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Meet Our Speakers

(In Order of Appearance) 

Carol Dunbar

Carol is a former actor, playwright, and coloratura soprano who left her life in the city to move off the grid. Her writing appears in numerous literary journals and venues including The New York Times, The South Carolina Review, and Wisconsin Public Radio. Her debut novel The Net Beneath Us releases in the fall of 2022. 

Michael Laughing Fox Charette

Michael is gifted Native American storyteller, poet, and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. As a self-taught Native flute player he enhances his stories with hauntingly beautiful flute performance. Growing up surrounded by the beauty of Lake Superior and the woods led him to dedicate his gifts as an artist to gently teaching about Native history, culture, and spirituality. His work as both a visual and performance artist is varied and tied together by the traditional wisdom of the Anishnaabe people, which is respectfully incorporated into his work. 

Emily M. Stone

Naturalist/Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum writes a Natural Connections column for more than 20 newspapers across three states. She has published two Natural Connections books, the second winning an Excellence in Craft Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Thomas Peacock

Author of over a dozen books. His works have garnered two Minnesota Book Awards, Multicultural Children’s Book Award, and 2020 Indie adult fiction author of the year (for the Wolf’s Trail). A member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, he is co-publisher of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing.

Gary Boelhower

Gary is an educator, academic leader and consultant since 1970. His books include non-fiction: Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions; Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within; poetry: Marrow, Muscle, Flight: (which won the Midwest Book Award); Naming Rites; Step Close In; and the children’s book A Common Thirst.  

Janet Kay

Kay lives and writes on a lake in the woods of Northwest Wisconsin. She has published four novels blending genres of psychological suspense, wilderness adventure, historical fiction, romance and paranormal. Her latest release, Rainy Lake Rendevous, was endorsed by New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger. Check out her website at http://www.novelsbyjanetkay.com

Sheila Packa

A poet and writer Sheila has taught writing at Lake Superior College and leads creative writing workshops. She has served as Duluth’s Poet Laureate. She has 4 books of poems. Her new book Surface Displacements will be published in June 2022.

Christy Wopat

Author of 3 books: the award-winning memoir, Almost a Mother, a picture book titled Always Ours, and After All: Pregnancy After Loss. Christy's personal essays have been featured in Still Standing Magazine and The Educator’s Room, among others.Christy is a 4th-grade teacher and lives with her husband and children in Holmen, Wisconsin. She is repped by Tina Schwartz at The Purcell Agency.    


Dale Botten

A native of Northern Wisconsin Dale's screenplay, THE LAW LOVER, won four awards and placed in the finals/semi-finals of others (under three different titles).  First novel, A NICE RELAXING SEA CRUISE, rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon on 52 reviews (screen adaptation finished). Ten total film credits on IMDB. 

Chris Monroe

From Duluth, MN, Chris has written and illustrated 10 picture books, including the award-winning children’s book series “Monkey With A Tool Belt,” which is now the Netflix series, “Chico Bon Bon, Monkey With A Tool Belt.” She was the creator of the long-running comic strip “Violet Days,” and the author of “Ultra Violet Ten Years Of Violet Days.” A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she is the winner of a 2016 Regional Emmy Award for animation art in the documentary “Kevin Kling, Lost and Found.”

Thomas Wayne King, Ed.D.,

UWEC professor emeritus, Tom is the author of fifteen books plus hundreds of articles, stories and songs. With Debbi, he raises Icelandic sheep at Sunny Cove, overlooking Lake Superior. Their post-civil-war family homestead in Solon Springs is home. Tom’s textbooks with Simon & Schuster/Allyn & Bacon, Boston, are used globally.

Naomi Musch

Naomi’s heart beats for historical fiction. Author of sixteen books, and numerous award-winning short stories, she is celebrating the wild ride of three new releases in 2022. Her novel Mist O’er the Voyageur was a 2019 Selah Awards and two-time Book-of-the-Year finalist. Naomi is at home in the Wisconsin Northwoods. She is represented by Linda Glaz from the Hartline Literary Agency.

Jim Perlman

Jim founded of Holy Cow! Press in 1977. He co-edited Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude and Amethyst and Agate: Poems of Lake Superior. He and his family made Duluth their home in 1988. Please visit www.holycowpress.org  

Betsy Albert-Peacock 

Betsy is a graduate and retiree of UMD where she taught for 18 years. She and her husband, Tom, own Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing, a Native owned non-profit. Betsy is a Reiki Master and belongs to the Medicine Women’s group of wonderful healers. She presently lives in Duluth, Minnesota and Bayfield , Wisconsin. 

Sam Zimmerman

Sam's work explores his Ojibwe heritage, experiences in nature while preserving shared oral histories. His work continues the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling. Sam has been a recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and Duluth Superior Community Foundation awards.  He has recently completed his first book, Following My Spirit Home.

Marlene Wisuri

Co-author, photographer, or photo editor of over a dozen books dealing with local history, immigration, and Ojibwe history and culture Marlene is the recipient of two Minnesota book awards. She has assisted with publication and design of numerous books as the owner of Dovetailed Press in Duluth, Minnesota. 

Sean Malone

A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, Sam studied European and Medieval History at Concordia and Marquette Universities and is an author of Lovecraftian fiction. He has worked at Orange Hat Publishing since February of 2021, specializing in helping authors navigate their entry into publishing. 

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