Professor and Chair Emeritus of Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago, Randall Albers was founding Producer of the long-running Story Week Festival of Writers, received the Columbia College Teaching Excellence Award, and, as chair of the Fiction Writing Department, fostered innovative interdisciplinary and community-based arts work in Chicago, and led development of abroad programs in Moscow, Prague, Florence, Bath, and Rome. A Story Workshop® Master Teacher, he has been a visiting professor at England's Bath Spa University, has lectured at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and has presented at numerous national and international conferences on the teaching of creative writing. His fiction, creative nonfiction, and scholarly work have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, TriQuarterly, Writers Digest, Writing in Education, Brevity, F Magazine, and Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck, among others. With Steve May, he authored the lead article in Creative Writing and Education, edited by Graeme Harper; and two chapters from his novel-in-progress, All the World Before Them, have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Founding Executive Director
Donald G. Evans founded the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2010 as a project of the Chicago Writers Association, where he had been a board member. The CLHOF branched out and became its own nonprofit organization in 2013. As executive director of CLHOF, he conceives and enacts the diverse endeavors of the organization—providing educational programming, mounting literary exhibits and events, collaborating with other literary and arts groups, and most notably, leading the planning and production of CLHOF’s annual induction ceremony.
Complementing his CLHOF duties, Don contributes his expertise to the American Writers Museum’s programming committee and, for the past six years, he has served on the Near South Planning Board committee to select the winner of its annual Harold Washington Literary Award. Don cultivates CLHOF’s many partners through his active membership in an array of organizations, including Chicago Writers Association, Society of Midland Authors, Cliff Dwellers, Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, and Associated Writers Programs. Don is the author of the novel Good Money After Bad and was editor of Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. His short story collection An Off-White Christmas will be released late in 2018. He has been listed four times as a Newcity Lit 50: Who Really Books in Chicago.
JoAnn Fastoff was born in and lives in Chicago. She has written, produced and directed three one-act plays on Off-Off Broadway in New York City, including winning the Village Gate One Act Festival. She also wrote, directed and produced, a three-city PBS aired television program called Live From The Warehouse, as well as Herb Kent's Dusty Records, a syndicated radio program airing in 22 cities.
JoAnn has written four novels in the award-winning Howard Watson Mystery Intrigue series and two non-fiction books: Two Years of Heaven, and White Sox for Women. As a testament to her accomplishments, several of her books are housed in her high school's library. JoAnn is a 2015 Phillis Wheatley New York Book Review Award nominee and won a 2015 Chicago Writers Association Honorable Mention for her memoir Two Years of Heaven. In addition she is the 2013 Recipient of Excellence in Literature (Fiction) Award Winner for her book The Lie presented to her by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago.
Having written extensively for Chicago, New York and Philadelphia publications, JoAnn was also a publicist for the musical group “Kool and the Gang”, an event coordinator for Graham Kerr “The Galloping Gourmet”, and has interviewed over 100 celebrities, including the late Grammy award winning blues singer B.B. King and the late award-winning photographer Gordon Parks.
JoAnn is the product of maternal grandparents who migrated to Chicago in 1927 from the Buckaloo Mountains of Alabama, and paternal grandparents who flipped the Bolsheviks the bird, immigrating to the U.S. from Rostov, Russia in 1910.
JoAnn is the mother of two adult children Angela and David and the grandmother of Lia.n Her books are listed on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, AuthorHouse.com and Xlibris.com. www.JoAnnFastoff.com
Max McKenna is a writer, editor, and musician who lives and works in Chicago. He has a Masters in American Literature from the University of Chicago, and is a teaching assistant for ModPo, a free and open online course on modern and contemporary American poetry.
A lifelong environmentalist, internationally-awarded Margot McMahon sculpts forms of nature. Humans, plants and animals, symbolizing varied life forms, are fused into organic interpretations in bronze, Cor-Ten steel, aluminum, granite or wood. The Smithsonian, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago History Museum, Sokka Gaikai, Mobil Oil, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Steans Family Foundation have collected Margot’s sculptures.
Margot has taught sculpture and drawing at the School of the Art Institute, and Yale University, where she earned an MFA. Margot is President of YaleWomen Chicago, on Yale Club Chicago Board of Directors, Association of Yale Alumni Delegate at Large, Chicago Sculpture International: committee member, and the Ragdale Foundation's Board of Directors. She is a founding commissioner of Oak Park Public Art Advisory Commission, part of her accomplishments while serving on the Oak Park Area Arts Council Board for a decade. Margot has enjoyed residencies at the Oak Park Art League, and Ragdale Foundation. Her sculptures are exhibited at the Arts Club of Chicago, Krasl Biennial, Terrain and Brauer Museum last year. Margot has recently published with the Yale Center for British Art, “The Gift of Art, Sculpture Ventures for Young Artists” to exercise creativity while learning to sculpt.
Recently returned to the Chicago area from Portland Maine, Rev Marilyn Owen Robb, a retired Ordained Elder of the New England Conference United Methodist Church, after 40 years of service is glad now to be able to focus on reading and writing, something that was not always possible raising three children and responding as a clergywoman to responsibilities of the parish. Being about to go beyond the local parish in Chicago, Maine, and Massachusetts her work in these communities gave Marilyn opportunities for mission travel-particularly Bosnia during the war and United Methodist mission sites in Africa. These, as well as MADD, Bread for the World, and sexual misconduct response, provided much fodder for weekly story sermons that always demanded attention. With newly available time available due to her retirement, Marilyn is helping to implement a development strategy for CLHOF. She is quoted saying, “A new and different future looks bright” referring to the CLHOF and for her own new dorections.
On an eight-year break from the local church, Marilyn was Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the state of Maine. This unexpectedly gave her experience in intense fund raising and non-profit administration that goes along with founding a new organization on the state level. While returning to Chicago Marilyn passed on her position of president of Bread For The World, Maine, she had spent the last 15 years as Chair and Coordinator of the New England United Methodist Conference Response/Intervention Team for Clergy and Laity Sexual Misconduct.
Salli Berg Seeley has been a lecturer and adjunct professor for 25 years at DePaul University in the English and Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Departments. For the past 10 years, her focus has been teaching Chicago Literature courses, introducing students to authors of the Chicago Literary Renaissance as well as contemporary Chicago writers and the city’s burgeoning live lit culture. Salli writes poetry and creative nonfiction, and volunteers at Louder Than a Bomb and other Young Chicago Authors events.
Chair Marketing Committee
Floyd Sullivan was born in Chicago and grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in history. Floyd also studied graphic arts, photography, and film making at UIC, and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During his professional career he worked as a communications executive for a variety of companies. Floyd has edited a collection of essays and oral histories titled Old Comiskey Park (McFarland), and as a writer has written one novel, Called Out: a novel of base ball and America in 1908 (Amika Press), as well as a memoir, Waiting for the Cubs (McFarland). Floyd’s short stories have been published on a variety of blogs and websites. He blogs about baseball at Waiting4Cubs on ChicagoNow, and works as a freelance writer and photographer in Chicago, where he lives with his wife.
Lisa Wagner brings to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame her background in nonprofit administration, publishing and editing, magazine editorial, as well as the fine art market, and live lit performance and production management. Working on projects as diverse as Intrinsic Book’s The Egyptian Book of the Dead, and Chicago’s BrooksDay—an annual celebration of the Pulitzer Prize Winner Gwendolyn Books—Lisa has worked as the Executive Director for the Guild Literary Complex, as well as the Executive Director for Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown. She has been the Managing Editor for Hotel Amerika, the Acquisitions Manager and Development Editor for KWS Publishers, Partner at Intrinsic Books, Writing and Rhetoric Instructor at Columbia College, Research Assistant to writer Linda Hogan (in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation), as well as a fine arts gallery and auction house manager in Chicago. Currently Lisa is a consultant working with Boreas Fine Art, Youth Connection Charter School, Volumes Bookcafe, and The Chicago Tree Project. Lisa also works with Ibis Press & Studio 31, and is a consultant and development editor on multiple publishing projects.
Lisa has a BA in Art History and Religion from Lake Forest College, MA in Critical Theory, Literature, and Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University, and MFA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. She has been featured in Newcity’s Lit 50 for her work on behalf marginalized (lit) voices here in Chicago.
Nonna Working is a Russian-American freelance reporter who has written for The Wall Street Journal, Russia Business Review, The South China Morning Post, The Japan Times, the Wednesday Journal, Echo Planety, Argumenty i Fakty, and other medial. Nonna co-wrote and produced a video segment for the popular TV program “Morskaya” in the Russian Far Eastern seaport of Vladivostok, and has also worked as an interpreter and stringer for the BBC, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. In pursuit of stories, Nonna traveled throughout the Russian Far East, and in China, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, and Mongolia. She has written about illegal gun factories in the Philippines, a wounded Chechen in Jordan, and Russian draft dodgers in Cyprus. Along with these accomplishments, Nonna is an award-winning Toastmaster.
Currently, Nonna lives in Oak Park with her son Lev, and her husband, writer Russell Working. Their eldest son is a U.S. Navy lieutenant. She is endlessly fascinated with Chicago’s literary heritage and is helping to create the CLHOF Literary Chicago Bus Tours.