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Guest Authors

Guest Lecturers at the 2023 Alpha Writing Workshop

  • Tamora Pierce is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She first captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and YA novels to introduce readers to a rich world populated by strong, believable heroines. In 2013, she won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”
  • Cassandra Khaw iis an award-winning game writer. Their recent novella Nothing but Blackened Teeth was a British Fantasy, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and Bram Stoker Award finalist. Their debut collection Breakable Things is out now.
  • Sarah Gailey is a Hugo Award Winning and Bestselling author of speculative fiction, short stories, and essays. Their nonfiction has been published by dozens of venues internationally. Their fiction has been published in over seven different languages. Their most recent novel, Just Like Home, and first original comic book series with BOOM! Studios, Eat the Rich, are available now. You can find links to their work at and on social media at @gaileyfrey.
  • Ayana Gray is a New York Times-bestselling young adult fantasy author and a lover of all things monsters, mythos, and magic. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas where she reads avidly, follows Formula One racing, and worries over the varying moods of her adopted baby black rhino, Apollo, and her mini goldendoodle, Dolly.  Her debut novel, Beasts of Prey, is being translated in 10 languages across five continents, and is in feature film development with Netflix.
  • Tamora Pierce is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over eighteen novels set in the fantasy realm of Tortall. She first captured the imagination of readers with her debut novel, Alanna: The First Adventure. Since then, her bestselling and award-winning titles have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and YA novels to introduce readers to a rich world populated by strong, believable heroines. In 2013, she won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her “significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson is an award-winning short story writer and author of seven novels for adults and young adults. Her most recent novel for adults, Trouble the Saints, won the 2021 World Fantasy Award for best novel. Her debut short story collection, Reconstruction, was released in January 2021 from Small Beer Press. Her young adult novel The Summer Prince was long listed for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, while her follow-up YA Love Is the Drug won the Andre Norton/Nebula Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult fiction.

    Her short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, A Phoenix First Must Burn, Feral Youth, and Zombies vs. Unicorns. She lives in Mexico where she received a master’s degree with honors in Mesoamerican Studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for her thesis on pre-Columbian fermented food and its role in the religious-agricultural calendar.

  • Nisi Shawl is best known for fiction dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including the Nebula finalist novel Everfair, an alternate history of the Congo. They’re the coauthor of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text on inclusive representation. Shawl is a cofounder of the Carl Brandon Society, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the presence of People of Color in the imaginative genres. Their criticism and essays appear widely, including as an introduction to a Library of America volume on Octavia E. Butler.

    Shawl edited and co-edited Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler; Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; and New Suns: Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Their debut story collection, Filter House, co-won the 2008 James Tiptree, Jr./Otherwise Award. Additional awards include the World Fantasy Award, two Locus Awards, and FIYAH Magazine’s Ignyte Award. A new story collection, Fruiting Bodies, is forthcoming from this autumn from Aqueduct Press. Two more books are due to appear in January 2023: a second New Suns anthology, plus Shawl’s first Middle Grade novel, Speculation. Shawl lives in Seattle, one block away from a beautiful, dangerous lake full of currents and millionaires.

  • Michael Arnzen holds four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Guild Award for his disturbing (and often funny) fiction, poetry and literary experiments. His books include Proverbs for Monsters and 100 Jolts. He has been teaching as a Professor of English in the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University since 1999, and has run energizing and inspiring workshops at Odyssey, StokerCon, AllAccessCon and many others, including several stints at past Alphas. See what he’s up to now at

Guest Lecturers at the 2021 Alpha Writing Workshop

P. Djeli Clark

P. Djeli Clark

Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders

  • DongWon Song is an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adult, and middle grade readers as well as select non-fiction. They were formerly an editor at Orbit, a product manager for an ebook startup, and taught as an adjunct instructor in the publishing program at Portland State University.

  • Phenderson Djéli Clark is the award winning and Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon nominated author of the novellas Ring Shout, The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His short stories have appeared in online venues such as, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots, Hidden Youth and Clockwork Cairo. He is a founding member of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons. At current time, he resides in a small Edwardian castle in New England with his wife, twin daughters, and pet dragon, where he works as an academic historian. When so inclined he rambles on issues of speculative fiction, politics, and diversity at his aptly named blog The Disgruntled Haradrim. His debut novel A Master of Djinn will be published by in May 2021. Pronouns: He/Him/His.
  • Fonda Lee is the author of the epic urban fantasy Green Bone Saga (beginning with Jade City and continuing in Jade War and the forthcoming Jade Legacy) and the science fiction novels Zeroboxer, Exo and Cross Fire.

    Fonda is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, as well as a three-time winner of the Aurora Award (Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award), and a multiple finalist for the Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and the Oregon Book Award. Her novels have garnered multiple starred reviews, been included on numerous state reading lists, named Junior Library Guild selections, and appeared on Best of Year lists from NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. Jade City has been translated in multiple languages and optioned for television development.

    In addition, she has written acclaimed short fiction and comic books for Marvel. She is a frequent speaker and instructor at writing workshops including Viable Paradise and Clarion West.

    Fonda is a former corporate strategist and black belt martial artist who loves action movies and Eggs Benedict. Born and raised in Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon

  • Charlie Jane Anders

    Charlie Jane Anders is the author of Victories Greater Than Death, the first book in a new young-adult trilogy, plus the upcoming short story collection Even Greater Mistakes

    Her novel The City in the Middle of the Night came out in 2019—it won the Locus Award for Best SF Novel, and was named one of the year’s best books by the Guardian, Den of Geek, Polygon and Autostraddle, among others, and was optioned for television by Sony and Mom de Guerre Productions. Her 2016 novel, All the Birds in the Sky, was #5 on Time Magazine‘s list of the year’s 10 best novels, and won the Nebula, Locus and Crawford awards. Her first novel, Choir Boy, won a Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Edmund White First Novel Award.

    Charlie Jane was a founding editor of, a blog about science fiction and futurism, and went on to become its editor in chief. Her fiction and journalism have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s, Mother Jones, the Boston Review,, Tin House, Teen Vogue, Conjunctions, Wired Magazine, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Lightspeed Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, ZYZZYVA, and numerous anthologies and “best of the year” collections. Her novelette “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo Award, and her short story “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue” won a Theodore Sturgeon Award.

    Charlie Jane also won the Emperor Norton Award, for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason.” 

    Her TED Talk, “Go Ahead, Dream About the Future” has been viewed more than two million times.

    She hosts the long-running monthly reading series Writers With Drinks, in which she makes up fictional bios for the authors (and nobody’s sued yet.) Charlie Jane also organizes the Bookstore and Chocolate Crawl, which brings a mob of people to local bookstores to buy tons of books, and eat chocolate along the way. And during the covid-19 crisis, she also helped to organize a series of online fundraisers for local bookstores, at She also helps to organize and co-host the monthly Trans Nerd Meet Up.


Guest Lecturers for the 2020 Alpha Workshop

  • Zoraida Córdova is the author of nine fantasy novels for kids and teens, most recently the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, and Star Wars: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite. She is the co-host of the podcast Deadline City. She was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York.  When she’s not working on her next novel, she’s finding a new adventure.
  • Roshani Chokshi is the author of commercial and critically acclaimed books for middle grade and young adult readers that transport audiences to fantastical worlds heavily inspired by world mythology and folklore. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and has frequently appeared on Best of The Year lists from Barnes and Noble, Buzzfeed and more. Her New York Times bestselling series includes The Star-Touched Queen duology, The Gilded Wolves, and Aru Shah and The End of Time, which was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures.
  • Seanan McGuire was born in California and grew up with an affinity for all things poisonous. With three active series and numerous stand-alones, duologies, and trilogies (the latter under the name Mira Grant), she has more than than forty books to her name. She was the winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2010, and has won a Nebula and multiple Hugo Awards for her work. Her novella “Every Heart A Doorway” received the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Novella, the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novella, and the 2017 Locus Award for Best Novella, making her one of the few authors to win all three awards in a single year.
  • Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Under both her names she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world. Arkady grew up in New York City and, after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in Santa Fe with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw. Find her online at or on Twitter as @ArkadyMartine.
  • Vivian Shaw wears way too many earrings and likes edged weapons and expensive ink. She was born in Kenya and spent her early childhood in the UK, moving to America in the mid-80s. She has a BA in art history, an MFA in creative writing and publishing arts, has worked in academic publishing and development, and is looking forward to expanding her freelance editing portfolio. She writes about monsters, machines, disasters, and found family; her short sci-fi/horror fiction has appeared in Uncanny and Pseudopod, and she is the author of the Dr. Greta Helsing trilogy (STRANGE PRACTICE, DREADFUL COMPANY, and GRAVE IMPORTANCE). In her spare time she collects vintage cookbooks and fountain pens, and writes fanfiction (pen name: Coldhope). She lives in Santa Fe with her wife, the author Arkady Martine.

Past author guests include Mark Oshiro, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Yoon Ha Lee, John Joseph Adams, Michael Arnzen, Catherine Asaro, Holly BlackTobias S. BuckellLawrence C. Connolly, Bruce CovilleAmal El-Mohtar, Timons EsaiasCharles Coleman FinlayCarl Frederick, James Frenkel, Gregory Frost, Max Gladstone, Theodora GossAlan IrvineAlaya Dawn Johnson, Kij Johnson, Scott A. Johnson, Michael Kandel, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, N. K. Jemisin, Justine LarbalestierDavid LevineMalinda Lo, Christopher McKitterick, E. C. MyersDaniel José OlderTamora Pierce, Bruce Holland Rogers, Delia Sherman, Maggie Stiefvater, Wen Spencer, Rachel SwirskyWilliam TennHarry TurtledoveCatherynne M. Valente, Scott WesterfeldLeslie What, Sheila Williams, Alyssa Wong, and Timothy Zahn.