2018 Event Archive


Sara Gruen

Kristin Hannah

Alice Hoffman

Christina Baker Kline

Jane Smiley

Garth Stein

Scott Turow

and more…


Fiction: A Necessary Mirror for Our Times

Jane Smiley

Pulitzer Prize winning author of

A Thousand Acres


Turning Life into Art

Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train


Voice is Everything

Nicholas Delbanco

Former Chair of Fiction Panel, National Book Awards


The Life of Poetry

Ellen Bass

Like a Beggar


The Script Only You Can Write

Jeff Arch

Sleepless in Seattle


Writing / Righting Our Lives

Amy Ferris

Marrying George Clooney



The Winding Road from Book to Film

Scott Turow

Presumed Innocent

Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants

Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Descendants

Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

Steve Fisher, agent

Jack Reacher

Jeff Arch

Sleepless in Seattle



Navigating Today’s Publishing Landscape

Jon Fine

Amazon former head of Author Relations

April Eberhardt

Author advocate & publishing consultant

Brooke Warner

Publisher, She Writes Press


Pitch & Critique Sessions with Literary Agents & Editors

Stephanie Cabot

Steve Fisher

Jeff Kleinman

Jamie Raab

Andy Ross

Emma Sweeney

PAST FACULTY – 2018 Kauai Writers Conference


Jane Smiley +

Jane Smiley is one of America’s greatest living writers. She is the author of some twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including A Thousand Acres, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. Reviewing her Last Hundred Years trilogy (2015), The Guardian said that it “surely confirms her place alongside Roth, Updike and Bellow as one of the truly great chroniclers of 20th-century American life.” They go on to name her the American Tolstoy.

The New York Times writes, “Jane Smiley is the sort of writer who secretly drives other writers a little bit crazy. She’s prolific and successful, untroubled by neuroses or blockages, with no messy blots of drinking or drug-taking on her résumé.

“She seemingly writes the way her idol Dickens did — as easily as if it were breathing. And she is modest and charming, friends with just about everyone, including her several ex-husbands (to whom the new book is dedicated, along with the incumbent spouse.

“What’s more annoying, Ms. Smiley made up her mind at an early age that she was going to master not just one genre but all of them. She has so far published an epic, The Greenlanders, a detective story Duplicate Keys, a tragedy A Thousand Acres probably her most famous book, which retells the King Lear story, a comedy Moo and a romance The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, not to mention a racetrack novel Horse Heaven and one that recycles Boccaccio’s “Decameron” Ten Days in the Hills.

“Jane Smiley has such a clear, strong, American voice, there is no mistaking her work for any other,” says novelist Diana Abu-Jaber. “She's my favorite kind of writer, mingling vivid plots with ingenious characters with subtle, nuanced interiority. She writes with such generous heaps of humor and grief, you feel a little richer and keener for reading her books.”



Garth Stein +

Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, told from the perspective of a racecar-loving dog, sold over four million copies in 35 languages and spent more than three years on The New York Times bestseller list. It spun off a Young Reader edition, children’s picture books, a play, and is in development as a movie.

Pushing beyond his unorthodox use of a dog narrator, Stein says he considers a house to be a character in his latest book, A Sudden Light. Stein says this “ghost story” examines father-son relationships in a Northwestern timber baron family. The novel evolved out of Stein’s critically acclaimed play, Brother Jones.

All of Stein’s novels are set in his native Pacific Northwest and involve themes of family ties, forgiveness and redemption. Previous novels are: Raven Stole the Moon, and How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets.

Before turning full-time to writing, Stein was a documentary filmmaker who directed, edited, and/or produced several award-winning films, including The Lunch Date and The Last Party (starring Robert Downey, Jr.). Stein’s multi-media leanings crop up with an interactive website with bonus information about elements of A Sudden Light and his offering of book club “kits” for the book, which include a CD of relevant songs and poems, temporary tattoos, matchboxes and lemonade cups.

Stein co-founded Seattle7Writers, a literacy non-profit, which brought together 36 authors to write a novel, Hotel Angeline, in six days before live and Internet audiences. He lives in Seattle with his wife, sons, and their dog.


Learn more about Garth at www.garthstein.com

Scott Turow +

Scott Turow calls his life as an author of best-selling legal thrillers blessed. “You get up every morning, you play with your imaginary friends.” Among them are an attorney investigating war crimes in Bosnia (Testimony) and twin brothers whose lives are intertwined (Identical), and dozens more in novels that include Innocent, Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof. Turow’s books have been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and have been adapted for movies and television.

Most of Turow’s books are set in his fictional Kindle County – which feels a lot like Chicago, where he litigates white-collar crime as a partner in the Chicago office of the Dentons law firm. But Testimony shifts courtroom drama to the International Criminal Court. Author Jeffrey Toobin calls it “Turow's most ambitious and complex work… the best kind of thriller, one that stimulates the mind as well as thrilling the heart.”

One of Turow’s non-fiction books, One L, is considered an indispensible primer on the first year of law school. Another, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer’s Reflections on Dealing With the Death Penalty, grew out of his experiences regarding the death penalty. In 1995, Turow won a reversal in the murder conviction of Alejandro Hernandez, who was exonerated after 11 years in prison. He also has served on a commission to review Illinois’ capital punishment policy and the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

Turow also contributes to a variety of periodicals and plays in a rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders (with Stephen King, Matt Groening, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson), which raises funds for literacy.

Learn more about Scott at www.scottturow.com

Sara Gruen +

Sara Gruen is best known for her runaway bestseller Water for Elephants, a Depression-era tale about a travelling circus. It sold over 10 million copies and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for four years. The book earned Gruen a reported $5 million advance for her next two books, was made into a film, and was optioned as a Broadway musical.

“I continue to be surprised,” at the success of Water for Elephants Gruen said in a Writer’s Digest interview in 2008. “You work hard on a book and throw it out there and then it’s beyond your control. I don’t know what makes one book fly and another not. It’s all very mysterious.”

The Canadian-born author’s scrupulous research and exploration of human-animal relationships are hallmarks. Her debut novel, Riding Lessons, and its sequel, Flying Changes, feature horses. Ape House (2010) focuses on language-proficient bonobo apes. Her most recent book, At the Water’s Edge (2015) follows three Americans to World War II Scotland to unearth the mystery of the Loch Ness monster. The book debuted at No. 6 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Animals in Gruen’s previous novels were characters. But in At the Water’s Edge, the Loch Ness Monster looms in the background. The monster, Gruen told National Public Radio in 2015, “is metaphoric for sort of the obvious things like Hitler, and of course what happened to some of the characters, but it's largely indicative of the monsters within us, and recognizing these monsters.”

Gruen supports many charitable organizations that protect and help animals. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and sons, horses, dogs, cats, and a goat.

Kristin Hannah +

By the time Kristin Hannah speaks at the 2018 KWF, both the movie version of The Nightingale, directed by Game of Thrones director Michelle MacLaren, and Hannah’s new novel, The Great Alone, should be out in the world.

While researching for The Nightingale (2015), the tale of two sisters in pre-World War II France, Hannah found “the historical stories of the women of the French Resistance … mesmerizing, heartbreaking, intimate and universal. I was appalled that their stories were not better known.” Thanks to her book, now they are. And though she’s been writing 30 years and published more than 20 books, Hannah was blown away by its popularity. It was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, an Amazon top five book-of-the-year, and best book of the year by Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. Her other books include Home Front, Winter Garden, True Colors, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane.

Hannah’s many awards include the Golden Heart, the Maggie, and the 1996 National Reader's Choice award, the RITA Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction.

The Great Alone is set in 1970s Alaska, where the protagonist, Leni, deals with her struggling Vietnam vet father and her counterculture mother. Fun fact Hannah shared at the 2016 KWF: she writes all her novels longhand on a legal pad.

Kristin will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Christina Baker Kline and Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman +

Alice Hoffman is the distinguished author of more than 30 novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. She writes with equal aplomb of witches and mermaids, of modern dilemmas and momentous historical events.

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison calls Hoffman’s masterpiece about the survivors of Masada The Dovekeepers “beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature.” Author Molly Antopol praises Hoffman as “a spectacular writer—generous and compassionate, elegant and fierce.” Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine.

Hoffman’s latest novel, The Rules of Magic (2017), is a prequel to Practical Magic, a 1995 romantic fantasy about a family of witches, which was made into a 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Other recent novels include The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful.

 Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, reworks themes from Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools.

Hoffman’s young adult novels, including Aquamarine (also a film), Green Angel, The Ice Queen and Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition that Publishers Weekly named one of the best books of the year. She wrote the original screenplay of Independence Day, and her short fiction has appeared in numerous periodicals. Hoffman lives in Boston with a sheepdog named after a character from one of her novels.




Alice will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Christina Baker Kline and Kristin Hannah.

Nicholas Delbanco +

Nicholas Delbanco, making his third appearance at the KWF, has had a storied career as a writer, editor, teacher and literary judge. He has written 29 books of fiction and non-fiction (plus essays, short stories and reviews). He founded and led Bennington College’s writing program and is Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he headed its renowned MFA and Hopwood Awards programs.

Delbanco has chaired the Fiction Panel for the National Book Awards, and served as judge for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner award in fiction. He wrote the well-loved books on the craft of writing, The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction by Imitation, and, with Alan Cheuse, the college text Literature, Craft and Voice.

Author Valerie Laken wrote of Delbanco’s role as a mentor: “He’s made a career of bringing together, supporting, and celebrating writers, and in doing that he made them all believe—not just in themselves, but in the value of literature itself.”

About his recent work The Count of Concord , Russell Banks wrote that Delbanco “brought his entire array of amazing gifts into play and has written a wonderfully sad, funny, bawdy, and intellectually adventurous novel.”

In the introduction to his non-fiction work about older artists, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age (2011), Delbanco wrote:

“This book is about tribal elders in the world of art. What interests me is lastingness: how it may be attained. For obvious reasons, this has become a personal matter; I published my first novel in 1966 and very much hope to continue.”

To learn more about Nicholas visit his website www.nicholasdelbanco.com



Nicholas Delbanco will teach the master class Masters of Modern Fiction.


Christina Baker Kline +

Christina Baker Kline

It’s one thing to write accurately about real people and real events of the past. It’s another thing to pull a character from one’s imagination. Christina Baker Kline has shown with her best-selling books A Piece of the World (2017) and Orphan Train (2013) that she can do both at the same time.

Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s best-known painting, Christina’s World, rented a studio to the artist, and was his friend and confidant for 30 years. Kline breathes life into Olson by blending deep historical research, her own knowledge of Maine, and even aspects of her own grandmother, also born in 1893.

Kline worked a similar magic in Orphan Train, which shed light on the 1854-1929 practice of relocating orphaned children from East Coast slums to the rural Midwest – where some were integrated into loving families and others harshly treated as indentured servants.

Orphan Train spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, including five weeks at No. 1, has 3.5 million copies in print, and is under consideration for a movie.

Kline enraptured a capacity crowd at the 2018 Kauai Writers Festival leading a class with Alice Hoffman and Kristin Hannah. Her class for 2019 will be announced soon.

In addition to five other novels – including Bird in Hand, Desire Lines and Sweet Water – Kline has written or edited five works of nonfiction on the topics of parenting, grief, and women’s studies. She has taught at Yale, New York University, and the University of Virginia, and served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University. She lives with her husband and sons in New Jersey and Maine.

Christina will be teaching the Turning Life Into Art Master Class along with Paula McLain and Meg Wolitzer.

Learn more about Christina at www.christinabakerkline.com

Ellen Bass +

Ellen Bass's highly praised poetry includes the volumes Like a Beggar (2014), The Human Line (2007), and Mules of Love (2002). Her subject matter ranges widely, yet anchors in relationships among people and their world, with razor-sharp detail.

Poet Dorianne Laux calls Bass “a poet of the elemental, always struggling to manage the science and biology of life with the mysteries of religion, philosophy and consciousness. In doing so, she helps us to appreciate the small miracles of this common life that we often take for granted.  It’s as if she is so startled to be alive, she can’t help asking every moment to stop and let her examine it, ask it a question.”

Poetry by Bass appears frequently in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and many other journals. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. Among her many awards are Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, three Pushcart Prizes, and a Lambda Literary Award. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University and around the country at a variety of workshops. Ellen founded poetry workshops at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz, Calif. jails.

Former student Cairn Findley calls Bass “one of those rare poets whose craft equals her extraordinary teaching skills. She is an advocate for all writers and displays this in her wise and compassionate feedback.”

Bass co-edited, with Florence Howe, the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! (1973). She is also the co-author of several non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (1988) and Free Your Mind, (1996), a supportive guide for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth, and their allies.

Ellen Bass will be teaching The Life of Poetry Master Class.

To learn more about Ellen visit her website www.ellenbass.com

Elena Delbanco +

Elena Delbanco  recently retired after teaching for twenty-seven years at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Before moving to Ann Arbor, she worked at Bennington College in Vermont, where she and her husband, the writer Nicholas Delbanco, together with the late John Gardner, founded the Bennington Writing Workshops. Delbanco has long been engaged in the world of classical music. Her father was the renowned cellist Bernard Greenhouse (of the Beaux Arts Trio), who owned the Countess of Stainlein ex-Paganini Stradivarius violoncello of 1707. The imagined fate of that instrument, upon her father's death, inspired The Silver Swan, her first novel.

Despite spending much of her life in the company of authors, Delbanco came late to writing. This has given her perspective on beginning to write at this stage of life. The story of her conception of The Silver Swan and seeing it through rounds of edits, publication, and finding critical acclaim inspired many attendees of the 2016 Kauai Writers Conference. We are pleased to have her back.

Jeff Arch +

Jeff Arch was teaching high school English when his spec script for Sleepless In Seattle sold in 1990. The screenplay was nominated for Academy, Writers Guild of America, and BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards. Arch’s life has never been the same. He has written for many Hollywood studios and producers and directors, including Penny Marshall, Ron Howard and Barry Levinson.

Four other movies have been made from Arch's scripts: Disney’s sled-dog adventure Iron Will; The CBS romantic comedy Sealed with a Kiss; an adaptation of Mort Kondracke’s memoir about his wife’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Saving Milly, nominated for a Humanitas award; and the indie comedy Dave Barry’s Complete Guide To Guys, which Arch also directed.

Arch wrote the book for Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical, and the novel, The Bell Tower. Upcoming are Roy To The World, a coming-of-age novel, and a script adaptation of Beauty Of The Broken, the hit novel by Tawni Waters.

Arch has taught at seminars and conferences all over the US and abroad. He encourages aspiring writers not to mimic hits or write to trends, but to to mine their own life experiences for unique material. He and his wife live in Southern California and Maine, depending on the weather.


Jeff Arch will be teaching The Script Only You Can Write Master Class.

Read this article to learn more about Jeff.



Amy Ferris +

Amy Ferris is an author, screenwriter, editor and playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From A Midlife Crisis debuted theatrically (Off-Broadway) in 2012. Ruth Pennebaker of The New York Times called her memoir “poignant, free-wheeling, cranky and funny.” Amy edited the anthology, SHADES OF BLUE, Writers on Depression, Suicide and Feeling Blue (Seal Press), co-edited the anthology DANCING AT THE SHAME PROM (Seal Press), and has contributed to numerous anthologies including He Said What? The Drinking Diaries, Exit Laughing, Hillary Clinton: Love Her Love Her Not, and The Buddha Next Door. Amy has written for both film and TV. Her screenplays include Mr. Wonderful (Directed by Anthony Minghella) and Funny Valentines (Directed by Julie Dash). Her YA novel, a greater goode (yes, all lowercase) was published by Houghton Mifflin. In 2018 Amy was awarded and named one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women's eNews. She is currently co-authoring a book for HarperCollins.

To learn more about Amy visit her website marryinggeorgeclooney.com



Amy will be collaborating with Linda Schreyer in The Power of Words, a memoir Master Class.

Kaui Hart Hemmings +

Kaui Hart Hemmings’debut novel The Descendants (2007) set an emotional family comedy-drama in her native Hawaii. It was made into a 2011 film which won an Oscar for the screenplay and a Golden Globe.

Hemmings followed up with The Possibilities (2014), a novel about the tragicomic journey of a mother grieving the death of her son in an avalanche. People magazine called it “funny, insightful, and unsentimental” and Oprah called it a “must-read.”

Hemmings latest novel, How to Party With an Infant (2016) follows a quirky single mom, Mele Bart, who leans on her San Francisco parenting group for emotional support and cookbook-writing ideas. The New York Times Book Review says the book “perfectly captures modern parenthood among the privileged… We cheer for her warm, self-deprecating characters and hope they continue to laugh together instead of crying alone.”

Hemmings has also written young adult fare: the novel Juniors (2015) tells the story of Lea, a San Francisco girl who tries to find her place at a new school in Hawaii, and House of Thieves is an earlier collection of short stories. Hemmings says she enjoys writing about “that world of the teenage mind — everything is so immediate and there’s so much living in the present.” She lives in Hawaii with her husband and two children.

To learn more about Kaui read this article about her and The Descendants.

Roxan McDonald +

Roxan McDonald has dedicated herself to helping people find their voice both on the page and in their lives. She currently leads writing groups in Santa Cruz, Oakland and Monterey. Roxan is an assistant teacher with Ellen Bass at Esalen Institute.



Roxan will be assisting Ellen Bass in The Life of Poetry Master Class.

Joshua Mohr +

Joshua Mohr is the author of five novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Fight Song and Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times. His novel All This Life won the Northern California Book Award. His first book of nonfiction, a memoir called Sirens, was recently published.


To learn more about Joshua visit his website www.joshuamohr.net

Joshua Mohr will be teaching the 5-Sense Psychology Master Class.

Laura Lentz +

Laura Lentz is a master writing teacher, author and developmental editor. She has taught themed creative writing workshops for over a decade to artists all over the world in intimate online groups and on Kauai’s north shore.

Her workbook Story-Quest, Make your story a Hero’s Journey will be released in November 2018. Story-Quest is workbook for writers to guide them through the twelve stages of the Hero’s Journey by offering sequential writing prompts and literary examples for each stage of the hero’s journey out of best selling memoirs and poetry.

Laura helps writers expand their body of work by offering challenging and thought-provoking exercises inspired by poetry, science, music and excerpts from literature. Intimate groups of experienced writers from all over the world gather in small online groups for live, engaging workshops that are announced privately through her mailing list at www.literatiacademy.com.

Laura is also co-founder of Literati Academy, a community and school to support, encourage and assist writers in all creative endeavors. Laura is known for her Sex on the Page writing workshop, Ancestors and Epigenetics and her annual Poetry Room, which teaches writers how to use poetic form in all writing.

Laura is also the founder of the bi-annual Speak, Kauai spoken word performances on Hawaii that showcase writers from all over the world to sold out audiences, live streams and standing ovations.

Laura will be teaching the Grief Stories Master Class along with Debbie Augenthaler.

To learn more about Laura, see her story on www.literatiacademy.com or contact her at Laurawriter@me.com.

Priya Parmar +

Priya Parmar's  novel, Vanessa and Her Sister was recently chosen as a New York Times Book Review ‘Editor’s Choice’ selection, an Entertainment Weekly ‘Must List’ pick, a People Magazine ‘Book of the Week’, and as an editor’s pick for: O Magazine, Oprah.com, Vanity Fair, Elle Magazine, New York Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, US Weekly and USA Today and Priya was chosen for the Barnes and Noble ‘Discover Great New Writers’ 2015 program.

Educated at Mount Holyoke College, The University of Oxford and The University of Edinburgh, she is the author of one previous novel, Exit the Actress. Priya divides her time between Kauai and London.

To learn more about Priya, visit her website at www.priyaparmar.com

Priya will be teaching a Historical Fiction Master Class with Whitney Sharer.

Linda Schreyer +

Linda Schreyer Linda Schreyer is an award-winning television writer. She has mentored countless writers to completion of their books, taught classes since 1995 and currently leads Slipper Camp - a popular structured online writing course, and conducted large writing workshops for organizations. Her books include, From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster, a biography of producer Mark Damon. Tears and Tequila (with Jo-Ann Lautman) is her first novel. You can find more about Linda at at her IMDB profile.

Linda will be collaborating with Amy Ferris in The Power of Words: Writing/Righting Our Lives Master Class.

Debbie Augenthaler +

Debbie Augenthaler LMHC, NCC, is an author and psychotherapist in New York City, where she has specialized in trauma, grief and loss. She is a faculty member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP) and teaches workshops about grief and loss. She also co-leads an on-line writing workshop, Write Your Grief Story, with Laura Lentz. Prior to becoming a therapist she had a successful career in the financial industry for more than twenty years.

Debbie has a Master’s Degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University and received the NYU Steinhardt Award for Outstanding Clinical Service in 2012. She completed a two-year Advanced Trauma Studies program at ICP and is trained in various modalities that inform a holistically based practice including EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Energy Psychology, and Hypnosis.

Her book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope combines her personal story of devastating loss with practical insights and simple suggestions for healing. Her articles and essays have appeared in Spirituality and Health Magazine, PBS Next Avenue, Women You Should Know, and numerous other online publications. Debbie speaks regularly to a wide variety of audiences, and is available to give presentations, workshops, and trainings.

To learn more about Debbie visit www.debbieaugenthaler.com

Debbie will be teaching the Grief Stories Master Class along with Laura Lentz.

Literary Agents & Editors:

Molly Friedrich +
The Friedrich Agency was formed in 2007 by Molly Friedrich, and is located in New York City. We represent a small list of beloved writers, mainly in the categories of literary and commercial fiction for adults and young adults, as well as narrative non-fiction and memoir.


For more about Molly, read this article

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Molly.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Molly.

Alia Hanna Habib +

Alia Hanna Habib is an agent at the Gernert Company, a literary agency with a client list as broad as the market, with writers ranging from John Grisham to Alice McDermott. Alia began her publishing career as a book publicist at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and her years of in-house publicity experience strongly inform how she works with her clients. She represents narrative nonfiction, memoir and literary fiction and has a particular interest in books on pressing social and political issues.

Among her authors are Nikole Hannah-Jones (the New York Times Magazine writer and recent recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award), Doree Shafrir (author of STARTUP), and John Donvan and Caren Zucker (authors of the New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize nominee IN A DIFFERENT KEY: THE STORY OF AUTISM.)

An active and engaged member of the publishing community, she serves on the Creative Council of Aspen Words and the board of Housing Works Bookstore/Cafe. Alia graduated from Barnard College and has a graduate degree in the nineteenth-century novel.



Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Alia.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Alia.

Steve Fisher +

Steve Fisher is senior vice president in the Literary department at APA, one of the largest diversified talent agencies in the industry with headquarters in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, Atlanta and London. Based in the agency's Beverly Hills offices, Fisher’s extensive roster of playwrights, authors, literary estates and intellectual properties includes Dorothy Allison (National Book Award nominee for “Bastard Out of Carolina”); Alison Bechdel (author of the acclaimed graphic memoir and Broadway show, “Fun Home");  the estates of Arthur C. Clarke; Patrick O’Brian (“Master and Commander” series) Peter Matthiessen and Truman Capote; Lee Child (“Jack Reacher” franchise, starring Tom Cruise); Jim Sallis (author of “Drive”, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan) ; bestselling suspense author John Saul; John Connelly, and Pulitzer Prize winners Phil Caputo (“Rumor of War”), Gregory Maguire (“Wicked”), and Burrows & Wallace (“Gotham”).

Prior to joining APA, Fisher worked in similar capacities at ICM, Innovative Artists and H.N. Swanson. He began his career in television journalism in New York, where he worked as head of research at World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and as a producer at CNN.


For more about Steve, read this article




Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Steve.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Steve.

Jeff Kleinman +

Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent, intellectual property attorney, and founding partner of Folio Literary Management, LLC, a New York literary agency which works with all of the major U.S. publishers (and, through subagents, with most international publishers).  As an agent, Jeff feels privileged to have the chance to learn a great variety of new subjects, meet an extraordinary range of people, and feel, at the end of the day, that he’s helped to build something – a wonderful book, perhaps, or an author’s career. Books of his clients include the bestsellers The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein), The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist; Eowyn Ivey), Widow of the South (Robert Hicks), and Mockingbird (Charles Shields), among many others.


Jeff Kleinman will be teaching the Master Class Writing your Way to Publication

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Jeff.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Jeff.

Jamie Raab +

Jamie Raab is a legend among publishers. For thirty years she headed Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette, and published hits ranging from commercial blockbusters by novelists like Nicholas Sparks, Nelson DeMille and Scott Turow, to zeitgeisty nonfiction books by Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Al Franken and Amy Sedaris.

This year she stepped down, along with fellow Grand Central veteran Deb Futter, to launch a new publishing division of MacMillan, Celadon Books. She’s especially eager to find idea-driven narratives and nonfiction books, and works about politics.

Along with Futter, she wants to publish novels that straddle the line between commercial and literary, and cited Noah Hawley’s thriller “Before the Fall” as an example.

Kauai Writers Conference is thrilled to have her at this auspicious moment in her career. She’s a true leader of the publishing world, just setting out in search of new authors. She comes to Kauai in hopes of finding them among our attendees.

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Jamie.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Jamie.

Andy Ross +
Andy Ross opened his literary agency in 2008. Prior to that, he was the owner of the legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley for 30 years. During that time, he sold more than 10 million books and hosted over 5000 events for some of the world’s greatest authors. In 1989, Cody’s was fire bombed in retaliation for the store featuring Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. This made them the first victim of Islamic terrorism in The United States, which goes to show that bookselling can be a dangerous business. They never stopped selling the book.

Andy’s agency represents books in a wide range of non-fiction genres including: narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, and current events . They also represent literary, commercial, historical, crime, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. For non-fiction he looks for writing with a strong voice, robust story arc, and books that tell a big story about culture and society by authors with the authority to write about their subject. In fiction, he likes stories about real people in the real world. No vampires and trolls, thank you very much. He doesn’t represent poetry, science fiction, paranormal, and romance.

Authors Andy represents include: Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado, Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Michael Parenti, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Michele Anna Jordan.

Andy also works as a freelance editor.



Andy will teach the master class Getting Ready for Publication with Brooke Warner.


Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Andy.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Andy.

Emma Sweeney +

Emma Sweeney Agency LLC is a boutique literary agency based in New York City. They’ve had eight New York Times bestsellers, including At the Water's Edge, In The Shadow of the Banyan, How It All Began, Water for Elephants, Ape House, Meddling Kids, Making Rounds with Oscar, and The Joy of Living. Their authors have won The Booker Prize and the American Book Award, been short-listed for the Orange Prize, and are Guggenheim Fellows as well as the recipients of NEA grants. Emma and her agency specialize in general fiction, historical fiction and narrative nonfiction projects including memoir, history, science and religion. They work with co-agents in every territory, from the UK and Australia to Germany, Spain, France, Italy, eastern Europe, and Asia, and make dozens of foreign rights sales (as well as audio and first serial sales) for clients every year. She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives and the Women's Media Group, where she served as president in 2003. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in English Literature. Emma is also a writer whose own books include Tulipa (Artisan, 2000) and As Always, Jack (Little, Brown, 2002;)



Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Emma.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Emma.

Roger Jellinek +

Roger Jellinek started his publishing career at Random House, and went on to be deputy editor of the New York Times Book Review; editor in chief of Times Books; a science newsletter editor with Columbia University; a map publisher in Honolulu; editorial director of a metaphysical publishing house on Maui; and since 2006 Executive Director of the annual Hawai‘i Book & Music Festival. With his wife Eden Lee Murray he founded Jellinek & Murray Literary Agency in Honolulu in 1995, and in addition to taking on occasional editorial projects he represents an eclectic list of literary fiction, and general nonfiction.

Schedule a Manuscript Critique with Roger.

Schedule a Pitch Session with Roger.


April Eberhardt +

April Eberhardt, a literary change agent and author advocate, is passionate about helping authors be published in the most effective and satisfying way. After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, Ms. Eberhardt joined the literary world, where she saw strategic opportunity to play a role in the changing world of publishing.

Ms. Eberhardt advises and assists authors worldwide as they choose the best pathway to publication for their work, be it indie or traditional, digital or print. She represents authors traditionally, and also provides guidance to those who wish to explore non-traditional paths to publication. She serves as a consultant to new publishing startups, and is a reader for the Best American Short Stories series published annually by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She divides her time between San Francisco, New York and Paris.

Read this interview to learn more.

Together with Jon Fine, April will be teaching the master class workshop Navigating Today’s New Publishing Landscape: A Roadmap for Authors

Choosing Your Best Path to Publication | Publishing & Marketing

What’s the most suitable and satisfying path to publication for you and your manuscript? Let’s discuss the specifics of your project, as well as your own personal goals, dreams, timetable and budget. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each publishing choice, including traditional publication, as well as partner-, assisted-, cooperative- and self-publishing. Working together we’ll identify the route(s) with the highest likelihood of success for you and your work. Then we’ll clarify next steps and specific to-dos, so that by the end of our conversation you’ll be empowered with practical, useful knowledge and a solid plan.

Jon Fine +

Jon Fine is one of the world’s most knowledgeable people about non-traditional publishing: self-publishing, collaborative publishing, and hybrid publishing models. He served for six years as Director of Author and Publisher Relations for Amazon, and left in 2015 to lead his own firm, Jon Fine Law and Media. He was the primary interface between Amazon and the vast number of authors who used its self-publishing platform.

Before Jon’s tenure at Amazon, self-publishing was relatively unimportant compared to the traditional world of agents, publishing houses, editors and publicists. Now, thanks in no small part to Jon’s contributions, self-publishing and hybrid publishing rival traditional publishing in the literary world.

This seismic shift in the industry has created new opportunities as well as new challenges for authors and publishers.

As both a lawyer and an expert advisor, Jon provides strategic, legal, business and creative consulting in digital and traditional media for content creators, publishers and other media companies, start-ups, and other members of the creative community. He is exceptionally proficient in content licensing, contract drafting and negotiation, copyright, publishing strategy, marketing, brand development, and M&A, advertising, First Amendment, privacy, and other matters across digital and traditional media.

There is no better person in the world to help writers navigate and prosper from this new landscape of publishing. We are fortunate to have him as a faculty member and workshop leader at KWC 2108.

INDIVIDUAL CONSULTATIONS: In his role as Director of Author and Publisher relations for Amazon, Jon helped shape what has become by far the world’s biggest self-publishing platform, and guided many hundreds of authors to profit from it. In his current role as an independent publishing consultant at Jon Fine Law and Media, he has helped both authors and publishers to understand and succeed in the new landscape he was so intimately involved in creating. Kauai Writers Conference is fortunate to have Jon available to give a limited number of individual consultations to authors. He will discuss your work and help you learn which publishing option is best for you, and how to use it to your best advantage.

Together with April Eberhardt, Jon will be teaching the master class Navigating Today’s New Publishing Landscape: A Roadmap for Authors

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Bronwen Hruska +

Bronwen Hruska  is the Publisher of SOHO Press, an award-winning independent publisher of literary fiction, international crime fiction and young adult fiction. Before joining SOHO ten years ago, she wrote features and/or television pilots for Sony, NBC and CBS. Her debut novel, Accelerated, was published by Pegasus Books in 2012.

To learn more about Bronwen, visit www.bronwenhruska.com


Soho Press was founded in 1986 by Laura Hruska and Juris Jurjevics. We’ve expanded our program since then and now publish 80-90 books a year under three discrete imprints: Soho Press (literary fiction), Soho Crime (international crime fiction) and Soho Teen (young adult fiction).
Our literary fiction is acquired and edited primarily by Executive Editor Mark Doten, with other Soho editors occasionally acquiring a book they love that fits best into this imprint. Mark is looking for bold literary voices—authors who craft new and powerful stories and offer us fresh ways of seeing the world. He’s looking especially for authors from diverse backgrounds who are pushing boundaries, doing interesting things with form and narrative, and whose work feels plugged in to our current moment (and what a moment it is!). You might be interested in hearing more from Mark about Soho and what he’s looking for.
Juliet Grames, who is also our Associate publisher, takes care of our crime list, which runs the entire range of crime fiction. Soho Crime publishes award-winning literary crime fiction imbued with a sense of place and local culture, whatever that culture that may be (our books include cultural settings that range from tres chic Paris to Classical Athens to a Mormon religious community). Our motto is “Crime Has No Time Zone” and we’re constantly on the lookout for novels set in “places” or cultures we don’t yet have on our list. As you may have noticed, we also publish some domestic regional crime fiction that has a strong sense of place.
Dan Ehrenhaft is the editorial director of our newest imprint, Soho Teen. Launched in 2013, this select list (7-10 titles a year) began with YA mysteries and thrillers. Over the years, we’ve broadened this niche to allow for novels of adolescent identity and self-discovery, particularly those with a unique format or narrative structure. Our diverse authors include acclaimed YA icons, filmmakers and screenwriters, rock stars, and a debut New York Times bestseller—among other exciting voices.
The imprints are quite different from each other; the one constant across all our books is the quality of the writing. These are well-crafted books where character and writing are every bit as important as plot.
Check out www.sohopress.com to learn more about the press.

Bronwen is available for individual sessions to discuss your manuscript.

David Sterry +

David Sterry is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. He is the author of 16 books on a wide variety of subjects, from memoir to middle grade fiction, sports to reference. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages, optioned by Hollywood, and appeared on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review. Before writing professionally, David was a comic and an actor. His one man show, based on his memoir, Chicken, was named the number one show in the United Kingdom for its entire run at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, Fringe by The Independent.


Learn more about David's literary work at


To learn more about his work with authors visit www.thebookdoctors.com

David Sterry will be teaching the Master Class Putting Your Passion into Print with Arielle Eckstut.

Arielle Eckstut +

Arielle Eckstut  is co-founder of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. She is the author of nine books including She is the author of nine books including The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and The Secret Language of Color: The Science, Nature, History, Culture and Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet.

She is also an agent-at-large at the Levine Greenberg Rostan 
Literary Agency, where for over 25 years, she has been helping hundreds of talented writers become published authors.

Lastly, Arielle co-founded LittleMissMatched, the iconic company that sells socks that don't match in packs of three.


Arielle Eckstut will be teaching the Master Class Putting Your Passion into Print with David Sterry.

To learn more about Arielle's work with authors visit www.thebookdoctors.com

Brooke Warner +

Brooke Warner 

She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner in 2012 as a response to the barriers to traditional publishing getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy’s online community, She Writes, had been founded on the principle of connecting and serving women writers everywhere, offering a community for established and aspiring writers. Brooke had been the Executive Editor at Seal Press for eight years, and was witnessing firsthand the contracting publishing environment, where she personally was having to reject beautifully written books on a regular basis because the submitting author didn’t have a strong enough author platform.

Kamy and Brooke envisioned a company where authors would be invited to publish based on the merit of their writing alone. They wanted to found a press for women writers that would be a platform—that could launch their writing careers, and where they could legitimately compete with their traditional counterparts.

In 2013, She Writes Press secured traditional distribution through Ingram Publisher Services and established itself as a real player in the hybrid publishing world. This relationship secured the right for SWP authors to submit their books for review through traditional channels, creating a more level playing field. SWP authors have been featured in O! magazine, People, and USA Today, and have been reviewed in all of the trade magazines: Publishers Weekly; Kirkus; Booklist; Library Journal; and featured on Shelf Awareness.


Brooke will teach the master class Getting Ready for Publication with Andy Ross.


Brooke is available for individual sessions to discuss your manuscript.

2018 Master Classes

Four days of close personal guidance in small groups with living masters of their genres. Choose from Fiction, Memoir, Screenwriting, Poetry and others.


4 Days | Monday November 5th – Thursday November 8th |  9:00am to 4:00pm

The Power of Words: Writing/Righting Our Lives

Memoir | A workshop collaboration with Amy Ferris and Linda Schreyer

Everyone has a story. Every woman, every man. Whether it’s deeply personal or greatly inspired. Whether it’s a long-held secret, or a long-held dream; every one of us has a story we want to tell, share, write about and get down on the page. And most of us don’t know where or how to begin. It’s daunting, it’s scary; the first word, the first sentence; bringing to life the very first paragraph.

This workshop is all about igniting those words. It is a prompt inspired workshop – one word leads to another word, leads to another word, leads to a sentence or two or three…and leads to a story.

Amy Ferris and Linda Schreyer are collaborating on this extraordinary writing workshop dedicated to the irrefutable power of words and story telling; sharing those stories, the one’s we’ve kept hidden, the ones we dare share; the ones we’ve tucked away out fear and shame and humiliation. The ones we’ve imagined and concocted, and yes, dreamed about. Sharing our stories – taking that huge leap of creative faith – inspires others to be brave – courageous – to tell and share and write their story.

The stories that move & shake & rattle the universe – the stories that save our lives, the stories that change the world: those are the very stories we’re going to share in this workshop.

What is your story?

The Life of Poetry

Poetry | Ellen Bass, with Roxan McDonald

This workshop will be an opportunity to engage our greatest resources: attention, courage, precision, imagination. We’ll strive for language that is accurate, fresh, and alive and we’ll learn strategies to help us write poems whose form, music, rhythm, diction, and meaning work together to bring new poems into being. We’ll read model poems by contemporary poets and discuss specific aspects of the craft. We’ll help each other to become clearer, go deeper, take new risks. With the safety, support, and inspiration of this gathering, you may surprise yourself in creating poems that are more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you’ve ever written before. Both experienced and beginning poets are welcome, as well as prose writers who want to enrich their language.

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”  —Martha Graham


4 Days | Monday 11/5 – Thursday 11/8  |  9:00am to 12:00

Write The Script Only You Can Write

Screenwriting | with Jeff Arch

Too often, writers try and out-guess the market when they select the material they want to work on. And all too often, those scripts are based on an original, groundbreaking script that seemed to come out of nowhere – but they didn’t. They came out of the hearts and souls of writers with a burning desire and a story to tell, that was as unique as the writers themselves. Up and coming writers need to understand that their only real way in, is to tap into their own deep insides, their own broken hearts, their own experiences – no matter what the story or genre happen to be – and fashion a story from there. That doesn’t always mean write about your own life – it means whatever you’re writing about, put your own life in it. Because what makes any story ‘universal’ is the honesty and clarity of the writing, and the sure-handedness of the storytelling. That means an understanding of structure, and a dedication to developing your craft — that’s how we set the table for the art to come through. Whether you come to the workshop with an idea or a partially or fully-written script, Jeff’s commitment is to help you find the diamond inside it, and develop the rest from there. You will hear more than you want to about “craft craft CRAFT” – but just like the drill sergeant in all those war movies, what you hate in your training, you’ll be grateful for in the field.

We’ll start with developing the dreaded logline. For some students, it could take the whole workshop just to get that – but having a good solid logline can save you weeks and months of writing time, as well as the frustration and exhaustion of spinning your wheels because you don’t know where to go next. For the students who already have a workable logline, we’ll discuss how to develop it in the best way possible, using all the cinematic tools a writer has at hand. There will also be plenty of time to discuss the life of the working writer – what it’s like when you finally break through, and how to meet the challenges of success – something very few people think about or anticipate, and often to their detriment. We want to make sure that you don’t just get there, but that you can stay there too.

Turning Life into Art

Memoir & Fiction | Christina Baker Kline, with Kristin Hannah and Alice Hoffman

Christina Baker Kline will be joined by Kristin Hannah and Alice Hoffman to lead this class. This is a rare opportunity to learn from these three wonderful authors in an intimate three-day experience.

Christina, Kristin, and Alice will each share their perspectives on what inspires the creation of fiction. Christina will discuss the power of writing about one’s own past and family history, looking particularly at how memory, ritual, and visual prompts can serve as points of departure. You will be guided in exercises that will get you reflecting on and writing about your own life – and family – in ways that will surprise you. Alice will focus on how she uses the power of imagination to construct her magical and fully formed worlds. And Kristin will reveal the wonderful mix of personal experience and pure creativity that gave birth to her page-turner novels.

This class will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with these beloved authors. You will learn from them how to dive into your past and emerge with your own unique pearls of truth. Whether you are writing fiction or memoir, this workshop will transform and deeply enrich your writing.

The Kauai Writers Conference is thrilled and honored to offer this class.

Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World and Orphan Train, Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone and The Nightingale, and Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic are all deeply personal works. None of them are memoir, but all of them derive depth and richness from personal life experiences.

Navigating Today’s New Publishing Landscape: A Roadmap for Authors

Publishing | with Jon Fine, April Eberhardt and Brooke Warner

Jon Fine and April Eberhardt are two of the most knowledgeable and respected authorities on independent publishing. They will be joined by Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press, to lead this class designed to help authors to understand the new and fast-changing world of publishing. This is an invaluable chance to learn the pros and cons of traditional publishing, assisted publishing, and self-publishing.

In his role as Director of Author and Publisher Relations for Amazon, Jon was a force in the evolution of the industry toward alternatives to the standard model of author / agent / editor / publishing house / publicist. As an author advocate, April has helped hundreds of writers to find their best path to publication and successful sales. At She Writes Press, Brooke has helped many emerging women authors to find their audiences.

Topics will include case studies of authors who have forged successful careers through non-traditional publishing, tools to help each participant make smart choices about the publishing route that gives them the best odds of success, and little-known details about each of the leading alternative publishing platforms. Attendees will come out of this class with a clear understanding of all the options available to them and thorough knowledge of which of them is their best bet, how to approach it, and how to optimize the chance for their books to reach a wide audience.

April will cover the range of ways authors can publish today. In this highly interactive session she will discuss:

  • The rapidly shifting state of publishing today, along with the implications and opportunities for authors
  • Why landing a traditional publishing deal is such a challenge today, particularly for debut authors
  • Why it’s important to have a Plan B when approaching the publishing process
  • Five different paths to publication available today, along with the pros and cons of each approach from an author’s perspective
  • How to choose the right path for a particular project, based on the author’s own goals and objectives
  • How to develop a long-term publishing strategy and approach that meets your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

Participants will learn:

  • Five questions to ask themselves before embarking on a publishing career
  • Key steps in evaluating their publishing options project by project
  • Questions to ask in vetting publishers and freelance service providers, including editors, publicists and designers
  • Budgeting essentials
  • Mistakes to avoid.

Jon will give personal insights into how the internet has transformed the world of publishing, From his unique perspective, he will help each participant to understand the online landscape not as an obstacle but as the source of innumerable opportunities for success.

Among his topics will be:

  • How Amazon really works
  • How to give your book visibility among the avalanche of content
  • Is this the best of times or the worst for a new author? It’s actually up to you.

Brooke will discuss key success factors for authors regardless of publishing path:

  • How to approach your publishing journey like the business it is
  • Why content is king and how to think about what you publish outside and beyond your book
  • Preparing for success by thinking through future publicity plans and budgets
  • Building and growing your author platform
  • Rookie mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Understanding publishing’s timing and schedules and setting benchmarks that help you achieve deadlines.


4 Days | Monday 11/5 – Thursday 11/8  |  1:30pm to 4:30pm

Voice is Everything

Fiction | with Nicholas Delbanco

It is an honor and a privilege to have Nicholas Delbanco conduct a workshop at the Kauai Writers Festival.

John Updike said Delbanco “wrestles with the abundance of his gifts as a novelist the way other men wrestle with their deficiencies.” He is a writer that other writers, including many of the most celebrated, look up to and have sought out for advice. He’s served as both chairman of the fiction panel of the National Book Awards and as a judge for, among other contests, the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction..

Delbanco is the author of twenty-nine books, both fiction and nonfiction. He was the founding director of the Bennington Writing Workshops and served for many years as head of the esteemed creative writing program at University of Michigan. There he was director of the Hopwood Awards Program, the oldest and best known series of writing prizes in the academy.

In The Art of Fiction, John Gardner paraphrases Delbanco, who “remarked that by the age of four one has experienced nearly everything one needs as a writer of fiction: love, pain, loss, boredom, rage, guilt, fear of death.” Yet Delbanco’s recent book, Lastingness, the Art of Old Age, reflects on the qualities that transcend age in the lives of authors. His most recent work of non-fiction, “Curiouser and Curiouser: Essays” continues that exploration, both in personal and in professional terms.
Delbanco has a unique voice. His workshop will focus on helping writers find and refine their own individual voices. He says: “My notion of a failed writing workshop is when everybody comes out replicating the teacher and imitating as closely as possible the great original at the head of the table.” Instead, in his storied career of helping authors, he has found the gift of identifying, honing, and perfecting the individual style of each one.

We can promise that those fortunate enough to find a spot in Delbanco’s workshop will find it a seminal event in their writing careers.

Writing your Way to Publication

Publishing | with Jeff Kleinman

Learn the craft of writing from an agent’s perspective! In this hands-on workshop, the first 5 pages of your manuscript (novel, memoir, or narrative nonfiction) will be workshopped and evaluated with an eye toward publication.

Each day we’ll focus on a different aspect of craft – premise, voice, character, and momentum – with prompts, tips, and exercises to improve your writing and improve your manuscript’s likelihood to get picked up for publication.

Jeff Kleinman is one of the most highly regarded literary agents in the US, and a founding partner at Folio Literary Management, one of the top agencies New York. They cover the whole spectrum of genres. Have a look at some of their books here.

With his intimate knowledge of the literary market, Jeff can delve into your work and guide you to capture and keep the attention of your readers by finding and sticking with your most authentic voice. In this class, participants will share their work for Jeff’s seasoned and insightful input on what works, what doesn’t, and what will sell. He will use a variety of nuts-and-bolts exercises designed to immediately improve your craft with an eye toward publication.

Kauai Writers Conference is thrilled to offer this class.

* This workshop was previously titled “Finding and Working with an Agent.” The class does include that topic, and Jeff has given this fuller description to provide a more complete picture of all that this unique class offers. We’re confident it will be of tremendous value for writers who find a spot in it. 

A small group workshop | 4 half days | 3 hours per day

5-Sense Psychology

Character | with Joshua Mohr

This seminar will examine how setting might be a useful frame of reference for rendering a character’s inner life, the heartbeats and brainwaves of our main players. For if we’re interested in plumbing the existential depths of our protagonists, perhaps our readers need to traverse the mind and metaphorical heart as a 360 degree location, the setting of the mind.

Camaraderie between reader and main character is vital if we’re to establish a lasting, poignant connection between them. But how do we go about building that? What if we render a character’s consciousness as though it’s a cogent ecosystem for the reader to inhabit?

During the course, students will be led through all five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing –learning how to translate these perceptions into opportunities to enhance thought process and psychic access on the page. Through in-class reading and writing prompts, students will practice each sense, cementing an understanding on how to bring these techniques straight into your work-in-progress, building dynamic inner lives for your characters, places for your reader to curl up and listen to the whispers of the heart.

Your Author Platform: How to Build an Audience before You Have a Published Book

Publishing | with David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut

Most people don’t become writers because they love promotion and marketing. It seems grossly unfair, but nowadays publishers expect you to be able to get your book into the world. It’s no longer enough just to have a good–or even great–book.

Who is your audience? And how will you reach them? You must be able to answer these questions as they are the keystones of getting successfully published. By understanding your audience and where your book fits on the bookshelf, you’ll be able to put together a master marketing plan.

In this master class, we’ll do a deep dive into what it means to truly understand and connect with your audience. You’ll learn how to get pre-publication blurbs, speak articulately to the value of your book, establish an online presence, develop a speaking career, find media outlets for your writing now, and much more.

You’ll come out of this master class with a professional quality pitch that’s agent and publisher-ready, as your pitch is the key to getting anyone and everyone excited about your work. You’ll also come out with a plan for to how to best market yourself and your particular book.

We think it’s the most exciting time to get published and find your readers. Come find out why!


Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founder of The Book Doctors. a company dedicated to helping writers get successfully published. They are the authors of 25 books, including The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, the go-to resource on the subject. They have appeared everywhere from NPR’s Morning Edition to The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal to USA Today.


Arielle is also an agent-at-large at The Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency where she represents Kwame Alexander, Nikki Giovanni…and David Henry Sterry! David is also an actor and screenwriter whose one-man show based on his memoir, Chicken, was named the number one show at the Edinburgh Festival, Fringe by The Independent.

2018 Event Schedule

Four days of close personal guidance in small groups with living masters of their genres. Choose from Fiction, Memoir, Screenwriting, Poetry and others.

Friday November 9th, 2018

Time Kauai Ballroom 3 Kauai Ballroom 1 Puna Ballroom
7:00 – 9:00


(Registration table open 7:30 by Puna Ballroom)

Kumu Sabra Kauka and her hula halau
9:30 – 10:15 Scott Turow
Sources of Inspiration
10:30 – 11:45 Jon Fine
The Elephant in the Room (Amazon)
April Eberhardt
Brooke Warner
The many paths to publication.
12:00 – 1:15 – LUNCH –
1:15 – 2:00 Jane Smiley
Writers’ journeys. Forging careers through changing lives and changing times
2:15 – 3:30 Kristin Hannah, Christina Baker Kline, Alice Hoffman:
Conveying emotion in fiction
Ellen Bass
Roxan McDonald
Diving into the Unknown
(Poetry and Prose)
3:45 – 5:00 Garth Stein
The Art of Never Giving Up
Jane Smiley, Kristin Hannah, Kaui Hemmings, Nicholas Delbanco
The importance of place.
Sara Gruen
Emma Sweeney
Agent and author conversation: How we work together.
6:00 – 9:30 – LUAU –
Dinner followed by Punua Family performance

At the Luau Gardens by the beach.
(Ballroom 2 in case of rain)

Saturday November 10th, 2018

Time Kauai Ballroom 3 Kauai Ballroom 1 Puna Ballroom
7:00 – 9:00 – BREAKFAST –
9:00 – 9:50 Sara Gruen
Garth Stein
Writing about animals
Jamie Raab,
Jon Fine,
Bronwen Hruska
Today’s New Publishing
Landscape. A blessing and a curse.
Debbie Augenthaler
Workshop: Writing Our Grief Stories
10:00 – 11:15  Josh Mohr, Amy Ferris,
Linda Schreyer
Writing the truly memorable memoir: a workshop.
Scott Turow,
Christina Baker Kline,
Priya Parmar
The sound on the page: making prose sing
Andy Ross,
Bronwen Hruska
How editors and publishers think
11:30 – 12:15 Alice Hoffman
Creating a fictional world
12:15 – 1:30 – LUNCH –
1:30 – 2:30 Jeff Arch,
Scott Turow,
Kaui Hemmings,
Sara Gruen,
Steve Fisher
The Winding Road from Book to Film
Arielle Eckstut,
David Sterry
Marketing your book after publication
2:45 – 3:45 Nicholas Delbanco
The Importance of Voice and Point of View
Christina Baker Kline
Finding your Subject: A case study. (multimedia presentation)
Joshua Mohr
The kiss between plot and character
4:00 – 5:15 Agents in a panel discussion on how they work. Participants
submit first paragraphs to be quickly critiqued.
Jeff Arch
How a school teacher wrote Sleepless in Seattle without losing too much sleep.
Laura Lentz
Story Quest: making your book a Hero’s Journey
8:00 – 9:30 – CONCERT –
Makana: Master of Hawaiian slack key guitar

Kauai Ballroom 2


Sunday November 11th

Time Kilohana Restaurant Marriott Ballroom 1 Marriott Ballroom 3
8:40 – 10:30 BRUNCH at KILOHANA
Group 1 (last names beginning with A-L)

Three buses depart from Marriott main entrance at 8:40, 8:50, and 9:00 and return at about 10:30
9:00 – 10:30
Group 2
David Henry Sterry,
Arielle Eckstut
10:30 – 12:30 BRUNCH at KILOHANA
Group  2 (last names beginning with M-Z)

Three buses depart from Marriott main entrance at 10:30, 10:40, and 10:50 and return at about 12:30
11:00 – 12:30
Group 1
David Henry Sterry,
Arielle Eckstut
1:00 – 1:50   Scott Turow,
Joshua Mohr
Workshop on the intersection of character and plot
Mindy Pennybacker, Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Don Wallace, Honolulu Magazine
Hawaii Journalism
2:00 – 2:50   Jane Smiley,
Molly Friedrich
The secrets of prolific authors
Andy Ross,
Alia Habib,
Emma Sweeney
How agents evaluate
your work
3:00 – 3:50   Alice Hoffman,
Christina Baker Kline,
Kaui Hart Hemmings,
The importance of place
Ellen Bass,
Roxan McDonald
Discovery: Diving into the Unknown
(Poetry and Prose)
4:00 – 4:50   Nicholas Delbanco
Elena Delbanco
Lastingness: Writing in our latter decades
Sara Gruen,
Garth Stein,
Jeff Kleinman,
Workshop on character 
5:30 – 6:00 – FAREWELL –
Marriott luau gardens
(Ballroom 1 in case of rain)