The 2022 A&E Conference will include panel discussions and In Conversations featuring notable authors and industry professionals.

2022 Opening Session Speaker: Helen Atsma, VP – Publisher (she/her) joined Ecco in 2019. She oversees the Ecco team and list, and for her own list acquires literary and book club fiction, along with memoir and some narrative nonfiction. The writers she works with include Elizabeth Acevedo, Rumaan Alam, Nicole Chung, Patrick deWitt, Andrew J. Graff, Jennifer Haigh, Elizabeth McCracken, Anthony Veasna So, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Natasha Trethewey, Shelby Van Pelt, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Kevin Wilson, and Laura Zigman. Previously, she was Editorial Director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Over the course of her career, in roles at Grand Central Publishing and Henry Holt, she has edited a number of New York Times bestselling authors, including Sarah Hepola (Blackout), Jami Attenberg (The Middlesteins), Lily Koppel (The Astronaut Wives Club), Rhoda Janzen (Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, a #1 New York Times bestseller), and Catherine O’Flynn (What Was Lost, winner of the Costa First Novel Award). She began her publishing career in 2002 at Little, Brown.

Dalia Azim was born in Canada and raised in the United States. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, American Short Fiction, Aperture, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Glimmer Train (where she received their Short Story Award for New Writers), and Other Voices, among other places. Country of Origin is her first novel. Dalia lives in Austin, Texas with her family and is the manager of special projects at the Blanton Museum of Art.
Chris Barton ( is the author of picture books including bestseller Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, which has been included on 21 state reading lists. His new books in 2021 and 2022 include How to Make a Book (About My Dog), Moving Forward: From Space-Age Rides to Civil Rights Sit-Ins with Airman Alton Yates, and Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music, written with Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson. Chris and his wife, YA/middle-grade novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin and co-host the children’s literature video series “This One’s Dedicated to…” He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.
Robert Jackson Bennett is the author of AMERICAN ELSEWHERE, THE TROUPE, THE COMPANY MAN, MR. SHIVERS, as well as The Divine Cities trilogy and The Founders Trilogy. The third and final installment of The Founders Trilogy, LOCKLANDS, will release in June 2022.
His work has received the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Phillip K. Dick Citation of Excellence, and he has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Locus Awards.
He lives in Austin with his family.
Juli Berwald received her PhD in ocean science from the University of Southern California. The author of Spineless and Life on the Rocks, a science textbook writer and editor, she has written for several publications including The New York Times, Nature, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal.

KB Brookins (also known as KB) is a Black/queer/transmasculine poet, essayist, and cultural worker from Fort Worth, Texas. Their writing is published in, Huffington Post, American Poetry Review, Teen Vogue, Poetry Northwest, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Their poem, “Good Grief”, won the Academy of American Poets 2022 Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize.

KB is the author of How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022), a chapbook selected by ire’ne lara silva as winner of the Saguaro Poetry Prize. They have received Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominations, along with fellowships from PEN America, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Lambda Literary, and The Watering Hole among others.

KB’s debut full-length poetry collection, Freedom House (Deep Vellum Publishing, 2023) is forthcoming. KB is represented by Annie DeWitt at The Shipman Agency. They live in Austin, TX, where they are working on projects and trying their best. Follow them online at @earthtokb, and subscribe to their sporadic opinions/updates through Out of This World.

Christopher Brown is the Philip K. Dick, World Fantasy and Campbell Award-nominated author of Tropic of Kansas, Rule of Capture and Failed State. He lives in Austin, where he also publishes the popular urban nature newsletter Field Notes.
Candace Buford headshotCandace Buford has been an avid reader since childhood—always looking for stories with strong and complex POCs. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in German Literature, which exposed her to the delightfully creepy side of storytelling by writers like Kafka and Brecht. She also holds a law degree from Penn State Law School and a business degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Raised in Houston, Candace currently lives in the heart of Texas, where you can find her huddled in café corners, scribbling away in her notebook. She shares her life with a rocket scientist, a Doberman, and a Plott Hound, who all ensure there is never a dull day. Her upcoming book Good as Gold will be published by Disney Summer 2023. She is also the author of Kneeland Whatever Happens: A Julie and the Phantoms Original Novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @candacebuford.
Samantha M Clark headshotSamantha M Clark is the award-winning author of middle-grade novels THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST and ARROW (both published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster) and AMERICAN HORSE TALES: HOLLYWOOD (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House), as well as the GEMSTONE DRAGONS chapter book series, coming from Bloomsbury on Aug. 2, 2022. She lives with her husband and two funny dogs in Austin, Texas, where she helps other writers as the Regional Advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Sign up for news and giveaways at Follow her on Twitter @samclarkwrites, Instagram @samanthamclarkbooks, Facebook at SamanthaMClarkAuthor, and Pinterest at SamClarkWrites.

May Cobb earned her MA in literature from San Francisco State University, and her essays and interviews have appeared in the Washington Post, the Rumpus, Texas Highways, and Austin Monthly. Her previous novel is The Hunting Wives. Her latest novel is My Summer Darlings. A Texas native, she lives in Austin with her family.

Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Bread, winner of the PEN Southwest Award in Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award; it was listed as one of “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now” in O, Oprah’s Magazine and was a “Summer Books” choice from Huffington Post. Other work has appeared in Antioch Review, Harvard Review, Columbia, Quarterly West, and Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row. Journalistic pieces were published in LIFE, Third Coast, and D Magazine. She is featured in a Netflix documentary, The Confession Killer, and another by Hulu that is forthcoming. Cuba is included in Texas Monthly’s “Ten to Watch (and Read)” and has received a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, a San Antonio Artist Foundation Fellowship, and an artist residency at Fundación Valparaiso in Spain. She is founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, a nonprofit writing arts center, and teaches at Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio. Her website is
Jennifer duBois’s debut novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was the winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction, the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the winner of the Housatonic Book Award. DuBois’s third novel, The Spectators, was a recipient of a National Endowments for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Stanford University Stegner Fellowship, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.
Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestselling Wanted series, Kelly continues to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots and giving readers stories rich with hot protective men, strong women and beautiful surroundings.
Her bestselling works include, Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Unconditional Love, to name just a few.
Kelly has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November of 2012. Kelly lives in central Texas with her husband, and two pups. When she’s not writing, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings.
Jacquetta Nammar Feldman loves writing poetry and stories of all kinds. When she’s not curled up with a book or typing at her computer, she can be found hiking the beautiful hills of Austin, Texas, with her husband, two labradoodles, and a Havanese. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, and she’s currently a candidate for a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Jacquetta is a member of SCBWI and the Writers’ League of Texas, and she is represented by Pete Knapp of Park & Fine Literary and Media. Wishing Upon the Same Stars is her debut novel.
Edgar Gomez (all pronouns) is a Florida-born writer with roots in Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. A graduate of University of California, Riverside’s MFA program, their words have appeared in Poets & Writers, Narratively, Catapult, Lithub, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, and elsewhere online and in print. Their memoir, High-Risk Homosexual, was called a “breath of fresh air” by The New York Times. They live in New York and Puerto Rico.
Katie Gutierrez is the author of the debut novel MORE THAN YOU’LL EVER KNOW. She has an MFA from Texas State University, and her writing has appeared in TIME, Harper’s Bazaar, Texas Highways, and more. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and their two kids.
Jason June headshotJason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a writer/mermaid who loves to create young adult rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks. His debut YA, JAY’S GAY AGENDA, released last year, with his queer merperson fish-out-of-water tale, OUT OF THE BLUE, out Summer 2022. JJ lives in Austin, Texas with his husband, Pomeranian, and avid love of Laura Dern.
Laekan Zea Kemp headshotLaekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2022 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.
ire’ne lara silva is the author of four poetry collections, furia, Blood Sugar Canto, CUICACALLI/House of Song, and FirstPoems, two chapbooks, Enduring Azucares and Hibiscus Tacos, and a short story collection, flesh to bone, which won the Premio Aztlán. She and poet Dan Vera are also the co-editors of Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, a collection of poetry and essays. ire’ne is the recipient of a 2021 Tasajillo Writers Grant, a 2017 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant, the final Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, and was the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award. Most recently, ire’ne was awarded the 2021 Texas Institute of Letters Shrake Award for Best Short Nonfiction. ire’ne is currently a Writer at Large for Texas Highways Magazine and is working on a second collection of short stories titled, the light of your body. Website:
Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author of more than sixty romantic fiction and women’s fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Royal Wedding and Royal Match historical series, as well as the author of more than two dozen contemporary romances, including the recent rom-coms, You Lucky Dog and It Started with a Dog. Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Alison Macor received a Public Scholars grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her new book “Making The Best Years of Our Lives: The Hollywood Classic That Inspired a Nation” (University of Texas Press, 2022), about the making of the 1946 blockbuster and winner of nine Academy Awards. She’s also the author of “Rewrite Man: The Life and Career of Screenwriter Warren Skaaren” (UT Press, 2017) and “Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids: Thirty Years of Filmmaking in Austin, Texas” (UT Press), which won the 2012 Peter C. Rollins Book of the Year Award. She holds a PhD in film history and taught for more than 20 years at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, Austin Community College and the Austin Museum of Art. A former film critic, she currently works as a freelance writer and ghostwriter and lives in Austin.
Janna Marlies Maron is a professional editor with nearly 20 years of experience helping writers to complete their projects and produce the best work possible. Her experience includes time as a magazine editor, college professor, agency editorial director, and content director for a popular internet brand. She has worked on a number of book projects from self-published Amazon bestsellers to traditionally published New York Times bestsellers. She’s also the founding editor and publisher of Under the Gum Tree, a literary arts magazine publishing creative nonfiction and visual art, and the principal editor and creator of More to the Story, a company serving women writing nonfiction books through coaching, community, and critique.
Ursula Pike is the author of An Indian among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir (2021). She is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and her writing has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, World Literature Today, and Lit Hub. She is an enrolled member of the Karuk Tribe. Ursula’s favorite thing about living in Austin, Texas, is jumping into Barton Springs on summer mornings when it is 70 degrees before the sun even comes up.
John Pipkin is the author of the critically acclaimed novels “Woodsburner” (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday 2009) and “The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter” (Bloomsbury 2016), and he has just finished a novel about the Tour de France during WWII. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Dobie Paisano, and the Gulkistan Center for Creativity in Iceland. He is currently the Director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at UT-Austin.
Gillian Redfearn’s first job at 15-1/2 years old was being a bookseller at B. Dalton’s Booksellers in Durham, North Carolina. It is in that little mall bookstore that she decided she wanted a career in the book business. Gillian got a degree in publishing from Henry W. Grady School of Journalism as the University of Georgia. Her first job was as a publicist for Pelican Publishing Company in New Orleans, but after nine months, she got her first job as a sales rep at Houghton Mifflin in Austin, Texas, and has worked in sales ever since. Gillian is currently the Macmillan National Account Manager for Books-A-Million, 2nd and Charles stores, and wait for it, Cracker Barrel. She has managed a diverse account base over the years including national chains, mass merchandisers, truck stops, independents bookstores, and library wholesalers. Gillian still lives in Austin, Texas, with a really great guy and two old cats.
Andrea L. Rogers is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is now a Phd student attending The University of Arkansas. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute for American Indian Arts. Her literary horror and speculative fiction stories have been published in Waxwing, Yellow Medicine Review, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Transmotion, The Massachusetts Review and River Styx. Capstone published Mary and the Trail of Tears which was included on the best books of 2020 by both NPR and American Indians in Children’s Literature and was named a Middle Grade / Young Adult Discovery Prize Winner by The Writer’s League of Texas. Her essay, “My Oklahoma History” appeared in You Too? 25 Voices Share Their #METoo Stories from Inkyard Press. Her short story “The Ballad of Maggie Wilson” is included in Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, a MG short story Anthology from Heartdrum/Harper Collins. Her essay “Lifting While She Climbs” was recently published in the anthology Allies by DK. Her YA Literary Horror titled Man-Made Monsters will be released by Levine-Querido on October 4, 2022. She is working on a picture book called, When We Gather, for Heartdrum.
Saborna Roychowdhury‘s debut novel, “The Distance” was published by the independent press Istoria Books and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The novel was well-received in other publications in the U.S. and elsewhere, including the South Asian Review and Hyphen Magazine. Her short story “Bengal Monsoon” appeared in New York Stories magazine and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. She was born and raised in Kolkata, India, and moved to the U.S. for undergraduate work in chemistry. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and twin daughters. Her recent novel, “Everything Here Belongs to You,” will be released in June by Black Rose Writing.
Richard Santos HeadshotRichard Z Santos‘ debut novel, Trust Me, was named one of the best debuts of 2020 by Crime Reads and was a Finalist for the Writer’s League of Texas Novel Prize. He’s the Executive Director of Austin Bat Cave, a creative writing nonprofit for youth in under resourced areas in Travis County. Recent work appears in Texas Monthly, Pank, Post Road, Kirkus Reviews, and more. In a previous career he worked for national consulting firms, campaigns, and labor unions.
Chaitali Sen is the author of the novel The Pathless Sky and the forthcoming story collection A New Race of Men from Heaven. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Boulevard, Catapult, Colorado Review, Ecotone, Los Angeles Review of Books, New England Review, and many other publications. She holds an MFA from Hunter College – City University of New York, and currently lives in Smithville, Texas.
Adam Soto is the author of the novel THIS WEIGHTLESS WORLD (finalist for best debut novel, Texas Institute of Letters and Locus Magazine) and the forthcoming collection of ghost stories CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. A former Michener-Copernicus Society of America Fellow, and a graduate of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently lives in Austin, TX, where he is a teacher, musician, and the web editor of AMERICAN SHORT FICTION.

Mary Helen Specht’s first novel, Migratory Animals, was an editors’ choice by the New York Times Book Review and the Austin American-Statesmen, an IndieNext Pick, and an Apple iBook selection. Migratory Animals also won the Texas Institute of Letters Best First Fiction Award and the Writers’ League of Texas work of Best Fiction. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including: The New York TimesThe Colorado ReviewPrairie SchoonerMichigan Quarterly ReviewThe Southwest ReviewFlorida ReviewSouthwestern American LiteratureWorld Literature TodayThe Smart Set; Blue MesaHunger MountainBookslutThe Texas Observer; and Night Train, where she won the Richard Yates Short Story Award. A past Fulbright Scholar, Specht currently teaches creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin.

Stacey Swann headshotStacey Swann’s debut novel Olympus, Texas (Doubleday) was a Good Morning America Book Club selection, an Indie Next Pick, and was longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Swann holds an M.F.A. from Texas State University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in LitHub, Electric Literature, Texas Highways, Epoch, and other journals. She splits her time between Austin and Lampasas, Texas.

Shuja Uddin is a screenwriter and filmmaker from Karachi, Pakistan and has graduated from Boston University with an MFA in Screenwriting. He has previously worked at the Austin Film Society and currently teaches film full-time at Headwaters School and Austin Community College. His writings have been published in the Times of India, The Wire and The Express Tribune.

S. Kirk Walsh is a novelist based in Austin, Texas. Her novel, The Elephant of Belfast, inspired by true events that took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during World War II, was published by Counterpoint Press in April 2021. A national bestseller, the novel has generated praise from The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, and others. It was published by Hachette (UK, the Commonwealth, Ireland), and the novel has been translated for several foreign editions. Her short fiction, nonfiction, and literary criticism have been published in the New York Times Book Review, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly Review, San Francisco Chronicle, among others. She is at work on a second novel set in Detroit, Michigan.
James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of River, Sing Out and All Things Left Wild, a winner of the prestigious MPIBA Reading the West Award for Debut Fiction, and a recipient of the Spur Award for Best Historical Novel from the Western Writers of America. His forthcoming novel Beasts of the Earth will be released 10.11.22 from Blackstone Publishing.
David Wright Faladé is the author of three books : the narrative history Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, and the novels Away Running and most recently, Black Cloud Rising.
The New Yorker chose Fire on the Beach as one of its notable selections, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch named it one of its Best Books of 2001. Away Running was named an Outstanding International Book by the US Board on Books for Young People and was selected by the Junior Library Guild and the Texas Library Association for its high school reading lists. An excerpt from Black Cloud Rising, entitled “The Sand Banks, 1861,” appeared in the New Yorker.
A former Fulbright Fellow to Brazil, David Wright Faladé is the 2021-22 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow of the NY Public Library’s Cullman Center for Writers. His work has been recognized by the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Texas Institute of Letters. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Illinois.