Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar is an internationally acclaimed Iranian novelist and screenwriter whose works – including the novel A Scorpion on the Steps of Andimeshk Railroad Station – have been translated into many languages. He wrote the screenplay for No One Knows About Persian Cats, which won the the Special Jury Prize Ex-aequo in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His next work, Darkness, will be published in English with a major independent press. He is currently the Kenneth Barlow City of Asylum fellow at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute.
Carrie Brownstein is a musician, writer and actor who first became widely known as the guitarist and vocalist of the band Sleater-Kinney and later as a creator, writer and co-star of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award winning television show Portlandia. Brownstein’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Slate, and numerous anthologies on music and culture. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.
Dave Eggers is a writer, editor, and founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company in San Francisco that has helped launch the careers of some of the most exciting writers of the modern era. He is the author of ten books, including, most recently, Heroes of the Frontier, The Circle, and A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the 2012 National Book award. His first book, the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He has won a TED Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among many other accolades. He co-founded the innovative network of tutoring centers known as 826 National; the oral history book series Voice of Witness; and ScholarMatch, a pioneering college-access organization.
Dayvid Figler is a performer, author, and trial lawyer. He is a former Nevada slam poet, a traveling urban storyteller, and was a featured commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He was named “Best Radio Personality” by the Las Vegas Review Journal and has twice been named a Nevada Arts Council Fellow.
Dan Hamilton is the dean of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law. He received his Ph.D in American legal history from Harvard University and his J.D. from George Washington University. His book, The Limits of Sovereignty: Property Confiscation in the Union and the Confederacy During the Civil War, was published by the University of Chicago Press.
Jim James is a vocalist, guitarist, producer, and songwriter in My Morning Jacket, a band called “the most celebrated live act of its generation” by critic Steve Hyden. He has released two solo albums, most recently 2016’s soulful, psychedelic, and topical Eternally Even.
Heidi Julavits is the author of five critically acclaimed books, including most recently The Folded Clock, and the co-editor, with Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, of the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, and The Best American Short Stories, among other places. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is a founding editor of The Believer magazine.
Miranda July is a filmmaker, writer, and artist whose acclaimed, genre-defying work has been called “culturally essential” by The New York Times Magazine. She is the author of the novel The First Bad Man and the story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Harper’s. She wrote, directed, and starred in The Future. Her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, received a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Caméra d’Or at Cannes.
Sally Wen Mao
Sally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014), a Poets & Writers Top Ten Debut of 2014. Her next book, Oculus, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2019. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize for 2017 and anthologized in the The Best American Poetry 2013. Poems have been published in A Public Space, Poetry, Tin House, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, Harvard Review Online, The Missouri Review, and Washington Square, among others. She is a 2016-2017 Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library.
Laura McBride is the author of the novel We Are Called to Rise, a “#1 Indie Next pick” and a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writer's” choice in 2014. Her new novel 'Round Midnight will appear in May 2017. She teaches composition and literature at the College of Southern Nevada.
Ben Marcus is the author of Leaving the Sea, The Flame Alphabet, Notable American Women, and The Age of Wire and String. His writing has appeared in journals such as Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, The Believer, The New York Times, and McSweeney’s. He is the editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories and has been awarded several major literary awards including three Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. George Saunders has called him “an essential, radical and incendiary presence in American letters.”
Tift Merritt is a singer, songwriter, and musician with seven studio albums, including her acclaimed debut Bramble Rose and her newly released, Stitch of the World.
David J. Morris
David J. Morris is a former marine infantry officer who worked in Iraq from 2004 to 2007 as a reporter for Salon and The Virginia Quarterly Review. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Times, and more. The 2016/17 Eleanor Kagi Foundation Fellow in Literature and Medicine Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, he is the author of The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
ZZ Packer’s breakout story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere was published in 2003. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker (where she was launched as a debut writer), Harper’s, and Story, have been published in The Best American Short Stories, and have been read on NPR’s Selected Shorts.
Donald Revell is the author of 14 collections of poetry, six volumes of translation (including two volumes of the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire), and three essay collections. He has won three PEN USA Awards and is a former fellow of the Guggenheim and Ingram-Merrill Foundations.
Nicholas Russell is a native of Las Vegas. He writes fiction, as well as essays and creative non-fiction. He is currently pursuing a film degree at the New School in New York City.
Angelo Santino Ligori
Angelo Santino Ligori is from Detroit, Michigan and currently pursuing a MFA from creative writing program international at UNLV. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago, where he received a BA in creative writing.
joshua wolf shenk
Joshua Wolf Shenk is an essayist, author, and literary innovator. He is the author of the national bestselling book Powers of Two: How Relationships Drive Creativity and Lincoln’s Melancholy. His essays have been published in Harper’s, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. A founding advisor for The Moth Radio Hour, he is the executive director of the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute and editor-in-chief of The Believer.
Timea Sipos was born in Budapest, Hungary and raised in Las Vegas. She holds a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in dance from UNLV. Timea is currently an MFA student in the creative writing program international at UNLV and a substitute teacher for the Clark County School District.
Erica Vital-Lazare teaches creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada and is the editor-in-chief of the Red Rock Review literary journal. Her work has been featured in Catalyst, Sojourner, Richmond Afro-American, and the University of Nevada Press fiction collection, The River Underground: An Anthology of Nevada Fiction. She is currently working on a novel.
Luis Alberto UrreA
Luis Alberto Urrea is the best-selling author of 16 books, including The Devil's Highway, The Hummingbird's Daughter, and Into the Beautiful North. His short story collection, The Water Museum, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Fiction award. He currently lives in Chicago where he is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Believer co-founder Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of five books, including the novels Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty. She is the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers, and the co-editor of Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence: The Best of the Believer Music Interviews. She co-wrote the screenplay to the Sam Mendes film Away We Go, and has served on the board of 826 Valencia for 15 years. She is currently the Lurie Fellow at San Jose State University, where she teaches creative writing.