Skip to Main Content

2017 Writing Intensive Presenters and Bios


Laura Oliver

Writing Intensive Co-Creator

Writing Intensive Co-Creator Laura Oliver

Laura Oliver is the author of The Story Within: New Insights and Inspiration for Writers (Penguin Random House.) Already in seventh printing, “Story” was selected by “Poets and Writers Magazine as one of the 80 best writing books ever published and by “The Writer Magazine” as one of the ten best writing books of the year. Oliver has taught fiction and essay writing at the University of Maryland, The Writer’s Center and currently teaches writing workshops at St. John’s College. Oliver’s award-winning short stories and essays are published in national newspapers, magazines and top-tier literary reviews such as: The Washington Post, Country Living Magazine, The Writer Magazine, Glimmer Train Stories, The Sun Magazine, Charleston Magazine, Portland Magazine, and The Baltimore Review. Among other distinctions, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, the Anne Arundel County Arts Council Annie Award for Literary Achievement, two Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist awards, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

A developmental book project editor and writing mentor, Oliver holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College and has completed writing seminars in creative non-fiction at the University of Iowa.

Lynn Auld Schwartz

Writing Intensive Co-Creator

Writing Intensive Co-Creator Lynn Auld Schwartz

Lynn Auld Schwartz is a writer, story development editor, and has ghostwritten three books. Schwartz’s plays and staged readings have been performed in Atlanta and New York City, including the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. She founded the Temple Bar Literary Reading Series in New York City, which The Village Voice reviewed as “Lively lineups … always smart, never predictable.” Schwartz has received two Individual Artist Awards in Fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council and a 2014 Literary Arts Annie Award from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County. Her stories have appeared in literary journals and she has published numerous nonfiction lifestyle articles. She produces and directs the ongoing Page To Stage series in Annapolis, which offers adult and teen writers the opportunity to share their stories on stage. A graduate of The City College of New York, Columbia University, and acting conservatory, The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, Schwartz teaches fiction and memoir at St. John’s College, The Writer’s Center, and is a Guest Artist for Anne Arundel County’s Performing and Visual Arts High School Magnet Program.


James Allen Hall

Writing Instructor James Hall

James Allen Hall is the author of a collection of poetry, Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas, 2008). His book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well is just out from Cleveland State University Press. His poems and essays have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, American Poetry Review, Story Quarterly, Agni, Boston Review, New England Review, and Alaska Quarterly. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the NEA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. He teaches creative writing at Washington College, where he directs the Rose O’Neill Literary House. He divides his time between Chestertown and Baltimore.

For more information about​ James Allen Hall​, visit his profile page at Washington College’s website

Sam Horn

Writing Instructor Sam Horn

Sam Horn – CEO of the Intrigue Agency, TEDx speaker and author of POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? – helps people create one-of-a-kind projects that scale their influence – for good. Her work has been featured in New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes and on NPR and MSNBC. Her inspiring presentations receive raves from such clients as NASA, Accenture, National Geographic, Cisco, Boeing, Four Seasons Resorts and Capital One. As the Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises (which has helped female entrepreneurs receive $6.6 billion in funding) and the former Executive Director of the Maui Writers Conference, she’s helped hundreds of clients create quality books, presentations and funding pitches.

For more information about​ Sam Horn, visit

Caroline Preston

Writing Instructor Caroline Preston

Caroline Preston is the author of four novels – Jackie by Josie (a New York Times Notable Book), Lucy Crocker 2.0, Gatsby’s Girl, and the graphic novel, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, which won an Alex Award. Her new novel, The War Bride’s Scrapbook will be published by Ecco in November. She has collected antique scrapbooks since she was in high school, and has worked as an archivist at the Peabody/Essex Museum and Harvard University. She holds degrees from Dartmouth (BA) and Brown (MA, American Civilization). She and her husband, the writer Christopher Tilghman, live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information about her novels and vintage collections:

Eric Puchner

Writing Instructor Eric Puchner

Eric Puchner is the author of the story collection Music Through the Floor, a finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, and the novel Model Home, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and won a California Book Award. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in GQ, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope, Narrative, Glimmer Train, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. He has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2015 he was awarded the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, given annually to writers “of proven excellence in poetry or prose.” His new collection of stories, Last Day on Earth, will be published in February 2017. A professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Baltimore with his wife, the novelist Katharine Noel, and their two children.

For more information about​ Eric Puchner, visit

Christopher Scotton

Writing Instructor Christopher Scotton

Christopher Scotton is the author of the best-selling debut novel The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, selected as the #1 Indie Next pick by the American Booksellers Association. The novel was a semi-finalist for the Goodreads Book of the Year in both the Fiction and Debut categories as well as a finalist for the Pat Conroy Southern Fiction Prize. It was also chosen as an Amazon Featured Debut, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, an Editor’s Pick by the Chicago Tribune, an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times, and a New and Noteworthy Book by USA Today. In its starred review, Kirkus called it “Gut-wrenching...a powerful epic of people and place, loss and love, reconciliation and redemption.”
Scotton has been a carpenter, an amusement park ride operator, a kite flyer, a bouncer, a tennis racket stringer and CEO of a few technology companies. He lives near Washington D.C.

For more information about Christopher Scotton, visit

Christopher Tilghman

Writing Instructor Christopher Tilghman

Christopher Tilghman is the author of two short story collections, In a Father’s Place, and The Way People Run, and three novels, Mason’s Retreat, Roads of the Heart, and most recently, The Right-Hand Shore, which was named one of 100 notable books for 2012 by the New York Times Book Review. His short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker and in many literary quarterlies and anthologies, and has been translated into twelve foreign languages. Since 2001 he has been a Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He and his wife, the writer Caroline Preston, divide their time between Charlottesville, Virginia and Centreville, Maryland.

David Willman

Writing Instructor David Willman

David Willman is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and author of The Mirage Man, the groundbreaking account of the anthrax letter attacks. His most recent work has exposed the costly yet unreliable systems developed to counter bioterrorism and the threat of missile attacks by “rogue” nations. Willman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for articles that prompted the market withdrawal of Rezulin, a widely sold diabetes drug. His reports documenting widespread pharmaceutical industry payments to federal researchers also triggered a complete ban on such compensation at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Willman’s many national honors include the top award bestowed by Investigative Reporters and Editors, and, with colleagues, the George Polk Award. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

For more information about The Mirage Man: