Here’s the list of agents and presenters for the conference.

Elissa Bassist
Elissa Bassist
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Platform Building
– bio –
Elissa Bassist edits the “Funny Women” column on The Rumpus and teaches humor writing at The New School, 92NY, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and elsewhere. Her newsletter is Tragedy Plus Time, and her first book is Hysterical, an award-deserving memoir.


Kelly Caldwell
Kelly Caldwell
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Tricky Topics
– bio –

Kelly Caldwell has written for Vox, Pacific Standard, Entropy, New York Newsday, House BeautifulTime Out New York, The Writer, and Essay Daily, among many others. One of her essays was named a Notable Essay by the editors of the Best American Essays series and anthologized in If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home. She is also dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop.

Jennifer Chen Tran
Jennifer Chen Tran
Agent
— Day 1: Panels —
Platform Building
– bio –

Jennifer Chen Tran is a literary agent with over a dozen years of experience in the publishing industry. Jennifer is passionate about nurturing and championing the creative lives of the authors and artists she is honored to represent. She works with a wide range of award-winning talent, including entrepreneurs, journalists, physicians, thought leaders, James Beard nominated chefs, and graphic novelists, among others. Jennifer is an editorial agent who believes in the art and magic of collaboration. She works with her authors from concept to publication, helping to polish each creator's work so that it can best shine in a competitive marketplace. 

Previously, Jennifer was a literary agent at Folio Literary Management and Idea Architects and served as Of Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law and a Bachelors in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an attorney in good standing in California and New York, a member of the Authors Guild, and a member of the Association of American Literary Agents. 

As a person of color and daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Jennifer is deeply committed to amplifying voices from persons with disabilities, BIPOC, LGBTQ, underrepresented, marginalized, and neurodiverse communities. Her ultimate goal is to work in concert with authors to create books that will have a lasting positive social impact on the world—books that inform, entertain, and inspire.

 In her free time, you can find Jennifer relaxing with a good book, trying to complete a recipe with too many ingredients, or exploring the Lone Star State with her family.

Haley Heidemann
Haley Heidemann
Agent
— Day 2: Roundtables —
Nonfiction/Memoir 3
– bio –

Haley Heidemann has been at WME since 2016. She represents commercial and literary adult fiction, along with narrative nonfiction, pop culture, and lifestyle. She is drawn to novels with complex female characters, dark female friendships and relationships, queer stories, and a fun family saga. For non-fiction, she’s looking for voice-driven narratives, cultural criticism, sex and dating, essay collections, thought leaders, and lifestyle. In both, she is looking for books that move her and say something subversive about our culture.

Sarah Khalil
Sarah Khalil
Agent
— Day 2: Roundtables —
Nonfiction/Memoir 1
– bio –

Sarah Khalil is an agent at Calligraph. Prior to Calligraph’s founding, Sarah was at Kneerim & Williams for four years, developing several of the agency’s best-selling and award-winning authors alongside Jill Kneerim and Katherine Flynn. She holds an MA in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College and a BA in English Literature with a minor in History from the American University of Beirut. Big ideas, radical thought, and propulsive writing are the cornerstones of her taste.

Joselin Linder
Joselin Linder
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Featured Author Interview
– bio –

Joselin Linder is the author of the memoir The Family Gene, and co author of the nonfiction books The Gamification Revolution, Game-Based Marketing, and The Good Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin: The New Rules for Moving in With Your Man. She is also co-author of the humor books The Stoned Family Robinson and The Purity Test: Your Filth and Depravity Cheerfully Exposed by 2,000 Nosy Questions. Her journalism and essays have appeared in Elle and This American Life among others.

Melissa Petro
Melissa Petro
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Tricky Topics
– bio –

Melissa Petro is a freelance writer with bylines on TIME, The Guardian, Washington Post, NY Magazine, Rolling Stone, Real Simple, Marie Claire and many other places. Her first book, Shame On You: How to Be a Woman in the Age of Mortification will be published by Putnam Books, a division of Penguin/Random House, in Fall 2024.

Rachel Simon
Rachel Simon
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Platform Building
– bio –
Rachel Simon is a writer with The New York TimesGlamour, Vulture, Vice, and many other outlets. Her debut book, Pickleball for All: Everything But the "Kitchen" Sink, was published in 2022 by Dey Street. She teaches writing with Gotham Writers Workshop and Redbud Writing Project, and creates personalized crossword puzzles via her Etsy business YourCrossword. A New York native and an Emerson College graduate, she lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and pets.


Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Featured Author Interview
– bio –

Maggie Smith is the author of six award-winning books including You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Good Bones, and Goldenrod. A Pushcart Prize winner, Smith has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, and the Kenyon Review, among others. 

Jerald Walker
Jerald Walker
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Tricky Topics
– bio –

Along with two memoirs, Jerald Walker is the author of How to Make a Slave and Other Essays, a Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award and Winner of the 2020 Massachusetts Book Award. His work has appeared in publications such as The Harvard Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Iowa Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Mother Jones, and it has been widely anthologized, including five times in The Best American Essays series and in the Pushcart Prizes. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the James A. Michener Foundation, he is a Professor of Creative Writing at Emerson College.

Maria Whelan
Maria Whelan
Agent
— Day 2: Roundtables —
Nonfiction/Memoir 2
– bio –

Maria graduated from University College Dublin with a BA in English and Drama, then obtained her Masters in Modern Literature from the University of Edinburgh. Before joining InkWell, she worked as a Foreign Rights Assistant at Janklow & Nesbit. Maria enjoys a blend of literary and commercial fiction, as well as speculative fiction and magical realism. She is particularly fond of novels that straddle the cultural divide. She is looking for nonfiction projects that speak to the current cultural moment or examine overlooked facets of society. Her clients include Luke Dumas, Eduardo Garcia, Marcia Zug, and Audrey Burges.


Teresa Wong
Teresa Wong
Presenter
— Day 1: Panels —
Platform Building
– bio –
Teresa Wong is author of the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, a finalist for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and longlisted for CBC Canada Reads. Her comics have appeared in The Believer, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s and Event Magazine. A teacher of memoir and comics at Gotham Writers Workshop, she was also the 2021–22 Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary.


Jade Wong-Baxter
Jade Wong-Baxter
Agent
— Day 2: Roundtables —
Nonfiction/Memoir 1
– bio –

Jade Wong-Baxter joined the Frances Goldin Literary Agency in 2021. She previously worked for three years at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents. Her clients include Chris Belcher (Pretty Baby, Avid Reader, 2022); Delia Cai (Central Places, Ballantine, 2023); and Hannah Matthews (You or Someone You Love, Atria, 2023). Jade is looking for adult literary/upmarket fiction and narrative nonfiction, with an emphasis on narratives by and about people of color, as well as the perspectives of marginalized identities. Her other areas of interest include grounded speculative, memoir, cultural criticism, and Asian-American history.