• 2015 July guests

    Residency Visiting Writers & Faculty

    Each residency, our distinguished faculty are joined by special guests. The line up of special guests typically features locally published authors as well as writers from around the country, including a very special guest author chosen by the graduating class to give the commencement address. Guests also come from the business side of the writing and publishing world, including agents, editors, and publishers.

    Visiting Writers/Special Guest for July 2015:

    Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults. Her most recent novel, The Witch’s Boy, published in 2014 was listed as a Best Book by the Washington Post, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Chicago Public Library. Her second novel, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and her first, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four starred reviews. She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and The Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children, and works as a teaching artist with COMPAS, a statewide community arts program.[ visit website ]

    Tim Federle danced professionally on Broadway in the original casts of The Little Mermaid and Gypsy and coached the child stars of Billy Elliot. His debut novel for kids, Better Nate Than Ever, was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013 and a Best Book of the Year by Amazon,Publishers Weekly,and Slate.com. The sequel,Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, was named a Best Book of 2014 by both the American Booksellers Association and Amazon. Tommy Can’t Stop,his new debut picture book from Disney, with illustrator Mark Fearing,has been selected as a Spring 2015 Indie Next independent booksellers’ choice. Tim is also the author of two literary cocktail recipe books: Hickory Daiquiri Dock, Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist and Tequila Mockingbird, voted the #1 Cookbook of 2013 on Goodreads. Tim is our graduation speaker this July. [ visit website ]

    Christine Heppermann writes fiction, poetry, and criticism. Her most recent book, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (2014) received starred reviews in Horn Book, Kirkus, Booklist, and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. She published City Chickens, a picture book, in 2012, and has a new book, Backyard Witch, co-written with Ron Koertge, forthcoming in 2015. Christine received a masters degree in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has reviewed books for Horn Book Magazine and currently reviews YA books for the Chicago Tribune. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and two daughters. [ visit website ]

    Deborah Kovacsis Senior Vice President and Editorial Director of Walden Pond Press, a joint imprint of HarperCollins and Walden Media, specializing in middle-grade fiction. Notable recent and forthcoming books on the list include Bread crumbs and The Real Boy by Anne Ursu,Platypus Police Squad by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the Guys Read library series edited by Jon Scieszka, the Fourth Stall series by Chris Rylander, the Hero’s Guide series by Christopher Healy, Never sink by Barry Wolverton,The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson, Sidekicked by John David Anderson, and The Girl from Felony Bay by John Thompson. Deborah has also been editorially responsible for Walden Media’s partnership with Penguin Books for Young Readers. Notable acquisitions there include Savvy and Scumble, both by Ingrid Law. Deborah is the author of more than thirty children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction.

    Mary Loguehas published four books of poetry, a young adult novel, numerous mystery series for adults and young adults, nonfiction, and a picture book,Sleep Like a Tiger, which was a Caldecott Honor Book.See Mary's full faculty profile.

    Danielle Smith is a writer, book reviewer, and literary agent with Red Fox Literary in California, representing authors and illustrators working in genres from board books to picture books to YA novels. Before coming to Red Fox Literary, she was an agent at Fuse/Foreword Literary. She writes a well-known blog on the online review site, There’s a Book, voted the BBAW’s Best Kidlit Book Review Blog. Her children’s book reviews also have appeared in such online and print publications as Parenting Magazine and Women’s World. She served as a judge for The Cybils Award from 2010-12 and as a board member of The Central Coast Writer’s Conference and the BEA Book Bloggers Advisory. She is the author of The Protectorate, a middle-grade novel. [ visit website ]

    Returning Faculty for July 2015:

    Gary Schmidt
    Marsha Chall
    Gene Luen Yang
    Phyllis Root
    Claire Rudolf Murhpy
    Anne Ursu
    Jackie Briggs Martin
    Ron Koertge
    Laura Ruby
    Swati Avasthi
    Jane Resh Thomas
    Emily Jenkins (e. lockhart)


    In July 2012, Chris Crutcher was one of our special guests, along with David Small and Anita Silvey.

    Watch Chris Crutcher's commencement address:

    Visit the Residency Archives for full list of guests from previous residencies.