2020 Fiction Participants

Listed in alphabetical order

Elizabeth AmesElizabeth Ames

Named for Iowa but born and raised in Wisconsin, Elizabeth Ames is a writer living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, Elizabeth has lived in Seattle, France, and Rwanda since leaving the Midwest. She currently lives in a Harvard dormitory with her husband, two children, and a few hundred undergraduates. Her debut novel, The Other’s Gold, was re-leased in 2019 by Viking Books. Visit elizabethames.com to learn more.


Christopher CastellaniChristopher Castellani

Christopher Castellani’s fourth novel, Leading Men — for which he received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony — was published by Viking in February 2019. Leading Men was featured in Publishers Weekly, People, Entertainment Weekly, Interview, The Washington Post, and was an Editors’ Choice of the New York Times. His collection of essays on point of view in fiction, The Art of Perspective, was published by Graywolf in 2016. Castellani is on the fiction faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA Program and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He lives in Boston, where he is artistic director of GrubStreet, the country’s largest and leading independent center for creative writing.
Photo Credit: Michael Joseph


Bruce Robert CoffinBruce Robert Coffin

Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron mystery series. A former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bruce spent four years investigating counter-terrorism cases for the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest award a non-agent can receive. His most recent novel, Beyond the Truth, winner of Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award for Best Procedural, was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Best Crime Fiction. His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories, 2016. Bruce is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He is a regular contributor to the Murder Books blog. Bruce is represented by Paula Munier at Talcott Notch Literary. He lives and writes in Maine.


Alena DillonAlena Dillon

Alena Dillon’s debut novel, Mercy House, was released by William Morrow of Harper Collins in February 2020. Her work has also appeared in The Rumpus, Scary Mommy, Slice Magazine, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, and Bustle. She earned her MFA from Fairfield University and now lives on the north shore of Boston with her husband, son, and their dog.


Melissa DuclosMelissa Duclos

Newburyport native Melissa Duclos is the author of Besotted, a novel about two American women living in Shanghai. Melissa is also an essayist whose non-fiction has appeared in The Washington Post, The Offing, Bustle, and Electric Literature among other venues, and was chosen as Salon’s Best Personal Essay of 2015. She is the founder of “Magnify: Small Presses, Bigger” a monthly newsletter celebrating independent presses, and the co-founder of “Amplify: Writers’ Voices, Louder” an organization that offers classes, workshops, and networking opportunities for emerging writers looking to build their careers. She now lives in Portland, Oregon with her two children and is at work on a new novel and a collection of essays.


Connie HambleyConnie Hambley

A former lawyer, Connie Johnson Hambley has been a featured columnist for Bloomberg Business Week and an invited contributor to Nature, Mass High Tech and other journals, but her passion is writing great suspense. Two of Connie’s novels in The Jessica Trilogy won the Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in New York City. Her short stories appear in New England’s Best Crime Stories: Windward and Snowbound, Mystery Weekly magazine and in the upcoming Running Wild Anthology. Connie is President and a featured speaker of Sisters in Crime New England and a member of Mystery Writers of America.


Marjan KamaliMarjan Kamali

Marjan Kamali is a novelist and teacher whose work has been anthologized, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and adapted for the stage. Her recent release, The Stationery Shop, hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “a moving tale of lost love” and selected as one of Newsweek’s Best Summer Books is a powerful love story set in the background of a country facing political turmoil. Her debut novel, Together Tea, which was a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, an NPR WBUR Good Read, and a Target Emerging Author Selection, follows a mother and daughter as they embark on a return journey to Iran. A graduate of UC Berkeley with an MBA from Columbia University and an MFA from New York University, Kamali is a teacher of writing at GrubStreet and former adjunct business writing professor at Boston University. Her fiction has also been published in two anthologies and been excerpted in Solstice Literary Magazine and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her novels have been translated into German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Turkish, Polish, Czech, and Slovak.


Stephen P. KiernanStephen P. Kiernan

As a journalist and novelist, Stephen P. Kiernan has published nearly four million words. His newspaper work garnered more than forty awards — including the George Polk Award and the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment. Stephen’s newest novel, UNIVERSE OF TWO, will be out May 5, 2020. He is also author of the novels THE CURIOSITY (now in television series development), THE BAKER’S SECRET (a regional Indie bestseller), and THE HUMMINGBIRD. He has also written two nonfiction books, LAST RIGHTS and AUTHENTIC PATRIOTISM. His work has been translated into many languages. Stephen was born in Newtonville, NY the sixth of seven children. A graduate of Middlebury College, he received a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has chaired the board of the Young Writers Project, served on the Vermont Legislative Committee on Pain and Palliative Care, and served on the advisory board of the New Hampshire Palliative Care Initiative. He has spoken and consulted around the country about hospice, palliative care and advance directives. A performer on the guitar since he was ten years old, Stephen has recorded 3 CDs of solo instrumentals, and composed music for dance, the stage and documentary films. He lives in Vermont with his two amazing sons.


Ken LiuKen Liu

Ken Liu is an American author of speculative fiction. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he wrote The Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (starting with The Grace of Kings), as well as The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories and The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. He also authored the Star Wars novel, The Legends of Luke Skywalker. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Liu frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, cryptocurrency, history of technology, bookmaking, the mathematics of origami, and other subjects of his expertise.


Catherine McKenzieCatherine McKenzie

Catherine McKenzie is the bestselling author of 10 novels, including Hidden, The Good Liar and I’ll Never Tell. Her most recent novel, I’ll Never Tell was a Globe & Mail bestseller, a #1 Amazon bestseller, was shortlisted for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was a Goodreads Nominee for the Best Thriller of 2019. She lives and writes in Montreal, Canada, where she is also a practicing lawyer.


Joanna SchaffhausenJoanna Schaffhausen

Joanna Schaffhausen has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. She has worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and 20/20. Her debut, The Vanishing Season, won the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/St. Martin’s Minotaur First Crime Novel Award. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter.


Newburyport Literary Festival, A Project of the Newburyport Literary Association
PO Box 268 Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465-1257