A Night of Nonfiction: Debut CNF Author Showcase & Panel

General Session


Hear the story. Then hear the story behind the story.

Enjoy an evening of readings by a selection of debut creative nonfiction authors with recent or forthcoming memoirs, essay collections, and other book-length CNF. With an event welcome and individual intros by Hippocampus Magazine editors, we'll hear from:

  • Madhushree Ghosh
  • Suzanne Ohlmann
  • Sarah M. Wells
  • Stephen J. West

After these writers share their stories, we'll invite the authors readers back to the stage for a moderated discussion (led by Hippocampus Magazine's interviews editor, Lara Lillibridge) about their writing process and how they made the transition from unpublished to published. Bring your questions, too: An audience Q&A follows the panel.

Following the panel, the book sale table will re-open and authors with books available may be available for signings.


  • Sarah Wells

    Sarah Wells is the author of five books, most recently a memoir-in-essays, American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation. She is a freelance marketing content writer and also writes regularly for Root & Vine News and God Hears Her, a blog from Our Daily Bread. She lives in Ashland,...

  • Suzanne Ohlmann

    Suzanne Ohlmann is a writer and registered nurse who lives in Nebraska and San Antonio, Texas. She and her husband, a firefighter, share their home with a community of dogs, cats, the occasional opossum, and their son. She works with rural heart failure patients who would otherwise not have access...

  • Madhushree Ghosh

    Madhushree Ghosh works in oncology diagnostics, and is a social justice activist. Her work has been awarded a Notable Mention in Best American Essays in Food Writing and a Pushcart Prize nomination. She lives in San Diego, California.

  • Stephen J. West

    Stephen J. West is the author of Soft-Boiled out from Kelson Books. His writing has been published in Brevity, Ninth Letter, PANK, and other places, and he is the curator behind the Undead Darlings broadside series. He lives in Rochester, New York, where he is visiting assistant professor of English...

  • Lara Lillibridge

    Lara Lillibridge (she/zher) is the author of The Truth About Unringing Phones: Essays on Yearning (forthcoming); Mama, Mama, Only Mama: An Irreverent Guide for the Newly Single Parent, and Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home. Lillibridge also co-edited an anthology entitled Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility. She...

  • Donna Talarico

    Donna Talarico is the founder of Hippocampus Magazine and Books and its annual conference, HippoCamp. By day she an independent content strategist in higher education. She has contributed to Guardian Higher Education Network, The Writer, mental_floss, Games World of Puzzles, and others. Her creative nonfiction appears in The Superstition Review,...

  • Rae Pagliarulo

    Rae Pagliarulo works as a nonprofit fundraising consultant in her lifelong home of Philadelphia. Her essays, poems, and articles have appeared in Full Grown People, bedfellows, Hippocampus, The Manifest-Station, r.kv.r.y. quarterly, the Brevity Blog, and numerous others. Her work is anthologized in The Best of Philadelphia Stories: 10th Anniversary Edition.