Barbara Williams Sheperd holds an undergraduate degree from Keene State College and a Master’s in Counseling from Antioch University. She studied writing at the University of Vermont, taking additional coursework at St. Michael’s College, and Johnson and Lyndon State Colleges. She worked thirty years in public education, five as a classroom teacher, and twenty-five as a middle, or high school counselor. She retired from the Essex High School Counseling Department in 2003.
Barbara honed her skills writing thousands of college reference letters, guidance newsletters and directives. Her short stories and articles have been published in Mainstream Magazine, Keene State Today, The Barton Chronicle and the St. Albans Messenger. During the two years she worked for the University of Vermont Extension Service, she wrote a weekly column for The News and Citizen and a monthly newsletter for 4-H families. She even tried her hand at writing blogs for the Flynn Theatre.
During the summers, Barbara lives a quiet life on a small Northern Vermont lake. She recently took up fishing to pass the time during this Covid-isolation-summer, and as an excuse to get out on the water. When winter approaches she flies away to her Florida property with the rest of the snowbirds. There, she starts her day walking the undeveloped trails in her neighborhood, then moves on to creative pursuits.
In addition to writing, Barbara is passionate about genealogy and restoring vintage photographs. She played guitar in a Ceilidh group and clarinet in the Newport Community Band. She sang with Northsong, a Classical Chorus, for sixteen years until the Covid pandemic shuttered the doors on group activities. She started a knitting group at the Goodrich Library that lasted over ten years, again, furloughed by Covid-19.
Barbara has three grown children, and six delightful grandchildren who are not furloughed by the pandemic. People say of her, she makes a friend everywhere she goes.
Kristina Stykos is a writer, music producer, photographer and landscape gardener based in Vermont. Her first poetry book “Ridgerunner: A Hundred Poems from Rural Vermont”, supported in part by the Vermont Community Foundation, was released on Shires Press this year in two editions.
Kristina’s most recent solo album “River of Light” made the #2 slot on County Tracks “Best Vermont Albums of 2019” list, following previous kudos of “Best Songwriter” (2013) and “Best Vermont Album of the Year” (2005) by other media outlets. Kristina’s music and songwriting have been supported by artist residencies at the Ucross Foundation and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, both of Wyoming.
Kristina holds producer credits for upwards of 30 albums featuring diverse artists, and recorded at her rural Pepperbox Studio, using solar, wind & generator power generation exclusively. She dedicates herself to supporting fellow musicians seeking honest self expression and has carved out a distinctive niche in acoustic and roots rock music production on her independent record label, Thunder Ridge Records.
Peter has become a leader for the American conservation movement by creating a life in conservation as photographer, writer, and storyteller about the relationship between people and place. For the last fifteen years, Peter has focused his energies on bringing together and strengthening the worlds of environmentalism and social justice and offering those professions his experience with story, facilitation, contemplative practice, and relationship to nature. Peter is always learning and innovating across the boundaries of profession, culture, and home, and this has made his work influential to the different fields of leadership development, sustainability, philanthropy, and conservation. You might find him teaching spoon-carving on a city street, or giving a keynote address on courage at a national conference, or helping to heal a fracture within a community, or photographing a lost art. What he cares most about is strengthening people’s connections to one another and the land that sustains them, the most visible and important example being his family’s farm and tapestry in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. He is the co-editor of Our Land, Ourselves, author of The Great Remembering and What Is a Whole Community, and co-author of Coming to Land in a Troubled World, and collaborated with William Coperthwaite as the photographer for A Handmade Life. You can learn more about him at Peterforbes.org.
Sean Prentiss is the award winning author of Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave which won the 2015 winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography, the Utah Book Award for Nonfiction, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for biography. Finding Abbey was also a finalist for both the Vermont and Colorado Book Awards.
His next book is Crosscut: Poems (2020), which is a memoir-in-poems about his time as a trail builder inthe Pacific Northwest.
He is the co-editor of an anthology on the craft of creative nonfiction, entitled The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre, and the co-editor of a forthcoming anthology, entitled the Science of Story: The Brain Behind Creative Nonfiction.
He is also the co-author of Environmental and Nature Writer: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology and the forthcoming Advanced Creative Nonfiction: Writers’ Guide and Anthology.
He is also the series editor for Bloomsbury’s Writers’ Guide and Anthology textbook series, which has three books in print and multiple books in production.