Conference Presenters and Guests


Marilyn Atlas is a talent and literary manager, award-winning producer, and writer. She has produced films such as Real Women Have Curves for HBO, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival; a variety of programming for the cable/ pay TV market, and co-produced several live theatre productions, including To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, which was made into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher. She is the co-author of the ground-breaking screenwriting guide Dating Your Character (Stairway Press 2016). Marilyn has long been committed to issues surrounding diversity in Hollywood and has been a guest speaker at various colleges and writers’ colleges all over the country. A member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, she has spoken at many of their writers’ and producers’ retreats, and is a founding member of Women in Film’s Luminas Committee.

Pablo Miguel Martínez’s collection of poems, Brazos, Carry Me (Kórima Press), received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry; its judge’s citation notes that Martínez is “a highly perceptive observer and scholar of our human frailties and common history.” Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sandra Cisneros praised Brazos, Carry Me as her favorite book of 2013. His chapbook, titled Cuent@, was published by Finishing Line Press in February 2016 as a result of the manuscript being selected the First Honorable Mention in the Press’ 2014 Open Chapbook Competition. Martínez is a Co-Founder of CantoMundo, a national retreat-workshop for Latina/o poets. He resides in his hometown, San Antonio, Texas, where he works in the not-for-profit sector. Currently, he is at work on a mixed-genre memoir.

tom payton2Tom Payton has been in the book and publishing industry for more than 25 years. Payton has served on industry boards and committees for the Publishers Association of the South, the Georgia Center for the Book, and other organizations. He has participated in or moderated discussions at an array of literary conferences, book festivals, and continuing education classes nationally. He has experience in all aspects of the business including acquisitions, project development, digital content, publicity, marketing, sales, subsidiary rights, special events, contracts, manufacturing, and financial analysis. His work with Trinity primarily focuses on digital project development, books in architecture, urban planning, sustainability, literature/history of place, and Texas and Southwestern regional interests, developing co-publishing partnerships, and marketing and sales. In San Antonio he has written for several publications and has worked with Texas Book Festival/San Antonio and Gemini Ink. He has served on the board for Say Sí, an advisory board for the Center for Non-Profit Support at the San Antonio Area Foundation, and he works with several other volunteer and civic organizations including the Terrell Heights Neighborhood Association. He blogs on a variety of topics at He is a native of Georgia and a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014). His work has appeared in SalamanderRHINOAlaska  Quarterly ReviewSouthwestern American LiteratureThe Texas Observer, and elsewhere. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review and teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

clay smithClay Smith is the Literary Director of the San Antonio Book Festival. He is also the editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews and former literary director of the Texas Book Festival. He was elected to the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle in 2015 and has written for the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. He is a graduate of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU and began his journalism career at the Austin Chronicle and talks about books regularly on the public radio program “Texas Standard.”

patricia spears jones copyPatricia Spears Jones is the author of four collections of poetry: A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2015), Painkiller (Tia Chucha Press, 2010), Femme du Monde (Tia Chucha Press, 2006), and The Weather That Kills (Coffee House Press, 1995). She has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for American Poets. Other honors include fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Goethe Institute, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Brian Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the U.S. Army. He is the author of the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country (2015) and two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award and the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, among other distinctions. He is the author of the poem “The Hurt Locker,” which inspired the 2009 Academy-Award-winning film. Turner’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, and other fine journals.

Helena María Viramontes is the author of The Moths and Other Stories and two novels Under the Feet of Jesus and Their Dogs Came With Them.  She has also co-edited with Maria Herrera Sobek, two collections: Chicana (W) rites: On Word and Film and Chicana Creativity and Criticism. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the John Dos Passos Award for Literature, and a United States Artist Fellowship, her short stories and essays have been widely anthologized and her writings have been adopted for classroom use and university study. Her work is the subject of a critical reader titled Rebozos De Palabras  (University of Arizona Press). A community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association, she is a frequent reader and lecturer in the U.S. and internationally.  Currently she is completing a draft of her third novel, The Cemetery Boys.

Check out The Writer’s Desk: Where Helena María Viramontes Finds Her Inspiration at The Rivard Report.

Featured Local Readers



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