The workshop for humor writing, human interest writing, networking and getting published

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Faculty (2014)

Keynote speakers

Phil Donahue, the Emmy Award-winning talk show host who used to live across the street from humorist Erma Bombeck in an ordinary, middle-class neighborhood in Centerville, Ohio. From those unpretentious beginnings in suburbia, both soared to national popularity. Read more about Phil.


Lisa Scottoline, New York Times best-selling novelist and her writer-daughter, Francesca Serritella. Read more about Lisa and Francesca.


Mary Lou Quinlan, marketing expert and author of four books, most recently The God Box, Sharing My Mother’s Gift of Faith, Love and Letting Go, which became a New York Times bestseller in just three weeks. Read more about Mary Lou.


Judy Carter, author and comic whose bestseller The Comedy Bible was touted by Oprah Winfrey and described by the Washington Post as “the number one comedy essential of 2010.” Her 2013 book, The Message of You, teaches readers how to inspire others and advance their careers. Read more about Judy.


Bruce Ferber, author and Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated writer and producer whose sitcom credits include Home Improvement, Bosom Buddies, Growing Pains, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Coach. He’s the author of Elevating Overman: A Novel. Read more about Bruce.



Workshop session presenters

Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and the upcoming The Author Training Manual, 9 Steps to Prepare You and Your Book Idea for Publishing Success. Read more about Nina.


Gina Barreca, feminist scholar and author of eight books, including It’s Not That I’m Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World. Read more about Gina.


Tom Batiuk, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strips Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Read more about Tom.


Ilene Beckerman, author of the memoir Love, Loss and What I Wore, the inspiration for an Off-Broadway play that broke records. Read more about Ilene.


Tracy Beckerman, nationally syndicated humor columnist and the author of two books, including the recent Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs. Read more about Tracy.


Dr. Nancy Berk, online columnist for Parade Magazine, host of the celebrity podcast “Whine at 9” and author of two books, including College Bound and Gagged, which can be seen in the Tina Fey movie AdmissionRead more about Nancy.


David Braughler, self-publishing adviser at Greyden Press. Read more about David.



Patricia Wynn Brown, performer, producer and author of Hair-A-Baloo: The Revealing Comedy and Tragedy on Top of Your Head and Momma Culpa: One Mother Comes Clean and Makes her Maternal Confession. She has performed her humor-memoir Hair Theater shows nationally. She will serve as the workshop’s emcee. Read more about Patricia.


W. Bruce Cameron, screenplay and sitcom writer and author of A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey and The Dogs of Christmas. Read more about Bruce.


Donna Cavanagh, humor entrepreneur and founder of and HumorOutcasts Press/Shorehouse Books. Read more about Donna.


Tony Cochran, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip Agnes. Read more about Tony.



Arielle Eckstut, agent-at-large with Levine Greenberg Literary Agency in New York and the author of nine books, including The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Read more about Arielle.


Anna LeflerAnna Lefler, writer, comedian and author of The Chicktionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know. She’s a staff comedy writer and performer on the Nickelodeon/NickMom TV show Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor. Read more about Anna.


Robert F. Levine, attorney and literary agent for best-selling authors, publishing executives and celebrities in the arts and entertainment world. He has been at the forefront of the e-book revolution and is an advocate for self-publishing. Read more about Robert.


Suzanne Braun Levine, first editor of Ms. magazine, first woman editor of Columbia Journalism Review and the author of six books, including her first e-book, You Gotta Have Girlfriends: A Post-Fifty Posse Is Good for Your Health. She is an authority on women, families, media and changing gender roles. Read more about Suzanne.


Leighann Lord, standup comedian and comedic commentator who pens a weekly humor blog, “The Urban Erma.” Read more about Leighann.



Dahlynn McKowen, CEO and publisher of Publishing Syndicate, former co-author of Chicken Soup books and creator of the new book anthology series, Not Your Mother’s Book. Read more about Dahlynn.


Cathryn Michon, best-selling author, standup comic, actress and Hollywood screenwriter who stars in the upcoming films Cook Off! and Muffin Top: A Love Story. Read more about Cathryn.


Robin O’Bryant, award-winning humor columnist and New York Times’ best-selling author of Ketchup Is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves. Read more about Robin.


Ken Palen, adjunct professor of communication at the University of Dayton, where he teaches writing, editing and design. Read more about Ken.



David Henry Sterry, author of 15 books — from memoir to young adult fiction — actor and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Read more about David.


Suzette Martinez Standring, nationally syndicated columnist and author of two books on writing commentary, including The Art of Opinion Writing: Insider Secrets From Top Op-Ed Columnists (2014). Read more about Suzette.


Kelsey Timmerman, co-founder of The Facing Project, which seeks to connect people through stories to strengthen community, and author of Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories and People That Make Our Clothes and Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. Read more about Kelsey.


Dan Zevin, 2013 winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and author of four books of personal essays, including Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad, which has been optioned for a TV series by Adam Sandler. Read more about Dan.

Reflections of Erma