Katherine Grace Bond loves writing for and listening to young people, and encouraging them to take their own writing seriously. Her books include YA novel THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, its companion book LUKE'S JOURNAL, and the bestselling THE LEGEND OF THE VALENTINE, a story of the Civil Rights Movement.
A lifelong educator and certified K-12 teacher, Katherine has focused on teen writers since the early 90's, believing that creative communities save lives. She is the founder of EpicWrite, a nonprofit outdoor live action role-playing and writing community where participants come as their characters. Modeled on the Hero's Journey, EpicWrite holds quarterly overnights and a multi-day summer camp. Her TEENWrite program offers afternoon novel writing classes for teens, along with evening classes for adult writers. She also created the Teenage Novelist series at Bellevue College.
For her work-in-progress, an urban fantasy verse-novel involving mental illness, dysfunctional families, time travel, and the French Impressionists, Katherine received a 2012-14 Culture Grant, an upcoming writer's residency at Camac Centre d'Art in Marnay-sur-Seine, France, and a 2010 Jack Straw Writer's residency.�
Melanie Conklin grew up in North Carolina and worked as a product designer for ten years before moving to New York, which means her presentations aren’t just about talking books—they’re about seeing the process. From assemblies to writing workshops to keynotes on the brain science of stories, Melanie loves nothing more than talking books. She has presented at schools, libraries, and library conferences across the country and is happy to travel. Her debut novel for kids, Counting Thyme (Penguin, 2016), features the story of a young girl who moves to New York for her brother’s cancer treatment, described as Newbery-winning Rules meets Counting by 7s. Melanie lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons, who are thankfully booklovers, too. When she’s not writing, Melanie spends her time doodling and dreaming up new ways to be creative.
From classrooms to book signings to auditorium-style presentations, Michelle A. Hansen is a confident and entertaining speaker. Her favorite audiences are high school students and fellow authors. She'll tackle any topic, given enough time and research. Travel to exotic locations is always a bonus.
Michelle loves Pepsi and Doritos more than chocolate. She loves summertime and hates to be cold. She's had three near-death experiences, one involving a kid, a rifle and a classroom full of students. She's addicted to office supplies and has an irrationally large stash of pens and notebooks. So, pass the Pepsi, hide the pens, and we're good to go.
Ana Maria Spagna lives and writes in Stehekin, Washington, a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by boat, trail, or float plane. But don’t worry! She has not always lived such an insular life. Born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in Riverside, California, Ana Maria was a book-loving kid who liked sports but knew nothing about the outdoors. She never camped until, as a teenager, traveled to Oregon and — well, there’s no other way to say it — fell in love. After college, she settled in to working on backcountry trail crews for the National Park Service in summer and writing in winter. Ana Maria is the author most recently of The Luckiest Scar on Earth about Charlotte, a 14 year-old snowboarder and her eccentric father, and 100 Skills You’ll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It) a humor-infused exploration of how to live more lightly on the planet, winner of a 2015 Nautilus Award. Her previous books include Reclaimers, the story of people reclaiming sacred land and water, the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, and two collections of essays, Potluck, finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Now Go Home, a Seattle Times Best Book of 2004. After fifteen years on the trail, she turned to teaching. She has taught creative writing at Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, where she directed the MFA program, at Antioch University, Los Angeles, at conferences around the country, and each winter in the one-room school in Stehekin. Her stories about nature, family, civil rights, and life in a small community appear regularly in magazines and journals. You can learn more at AnaMariaSpagna.com.