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Meet our Staff, Faculty & Guests

Laura van den Berg — Hog Island Lecturer

Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves, which was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award, and The Isle of Youth (FSG, 2013), which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and named a “Best Book of 2013” by NPR, Amazon, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, and O, The Oprah Magazine; both collections were longlisted for The Story Prize. Her first novel, Find Me, is forthcoming from FSG in March 2015. A Florida native, she currently lives in the Boston area and teaches in the MFA program at Emerson College.

Paul Yoon — Visiting Faculty

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book, Once the Shore, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. He is the recipient of a 5 under 35 Award from the National Book Foundation and his novel, Snow Hunters, published last year, has been greeted just as enthusiastically. It was selected by Joan Silber as one of the "Favorite Books of 2013" in the The Wall Street Journal. Other reviews include: “…the pleasures of Snow Hunters are many, and they begin with Yoon’s prose, at once lyrical and precise…[the novel] is all the more powerful for its brevity.” —New York Times Book Review. "'Luminous' is a word that gets overused in book reviews, but it's sublimely apt for Paul Yoon's new novel." —Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Pretty perfect." —Atlantic Wire. “Exquisite” —Los Angeles Times. Paul is on the faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars and holds the Roger F. Murray Chair in Creative Writing at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

John Casteen — Writers' Conference Faculty

John Casteen is the author of For the Mountain Laurel (2011) and Free Union (2009), part of the VQR Poetry Series from The University of Georgia Press. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Best American Poetry. He has contributed personal and critical essays to Offline, The Morning News, Slate, The Washington Post, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other magazines and newspapers.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he was self-employed for ten years as a designer and builder of custom furniture. Casteen teaches at Sweet Briar College, where he founded and directs the Sweet Briar Undergraduate Creative Writing Conference. He has also taught on Semester at Sea, at the University of Virginia, and as Visiting Artist Faculty in Residence at New York University. He lives in Earlysville, Virginia.

Ralph Sneeden — Writers' Conference Director

Ralph Sneeden was born in Los Angeles and grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and Long Island. He has been teaching English since 1995 at Phillips Exeter Academy, in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he also directs the George Bennett Writer-in-Residence Fellowship and is the Continuing Professional Development Coordinator. He has also taught at the Pingree School and Lake Forest Academy. The title poem of his first book Evidence of the Journey (Harmon Blunt, 2007) received the Friends of Literature Prize from POETRY Magazine/Poetry Foundation and the book also received honorable mention for Washington and Lee University/Shenandoah Magazine's Glasgow Prize.

He has been a Klingestein Fellow at Columbia University, the Chubb/LifeAmerica Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Bergeron Fellow at the American School in London, and has received an artist grant-in-aid award from the St. Botolph's Foundation. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, POETRY, The New Republic, Slate, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Zócalo Public Square and other magazines.

Take a look at our past faculty & lecturers at Past Faculty & Lecturers.

“I came a wishful but reluctant writer -- I leave with more ambition, confidence and joy. Thanks.”  (Andrea)





Photo of Damariscotta Lake and Hog Island, site of the Writers' Conference

Laura van den Berg: 2014 Hog Island Lecturer


Photo of Damariscotta Lake and Hog Island, site of the Writers' Conference

Paul Yoon: Visiting Faculty


Photo of Damariscotta Lake and Hog Island, site of the Writers' Conference

John Casteen: DLWC Faculty


Photo of Damariscotta Lake and Hog Island, site of the Writers' Conference

Ralph Sneeden: DLWC Director, Faculty