SPEAKERS


Hugh Cook is emeritus professor of English at Redeemer University and earned an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. His poetry has been published in Canadian literary journals such as Quarry, Canadian Poetry, The Canadian Forum, Folio, and The University of Windsor Review. His stories have appeared in literary journals such as The Malahat Review, NeWest ReView, Wascana Review, Descant, Fiddlehead, and The Antigonish Review. His long works include the award-winning Heron River, The Homecoming Man, and Cracked Wheat. Hugh received the Leslie K. Tarr Award for outstanding contribution to Christian writing. 

Terri DeBoer For nearly 30 years, Meteorologist Terri DeBoer has provided the “wake-up weather” to viewers at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. In 2021, Terri’s first book was published: Brighter Skies Ahead; Forecasting A Full Life When You Empty The Nest. Terri has also partnered with Faith Hospice to co-author Grieving Well; A Healing Journey Through The Season of Grief, which is scheduled for release in February 2023. Most recently, Terri has also written a 366-Day Devotional for empty-nesters, scheduled for release in September 2023.

Leslie Leyland Fields is an international teacher, speaker, and the multi-award-winning author of hundreds of articles and 12 books including Your Story Matters, Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers, and Surviving the Island of Grace. Her book, Crossing the Waters, won Christianity Today’s Book of the Year in Christian Living. Her books have been translated into nine languages. She teaches writing extensively in undergraduate and graduate programs as well as in conferences, seminars, and retreats nationally and internationally. She also founded the Harvester Island Writers’ Workshop on her family’s Alaskan island with guest writers Philip Yancey, Ann Voskamp, Bret Lott, and others. (See leslieleylandfields.com.)

Linda Nemec Foster has published twelve collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from Gdansk, Talking Diamonds, and The Lake Michigan Mermaid (2019 Michigan Notable Book). Her work appears in magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, Nimrod, New American Writing, North American Review, Verse Daily, and the 2022 Best Small Fictions Anthology. She has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and awards from Arts Foundation of Michigan, National Writer’s Voice, Dyer-Ives Foundation, The Poetry Center (NJ), Fish Anthology (Ireland), and Academy of American Poets. Her 2021 book, The Blue Divide, was published by New Issues Press. A new collection of flash fiction, Bone Country, is forthcoming in 2023. The first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan (2003-2005), Foster is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College.

Patrice Gopo is an award-winning essayist and the author of books for adults and children. In her work, she often returns to themes of race, immigration, identity, and belonging. Her essay collection, All the Colors We Will See, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her debut picture book, All the Places We Call Home, was inspired by one of the essays in her collection. Her second essay collection will release with the University of Nebraska Press in autumn of 2023. Patrice lives with her family in North Carolina. Please visit www.patricegopo.com to learn more.

Kathleen Kerr is an editor, writer, speaker, and nonfiction agent. As an acquisitions editor for the nonfiction division at Harvest House Publishers, she works with new and bestselling authors, working to refine their messages and build their careers. Previously, she acquired children’s and tween books at Zondervan Publishing House, and worked as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. A graduate of Calvin University, Kerr speaks regularly at conferences around the country.


Andy Rogers has been in the book industry since 2008. He has served as an acquisitions editor and marketing manager at Harper Collins and Zondervan. Most recently, he founded Elwood House where he offers services in collaborative writing and publishing. He is the author of four books and an award-winning short story writer. His writing has been published in Splickety Magazine, on DailyScienceFiction.com, and on ElectricLiterature.com. Find more musings about what he reads and writes on Instagram @ALRstories.

Jon M. Sweeney has authored more than forty books, including Feed the Wolf and The Complete Francis of Assisi.

 He has served in different capacities from editor to publisher at Protestant, Jewish, Interfaith, and Catholic publishers since 1993 and is currently Editor at Large at Orbis Books. He’s been interviewed on WGN-TV, Fox News, and CBS Saturday Morning, and HBO optioned the film rights to his 2012 book on the medieval Pope Celestine V,  The Pope Who Quit.

 A practicing Catholic, Sweeney prays regularly with his wife, a congregational rabbi. In March 2023, the third collection of Jon's Meister Eckhart poem-meditations, coauthored with Mark S. Burrows, will be published by Hampton Roads: Meister Eckhart's Book of Darkness and Light.

Kevin Washburn. Ed.D. is a writer, runner, coach, and educator. He created the Foundations & Frameworks instructional reading program and the Writer's Stylus instructional writing program. Kevin is also the author of The Architecture of Learning: Designing Instruction for the Learning Brain. Living with his wife Julia, a fine art photographer, he finds joy in cycling, swimming, weight workouts, architecture, music, bookstores, and live theater. His latest book, Uprise: Building Resilience in Ourselves & Others, will be released in May, 2024.


Vinita Hampton Wright has a thirty-year career as a book editor and author. She has presented retreats on creativity, writing, Ignatian spirituality, and prayer. An author of three novels and numerous nonfiction, she serves as a freelance editor and a spiritual director. Her work includes The Soul Tells a Story (InterVarsity Press) and The Art of Spiritual Writing (Loyola Press). Her latest book is Set the World on Fire: a 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church (Ave Maria, 2022).