Cathy Guisewite, Emmy Award-winning creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip, which appeared in 1,400 newspapers and on refrigerator doors across the land. She’s the author of a humorous debut essay collection, Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault: Essays From the Grown-Up Years. Read more about Cathy.
Annabelle Gurwitch, New York Times’ best-selling author of four books, actress, essayist and storyteller. She was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing in 2015. The original co-host for Dinner and a Movie on TBS, she has appeared in numerous television and film projects. Read more about Annabelle.
Wendy Liebman, stand-up comic who has performed on late-night shows — from Carson to Kimmel — and appeared in comedy specials on HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime. She was a semifinalist on America’s Got Talent. Read more about Wendy.
Mike Reiss, Emmy award-winning writer for The Simpsons and author of Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons and 19 children’s books. Read more about Mike.
Peggy Rowe, who the age of 80, wrote and published a New York Times’ bestseller, About My Mother. A social media sensation, she counts more than 115,000 readers of her daily Facebook postings. Her letters and texts to her celebrity son, Mike Rowe, have reached millions. Read more about Peggy.
Pat Wynn Brown, performer, speaker, producer and author of two books, 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 is a featured humorist in a PBS documentary, A Legacy of Laughter, about the life and work of Erma Bombeck. Funny and gracious, she returns for her fifth stint as emcee. Read more about Pat.
Stand-Up Comedy Host
Brian Kiley, head monologue writer for Conan O’Brien, and the author of two books, Maybe Kevin and The Astounding Misadventures of Rory Collins. A staff writer for Conan O’Brien since 1994, he has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards and he is the winner of the 2007 Emmy Award for Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series. He will host the popular Attendee Stand-Up Comedy Show that closes the workshop. Read more about Brian.
Essay Cabaret Hosts
Joel Madison and Anna Lefler, two comedy writers from Los Angeles, will host the premiere of Essay Cabaret, which showcases workshop attendees reading their funniest essays in a lively cabaret format. The names of the readers will be drawn live onstage. Read more about Joel and Anna.
Internationally known singer and songwriter Kellie Haddock, who created the uplifting, viral “Thank You Project” video to thank caregivers who saved her son’s life, will perform the workshop’s theme song and offer a workshop. Read more about Kellie.
Jim Azvedo, marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks. Read more about Jim.
Tracy Beckerman, nationally syndicated humor columnist and the author of two books, including 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, clinical psychologist, author, online entertainment columnist and co-producer and host for “Entertaining Insights with Dr. Nancy Berk,” a podcast that features celebrity and expert guests. Read more about Nancy.
Kim Bongiorno, author, freelance writer and the award-winning blogger behind “Let Me Start By Saying,” with thousands of fans on social media. Read more about Kim.
Lian Dolan, author of novels and collections of essays and host of “Satellite Sisters,” a popular podcast she created with her four sisters. She’s a regular humor columnist for Pasadena Magazine. Read more about Lian.
Arielle Eckstut, co-founder of The Book Doctors, author of 10 books and literary agent at the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Co-wrote The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Read more about Arielle.
Estelle Erasmus, award-winning journalist, writing coach and host of the podcast “ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well.” She is an adjunct writing professor at New York University and teaches writing for Writer’s Digest. More about Estelle.
Chris Erskine, nationally known humor columnist and editor for the Los Angeles Times. He’s the author of three books, including Man of the House and Surviving Suburbia, which reached the Los Angeles Times bestseller list. Read more about Chris.
Jane Friedman, writer, teacher and speaker with 20 years of experience in the publishing industry with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the co-founder and editor of “The Hot Sheet,” an industry newsletter for authors, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. Read more about Jane.
Lisa Glowinski, director of More Content Now, GateHouse Media’s features and premium publications service. Read more about Lisa.
Stacey Graham, literary agent with Red Sofa Literary and humor writer with “Zombie Tarot.” Read more about Stacey.
Kellie Haddock, songwriter and singer who writes and performs music that “engages the soul in all of its beauty and vulnerability.” Read more about Kellie.
Sam Hiyate, president and CEO of The Rights Factory and literary agent. Read more about Sam.
Brian Kiley, head monologue writer for Conan O’Brien, and the author of two books, Maybe Kevin and The Astounding Misadventures of Rory Collins. A staff writer for Conan O’Brien since 1994, he has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards and he is the winner of the 2007 Emmy Award for Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series. Read more about Brian.
Kathy Kinney, who may be best known for her iconic role as “Mimi” on the ABC hit series The Drew Carey Show, has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies. She is the co-author of three books, and is the star and co-producer of the award-winning website for children, Mrs.P.com. Read more about Kathy.
Katrina Kittle, author of five novels, creative writing teacher and public speaker. Read more about Katrina.
Caitlin Kunkel, writer, satirist, and co-founder of The Belladonna, a satire and comedy site written by women authors. She’s also one of the founders of the Satire & Humor Festival. Read more about Caitlin.
Margot Leitman, author of Long Story Short: the Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need, What’s Your Story? and winner of The Moth Grandslam. She has written for DreamWorks TV, the Hallmark Channel and the Pixl Network. Read more about Margot.
Leighann Lord, a comedy veteran who’s been seen on Lifetime, Comedy Central, HBO’s Def Comedy All-Star Jam and ABC’s The View and in stand-up shows around the country. She’s the author of several humor books and a popular podcast, “People With Parents.” One of five finalists for the American Black Film Festival–HBO Comedy Wings competition. Read more about Leighann.
Joel Madison, television comedy writer for sitcoms, variety, animation, late night and reality shows. Winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for his work on the original Roseanne sitcom. Read more about Joel.
Lee Martin, author of five novels, including The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; three memoirs; short story collections; and a craft book, Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life. He teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University. Read more about Lee.
Jess Montgomery, author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries, including The Widows and The Hollows, as well as numerous other novels, short stories and essays. She is the “Literary Life” columnist at Dayton Daily News. Read more about Jess.
Paula Munier, literary agent at Talcott Notch, editor and USA Today bestselling author with 25 years’ acquiring, editing and marketing fiction and nonfiction. Read more about Paula.
Susan Pohlman, founder and director of the Phoenix Writers Network, freelance writer, editor, writing coach and the author of the memoir, Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home. Read more about Susan.
Cindy Ratzlaff, author and a 30-year veteran of the book publishing industry, having held executive positions at Rodale Inc. and Simon & Schuster, as well as creating and implementing the launch campaigns for more than 150 New York Times’ bestsellers. Read more about Cindy.
Rebecca Regnier, prolific author, columnist and podcaster. She left a 20-year career in television news as an Emmy Award-winning anchor, reporter and talk show host to write books. Read more about Rebececa.
Sophfronia Scott, hailed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as “potentially one of the best writers of her generation,” is the author of numerous novels, essays, short stories and a memoir. She teaches in two MFA programs and leads writing retreats in Italy. Read more about Sophfronia.
David Henry Sterry, co-founder of The Book Doctors and author of 16 books on a wide variety of subjects, from memoir to middle grade fiction. Co-wrote The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Read more about David.
Jessica Strawser, editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest magazine, where she served as editorial director for nearly a decade, and the author of three novels. Read more about Jessica.
Dan Zevin, Thurber Prize-winning humorist, award-winning humor columnist for The New York Times, comic commentator for NPR and a contributor to numerous national outlets, including The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. He’s written three books, including his latest, Very Modern Mantras: Daily Affirmations for Daily Aggravations. Read more about Dan.