Presenters and Instructors for the 2023 Online
Tennessee Writing Workshop
Maria Vicente is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Maria is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Maria represents bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. Her favorite books to work on show readers something new about the real world or invite them into new worlds they never want to leave.
In her 8 years at PSLA, Maria has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators and is known for being an early advocate of the growing graphic novel market in trade publishing. With a B.A. in English from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from Western University, she puts her teaching background to use hosting workshops about the publishing industry and supporting her fellow agents at PSLA. Maria lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.
Maria is acquiring fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. She is looking for: literary fiction and upmarket speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, horror); young adult novels; middle grade novels; illustrated picture books; illustrated graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and graphic nonfiction; and narrative nonfiction for kids, teens, or adult readers about culture, arts and entertainment, history, and science topics. She welcomes and encourages submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators.
Kimiko Nakamura is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary, representing YA and adult titles within the genres of contemporary, literary, historical, and women’s fiction. In the categories of non-fiction she specializes in cookbooks and memoir.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Kimiko is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees. (She is not taking pitches.)
A graduate of Boston University’s Book Publishing program and Skidmore College, Kimiko has called the publishing industry home since 2006. From production to sales she’s worked within publishing houses to release new titles and foster backlist profits. As an agent, she uses this diverse background to assist her clients with all stages of publication, and well beyond.
Kimiko works with aspiring and established authors alike. She loves projects that reimagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and cookbooks she can read like the Sunday morning paper.
Dani Segelbaum is a literary with the Carol Mann Agency.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Dani is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
Dani joined the agency in 2021 as a literary agent and subrights manager. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction.
Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks.
In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Dani is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication where she studied journalism and political science. She has been a voracious reader for as long as she can remember. Dani began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed non-fiction titles. She previously worked as a literary assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media, working with established and debut authors.
A few books she loves… A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, Coming To My Sense by Alice Waters, Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Dani spends her free time exploring the streets of her neighborhood and trying the latest restaurants in town. Her guilty pleasures include cookbooks (seriously, she has way too many), reading the newspaper in the middle of the night, and baking dozens of delicious baked goods for friends and family (she does use the cookbooks).
Denise lives in New Orleans, Louisiana the birthplace of jazz and other unique customs like Mardi Gras, Jazz Festivals, and Debutante balls. Denise grew up in a large family of thirteen children. As a child she used to entertain her siblings by reading and putting on plays. She began writing poetry at an early age and then studied art. Her first magazine article was published in 1982 in Black New Orleans magazine. Later she had articles published in Essence Magazine and the New Orleans Tribune magazine. She currently writes a weekly column for the Times Picayune newspaper focusing on the recovery of her neighborhood after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Preserving cultural traditions through family stories is important to Denise. It’s how she grew up and it’s what she passes on. Her first book, “D.J. and the Zulu Parade” is about the adventures of her son, “D.J” when he rode in a Mardi Gras Parade. That book led to two other stories about the intrepid boy: “D.J. and the Jazz Fest” and “D.J. and the Debutante Ball”. McConduit feels that writing culturally rich books are essential because it’s important for children see themselves in literature.
Her newest book is titled, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read. In this book young readers will meet Robbie, a stubborn little boy who doesn’t like to read. His wish is granted when a magic sorcerer removes the words from everything and that’s when his world gets topsy-turvy! He soon learns that life without reading is nothing to wish for! Denise often advises aspiring young authors, “Do you have any interesting or funny characters in your family? If you do, you may want to write a story about them. I did!”
McConduit has four children, Crishelle, Monique, Erika and D.J. It was her son D.J.’s experience as a page in the Zulu Parade that gave her the idea for the first book in the series. Denise has always been an avid reader and writer. Her personal mission is to write fun and meaningful stories for children.
Shelli R. Johannes is the author of 18 books (out and forthcoming). She is the coauthor (with Kimberly Derting) of the popular CECE LOVES SCIENCE series and PENNY (An Engineering Tale of the Fourth Pig). In addition to her tween and teen novels, she is also the author of the THEO THESAURUS series and SHINE LIKE A UNICORN. Her new chapter book in Chelsea Clinton’s “She Persisted” series on FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE comes out in March 2023. See all her kids books here and all her teen novels here.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Shelli is teaching a speech on how to utilize both traditionally publishing and self-publishing. She is also offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
Shelli can often be found on highways and country roads saving strays and other jaywalking critters or volunteering with animal conservation groups. After earning a master’s to follow her passion of writing.
She lives in Atlanta with her own pack of unicorns: a British husband, two teens, two Goldendoodles, one sassy bird, and the many loud characters that “live” in her head. Shelli is addicted to exclamation points, puns, unicorns, and anything sciencey. You can always count on her to laugh at her own jokes, at least once.
Paul S. Levine is a literary agent and the founder of Paul S. Levine Literary. He is also an attorney.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Paul is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches.
His fiction interests include adventure novels, mainstream fiction, mysteries, romance, thrillers, and women’s fiction.
His nonfiction interests include business/commerce, pop culture, how-to, self-help, politics/law, relationships, and sports.
Paul has sold more than 250 fiction and nonfiction books.
As an entertainment lawyer, Levine has written the legal contracts for several books adapted as movies-for-television. With over thirty-seven (38) years of experience in the entertainment and book industries, Levine is one of the few lawyers on the West coast who also understands the world of book publishing; as such, he is able to act as both literary agent and publishing attorney for his clients.
Shirin Leos is the author of 20 children’s books, the best-known of which is Ruby’s Wish, an Ezra Jack Keats Award winner. Her successful debut had Publishers Weekly include her on a list of “new authors to watch;” several years and two feature articles later, she made it to their front cover as the founding goose of Goosebottom Books. You can see all her books here.
At the 2023 online TNWW, Shirin is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
When Shirin is not writing, she is an editor, writing coach, and writing retreat leader. She has been dubbed a “tiger editor” independently by two of her clients, because she gives tough developmental edits. (They did come back!)
For those who don’t like tough, there are her writing retreats. These are three- or five-night stays in beautiful and secluded surroundings, with all meals catered, and libations poured every evening when participants gather to share our work and receive feedback. There is nothing, Shirin believes, like writing in community. These few days can be the most productive of the year.