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Young Writers' Conference: Guest Writers

Susan McCallum-Smith

Susan McCallum-Smith is a freelance editor and an award-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction and reviews. Her work has been featured in Urbanite, The Scottish Review of Books, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Gettysburg Review, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. She is a contributing editor of The Baltimore Review and a literary reviewer on Maryland Public Radio. Entasis Press published her short story collection, "Slipping the Moorings" in 2009, and excerpts have been anthologized in "City Sages" (2010) and "Confessions: Fact and Fiction" (2010). She was born in Scotland, earned a master's degree in creative writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a master of fine arts, also in creative writing, from Bennington College.

Karen McElmurray

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s newest novel, "The Motel of the Stars" (Sarabande Books), has been nominated for The Weatherford Prize in Fiction, was a Lit Life Novel of the Year and was named Editor’s Pick by Oxford American. She is also the author of "Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey," recipient of the AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction, as well as "Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven," winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing. McElmurray, associate professor in creative writing at Georgia College and State University, is also creative nonfiction editor for Arts and Letters: A Journal of Contemporary Culture.

Edward Perlman

Edward Perlman writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and is The Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced Academic Programs’ faculty adviser for poetry students. His poetry, essays and book reviews have appeared in various publications, including Explorations, Passages Northwest, The Sewanee Theological Review and The Living Church. The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the NEA awarded him an artist fellowship grant in 2006 for his poetry. He is the founder of Entasis Press.

Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of the novels "Pears on a Willow Tree" (Avon) and "A Year and a Day" (William Morrow), which was selected for the Book of the Month Club and the Original Voices series at Borders bookstores. Her short fiction has appeared in many publications, including TriQuarterly, Gettysburg Review, Iowa Review, Washingtonian Magazine and New England Review, and her essays have been published in the Washington Post Magazine and The Sun. Her work has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and has received awards from Shenandoah, Columbia, Descant and other journals. She teaches graduate creative writing at The Johns Hopkins University and in the Converse College low-residency MFA program. She authors the blog Work-in-Progress at

Steve Scafidi

Steve Scafidi is the author of "Sparks From a Nine-Pound Hammer" (2001) and "For Love of Common Words," (2006) both from Louisiana State University Press. His poetry has won several awards, including the Larry Levis Reading Prize and the James Boatwright Award. His work has been nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Steve works as a cabinetmaker and teaches poetry in The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University.

Greg Williamson

Greg Williamson’s first book of poetry, "The Silent Partner," was published by Storyline Press and won the Nicholas Roerich Prize in 1995. His second book, "Errors in the Script," was published by Overlook Press in 2001 and was runner up for the NYC Poets’ Prize. He has received a Whiting Award, an NEA Grant and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other honors. Waywiser Press brought out his third book, "A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck," in 2008. He teaches in The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University and The Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Tim Wendel

Tim Wendel is the author of eight books—novels and narrative nonfiction. His titles include "Castro's Curveball," "Red Rain" and "High Heat." His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, Washingtonian, Huffington Post, The Potomac Review, Gargoyle, GQ and Esquire. A former staff writer and editor for USA Today, his columns appear on the paper's op-ed page. He teaches fiction and nonfiction writing at The Johns Hopkins University. Visit his website at