Online Registration is closed but there are still seats available! Come to A Rally of Writers on April 15!

APRIL 15, 2023
8:30am – 4pm

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Rally Presenters for 2023

Bonnie Jo Campbell, Keynote ● Bonnie is the bestselling author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters (W.W. Norton), Once Upon a River, and American SalvageOnce Upon a River was made into the multi-award winning feature film, and listed in Esquire magazine as one of 100 books every man should read before they die. Bonnie Jo is a National Book Award finalist, NBCC Award finalist, and a Guggenheim Fellow, and she lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with donkeys.

Masaki Takahashi ● Masaki is the founder / host of The Poetry Room Open Mic. He has also recently started The Poetry Room Inc. a non-profit organization and is the current Lansing Poet Laureate. Masaki loves stories, hip-hop and being loud.

Stephen Mack Jones ● Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, award winning playwright and winner of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship. Stephen has received many accolades for his August Snow crime/thriller series. He has been short listed for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award and a finalist for the Shamus Award as well as the Strand Critic’s Award. The Nero Wolfe Society awarded August Snow the 2018 Nero Award.  In 2018, the International Association of Crime Writers presented Stephen with the prestigious Hammett Prize for literary excellence in the field of crime writing.  August Snow, was named a ‘2018 Michigan Notable Book’ by the Library of Michigan. He received that honor again in 2022 for Dead of Winter.  His fourth book in the August Snow series will be available in late 2023.

Melissa Ford Lucken ● Melissa holds an MA in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Lasell University. She is a professor of creative writing and composition at Lansing Community College, where she serves as the fiction and creative non-fiction editor of The Washington Square Review, the college’s literary journal. Alongside her academic work, she publishes fiction Isabelle Drake.

Linda Nemec Foster ● Linda has published twelve collections of poetry including The Lake Michigan Mermaid (2019 Michigan Notable Book) which was created with co-author Anne-Marie Oomen and artist Meridith Ridl. Her work appears in numerous magazines and journals. She has received awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, National Writer’s Voice, Dyer-Ives Foundation, The Poetry Center (NJ), Fish Anthology (Ireland), and the Academy of American Poets. In 2021 her poetry book, The Blue Divide, was published by New Issues Press. A new collection of prose poetry, 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.

Sylvia Hubbard ● Award winning Detroit Author & Founder of Motown Writers, Sylvia has independently published over 55 romance suspense books in the over 20 years she’s been in the literary business. As an avid blogger, podcaster, social media manager & digital strategist, Sylvia has received literary recognition for her literacy work, plus has had eight #1 Bestsellers. She is also a speaker, literary encouragement doula & busy mompreneur expert.

Kevin Fitton ● Kevin is a writer, musician, and educator. He is the author of the story collection, Auras, from Fomite Press. He published the children’s book, Higher Ground, with Caldecott-winning artist, Mary Azarian, along with over a dozen short stories in magazines, like JabberwockLimestone, and The Saturday Evening Post. He holds an MFA from Bennington College and is a PhD candidate in creative writing at Western Michigan University. He lives in Grand Ledge, Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Erin Bartels ● Erin is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better ThingsThe Words between UsAll That We CarriedThe Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water, and Everything Is Just Beginning. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years and is also an occasional freelance editor and copywriter.

Dedria Humphries ● Dedria is the author of, Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, a Colored Man’s Widow, a work of historical narrative nonfiction. She was a member of the writing faculty at Lansing Community College. She is a columnist for City Pulse alternative newspaper, and the recipient of artistic grants from the City of East Lansing and a federal grant through the Greater Lansing Arts Council.

Steve Pizaks ● Piziks’ science fiction novels include In the Company of Mind and Corporate Mentality. Writing as Steven Harper for Roc Books, he has produced The Silent Empire series (YA) and The Clockwork Empire steampunk series. He’s also written movie novelizations and books based on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. The Importance of Being Kevin is his recent YA novel. He teaches English in southeast Michigan.

Laura Holmes ● Author, adventurer, volleyballer, biker, hiker, and yogi, Laura is also co-owner of FineLine Creative, a west Michigan advertising boutique. Her first book, I’ve Gotta Pack (2011), led her to blog about her active adventures. Her second, Travel Light, is a motivational memoir that will inspire readers to take the trip and find better life, work, and play balance.

Anne-Marie Oomen ● Anne-Marie’s s memoir, As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book won the AWP Sue Silverman Award Nonfiction Award. She wrote Lake Michigan Mermaid, with Linda Nemec Foster (Michigan Notable Book, 2019), Love, Sex and 4-H (Next Generation Indie Award for Memoir), and others.  She edited ELEMENTAL: A Collection of Michigan Nonfiction (Michigan Notable Book). She teaches at Solstice MFA at Lasell University (MA), Interlochen’s College of Creative Arts (MI), and conferences throughout the country.

Lev Raphael ● The author of 27 books in genres from memoir to mystery, Lev Raphael escaped academia years ago to write and review full time in print and on air. He’s most recently the author of Department of Death and has won a Lambda Literary Award, a Reed Smith Fiction Award, the Harvey Swados Fiction Prize, and the Crossing Boundaries Award for Innovative Writing. MSU’s Library collects his literary papers and he’s done hundreds of workshops, talks, and readings in nine different countries. He coaches and edits writers at  and was recently chosen to be a Picador Professor at Leipzig University in Germany.

Kevin White ● Kevin White is an energetic, hands-on speaker who engages audiences with entertaining and educational presentations. His full-audience participation methods for presenting the art of storytelling engage even the most conservative participants. His emphasis on connecting the oral tradition with writing opens the door for reluctant or hesitant writers to become prolific producers of wonderful tales. He is a motivated author, teacher, and musician whose love for the art of writing and storytelling comes alive with every presentation. Kevin is really just a thirteen-year-old with 44 years of experience. 

Living with undiagnosed ADD for most of his life has led to varied experiences such as being a bull rider, ballroom dancer, and copper sculpture artist as well as a minister and teacher. He lives in rural Northern Michigan and loves to go camping and fishing with his amazing wife.

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Read past presenter bios and  interviews, plus view Rally forms in PDF format, on the Archives page

Funded in part by Lansing Community College, the MSU Press and the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities


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