Past Speakers: 2015-2016 Season

September 2015 – June 2016 Season

 Jonathan Gourlay—September 19th, 2015

NOTE: The September 19th meeting WILL BE HELD AT THE MACDOWELL COLONY, NOT AT THE PETERBOROUGH TOWN LIBRARY. The MacDowell Colony is located at 100 High Street, Peterborough, less than a mile from the Peterborough Library.  As with all of MWG’s monthly meetings, this meeting is open to the public and free of charge. Click here for directions.

Jonathan GourlayJonathan Gourlay is the MacDowell Colony’s communications manager. His responsibilities include advancing the Colony’s mission to media outlets and a growing constituency of artists, patrons, and followers. He also leads a new digital media strategy to bring the excitement of the artist experience to a national public.

With more than 25 years of experience writing and editing for various industry and consumer media outlets, Gourlay came to MacDowell after working as the news and site editor for, an IT website based in Newton, MA, where he managed editorial content production, working on topics such as Web content management and collaboration technology.

He has written and edited for websites, magazines, newspapers, and network radio. He spent seven years managing content production for and Desktop Engineering magazine in Dublin, N.H., wrote editorials and business news as news editor at the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript in Peterborough, and has managed publications in the ski industry as well as a consumer motorcycle magazine. He earned an M.A. in media studies from The New School in New York and a B.A. from Long Island University. Gourlay and his wife Laura, and their two teenaged sons, have lived in Peterborough since 2004.

Tim Weed—October 17th, 2015


Tim Weed is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and a Solas Best Travel Writing Award. His first novel, Will Poole’s Island (Namelos, 2014), was named to the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year.

Based in Vermont, Tim teaches at GrubStreet in Boston and in the MFA Creative & Professional Writing program at Western Connecticut State University.  He has recently been invited to join the Vermont Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau with his talk titled “A Playground for Empire: Historical Perspectives on Cuba and the U.S.A.”

His short fiction and essays have appeared in Talking Points Memo, Writer’s ChronicleBloomColorado Review, Gulf Coast, Backcountry, Nantucket Magazine, The Island Review, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel, and many other periodicals and anthologies. In addition to his literary work he is a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions on programs in Cuba, Spain, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego.

Credit: Photo by Allan Seymour

Peter Zheutlin—November 21st, 2015

peterPeter Zheutlin is a freelance journalist and author whose work has appeared regularly in the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Zheutlin has also written for The Los Angeles Times, Parade Magazine, AARP Magazine and numerous other publications in the U.S. and abroad.

He is the author of Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride (Citadel Press, 2007) and Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway (Sourcebooks, forthcoming October, 2015). He is also the co-author, with Thomas B. Graboys, M.D., of Life in the Balance: A Physician’s Memoir of Life, Love and Loss with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia (Union Square Press, 2008), with Robert P. Smith, of Riches Among the Ruins: Adventures in the Dark Corners of the Global Economy (Amacom, 2009), and, with Judith Gelman, of The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars and Restaurants of Mad Men (SmartPop/BenBella Books, 2011) and The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York: Inside the Cafes, Clubs, and Neighborhoods of HBO’s Girls (SmartPop/BenBella, 2013).

Prior to starting his writing career, Mr. Zheutlin practiced law and taught legal skills at the University of Virginia and Northwestern University law schools. Mr. Zheutlin is a graduate of Amherst College and Boston College Law School and resides in Massachusetts with his wife, author Judith Gelman.

Members Read-Around—December 19th, 2015

Our December meeting is the popular Members Only Read-Around. Please bring a few poems or short excerpts from your writing to share with the group (5-10 minutes of reading time each). Please note that in the interest of time, this is not a critique session. It is your chance to shine and hear your voice within a welcoming, writer community.

Yuan Pan—January 16th,  2016

The Last Goodbye by Yuan Pan
The Last Goodbye

Yuan Pan is an artist, graphic designer, and illustrator. He teaches graphic design in the Art Department of Keene State College in New Hampshire. He specializes in web design, motion graphics, animation, interactive/UI design, and illustration. His book, The Last Goodbye, has been published by Green Writers Press and is available on Amazon. The Last Goodbye is a semi-autobiographical story about loss and nostalgic reminiscence of childhood.

The inspiration for this book includes the wordless books by Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward from the early 20th century, the montage theory of early Soviet filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein and Lev Kuleshov, as well as the American artist Keith Smith’s very influential book The Structure of the Visual Book. The Last Goodbye was chosen by an international jury as one of the eight finalists of the Silent Book Contest at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2014, and was exhibited in Montereggio di Mulazzo and then in Milan, Italy. In March 2014, Yuan Pan traveled to Italy to present The Last Goodbye and participated in the Silent Book Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Buzz McLaughlin—February 20th,  2016

Buzz McLaughlin

Buzz McLaughlin  is a playwright and screenwriter, theatre and film producer, script consultant, and teacher.  His plays, which include Transcendence, Leaving Jane, Traverse des Sioux, Sister Calling My Name, Spirit on the Plains, Absent Without Leave, Limits, and Wings (a musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Birds), have been produced in NYC and regionally in the U.S. and Canada.  With his wife Kris he has written several screenplays and teleplays.

His work has won numerous national competitions, including the National Play Award for Sister Calling My Name, and he is the recipient of a Playwriting Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  He has twice been a writer-in-residence at the New Harmony Project, a national playwrights/screenwriters conference held annually in New Harmony, Indiana, and for many years was on the Project’s advisory board.  He is currently the co-founder/producing partner of the independent film company Either/Or Films ( and producer of the feature films The Sensation of Sight (, starring Academy Award Best Actor nominee David Strathairn, and Only Daughter (  He runs a professional script consulting service ( and is the Founding Director and former Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (  a professional (AEA) theatre dedicated to the development of new plays currently in its twenty-seventh year.

A former Professor of Theatre Arts and playwright-in-residence at Drew University, Buzz taught playwriting and screenwriting and, as chairman, founded and built the department into one of the leading undergraduate theatre programs in the country.  Prior to his years at Drew he was an Assistant Professor of Drama at the University of Virginia where he developed the university’s MFA program in theatre.  His book, The Playwright’s Process: Learning the Craft from Today’s Leading Dramatists (Back Stage Books) includes extensive excerpts from his four-year interview series at the Dramatists Guild, NYC, with sixteen of America’s foremost playwrights.  He maintains an active blog on scriptwriting at He holds a doctorate in theatre and dramatic literature from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Writers Guild of America.

Michelle Aldredge—March 19th,  2016

Michelle AldredgeMichelle Aldredge is a writer, speaker, and the founding editor of Gwarlingo, an online arts and culture journal that covers music, books, film, visual art, and the creative process.

Previously, Michelle worked at The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s oldest artist retreat, where she coordinated the community outreach program and assisted artists for 13 years (an experience that inspired the creation of Gwarlingo). She has also been a librarian, a docent at The High Museum of Art, and a literacy tutor. She was the first person in her family to attend college and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University.

In 2012 she left MacDowell to run her own business helping artists with writing, web design, and creative problem-solving. She also works as a freelance speaker consultant. She is a regular cultural commentator on NPR’s Word of Mouth and has given lectures on contemporary art at the Currier Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Milk* ad agency, the Dublin School, the Monadnock Writers’ Group, and other organizations.

In 2015 Gwarlingo Press will publish its first book, Mirror Mirrored: A Contemporary Artists’ Edition of 25 Grimms’ Tales. The book, created and published with collaborator Corwin Levi, features the visual responses to 25 Grimms’ fairy tales, alongside the original stories. Participating artists include Kiki Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, Yinka Shonibare, Amy Cutler, D.J. Spooky, John Kelly, Simen Johan, Joseph Keckler, Stephanie Williams, and Rachel Perry Welty, among others.

Michelle’s most recent consulting project involves collaborating with arts patron Martha McGeary Snider and food writer Ruth Reichl to transform a Gilded Age estate and the former Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia into a sustainable artist retreat.

Her writing and photography have appeared in RISD XYZ magazine, Psychology Today, 2Paragraphs, Born Journal, and other publications.

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Michelle now calls rural New Hampshire home.

Regie Gibson—April 16th,  2016

RegiePoet, songwriter, author, workshop facilitator, and educator Regie Gibson has performed, taught, and lectured at schools, universities, theaters and various other venues on two continents and in seven countries including Havana Cuba. Regie and his work appear in the New Line Cinema film love jones, based largely on events in his life. The poem entitled “Brother to the Night (A Blues for Nina)” appears on the movie soundtrack and is performed by the film’s star, Larenz Tate. Regie performed “Hey Nappyhead” in the film with world-renowned percussionist and composer Kahil El Zabar, composer of the score for The Lion King musical.

Regie has worked with: Gwendolyn Brooks, Roy Ayers, Fareed Haque, Kurt Vonnegut, David Amram, The Monks of the Drepong Gamong Monastery, members of the world famous AACM (Association for the  Advancement of Creative Musicians), Mos Def, David Murray, Sterling Plumpp, Marc Smith, Mark Strand, Reg E. Gaines, Savion Glover, John Legend and many other artists in musical genres including World, Celtic, Jazz, Blues and, Salsa, and classical European.

Regie is a former National Poetry Slam Individual Champion, was selected one of Chicago Tribune’s Artist of the Year for Excellence for his poetry.  He has co-judge the Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Competition  with Marc Smith and Mark Strand, has been regularly featured on N. P. R. and has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

Allen Steele—May 21st,  2016

allen steeleAllen Mulherin Steele, Jr. became a full-time science fiction writer in 1988, following publication of his first short story, “Live From The Mars Hotel” (Asimov’s, mid-Dec. `88). Since then he has become a prolific author of novels, short stories, and essays, with his work translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide.

Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his B.A. in Communications from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, and his M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Before turning to SF, he worked for as a staff writer for daily and weekly newspapers in Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts, freelanced for business and general-interest magazines in the Northeast, and spent a short tenure as a Washington correspondent, covering politics on Capitol Hill.

His novels include Orbital Decay, Clarke County, Space, Lunar Descent, Labyrinth of Night, The Jericho Iteration, The Tranquillity Alternative, A King of Infinite Space, Oceanspace, Times Loves A Hero (originally titled Chronospace), the Coyote Trilogy — Coyote, Coyote Rising, and Coyote Frontier – the Coyote Chronicles – Coyote Horizon and Coyote Destiny — Spindrift, Galaxy Blues, Hex, Apollo’s Outcast, V-S Day, and Arkwright. He has also published six collections of short fiction: Rude Astronauts, All-American Alien Boy, Sex and Violence in Zero-G, American Beauty, The Last Science Fiction Writer, and Tales of Time and Space. His work has appeared in most major American SF magazines, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, and Fantasy & Science Fiction, as well as in dozens of anthologies.

You can learn more at his website:

Members Read-Around—June 18th, 2015

Our December meeting is the popular Members Only Read-Around. Please bring a few poems or short excerpts from your writing to share with the group (5-10 minutes of reading time each). Please note that in the interest of time, this is not a critique session. It is your chance to shine and hear your voice within a welcoming, writer community.

More Previous Guest Speakers

Pam BernardPam Bernard

On January 17, 2015, Ms. Bernard will discuss the “bumpy process” of writing memoir with members of the Monadnock Writers’ Group and share her experiences with writing and teaching memoir.

Pam Bernard holds an MFA degree from the Warren Wilson Graduate Program and a BA from Harvard University. She is an adjunct professor at New Hampshire Institute of Art and Franklin Pierce University, a winner of the Grolier and Nimrod Prizes and a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council and The MacDowell Colony. Her poetry has been published in four discrete collections and more than a dozen leading journals. Her website is

B. Eugene McCarthy will discuss the book Sound Ideas: Hearing and Speaking Poetry by B. Eugene McCarthy and Fran Quinn

Finalist in ForeWord Reviews’ 16th Annual Book of the Year Awards!

Hearing and speaking are essential to making poems live. Poems are a physical experience. This book explains how to find your way to the heart of a poem by taking it off the page. The authors have taught poetry successfully with this method for many years, and now they share it beyond their own classrooms.

B. Eugene McCarthy has a degree in English and a Master’s from the University of Detroit. He took his PhD at the University of Kansas in 1965. He taught a full range of undergraduate courses at Holy Cross College until his retirement in 2000. His focus was on Restoration and Eighteenth Century drama, and his first book was William Wycherley: A Biography, followed by William Wycherley, A Reference Guide.   His interest then moved toward poetry of the 18th Century and he began teaching first-year, introductory courses in poetry, teaming with Fran Quinn to develop an approach to poetry that also informed upper-level literature courses.

Jessie Haas has written 35 books JessieHaasfor children and adults, including picture books, easy readers, middle-grade and young adult novels, poetry, and local history. Titles include the Saige books (American Girl of the Year 2013), Hoofprints, the Bramble and Maggie series, Shaper, (a Golden Kite Honor Book for fiction) and Sugaring. She lives with husband Michael J. Daley in an off-grid cabin next door to the family farm in Westminster, Vermont, where she enjoys riding, gardening, knitting, and reading and writing books. Learn more at




In 7th grade, Michael J. Daley began writing in earnest sitting in front of the TV watching his beloved Star Trek—very fast, in pencil, with no paragraphing even for dialog. No surprise those first stories smacked a bit of plagiarism! With the guidance of his beloved Mentor, Linda Felch (of Jafrey, NH), he learned standard forms and found his own stories. In 1981, he married lovely fellow-writer, Jessie Haas, graduated college, and together they embarked on their writing careers.

His first sci-fi novel for kids was published twenty years later. His other works have included journalism, non-fiction, early readers and lately, his first board book for toddlers —an accomplishment beyond even the galaxy-spanning imagination of that earnest 12 year old.

Photo by Mariah Edson

In 2013, New Hampshire’s Executive Council confirmed Governor Maggie Hassan’s nomination of Alice B. Fogel of Acworth, N.H., as the next New Hampshire Poet Laureate (2014-2019). The state’s poet laureate serves as an ambassador for all poets in New Hampshire and works to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in the state.

Fogel is an award-winning poet, author, teacher and well-respected figure in the New Hampshire poetry community.  Her third book, Be That Empty, was a national poetry bestseller in 2008, and Strange Terrain (on how to appreciate poetry) was published in 2009. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 1993, guest edited by Louise Gluck. Fogel’s newest book, Interval: Poems Based upon Bach’s Goldberg Variations, won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, and is forthcoming from Schaffner Press.

Fogel was the 2012 Poet in Residence at the Carl Sandburg Historical Site National Park and has received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other awards. She has served as a judge for the N.H. Poetry Out Loud high school competition and currently teaches writing at both Keene State College and Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Photo by Mariah Edson.


NH-based cartoonist, musician, and educator Marek Bennett leads discovery-based Comics Workshops for all ages throughout New England and the world beyond!  His comics work includes his recent webcomic and graphic novel, SLOVAKIA: Fall in the Heart of Europe, numerous community-specific mini-comics projects (such as serving as the Official Cartoonist of New Hampshire’s Weeks Act Centennial), the long-running Xeric Award-winning weekly newspaper strip “Mimi’s Doughnuts”, and teaching in the Applied Cartooning program at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Marek’s educational programs incorporate sequential narrative cartooning techniques & music into community-based projects that explore and develop participants’ sense of history, culture, and individual & collective identities.  Artists of all ages, backgrounds, abilities discover their own unique capacities for storytelling, performance, and communication as they contribute to projects and presentations in workshop- and discussion-based events.  Through focused webcomics like LIVE FREE AND DRAW! and COFFEE+DUMPLING+KOMIKS, Marek shares his own experiences of travel, research, and community with a wider audience of readers and contributors. Marek’s website is Photo by Deb Cram.

Tim Horvath is the author of Understories, published by Bellevue Literary Press (2012), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was praised by Nancy Pearl on KUOW’s The Record. His stTim Horvath ory Circulation was published separately as a novella by sunnyoutside press. His story “The Conversations” was a Special Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Anthology.

He teaches Creative Writing in the BFA and MFA programs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, as well as at Grub Street. His have been published in Conjunctions, Fiction, Puerto del Sol, The Normal School, and many other journals. “The Understory” won the Raymond Carver Short Story Prize, judged by Bill Henderson, and he’s been the recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship. His website is Currently he’s at work on a novel called The Spinal Descent.

Tom FitzgeraldTom Fitzgerald led a Huckleberry Finn childhood on the St. Lawrence River before undertaking formal studies in physics, mathematics, law, industrial management, and English. He has served as a door-to-door salesman of home-study courses, a vocational counselor for adults and children with developmental disabilities, a stockbroker, the assistant to the president of a large health-care corporation, a lobbyist, a technical writer, and a corporate manager. In the latter two capacities, his employers have included AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, NEC, IBM/Lotus Development, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

Tom served as a Navy UDT/SEAL during the Viet- nam era, and has swum several long distances, including across the eastern end of Lake Ontario, a distance greater than the English Channel. Once also an avid runner, Tom ran the Boston Marathon three times before a fall on black ice abruptly ended a life-long addiction to endorphins. He and his wife of 44 years, a marriage and family therapist, have three grown sons and three grandsons. They live in New England.

He is the author of Poor Richard’s Lament (Hobblebush Books, 2012), Chocolate Charlie (Warner Books, 1974), A Matter of Scents (Pyramid Books, 1974) and Chocolate Charlie Comes Home (Warner Books, 1978), as well as several works of nonfiction.

For more information, visit the Poor Richard’s Lament website:

Eric MastersonEric A. Masterson was born in Ireland. After spending several years in Africa, he returned home to finish his studies in ornithology at University College Dublin. He moved with his wife to New Hampshire in 1999, and has worked since in the field of environmental conservation, including at New Hampshire Audubon, the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, and currently at the Harris Center in Hancock. He serves on the New Hampshire Rare Bird Committee and is a seasonal editor for the quarterly journal New Hampshire Bird Records.

His first book, Birdwatching in New Hampshire, is designed to appeal to experts and backyard birdwatchers alike. The comprehensive guide reveals, through maps that outline more than 120 sites across the state, where, when, and how to watch and enjoy the birds in New Hampshire. The guide also includes the latest information about seasonal status and distribution of the more than 300 species seen regularly in New Hampshire, and features a thorough introduction to the art and practice of birdwatching, including equipment, ethics, migration, conservation, and most of all finding that “good bird”.

Masterson’s talk will feature the best of the best of New Hampshire’s birding, with photos and anecdotes taken from the book.

JohnHermanJohn Herman is an artist and teacher working at the cross section of technology and culture. He consults with publishers and authors on marketing and social media strategy. A creator of plays, stage shows, and short films, he presents at venues such as TEDx, Pecha-Kucha, NHPR, and tech culture conferences. Named a “top Web influencer” by Ford Motor Company, Herman is also the incoming president of the NH Writers’ Project Board of Trustees.

CharddeNiordChard deNiord has written four books of poetry, including The Double Truth, which The Boston Globe named a Top 10 best poetry book in 2011. His poems and essays have appeared in The Pushcart Prize andBest American Poetry anthologies, the Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review and Ploughshares, among others. He is the author of Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century American Poets. 

Jim Fowler

James Fowler writes in many poetic forms from haiku to sonnets. His poems and short shorts have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Red Moon Press’s Best of Japanese Forms in English (in 2004 and 2005).

His most recent work includes “Connections to This World,” a chapbook of Japanese forms and “Falling Ashes” a full-length book in the Granite State Poetry Series. 

James Patrick KellyJames Patrick Kelly has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, plays, and planetarium shows. His most recent book is a story collection, entitled The Wreck Of The Godspeed. His short novel Burn won the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula Award in 2007. He has also won the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award twice for his novelettes. His most recent publishing venture is the ezine James Patrick Kelly’s Strangeways.   

DianeMulliganDiane Mulligan began writing her first young adult novel, Watch Me Disappear, during an after-school writing club she moderates for high-school students. She published it in August 2012. Her second novel, The Latecomers Fan Club, came out in November 2013.

Diane is the managing editor at The Worcester Review and the director of The Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers’ Conference. 

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