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Visiting Authors

During the course of the Novel Writing Project, participants will be joined by a number of distinguished novelists and publishing professionals. Authors and editors will either join via video conference or in-person. The Loft reserves the right to replace project visitors should unforeseen circumstances arise, and we cannot provide refunds if we need to find a replacement, but the following novelists and publishing professionals are now confirmed to participate:

Gary Fisketjon is widely known in the literary world both for his hand in revolutionizing the modern book publishing industry in the US, and for his reputation as a meticulous and comprehensive editor. After graduating from Williams College with a BA in history and literature, he entered the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University. He joined Random House Publishing in the late 1970s, at a time when the literary market was dominated by two forms of books: expensive hardcover and mass-market paperback. As a young editor with many contacts among emerging writers, Mr. Fisketjon saw that the literary market lacked a proper format in which they could be published, and in 1984 he founded Vintage Contemporaries, “a line of high-quality trade paperbacks” that created a new forum with much better distribution through independent booksellers. Its immediate success transformed how contemporary fiction was published in the country; it also helped authors including Jay McInerney and Richard Russo to become well-known with their first books, and brought new readers to established but underappreciated writers such as Raymond Carver and Richard Ford. Mr. Fisketjon joined the Atlantic Monthly Press as editorial director in 1986 but returned to Random House in 1990, where he settled at Knopf. As Knopf's vice president and editor-at-large, Mr. Fisketjon has worked with a number of acclaimed writers, including Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, Kent Haruf, Patricia Highsmith, Tobias Wolff, Julian Barnes, Cormac McCarthy, and Haruki Murakami, while also picking out and fostering new talent. Since 1986, he has also become one of the few regular American editorial presences at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It was there that he met Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt, a well-known European publisher whom Mr. Fisketjon credits with having taught him to “make long-term investments in writers rather than short-term grabs for the next hot young thing.” Mr. Fisketjon divides his time between New York and Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, where he does the majority of his editing.

Emily St John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages. A previous novel, The Singer's Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Benjamin Percy is the author of three novels, the most recent among them The Dead Lands (Grand Central/Hachette, April 2015), a post apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga. He is also the author of Red Moon (Grand Central/Hachette, May 2013) and The Wilding (Graywolf Press, 2010), as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Grand Central/Hachette, 2012; Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006). His craft book — Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction — will be published by Graywolf Press in October of 2016. And his next novel, The Dark Net, is due out in 2017 with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ben is currently at work on an as-yet-unnamed James Bond ongoing series for Dynamite Entertainment planned to debut in 2017. His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio, performed at Symphony Space, and published by Esquire, GQ, Time, Men’s Journal, Outside, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and Tin House. He also writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series at DC Comics. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, the Plimpton Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics. He is a member of the WGA screenwriters’ guild and has sold scripts to FOX and Starz. He currently has several film and TV projects in development. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Joseph Boyden’s first novel, Three Day Road, won numerous awards including the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. The Orenda was a finalist for the Governor General’s English Language Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Award, and won the Libris Book of the Year Award. In 2012, Boyden received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian art and culture. Boyden is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.

Sarah Stonich is the author of internationally acclaimed Vacationland and the novels These Granite Islands and The Ice Chorus, stories which have left their marks on readers around the world. The paperpback version of The Ice Chorus is now available. Her memoir Shelter came out to rave reviews and won the NEMBA award.