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Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Keynoters
Beth Lapides

Creator, host and executive producer of Uncabaret, which she has shepherded through more than 25 years of weekly live shows, TV, CDs, streaming and touring. The Los Angeles Times calls her the “godmother of alternative comedy.”

Jacquelyn Mitchard

New York Times bestselling author of 23 novels for adults and teenagers. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural Oprah’s Book Club selection; it was adapted into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Zibby Owens

Author of three books; creator and host of the daily podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books; and founder and CEO of Zibby Media. Vulture dubbed her "NYC's Most Powerful Book-fluencer."

Wade Rouse

USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of five memoirs and 12 novels. Writes fiction under his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the Ozarks seamstress whose sacrifices changed his family’s life. Writer’s Digest named him “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (he was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson).

Anna Quindlen

Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction and self-help bestseller lists.

Emcee
Leighann Lord

Stand-up comedian, author and podcaster who's been seen on Comedy Central, HBO, The View, Netflix's Dry Bar Comedy and Showtime in Even Funny Women of a Certain Age.

Stand-Up Comedy Host
Jane Condon

Stand-up comic who has appeared on ABC's The View, Lifetime's Girls’ Night Out, FOX's series finale of 24, Nickelodeon’s NickMom Night Out, NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Today. Grand prize winner of the nationwide Ladies of Laughter Contest. Dubbed “an uppercrust Roseanne” by the Associated Press.

Artist-in-Residence
Bob Eckstein

Award-winning New York Times bestselling author, New Yorker cartoonist and NYU adjunct professor. He has live-drawn for The New York Times, The New Yorker and Writer’s Digest as well as for the Super Bowl, Oscars, Olympics, Golden Globes and the World Series — and will do the same for the workshop.

Guest Interviewer
Marsha Bonhart

Award-winning television anchor and broadcast journalist. As part of opening night, she will interview Anna Quindlen on stage.

Erma Poet Laureate
Barbara Fant

Poet, healer, bridge-builder, light-bearer and joy-keeper. Author of two poetry collections. She will write an Erma-inspired poem and perform it live at the workshop.

Erma's Got Talent Host (virtual, pre-workshop)
Nancy Berk

Comedy writer for internationally awarded entertainers and television personalities, host and co-producer of the podcast Entertaining Insights featuring over 500 celebrity interviews, lyricist, humor columnist and author.

 

Pitchapalooza Hosts (virtual, pre-workshop)
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

Creators of Pitchapalooza, billed as the “American Idol for books, only kinder and gentler,” and co-founders of Can Do Entertainment, a production company that champions independent writers and artists.

Agents
Amy Collins

Associate literary agent with Talcott Notch Literary Services with over 30 years of experience matching books with readers.

Sam Hiyate

Founder and CEO of The Rights Factory, a boutique literary agency in Toronto, and host of the podcast Agent Provocateur.

Maria Whelan

Literary agent with InkWell Management and former foreign rights assistant at Janklow & Nesbit.

Faculty
Elissa Bassist

Essayist, humor writer, editor of the “Funny Women” column on The Rumpus and author of the memoir Hysterical. She wrote for The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and teaches humor writing at The New School, 92NY and Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Audrey Bennett

Senior project manager for AuthorBytes for nearly a decade with expertise in graphic design and website technology.

Julie Cantrell

New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author, editor, TEDx speaker and ghostwriter. She teaches online for Drexel University and for Story Summit, and finds great pleasure in helping to shepherd other people’s stories to shelves.

Estelle Erasmus

Author of Writing That Gets Noticed: Find Your Voice, Become a Better Storyteller, Get Published; journalist; professor of writing at New York University; and host of the “Freelance Writing Direct” podcast.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Opinion editor for The Louisville Courier Journal and a syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Kerrie Flanagan

Frequent contributor to The Writer magazine and author of Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing, along with 19 books she self-published in various genres. She has worked with hundreds of writers through individual consultations, presentations at writing conferences and classes.

Jane Friedman

Editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and author of The Business of Writing. She brings nearly 25 years of experience in the publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting.

Ann Garvin

USA Today bestselling author of five novels and the founder of Tall Poppy Writers, where she is committed to helping women writers find readers. A professor emerita from the University of Wisconsin system, she now teaches writing at Drexel University.

Lori Jakiela

Author of seven books, including the memoir Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe, which received the Saroyan Prize from Stanford University. She directs the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and teaches creative writing in the doctoral program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

William Kenower

Author of Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer’s Guide to the End of Self-Doubt; Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence; and Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion. He is also editor-in-chief of Author magazine and hosts the popular podcasts Author2Author and Fearless Writing with Bill Kenower.

Kathy Kinney

Best known for her iconic role as “Mimi” on the ABC hit series, The Drew Carey Show, Kathy has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies. She is the co-author of three books and the star and co-producer of the award-winning website for children, Mrs.P.com.

Katrina Kittle

Author of six books, with her newly released novel Morning in This Broken World selected as an Amazon First Reads pick. A former keynoter, she teaches creative writing at the University of Dayton and through Word’s Worth Writing Connections.

Beth Lapides

Creativity coach and creator, host and executive producer of Uncabaret, which she has shepherded through more than 25 years of weekly live shows, TV, CDs, streaming and touring.

Tiffany Yates Martin

A 30-year veteran as an editor in the publishing industry who has worked with major publishers, bestselling and award-winning authors, and indie and newer writers. She is the founder of FoxPrint Editorial and author of Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing.

Kelly McMasters

Author of The Leaving Season: A Memoir-in-Essays and co-editor of Wanting: Women Writing About Desire. Her first book, Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir From an Atomic Town, was listed as one of Oprah’s Book Club’s top memoirs and is the basis for the documentary film The Atomic States of America, a 2012 Sundance selection. She is an associate professor of English and director of publishing studies at Hofstra University.

Eva Lesko Natiello

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author; marketing and brand expert; former vice president of global communications for Estee Lauder.

Amy Paturel

Award-winning essayist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Parents, Newsweek’s “My Turn” column and more. She teaches an online essay writing workshop, and her students have landed stories in The New York Times, HuffPost, The Washington Post and Good Housekeeping.

Susan Pohlman

Founder and director of the Phoenix Writers Network, freelance writer, editor, writing coach and the author of two memoirs, Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home and A Time To Seek: Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality at Midlife.

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. 

Jane Roper

Novelist, memoirist, essayist and humorist. Her most recent book is the satirical novel The Society of Shame. Jane's writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Belladonna, "Funny Women" on The Rumpus, Writers' Digest and elsewhere. She has taught writing at GrubStreet, the University of Iowa, the Sanibel Writers’ Conference and The Muse & The Marketplace.

Mark Shatz

Author of a top-selling humor writing book, Comedy Writing Secrets, popular speaker and an award-winning professor of psychology at Ohio University Zanesville, where he teaches humor writing and researches the benefits of humor. 

Sharon Short

Author of 15 books and a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, for which she writes the column “Level Up Your Writing (Life).” She teaches writing courses through Writer’s Digest and is a frequent speaker at libraries, book clubs and writing groups.

Laura Spinella

Senior project manager with AuthorBytes since 2011, the same year her first novel was published by Penguin. She has a thorough understanding of web design and development and, as the author of eight novels, is attuned to the needs of writers.

Jessica Strawser

Editor-at-large and columnist for Writer’s Digest, where she previously was an editorial director. She is the author of six novels, has written for The New York Times Modern Love and Publishers Weekly and is a popular speaker at writing conferences.

Kathy Shiels Tully

Boston-based journalist, magazine writer and essayist, whose byline has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Writer and various magazines in New England. In 2020, she won the global human interest category in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.

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Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

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