Ibrahim Ahmad, Senior Editor, Akashic Books

Ibrahim Ahmad has worked in various capacities since 2000. He leads frequent workshops with the Algonkian Writers Conferences and the New York Writers Workshop, where he also serves on the board of directors. He is the cofounder, with Akashic publisher Johnny Temple, of Brooklyn Wordsmiths, an editorial and consulting program, and is a regular participant in the Wilkes MFA Low-Residency Creative Writing Program and Literary Publishing MA Program.

Jackie Cantor, Executive Editor, Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin

Prior to joining Berkley in August 2005, Jackie was a Vice President and Executive Editor at Bantam Dell, where her list included a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction titles in all formats. She is proud to have discovered the New York Times bestselling authors Diana Gabaldon and Eloisa James. Other major authors whose work she has acquired include John Grisham, John Lescroart, and Hope Edelman (Motherless Daughters). At Berkley, her list includes the nationally bestselling authors Kate Furnivall (The Russian Concubine and The White Pearl), Kate Quinn (Mistress of Rome and Empress of the Seven Hills), Laura Brodie (The Widow’s Season and All the Truth), Lucy Dillon (Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts and Walking Back to Happiness) and Lucy Ferriss (The Lost Daughter).

Kate Dresser, Editor at Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster

Kate launched her editorial career at Pocket Books in 2008, and after a stint at Harlequin, returned to Gallery/Pocket as an editor in 2014. She’s always looking for an attention-grabbing book, no matter the genre. When she’s not reading for work or pleasure (or both!), she buys too many lipsticks and cooks what her friends call “comfort food on a budget.”

April Eberhardt, Literary “Change” Agent, April Eberhardt Literary (a division of Libra Nova)

After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant,  joined the literary world, where she saw strategic opportunity to play a role in the changing world of publishing. A self-described “literary change agent,” April advises and assists authors worldwide as they choose the best pathway to publication for their work, be it indie or traditional, digital or print. She serves as an industry advocate for establishing quality standards for non-traditionally published work to increase acceptance of independent publishing. April divides her time between San Francisco, New York and Paris. She also is a reader for the Best American Short Stories series published annually by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Ben Leroy, Editor, Tyrus Books

Ben was the founder and Publisher of Bleak House Books (2000-2009) and is currently the editor of Tyrus Books. He was named to Publishers Weekly’s “Forty Under Forty.” The first title published by Tyrus Books was the Lambda Award finalist, Silver Lake by Peter Gadol. Other early titles included The Deputy by Victor Gischler, Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S. Choi, and the anthology Delta Blues, edited by Carolyn Haines and featuring Morgan Freeman, John Grisham, James Lee Burke, Charlaine Harris, and others.

Andrea Somberg, Agent, Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

A literary agent for over fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects for adult, young adult and middle grade audiences.  Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005. Her clients’ books have been NYTimes and USABestsellers, as well as nominated for The Governor General’s Award, the Lambda Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.  Andrea also teaches courses for MediaBistro and Writers Digest, on topics such as nonfiction, memoir, mystery and thrillers, fantasy and sf.  Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories:  Fiction: literary, commercial, book club fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, new adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science, pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, diet, health & fitness.

Lissa Warren, Editor, Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group

Lissa Warren has called several Boston publishing houses home, including David R. Godine, Houghton Mifflin, and Perseus Publishing. She is currently Vice President, Senior Director of Publicity and Acquiring Editor at Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. The author of The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity (Carroll & Graf, 2004), she has spoken about publishing for the Virginia Festival of the Book, Lesley University, Publishers Marketing Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, among many others. In addition to teaching at Emerson, she’s on the advisory council of Southern New Hampshire University’s M.F.A. writing program, serves on the advisory board at Beacon Press, and blogs about publishing for the Huffington Post. Ms. Warren’s poetry has appeared in Quarterly West, Oxford Magazine, Black Warrior Review, and Verse, and she’s a poetry editor for the literary magazine Post Road. Her latest book, a memoir called The Good Luck Cat: How a Cat Saved a Family and a Family Saved a Cat, was published by Lyons Press in 2014.