Invited Authors

Keynote: Janisse Ray

Writer, naturalist, and activist Janisse Ray is author of five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of eco-poetry. In 2018 she was the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. She won the 2017 Southern Environmental Law Center Award in journalism for her piece on coal ash, published online in The Bitter Southerner: “From Ashes Such as These, What Can Rise?” She is a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2014 Ray was awarded an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga., following one from Unity College in Maine in 2007. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, where she was the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer 2014.

Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999.  It was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read.  Besides a plea to protect and restore the pine flatwoods, the book is a hard look at family, mental illness, poverty, and religion. Essayist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” Anne Raver of The New York Times said, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.” The book won the Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction, American Book Award, Southern Environmental Law Center Award, and Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

Her most recent book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, looks at the movement to reclaim the genetics of our food supply. The book has been translated into Turkish and French; and it won the Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference, American Horticultural Society Book Award, Nautilus Gold Book Award, Garden Writers Association Gold Award, and Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Award.

Ray’s other books are:

Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home
Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land
A House of Branches: Poems
Drifting Into Darien: A Personal and Natural History of the Altamaha River

The author lectures nationally on nature, community and the politics of wholeness. Ray lives with her husband and daughter on an organic farm in Tattnall County, Georgia .
Facebook: Janisse Ray

Max Blau

Max Blau writes narrative and investigative stories for newspapers, magazines, and digital media outlets. His award-winning nonfiction has appeared in Atlanta magazine, Bitter Southerner, the Boston Globe, New York Times, Politico, and Rolling Stone. A recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s narrative nonfiction M.F.A. program, Max is currently working as a freelance journalist and conducting research for a forthcoming book. Check out Max’s writing at

Angela DeCaires

CEO, BookLogix

Angela DeCaires is the CEO of BookLogix. She has previously held positions as the Director of Publishing and Marketing & Communications Manager with the Atlanta-based publisher.Angela is dedicated to helping to educate authors on the nontraditional publishing industry and is a frequent public speaker at writing conferences and events.

Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting, and journalism, having spent a number of years as a TV news producer and news writer in New York state, followed by public relations work for health systems in both Florida and New York. She holds a degree in Communication/Journalism from St. John Fisher College.

KaToya Fleming

KaToya “k.t.” Fleming is a freelance writer with a BA in English from Spelman College and an MFA in Narrative Media Writing from the University of Georgia. She splits her time between Atlanta and Augusta, and has taught creative writing in the Art-at-Work program and various other initiatives sponsored by the Fulton County Arts Council. She is currently working on a bibliomemoir that chronicles her relationship to a notable African-American author from her hometown.

Krystal Grant

Krystal Grant is an author who uses her southern roots as inspiration for her writing. Her books, Under the Palmetto TreeThe Miseducation of Ms. G, and Brooklyn, are dazzling novels about women who use their strength and perseverance to overcome tragedies.

Poppy and The Play Date, Krystal’s first children’s book was published in August, 2016.  The follow up, Poppy’s Pet Adventure was published February 13, 2018. She maintains an active presence on social media and enjoys connecting with aspiring authors to give timely advice on the process of writing and the publishing industry.

She holds degrees from The University of South Carolina (B.A. English) and Georgia State University (M.Ed., Educational Leadership). Krystal is a proud Carolina girl currently living in the Atlanta area with her husband, affectionately called Mr. Incredible, and their three rock-star children, known around the internet as #BebeKids.

Karen Head

Karen Head is the author of Disrupt This!: MOOCs and the Promises of Technology (UP New England, 2017), She has published four books of poetry (Sassing, My Paris Year, Shadow Boxes and On Occasion: Four Poets, One Year), co-edited the poetry anthology (Teaching as a Human Experience: An Anthology of Poetry), and exhibited several acclaimed digital poetry projects. In 2010 she won the Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Prize. She also creates digital poetry; her project “Monumental” (part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other Project) was detailed in a TIME online mini-documentary. She is an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech, and is the Editor of Atlanta Review.

McCall Hoyle

McCall Hoyle is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her debut novel, The Thing with Feathers, won the Romance Writers of America GOLDEN HEART® award for excellence in young adult fiction. Her follow up young adult novel, Meet the Sky, releases from HarperCollins/Blink September 4, 2018.

She is a high school English teacher who enjoys coaching writers of all ages and at all stages of their writing careers. She speaks and teaches at both the local and national levels and has worked with readers, writers, and fellow teachers at events such as RT Booklovers Convention, Georgia Romance Writers, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the American Library of Association.

On the web: On Facebook: McCallHoyleBooks, On Instagram: mccallhoylebooks, On Twitter: @McCallHoyle

K. B. Kincer

K.B Kincer was awarded both an MFA and a PhD in creative writing from Georgia State University. Her chapbook, After the Transplant, was a finalist for a Georgia Author of the Year Award, and her poems have appeared in The Healing Muse, Poet LoreAtlanta ReviewDappled ThingsRed River ReviewTouch: The Journal of Healing, The Examined Life and elsewhere. Besides teaching, she directs and co-hosts melodically challenged, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show devoted to poetry and alternative music that airs on WRAS, Georgia State University’s all-student run radio station, and on college radio stations and Public Radio stations throughout the country.

Man Martin

Man Martin is a three-time winner of Georgia Author of the Year.  His current novel, The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome was a finalist for the Townsend Prize.  His writing has been called “a singular joy” (Booklist)  and “hilarious” (Publishers Weekly). In addition to writing, he draws a daily cartoon, “Man Overboard,” which can be seen at  He teaches high school English and debate in DeKalb County, where he lives with his wife Nancy.

Megan Sexton

Megan Sexton’s collection of poems, Swift Hour, received the Adrienne Bond Award for
Poetry. She is co-editor of Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art and teaches in the
Department of English at Georgia State University.

Her poetry and nonfiction have been widely published in anthologies and journals,
including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, The Literary
Review, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the PEN/Newman First
Amendment Award and has received a fellowship from the Hambidge Center.

She lives in Decatur with her husband and daughter and plays drums in the Decatur-based
band, The Skylarks.

AZ Yeamen

Founder/Executive Director of Bridge 17 Scriptwriters’ Studio

Screenwriter, Producer, and Script Consultant, AZ Yeamen has circled the independent film market working on numerous projects for independent filmmakers and playwrights. Her projects have been pitched and optioned by Lionsgate, UMC Streaming, Aspire, TVOne, LifeTime, Macro Entertainment, and other independent production studios. Yeamen is the founder of the first and only independentscreenwriter’s award show in Atlanta Content Creators of Atlanta Awards.

Yeamen founded a scriptwriter’s studio after being a head writer for local Atlanta producers and realizing the change from big studio writing to the need for independent filmmakers to have “staffed” writers. Yeamen used her entrepreneurial background, coupled with relationship building abilities, to create Bridge 17 Scriptwriters’ Studio; a screenwriter for hire and writing instruction organization designed to match writers with producers streamlining the writing process.

Yeamen’s next venture as executive director of Bridge 17, is to open up their new 7000 sq. ft facility to all writers for growth, education, and collaboration.

Fiction Consults: Anne Corbitt

Anne Corbitt received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Mississippi on the John and Renée Grisham Fellowship. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Greensboro Review, Fifth Wednesday, Fourth River, and others. She lives in Atlanta, where she created and writes the interactive mystery series ATL Mysteries, and teaches writing at Kennesaw State University. Her first novel, Rules for Lying, was released by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2016, as the winner of the Nilsen Literary Prize, and was the finalist for the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award for a First Novel.

Poetry Consults: Beth Gylys

A professor of Creative Writing at Georgia State University, Beth Gylys is an award winning poet with three published collections of poetry, Sky Blue Enough to Drink, Spot in the Dark, and Bodies that Hum, and two chapbooks Matchbook and Balloon Heart. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including The New Republic, The Cortland Review, The Birmingham Review, The Southern Review, and Rattle.

Creative Nonfiction Consults: Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin, 2018 Georgia Author of the Year in Memoir, is author of This Gladdening Light: An Ecology of Fatherhood and Faith, published by Mercer University Press and recipient of the Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction. Janisse Ray called this memoir an “honest, gritty, and transcendent book” that “explores a theology of love.” A contributing editor at New Southerner and the author of three poetry chapbooks, Chris teaches English at Kennesaw State University and creative nonfiction at the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop. His work appears in publications across the country. Chris holds an MA in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State and was named the program’s 2018 Distinguished Alumnus./ / Twitter: @cmartinwriting / Facebook: @christophermartinwriting / Instagram: @christophermartin22