2023 CWW Presenters and faculty
will be added as time goes along
S.Z. Estavillo is a writing coach, social media instructor, and former literary agent.
At the 2023 online CWW, she is critiquing manuscripts as an add-on for conference attendees.
She has a master’s degree in television, radio, and film and a bachelor’s degree in film. She has also worked with studios and agencies critiquing manuscripts and greenlighting film screenplays.
“My specialty is directing content from concept through completion. I have extensive professional writing experience that marries well with content direction, management, strategy, and social media marketing. The content creation, production process, and utilizing social media for marketing are what I absolutely love to do. I not only direct, write, create multi-media and social content for companies but also in my free time because it is my passion. “
Gabrielle Prendergast is a writer, teacher and designer. She is the author of many books for kids (young adult, middle grade, and picture books). She is represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. In 2018 she won the BC Book Prizes Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and toured the province as part of the BC Book Prizes Tour. In 2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. In 2015 she was nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In 2014 she was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. She has also been nominated for the White Pine Award and the CLA Award.
Gabrielle won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian. A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award, the Myrca Award and the Vancouver Book Award. Her most recent book is the YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever, which won the 2018 BC Book Prizes’ Sheila A Egoff Award.
At the 2023 DC event, she is teaching on writing young adult and middle grade, and also writing picture books. She is also doing critiques for attendees as an add-on element.
James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories.
He’s the best-selling, Christy Book of the Year, Carol, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of ten novels, co-owner of The Rubart Writing Academy, and an audio book narrator. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. See all of his books here.
At the 2023 online DC workshop, he is critiquing manuscripts as an add-on for attendees.
Keir Alekseii is a literary agent with Azantian Literary Agency.
At the online 2023 CWW, Keir is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Keir is an educator and anti-GBV activist born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country in the West Indies. Keir is a writer, gamer, lover of folklore, and former research scientist. As a neurodivergent, queer woman of color, Keir is invested in discovering engaging work with similar representation, and is passionate about creating space for voices not often recognized. She is especially interested in stories from BIPOC who are born and raised in the Global South.
Keir is seeking YA & Adult SFF and YA contemporary. She is ONLY open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people.
Trai Cartwright, MFA, is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and creative writing and business development specialist. She teaches, produces, and writes screenplays and novels.
At the 2023 online DC workshop, she is teaching a class.
While in Los Angeles, she was a screenwriter, independent film producer, and story consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and New Line Cinema. She was the Assistant Director of Leonardo DiCaprio’s online endeavors and the Manager for 20th Century Fox’s Mobile Studios. Trai currently teaches creative writing, screenwriting, and producing for Western State Colorado University, Denver University and CU Denver, conferences and cons, and one-on-one as a development and story editor. She is the screenwriter of Secret Ellington, and producer of docu-web series Hidden Tigers, and short film Sundown Road.
Eric Smith is a literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, with a love for young adult books, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction.
At the online 2023 CWW, Eric is teaching a class. He is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
He’s worked on award-winning and New York Times bestselling titles, and began his publishing career at Quirk Books. A frequent blogger, his ramblings about books and the publishing industry regularly appear on Book Riot, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. He also occasionally writes books when he finds the time, like his latest, Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).
Eric is eagerly acquiring fiction and nonfiction projects. He’s actively seeking out new, diverse voices in young adult (particularly sci-fi and fantasy), middle grade, and literary and commercial fiction (again, loves sci-fi and fantasy, but also thrillers and mysteries). In terms of non-fiction, he’s interested in cookbooks, pop culture, humor, middle grade, essay collections, and blog-to-book ideas.
Rachelle Gardner is literary agent and owner of Gardner Literary, representing fiction and nonfiction.
At the online 2023 CWW, Rachelle is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
She works in the Christian market (CBA) as well as the general market, and is considering new clients for both.
In fiction she’s looking at novels of 75,000 to 100,000 words in the following genres: contemporary women’s fiction, romance, suspense/thriller, historical, YA and YA fantasy including fairy tale retellings with a unique approach.
NOT looking at adult fantasy, sci-fi, or literary fiction.
Rachelle is looking at a wide variety of nonfiction, but please note, she can’t sell it unless you have a platform. If you have begun developing a following, bring her your nonfiction!
She is especially interested in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors.
Jennifer Chen Tran is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management.
At the online 2023 CWW, Jennifer is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
With over a decade of experience in publishing, Jennifer is passionate about nurturing and championing authors and their creative lives. She represents a wide range of talent, including journalists, physicians, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, chefs, and graphic novelists, among others.
Prior to joining Folio, Jennifer was a literary agent at several west-coast literary agencies and served as Of Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law in Boston, MA, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an attorney in good standing in New York and California.
Recent nonfiction titles Jennifer represented include Stuart Palley’s memoir Into The Inferno; 101-year old physician and mother of holistic medicine Dr. Gladys McGary’s The Well-Lived Life: A Centenarian Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Any Age; Kate Oliver’s The Modern Caravan; contributing cartoonist for The New Yorker and BuzzFeed, artist Natalya Lobanova’s Everyone is Awful, a debut collection of darkly humorous comics; and clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk’s Living in the Moment.
Recent fiction titles Jennifer represented include author Kristen Kiesling’s The Harrowing, a YA graphic novel about a psychic teen girl who is forced to use her powers to track down killers, until she discovers her boyfriend is her next target; Lily Quan’s middle-grade novelization of Disney-Pixar movie Turning Red; and Rebecca Kelley’s contemporary novel No One Knows Us Here.
Jennifer is an editorial agent who believes in the art of collaboration and works closely with her authors from concept, to proposal, to publication, and beyond. As a person of color and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Jennifer is committed to amplifying voices from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Her ultimate goal is to work in concert with authors to shape books that will have a lasting positive social impact on the world – books that illuminate, entertain, and inspire.
Mary C. Moore is a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.
At the online 2023 CWW, Mary is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Always a passionate reader, Mary C. Moore made the career change to publishing in her early thirties. She graduated from Mills College, Oakland with a MFA in Creative Writing and English, dabbled in freelance editing and copy-writing, before starting an internship at Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She quickly fell in love with agenting, and dedicated two years as Kimberley’s assistant, before beginning her own client list in 2015. In 2019 she officially began agenting full time, and became a full member of the Association of American Literary Agents in 2020.
She reads widely and enjoys all fiction genres, but especially likes bookclub fiction with light speculative elements, female detective stories, whimsical middle-grade, and young adult that explores identity and culture.
She does not represent nonfiction (including memoir), picture books, or self-published projects.
Emily Williamson is a literary agent and founder of Williamson Literary, a small but vibrant and actively engaged literary agency in Baltimore, Maryland.
At the online 2023 CWW, Emily is teaching a class.
Emily Williamson represents a variety of projects in nonfiction and fiction. She is a native of New Jersey, graduated from American University (BA Anthropology) in 1997 and Johns Hopkins University (MA Writing) in 2012. She began her editing career in 2011 with Chrysalis Editorial* in Washington, DC. In 2016 she founded Williamson Literary, driven by the desire to help great writers achieve their publishing goals.
As a writer, she understands the investment of time and heart it takes to follow this challenging path. It is the core of Williamson Literary—to support the careers of dedicated writers who deserve to see their ideas and imaginings realized. Williamson Literary is also about building relationships: agent-author, agent-publisher, author-publisher.
In the past, Emily spent 13 years as an archaeologist traveling all over the US and abroad in search of many things…sometimes finding nothing. It is this varied, nomadic past that has influenced her own writing and her particular interests as an agent. Emily does other things. She is a painter (see Twitter page). She loves the outdoors, cuts her own firewood, and plays fantasy football. She’s one of those annoying people who can’t eat gluten; she binge-watches Netflix shows; loves to travel; and her preferred clothing season is Autumn.
Denise McConduit is a published Children’s Book Author. At the 2023 online CWW, she is offering add-on critiques for attendees.
See all of her kidlit books here.
Denise lives in New Orleans, Louisiana the birthplace of jazz and other unique customs like Mardi Gras, Jazz Festivals, and Debutante balls. Denise grew up in a large family of thirteen children. As a child she used to entertain her siblings by reading and putting on plays. She began writing poetry at an early age and then studied art. Her first magazine article was published in 1982 in Black New Orleans magazine. Later she had articles published in Essence Magazine and the New Orleans Tribune magazine. She currently writes a weekly column for the Times Picayune newspaper focusing on the recovery of her neighborhood after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Preserving cultural traditions through family stories is important to Denise. It’s how she grew up and it’s what she passes on. Her first book, “D.J. and the Zulu Parade” is about the adventures of her son, “D.J” when he rode in a Mardi Gras Parade. That book led to two other stories about the intrepid boy: “D.J. and the Jazz Fest” and “D.J. and the Debutante Ball”. McConduit feels that writing culturally rich books are essential because it’s important for children see themselves in literature.
Her newest book is titled, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read. In this book young readers will meet Robbie, a stubborn little boy who doesn’t like to read. His wish is granted when a magic sorcerer removes the words from everything and that’s when his world gets topsy-turvy! He soon learns that life without reading is nothing to wish for! Denise often advises aspiring young authors, “Do you have any interesting or funny characters in your family? If you do, you may want to write a story about them. I did!”
McConduit has four children, Crishelle, Monique, Erika and D.J. It was her son D.J.’s experience as a page in the Zulu Parade that gave her the idea for the first book in the series. Denise has always been an avid reader and writer. Her personal mission is to write fun and meaningful stories for children.
Anjanette Barr is a Literary Agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. She has been working in various branches of the writing and publishing world for over a decade, and being an agent is the perfect way to synthesize her interests and talents.
At the online 2023 CWW, Anjanette is teaching a class.
She spent the pandemic earning a certificate in Literary Representation from UCLA Extension. She also holds a B.A. in Japanese Studies from William Jewell College.
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com. He is current the director of Writing Day Workshops.
He is the coordinator of the 2023 online Chesapeake Writing Workshop. At the event, he is offering add-on query critiques for attendees.
His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community.
Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.