Sonja Livingston

Sonja Livingston

Sonja Livingston is an award-winning essayist and author of three books of nonfiction, including the memoir, Ghostbread. Her latest, Ladies Night at the Dreamland, resurrects the lives of long-gone women. Her writing is widely published and has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, an Arts & Letters Prize, a VanderMay Award, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women. Sonja teaches in the MFA Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.


Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is a successful, award-winning writer/editor/proofreader who also owns a company that hosts an annual conference for freelancers and one that helps aspiring authors get published. She provides articles, editing, proofreading, website critiques and updates, and more to publications, associations, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. A long-time teacher for Writers and Books, Thaler-Carter received a Big Pencil Award for her contributions to the Rochester, NY-area literary community and has received other awards for her writing and editing skills. She is a popular presenter at organization conferences and in webinars about freelancing, websites, editing and proofreading, grammar, and other topics related to the world of writing and publishing.

Leslie C. Youngblood

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She’s been awarded a host of writing honors, including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive family and friends. And an avid reader and viewer of Chopped. Love Like Sky is her debut novel, and she’s proud to be a part of Rochester’s thriving literary and arts community.

Brian Wood

Brian Wood is the author of Joytime Killbox, a debut collection coming out this fall. His work has appeared in Reed Magazine, Post, Gravel, and elsewhere. When he’s not co-hosting Two Month Review, a podcast devoted to world literature, he’s either watching basketball games or teaching fiction at Writers & Books.

Joanna Scott


Joanna Scott is the author of twelve books, including the novels Arrogance, The Manikin, and Follow Me, and two collections of short fiction, Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody. Her new novel, Careers for Women, has just been published.  She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN-Faulkner, and the LA Book Award. She teaches at the University of Rochester.