Our roster of speakers and teachers changes each year, so that we can represent a robust mix of publications and offer skills workshops taught by the best instructors in the field. Here is a brief introduction to each speaker, with full bios posted below.


2016 Roster of speakers

  • Chris Ballard, author of four books, senior writer at Sports Illustrated, and Lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Jacqui Banaszynski, Pulitzer Prize winning writer, professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute
  • John Bennet, senior editor, for more than three decades, at the The New Yorker
  • Sarah Crichton, publisher, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • Tom Curwen, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, Pulitzer Prize finalist for feature writing
  • Deirdre Englishformer editor in chief, Mother Jones; professor at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and director of the Clay Felker Magazine Center
  • McKenzie Funk, cofounder of the journalism cooperative Deca; national magazine writer and author of Windfall, winner of a 2015 PEN Literary Award
  • Anna Ghosh, longtime literary agent and founder of Ghosh Literary in San Francisco
  • Constance Hale, author of new book on Hawaiian culture (The Natives Are Restless) and three books on literary style, including Sin and Syntax
  • Richard Koci Hernandez, Assistant Professor of New Media and Emmy-award winning multimedia producer; co-author of The Principles of Multimedia Journalism
  • Adam Hochschild, author of eight books, including the most recent, Spain in Our Hearts; teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Vanessa HuaSan Francisco Chronicle columnist and freelance journalist on Asia and the diaspora; author of short-story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities
  • Jennifer Kahn, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine; teaches narrative writing and editing at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Jamilah King, New York-based writer; senior staff writer at Mic; former senior editor at Colorlines
  • Mark Kramer, co-editor, Telling True Storiesjournalism department writer-in-residence, Boston University; founding director, the Power of Narrative conference
  • James Marcus, editor in chief at Harper’s Magazine; translator of many works and author of Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot-Com Juggernaut
  • Rubén Martínez, Emmy-award winning journalist; author of four books, including Desert America; teaches at Loyola Marymount and Stanford Universities
  • Peggy OrensteinNew York Times best-selling author of Girls & Sex, among other books, and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine
  • Paul Reyes, editor of VQR and author of Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession
  • Mark Robinson, editor in chief at Epic, former executive editor at Wired
  • Jeremy Rue, Assistant Dean for Academics, Emmy-nominated multimedia producer; co-author of The Principles of Multimedia Journalism
  • Jennifer Sahn, executive editor at the Pacific Standard and former editor at Orion
  • Keris Salmon, former longform news producer for NBC, ABC, and PBS; visual journalist and creator of photography-and-text series “We Have Made These Lands What They Are
  • Lakshmi Sarah, producer, educator, and writer whose work has appeared in Yes! Magazine, Makeshift Magazine, KQED, AJ+ and Fusion
  • Mark Schapiroenvironmental journalist for magazines and PBS’ Frontline/World; author of three books, including Carbon Shock; lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Barry SiegelPulitzer Prize–winning former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times; author of seven books; director of Literary Journalism Program at UC Irvine
  • Julia Flynn Silerveteran journalist and author of The House of Mondavi and Lost Kingdom; she has received an NEH Public Scholar grant for the narrative history Daughters of Joy
  • Jon Steinberg, editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and group editor of Silicon Valley magazine
  • Danielle SvetcovSan Francisco-based literary agent with Levine-Greenberg-Rostan, NYC
  • David Talbot, author of three bestsellers, founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, and founder of Hot Books, an imprint publishing short books on burning topics
  • Alex Tizon, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the memoir Big Little Man; instructor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
  • Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, freelance writer, educator, and contributor to NBC News Asian America
  • Ted Weinstein, literary agent and founder, Ted Weinstein Literary Management
  • Amy Wilentz, journalist, novelist, and author of two major books on Haiti; teaches in Literary Journalism Program at UC Irvine


Speaker bios

Chris Ballard, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, is the author of four books, including One Shot at Forever, which won an Alex Award, and Mourning Glory, which is currently in development at Lionsgate. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Magazine Writing and The Best American Sports Writing. He is a Lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Jacqui Banaszynski is a veteran newspaper journalist who teaches around the world. She is a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and a faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute. She won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing and was a 1986 Pulitzer finalist in international reporting. Projects she has edited have won national awards for business, investigative, social issues, environmental, human interest, and sports reporting.

John Bennet joined the staff of The New Yorker as a copy editor. In 1980, he became a senior editor. He teaches profile writing and magazine writing at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. The writers he has worked with most closely over the years include Pauline Kael, Elizabeth Drew, William Finnegan, Ben McGrath, James B. Stewart, Seymour M. Hersh, Oliver Sacks, John McPhee, Michael Specter, Lauren Collins, Sasha Frere-Jones, Eric Schlosser, and Elizabeth Kolbert.

Sarah Crichton is the publisher of Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Since its inception in 2007, the imprint has published an impressive line of fiction and nonfiction, including former child soldier Ishmael Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone; David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers; Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook; Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour Of Land; and Dominic Smith’s The Last Painting of Sara De Vos. Crichton has also co-written several books, including A Mighty Heart, with Mariane Pearl, an account of the kidnapping of journalist Danny Pearl.

Thomas Curwen is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. He was part of the team of reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, and in 2008, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer for his story about a father and daughter who were attacked by a grizzly bear in Montana. Formerly, he was editor of the Outdoors section and deputy editor of the Book Review.

Deirdre English is the former editor in chief of Mother Jones, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and director of the Clay Felker Magazine Center. She has written and edited work on a wide array of subjects related to investigative reporting, cultural politics, gender studies, and public policy. She has contributed articles, commentaries and reviews to Mother Jones, The Nation, and The New York Times Book Review, and to public radio and television.

A National Magazine Award finalist, McKenzie Funk is a founding member of the global journalism cooperative Deca and the author of Windfall, named a book of the year by The New Yorker, Mother Jones, Salon, and Amazon, and the winner of a 2015 PEN Literary Award. Mac’s writing appears in Harper’s, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, and The New York Times Magazine. An Open Society Fellow, he speaks five languages and is a native of the Pacific Northwest, where he lives with his wife and sons.

Anna Ghosh started her career as a literary agent in New York City in 1995 and was a partner at Scovil Galen Ghosh before founding Ghosh Literary in San Francisco. Her client list includes New York Times bestsellers, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists, noted scholars, and novelists. Originally from India, Ghosh studied Cultural Anthropology and Literary Journalism at Hampshire College and has a particular interest in narrative nonfiction writing. A selection of her titles can be viewed at www.ghoshliterary.com.

Constance Hale, the conference director, is best known for her books on language and literary style: Wired Style, Sin and Syntax, and Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch. A graduate of the UC Berkeley J-school, she has published reported stories, essays, and travel memoirs in anthologies as well as in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Wired, and Afar. Her book about the misunderstood art of hula, The Natives Are Restless, came out in October 2016, as did a book for children, ‘Iwalani’s Tree.

Tyche Hendricks is an editor at KQED Public Radio, where she leads the station’s election coverage and a team of criminal justice and immigration reporters. Hendricks was a newspaper reporter for many years, notably at The San Francisco Chronicle, and is the author of The Wind Doesn’t Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. She has taught at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and directed a symposium there on immigration reporting from 2010 to 2015.

Richard Koci Hernandez is an internationally recognized innovator in journalism and multimedia. He is a national Emmy award–winning multimedia producer who worked as a visual journalist at the San Jose Mercury News for 15 years and recently published The Principles of Multimedia Journalism. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, as well as in a National Geographic Book on iPhone photography.

Adam Hochschild was a daily newspaper reporter and a co-founder, editor, and writer for Mother Jones magazine before he turned to writing books. His King Leopold’s Ghost and To End All Wars were both finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Bury the Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN USA Literary Award. He teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Vanessa Hua, a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, is author of the new short-story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities, as well as a novel forthcoming from Ballantine. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for Fiction. For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora, reporting from China, Panama, South Korea, Ecuador, and Burma. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, The New York Times, Washington Post, Pacific Standard, California Sunday ZYZZYVA, and Guernica.

Jennifer Kahn is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and has been a regular feature writer for The New Yorker, National Geographic, Wired, and Outside. Her work has been selected for the Best American Science Writing series four times, and is featured in Best American Sports Writing 2010. She teaches in the Magazine Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. You can read her work at www.jenniferkahn.com, and see her TED talk about the promise and peril of gene drives at www.ted.com/talks.

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic, where her work focuses on the intersections of racial justice and popular culture. Previously, she was senior editor at Colorlines. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, Fusion, and the California Sunday Magazine. She’s from San Francisco and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Mark Kramer is a professor of narrative journalism and writer-in-residence in Boston University’s journalism department, and he is the founding director of the Power of Narrative Conference. He co-edited two readers on writing narrative nonfiction, Telling True Stories and Literary Journalism, and has written four books of narrative nonfiction. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and the Atlantic. He leads a “kitchen workshop” in Boston for working writers with book projects.

James Marcus is the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Magazine and the author of Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot-Com Juggernaut. His seven translations from the Italian include Giacomo Casanova’s The Duel. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Antioch Review, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and Best American Essays 2009. He also edited Second Read: Writers Look Back at Classic Works of Reportage. His next book, Glad to the Brink of Fear: A Portrait of Emerson in Fifteen Installments, will be published in 2017.

Rubén Martínez is a writer, teacher, and performer. He is the author of several books, including Crossing Over and Desert America. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University. www.rubenmartinez.la.

Peggy Orenstein is author of the New York Times best-sellers Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and Waiting for Daisy as well as Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Kids, Love and Life in a Half-Changed World and the classic SchoolGirls. A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, Peggy has also written for such publications as The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Vogue, Time, Slate, Elle, and The New Yorker.

Paul Reyes is editor at VQR, where he edits reporting, fiction, essays, photographic portfolios, and criticism. Before joining VQR, he was a senior editor at The Oxford American (2002–2009). His essays, criticism, and reporting have appeared in VQR, The Oxford American, Harper’s, The New York Times, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Slate, Details, and The Mississippi Review. In 2009, Reyes was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in nonfiction and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Feature Writing. He is the author of Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession (Henry Holt, 2010).

Earlier this year, Mark Robinson became editor in chief of Epic Magazine, a startup that specializes in publishing rip-roaring online longform narratives. Before that, he spent more than a decade at Wired, where he served as a senior editor, articles editor, features editor, and executive editor. In 2005 he and writer Jeff Howe were talking about a pitch for a business trend story and coined the word “crowdsourcing.” He is devoted to open-water swimming, moonlights as a jazz singer, and lives in San Francisco.

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at Smithsonian magazine. She spent 10 years as a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she helped bridge the print-digital divide—editing long features for the web and working with developers to enhance them. At Smithsonian, she edits features in all subject areas, particularly science, technology, and the environment. Jennie graduated in 2002 from UC Berkeley’s J-school. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

Jeremy Rue is the Assistant Dean for Academics and a permanent lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He is an Emmy-nominated multimedia producer and co-author of The Principles of Multimedia Journalism, a book about how news is packaged on the Web into cohesive narratives. He previously worked for the Knight Digital Media Center, as a multimedia producer for the Oakland Tribune, and a print reporter for Pulitzer newspapers. He has a background in computer science and teaches web-programming courses.

Jennifer Sahn is Executive Editor of Pacific Standard. She previously served as Editor of Orion, during which time the magazine was twice a winner of the Utne Independent Press Award for General Excellence and twice a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She has been a judge for several literary awards and fellowships. Stories she has edited have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Prize, John Burroughs Essay Award, and have been widely reprinted in the Best American Series anthologies, The Norton Reader, and via online aggregators such as Longreads.

Keris Salmon is a visual journalist, an alumna of the Berkeley J-school, and a former longform news producer for PBS, ABC, and NBC. Since her departure from NBC, Keris has focused her lens on photo-based artistic projects. Her 2015 NYC solo show “Don’t Knock at the Door, Little Child,” about an antebellum Tennessee tobacco plantation once owned by her husband’s family, led to her current series, “We Have Made These Lands What They Are,” on the architecture of slavery.

Lakshmi Sarah is a multimedia journalist with a focus on South Asia, identity, and the arts. Over the past few years, she has worked with newspapers, radio, and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. She has written and produced for Mic, Global Voices, Al Jazeera Online, AJ+, KQED, and Fusion.

Mark Schapiro is an environmental journalist and the author of three books including, most recently, Carbon Shock. His work has been published in numerous magazines including Harpers, the Atlantic, and Mother Jones. He is a Lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Barry Siegel, a Pulitzer Prize winning former national correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, directs the literary journalism program at UC Irvine, where he is a professor of English. He is the author of seven books, including four volumes of narrative nonfiction and three novels set in imaginary Chumash County on the central coast of California. www.barry-siegel.com.

Julia Flynn Siler is the author of the New York Times best-sellers The House of Mondavi and Lost Kingdom, the latter a history of the geo-political struggle in 19th-century Hawaii. Flynn Siler’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Washington Post. She received a 2016-2017 NEH Public Scholar award to support her new book, Daughters of Joy, forthcoming from Knopf.

Jon Steinberg is the editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine. Under his leadership, the magazine won a National Magazine Award in 2015 and was a two-time finalist in 2016. He also acts as the group editor of the new Silicon Valley magazine. He is a former editor at New York magazine, Time Inc. Custom Publishing, and Diablo magazine.

Danielle Svetcov, a former freelance writer, has been representing non-fiction and fiction at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary for the last 11 years. Her authors range from New York Times reporters to dairy farmers in South Dakota. Books she’s sold that keep coming up in conversation include Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves; You Only Get Letters From Jail, a short-story collection that takes the romance out of dusty California towns; Yoga Bitch, a memoir for at-risk fetishizersand The Annie Year, an ensemble novel that blurs heartland and heartburn.

David Talbot is the author of the New York Times best-sellers, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government and Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, as well as Season of the Witch about San Francisco. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon. He recently launched a new imprint, Hot Books, dedicated to publishing short books on the most burning topics.

Alex Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self. A former national correspondent for The Los Angeles Times, Tizon has also written for The Atlantic, Salon and The Sun Magazine. He teaches at the University of Oregon.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Michigan and Hawai‘i. She has worked in philosophy, anthropology, international development, nonprofits, small business start-ups, and is a contributor for NBC News Asian America. She teaches Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at University of Michigan. She published three chapbooks of prose poetry, and she created a multimedia artwork for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. franceskaihwawang.com

Ted Weinstein is a literary agent who works with a wide range of journalists, academics, and other non-fiction authors. His clients include many New York Times and international best-sellers, including several he met at UC Berkeley J-School events. More information about Ted, his clients, and their books – along with many resources for writers – can be found at www.twliterary.com.

Amy Wilentz is the author of Farewell, Fred Voodoo (2013), I Feel Earthquakes (2006), Martyrs’ Crossing (2000), and The Rainy Season (1990). She has won the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Non-Fiction Award, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for memoir. Wilentz is the former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker and a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at UC Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles.