Our faculty for SWF19 will inspire, teach, listen, and support writers with open minds and a shared love of words.

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keynote author, nonfiction

Jane Friedman

has twenty years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the cofounder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses and the University of Virginia, she maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com.

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author, fiction

Paul McVeigh

debuted with the novel The Good Son, currently Brighton’s City Reads and shortlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. His short fiction has been published in journals and anthologies and been commissioned by BBC Radio 4. Paul’s short story blog shares writing opportunities and advice and has had over one million hits. Paul is cofounder of the London Short Story Festival and associate director at Word Factory, the UK’s leading short story literary salon.

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author, fiction

Cassie Gonzales

is a creative writing fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Cassie holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Oxford. Her work has been featured in several literary journals including the Kenyon Review. Her play REX has been published and staged throughout the United States.

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Author, romance fiction

Julie Cohen

grew up in Maine and studied English at Brown University and Cambridge University. She then moved to the UK permanently, where she taught English before becoming a writer. Her books have won or been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the HOLT Medallion. She now writes full-time and teaches creative writing. She lives with her husband and son in Berkshire, England, where she is teased daily about her American accent.

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author, mystery & nonfiction

Jess Lourey

(rhymes with dowry) is an Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty nominated author best known for her critically acclaimed Mira James mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” Jess also writes sword and sorcery fantasy, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure, magical realism, and feminist thrillers. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of the Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a TEDx presenter. When not teaching, reading, or dorking out with her family, you can find her dreaming of her next story.


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author, fiction

Jennifer Anglade Dahlberg

grew up in suburban New York and graduated from Columbia University. Her first novel, Uptown & Down (Penguin/NAL), was published in 2005. Her latest book, Lagging Indicators, was published independently. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with her husband and two teenage children.


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author, fiction

Eira A. Ekre

is the coauthor of Stockholms Undergång (2014) and Zonen Vi Ärvde (2017), and is a pioneer in teaching narrative game design for game studios and universities. Cofounder of the author’s collective Fruktan, Eira has worked with producing the collective’s horror podcast, as well as done copywriting, PR, and translation work for their creative projects.

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author, nonfiction

Nicholas Rankin

worked in broadcasting at Bush House in London for twenty years. He is the author of five books: Dead Man’s Chest, Travels after Robert Louis Stevenson; Telegram from Guernica, the Extraordinary Life of George Steer, War Correspondent; the bestselling Churchill’s Wizards, the story of British intelligence and deception in the two world wars; Ian Fleming’s Commandos, about the author of the James Bond books in Naval Intelligence, and Defending the Rock, a history of Gibraltar at war from 1935 to 1945.

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author, fiction

Maggie Gee, OBE

has written eleven acclaimed novels, including The Ice PeopleMy Cleaner, My Driver and The White Family, a collection of short stories, The Blue, and a memoir of her life as a writer, My Animal Life (2010). She has judged many prizes including the Booker and has been short-listed for the Orange Prize and the International Impac award. Maggie was the first female Chair of Council of the Royal Society of Literature, 2004–2008. An international conference about her writing was held at the University of St Andrews in 2012, and a study of her work, Maggie Gee: Writing the Condition-of-England Novel, was published in 2012 (Bloomsbury Academic). She is a professor of creative writing at Bath Spa University.

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literary agent, us

Ayeshe Pande

has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Before launching her boutique agency, Ayesha was a senior editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux. She has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. She is a member of AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives), PEN, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and the Women’s Media Group. Among her many wonderful clients are National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi, PEN/Bingham Prize winner Danielle Evans, PEN/Bellwether Prize winner Lisa Ko, NYT Bestseller Shilpi Somaya Gowda, and PEN/Hemingway finalist Patricia Engel. Her interests are wide-ranging and include literary as well as popular fiction, young adult, women’s, African American, and international fiction. She is also seeking authors of nonfiction, including biography, history, popular culture, cultural commentary, and memoir. She is particularly drawn to distinctive, original voices.


literary agent, us

Saba Sulaiman

double-majored in economics and Middle Eastern studies at Wellesley College and studied modern Persian literature at the University of Chicago, where she got involved with editing the department’s academic journal. Her interests are wide-ranging: adult (including upmarket literary and commercial) fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir. And young adult: all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. She’s particularly interested in contemporary realistic YA (anything with heart, humor, and personality). But if you’ve got a fast-paced, chilling mystery, she’s all ears. For middle grade: anything that’s smart, accessible, and written with flair, whether it’s quirky and funny or just plain sweet and heartwarming.

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literary agent, uk

Caroline Hardman

co-founded Hardman & Swainson in 2012, after working at the Christopher Little Literary Agency and The Marsh Agency. She represents a stable of critically-praised, up-and-coming and bestselling authors. Caroline is looking for all kinds of fiction, where great writing meets broad appeal; novels that combine beautiful writing, plot and pace, distinctive characters, emotional depth and a strong hook. She accepts submissions of literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction including uplifting and book group fiction, historical, crime, suspense and thrillers, and narrative non-fiction including memoir.


literary agent, uk

Hayley Steed

is an associate agent at Madeleine Milburn Agency in London. She works closely with Madeleine’s clients and actively seeks new talent for the agency. She also coordinates digital rights and film & TV rights, focusing on book-to-screen adaptation and scripts written by existing clients. She is actively looking for: commercial fiction across all genres, including smart women’s fiction; contemporary women’s fiction; uplifting love stories; high concept novels; grounded sci-fi; speculative fiction; feminist reads; magical realism; tense crime and thrillers; cross-genre books; 14+ YA; nonfiction focused on sports.