11th Annual Eckerd College Writers’ Conference (January 17-25, 2015)

May 28, 2014

The 2015 Faculty

Sterling Watson

Sterling Watson – Conference Director, Co-Founder

Sterling Watson is the author of six novels, including The Calling, Deadly Sweet, Blind Tongues, Sweet Dream Baby, and Weep No More My Brother. His most recent novel, Fighting in the Shade, was published in 2011 by Akashic Books and was described by Dennis Lehane as, “A brilliant, fearless look at the savage rites of passage that exist in the fraternity of American sports. A book as gripping and unforgettable as any in recent memory.” Mr. Watson’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Southern Review. He was director of the Creative Writing Program at Eckerd College for twenty years and is the College’s Peter Meinke Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing.  He teaches in the MFA program at Pine Manor College. His seventh novel,Suitcase City, will be published by Akashic Books in March of 2015.

Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III – Fiction

Andre Dubus III is the author of six books, including the New York Times’ bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie. His most recent book, Dirty Love, published in the fall of 2013, was a New York Times “Notable Book” selection, a New York Times “Editors’ Choice,” a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013.” Mr. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a 2012 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children.

Ann Hood

Ann Hood – Nonfiction

Ann Hood is the author of ten novels, including the bestsellers Somewhere off the Coast of Maine, The Knitting CircleThe Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer. She has also written two memoirs, Do Not Go Gentle: My Search for Miraclesand Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2008, a collection of short stories, An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life, and The Treasure Chest, a ten book series for middle readers. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and NPR’s The Story, and her essays and short stories have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, O, Glimmertrain, Tin House and many other publications.  The winner of two Pushcart Prizes, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and Best American Spiritual, Travel, and Food Writing Awards, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island. The Knitting Circle will soon be an HBO movie starring Katherine Heigl. Her new novel, An Italian Wife, will be published in September 2014. www.annhood.us

Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman – Fiction

Laura Lippman is the author of eleven novels featuring Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan, seven stand-alone novels, and a short story collection. Her six most recent books have all been New York Times bestsellers. Ms. Lippman has won numerous literary prizes for her work, including the Edgar, Anthony, Nero Wolfe, Agatha, Gumshoe, Barry, and Macavity Awards. A recent recipient of the first-ever Mayor’s Prize, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, David Simon, their daughter, and her stepson.

Attica Locke

Attica Locke – Fiction

Attica Locke’s first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK (now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction).  Her second book, The Cutting Season, published by Dennis Lehane Books, is a national bestseller.  It was named an Honor Book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was long-listed for the Chautauqua Prize, and is the 2013 winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A graduate of Northwestern University, Locke was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab.  She spent many years as a screenwriter, writing scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, and Dreamworks. She is a member of the academy for the Folio Prize in the UK and is also on the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. A native of Houston, Texas, she lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter. www.laurawilliamsmccaffrey.com.

Les Standiford

Les Standiford – Fiction

Les Standiford is the author of fifteen books, including the novels Bone Key andHavana Run and the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise, Meet You in Hell, Washington Burning, and The Man Who Invented ChristmasLast Train to Paradise was one of the History Channel’s Top Ten picks.Meet You in Hell was the publisher’s nominee for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. Washington Burning was the publisher’s nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. The Man Who Invented Christmas was a New York TimesEditors’ Choice in 2008. He has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami. In March 2011, Ecco Press published Bringing Adam Home, an account of Det. Sgt. Joe Matthews’ twenty-seven-year quest to solve the 1981 kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh. The book became a New York Times bestseller and was for three weeks the number one selling True Crime book on the Wall Street Journal list. http://stewart-onan.com/

david yoo

David Yoo – Young Adult Writing

David Yoo is the author of the YA novels Girls for Breakfast (Delacorte), which was named a NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before (Hyperion), a Chicago Best of the Best selection, along with a middle grade novel, The Detention Club, (Balzer and Bray). His first collection of essays, The Choke Artist (Grand Central) was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. David has a regular column in Koream Journal, and teaches at the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College, as well as at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. For the exact same information, please visit www.daveyoo.com.

2015 Guest Faculty


Jess Walter

Jess Walter – Keynote Speaker

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including six novels, most recently, the number one New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Ruins. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, the PEN/USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short StoriesBest American Nonrequired ReadingHarpersEsquireMcSweeney’sPlayboyESPN the Magazine and many others. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. He lives with his wife and three children in his childhood home, Spokane, Washington. www.jesswalter.com

patricia engel

Patricia Engel – Guest Speaker

Patricia Engel is the author of the novel, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, and the story collection, Vida, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, winner of a Florida Book Award and International Latino Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Barnes & Noble, and LA Weekly. Her stories have appeared in The AtlanticA Public SpaceBoston ReviewGuernica, and Harvard Review, among other publications, and have received numerous awards including, most recently, a 2014 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Miami.www.patriciaengel.com

lisa gallagher

Lisa Gallagher – Literary Agent

Formerly Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow, Lisa Gallagher is known throughout the publishing industry as an indefatigable author advocate who has nurtured the careers of countless writers. At William Morrow, she worked with numerous New York Times bestselling authors, including novelists Brunonia Barry, Marisa de los Santos, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Gross, Kim Harrison, Joe Hill, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, Laura Lippman, Gregory Maguire, Christopher Moore, Sena Jeter Naslund, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kimberla Lawson Roby, James Rollins, and Neal Stephenson; and nonfiction writers T. J. English (Havana Nocturne), Bruce Feiler (Where God Was Born), Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives), John Grogan (Marley & MeThe Longest Trip Home), Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Freakonomics), Slash (Slash), James Swanson (Manhunt), U2 (U2 by U2), Robert Wagner (Pieces of My Heart), and Frank Warren (Lifetime of Secrets: A Postsecret Book), among others. http://greenburger.com/

Bill Contardi – Literary Agent

meg kerney

Meg Kearney  – Director, Pine Manor Low-Residency MFA Program

Meg Kearney is founding director of the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Formerly Associate Director of the National Book Foundation (sponsor of the National Book Awards) in New York, she is the author of two books of poems for adults, An Unkindness of Ravens and Home By Now, winner of the 2010 PEN New England LL Winship Award, as well as two novels in verse for teens: The Secret of Me, and its sequel, The Girl in the Mirror. Meg’s picture book, Trouper, was illustrated by E.B. Lewis and published by Scholastic in fall 2013. It was selected as one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People of 2014, one of the most “Diverse and Impressive Picture Books of 2013” by the International Reading Association, and one of the season’s best picture books by the Christian Science Monitor. Her poetry has been featured on Poetry Daily and Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac,” and has been published in myriad literary magazines and anthologies. For more information, visit: www.megkearney.com and www.pmc.edu/mfa.

peter meinke

Peter Meinke – Poetry

Peter Meinke is Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, Florida. His most recent book isLucky Bones (2014), his eighth in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series. His work has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and dozens of other magazines. He has published over twenty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Truth and Affection, published by the University of Tampa Press (2013), is a collection of his Poet’s Notebook columns with his wife Jeanne’s drawings, from Tampa Bay’s alternative newspaper, Creative Loafing. His poetry has received many awards, including two NEA Fellowships and three prizes from the Poetry Society of America. His book of short fiction, The Piano Tuner, won the 1986 Flannery O’Connor Award. Mr. Meinke directed the Writing Workshop at Eckerd College for many years and has often been writer-in-residence at other colleges and universities. www.petermeinke.com

jacquelyn mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard – Closing Special Guest Speaker

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books for adults, young adults, and children, including The Deep End of the Ocean, the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. Her critically acclaimed books and stories have been translated into thirty languages, and have received many awards, including the Margaret Powers Award, Britain’s People Are Talking award, The Bram Stoker Award, and finalist for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. In 2013, Mitchard became Editor-in-Chief of Merit Press, a realistic Young Adult fiction imprint under the aegis of F&W Media, and an instructor in the Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. A longtime journalist and a contributing editor for More magazine, Mitchard lives on Cape Cod with her family.jacquelynmitchard.com

johnny temple

Johnny Temple – Editor/Publisher, Akashic Books

Johnny Temple is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and the American Association of Publishers’ 2005 Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing. Temple is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice and includes stories from Dennis Lehane, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates, and others. Temple teaches courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University and Wesleyan University; and is the Chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which works with Brooklyn’s borough president to plan the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the band Girls Against Boys, which has toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including The NationPublishers WeeklyAlterNetPoets & Writers, andBookForum. http://www.akashicbooks.com/

2014 “Best Of”

May 28, 2014

After the 2014 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference, participants applied what they learned in the workshops and plenary sessions to new and old writing projects. All participants were given the opportunity to submit work for consideration in the 2014 Volume of Sabal, a literary journal featuring writing by conference participants.

The writers selected by Sterling Watson and Christine Koryta for “The Best Of” will receive two copies of the 2014 Volume of Sabal, and a subscription to next year’s Sabal.

These works reflect a variety of voices, experience, and styles, but all have excellence in common. We thank all of our students for their hard work, talent, commitment, and the generosity of spirit that led them to us and made them our colleagues for a wonderful week. We hope they are as proud of themselves as we are of them.

2014 “Best Of”

Charlie Clark – “Stanley Pargo in Suburbia”

Lisa Heidle – “A Broken Prayer”

Karen Kenney – “Where the Light Shines In”

Darren Lewis – “Acceleration”

Jules Pryor Menke – “Thousand Miles Home”

Terese Schlachter – “Untitled”

Emily Young – “Spoon and String”

Courtney Zenner – “Flight: A Memoir”

Honorable Mention

Robb Cadigan – “A Darkness Over Our Town”

Luis Castillo – “Local Waters”

Christina Freedman – “A Seat at the Emporer’s Table: A Memoir”

Kate LeSar – “Baptism”

Marilyn Spiller – “Waking Up the Ghost”

Susan Turner – “Mission Budapest”

John White – “Deviant Acts”

The “Best Of”

February 24, 2014

The “Best Of”

In previous years, the Writers in Paradise Faculty have selected a “Best Of” and an honorable Mention from work critiqued in each workshop. The “Best Ofs,” announced on the final day of the conference, were later revised based on workshop commentary and printed in Sabal, a literary journal published by Writers in Paradise.

This year, we handled “Best Ofs” in a different way. As part of the program at our Brunch on Saturday, January 25, faculty recognized a wide array of bests, such as “Best Line,” “Best Character Name,” etc. After the conference concludes, and writers have had a chance to digest and revise, all participants of the 2014 Conference are invited to submit work to Sabal. Works selected by the editors will be published in Sabal Volume 9.

We hope this new approach to “Best Ofs” will contribute to the enjoyment and spirit of our conference whose purpose is to nurture writers, encourage them to transcend boundaries, and also to showcase the talent they brought to us for a wonderful week at Eckerd College.


1.) In order to be eligible, you must have attended the 2014 Writers in Paradise as a conference participant.

2.) Submissions should be formatted as follows: Times New Roman, 12 Font, standard margins, double-spaced, maximum of 25 pages.

3.) You may only submit writing in the genres which were represented in this year’s workshops: i. e., Novel, Nonfiction (memoir/essay), Short Story, and Young Adult Writing.

4.) You may submit any piece of writing which has not been previously published before. You are not limited to submitting what you workshopped during the conference. We hope what you will apply what you learned during the conference to all of the writing you are working on. 

5.) The deadline to be considered for SABAL 2014 will be Friday, March 28, 2014. Submissions are due via email to: cayacr@eckerd.edu

Your submission should be saved as an MS Word or PDF attachment.

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission.

Submissions will be considered final. No further revisions will be allowed with the exception of minor editing for typos and grammar if the work is selected for publication in SABAL.

6.) Notification of the works selected for publication will be sent via email on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Good luck!

John White

January 28, 2014

John White’s short fiction, Mathers Bridge, was published November 25 by Akashic Books on its Mondays are Murder page.


Congrats, John!

2014 ECWC Evening Reading Series

January 12, 2014

2014 Evening Reading Series

Readings will begin at 8:00 pm and will be followed by author signings. Books will be available for purchase. All readings will take place in Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College and include a wine and cheese reception in the Miller Auditorium lobby before each reading, 7:30-8:00 pm. The Eckerd College Writers’ Conference Evening Reading Series events are free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. For further information, contact Christine Koryta at 727-864-7994. Events are subject to change.

2014 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference Evening Reading Series:

Saturday, January 18

Tim O’Brien with Q&A moderated by Dennis Lehane

Sunday, January 19
Dennis Lehane and Andre Dubus III

Monday, January 20
Jon Chopan and Les Standiford

Tuesday, January 21
Laura Williams McCaffrey and Peter Meinke

Wednesday, January 22*

Thursday, January 23
Lori Roy and Stewart O’Nan

Friday, January 24
Ann Hood and Sterling Watson

Saturday, January 25
Laura Lippman and Attica Locke


Athena Sasso

January 12, 2014

Congratulations to ECWC alumna Athena Sasso, whose short story “Throw Down” is forthcoming in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature (March 2014). 

Congrats, Athena!

Sarah Gerard

December 27, 2013

Great news for ECWC Alumna Sarah Gerard. From Publisher’s Marketplace:

Sarah Gerard’s BINARY STAR, a story of young lovers struggling to overcome personal addictions in the midst of a culture designed to keep them sick while on a roadtrip across America, to Eric Obenaufat Two Dollar Radio, in a nice deal, for publication in January 2015, by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary Services(NA).

Congrats, SARAH!!!