Session Three

Choose One:

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. 

Hearing Voices and Seeing Scenes: Building Blocks of Writing Fiction

Ellen Meeropol, authorA former pediatric nurse practitioner and part-time bookseller, Ellen Meeropol is the author of two novels, House Arrest (2011) and On Hurricane Island (2015). Publishers Weekly gave House Arrest a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.” Ellen’s short fiction and essays have been published in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, Beyond the Margins, The Drum, and The Writers Chronicle. She is the author of the dramatic script “Carry it Forward,” telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, most recently produced in Manhattan in June 2013, featuring Eve Ensler, Angela Davis and Cotter Smith. A founding member of the Straw Dog Writers Guild, Ellen holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. 

For more information on Ellen visit


My Hometown

Suzanne Strempek Shea, authorSuzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels: Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley, Around Again, and Becoming Finola, published by Washington Square Press. She has also written three memoirs, Songs From a Lead-lined Room: Notes - High and Low - From My Journey Through Breast Cancer and Radiation; Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama and Other Page-Turning Adventures From a Year in a Bookstore; and Sundays in America: A Yearlong Road Trip in Search of Christian Faith, all published by Beacon Press. Her sixth novel, Make a Wish But Not for Money, about a palm reader in a dead mall, will be published by PFP Publishing on Oct. 5, 2014.

Winner of the 2000 New England Book Award, which recognizes a literary body of work's contribution to the region, Suzanne began writing fiction in her spare time while working as reporter for the Springfield (Massachusetts) Newspapers and The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. Her freelance journalism and fiction has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Yankee, The Bark, Golf World, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Organic Style and ESPN the Magazine. She was a regular contributor to Obit magazine.

Suzanne is a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing and is writer-in-residence and director of the creative writing program at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mass. She has taught in the MFA program at Emerson College and in the creative writing program at the University of South Florida. She also has taught in Ireland, at the Curlew Writers Conferences in Howth and Dingle, and in Dingle via the Stonecoast Ireland residency. She and her husband, Tommy Shea, longtime reporter for the Republican of Springfield, Mass., and most recently the senior foreign editor at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, will lead a week of writing in Ireland next spring for participants in Bay Path's new MFA program in nonfiction.

She and Tommy live in Bondsville with dogs Tiny and Bisquick.