Featured Speakers

The Rutgers University–New Brunswick Writers' Conference will feature more than 25 speakers, ranging from bestselling novelists to highly experienced field experts. For a full list of speakers and conference schedule, please visit our sessions page.

Keynote Presenters

Amy tan

Amy Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter with Ron Bass for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. She was the Creative Consultant for Sagwa, the Emmy nominated PBS television series for children, which has aired worldwide, including in the UK, Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Her story in The New Yorker, “Immortal Heart,” was performed on stages throughout the U.S. and in France. Her essays and stories are found in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks, and they are assigned as required reading in many high schools and universities. She appeared as herself in the animated series The Simpsons. She performed as narrator with the San Francisco Symphony playing an original score for Sagwa, by composer Nathan Wang. Amy Tan has been nominated for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the International Orange Prize, and won many awards including the Commonwealth Gold Award.

Amy Tan has lectured internationally at universities, including Stanford, Oxford, Jagellonium, Beijing, and Georgetown both in Washington, DC and Doha, Qatar. She has delivered a TED talk and spoken at the White House, appeared on the popular NPR program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, as well as on Sesame Street on Public Television. 

Colum McCann

Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. In 2017 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts.  His work has been published in over 40 languages.  He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.  He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their three children.  Learn more about McCann on his website.

Featured Speakers

Eloisa James is the New York Times bestselling author of 23 historical romances, as well as Paris in Love, a memoir about the year her family moved to France. She is also a Shakespeare scholar and professor at Fordham University in New York City, whose academic work has been published by the Oxford University Press.

Sayantani Dasgupta turned the Bengali folktales about brave princesses, bloodthirsty rakkhosh, and flying pakkhiraj horses that she heard as a child into The Serpent’s Secret and Game of Stars, the first two installments of her middle-grade fantasy series. She is also a pediatrician who teaches narrative medicine at Columbia University, “training people to be better doctors by teaching them how to be writers."

Jonathan Leigh Solomon's appeared as a comedian on over two dozen talk and variety programs, and served as staff writer for the Emmy-winning sitcom “Mad About You,” and Michael Moore’s Emmy-winning “TV Nation.” Jonathan teaches comedy writing and stand-up comedy through the Writers Store, SAG/AFTRA Conservatory and Santa Monica College. He is also a comedy consultant/coach, assisting comedians, actors, and script writers with comedy content.

Chisa Hutchinson's award-winning plays include “She Like Girls,” “Sex on Sunday,” “The Subject,” “Dead & Breathing,” and “Somebody’s Daughter.” She’s been a Lark Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a New York NeoFuturist, Resident Playwright at Second Stage, and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group. Currently, she’s working on several film and stage projects, and teaching creative writing at the University of    Delaware.

Fran Wilde's novels and short stories have been nominated for three Nebula awards, two Hugos, and a World Fantasy Award, and include her Andre Norton- and Compton-Crook-winning debut novel, Updraft and its sequels, Cloudbound and Horizon, the novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary,” and her middle-grade novel, Riverland. She holds an MFA in poetry and an MS in information architecture.