Ayad Akhtar

ayad-akhtar-headshotAmerican-born, first generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Graduated from Brown University with a degree in Theater. On graduating, Ayad moved to Tuscany, Italy, where he spent a year working with world-renowned acting theorist and pioneer, Jerzy Grotowski (Towards a Poor Theater).

Resident of New York City since 1999, Ayad has been active in the New York and Vienna (Austria) theater communities, teaching acting on his own and alongside Andre Gregory (My Dinner With Andre, Vanya on 42nd St). He is also an alumnus of the Graduate Film Program at Columbia University, where he graduated with a degree in directing. Akhtar’s work at Columbia earned him the New York Documentary Center’s Young Documentary Filmmakers’ Award, an IFP Audience Choice Award, and Programming Committee’s Award for Best Film at the 2003 Columbia University Film Festival.

He is the author of numerous screenplays, including Child Soldier, currently being made into a movie by Zentropa, Lars Von Trier’s production company. Ayad was star and co-writer of The War Within, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for (Best Screenplay), and an International Press Academy Satellite Award (Best Picture – Drama), and released internationally. He is currently writing a screenplay for Mark Burnett at Sony, and adapting Blue Eyed Devil, Michael Muhammad Knight’s seminal book on the Nation of Islam.

This summer, his stage play, Disgraced, was invited to be a part of the LAByrinth Theater Intensive and New Writers/New Plays at the Vineyard Arts Project. Will Frears (Actor’s Theater/Louisville, Steppenwolf) is attached to direct.

American Dervish is his first novel.


Colin Campbell

colin-campbell-headshotYorkshire born and Yorkshire bred. Ex-army, retired cop and experienced Scenes of Crime Officer (that’s CSI in America.) Campbell lives and grew up in and around Leeds in the north of England, the son of a working class family that shaped his Yorkshire grit, honest approach and hardworking mindset.

Campbell served 3 years in the British Army and followed the ex-serviceman’s route into law enforcement, spending the next 30 years as a police officer in West Yorkshire. His duties included uniform patrol, custody officer, plain-clothes crime manager and scenes of crime officer. Being a forensics photographer for 15 years was the highlight of his career, but working the streets for the last 8 brought him full circle.

Overlapping the last years of his service, Campbell became a prolific writer. He is the author of several UK crime novels including, Through The Ruins Of Midnight and Northern Ex, and the US set Resurrection Man thrillers, Jamaica Plain thru Snake Pass and beyond He has also written horror fiction, half a dozen children’s books and numerous short stories.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association, International Thriller Writers and the Mystery Writers of America.


E.S. Magill

E.S. Magill is a co-editor of the anthology Deep Cuts, honoring the women who write horror with nineteen original short horror stories plus sixty recommendations for powerhouse horror tales written by women. She is also the editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One, an anthology of essays and short stories based on the experiences of a dozen horror writers who attended a writers retreat at a haunted mansion.

Some time ago, Magill was the former reviews editor and columnist for Dark Wisdom magazine. Her most current short fiction can be found in the Horror Writers Association’s anthology Blood Lite III, Halloween Tales, and The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. She has an M.A. in English, specializing in the postmodern gothic. By day, she teaches middle school English. In her spare minutes, she writes. Southern California is home to her and her husband Greg and their menagerie of cats and Corvettes.


Jason Kosmas and Dusan Zaric/Employees Only

The atmosphere at Employees Only was created to evoke the frivolous spirit of the 1920’s and 30’s. During Prohibition, patrons of speakeasies raised their glasses in defiance of the ban on alcohol. While there are many criminal aspects during this period that are not glorified, America has romanticized the roaring 20’s as one of our first cultural revolutions. It was behind these closed doors that men and women first enjoyed the pleasures of drinking and socializing together. The mischievous attitude of Prohibition created legendary figures both real and fictional…


Rhonda Pollero

The pertinent stuff is all in my ‘official bio’ but it doesn’t quite capture reality.  USA Today bestselling author is great, but those near and dear to me would probably tell you that Supreme Geek is a better moniker.  I’m a total dork at heart, quite content to read technical manuals and watch foreign films.

I’ve always been a dork.  My dorkdom began early on and I’ll take the easy route and blame it on my father.  He loved language and enjoyed pop quizzes at the dinner table on obscure words and phraseology.  The result of that turned me into the fountain of useless information that I am.  I learn and store stuff that would – arguably – only be relevant during a taping of Final Jeopardy.


John Reed

Author of the novels, A Still Small Voice (Delacorte Press / Delta), The Whole (Simon & Schuster / Pocket / MTV Books), the SPD bestseller, Snowball’s Chance (Roof Books / Melville House), All The World’s A Grave: A New Play By William Shakespeare (Penguin Books / Plume), and Tales of Woe (MTV Press); Free Boat: Collected Lies and Love Poems is forthcoming from C&R Press (2016); published in (selected) the Brooklyn Rail, Tin House, Paper Magazine, Artforum, Bomb Magazine, Art in America, the PEN Poetry Series, the Los Angeles Times, the Believer, the Rumpus, the Daily Beast, Gawker, Slate, the Paris Review, Playboy, Out Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, ElectricLit, Vice, The New York Times, Harpers; anthologized in Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin, 2015), Devouring the Green (Jaded Ibis, 2015), StoryScape Anthology V2 (2015), American Wasteland (CLMP, 2011), The Brooklyn Rail Fiction Anthology (Hanging Loose, 2006), Vitamin PH (Phaidon, 2006), 100 Greatest Albums (VH1, 2003).