Panelists / 2014 Writers Conference


Malaika Adero, Vice President and Senior Editor, Atria Publishing, Simon & Schuster

Areas of interest: Fiction: African American, International, Literary, Commercial, Women's, Speculative, Historical, Erotic Nonfiction: Autobiography, Biography, Popular History, Mind/Body/Spirit, Inspiration, Popular Culture, Current Affairs, Fashion/Beauty, Health, Personal Finance
Authors include: Morowa Yejidé, James Meredith, Common, Nelson Mandela, Joan Steinau Lester, Amy Hill Hearth, T.D. Jakes, Zane, Sheila Weller, Blair Underwood, Farai Chideya, Victoria Rowell, Walter Mosley, Maryse Conde, Vickie Stringer, Tananarive Due, Kevin Powell, Common, Mikki Taylor, Lorene Cary, George Clinton, Talib Kweli, Rick James, Nas, Toure, Reyna Grande 

NOTE: Malaika Adero will appear on the industry panel. However, she will not be available for the pitch slam. 

For more information, visit Malaika Adero at Atria Publishing Group

Photo credit: Mark Hillringhouse

Photo credit: Mark Hillringhouse


Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank

Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell, 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell, 1999), and two works of fiction, the widely celebrated novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the story collection Holding Pattern (Graywolf Press, 2008), which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His other awards include a Whiting Writer's Award, a support grant from Creative Capital, The Chicago Public Library's Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction from the African American Literature and Culture Association, the 2003 Charles Angoff award for fiction from The Literary Review, and special citations from the Society for Midlands Authors and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. He has been a fellow at The Dorothy L. and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, a John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a Walter E. Dakins Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

For more information, visit


Jennine Capó Crucet, author of How to Leave Hialeah

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of the novel MAGIC CITY RELIC, forthcoming from St. Martin's Press in 2015. Her story collection is How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, the Devil's Kitchen Reading Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the Miami Herald, the Miami New Times, and the Latinidad List. The title story from the collection won a PEN/O. Henry Prize and appears in the 2011 PEN/O. Henry Prize Anthology. She was recently the Winter 2013/14 Picador Guest Professor at the Institute for American Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Originally from Miami, she's currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Florida State University. Jennine is the recipient of the John Winthrop Prize & Residency for Emerging Writers, the Emily Clark Balch Fiction Prize, and her work has been a finalist for both the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize and the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, Kweli, Ploughshares, Epoch, the Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, and other magazines. 

For more information, visit

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Bridgett M. Davis, author of Into The Go-Slow

Bridgett M. Davis' most recent novel, Into The Go-Slow, is forthcoming from Feminist Press on September 9th.  Her debut novel Shifting Through Neutral was a finalist for the 2005 Hurston/Wright Award. 
She is Books Editor for Bold As Love Magazine, a black culture site, and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Essence, O, The Oprah Magazine, and, among other publications.
She is a professor at Baruch College, CUNY, where she is the Director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program. She is also curator for the popular monthly Brooklyn reading series, Sundays @.....



Dawn Davis, Vice President and Publisher,
37 Ink

In April 2013, Dawn Davis joined Simon & Schuster as the VP and Publisher of 37 INK, an imprint within the Atria Publishing Group.  Her first book, The Butler: A Witness to History, was a New York Times Bestseller. For twelve years, she had been at HarperCollins, directing the Amistad imprint.  During her time at Amistad, she published numerous well-known, highly-acclaimed bestselling authors including Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle and the IMPAC Awards for Fiction; Steve Harvey, author of the #1 bestsellers Straight Talk, No Chaser and Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, which launched as a #1 box office film and talk show; Chris Gardner, whose life story was published as the memoir The Pursuit of Happyness and the inspiration for the popular motion picture starring Will Smith; Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Edgar Award, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of the NYT bestselling novel Wench.

For more information, visit Atria Publishing Group



Linda A. Duggins, Publicity Director / GCP; Director, Multicultural Publicity / Hachette Book Group

Linda A. Duggins is director of publicity at Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. As cofounder of the Harlem Book Fair, she has helped to create a nationally recognized venue that promotes literacy and literary expressions with writers of the diaspora. Duggins is the creator and producer of the Annual International Women's History Month Literary Festival at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Duggins is on the Board of Directors of the National Book Club Conference, based in Atlanta, Ga., whose mission is to advance literacy and knowledge through reading and dialogue. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Queensbridge Scholarship Fund, serving college bound students in the Queensbridge and Ravenswood housing developments in the New York City area. 

For more information, visit


Sulay Hernandez, Owner of Unveiled Ink Book Consulting

Sulay Hernandez has been in the publishing industry for more than a decade, beginning as an intern at Penguin Books, an assistant at the Vigliano Literary Agency,  an editorial assistant at Kensington Books, an editor at Simon & Schuster, a senior editor at Other Press, and is currently the owner of Unveiled Ink Book Consulting. As a generalist, Sulay has worked on literary and genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, and books in translation, many of which have become national and international bestsellers and critically acclaimed award-winners. She was an adjunct professor for the City College of New York’s Publishing Certificate Program, taught in Simon & Schuster’s Publishing 101 Lecture Series and participated in the CBS Speaker Series. Sulay holds a B.A. and M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is bi-lingual in English and Spanish. She has a particular interest in multicultural stories, science, politics and sports.

Photo Credit: Lola Flash

Photo Credit: Lola Flash


A. Naomi Jackson, author of Who Don't Hear Will Feel

A. Naomi Jackson is the 2013-2014 ArtsEdge resident at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House. She studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction to complete her first novel, Who Don't Hear Will Feel. Jackson traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in Brilliant Corners, The Encyclopedia Project, The Caribbean Writer, and Sable. Her short story “Ladies” was the winner of the 2012 BLOOM chapbook contest and the E. Lynn Harris Award from Lambda Literary Foundation. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and  Vermont Studio Center.


Mitchell S. Jackson, author of The Residue Years

Mitchell S. Jackson is a Portland, Oregon native who lives in Brooklyn, New York.  He received an M.A. in writing from Portland State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University.  He has been the recipient of fellowships from Urban Artist Initiative and The Center For Fiction. A former winner of the Hurston Wright Foundation’s award for college writers, he teaches writing at New York University and is the literary editor of Dossier Journal. Jackson published the eBook collection Oversoul Stories and Essays in the summer of 2012. Bloomsbury USA published his novel The Residue Years in August of 2013.

For more information, visit



Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

Cheryl Klein is the executive editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Among the books she has edited are EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO, by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich; THE SAVAGE FORTRESS, by Sarwat Chadda; MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD and THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, by Francisco X. Stork; OPENLY STRAIGHT, by Bill Konigsberg; and ZOE GETS READY by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. Her book SECOND SIGHT:  AN EDITOR’S TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING, AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS is now available through Please visit her website at or follow her on Twitter at @chavelaque.



Julia A. Masnik, Literary Agent at Watkins / Loomis Agency, Inc.

Areas of interest: W/L specializes in literary fiction, biography, memoir, and political journalism. Our list includes Guggenheim Fellows, MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the American Book Award, PEN American Center Lifetime Achievement Award, National Book Award, and James Beard Award, among others.
Authors include: Victor LaValle, Mat Johnson, Nelly Rosario, Walter Mosley, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Wanjikū Wa Ngūgī and others.

For more information, visit


Michael Mejias, Literary Scout at Writers House

Michael Mejias has worked at Writers House since 1998 and is currently a literary scout (Latino/ Latin America authors).  Since the late eighties, Mr. Mejias has curated literary events around town including  Coliseum Books and Bank Street Books.  In 2002, he founded the reading series at the legendary Kettle of Fish, on Christopher Street, and during its eight season run, the series presented over two hundred new authors to the mainstream publishing community.  Mr. Mejias is also a playwright and his play, GHETTO BABYLON, earned him the 2012 National Latino Playwriting Award. It was presented by the Dramatic Question Theatre and the 59E59 Theatres ( in August 2013.

For more information, visit


Latoya Smith, Editor at Grand Central Publishing

Latoya C. Smith started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing. It was there that she discovered her passion for book publishing. Smith worked at TWP seasonally while pursuing her bachelor's degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple University in August of 2005. In 2006, she joined Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group. In the eight years she has been at GCP, she has landed New York Times bestselling author Carl Weber in a three-book deal and has acquired and inherited a growing list of authors, including HoneyB, the pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Mary B. Morrison; Kia DuPree, whose Silenced is a Library Journal Best Books 2011: Genre Fiction pick; Rochelle Alers, the company’s first African American romance author; and Cynthia Garner, a critically acclaimed paranormal romance author.  She is currently seeking short and long form mainstream romance and erotica, as well as African American fiction and nonfiction.

For more information, visit Hachette Book Group


Sergio Troncoso, author of Our Lost Border

Sergio Troncoso is the author of The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, and the novels The Nature of Truth and From This Wicked Patch of Dust. He co-edited Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence. From This Wicked Patch of Dust was selected as one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, and won the Southwest Book Award. Crossing Borders: Personal Essays won the Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews. The son of Mexican immigrants, Troncoso graduated from Harvard College and studied international relations and philosophy at Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico and was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's Alumni Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute of Letters. He is an instructor at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers' Conference.

For more information, visit

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Neela Vaswani, author of You Have Given Me a Country

Neela Vaswani is author of the short story collection Where the Long Grass Bends, and a memoir, You Have Given Me a Country. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, the Nautilus Book Award gold medal, an Audie Award, and many other honors.  She is also co-author the Middle Grade novel-in-letters, Same Sun Here. Her fiction and nonfiction have been widely anthologized and published in journals such as Epoch, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, lives in New York City, and teaches at Manhattanville College’s MFA in Writing Program and Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program. An education activist in India and the United States, Vaswani is founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library.

For more information, visit


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Steve Woodward, Associate Editor at Graywolf Press

Steven Woodward is an associate editor at Graywolf Press, where he’s worked with authors Susan Steinberg, Ben Stroud, Justin Hocking, and Craig Davidson, among others. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, and is editor and co-founder of Menagerie, an online magazine that focuses on hybrid forms. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan, and has spoken about publishing and independent presses at a number of conferences and venues, including AWP, the Loft Literary Center, the Flathead River Writers’ Conference, the University of Minnesota, and Writers at Work. 



Morowa Yejidé, author of Time of the Locust

Morowa Yejidé’s short stories have appeared in the Istanbul Review, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Underground Voices, the Adirondack Review, and others.  Her story "Tokyo Chocolate" was nominated in 2009 for the Pushcart Prize, anthologized in the best of the Willesden Herald Stories, and reviewed in the Japan Times.

Time of the Locust was a 2012 finalist for the national PEN/Bellwether Prize. She is also the recipient of the Norris Church Mailer Scholarship from Wilkes University. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and three sons.

For more information, visit