September 24-25, 2015
Jonathan Friesen Writer of Fiction for Young Adults
Illness changed my perfect life in 5th grade. I retreated into a shell and escaped into words. Writing a story sucked the pain out of me, at least for a while. Life changed in college. Health returned, the cloud lifted, and I got my teaching license. Being a teacher, and being with those kids healed me. Surrounded by them, I relived periods of time stolen by childhood sickness. I was in my glory. But I couldn’t escape storytelling. All those years expressing myself on paper left their mark. While my students worked, I wrote at my desk. Jerk California, my first book, flowed out of my own “lost years,” but hope fills the pages. Writing it was a beautiful thing to experience. I now live on a horse farm with my wife, three children, and a growing number of animals. Our home is on a hill that overlooks a river that snakes through a beautiful valley. I love it here.
Andrea Dilley Writer of Nonfiction
Andrea Dilley grew up in Kenya as the daughter of Quaker missionaries and spent the rest of her childhood in the Pacific Northwest. Her work as a documentary producer has aired nationally on American Public Television. Her work as a writer has been published in Geez, Utne Reader and the anthology "Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical," as well as online with CNN, The Huffington Post, and Christianity Today. Her memoir, "Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of Doubt", tells the story of her faith journey.
Benjamin Myers, Poet
Benjamin Myers, the new Oklahoma Poet Laureate, is the author of two books of poetry: Lapse Americana and Elegy for Trains for which he won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. His poems may be read in numerous literary journals, including Nimrod, The Iron Horse Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Christianity and Literature, and Measure. He also reviews poetry for several publications, including World Literature Today.