Author Spotlights and Interviews


The talent at the Santa Fe Writers Project is consistently stellar. Learn about our fabulous authors and see how they fit into the SFWP family below.

SFWP Authors

Randon Billings Noble, January 2018

How the moon feels and the balance of writing

Essayist Randon Billings Noble is featured as one of the outstanding contributors in the inaugural issue of the SFWP Annual, a new release from the Santa Fe Writers Project whose debut on October 1, 2017 in print and eBook format everywhere books are sold showcases some of the moving work from past issues of the SFWP Quarterly, SFWP’s online literary magazine that’s been running since 2002 […]

Sadie Hoagland, November 2017


Science and the supernatural at war in Sadie Hoagland’s “Dementia, 1692”

The thrill of the supernatural surrounds Sadie Hoagland’s short story “Dementia, 1692.” This historical fiction is set against the backdrop of the Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts, where a young girl struggles with her own identity as suspicion and paranoia grow amongst her neighbors […]

Kayleigh Wanzer, November 2017

On transforming the personal into the universal

Kayleigh Wanzer sees writing creative nonfiction as a cathartic process. From drafting and revising to editing, “the experience becomes less about what I went through and more about what is on the page.”

Wanzer’s creative nonfiction piece “Thirteen Weeks” is part of the Santa Fe Writers Project’s latest book release, the inaugural SFWP Annual, an anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction collected from SFWP’s online journal the SFWP Quarterly. “Thirteen Weeks” navigates the difficulties of passionate break-ups and the social fallout of abortion […]

Bonnie Chau, October 2017

Bonnie Chau, Grand Prize Winner of the 2040 Books Literary Awards Program, Talks Sex and Identity

Author Bonnie Chau won the grand prize in the inaugural 2040 Books Contest with her gripping short story collection All Roads Lead to Blood. Contest judge Mat Johnson wrote of Chau’s work: “Chau’s voice is consistently strong, the stories tense, and honestly I’m surprised a corporate publisher hasn’t snatched this collection up already.” All Roads Lead to Blood will be published by 2040 Books in fall 2018 […]

Samantha Edmonds, October 2017

On the choose-your-own-adventure style and the “breakdown of control”

Samantha Edmonds is featured as one of the all-star contributors in the inaugural issue of the SFWP Annual, a new release from the Santa Fe Writers Project whose debut on October 1 in print and eBook format everywhere books are sold showcases some of the spectacular work highlighted in past issues of the SFWP Quarterly, SFWP’s online literary magazine that has been running since 2002 […]

Atossa Shafaie, October 2017

Atossa Shafaie and the inspiration of home

Author and editor Atossa Shafaie is one of the featured contributors in the inaugural issue of the SFWP Annual, a new anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction from the Santa Fe Writers Project that just hit the shelves in print and electronic format everywhere books are sold. The Annual brings together a group of authors who have been featured in issues of the SFWP Quarterly. This online lit zine has been running since 2002, and the Annual curates pieces since its latest iteration in 2015 […]

Elizabeth Hazen, March 2016


On mercy and forgiveness: Q&A with Elizabeth Hazen

Where is your usual starting point – in research, an image, the middle of a story, an outline?

The place a poem begins varies for me. In some poems, like “Burning Trash,” I begin with an image – in that case, the image was of a fire burning inside an old dishwasher in the middle of the woods […]

Daniel M. Ford, January 2016

On building a bridge: Q & A with Daniel M. Ford

Name your favorite books in the fantasy genre

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. When I first read this book I was very much taken with the idea that fantasy was separate from literature and that you couldn’t do both at the same time unless your name was Tolkien. Kay’s work absolutely shattered that notion for me […]



Tara Laskowski, January 2016

On love and violence: Q & A with Tara Laskowski

One piece of advice you never follow and why.

Write every day.

I’d love to write every day. I’d love to have a regular schedule and clock in and clock out as a writer. But in the same way I’d love to have a clean desk, it’s never worked for me. I work best in chaos, oddly […]

Brandon Wicks, January 2016

On the Burdens of Family Mythology: Q & A with Brandon Wicks

What book is currently on your nightstand?

For about a month now, I’ve had Vehlmann, Kerascoët, and Dascher’s Beautiful Darkness by my bedside. One can read the entire thing in about fifteen minutes, but I find myself picking it up every few nights to re-examine a particular page or panel. It’s a gorgeous interplay of innocent cartoons, naturalistic watercolors, and sinister social machinations […]

Daniel M. Ford, April 2014

A Conversation with Dan Ford, author of Ordination by Sheila Lamb

Dan Ford’s trilogy will be released by Santa Fe Writer’s Project in 2016. We discussed his writing process, poetry, and prose.

SL: Your novel, Ordination, the first in the Paladin trilogy, is set to publish with SFWP in 2016. How did you discover SFWP?

DF: I was alerted to it by fellow George Mason MFA alum (and outstanding writer) Rion Scott when SFWP said it wanted to get behind a fantasy series. He knew I was writing one, sent me a link, I sent a query and here we are […]

Ray Robertson, February 2008


Writing as inimitable music: Q&A with Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson graduated from the University of Toronto with High Distinction with a B.A. in philosophy and later gained an M.F.A. in creative writing from Southwest Texas State University. He is the author of the novels Home MoviesHeroesMoody FoodGently Down the Stream, and What Happened Later, as well as a collection of non-fiction, Mental Hygiene: Essays on Writers and Writing. He is a contributing book reviewer to the Toronto Globe and Mail, appears regularly CBC’s Talking Books, and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies […]

Alan Cheuse, January 2008

Draft after draft after draft

From acclaimed author Alan Cheuse, Santa Fe Writers Project presents two novellas of compelling intensity. In “The Fires,” Gina Morgan makes a pilgrimage to Uzbekistan to carry out her husband’s final wish only to discover that in this former Soviet republic things are not as they used to be. And in “The Exorcism,” Tom Swanson retrieves his angry daughter from her exclusive New England college after her expulsion for setting fire to a grand piano […]

Literary Awards Program Winners and Finalists

Wendy J. Fox, December 2017


Grand prize winner Wendy J. Fox on being compelled to write but constrained by time

Wendy J. Fox is the breakout star of the 2017 Literary Awards Program and this year’s grand prize winner for her manuscript, If the Ice Had Held, chosen by judge Benjamin Percy. If the Ice Had Held is set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Even families who seem normal on the surface have secrets, and for her entire life, Melanie Richardson’s family has hidden from her the story of her birth and her true parents […]

Kate Wisel, December 2017

Seeing pain as a wild animal

In the midst of hundreds of submissions to the 2017 Literary Awards Program, Kate Wisel’s manuscript Driving in Cars with Homeless Men caught the eye of judge Benjamin Percy. Wisel’s work, a linked short story collection, was selected as one of two runners-up in the contest. The Boston-bred girls in these stories learn to know themselves only through their connections with each other. Like pool balls, they break apart to come back together again […]

Doug Crandell, November 2017


Writing when there are bills to pay: An exchange with author Doug Crandell

This year’s Literary Awards Program had stiff competition and stellar manuscripts for judge Benjamin Percy to review. Author Doug Crandell placed as one of two runners-up for his manuscript Tornado Season. This gritty tragicomic memoir spans three decades in Indiana, while the Crandell family works fast food, farms, and factories in a grueling attempt to reach their dreams. In the tradition of hardscrabble memoirs, Crandell unravels a time and past that has placed its indelible footprint firmly on our present lives […]

Stephen G. Eoannou, June 2017

Stephen G. Eoannou on rust belt influences

Stephen Eoannou won the fiction award in the 2013 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award Program for his short story collection Muscle Cars, which has central themes of “loss, leaving, and of economic realities hitting home.” Growing up in Buffalo, NY, in the 1970s when factories started shutting down and people began moving away, Eoannou has experienced these Rust Belt themes firsthand […]

Jeff Fearnside, June 2017

Q&A with Jeff Fearnside: Omnivorous with inspiration

Jeff Fearnside is interested in almost everything and works in many genres. Glad he can live vicariously through research and character development, he allows pieces to determine their own form, whether poetry, short fiction, long fiction, or essay. An avid teacher and traveler, Fearnside is as passionate about learning and experiencing new things as he is about writing […]

Charlotte Gullick, May 2017


Charlotte Gullick on speaking for the forgotten

Charlotte Gullick is inspired “by the stories of people who don’t often see themselves reflected in the dominant culture,” she says. “For me, this often means rural folks.” More than one reviewer has aligned Gullick’s work with Steinbeck’s in terms of her interest in writing about social change and shining a light on people hidden in the dark […]

Angie Chuang, April 2017

Angie Chuang on American otherness

The Four Words for Home, a memoir by Angie Chuang, was a Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards winner in 2011. The book also won the 2013 Willow Books Literature Awards grand prize in 2013 and was published by Willow’s imprint, Aquarius Press, in 2014. The story is tied to Chuang’s background as a journalist as well as to her own cultural heritage. She worked for many years as a newspaper reporter and is on the journalism faculty of the American University School of Communication in Washington, DC […]

K. L. Cook, March 2017

K. L. Cook on drama, family, and home

In 2002, Kenny Cook, who publishes as K. L., won the Santa Fe Writers Project (SFWP) Literary Award for his debut collection of linked short stories, Last Callinspired by “a compulsion to tell the stories of my own haunted, conflicted, fragile family members,” he says. “Winning the SFWP contest contributed to my getting an agent and helped provide some validation for my work, which in turn has led to other writing and publishing opportunities […]

Ira Sukrungruang, March 2017

Ira Sukrungruang: Examining Thai-American identity through poetry and prose

Ira Sukrungruang won the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award in 2000 for his memoir, Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boyin which he both humorously and painfully conveys what it was like growing up as a first-generation American with Thai parents, balancing his family’s cultural past with a new world, straddling countries, languages, identities, and traditions. Author Kalia Yang called the book, “a rich contribution to the voices that create the language of America’s immigrant population.” […]

Genaro K? Lý Smith, February 2017

Genaro K? Lý Smith: Writing stories of Vietnam for his America and beyond

In 2007, Genaro K? Lý Smith took second place in the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program for his short story, “Dailies.” Since then, he has published two books, the first of which, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wiveswas inspired by his grandfather. “Had I not learned about him, his story of being an aristocrat and an officer for the South Vietnamese Army and having seven wives would have been lost,” Smith says. “I had to ask myself, how can someone, anyone, allow that story to die?” […]

A. A. Balaskovits, February 2016

Profile of grand prize winner A. A. Balaskovits

A.A. Balaskovits is the Grand Prize winner of SFWP’s 2015 Literary Awards Program for her book of stories Magic for Unlucky Girls, a collection that consists largely of re-imaginings of fairy tales, “though one is a retelling of Superman and one the Garden of Eden,” she says. “They’re the kind of fairy tales I wish I had read when I was a child.” Balaskovits has been working on the stories for nearly nine years, writing new material and culling old, shaping the work and letting the theme of the book evolve […]

Elizabeth Horneber, February 2016


Profile of 2015 finalist Elizabeth Horneber

Elizabeth Horneber is the first runner-up of SFWP’s 2015 Literary Awards Program for her book Chinese Red, a collection of connected essays about a girl who leaves home, falls for a country and a man, and then struggles to make sense of things when the relationship fails. Horneber grew up in a suburb of Rochester, New York, and now lives in Mankato, Minnesota, where she moved to attend Bethany Lutheran College as an undergraduate. What happened next helped inspire her entry […]

Lisa Reisman, February 2016

Profile of 2013 finalist Lisa Reisman

Higher education? Check. Professional law career? Been there, done that. Successful career change? Piece of cake. Marathon? No problem. Published memoirist? Yes, Lisa Reisman has achieved that, too. Her personal and professional resumes speak volumes about her drive to live a life of purpose and passion […]

Stephen G. Eoannou, October 2015

Profile of Stephen G. Eoannou, 2013 fiction finalist

Stephen G. Eoannou grabbed second prize in the 2013 Awards Program with his remarkable story collection Muscle Cars. Judge David Morrell said of Eoannou’s work: “These stories brim with sense details, giving them a multi-dimensional feel…I believed in these characters. I care what happened to them. I was moved.” […]

April L. Ford, October 2015

Profile of 2013 grand prize winner April L. Ford

April L. Ford received the grand prize for fiction in 2013 from judge David Morrell. April grew up in Quebec and her collection of short stories, The Poor Children, has seen a strong debut since it was released this last spring. She’s gone on to win the Pushcart Prize for “Project Fumarase” and will be featured in their upcoming collection. April has spent time at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts as a Robert Johnson Fellow, and at Ucross Foundation as a Writer in Residence. She is managing editor of Digital Americana Magazine and teaches writing at State University of New York at Oneonta […]

Tara Laskowski, October 2015

Profile of Tara Laskowski, 2010 grand prize winner

Tara Laskowski walked away with the grand prize in our 2010 program, selected by judge Robert Olen Butler. She grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and now lives near DC. Her first publication, via Matter Press in 2012, was the indie best-seller Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons. In 2016, SFWP will be publishing her collection of short stories, Bystanders […]

Allen Gee, October 2015

Profile of 2013 fiction finalist Allen Gee

Publishing Allen Gee’s collection of essays, My Chinese-America, was a very new experience for SFWP. Our catalog has always tended more towards literary fiction and, when Gee took the second place prize in the 2013 Awards Program, judged by Lee Gutkind, we weren’t sure if we could support the title. Turns out, we had nothing to worry about. Gee’s work has flown off the shelves and is making an impact on everyone who picks it up […]

Charlotte Gullick, October 2015

Profile of 2001 grand prize winner Charlotte Gullick

Charlotte is a novelist, essayist, editor, educator and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Austin Community College. A first-generation college graduate, she received her AA with High Honors from Santa Rosa Junior College, a BA with Honors in Literature/Creative Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a MA in English/Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis […]

Annita Perez Sawyer, October 2015

Profile of 2013 grand prize winner for nonfiction Annita Perez Sawyer

Dr. Annita Perez Sawyer’s harrowing yet redeeming memoir took the 2013 Awards Program by storm. Her story was searingly powerful, and it stuck with everyone who looked at it. The nonfiction judge, Lee Gutkind, said that “readers will be riveted from beginning to end.” And they have been. Sawyer sold out her first print run before the book was released […]

Stephen G. Eoannou, October 2013


An interview with Steve Eoannou, 2013 fiction finalist

Introducing Steve Eoannou, one of SFWP’s 2013 Fiction Finalists! His collection, Muscle Cars, will be published by SFWP in 2015 […]


Mary Quade, December 2013

A Conversation with Mary Quade, 2013 Literary Awards Program Finalist

Mary Quade, finalist in SFWP’s 2013 Literary Awards Program for Nonfiction, is also a poet. We discussed writing essays and poetry […]

Annita Perez Sawyer, December 2013

A conversation with Annita Sawyer, 2013 Literary Awards Program Winner for Nonfiction

Annita Sawyer’s memoir  Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass is a gripping and moving account of her experiences in psychiatric hospitals. She shares her experiences and writing process with us […]


Allen Gee, December 2013

A conversation with Allen Gee, 2013 Literary Awards Program finalist

We had the opportunity to ask Allen Gee, 2013 Literary Awards Program finalist, a few questions about writing. His book, My Chinese-America, will be published by SFWP in 2015 […]


April L. Ford, October 2013

Grand prize winner April L. Ford on writing, contests, and occasional misspellings

Sheila Lamb: Your short story collection, The Poor Children, won the 2013 Literary Awards Program. How did you discover the SFWP’s Literary Awards Program?

April Ford: I had signed up via Facebook and Twitter for SFWP updates, and I confess to having submitted The Poor Children with no hopes of even making the longlist. Literary awards contests are chock-full of amazing writers and amazing manuscripts, and I still can’t effectively communicate how surprised and honored and thrilled I am! […]

Tara Laskowski, October 2013

Tara Laskowski: Author, editor, and 2010 SFWP Literary Awards Program winner

I chatted with 2010 Literary Award Program Winner Tara Laskowski, who shared her insights on the contest, flash fiction, and novels […]



Daniel Mueller, October 2013

Interview with Daniel Mueller, 2013 finalist in fiction

Sheila Lamb: Your short story collection, Nights I Dreamed of Hubert Humphrey , published by Outpost 19, was a finalist for the 2013 Literary Awards Program. What made you decide to enter SFWP’s Literary Awards Program?

Daniel Mueller: For better or worse, writers today must promote their work more than writers of previous generations, and I hoped that by entering Nights I Dreamed of Hubert Humphrey in Santa Fe Writers’ Project Literary Awards Program it might receive a little extra attention.  When it appeared on the long list of finalists and then the short list, I thought my objective realized.  I certainly didn’t expect it to be one of three winning entries.  I’m grateful and humbled by this award […]

Friends of SFWP

Brad Windhauser, October 2016

“You have to learn to listen”: An interview with Author Brad Windhauser

In this issue of the SFWP Quarterly, intern Teresa Staiano interviews author Brad Windhauser, whose story “Hope” was published by SFWP in 2013, and whose novel The Intersection was recently released from Black Rose Writing. Originally from Southern California, Brad lives in Philadelphia. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and is an Associate Professor (Teaching/Instruction) of writing at Temple University […]

Robin Slick, January 2005


The graphic sex interview with Robin Slick by Alan C. Baird

Robin Slick, the author of Three Days in New York City (a “hilariously poignant sexual romp through the Big Apple”), attempts to fend off a persistent stalker during the following exchange.

ACB: Your book is pretty steamy. Is it a kiss-and-tell?

RS: Kissing? There was no kissing. There were crops and clamps and bondage tape, but nope, no kissing […]

Jason Headley, September 2004

Beating small town odds: An interview with Jason Headley by Lonnie Martin

From ad man to rock band, Jason Headley has always found himself doing the unexpected, but no role he’s played has been as exciting to him as that of soon-to-be published author. On October 1, his debut novel, Small Town Odds, is released nationwide […]

Leonard Kress, March 2004


Interview with poet Leonard Kress by Ryan Sparks

Franklin Street Noise is proud to present its first interview. Poet Leonard Kress took the time to talk with me about his latest publication, Orphics, the importance of classical knowledge, transcending the status quo in contemporary American poetry, and the tricky path a translator-poet walks […]

Richard Currey, March 2003

A conversation with Richard Currey by Andrew Gifford

Andrew Gifford of the Santa Fe Writers Project joined Richard Currey in January 2003 for a conversation about the writing life: “musical” composition, the genetic need for stories, Currey’s “holistic” view of literature’and superstition. […]


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