Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Fragile Beasts, Sister Mine, Coal Run, and Back Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. Her work has been published in over 40 countries. Back Roads is currently in development to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven, the producer of the Academy-Award-winning, Capote. Tawni adapted the screenplay which is set to be directed by Adrian Lyne.
Tawni was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she writes about with such striking authenticity. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and spent many years living in Chicago before moving back to Pennsylvania where she now resides with her two children.
Cathryn Cofell’s poetry and essays have been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies, and appear in five books, most recently Kamikaze Commotion (Parallel Press). Her latest project is Lip, her poems to the music of Obvious Dog. Cathryn is a frequent keynote, radio guest, instructor and arts advocate, including stints as advisor to the former Governor Tommy Thomspon for creation of a state poet laureate and as founding chair of the WI Poet Laureate Commission. She currently serves on the advisory board for Verse Wisconsin and promotes poetry events in Northeast WI.
The original Obvious Dog (Bill Orth and Bruce Dethlefsen) have performed their own blues and jazz throughout Wisconsin since 2001. Cathryn Cofell added her poetic twist in 2009. Both Bruce (Wisconsin’s current Poet Laureate) and Cathryn are highly-published, award-winning poets and regional performance favorites, frequently requested for public radio and TV, readings, workshops and keynotes. Since the debut of the CD Lip in 2010, Obvious Dog has performed to packed houses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
Kathleen Ernst’s Chloe Ellefson/Historic Sites mysteries are rooted in her time as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, the historic site near Eagle. Old World Murder (2010) and The Heirloom Murders (2011) will soon be followed by The Lightkeeper’s Legacy, set in Door County. Kathleen’s fiction for young readers includes eight historical mysteries. Honors for her work include Agatha and Edgar nominations, an Emmy Award, and three awards from the Council For WI Writers. Kathleen lives and writes in Middleton, WI, but takes great pleasure in research trips to new locales! Visit her at www.kathleenernst.com
Impressed by the kindness of her first teachers, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sister Flynn decided to follow their example and professed vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame at the age of 20. She graduated from Mount Mary College and holds a masters degree in theology from St. Mary’s University of San Antonio.
After 15 years of classroom teaching, she began a full-time career in spirituality, becoming a national speaker, retreat and spiritual director, archdiocesan leader of Catholic Charasmatic renewal, and later, director of adult and family ministry at the large parish where she first met Regina and David Bakula. In June 2005, with Regina’s case ongoing, Sister retired from parish ministry to begin writing Rescuing Regina. She also co-founded and currently chairs the Archdiocesan Justice for Immigrants Committee.
On October 25, 2011, at the invitation of Human Rights First, Sister Flynn spoke at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C. to set the tone for a conference on asylum reform by sharing Regina’s story (Rescuing Regina). The day-long conference, “Reaffirming Protection: Strengthening Asylum in the United States,” was sponsored by the UNHRC, Human Rights First, and Georgetown’s Human Rights Institute, in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. She also presented a signed copy of Rescuing Regina to the UN High Commissioner of Refugees Antonio Guterres. In the days following, she spoke to staff members of the Department of Migration and Refugee Services at the USCCB (national headquarters for the Catholic Church) and to national leaders of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).
Sister is a well-known speaker, at ease with a variety of groups. She has addressed local teen groups as well as law students at Marquette University.
Bruce Dethlefsen has been appointed Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2011-2012. His mission is to promote Wisconsin poets and poetry. He is the author of two chapbooks, Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, which won the Posner Award Honorable Mention. His latest book of poems, Unexpected Shiny Things, is published by Cowfeather Press. His collection titled Breather (Fireweed Press, 2009) won an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Bruce served six years as secretary of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry and hosted the Poet Tree reading series at the Montello Public Library for ten years. He lives in Westfield, Wisconsin.