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Speakers & Faculty

Guest Speakers

Gordon S. Wood
Pastwords Award - Historical Nonfiction

Gordon S. Wood is Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown University.  He received his B.A. degree from Tufts University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.  He taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Brown in 1969.  He is the author of many works, including The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969), which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize in 1970, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992), which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize in 1993. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (2004) was awarded the Julia Ward Howe Prize by the Boston Authors Club in 2005. His book Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different was published in 2006, and The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History was published in 2008. His volume in the Oxford History of the United State entitled Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (2009) was given the Association of American Publishers Award for History and Biography in 2009, the American History Book Prize by the New York Historical Society for 2010, and the Society of the Cincinnati History Prize in 2010. In 2011 he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama and the Churchill Bell by Colonial Williamsburg. In 2011 he also received the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award from the Society of American Historians. In 2012 he received an award from the John Carter Brown Library and the John F. Kennedy Medal from the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 2015 he received the Centennial Medal from the Harvard University Graduate School, and in 2016 he received the Redwood Library Medal for Contributions to American History and Culture. Professor Wood is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.


Meet the Agent

Raised on a steady diet of Holly Black & Philip Pullman, Jennifer Grimaldi (formerly Jennifer Letwack) has always gravitated toward otherworldly, fantastical novels that reflect our own world’s past and present. At St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne, she edited and acquired S. Jae-Jones’ New York Times bestseller WINTERSONG—a Labyrinth-inspired gothic YA—and worked with numerous bestselling and award-winning authors such as Kate Forsyth. Jennifer’s broad exposure to the domestic and foreign publishing markets as a scout with Barbara Tolley & Associates further shaped her taste for the eclectic.

Now an agent with Chalberg & Sussman, where she first started her publishing career in 2012, Jennifer is building a list of historicals, romance, horror, and YA & adult sci-fi and fantasy.

Although the titles on her shelves have changed over the years, the content has not: they are still stuffed with magic and spaceships, fairytales and faraway lands. Across all genres, Jennifer loves strong, voice-driven novels, dark and romantic themes, and books that make her think—and learn. She is particularly excited by books that explore gender and sexuality, especially those with diverse, LGBTA+ leads, and own-voice writers.

Aspects sure to delight her include: cities and urban-planning, anecdotal histories, that trope where there were supposed to be two rooms at the hotel but they’re all booked up so the leads have to share, spies, thieves, mythological retellings, witches just trying to get by, weird obsessions, and puns.

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How to Pitch: Simple Strategies for Putting Your Best MS Forward

Master Class Faculty

Thursday, November 1 - All Genres


Steven Lee Beeber is the author of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk, the editor of AWAKE! A Reader for the Sleepless, and the associate editor of the literary journal, Conduit. His work has appeared in Harpers, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Fiction, Crazyhorse, Post Road, and elsewhere.
He teaches creative writing and creative nonfiction at Lesley University and GrubStreet.

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Structure Your Novel


Julieta Almeida Rodrigues earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has taught courses in sociology, politics, creative writing, literature and culture at the University of Lisbon and Georgetown University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the New School University, New School for Public Engagement. Since 2015, Dr. Rodrigues has been a member of the Steering Committee, Guest Speaker Program, Historical Novel Society, New York City Chapter. She currently divides her time between Sintra, Portugal and Manhattan.

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Enlightened Lives. Passion, Misfortune and Revolutions
   Anna Castle writes two historical series: the Francis Bacon mysteries and the Professor & Mrs. Moriarty mysteries. She’s earned a series of degrees -- BA Classics, MS Computer Science, and PhD Linguistics -- and has had a corresponding series of careers -- waitressing, software engineering, assistant professor, and archivist. Writing fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. Find out more at”

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Developing Characters from Fact and Fiction

  Christina M. Frey, J.D. is co-executive of the Editorial Freelancers Association and a developmental/line editor and literary coach with Page Two Editorial ( With over 20 years of experience in writing, editing, and publishing, she now works with select authors and small presses on full-length fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. She specializes in helping both novice and experienced writers to develop and refine their authorial voice.

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From Passion to Profession

  Marc Graham is an author, actor, and student of shamanic practices. His books include Of Ashes and Dust (Five Star, 2017), Runes for Writers (Erulian Press, 2018), and Song of Songs: A Novel of the Queen of Sheba (Blank Slate Press, 2019). He lives in Colorado with his wife and their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

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Make it Real: From Legend to Story
Runes for Writers: Ancient Tools for Modern Storytellers


Rose Kleidon, a Charter Member of Historical Writers of America and a member of the Historical Novel Society, was a presenter at the 2017 Unicorn Writers’ Conference. Her short story, Last Man Out, was a finalist in WOW’s Summer 2016 Contest. The author of two textbooks, Kleidon has written two yet-to-be-published works of historical fiction. They can be previewed at  She is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Akron, where she taught English, Speech, Technical Writing and Advertising Copywriting. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois. 

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The Story the World Needs Now and Why You Should Tell It

Mary Malloy teaches in the Museum Studies Program at Harvard and has worked with graduate and undergraduate students on research and writing projects for thirty years. The author of three novels (in which historian Lizzie Manning solves historical mysteries), and four works of non-fiction history, Mary has a Ph.D. from Brown University. Her book Devil on the Deep Blue Sea: The Notorious career of Capt. Samuel Hill of Boston, won the Lyman award for best maritime biography in 2006. As a traveller, Mary has walked across England in the footsteps of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, circumnavigated the globe in 80 days, and followed in the tracks of James Cook and Herman Melville in the South Pacific. She celebrates Jane Austen’s birthday every year with a high tea.

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Way Beyond Wikipedia: Online Sources for Historical Research

  Verena Rose is the Agatha Award nominated co-editor of “Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea, An Interesting and Entertaining History of Malice Domestic’s First 25 Years” and the Managing Editor of the Malice Domestic anthology series. The latest, “Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical” is due out in April 2018 from Wildside Press which includes her story “Death at the Congressional Cemetery,” the second short story she’s written about pre-Civil War Washington City. Verena also serves as the Chair of Malice Domestic and in addition to her Malice duties she is one of the founding members of the Dames of Detection and a co-owner/editor/publisher at Level Best Books.  When not indulging her passion for mysteries, especially historical mysteries, she works full-time as a tax accountant. She lives in the Maryland suburbs with her four cats, Jasper, Alice, Matty & Missy.

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Keith W. Stokes is a frequent national, state and local lecturer in community & regional planning, historic preservation and interpretation with an expertise in early African and Jewish American history.  Mr. Stokes has been a guest speaker on numerous nationally syndicated history shows most recently C-Span, Fox News Channel Legends & Lies.

As Vice President of 1696 Heritage Group, a historical consulting firm dedicated to helping persons and institutions of color to increase their knowledge and access to the light of truth of their unique American heritage, he writes frequent blog posts on the unique history of African Americans, the early Colonial Jewish experience, and family history.

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From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to Beloved: How Historical Novels Can Help Interpret African American History


Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author whose seven traditionally published nonfiction books focus upon women and social history. Her most recent work, DEFIANT BRIDES: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women Who Married Radical Men, was a selection of the History, Military and Book-of-The Month Club 2 and followed the award-winning THE MUSE OF THE REVOLUTION: The Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation. A former journalist, Nancy serves at the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Writers Center.

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Breathing Life into Historical Characters
Dispelling Myths: Overcoming One-Dimensional Images About Your Protagonist


Harriette Sackler has served as Grants Chair of the Malice Domestic Board of Directors as long as she can remember. Assisting unpublished writers along the road to success brings her a great deal of satisfaction.  In addition, she adores the Malice Domestic convention, which celebrates traditional mystery fiction.

Harriette is a multi-published, Agatha Award- nominated short story writer.  As a principal of Dames of Detection, Harriette is a co-publisher and editor at Level Best Books.  The company publishes mystery, thriller, and crime fiction short story anthologies and novels. Well regarded by readers and reviewers, stories have won numerous awards. Submission requirements can be found at Level Best BooksHarriette lives with her husband and their three Yorkies in the D.C. suburbs.  She is an animal advocate and works with several rescue organizations. First and foremost, Harriette is mom to two fabulous daughters and Nana to four magnificent grandkids. Website:

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Barbara Salvatore - Big Horse Woman began over twenty years ago with a dream of a young Native woman, who would go on to reshape Barbara's life. Big Horse Woman- the haunting historical fiction novel about a Ponca woman born in 1833- was a Finalist in the 2009 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest and was recently awarded First Place, Prairie/First Nations category, in Chanticleer's Laramie Prize for Western Fiction.

Devoted to learning the history and culture of her characters, she is a student of the Ponca language, and served as the first Ponca Language Educator for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. Another core feature of her stories, is the plant knowledge she shares. As a practicing Herbalist and Horse keeper, she offers classes in Plant Medicine and Horse Care. Her art has been exhibited in New York and Nebraska and, along with her writing, been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. 

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Plants are Characters Too


  The Ugly Cousin Brothers Formed in 2013, Nate Fisher and Charlie Heinemann have built what Northwest Music Scene called an “Americana powerhouse.” Their latest project, “Passport,” has a distinct historical bent as it traverses not just the present, but the recent and distant historical events that have shaped the Pacific Northwest. The narrative point of view ranges from a young woman looking to carve out her own place within the burgeoning, now legal, marijuana industry to an aging man in a disappearing Washington timber town with a colorful and painful past. Nate Fisher has a B.A. and M.A. in Media Arts from the University of Arizona. He is a former Haldeman Scholarship recipient for his historical film work on censorship in the era of Joe Breen and brings a passion for "The American Experience" and Bill Bryson to his work, leading him to explore the stories and textures of America’s jagged odyssey. Charlie Heinemann has a B.A. in American History from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.A. in American Studies from Baylor University. The 2012 winner of the Songwriters in Seattle songwriting contest, Charlie looks to the likes of Pynchon and Stephen Foster to shape lyrical tales of regular individuals wrestling with the eccentricities of American life.

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Singing to the Condemned: Our Quest to Resuscitate the Memory of Past Folly


Tim Weed is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and his historical novel, Will Poole’s Island, was named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year. Tim teaches at Grub Street in Boston and in the new Newport MFA at Salve Regina College in Newport. RI. He’s the co-founder of the Cuba Writers Program and serves as a featured expert for National Geographic in Spain, Portugal, and Tierra del Fuego. His fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, has been shortlisted for the International Book Awards, the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project, the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize, and the Lewis-Clark Press Discovery Award. Read more at

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World Building in Historical Fiction