Weekend With Your Novel: Speakers

Instructors and critique workshop leaders

Christopher Chambers (MFA, University of Alabama) is an author (Delta 88), an editor (Black Warrior Review, 1994-199; New Orleans Review, 1999-2012), and has taught creative writing for over 20 years. He is managing editor of Midwest Review, teaches workshops in Madison, and directs the annual Weekend With Your Novel conference.

Christine Desmet (MA, UW-Madison) is a novelist and short story writer, screenwriter, and writing teacher at UW-Madison where she specializes in one-on-one coaching of writers. Christine’s latest projects include a best-selling, 3-book cozy mystery series for Penguin Random House called the Fudge Shop Mystery Series, set in Door County, Wisconsin. Christine’s previous novel, a romantic suspense, Spirit Lake, was an award-winning, best-selling novel for publisher Hard Shell Word Factory/Mundania Press. Also a short fiction writer, her humorous romantic mystery series set in Wisconsin appeared in 2 volumes:  Mischief in Moonstone, and Men of Moonstone. Christine is a past winner of the Slamdance Film Festival and optioned that screenplay to New Line Cinema. She’s a member of Writers Guild of America, East; Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum; Romance Writers of America; Sisters in Crime; Mystery Writers of America; and Jewels of the Quill. Her stage play, “Climax!,” about a struggling writer, was a top-10 finalist in a Wisconsin Wrights New Play Contest. In 2014, Christine received the UW-Madison Robert and Carroll Heideman Award for Excellence in Public Service and Outreach.

Ron Kuka (MFA, University of Iowa) has been the Creative Writing Program Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for over 20 years. His stories had appeared in Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, Toyon, and Pavement. His teaching has been recognized with the Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Kristin Oakley (JD, UW-Madison) is a freelance writer, past president of the professional writers' organization In Print, and a board member of the Chicago Writers Association. She has led a wide variety of writing workshops and critiqued other writers' work extensively. She is the author of the novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois, and teaches for UW-Madison Continuing Studies.

Angela Rydell (MFA, Warren Wilson College) has taught creative writing workshops throughout Madison. Her work has been published in Alaska Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Poets & Writers, and other journals, and she won Portland Review’s inaugural Flash Fiction Friday contest. She received honorable mention in the New Millennium Writings Awards Flash Fiction Contest, and was a finalist American Short(er) Fiction Prize and Gray Sparrow Flash Fiction Contest. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and teaches for the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. Her flash fiction can be read in Indiana Review, Gulf Stream, NANO Fiction and other journals, and she was interviewed on radio station WUWM for Lake Effect's Flash Fiction Friday.

Kathy Steffen’s novels have won numerous awards, including the CRW Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Best Historical Fiction. Her books have been finalists in the IPA Benjamin Franklin Awards and at the London Book Festival. She is the author of the Spirit of the River Series: First, There is a River; Jasper Mountain; and Theater of Illusion. In addition to published articles and essays on writing, Kathy's short fiction has appeared in anthologies and online. Kathy speaks at writing programs across the country and has taught at AllWriters' Workshops, the University of Wisconsin’s Writers’ Institute, Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat, Rhinelander School of the Arts, and online at the How to Write Shop. She teaches in person and online with students from across the globe, and her book on writing, Storyography: Mastering the Art of Writing Unforgettable Fiction is coming out this year.

Tim Storm (MFA, Pacific Univ) has taught literature and writing for 14 years, working closely with both fabulist and realist writers. His work was chosen as Pacific University’s sole fiction entry in the 2011 AWP Intro Journals Project, “a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works” by MFA candidates, and he's the winner of the 2013 Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award for the title story from his MFA thesis: Creatures of the Deep.