The Speakers, Panelists and Agents


First, the Speakers and Panelists

Rafael AlvarezKeynote Speaker Rafael Alvarez is a lifelong Baltimorean with a single subject at the heart of his fiction, journalism and screenwriting: Crabtown, USA on the shores of the Patapsco River. Educated at Mt. St. Joseph High School in Irivington, Alvarez learned to write on the City Desk of the Baltimore Sun and practiced the craft while laboring on ships with the Seafarers International Union. The son of a Fells Point tugboat engineer, his waterfront experiences were used extensively in the second season of HBO's "The Wire" during which he served as staff writer. The author of eight books - including the fiction collections The Fountain of Highlandtown (1997) and Orlo and Leini (2000) - Alvarez released a new anthology of stories in 2014 called Tales From the Holy Land. He recently completed a screenplay with his daughter, the actress Amelia Alvarez [Baltimore School for the Arts, 1999.] Alvarez can be reached via [email protected].

Geoff BeckerGeoff Becker is the author of the novel Hot Springs (Tin House Books, 2010) and the collection Black Elvis (University of Georgia Press, 2009), as well as the novel Bluestown (St. Martin's Press, 1996) and the collection Dangerous Men (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 1995).  His awards and honors include: the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, the Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction, The Nelson Algren Award, an NEA Fellowship, inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology, three Maryland Arts Council Awards, and the Parthenon Prize for Fiction.  He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and teaches writing at Towson University.


Shirley BrewerShirley J. Brewer graduated from careers in bartending, palm-reading, and speech therapy. She recently completed a poetry residency at Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Baltimore County. Her poems have appeared in: The Cortland ReviewInnisfree Poetry JournalPearl, Comstock Review, Loch Raven Review, Passager, New Verse News, and otherjournals. Her poetry books include A Little Breast Music, 2008, Passager Books and After Words, 2013, Apprentice House/Loyola University.

Shirley was awarded an Honorable Mention in Passager literary journal’s 2013 national poetry contest. She holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing/Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. Find out more at

Ron Cassie Ron Cassie is a senior editor at Baltimore magazine and former editor-in-chief at Urbanite magazine. A graduate of the Master of Arts writing program at Johns Hopkins, he’s won national awards for religion, arts, and sports feature writing, including a notable selection in the 2006 anthology, The Best of American Sports Writing. As a journalist he reported from Haiti in the days following the tragic earthquake and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His work has appeared in Newsweek, Grist, and the Huffington Post, among other magazines, newspapers and websites. Previously, he earned a living swinging a hammer, riding a bike, and pouring drinks.

Virginia CrawfordVirginia Crawford, Poet in Residence with the Maryland State Arts Council, teaches through the Artists-in-Education program. Her first collection of poems,Touch, appeared March 2011, from Finishing Line Press and was featured on WYPR’s Maryland Morning. Her poems have appeared in Gargoyle, The Baltimore Review, Mas Tequila Review, The Potomac: A Journal of Poetry and Politics and others. Ms. Crawford is a graduate of Emerson College, Boston, and the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She is co-editor of Poetry Baltimore, poems about a city, and an anthology of student poetry, Voices Fly.


Dr. Patricia Daly-LipeDr. Patricia Daly-Lipe is an author, artist and speaker. She has written five books: Messages from Nature, (a collection of short stories about animals, the high seas, and nature); A Cruel Calm: Paris Between the Wars (a historical fiction); Myth, Magic and Metaphor: A Journey into the Heart of CreativityAll Alone, Washington to Rome: A '60s Memoir; and La Jolla: A Celebration of Its Past. Her sixth book, Patriot Priest: The Story of Monsignor William A. Hemmick, The Vatican's First American Canon, will be out in March, 2014. Patricia is the past President of the National League of American Pen Women-La Jolla Branch, and the recipient of the 2004 Woman of Achievement Award from the NLAPW-La Jolla. She was also President of the Washington, DC Branch of NLAPW. Patricia has written for the Washington (DC) Evening Star, the La Jolla Village NewsThe Georgetowner, and Uptowner as well as several regional and national magazines. In her "spare" time, Patricia rescues thoroughbred horses. Find out more at

David EverettDavid Everett is the academic director of the Writing Program and is responsible for the day-to-day direction of students, faculty, and the curriculum. He teaches nonfiction, science-medical writing, and the program’s thesis course, and he has been involved in the design of nearly all program courses. Everett has taught writing, journalism, and editing at the university and professional level since 1986. As a journalist, Everett spent two decades traveling across the nation and around the world writing about economics, social change, the environment, politics, and other topics. His reporting and writing have won many awards, including the highest honor for Washington Correspondence from the Society of Professional Journalists; investigative awards from the University of Missouri, the Associated Press, and various other organizations, Washington reporting honors from the National Press Club; foreign correspondence awards from the Overseas Press Club, and various business and economics honors, including the John Hancock Business Writing Award.

Michael GlaserMichael S. Glaser served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2004 – 2009.  He is a Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where he co-founded and directed the annual Literary Festival, as well as the VOICES literary reading series for over 25 years.  He is a recipient of the Homer Dodge Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Columbia Merit Award for service to poetry, and Loyola College’s Andrew White Medal for his dedication to the intellectual and scholarly life in Maryland, and for his commitment to sustaining the poetic tradition in the State of Maryland.   Currently, He serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Humanities Council and on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Arts Advisory Committee. Glaser has edited three anthologies, including Come Celebrate with Me, a memorial tribute to Lucille Clifton (2011), and has published seven collections of his own work, most recently Disrupting Consensus which won the 2008 Teacher’s Voice chapbook competition.  He served as co-editor of the Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA, 2012), writes poetry reviews for The Friends Journal and co-leads retreats which embrace the reading and writing of poetry as a means of self-reflection and personal growth.  (more at http://www.smcm/edu/english/facultypages/msglaser.html  or google SMCM + Glaser)

Tom GlennTom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a care-giver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning short stories (sixteen in print) came from the better part of thirteen years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam on covert intelligence assignments before being evacuated under fire when Saigon fell. His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, and seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system. These days he is a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books where he specializes in books on war and Vietnam. His Vietnam novel-in-stories, Friendly Casualties, is now available on His article describing the fall of Saigon and his role in it was published in the Baltimore Post-Examiner this summer, and next year, Apprentice House will bring out his novel, No-Accounts. His web sites are,, and 

Gabe GoldbergGabe Goldberg is a technology communicator and consultant. He's contributed extensively to consumer publications such as Guide to Retirement Living Sourcebook and the Washington Post, as well as websites such as,, and He co-authored three McGraw-Hill technology books and has written hundreds of computer press and website articles. Gabe speaks frequently to diverse audiences, from senior citizens and baby boomers to techies, always avoiding jargon and techno-babble. As a volunteer, he strongly supports community-based groups involved in senior living, law enforcement, theater, and technology.

Kendra KopelkeKendra Kopelke is the author of four books of poems, including, most recently, Hopper’s Women, a series of poems in the voices of the women in Edward Hopper’s paintings. She is co-editor of Passager, now in its 23rd year, and Passager Books, a journal and press that features the work of older writers. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore.



Gerry LaFeminaGerry LaFemina's five full-length collections of poetry include The Parakeets of Brooklyn, which received the 2003 Bordighera Prize and was published in a bilingual edition of English and Italian and he’s also the author of two collections of prose poems. His collection of short stories, Proofreading America, came out in 2009, and The Vanishing Horizon, a collection of poems, came out in 2010. A noted writer, editor and teacher, LaFemina was nominated for the Michigan Governor's Arts Educator of the Year award in 2000, served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), has been awarded numerous awards for his work, including a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grant and an Pushcart Prize. 

Ally MachateAlly E. Machate is the chief editor, writer, and publishing consultant at Ambitious Enterprises and has worked with small and large book publishers, including Simon & Schuster, where she acquired and edited books as a full time staffer. Ally loves using her insider knowledge of the publishing industry and more than fourteen years of experience to help others reach their publishing goals, whether they include earning a book contract or adventures in self-publishing. Get free white papers and learn more at


Larry MatthewsLarry Matthews is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose thirty-plus years as a reporter provide the background material for his books. His memoir, I Used To Be In Radio, was hailed as “a must-read in journalism schools, especially for those who aspire to be investigative reporters.” He based the novel, Take a Rifle from a Dead Man, on the life of his father, who led an extraordinary, if difficult, life as a child of the Depression, a combat soldier in World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam and who was a spy in Germany during the Cold War. Two of his novels, Healing Charles and Saving Charles, are about the life of one man, set thirty years apart. Matthews is also co-author of Street Business, with Ernie Lijoi Sr., a police/crime novel based on real events in the career of retired Detective Lijoi.

John McIntyreJohn E. McIntyre, a veteran editor and teacher, is back in harness. He has worked for over 20 years at The Baltimore Sun, for 14 of those years as head of its copy desk, and, after a one-year hiatus, has returned as night content production editor. He has taught copy editing at Loyola of Maryland since 1995. He was the second president of the American Copy Editors Society, serving two terms, and he has been a consultant on writing and editing at publications in the United States and Canada.

Jen MichalskiJen Michalski lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She was voted one of the best authors in Maryland by CBS News, one of "50 Women to Watch" by The Baltimore Sun, and "Best Writer" by Baltimore Magazine (Best of Baltimore issue, 2013). Her novel The Tide King was published by Black Lawrence Press (2013; winner of the Big Moose Prize; "Best Fiction," Baltimore City Paper, Best of Baltimore 2013). She is the author of two collections of fiction, Close Encounters (So New, 2007) and From Here (Aqueous Books, 2013) and a collection of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books, 2013). She also edited the anthology City Sage: Baltimore, which Baltimore Magazine called "Best of Baltimore" in 2010. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww and hosts the Starts Here! reading series.

Alix MooreAlix Moore is a writer, speaker, creativity coach, and educational consultant. She works with children and adults in private sessions and public classes in the areas of creativity, teaching, and personal development. Currently the president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association, Alix is the author of two books: Tapping the Well Within: Writing from Your Source of Effortless Creativity, Deep Wisdom, and Utter Joy; and The Gift: How My Horse Taught Me to Teach the Toughest Children. When not writing or presenting, Alix can be found raising chickens, training cows, or harvesting vegetables on her organic farm in Clarksburg, MD.

Barbara MorrisonBarbara Morrison, who writes under the name B. Morrison, is the author of a memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, and two poetry collections, Terrarium and Here at Least. Barbara's award-winning work has been published in anthologies and magazines. She conducts writing workshops and, as the owner of a small press, speaks about publishing and marketing. She has maintained her Monday Morning Books blog since 2006 and tweets regularly about poetry @bmorrison9. For more information, visit her website and blog at


Stewart MossStewart Moss has worked for more than thirty years as an educator and fundraiser in independent schools around the country. An avid poet, he has taught literature and creative writing in both the USA and abroad. Scotland, Greece, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Nepal are among the countries in which he has lived and worked. A native of Boston, MA, Moss was educated at Union College (NY) and Harvard University, where he studied the relationship between culture and religion. He lives in Annapolis with his wife, the writer Barbara Klein Moss.


Lalita NoronhaBorn in India, Lalita Noronha received a Fulbright travel grant to the US and earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from St. Louis University School of Medicine. She is a widely published research scientist, poet and fiction writer. Her literary work has appeared in over seventy journals, magazines and anthologies. She is the author of an award winning short story collection, Where Monsoons Cry, (Black Words Press.) and a forthcoming poetry chapbook, Her Skin Phyllo-thin (Finishing Line Press.) She has twice won the Maryland Literary Short Story Award, a Maryland Individual Artist Award, the National League of American Pen Women Award, and Maryland Writers Association Awards in fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. She is a fiction editor for the Baltimore Review, a nominee for a Pushcart prize in poetry, and she teaches both science and creative writing. Her website is, and her literary blog is

Kim RobertsKim Roberts is the editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and co-editor of the Delaware Poetry Review.  She is author of five books, most recently Animal Magnetism, winner of the Pearl Poetry Prize (Pearl Editions, 2011) and the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010).  She's under contract to co-edit another anthology from Plan B Press to be published in 2015.  Roberts also co-edits the web exhibit DC Writers' Homes with Dan Vera.  She has been a writer-in-residence at 14 artist colonies and is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Humanities Council of Washington, and the DC Commission on the Arts.  Her website is

Cynthia Blake Sanders cropped photoCynthia Blake Sanders, an IP lawyer with Ober|Kaler, helps artists, designers, publishers and entrepreneurs protect their work and grow their businesses. Cynthia supports her clients by clearing brands and ad copy, explaining privacy and advertising laws, technology licensing, intellectual property protection, and tax and business issues. Cynthia has been a member of AAF Baltimore for nearly a decade, serving as chair of the Legislative Committee and legal counsel to the club. Cynthia has provided presentations on legal issues related to social media, privacy law, fair use and commercial speech to AAF clubs throughout the country.  Before becoming a lawyer, Cynthia was a jewelry designer with a degree in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art. A former pro bono client of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts as an artist, Cynthia gives back as the current President of MdVLA.

Sam SchmidtSam Schmidt’s first poetry collection, Suburban Myths (Beothuk Books) was published in March of 2012. He is founder and editor of WordHouse, Baltimore’s newsletter for writers (1993 to 2004) and coeditor of the anthology Poetry Baltimore: Poems About a City and has been published in a number of literary journals including the Maryland Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Gargoyle, Poets Against War, and The Potomac: A Journal of Poetry and Politics. His work has been anthologized in Weavings 2000, Maryland’s millennium anthology edited by Michael Glaser. Schmidt received his MA from the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently working on a mystery novel.


Laura ShovanLaura Shovan is editor of the art and literary journal Little Patuxent Review and of two poetry anthologies. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. In 2012, Laura was a finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award. She was a 2013 Gettysburg  Review Conference for Writers scholarship recipient and has recent poems in The Fourth River  and Switched-on Gutenberg and forthcoming in Barely South. Laura works with young poets as a  Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence.

Dean Bartoli SmithBorn and raised in Baltimore, Dean Bartoli Smith is the author of Never Easy, Never Pretty: A Fan. A City. A Championship Season (Temple University Press, 2013) and a contributor to the 2nd Edition of Ted Patterson's Football in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). His poetry has appeared in Poetry East, Open City, Beltway, The Pearl, The Charlotte Review, Gulf Stream, and upstreet among others. His book of poems, American Boy, won the 2000 Washington Writer’s Prize and was also awarded the Maryland Prize for Literature in 2001 for the best book published by a Maryland writer over the past three years. He writes sports for Press Box and Baltimore Brew.  He majored in English at the University of Virginia and received an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. He is director of Project MUSE at The Johns Hopkins University, a leading provider of digital humanities and social science content for the scholarly community.

Christine StewartChristine Stewart is Program Director for Literary Arts with the Maryland State Arts Council and director of Maryland's Poetry Out Loud program. A former artist-in-residence with Creative Alliance in Baltimore, she has a M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing and poetry, is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Blackbird, The Cortland Review, and other literary magazines. She was the 2012 first runner-up for the Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Award and a recent fellow to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Check out her Facebook page: or website: for resources to inform and inspire.

Ruth Thaler-CarterRuth E. Thaler-Carter has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 1985. She writes feature and news articles, profiles, press releases, annual reports, advertorials, and other business and marketing material; provides onsite conference coverage; manages newsletter and annual report design and production for associations, businesses and nonprofit organizations; and provides proofreading, copy editing, and critiques for magazines, books, publications, marketing collateral and organizations. She has received writing and editing awards from APEX, the Editor's Forum, and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She is also the recipient of the Philip M. Stern Award for outstanding service to other freelancers from Washington Independent Writers, and Communicator of the Year award for contributions to IABC/DC.  

Gregg WilhelmGregg Wilhelm is Director of Marketing and Enrollment Development for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  In 2004, he founded CityLit Project, a nonprofit literary arts organization that continues to produce an public events and publish books.  He has served as an editor, designer, production manager, and publisher for independent presses, including CityLit Press, which launched in 2010. Gregg has taught writing and publishing courses at Loyola University, Community College of Baltimore County, University of Baltimore, and in the Odyssey program at Johns Hopkins University. In January 2014 he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa.

Marion WinikMarion Winik is the author of the new memoir, Highs In The Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living. It joins Telling, First Comes Love, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, The Glen Rock Book of the Dead and others in the ongoing saga of her life. She writes a column at, reviews books for Newsday, and contributes to The Sun. Lots more info at




 Now, the Agents

Jessica Negron, AgentJessica Negrón attended University of New Haven, where she initially studied Forensic Science. After two years Negrón came to the realization that, despite her love for titrations (and saying “phenolphthalein”), she could not possibly spend the rest of her life staring at the color pink ("the most vile color in all the world") and she would much rather read The Crucible than ever have to handle one again. She made her escape to the English department, where waiting for her were a plethora of musty tomes and a comforting absence of fire. For five years Negrón interned with various local publications in both an editorial and design capacity until finally she found a place with Talcott Notch. She is interested in all kinds of YA and Adult fiction, but leans toward science fiction and fantasy (and all the little sub-genres), romance (the steamier, the better), and thrillers. Some of Negrón's favorite authors are Juliet Marillier, Thomas Berger, Jane Austen, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, and Chuck Palahniuk. She admires these writers for their shared gifts which enable them to establish profound connections with readers through their characters; to build worlds that make Negrón's wander-lusting heart ache with longing; and, most of all, to make her consider, question, and reevaluate the pleasures she so often takes for granted. Among her indulgences are roses, breakfast at odd hours, learning useless trivia, video games, witty web comics, movies, and (of course) books.

Shannon O'Neill, Agent

Shannon O'Neill is an agent with Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. She graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and earned a Masters in Writing from Johns Hopkins. A native Washingtonian, Shannon still calls the capital home. One of her favorite haunts growing up was Politics and Prose, so it was little surprise when she found herself working as a bookseller and marketing manager for the landmark independent bookstore. She spent six years at The Sagalyn Agency as agent and editorial director working with leading thinkers, journalists, and bestselling writers. She is on the lookout for writing that informs, intrigues, or inspires: special interests include narrative nonfiction, popular science, current affairs, the history of ideas, and literary and upmarket fiction.

Jessica Sinsheimer, AgentJessica Sinsheimer has been reading and campaigning for her favorite queries since 2004. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she went east for Sarah Lawrence College and stayed for the opportunity to read soon-to-be books for a living. Now an Associate Agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, she’s developed a reputation for fighting office members to see incoming manuscripts first—and for drinking far too much tea. Always on the lookout for new writers, she is most excited about finding literary, women’s, Young Adult and New Adult fiction, and—on the nonfiction side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century.

Lauren ClarkLauren Clark is an agent with Kuhn Projects and is based in Washington, DC. She has previously worked for ICM/Sagalyn and earned her Master’s in English/Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati. Under the nonfiction umbrella she’s interested in great writing about politics, history, current affairs, science, business, and sports, and under fiction she’s on the lookout for literary fiction and political, legal, and/or tech-centric thrillers.