Presenters and Instructors

This faculty page for presenters and critique personnel
will be updated over time. Thank you.


Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 11.23.07 PM.pngA. Merc Rustad is a published author of speculative fiction (fantasy and science fiction).  Merc is mostly found on Twitter @Merc_Rustad and sometimes playing in cardboard boxes.

At the 2019 Minnesota Workshop, A. Merc will be teaching on how to write great sci-fi and fantasy, and also critiquing manuscripts as an add-on element for attendees.

A. Merc is a queer non-binary writer who likes dinosaurs, robots, monsters, and cookies. Their fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Uncanny, Fireside, Nightmare, Apex, Shimmer, and others.

“How To Become A Robot In 12 Easy Steps” was included in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 (ed. by Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams). Merc is also a 2016 Nebula Award finalist for their story, “This Is Not A Wardrobe Door,” which has been reprinted in PodCastle (audio), Cicada (2018), and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 (ed. by Charles Wu and John Joseph Adams), along with translations into Chinese and Portuguese.


Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 3.24.55 PM.pngSarah Ahiers has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with her dogs and a house full of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats and when she’s not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends and good family.

At the 2019 Minnesota workshop, she is teaching on writing young adult and middle grade, and critiquing manuscripts as an add-on element for attendees.

Sarah writes Young Adult and Middle Grade novels and occasionally dabbles in Picture Books. Fantasy is her favorite genre, though she sometimes can be found playing around with Horror and other things that go bump in the night.

Sarah’s debut novel, ASSASSIN’S HEART (HarperTeen, February 2nd, 2016) is a Young Adult Fantasy. In the Kingdom of Lovero, where families of assassins lawfully kill people for the right price, seventeen-year-old Oleander “Lea” Saldana sets out on a path of vengeance against the most powerful assassin family of all.


Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 9.06.54 AMKimiko Nakamura is a literary agent with Dee Mura Literary, and a co-coordinator of the 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop.

At the 2019 Minnesota workshop, she will be teaching on memoir writing, and critiquing manuscripts for attendees.

A graduate of Skidmore College and Boston University’s Book Publishing Program, Kimiko worked within Shambhala Publications and Harvard Common Press before becoming a literary agent. She partners with aspiring and published authors alike, enjoys well-worn library books, and is always up for a game of Scrabble. She loves projects that reimagine what’s possible, characters with something (or nothing) to lose, unique viewpoints, trailblazing heroines, and anything with elements of magical realism. She represents memoir writers.


Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 7.17.33 PM.pngKristi Belcamino is a Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Award-nominated author of four crime fiction books, a newspaper cops reporter, and an Italian mama who makes a tasty biscotti. Her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, was inspired by her dealings with a serial killer during her life as a Bay Area crime reporter. Her first YA novel, CITY OF ANGELS (Polis Books) is slated for 2017.

Belcamino has written and reported about many high-profile cases including the Laci Peterson murder and Chandra Levy’s disappearance. She has appeared on “Inside Edition” and her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, San Jose Mercury News, and Chicago Tribune. Kristi now works part-time as a police reporter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and her two fierce daughters.

At the 2019 Minnesota Writing Workshop, she is teaching on how to write great mystery & thriller. She is also critiquing manuscript pages as an add-on element for attendees. She is critiquing adult thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novel pages.

Find out more about her on Facebook and Twitter.


Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 11.07.06 PM.pngCori Doerrfeld is a published picture book author and illustrator. She has created many published books. In 2018, she will have new books coming out with publishers such as HarperCollins, Little Brown, and Dial Books for Young Readers.

At the 2019 Minnesota workshop, Cori will be doing add-on picture book critiques for attendees. (Learn more about the critiques here.) She will also be teaching on how to get a picture book published.

Cori received her undergrad degree in Studio Art from St. Olaf College and her Post Baccalaureate from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. All of her books are available at or your local bookstore.

Cori is represented by Rachel Orr at Prospect Agency.