This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop.
Olivia Cole is author of the adult series PANTHER IN THE HIVE and a Young Adult series, including books A CONSPIRACY OF STARS (2018) and AN ANATOMY OF BEASTS (2019).
Her essays have been published at Bitch Media, Real Simple, the LA Times, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Gay Mag, and others.
Olivia is the creator and curator of the all-women science-fiction themed art show KINDRED. She teaches creative writing at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Her book A CONSPIRACY OF STARS has been recognized as a choice for the 2019 LITA-Excellence in Young Adult Science Fiction Notable List and 2019 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year.
At the 2020 KY workshop, Olivia is teaching classes and also offering manuscript critiques as an add-on element for attendees.
Brittany J. Thurman writes picture books, middle grade and young adult literature.
A former Children’s Specialist at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Brittany conducted storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that emphasized the importance of representation and early literacy. Dedicated to ensuring literature truthfully reflects the world we live in, Brittany has performed numerous sensitivity reads, presented at the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Children’s Literature, Western PA’s SCBWI Conference, and the 13th Annual IBBY Regional Conference. Brittany is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied Dramatic Writing and Kingston University, London England. She currently manages educational programs at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY.
At the 2020 Kentucky conference, she is offering manuscript critiques as an add-on element for attendees.
Christina Kaye is an award-winning suspense novelist, editor, and author coach.
She’s the CEO of Top Shelf Editing and she teaches creative writing courses at Carnegie Center in Lexington. She lives in Richmond with her two adult daughters, two rowdy pups, and a very fat cat.
At the 2020 Kentucky workshop, she is teaching a class as well as offering manuscript critiques as an add-on element for attendees.
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com.
He is the coordinator of the 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop. At the event, he is teaching a class and also offering query critiques as an add-on element for attendees.
His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community.
Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.
Alexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.
At the 2020 KY workshop, she is meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches. She is also teaching a speech on author brand building.
She is seeking:
Young Adult: “I’m looking for writers who have the ability to turn their pens into paintbrushes; in other words, beautiful writing. The genres I’m most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are my weakness, as are stories that include space and science. Please do not me those. I’m looking for strong YA voices, and ones that go beyond the coming-of-age story. I love stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity. I’m passionate about representing literature from diverse and underrepresented voices.”
Middle grade and children’s picture books: “I love all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Children’s picture books with or without pictures intrigue me, and I’m most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.”
Adult fiction: “I’m not looking for romance, but I am looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. I’m interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. I’m open to most genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.”
Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com, the PR Manager for a local Chicago circus, and an all-around literary bookworm. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing in 2015. Previously she’s worked as an Acquisitions Editor for the award-winning anthology Hair Trigger, interned as a publicist for Kaye Publicity, and was a loyal volunteer for Columbia’s annual Story Week: Festival of Writers event for the past four years. Ever since she was little, her main goal has been to inspire with words, just like the many beloved books and authors have done before her.
Kenzi Nevins is a junior literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite.
At the 2020 KY workshop, she is teaching on platform and marketing, and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.
Kenzi personally seeks picture books (text only is fine, but author-illustrators are her favorite), middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds, including graphic novels with images), and adult fantasy. She is also happy to take pitches on behalf of her many co-agents, and pass on great submissions to them after the event. That means she will take pitches for romance (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, high & low fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s, and Christian/inspirational. For nonfiction, she will take pitches for parenting, leadership, ministry, devotionals, and self-help. She will also take pitches for board books and chapter books
“My personal interests lie in mythology and retold fairy tales, so I would say that fantasy and magic realism generally get me the most excited, but I will look at anything.”
Kenzi is an award-winning writer with a passion for magic realism and mythology. A graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing and theatre programs, she spent two semesters studying in the story-laden Wicklow Mountains of eastern Ireland. Previously, she won second place for theatre journalism and critique from the Kennedy Center for American College Theatre, and her short story, “The Last Freedom,” was published in eBook and paperback by StoryShares.
When she isn’t writing, Kenzi can be found watering her fairy garden, experimenting with little-known tea flavors, or wandering the aisles of her Kentucky library.
Alice Speilburg founded Speilburg Literary Agency in 2012, bringing with her the editorial and business expertise she had developed in previous publishing positions at John Wiley & Sons and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.
At the 2020 KY workshop, she is teaching on query letter writing. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.
She enjoys nonfiction in the areas of History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Travel, and True Crime. “In nonfiction, I’m looking for cultural narratives, microhistory, nature, and pop science written by journalists and academics. I’d love to see more nonfiction proposals, so even if you think your nonfiction project is not quite what I’m looking for, please send it over so that I can take a look.” She’d love to see
- Pop Science Narratives that inform some particular quirk of our human nature or the world around us, like STIFF, or ON TRAILS
- Pop Science Narratives that tie closely with political discussions regarding the environment, social issues, etc., like INFERIOR, OVERRUN, or LOST MOUNTAIN
- Nonfiction Narratives that weave history or science through memoir, like THE OREGON TRAIL, or SPINELESS
- Nonfiction narratives that focus on the intersection of two — perhaps unlikely — subjects, like WAR AND WINE, or EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
- Journalistic Narratives that focus on a specific place, thing, or circumstance to show something about our culture at large, like JANESVILLE, THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, GHOSTLAND, or WILD ONES
She represents women’s fiction, crime fiction, some fantasy (specifics below), historical fiction, mystery, thriller, action/adventure, and horror.
“In fiction, I’m looking for stories that sidestep into history, magic, mystery, horror, or adventure. My favorite sub-genres are feminism, narrative nonfiction, and upmarket genre fiction.” She would love to see
- Historical Fiction that reimagines factual events, especially crimes or mysteries, like BURIAL RITES, THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY, or THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT
- Women’s Fiction that oscillates between modern and historical perspectives like THE DOLLHOUSE
- Historical Fiction that sidesteps into magic, like OUTLANDER, A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES, or THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON
- Fantasy based on American folklore, earthy and magical, like THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH
- Fantasy that contains mythical elements, like THE BIRD KING, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, or THE BEAR & THE NIGHTINGALE
- Adventure Fantasy with fresh and unique magic, like A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, THE BOOK OF DUST
- Police Procedural Mysteries that are grounded in both a unique investigator and an evocative setting like the ARMAND GAMACHE series and the ALEX MCKNIGHT series
- Psychological Thrillers that border on horror with smart female protagonists, like IN A DARK, DARK WOOD