2015 Festival Presenters


Confirmed authors for the 2015 Southwest Festival of the Written Word!

This page will be updated regularly, so be sure to check in. At the bottom of the page is a form that will let you sign-up for our email updates on the Festival. Please join us both on-line and at the Festival. It’s going to be a literary adventure!

Click here to view the Festival Schedule

To read about our presenters, click on the links below.

Lee K. Abbott
JJ Amaworo Wilson
Sandy Baldwin
Jennifer Cervantes
Daniel Chacón
Denise Chávez
Thomas E. Chávez
Rob Connoley
Philip Connors
Alfredo Corchado
Jack Crocker
M. John Fayhee
Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Stella Pope Duarte
Nasario Garcia
John Gist
Melody Groves
Lily Hoang
Paul Hotvedt
Betsy James
Lisa Lenard-Cook
Ann Lowe
Richard Mahler
Bonnie Buckley Maldonado
Demetria Martinez
Tim Matthes
Phyllis and Jim McQuaide
Jonathan Miller
Carolyn Niethammer
Jules Nyquist
Simon J. Ortiz
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie
Logan Phillips
VB Price
Kirstin Valdez Quade
Greg Renfro
Peter Riva
Sharman Apt Russell
Mary Sojourner
Elise Stuart
Susan J. Tweit
Judith van Gieson
Virus Theater of Silver City
Ambika Wauters
Orlando White
Tanaya Winder
Susan Zakin
Melanie Zipin


Read green mimbreno


Abbott_LeeLee K. Abbott


Lee K. Abbott is the author of seven collections of short stories, most recently All Things, All at Once: New & Selected Stories (Norton). His fiction has appeared in nearly one hundred periodicals, including Harper’s, The Atlantic, the Georgia Review, Epoch, the Southern Review, Tin House, and Boulevard.

His work has been reprinted in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards: The Prize Stories, The Best of the West series, and the Pushcart Prize series.

Twice a winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, he has published essays and reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times Book Review.


JJ Amaworo WilsonAmaworo Wilson JJ.jpg 2


JJ Amaworo Wilson is the writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University, USA. His short fiction has been published in The Frogmore Papers, Main Street Journal, Territories, Pulp Faction, IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, Afrobeat, African American Journal and Mission at Tenth.

The Times, London, describes his work as: “hard-hitting … in the kind of language that packs a serious punch.” His novel Damnificados will be published by PM Press in September 2015.

Writing as JJ Wilson, he has also published twenty books about language learning and teaching, two of which – How to Teach Listening and Speakout – won awards which saw him honored at Buckingham Palace in 2008 and 2011.


Sandy Baldwin Classroom shots with students (model releases for small group)Sandy Baldwin


Sandy Baldwin’s work imagines the future of literary studies in a digital age. He facilitates interdisciplinary research projects in the poetics of new media and the media ecology of literary institutions, using web-technologies, multimedia, hypertext, audio/video, and virtual environments.

Sandy’s scholarly work explores media technologies as rhetorical and aesthetic objects, asking how media structure our thought and experience. His particular focus is on continuities and borrowings between literary theory and theories of digital multimedia. Current research areas include: net art as a literary genre, avant-garde writing as a precursor of multimedia, the narrativity of computer games, and the cultural implications of nanotechnology (see his essay in Culture Machine).

Sandy’s creative writing experiments with text, sound, image, and collaborative performance. He is a founding member of the multimedia performance/poetry groups Purkinge and Nine Way Mind, with works in print, on the Internet, and on CD-ROM; and with performances in the USA, Europe, at conferences, reading series, radio shows, and rock concerts. He also writes and performs collaboratively with the Atlanta Poets Group. An example of his solo work appeared in the anthology Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (University of Alabama Press)



cervantes jenniferJennifer Cervantes


Jennifer Cervantes is the author of Tortilla Sun, a tender, magical story about 12 year old Izzy Roybal who is sent to spend the summer in her nana’s New Mexico village where she is soon caught up in the foreign world of her own culture.

New Mexico Magazine says of the novel for middle grade readers, “…As Izzy explores Nana’s small New Mexican village in the shadow of the Sandía Mountains with her spunky new friends, her stay turns into more than a summer vacation: It becomes a journey to discover more about her father, who died before she was born, and a chance to connect with her heritage. In the prologue, Las Cruces–based author Jennifer Cervantes notes, “This is a cuento, a story about magic, love, hope, and treasure . . . close your eyes and let the cuento take you to where magic still exists and spells of fear and hope are told through the heart of the storyteller.” I suggest following Cervantes’s advice—this enchanting tale is worth sharing with young readers ages 8 to 12.”


chacon danDaniel Chacón


Daniel Chacón is author of Unending Rooms, a collection of stories, winner of the Hudson Prize. He also has a novel, and the shadows took him, and another collection of stories called Chicano Chicanery. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge; Caliente: The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction; and Best of the West 2009: New Stories from the West Side of the Missouri.

He is co-editor of The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: The Selected Works of Jose Antonio Burciaga. Visit his blog, Book tour Confessions .


chavez denise 2Denise Chávez

Denise Chávez is a performance writer, novelist and teacher who lives and works on the U.S./México border corridor in southern New Mexico. She is the founder and director of the Border Book Festival, (BBF), the longest running book festival in New Mexico and believes in the power of writing to heal lives and heal the many borders between people, real and imagined.

Her most recent novel is The King and Queen of Comezón 2014). Her works includes A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2006), La Ultima de Las Muchachas del Menu (Vintage, 2005), The Last of the Menu Girls (Vintage, 2004), Loving Pedro Infante (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), Face of An Angel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994).

Among her awards and prizes are Hispanic Heritage Award, the American Book Award, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fellowship, Writers of the Pass, New Mexico Governor’s Award in Literature, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New Mexico.


chavez tomThomas E. Chávez


Thomas E. Chávez is a historian with a Ph. D. from the University of New Mexico. In December of 2004, he retired as the Executive Director of the National Hispanic Culture Center in Albuquerque. Before that, he was Director of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico for twenty-one years.


He has published numerous book reviews, articles, seven books, and wrote a monthly Sunday article for The Santa Fe New Mexican. He recently helped the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art begin an endowment and consulted for the University of New Mexico Press and the New Mexico Women’s Forum.

His books include Chasing History: Quixotic Quests for Artifacts, Art, and Heritage (Sunstone Press), Doctor Franklin and Spain: A Hidden History (Press of the Palace of the Governors)  New Mexico: Past and Future (University of New Mexico Press), and Wake For A Fat Vicar: Father Juan Felipe Ortiz, Archibishop Lamy, and the New Mexican Catholic Church in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century (LPD Press)  co-authored with Fray Angelico Chavez.


connoley robRob Connoley


Rob Connoley is a 2014 James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef – Southwest. He has operated the Curious Kumquat in the remote mountain town of Silver City, New Mexico since 2008. In that time this destination restaurant, which features modernist foraged foods, has been featured in Saveur, the New York Times, Sunset (August, 2014), Gastronimica (Fall 2013), and Best Food Writing 2014

Connoley’s cookbook, Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Cookbook of Forest, Field and Farm, due out in October 2015, is a discourse on the locavoure movement whose principles are to grow, sell, buy and eat local foods, and on the process and ethics of foraging food in southwest New Mexico. It offers a collection of recipes that focus on using these food and finds to provide sustenance and pleasure to members of the community. The cookbook is a tribute to the land that he has become so much a part of in the last decade.

Connoley has a Doctorate from Purdue University and a Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in New Orleans.


2015-Connors-2Philip Connors


Philip Connors lives and writes in Silver City and in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. In the award winning Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (2011) he recounts his eight summers living in solitude on a mountain top in the forests of southwestern New Mexico. In his new memoir, In All the Wrong Places, ( W. W. Norton and Co. 2015) he tells the story of what made solitude on the mountain so inviting and welcome.

Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout (2011) was Connors’ debut creative non-fiction work and was the winner of the Banff Mountain Book Competition Grand Prize, the National Outdoor Book Award, the Reading the West Book Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, and was a finalist for the Orion Book Award.

His essays have appeared in Harper’s, Salon, The Nation, The London Review of Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Paris Review, and n+1.


corchado, alfredoAlfredo Corchado


Alfredo Corchado is a Mexican-American journalist who has covered Mexico for many years, and is currently the Mexico City bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News. He specializes in covering the drug wars and the U.S.-Mexico border, writing stories on such topics as drug cartels and organized crime, corruption among police and government officials, and the spread of drug cartels into U.S. cities.

His writes regularly for the Dallas Morning News and his reporting has appeared in Revista Magazine, Borderzine, and Nieman Watchdog. Of his new book, Midnight in Mexico, Howard Campbell, author of Drug War Zone, writes “Alfredo Corchado is the top American journalist covering Mexico today. His life embodies the complex blending of the U.S. and Mexico. Corchado’s knowledge of the Mexican political system, the drug trade, and modern Mexican society is non-pareil.”


crocker picJack Crocker
Jack Crocker lives in Silver City, NM. He is a published poet and songwriter. His poems have appeared in a variety of journals, and his latest collection, The Last Resort, was published in 2009 by the Texas Review Press.

Having signed a recording and songwriting contract with Fretone Records in Memphis he eventually came to the conclusion that he would be a good English professor.

Currently, he is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Western New Mexico University.



fayhee, m John- 2M. John Fayhee


M. John Fayhee is the author of 12 books and has twice been a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards.

He edited the Mountain Gazette for 13 years, was a contributing editor at Backpacker Magazine for 10 years. He worked in the newspaper business for 15 years.

His work has appeared in “beaucoup” national publications, including High Country News, Aspen Sojourner Magazine, Islands, Adventure Travel, The Walking Magazine, Family Camping, Summit, Canoe & Kayak, Outside, Sierra, Sports Illustrated, USA Today & Men¹s Fitness.

His books include The Colorado Mountain Companion: A potpourri of useful miscellany from the highest parts of the highest state (West Winds Press, The Pruett Series: 2012), Smoke Signals: Wayward Journeys through the Old Heart of the New West (Raven’s Eye Press: 2012), Bottoms Up: M. John Fayhee’s Greatest Hits from the Mountain Gazette (Round Mountain Publishing: 2010) and Along the Colorado Trail (Westcliffe: 1992),–the first of three long-backpacking-trip, trail-related coffee-table/nature books he did with photographer John Fielder.


de ortego y gasca filipeFelipe de Ortego y Gasca


Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca is principal scholar of the Chicano Renaissance and is considered founder of Chicano literary history with Backgrounds of Mexican American Literature, the first study in the field. His essay on The Chicano Renaissance is a landmark text in the Chicano literary movement.

Author of numerous books, monographs, studies and hundreds of scholarly, critical, public affairs and creative pieces, his articles, essays, fiction, and poetry appear in leading national and international publications.

Among many honors, awards, and distinctions, he is recipient of the 2007 Letras de Aztlan Award from the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (Tejas Foco) for his lifetime work and achievement in Chicano scholarship and community activism and recipient of the 2005 Patricia and Rudolfo Anaya Critica Nueva Award from the University of New Mexico for his contributions to Chicano literary history, theory, and criticism.


duarte stella popeStella Pope Duarte


Inspired to write by a prophetic dream of her father in 1995, Stella Pope Duarte believes that writing, like love, begins within, or it doesn’t start at all. Hailed by critics as a “major, new literary voice in America,” Duarte is described by reviewers as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and as an author who “will enlarge humanity.”
Her works include: Fragile Night, Let Their Spirits Dance, If I Die in Juarez, Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories, and her most current work, Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The memoir of a writer’s soul.
Her literary works have won awards and honors nationwide, including a 2009 American Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, Southwest Book of the Year Award, Women in American History Award, Arizona Book of the Year Award, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Independent Publisher’s Book of the Year Award, AZ Highways Magazine Book of the Year Award, and a nomination to Oprah’s Book Sense list.

In 2013 Duarte was honored as one of four Women Makers of Arizona, and included as part of the PBS Special: MAKERS: Women Who Make America.


garcia nasarioNasario Garcia


Dr. Nasario García, considered a leading folklorist in New Mexico, was born in Bernalillo, New Mexico. He has a BA in Spanish and an MA in Portuguese from the University of New Mexico. He was awarded a Ph. D. in XIX century Spanish literature from the University of Pittsburgh.

During his long-standing academic career, Dr. García lectured widely in this country and abroad—including Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Spain. He is an award-winning author of 29 books (Spanish/English) on folklore, oral history, creative stories—both for children and adults—and poetry.

In 2012 the Historical Society of New Mexico honored him with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for his “… stellar contributions—as an educator, community activist, and author—to New Mexico history. The stories and insights you have shared through your children’s books as well as those geared for adults, have furthered our understanding of traditional New Mexico culture.” An Emeritus Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Dr. García currently resides in Santa Fe with his wife Janice.


gist johnJohn Gist


John M. Gist is Red Savina Review’s founder, editor-in-chief and publisher.

He has nonfiction and fiction appearing or forthcoming in publications such as Academic Questions, Dark Matter: A Journal of Speculative Writing, EDGE Literary Journal, Gravel, Heavy Feather Review, Johns Hopkins’ The Doctor T.J. Eckelburg Review, Left Curve, Pithead Chapel, Prick of the Spindle, Sand Hill Review, South Loop Review, Spilt Infinitive, Spittoon, Superstition Review, The Agonist, The Fiddleback.

Gist is the author of three novels and co-author of the philosophical nonfiction work Angst and Evolution. His novel Lizard Dreaming of Birds (2004) was short listed for Otterbein University’s Common Book Program (2005). Gist was the runner-up in South Loop Review’s national essay contest judged by New York Times best selling author David Shields (2014). He was named finalist in the Tucson Book Festival Literary Awards competition for his creative nonfiction piece “Hawk and Diver” (2015).

He earned an M.F.A from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Gist has over a decade of teaching experience at the university level.


groves melodyMelody Groves


A deep love of anything cowboy and Old West creates a fertile playground for Melody Groves’ imagination. After spending ten years with the New Mexico Gunfighters Association, she learned what it feels like going toe-to-toe with a revolver-wielding sheriff. Being both “good guy” and “bad guy” gives her a firsthand feel for what her western characters experience.

Groves latest book is Butterfield’s Byway: America’s First Overland Mail Route Across the West. She is the author of the very successful four book series, The Colton Brothers Saga.

Melody is a contributing editor for Round Up magazine for Western Writers of America. She is also a contributing writer for American Westward Expansion, a collegiate history encyclopedia. She also writes for Wild West, True West, New Mexico and other magazines.

When not writing, she’s busy playing rhythm guitar with the Jammy Time Band.


Hoang Lily 2Lily Hoang


Lily Hoang is the author of four books: Unfinished, The Evolutionary Revolution, Changing (recipient of a PEN Beyond Margins Award), and Parabola (winner of the 2006 Chiasmus Press “Un-Doing the Novel” contest).

With Blake Butler, she edited the anthology 30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Young Writers. Hoang serves as co-director of Puerto del Sol, editor at Tarpaulin Sky, and associate editor at Starcherone Books.

She received her M.F.A. in Prose from the University of Notre Dame in 2006. Hoang is interested in narrative in its many guises, whether it is a traditional short story or conceptual experimentation. Although her books have been labeled as “experimental” or “avant-garde,” what she loves are narratives, the ways in which a story can happen and influence the reader. She is active in small press publishing and Internet writing communities.


Hotvedt, PaulPaul Hotvedt


Paul Hotvedt is the founder and director of Blue Heron Typesetters, a graphic design company specializing in book composition and design for scholarly publishers.

Since 1988, Blue Heron has worked with the university presses of Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Virginia, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Smithsonian Institution.

During this time Hotvedt has continually worked as a painter and educator in the arts. He received a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and a Master’s in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art.


James, BetsyBetsy James


Betsy James lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes, paints, teaches, raises Indian corn, and walks off-trail in the backcountry.

She is the author of the Seeker Chronicles, a series of three stories about a teenage girl, Kat. The last in the series, Listening at the Gate, was the New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age Tiptree Award Honor Book in 2006.

She has also authored numerous other books for young readers. She has two websites that are interactive meditations on writing, illustrating and, yes, aprons!


Lenard-Cook, LisaLisa Lenard-Cook


Lisa Lenard-Cook’s list of publications include Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir, 2014 IndieFab bronze award winner, Dissonance, A Novel, short-listed for the PEN Southwest Book Award, Coyote Morning, A Novel, NM Penwomen Zia Award finalist, and The Mind of Your Story: Discover What Drives Your Fiction, a NM Presswomen Communications Contest Honoree.

In 2009, Lenard-Cook partnered with award-winning playwright Lynn C. Millern to form the Albuquerque Writers Co-op, creating community in New Mexico for writers everywhere. The Co-op offers classes, contests, the literary magazine bosque, salons, readings, and retreats. Ms. Cook and Ms. Millern published their first book together, Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in May 2013.



Lowe AnnAnn Lowe


Ann Lowe is a graphic designer with 25 years of experience. Among her book design clients is the Oxford University Press.

After receiving her BA at the University of London in 1980, she moved to New York City where she lived for eleven years and worked for HBO, Ziff David, Time/Life Home Video and others. She freelances now from her home in Santa Fe, NM.

Ann is also an artist. She has exhibited at Conlon-Siegel Gallery in Santa Fe; she has won a New Forms Regional Initiative Grant for her road signs installed on Hwy 61 in the Mimbres Valley near Silver City.


Mahler, RichardRichard Mahler


Richard Mahler is an independent journalist, a commentator on all media platforms, a media consultant, and a writer of fiction. His work has appeared on CBS Radio and NPR, in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Outside Magazine, Utne, Yoga Journal, Desert Exposure, New Mexico, Albuquerque Journal North, and many others..

His books include The Jaguar’s Shadow, Stillness, Earth Notes, and Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer with Connie Goldman.

As a media consultant, he helps individuals, businesses, and organizations meet their communications needs. His services include writing, editing, publishing, graphic arts, web design, photography, layout, and production. His presentation at the Festival will be on the topic of Self-Publishing.


BonnieInGardenBonnie Buckley Maldonado


Bonnie Buckley Maldonado was born into the ranching lives of pioneer grandparents and Irish storytellers in Northern Montana. She has resided in Southwestern New Mexico since 1959. She is a professor and dean emeritus in education and counseling, Western New Mexico University.

Bonnie possesses an abiding fascination for the rural west, its people and its landscapes—a fascination that shines through in earlier books such as It’s Only Raven Laughing, which was awarded the WILLA Literary Award for Poetry Finalist by Women Writing the West , and her newest, The Secret Lives of Us Kids, which depicts the lives of four children marooned in a harsh Montana oilfield at the beginning of World War II.

Maldonado was the inaugural Silver City Poet Laureate and is the dedicatee of the 2015 Southwest Festival of the Written Word.


Martinez DemetriaDemetria Martinez


Demetria Martinez is an author, activist, creativity coach and journalist based in New Mexico.

Her widely translated novel, Mother Tongue, is based, in part, upon her 1988 trial for conspiracy against the United States government in connection with allegedly smuggling Salvadoran refugees into the country. Mother Tongue (Ballantine 1997) won a Western States Book Award for Fiction.

In The Block Captain’s Daughter (University of Oklahoma Press) activists in Albuquerque, draw on the wisdom of their multiethnic/multinational roots in their struggle to better the world. It won a 2013 American Book Award, and the International Latino Book Award for best Latino focused fiction the same year.

Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana, a collection of autobiographical essays, includes columns that first appeared in the National Catholic Reporter. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, it won the 2006 International Latino Book Award for best biography.

Martinez presently teaches poetry workshops at a youth detention center as part of her work with the Coalition for Prisoners’ Rights.


Matthes, TimTim Matthes

Silver City resident Tim Matthes has had a varied, mostly part time, free lance writing career. He’s published non-fiction magazine articles, was a reporter/photographer for the Silver City Enterprise, reported for the Grant County Beat and has done PR work. He currently is a columnist for the Silver City Daily Press and a contributor to Silver City’s newest newspaper, The Independent.



McQuaides picPhyllis and Jim McQuaide

Jim and Phyllis McQuaide are newcomers to Silver City having moved here from Maine three years ago. Combined, they have over 40 years experience in Community Theatre ranging from set design to directing and acting. Both Jim and Phyllis performed in Oliver with Theatre Group New Mexico and in Memory Lane Live, a reenactment of Silver City “characters” from the past. They also performed “Love Letters” this past February and two years ago at the Silver City Library.

Jim’s passion has been musical theatre, specifically Barbershop Singing. His quartet in Maine starred in Music Man in 2005. He has presently formed a new quartet in Silver City called Spare Parts.

Phyllis’ passion has been comedy, co-starring in “Over the River and Through the Woods”(June 2015 in Silver City), “Odd Couple, Female Version”, “Lend me a Tenor” and “I Hate Hamlet” to name a few.

Phyllis and Jim hope you enjoy this Silver City Community Theatre performance of the wonderful story,” Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney.



Miller, JonathanJonathan Miller


Author Jonathan Miller has practiced criminal defense law all over New Mexico. He currently practices in Albuquerque, where he writes and stays active in legal services that help the poor.

Jon is a graduate of Albuquerque Academy, Cornell University, the University of Colorado School of Law, and the American Film Institute. He also wrote for the syndicated TV show Arrest and Trial and hopes to use his writing royalties to pay off his student loans before he dies.

Jon’s books, Crater County and Amarillo in August, both made the Tucson Public Library’s master list of Southwestern books of the year; Volcano Verdict was a finalist for New Mexico Mystery of the Year; and his book, La Bajada Lawyer, won the 2009 IndieFab Award. His most recent book, Navajo Repo, published in September 2014, is the latest in his Rattlesnake Lawyer adventure series.


Niethammer CarolynCarolyn Niethammer


Carolyn Niethammer writes about the Southwest: the plants, the food, the mountains, canyons and streams, and the people. She was raised outside the small northern Arizona town of Prescott where she and her brother were free to roam and explore. On weekends she traveled Arizona’s backroads with her family, exploring ghost towns, old ranches, forests and deserts, lakes and rivers.

After earning a journalism degree at the University of Arizona, she worked for newspapers for a few years, then began freelancing. For her first book, American Indian Cooking: Recipes from the Southwest, she traveled throughout Arizona and New Mexico, interviewing Indian women, learning about the wild plants they gathered, and watching them cook.

The summer of 2014 brought an exciting new twist to Carolyn’s writing career: the publication of her first novel, The Piano Player. It is a western, set in Tombstone and the Yukon between 1882 and the 1920s and features strong women characters not afraid to follow their dreams. After nine nonfiction books including women’s studies, travel, and ethnobotany books in addition to cookbooks, Carolyn was thrilled to take this leap into a new venture and new line of creativity.


Jules Nyquistnyquist pic


Jules Nyquist is the founder of Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, LLC, a place for poetry and play in Old Town Albuquerque. She invites visiting
writers to share their work and also leads poetry and creative writing workshops.

She took her MFA from Bennington College, VT. Her poetry books, “Behind the Volcanoes” and “Appetites” were both finalists in the NM/AZ Book Awards for 2014 and 2012, respectively.



???????????Simon J. Ortiz

A leading figure in the Native American literary renaissance that emerged in the 1960s, Simon J. Ortiz has published short fiction and non-fiction prose in addition to poetry. Whatever form his writing takes, though, it is concerned with modern man’s alienation from others, from himself, and from his environment, urging as a solution our meaningful reconnection with the wisdom of ancestral spirits and with our Mother Earth.

Ortiz, who is an Acoma Pueblo Indian, was born and raised near Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew up speaking the Acoma tongue. Simple in its diction and rhythms, Ortiz’s poetry can express great reverence for beloved landscapes as well as intense rage against the de-humanizing forces of excessive development and mechanization.

In 1982, Ortiz won a Pushcart Prize and a wide audience with From Sand Creek. Perhaps his most important book is 1992’s Woven Stone, a blend of the poetry and prose of three earlier volumes that is a spiritual autobiography. Other works include Out There Somewhere (2002) and The Good Rainbow Road: Rawa Kashtyaa’tsi Hiyaani (A Native American Tale in Keres) (2004)

He was also selected to receive the 2013 Golden Tibetan Antelope International Prize for poetry and was honored in China for the award.


Yazzie Evangeline ParsonsEvangeline Parsons-Yazzie


Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie is Professor of Navajo, Emeritus, at Northern Arizona University. She obtained an MA in Bilingual Multicultural Education and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Evangeline is a Navajo woman, originally from the community of Hardrock on the Navajo Reservation. As a means of acknowledging and honoring her deceased parents for their gift of language, culture-knowledge, and Navajo teachings, Evangeline teaches and writes on behalf of elders and encourages others to honor their elders.

Her most recent book is a Navajo love story, entitled Her Land, Her Love, published in January 2014. In addition to writing fiction, Evangeline authored the first Navajo Language textbook written by a Navajo academic, entitled Dine Bizaad Binahoo’aah: Rediscovering the Navajo Language and published in 2008.


Phillips LoganLogan Phillips


As a bilingual poet performer and DJ, Logan Phillips tours his art throughout the U.S., Latin America and beyond and works to create new opportunities for the intersection of poetry and wider society. Phillips believes that, “the central creative act is to put pen to paper.”

Phillips co-directs the transdisciplinary performance group Verbo•bala Spoken Video, recipient of a 2012 Artist Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for the performance piece Sonoran Strange. Sonoran Strange is also the title of Phillips’s first full-length book, published in 2015, and is a poem cycle about the Arizona-Sonoran borderlands, as told through the stories of historic, ironic, and sometimes ludicrous characters and events.


Price VBVB Price


V.B. Price is a poet, human rights and environmental columnist, editor, journalist, architectural critic and teacher and has written a weekly column for various publications since 1971.
Price’s poetry and prose have appeared in more than 80 national and international periodicals since 1962, including The Southwest Review, The Calcutta Review, South Dakota Review, Manhattan Review, The New York Quarterly, and New Mexico Quarterly. He has served as architecture editor of Artspace magazine of Albuquerque and Los Angeles, is the former editor of New Mexico Magazine, was city editor of The New Mexico Independent, and was the founding editor of the late Century Magazine.

Price has published eight books of poetry, and his recent work addresses historical events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, as well as mythological themes. Broken and Reset: Selected Poems, 1966 to 2006, published in 2007, is a selection of poems written over the last 40 years while Price was making a living as a reporter, columnist, nonfiction writer, editor, novelist and teacher. Published in 2004, his only novel, The Oddity, as the Author’s Note states, is “a book by somebody else about a world she almost invented, described by people who could exist, and who are, like all of us, confused.”

Among his many awards, Price was given the first ever ACLU-New Mexico First Amendment Award of excellence in journalism in 1996; and his book, Albuquerque: A City At The End of the World, won the Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez Award for Historic Survey and Research in 2004.


quade, Kirstin ValdezKirstin Valdez Quade


Set in northern New Mexico, Kirstin Valdez Quade’s collection of short stories, Night at the Fiestas (W.W. Norton, 2015) is an astonishing, beautifully rendered debut about growing up in a land shaped by love, loss and violence.

With intensity and emotional precision, unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. Always hopeful, these stories chart the passions and obligations of family life, exploring themes of race, class, and coming-of-age, as Quade’s characters protect, betray, wound, undermine, bolster, define, and, ultimately, save each other.

Kirstin Valdez Quade received a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation as well as the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the 2013 Narrative Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Narrative, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and is currently the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.



renfro picGreg Renfro


Renfro describes the general theme of his music as “living, loving and learning . . .” “I hope
I’ve done all three!”

Like a winding river with branches, his musical life has taken delightful twists and turns. Along with research into great historical music by others, Renfro writes about the places he has lived: Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and for the past fifteen years, Silver City, New Mexico. It’s how he expresses the things that are the most important to him, he says. “It’s in my blood — the music, that interaction with the audience, that sharing. For me, it’s always been my meditation,” he says. “I consider it my religion.”



Riva PeterPeter Riva


Peter Riva is a literary agent and producer who has specialized in international idea and intellectual property brokerage, catering to multi-national, multi-lingual, licensing and rights’ representation of authors and publishers, as well as producing award-winning television and other media.

He has represented authors like Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy), Maria Riva (Dietrich by Her Daughter), Peter Beard, Ake Edwardson, Pieter Aspe, John Enright, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. As author Jeff Crook states, “Peter Riva is a consummate professional, firmly grounded in the reality of the publishing business but with the vision to see the possible.”

In 2013, Riva also created Yucca Publishing which features new and independent voices – exciting additions to the book world.


Russell Sharman AptSharman Apt Russell


Sharman says, “I do love to write. Writing is how I move through the world, how I live, how and when I become my best self.”
She is considered a nature/science writer in the book world. Her topics include citizen science, living in place, archaeology, flowers, butterflies, hunger, and pantheism. She is quick to say that her first love is children’s literature: Young Adult and middle-grade fabulist novels.

Sharman has two recent releases– in March 2015, Teresa of the New World is a young adult novel set in the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest and in 2014, Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World (Oregon State University Press) which was listed by The Guardian as a top ten nature book in 2014.

Other awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the New Mexico Presswomen’s Zia Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Writers at Work Fellowship, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award.


Soujourner, Mary 2Mary Sojourner


Mary Sojourner is the author of three novels, 29 (2014), Going Through Ghosts (2010), and Sisters of the Dream (1989);  the short story collection, Delicate (2001, 2004); essay collection, Bonelight: ruin and grace in the New Southwest (2002); memoir, Solace: rituals of loss and desire (2004) and memoir/self-help guide, She Bets Her Life (2010).

She is an NPR commentator and the author of countless pieces for High Country News, Yoga Journal, Writers on the Range, Matador Network and dozens of other publications.

She was chosen as a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007 by the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing,at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Mary has presented several writing workshops in Silver City, through the Gila River Festival,  Aldo Leopold Charter School, and Southwest Festival of the Written Word.

She teaches writing in private circles, one-on-one, at writing conferences and book festivals, and through an on-line course for Matador University.

For Mary, writing is the most powerful tool she has found for doing what is necessary to mend oneself and one’s greater world.


Stuart, EliseElise Stuart


Elise Stuart was selected by the Southwest Festival of the Written Word and the Silver City Town Council to be the second person to hold the honorary title of Silver City Poet Laureate . She holds the position for two years.

As Poet Laureate, she promotes expanding the power of the written word in our community, giving voice to young and old, emphasizing the need for expression through poetry.

In her new capacity, she is available to give readings of her poetry and others’ around the Grant County area. She notes that, oftentimes, a Poet Laureate is requested to write poems for specific community events and occasions of celebration, and she invites the community to contact her regarding requests of this nature.  She can be reached by emailing her at elisestuart@hotmail.com or info@swwordfiesta.org

One of her goals as Poet Laureate is to empower youth to create their own poems. Using her experiences with teaching children and her familiarity with schools in the area, she envisions a series of poetry workshops for children of all ages.

The theme of the series will be “Writing from the Ground Up” and will focus on the human connection with the natural world and on the poetry that children can and will create in relation to the theme.

A pilot project the first year would include one elementary public school and one alternative middle school. She wants to build a small team of young poets who will help teach poetry to other students in conjunction with her role as mentor.


Tweit SusanSusan J. Tweit


Susan Tweit began her career as a field ecologist studying sagebrush, grizzly bears, and wildfires, before falling in love with the stories revealed in the data. Her twelve books, including the memoir, Walking Nature Home, explore the nature of life itself and where we humans fit in the grand dance of species that makes this numinous blue planet a nurturing home.

Her work has won national and regional awards including ForeWord Book of the Year, the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Author’s League Award (twice). Reviewers have called her writing “graceful and moving,” “magic!,” and “rich in the wisdom of one come face-to-face with the fragility, beauty and poetics of everyday life…”

She is a columnist for Zone 4 Magazine and a regular contributor to Audubon and High Country News.


van Gieson, JudithJudith van Gieson


Judith Van Gieson is the author of a children’s book, a collection of poetry and short stories, and thirteen mysteries. Her short stories have appeared in several mystery anthologies.

Her first mystery series featured female Albuquerque attorney/sleuth Neil Hamel, and was published by HarperCollins.  The Lies That Bind was a finalist for the Shamus Award for best detective novel. Two of the Neil Hamel books,  Ditch Rider and The Wolf Path, were included in a list of the 100 Best New Mexico Books in 2012. The series won the Spirit of Magnifico Literary Award.

Her second series features heroine Claire Reynier, archivist and librarian. The Shadow of Venus was a finalist for the Barry Award and won the Zia Award given by New Mexico Press Women for Best Work of Fiction by a New Mexico woman.

Judith lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley and is currently working on a travel memoir as well as expanding her publishing company. See the ABQ Press page for more information on publishing.


Virus picVirus Theater of Silver City


The Virus Theater is an energetic community troupe based in Silver City, New Mexico. We are committed to creating original works of theater pertinent to our lives and the lives of our local audience. Through games, improvisation, exercise, and discussion, we collaboratively create our scripts. We have been working together for over a decade in this exciting process of play and growth. We bring elements of music, dance, and comedy to stories that delve into the deeper aspects of humanity, community, and philosophy.


Wauters, AmbikaAmbika Wauters


Ambika Wauters has authored twenty-three books on chakras, homeopathy, and the realm of angels. Her book, The Angel Oracle, has sold over one million copies world wide. The Angelic Year won Center for the Book’s 2001 Book of the Year award. Several of her books have sold over 100,000 copies. You can see her books, at Amazon.com.

Ambika’s angel art can also be viewed online. Her work is for sale and will soon appear in book form.


White, Orlando 2Orlando White


Orlando White is the author of Bone Light (Red Hen Press, 2009) and LETTERRS (Nightboat Books, 2015).  Originally from Tólikan, Arizona, he is Diné of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí and born for the Naakai Diné’e. He holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Brown University.

His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Omnidawn Poetry Feature Blog, Salt Hill Journal, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, American Indian Culture And Research Journal, Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics, and elsewhere. His poetry has been anthologized in Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas and translated into Spanish in In That Round Nation of Blood: An Anthology of Contemporary Indigenous Poetry.

He is a recipient of a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency, and a Bread Loaf John Ciardi Fellowship. He has taught at The Art Center Design College and Brown University. Currently, he teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.


Winder, Tanaya 2Tanaya Winder


Tanaya Winder is a poet, writer, artist, and educator from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations. A winner of the 2010 A Room Of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando prize in poetry, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cutthroat Magazine, Adobe Walls, Superstition Review, Drunkenboat and Kweli among others. Her poems from her manuscript “Love in a Time of Blood Quantum” were produced and performed by the Poetic Theater Productions Presents Company in NYC.

Tanaya has taught writing courses at Stanford University, UC-Boulder, and the University of New Mexico. She has a BA in English from Stanford University and a MFA in creative writing from UNM. She is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of As/Us: A Space for Women of the World. Tanaya guest lectures and teaches creative writing workshops at high schools and universities internationally.


Zakin, SusanSusan Zakin


Susan Zakin was born in New York City, and moved to the American West in the 1980s. After publication of her first book, Coyotes and Town Dogs: Earth First! and the Environmental Movement (Viking), she was called “the female environmental Hunter Thompson.” She was awarded a fellowship to train environmental journalists in Madagascar, where she became interested in gem smugglers and mercenary soldiers. Her research eventually led to the novel The Afterlife of Victor Kamara.

As a journalist, Zakin has written about the environment, art, and politics for national magazines. Her columns have been syndicated to newspapers across the country. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and an MFA in fiction from The University of Arizona, and has taught creative writing and journalism at universities in the U.S. and Africa. Her books include the anthology Naked: Writers Uncover the Way We Live on Earth and In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster.


zipin picMelanie Zipin


Melanie Zipin was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Philadelphia. She is a mixed media artist, performer and singer songwriter with 3 CD’s of original music to her credit. She has toured around the southwest with her music, playing at clubs and festivals.  Her music has received praise and radio play on stations around the country and in Europe.

In addition to her songwriting, she has written scripts, essays, poetry and short stories.

She has one son and lives with her husband, far from the concrete, in a hand piled mud house they built themselves.

15 Commentsto 2015 Festival Presenters

  1. susan york says:

    Add me to mailing list

  2. Frances Stiles says:

    Please add me to your mailing list. Thank you!

  3. Jacqueline Soule says:

    I plan on being there, and would like to be on your mailing list for updates.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Will do. We look forward to meeting you in October! jam

  5. Please add me to your mailing list. I would also like information about the workshops and registration fees for workshops and speakers.

  6. Jeannie says:

    Hi Sharon, there are no registration fees. All events and sessions are free of charge to the public except for the Banquet. Banquet ticket information will be posted in the near future. jam

  7. Nelson Lynch says:

    Please add me to your mailing list.

  8. I am so looking forward to sharing this miraculous journey called, “writing.” It’s a healing balm for the soul, a hidden treasure, a way to release one’s inner thoughts and heartfelt emotions, and have some joyous times besides! See you at the Festival! Abrazos to all! http://www.stellapopeduarte.com

  9. Robert Kostuck says:

    Please add me to your mailing list.

  10. Sharon Blue Spruce says:

    Mailing list please

  11. Susan Oelbracht says:

    Pls keep me updated regarding schedule

  12. Please add me to your mailing list!

  13. Cynthia Iturralde says:

    Will attend

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