Writer in Residence
Looking for publishing advice? Frustrated staring at a blank page? The Writer in Residence program brings local authors to the Library to consult with writers of any age, experience, or genre.
We do not currently have a Writer in Residence. When a new writer is selected, we'll post that information on this page. Writers are funded from February through July each year.
This program, generously funded by the Arizona State Library, is a favorite among local writers. Each has brought their own special talents to the program to help people with all aspects of the writing process.
Past Writers in Residence
Adam Rex is the author and illustrator of more than forty books for kids. These include New York Times bestselling picture books like Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, School’s First Day of School, (with illustrator Christian Robinson), and Chu’s Day (with author Neil Gaiman). His work has been adapted for film and television.
Some of his awards, including the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature and the National Cartoonists Society Book Illustration Award. His debut novel was shortlisted for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. He has also created art for games like Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.
He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his cat, dog, son, and wife. www.adamrex.com
Lori Alexander is the author of the picture books Backhoe Joe and Famously Phoebe, as well as the Future Baby board book series. Her first chapter book, All In a Drop: How Antony Van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World received a Sibert Honor Award for distinguished nonfiction. Her newest book, A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a Kirkus starred review.
Lori has been a Tucson resident for more than twenty years. Her husband is a scientist at Roche Diagnostics in Oro Valley, and her two book-loving teens attend Mountain View High School.
Visit Lori at www.lorialexanderbooks.com, opens a new window or on Twitter @LoriJAlexander or Instagram @lorialexanderbooks
Wynne Brown is the author of four books, many newspaper and magazine articles, and has written on a wide variety of topics, including science, health, history, trails, environmental issues, horses, travel, the Southwest, and more.
Her most recent book, released in November 2021, is The Forgotten Botanist: Sara Plummer Lemmon’s Life of Science and Art, the account of an extraordinary woman who, in 1870, was driven by ill health to leave the East Coast for a new life in the West—alone. This title won the 2022 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America (WWA) in the biography category. Spurs are given for the best western historical novel, best western traditional novel, best western contemporary novel, best short story, best short nonfiction. Also, best contemporary nonfiction, best biography, best history, best juvenile fiction and nonfiction, best drama, best documentary, and best first novel as well as best first nonfiction book.
Marge jumped out of business and into writing world in 1984. Passionate about sharing the power she’s found in words, Marge leads writers of all ages in workshops that invite them to think in new ways and discover their own voices.
Marge facilitated and coordinated programing for the Owl & Panther Project for 20 years, until 2018. The program was a finalist in the 2015 Out-of-School Time Awards of Excellence by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence. Owl & Panther was also a finalist in the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in the spring of 2016.
Marge developed and facilitated the Word Journeys program at the Pima County Public Library for twelve years. The program was a finalist for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Coming Up Taller Award for excellence in afterschool programming in 2007, and won that distinction in 2008.
Marge’s work with KARE Center and Owl & Panther resulted in comics published by The Comic Book Project Tucson I Am a Super Hero edition, which touched on foster care and refugee flight respectively.
As a teaching artist, Marge has been nominated for the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s Lumie Award 2008, Governor’s Award 2009 and named Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly, December, 2006, and was a Juried member of the Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Roster, 1998-2014.
Gregory McNamee is a writer, editor, photographer, and publisher. He is the author or title-page editor of more than 40 books and author of more than 6,000 periodical pieces, including articles, essays, reviews, interviews, editorials, poems, and short stories.
McNamee is the editor of Zócalo, an arts-and-culture magazine published in Tucson. He is a contributing editor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He is also a contributing editor to Kirkus Reviews, the leading publication of the book trade. He writes regularly for many other journals and sites, and his work has appeared in such venues as Science, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Smithsonian, AARP, and Native Peoples.
McNamee operates Sonora Wordworks, an editorial and publishing service, and he has been involved in the publication of more than 500 books. He is also the publisher of Polytropos Press.
McNamee is a lecturer in the Economics Department of the Eller College of Management and a research associate at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona. He is also a longtime member of the Speakers Bureau of Arizona Humanities.
Award-winning author Jennifer J. Stewart is known for her seriously funny books for children. Her debut novel, concerning a hot-headed, time-traveling, princess-chasing dragon named Madam Yang, is a favorite among schoolchildren. If That Breathes Fire, We’re Toast! was named to VOYA’s Best Fantasy list and the Oklahoma master list. She followed up her initial success with a tale of a rich orphan and a greedy stepmother in The Girl Who Has Everything, which Kirkus Reviews called “both amusing and engaging... fluffy and fun, with just the right touch of message.”
Her latest novel, Close Encounters of a Third-World Kind, is loosely based upon her family’s real life adventures working as medical volunteers in the kingdom of Nepal. Jennifer tended patients in village hospitals and taught health education classes to women and children. She also trekked to Annapurna Base Camp and rode a runaway elephant. This book was nominated for Arizona's Grand Canyon Reader Award, Connecticut's Nutmeg Book Award, and Maryland's Black-Eyed Susan Award.
Jennifer's first picture book is The Twelve Days of Christmas in Arizona. New York Times bestselling artist Lynne Avril did the illustrations (and the sketch of Jennifer, too!). The book received the Glyph Award. Jennifer also writes educational nonfiction as "J. J. Stewart."
Jennifer was born in East Patchogue, New York, to a librarian mother and a physicist father. When she was four years old, her family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up and attended Whitmore Elementary, Townsend Junior High, and Catalina High. She received an honors degree in English from Wellesley College, opens a new window, followed by an M.B.A. from the University of Utah, opens a new window. For a while she wore suits and pantyhose, but then she found out that writing for children is a lot more fun.
When Jennifer is not writing, or speaking in schools or at writing conferences, she volunteers with the non-profit organization, Make Way for Books, opens a new window. Its mission is to give all children the chance to read and succeed. She is honored to be a founding board member.
Jennifer makes her home in Tucson with her physician husband. They volunteer as Flying Samaritans, opens a new window together. They have three daughters. Sadly, Hissy Fit, her Madagascar hissing cockroach has passed away.
Visit Jennifer on the Web at www.jenniferjstewart.com.
Margaret Regan is the author of the award-winning book, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands, a 2010 Southwest Book of the Year and a Common Read for the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. An editor and writer at the Tucson Weekly, Regan has won many regional and national prizes for her immigration reporting, including the 2013 Al Filipov Peace and Justice Award.
In her latest book, Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire, Regan draws on years of reporting in the Arizona-Mexico borderlands. Regan demonstrates how increasingly draconian detention and deportation policies have broadened police powers, while enriching a private prison industry whose profits are derived from human suffering. She also documents the rise of resistance, profiling activists and young immigrant "Dreamers" who are fighting for the rights of the undocumented.
Many of J.M.’s books have been released to critical acclaim, including Prairie Gothic, which was a “Best Books You’ve Never Heard Of” selection by New York Magazine and Server Down, named “One of the Five Best Mystery Novels of 2009” by Library Journal.
In a Booklist starred review, his newest book The Spirit and the Skull was called “a fascinating tale… straddling both mystery and fantasy genres.”
To the immense relief of everyone who knows her, she finally completed the 3,475th draft of her first novel The Wonder That Was Ours, winner of the 2017 Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction. She is thrilled beyond description and grateful to those who supported her while she wrote a novel narrated by a collective of cockroaches.
Logan Phillips is a poet, performer, DJ, and educator. Phillips grew up in Southeastern Arizona near the border and has lived in Tucson since 2010.
Phillips co-directed Spoken Futures, an organization that gives youth space to make art to explore their identity and expression.
Susan Cummins Miller is author of the fast-paced and edgy Frankie MacFarlane mystery series. Miller, who holds degrees in history, anthropology and geology, has been honored by several literary organizations including Women Writing the West, the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, the Society of Southwestern Authors, and Southwest Books of the Year.
A Research Affiliate of the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women, she is also editor of A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of the American Frontier, 1800-1922, a finalist for the Longan Award for nonfiction.
Marge Pellegrino is the author of the children’s books My Grandma’s the Mayor and Too Nice as well as the Judy Goddard award-winning novel Journey of Dreams. She has also published nonfiction and poetry.
Since 1999, she has coordinated programming for the Owl & Panther Project, which was a finalist in the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Of her residency, Pellegrino says, “I’m enjoying the connectedness that comes when writers share their work and tap into each other’s energies.”
Lili DeBarbieri is the author of four books, including A Guide to Southern Arizona’s Historic Farms and Ranches, and her articles, essays, and photography have appeared in numerous publications and digital media.
Her children’s book, Sand Dune Daisy, was named a 2016 Southwest Book of the Year and a Notable Indie title by Shelf Unbound Magazine.
Adrienne Celt is the author of the novel The Daughters (W.W. Norton/Liveright 2015), which won the PEN Southwest Book Award for Fiction and was named a Best Book of 2015 by NPR, who called it “a gratifying feast in lush, lyrical, and full-throated form.”
Most recently, she won a 2016 O. Henry Prize for her story, “Temples,” which was published in Epoch.
She has also published over 30 short stories for kids, teens and adults.
Her most recent publication is Finding Your Sense of Place, an ebook about the craft of writing.
Reservations can be made online through our Events Calendar up to a week prior to each consultation. Sign up with your email address, and you will receive a virtual meeting invitation the day before your consultation.
We recognize that having a consultation with the Writer in Residence is a great opportunity and want to ensure fair access for all our patrons. For that reason customers can book one appointment at a time.
If you have a current project you are working on, bring an excerpt that is readable within a short amount of time that the resident can give feedback on. Paper and pen are always welcome for taking notes. If you have questions about the writing or publishing process, bring these with you as well. And make sure to bring yourself!
No! Consultation appointments are open to writers at any point in their writing journey. Whether you’re preparing a manuscript for publication, trying to finish the first draft of the novel you started for National Novel Writing Month, or are just interested in creative writing and aren’t sure how to get started, the Writer in Residence is here to provide support and guidance in your writing journey.
Of course! Writing is a hobby suitable for any age and the Writer in Residence is happy to meet with younger writers. Writers under the age of 18 will need an accompanying adult for the consultation.
While the residents are happy to read a short excerpt of your work that can be read within the timeframe of your consultation, the resident does not have time to read manuscripts outside their consultation times.
The Writer in Residence program is funded with LSTA funds through the Arizona State Library. These funds are awarded on a yearly cycle, and each year requires an application process for the project to be renewed. As long as we receive these funds, we will keep this program going.
We hope to continue this project and continue to look for writers for the library’s residency. A residency requires both demonstrated writing and teaching experience. If you know of an author who might be good for the program, submit the nomination form.
The Writer in Residence Program is made possible by the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.