at Houston Baptist University and has taught previously at the University of Houston-Downtown and for Writers in the Schools. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, regularly writes on contemporary and classic literature at Hieropraxis.com, and is currently touching up his first novel. His writing has also appeared in The City, Gulf Coast, and Transpositions.

 
Enos Russell About Enos Russell: Educated in mathematics and trained in research, I have spent several years writing White Papers for corporations on emerging technologies. My current stories reflect an eclectic interest in the impact these new technologies may impose on individuals and social groups. My latest research into programming genetic code and brain development has led to the Evolutis Rising series of novels: Deadly Awakenings, Rising, and Genecaust. Adjunct novels include: OnSet/ReSet and GothGlam. My wife and I also have a series for Tweens titled, The Ghost in my iPad. I am a member of the Board for the Gulf Coast Federation of Writers, a 501©(3) non-profit company and I am currently developing two online companies: iPUBit.org, an online, dynamic Self-Publishing Guide(TM) is designed to walk you through each step of publishing your ebook, and The Gulf Coast Publishing Group, Inc. focusing on development, publication, and marketing short stories and poetry.

 
Holly Ordway, Ph.D. Holly Ordway is the Chair of the Department of Apologetics and director of the MA in Cultural Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; her work focuses on the role of imagination and literature in apologetics, with special attention to the work of CS Lewis and Charles Williams. The 2nd, revised edition of her spiritual memoir, tentatively titled The Sword and the Cross: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, is forthcoming from Ignatius Press. She also writes for her website, hieropraxis.com.

 
Jason Harrod Since venturing out on his own, after his time as part of acclaimed folk duo Harrod and Funck, Jason Harrod has garnered a devoted fanbase, and with each release, from Living in Skin to Bright As You to his collection of Christmas songs, he has grown with his audience. Highliner, set to release in mid-August, was funded in part through the contributions of Harrod’s fans using the website Kickstarter; 270 backers pledged over $12,000, nearly twice the project’s goal. The record features performances from a number of musicians, including Josh Stamper and Patrick Berkery of the Danielson Famile. Brian McTear, who has worked with Sharon Van Etten, The National, and Dr. Dog, produced the album.

In addition to his fan following, Jason Harrod has earned the acclaim of industry leaders. In 2000, he won first place in the bluegrass category of MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting competition. The following year, he took first place in the North Carolina Songwriters Co-Op contest and followed that up with a 2002 appearance on Arthur Smith’s Carolina Calling stage with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Jason was selected as a spotlight performer at the annual Healdsburg Guitar festival in 2009, sponsored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and in 2010 he was awarded a fellowship by the International Arts Movement in the prize’s inaugural year. Jason has lived in Boston, Durham, and most recently New York, where he is the music director for a small church that meets in a black box theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

 
Coert Voorhees Coert Voorhees is the author of THE BROTHERS TORRES, STORM WRANGLER, LUCKY FOOLS and other works. IN TOO DEEP hits the stores on 7/9/13 and has been nominated for Children's Book Council Teen Choice Book of the Year. Other honors for his writing are: a 2013 Junior Library Guild Selection for IN TOO DEEP; a 2012 Junior Library Guild Selection for LUCKY FOOLs; a 2009 ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, 2010 IRA Young Adults' Choice, and 2011 ALA Great Stories CLUB Selection for THE BROTHERS TORRES.

 
Marcia Chamberlain Marcia Chamberlain earned a BA from the College of William and Mary and an MA from Rice University. She has taught with WITS for 15 years. In addition to receiving an Envision Grant from Rice University, she also has won a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Practicum Fellowship, a Teaching Tolerance grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Emerging Filmmaker Grant from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (now Houston Arts Alliance), and was a finalist for the 2009 Bechtel Prize. She has published essays about medieval nuns and Chicano revolutionaries and is working on a collection of nonfiction.

 
Published Authors and Editors of Houston-area Journals Karyna McGlynn is the author of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books, and two chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Salt Hill, Denver Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Court Green, and The Poetry Foundation's Poem-a-Day. Karyna received her MFA from the University of Michigan, and is currently the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast and coordinator of the Houston Indie Book Fest and Gulf Coast Reading Series.

Martin Rock is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Dear Mark, an epistolary response to the work of Mark Rothko (Brooklyn Arts Press). His poems have appeared widely in publications such as Black Warrior Review, Conduit, Third Coast, Salamander, and Best New Poets 2012. He has worked as a cheesemonger, web designer, and editor, and lived for four years in Japan where he taught both young and old the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

Rebecca Canak is a Creative Writing student at the University of Houston. She currently works as an editorial intern for Gulf Coast, and serves as the co-editor for Glass Mountain, which was awarded the 2013 National Directors’ Prize from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Colin Sturdevant is a senior at the University of Houston, and is Co-Founder & Managing Editor of Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine. His work has or will be appearing in Bookends Review, Rufous City Review, Extracts, The Aletheia (Online), and Zaum.

 
Louis Markos, Ph.D. Louis Markos holds a BA in English and History from Colgate University and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Michigan.  He is a Professor of English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches courses on British Romantic and Victorian Poetry and Prose, the Classics, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and Film. Dr. Markos holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities and lectures on Ancient Greece and Rome for HBU’s Honors College.  He is the author of From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics, Pressing Forward: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the Victorian Age, The Eye of the Beholder: How to See the World like a Romantic Poet, Lewis Agonistes: How C. S. Lewis can Train us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern World, Apologetics for the 21st Century, and Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis, Literature: A Student’s Guide, and On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue in Tolkien and Lewis, and Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition. All these books are available at his amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/LouisMarkos/e/B001JSBEBG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=133580302&sr=8-1.

He has also produced two lecture series with the Teaching Company, The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis; Plato to Postmodernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author (available at www.teach12.com), published 100 articles and reviews in such journals as Christianity Today, Touchstone, Theology Today, Christian Research Journal, Mythlore, Christian Scholar’s Review, Saint Austin Review, American Arts Quarterly, and The City, and had his modern adaptation of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris, Euripides’ Helen, and Sophocles’ Electra performed off-Broadway in the Fall of 2011, Fall of 2012, and Spring of 2013, respectively. His adaptations of Medea and Oedipus are on the docket for 2014.  He has also co-written a film about the life and conversion of C. S. Lewis.

He is a popular speaker in Houston, and has spoken on such topics as C. S. Lewis, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Dante in over a dozen states and in Oxford and Rome.  He is committed to the concept of the Professor as Public Educator and believes that knowledge must not be walled up in the Academy but must be disseminated to all who have ears to hear. He lives in Houston with his wife, Donna, his son, Alex, and his daughter, Stacey. For more information, visit his website at: www.Loumarkos.com

 
Micah Mattix, Ph.D. Micah Mattix is an assistant professor of writing and literature at Houston Baptist University. He is also a senior contributor at The American Conservative magazine and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The New Criterion, and elsewhere. He has written a book on the American poet Frank O’Hara and his currently working on one on metaphysics and poetry.
 
Members of the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston Rhianna Brandt studied creative writing at Salem College in North Carolina, received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston, and is now an PhD student at UH, where she teaches first-year composition and creative writing. Her work has appeared in Owl Eye Review.

Zachary Martin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Washington Square, The Southeast Review, OffCite, Sugar & Rice, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He currently serves as the Editor of Gulf Coast.

Austin Tremblay was born and raised in North Carolina. He is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Houston. Before graduate school, he worked as an actor and playwright. Austin’s writing has been featured in Gulf Coast, Smartish Pace, cream city review, Bateau, and other journals. He edits the literary journal Owl Eye Review.

Martin Rock is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Dear Mark, an epistolary response to the work of Mark Rothko (Brooklyn Arts Press). His poems have appeared widely in publications such as Black Warrior Review, Conduit, Third Coast, Salamander, and Best New Poets 2012. He has worked as a cheesemonger, web designer, and editor, and lived for four years in Japan where he taught both young and old the idiosyncrasies of the English language.

Anthony Sutton currently lives in Houston, Texas where he received his B.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston where he received the Gulf Coast Fellowship in Undergraduate Creative Writing. Poems by Anthony have appeared or are forthcoming in Nothing. No One. Nowhere., Anklebiters Press, and The Aletheia. He’s currently poetry editor for Houston & Nomadic Voices Magazine, and social media coordinator for Ostrich Review.
 
Stella Riley and DiAnn Mills Born a stone’s throw from the Acropolis, transplanted to the Texas Gulf Coast, Stella Riley is descended from refugees and rednecks. She’s an editor for Soul Mate Publishing where she reviews and contracts submitted manuscripts as well as edits and polishes manuscripts. She offers freelance editing on a case-by-case basis to clients seeking to prepare their manuscripts for publication. She’s the driving force of www.AllThingsWords.com, a group designed to assist and promote authors.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, Faith, Hope & Love, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and is the 2014 president of RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Find her at: www.diannmills.com, www.facebook.com/diannmills, and twitter.com/diannmills.