Keynote Speaker : Diane Chamberlain


Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Influenced by her former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she writes suspenseful stories that touch both heart and mind.


Authors and Presenters (More authors and bios will added soon! Children’s authors TBA.)

Marcus Amaker

In 2016, Marcus was named Charleston, South Carolina’s Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate as appointed by Mayor John Tecklenburg. His seventh book, Mantra, is also an app, featuringaudio, video and new poems. Marcus’ poems have been featured on TEDx, PBS Newshour PBS Newshour, A&E, the Huffington Post, several journals and poetry collections

Johnathon Scott Barrett

Johnathon Scott Barrett, author of two memoirs of Southern food, is a seventh-generation Georgian, and grew up amongst a family that placed high value on fresh, farm-to-table food. He has held onto those roots and become a renowned cook and host in culinary rich Savannah, Georgia.

Jack Barksy

Jack Barsky, author of  Deep Under Cover, was born and raised in East Germany shortly after World War .He was recruited by the KGB and operated as an undercover agent in the US for 10 years. After “resigning” from the KGB he was eventually found by the FBI – he fully co-operated with the FBI and today is a legitimate naturalist US citizen.


Kenn Bivens

Charmain Brackett

Charmain Zimmerman Brackett has been intrigued by mystery stories from her earliest encounter with Nancy Drew novels. A veteran journalist with The Augusta Chronicle, she has written several novels as well as children’s stories including the 2015 Georgia Author of The Year Award for her book, Little Pearl’s Circus World. Her mystery series, Grace’s Augusta Mysteries, is set in her hometown of Augusta, Ga.

Emily Carpenter

Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of two thrillers, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies (June 6). After graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Visit Emily at

Anthony Carter 

Augusta’s former poet laureate

Stephen Corey

Stephen Corey is the editor of The Georgia Review, with which he has worked since 1983. He is the author of ten poetry collections, including The Last Magician (1983) and There Is No Finished World (2003), and most recently published his first prose collection, Startled at the Big Sound: Essays Personal, Literary, and Cultural (Mercer U. Press, 2017). Some three hundred of his poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of periodical and anthologies, and he has edited or coedited four literary anthologies in three genres. Born in Buffalo and reared in Jamestown, NY, Corey holds English degrees from Harpur College/Binghamton Univ. (BA, MA) and the Univ. of Florida (PhD).

Christine Hurley Deriso

Julia Franks

Julia Franks is the author of Over the Plain Houses (Hub City Press), an NPR best book of 2016, winner of the Southern Book Prize, the IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction and the Georgia Author of the Year in Literary Fiction. She has roots in the Southeastern mountains, but grew up mostly on army bases. An outdoors-woman, she has spent years kayaking the rivers and creeks of Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. She lives in Atlanta and runs an ed-tech company called, a social media site that makes it easy for schools to manage students’ independent reading choices and track those choices from year to year (all part of her fiendish crusade to get more Americans reading).

James Garvey

Karin Gillespie

Karin Gillespie is the author of seven novels and received a Georgia Author of the Year award in 2016. She’s also written for the New York Times, Washington Post and Writer Magazine. She writes a book column for the Augusta Chronicle and a humor column for Augusta Magazine.

John Jeter

After a 10-year run at the Chicago Sun-TimesSt. Petersburg Times, and other newspapers, John Jeter opened The Handlebar, a concert venue in Greenville, S.C. As talent buyer, he booked unknowns (at the time) like John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, and Sugarland, while promoting the likes Joan Baez, John Hiatt, and Maynard Ferguson. He published all that madness in his memoir, ROCKIN’ A HARD PLACE (Hub City Press), now using it as a textbook for his Music Business class at Converse College.


Sasscer Hill

Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin is author of This Gladdening Light: An Ecology of Fatherhood and Faith, published this year by Mercer University Press. This Gladdening Light, Martin’s debut, received the Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction and has been featured in the AJC and Arts Atlanta. Martin’s creative nonfiction and poetry have been published in journals and media across the country. He teaches English at Kennesaw State University and creative nonfiction for the Appalachian Young Writers Workshop. Find him online at

Man Martin

Man Martin is a two-time winner of Georgia Author the Year for his novels, Days of the Endless Corvette and Paradise Dogs. Booklist calls his third novel, The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome, a “singular joy.”  In addition to writing, he draws an online comic strip, Inkwell Forest, available at his blog, Man Overboard, at


James D. McCallister

James D. McCallister is the author of three Southern literary novels, a baker’s dozen of short stories, and a variety of creative nonfiction publications. An adjunct in creative writing at Midlands Technical College, McCallister lives in West Columbia, SC with his wife and six beloved cats, muses all.

Bren McClain

Bren McClain is a writer, who never gave up. After winning a handful of awards over the last two decades for novel excerpts and short stories, her literary novel, ONE GOOD MAMA BONE, found a home with Pat Conroy’s Story River Books and was published in February. She is at work on her next novel, TOOK, which was named the gold medal winner for the 2016 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress.

Hildie McQueen

USA Today Bestselling author Hildie McQueen loves unusual situations and getting into interesting adventures. Romance Author of Highland historical, Western Historical and contemporary, she writes something every reader can enjoy.

Jim Minick

Jim Minick is the author of five books, including the novel Fire Is Your Water and The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family, winner of the SIBA Best Nonfiction Book of the Year Award. His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of English at Augusta University and Core Faculty at Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.

Tom Okie

William Thomas Okie grew up in the Georgia peach belt, studied history at Covenant College and the University of Georgia, and serves as associate editor of the journal Agricultural History and Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University. He lives with his family in unincorporated Cobb County, Georgia. The Georgia Peach is his first book.

Stacia Pelletier

Stacia Pelletier is the author of Accidents of Providence (2012) and The Half Wives (2017).  She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband Mark and their border collie Scout.  A finalist for the Townsend Prize in Fiction, Pelletier holds graduate degrees in theology and religion from Emory University, where she currently works as chief writer for the president.

Willie Perkins

Willie Perkins, author of  No Saints, No Saviors: My Years With The Allman Brothers Band, was born and raised in Augusta, was educated in the Richmond County public school system and briefly attended Augusta College. He graduated with a BBA degree from the University of Georgia and a Commercial Banking degree from the American Institute of Banking. He worked as a commercial bank auditor in Augusta and Atlanta before becoming tour manager and co-personal manager of Gregg Allman and The Allman Brothers Band. He now lives in Macon, Georgia.

William Rawlings

William Rawlings is a sixth-generation resident of Washington County, Georgia.  He is the author of eight books, including five novels and three works of non-fiction in the field of Southern history.  Rawlings attended Emory and Johns Hopkins Universities, and holds graduate degrees from Tulane and Mercer Universities.  Learn more at

Larissa Reinhart

A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and the Maizie Albright Star Detective series. Her books have been a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, lived in Nagoya, Japan, but just moved back to Peachtree City, Georgia. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit herwebsite,, and find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads. She loves to chat with readers

Anna Schachner

A former music journalist, Anna Schachner has published short fiction and nonfiction in many journals and magazines, including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review,The Sun, The Guardian, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.You and I and Someone Else, her first novel, was released by Mercer University Press in April 2017. She is a longstanding guest lecturer in Emory University’s creative writing program, directs the Townsend Prize for Fiction, runs a series of writing workshops for veterans, and volunteers with Reforming Arts to teach writing in the Georgia prison system.  Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and now lives in Atlanta, where she is the editor of The Chattahoochee Review. Visit her at


Kimberly Simms

Michael Buffalo Smith

Michael Buffalo Smith ( is an author hailing from Spartanburg, SC. He has penned several non-fiction titles including his latest Capricorn Rising: Conversations in Southern Rock (Mercer University Press). Smith is also editor of Kudzoo Magazine (, a musician, and the founder of The Southern Rock Hall of Fame (

Christopher Swann

A graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, Christopher Swann, author of Shadow of the Lions, earned a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University, an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Georgia State University. He has won awards and recognition from GSU, Washington and Lee University, and the Heekin Group Foundation’s Tara Fellowship for Short Fiction. He lives with his wife and two sons in Atlanta, where he is the English department chair at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

Michel Stone

Michel Stone is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Iguana Tree (Hub City Press, 2012) and Border Child (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2017) as well as numerous stories and essays. Both of her novels have been optioned for film. She lives in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and children and she is at work on her third novel.

Deno Trakas

George Van Giesen

Richard Wall

Richard “Dick” Wall’s mission has been speaking about his wife’s memoir, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, since her death in December 2014. Wall carries on the message of Carol F. Wall’s critically-acclaimed story of two unlikely friends affirming life while facing illness and death. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and University of Virginia School of Law, and he and Carol were married for 42 years. They have three adult children and five grandchildren. Wall lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

Daren Wang

Daren Wang is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. Before launching the festival, he had a twenty-year career in public radio, both national and local, with a particular focus on books and authors. Wang has written for the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPaste magazine, and Five Points magazine, among others. The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is his first novel.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Karen Spears Zacharias is a Gold Star daughter whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, and Good Morning America. Her novel, MOTHER OF RAIN (Mercer University Press), was adapted for the stage by Paul Pierce of Georgia’s historic Springer Theater. CHRISTIAN BEND is the third book in the Appalachian series.