The 2018 Book Festival Authors

Eduardo Arce is a high school educator and writer. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Carmen, and his Pitbull, Ninja. Eduardo will often find inspiration for his work from his faith, the social climate, relationships, and anxiety. When he’s not working on his vocational responsibilities, he can be found enjoying an evening with his wife, having dinner with his friends, listening to stand-up comedy, or planning how to kill his players in their next Dungeons & Dragons session.

Austin Aslan is the author of the highly-acclaimed sci-fi eco-thriller The Islands at the End of the World and its sequel, The Girl at the Center of the World, published by the incomparable and preeminent Wendy Lamb at Random House. The Guardian recently ranked his debut novel as a top-ten read in the awakening genre of climate fiction, and Kirkus Reviews hailed the series opener as a “Best Book of 2014.” He earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology while living with his wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i. A Northern Arizona native and long-distance backpacker, Austin can often be found exploring the world’s last wild places while sleeping on a punctured air mattress. Follow his globetrotting and outdoor adventures on both Facebook and Twitter at @Laustinspace.

Will Cordeiro has work appearing or forthcoming in Best New Poets, Copper
Nickel, DIAGRAM, Fourteen Hills, Nashville Review, Poetry Northwest, The Threepenny
Review, Zone 3, and elsewhere. He has two chapbooks of short prose, Never-never (White Knuckle, 2017) and Reveries and Opinions of Mr. Figure (rinky dink press, 2016). He is also the co-editor of the small press Eggtooth Editions. He received his MFA and Ph.D. from Cornell University. He lives in Flagstaff, where he teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University.

Dana Diehl is the author of the short story collection, Our Dreams Might Align (Splice UK, 2018). Her fiction chapbook, TV Girls, won the 2017-2018 New Delta Review Chapbook Contest and was released in August 2018. Her collaborative collection, The Classroom, is forthcoming from Gold Wake Press in February 2019. Dana earned her MFA in Fiction at Arizona State University, where she served as editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her work has appeared in North American Review, Passages North, Booth, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. Find her at @servestofurther or

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ, the founding editor of Rinky Dink press, the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series, and the curator of First Friday Poetry on Roosevelt Row. She is the recipient of five Pushcart nominations, an Arts Hero Award, the Carrie McCray Literary Award in Nonfiction, and a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. Her collections include The Book of Emergencies, The Philosophy of Unclean Things, and The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story], winner of the 2017 Split Rock Review chapbook competition.

Melissa Goodrich is the author of the fiction collection Daughters of Monsters, the poetry chapbook IF YOU WHAT, and the forthcoming collaborative collection The Classroom. She received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Artful Dodge, The Kenyon Review Online, Passages North, PANK, Word Riot, Gigantic Sequins, and others. Find her at and tweeting @good_rib.

Jared Harél is the author of Go Because I Love You (Diode Editions, 2018) and The Body Double (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012). He’s been awarded the ‘Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize’ from American Poetry Review, the ‘William Matthews Poetry Prize’ from Asheville Poetry Review, and an ‘Individual Artist Grant’ from Queens Council on the Arts. His poems have appeared in such journals as Tin House, The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Bennington Review, 32 Poems and Newtown Literary. Harél teaches writing at Nassau Community College, plays drums for the rock-band Flyin’ J & The Ghostrobber, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two kids.

Alice Hatcher has published short stories, creative nonfiction and poetry in Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, Fiction International, Fourth Genre, Galway Review, and Chautauqua, among other journals. Her novel The Wonder That Was Ours, winner of the 2017 Dzanc Prize for Fiction and short-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Award, was released in September 2018.

Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning young adult author of three novels. His most recent novel, The Porcupine of Truth, won the Stonewall Book Award in 2016, made the YALSA’s 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and was on Booklist’s Best of 2015 list and the ALA’s 2015 Rainbow List. Openly Straight won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, and was a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and Lambda Literary Award in 2014. It also made YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults List, the TAYSHAS List as a top ten title, the ALA’s Rainbow List, and was a TeensTop Ten nominee. His debut novel, Out of the Pocket, won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009. It also made the ALA’s Rainbow List. Bill is an Assistant Professor of Practice at The Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where he coordinates and teaches in the Your Novel Year online certificate program. Prior to turning his attention to writing books for teens, Bill was a sports writer and editor for and The Associated Press. He lives in Chandler, Arizona, with his husband, Chuck, and their Australian Labradoodles, Mabel and Buford. Visit Bill’s Facebook and Twitter.

Lawrence Lenhart studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh and holds an MFA from the University of Arizona. His first essay collection is The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage (Outpost19). His prose appears in Alaska Quarterly ReviewFourth GenreGreensboro ReviewGulf CoastPassages NorthWestern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He has won the biennial LaVerne Harrell Clark Award in Fiction, Prairie Schooner’sVirginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing, and Terrain’s Annual Nonfiction Award. Lenhart is a professor of fiction and nonfiction at Northern Arizona University and a reviews editor and assistant fiction editor of DIAGRAM. His current projects include a book-length essay about the black-footed ferret, a book of apocryphal biographies from 39 small island states, and a hybrid novel-memoir about Bangladesh and Ireland, respectively.

Lemanuel Loleyis ‘Áshįįhi born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Kiyaa’áanii. Lemanuel is from Casamero Lake, New Mexico and serves as an Adjunct Faculty in the School of Arts & Humanities at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Kenyon College and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His work has appeared in the literary magazine HIKA and as part of Pollentongue: An Indigenous Poetry Salon and Reading. He is a co-founder of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective, co-director of the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute, and an advisory board member to the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. His current projects include a novel titled They Collect Rain in Their Palms, which details the experience of an LGBT couple in the face of the Navajo Nation’s ban on same-sex marriage and a compilation of poems. Lemanuel currently resides in Gallup, New Mexico.

Kristen E. Nelson is a queer writer and performer, literary activist, LGBTQ+ activist, and community builder. She is the author of the length of this gap (Damaged Goods, August 2018) and two chapbooks: sometimes I gets lost and is grateful for noises in the dark (Dancing Girl, 2017) and Write, Dad (Unthinkable Creatures, 2012). Kristen’s poem “After the Crotalus atrox” was anthologized in The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide and nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize by University of Arizona Press. She has published work in Bombay Gin, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Tarpaulin Sky Journal, Trickhouse, and Everyday Genius, among others. Kristen shares her work frequently at venues across the United States as a featured performer for events such as the Trickhouse JournalLaunch at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club, as an opening act for singer/songwriter Dar Williams at Tucson’s Rialto Theater, and as a keynote performer at LA’s Open Press Conference.

Shawnte Orion has published two recent collections of poetry, The Existentialist
Cookbook (NYQBooks) and Faithful as the Ground (Five Oaks Press). His poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Barrelhouse, New York Quarterly, Georgetown Review and other literary journals. He has performed at bookstores, bars, universities, hair salons, museums, and laundromats.

David Pischke lives in Tolleson, Arizona with his wife, two boys, three dogs, and half a dozen chickens. He is an elementary school Art teacher, college English instructor, and co-founder of Tolsun Books.

Ben Pitts lives in Peoria, Arizona where he is a High School English teacher. When he’s not reading or writing, most of his time is spent with his two daughters, Grace and Norah and his wife, Brianne.

Katie Quinnelly is a West Virginian writer with two houseplants and a lot of pet rocks. She currently teaches climbing classes at Climbing New Heights in Martinsburg, WV and is a climbing guide in the Appalachian Mountains. Katie is the author of the chapbook Sparrow Pie available from Eggtooth Editions.

Jesse Sensibar is the author of Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway from Tolsun Books. he loves small furry animals and assault rifles with equal abandon and has a soft spot in his heart for innocent strippers and jaded children. He is a product of the mean streets of Midwestern industrial cities. He spent his youth on the shores of the post-industrial Great Lakes in tattoo shops, pizza parlors, corner bars, speed shops, and motorcycle clubhouses. Jesse came west to the high desert in the late 1980s and quickly disappeared down the rabbit hole of Southwestern outlaw drug culture. He emerged from that hole in 2008; close to death and with a solid quarter century of hard drug abuse under his belt. He has worked as a mechanic, heavy equipment operator, strip club bouncer, repossession agent, tattoo shop owner, private investigator, tow truck driver, snow plow operator, wildland firefighter, and college English teacher.He spends his time writing and promoting the art of storytelling. You can usually find him in the dying Ponderosa Pine forests surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona or in the old barrios of Tucson, Arizona. Otherwise, he is probably somewhere out on the highway, documenting the passing of his rapidly disappearing American West and pondering the fleeting nature of memory, sin, spirituality, and forgiveness.

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born Water’s Edge. He is Diné and holds an MFA in Poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Waxwing, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. Jake is a winner of the 2018 “Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. His community work includes organizing Pollentongue, a poetry salon and reading series, and acting as a faculty mentor for the annual Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute. He is the founding editor of Cloudthroat, an online publication for Native, First Nations, and Indigenous writing and art, and a founding member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: a Diné Writers’ Collective. He currently teaches at Diné College in the Navajo Nation. His first collection, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, was selected as a winner for the 2018 National Poetry Series by Kathy Fagan for Milkweed Editions.

Eshani Surya is a current MFA student in fiction at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she also teaches undergraduates. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Literary Hub, Essay Daily,, and Ninth Letter Online, among others. She was the 2016 winner of the Ryan R. Gibbs Award for Flash Fiction from New Delta Review. Find her @__eshani or at

Kara Thompson is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University. Thompson is the author of Blanket (Bloomsbury, 2018), Settler Contingencies, Indigenous Futures (Duke University Press, 2020), and essays in Tin House, Avidly, The Philosophical Salon, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment.

Laura Tohe is Tsénahabiłnii born for the Tódich’inii. She grew up at Crystal, New Mexico near the Chuska Mountains on the Diné homeland. Her published books include Making Friends with Water (chapbook); No Parole Today, a book on boarding schools; Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers on Community, co-edited with Heid Erdrich; Tseyí: Deep in the Rock, in collaboration with photographer, Stephen Strom; and Code Talker Stories, an oral history book with the remaining Navajo Code Talkers.  The Phoenix Symphony commissioned her to write the libretto for Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, which made its 2008 world premiere as part of the Phoenix Symphony’s 60th anniversary.  A compact disc recording of Enemy Slayer is on the Naxos classical music label.  It received rave reviews by the Arizona Republic and was called “a triumph” by Opera Today. In 2015, Tohe was honored as the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate for 2015-2017, a title given to her in celebration and recognition of her work as a poet and writer.

Nicole Walker is the author of Sustainability: A Love Story from Ohio State University Press and the forthcoming The After-Normal from Rose Metal Press. Her previous books include Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She also edited Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction with Margot Singer. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where it rains like the Pacific Northwest, but only in July.

Orlando White is from Tółikan, Arizona. He is Diné of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí and born for the Naakai Diné’e. White is the author of two books of poetry, Bone Light (Red Hen Press), which Kazim Ali described as a “careful excavation on language and letters and the physical body” and LETTERRS (Nightboat Books) which received the Poetry Center Book Award. His work has appeared in such journals as Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, Salt Hill Journal, and elsewhere. The recipient of a residency from the Lannan Foundation, White teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.

Cody Wilson teaches English in Arizona. He has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His chapbook, Nobody is Ever Missing, was published by Tolsun Books. Some of his work appears online at Juxtaprose, The Southampton Review, Juked, and Emrys.