Julia Byers, Founder and Director
As the founder and director of the Chapter Twenty-One Conference, Julia has arguably the best job in the world. She gets to organize and run all Ch21Con events, contribute to the Ch21Con social media accounts, and of course meet lots of really awesome people. (Hi there!)
Besides directing Ch21Con, Julia is the president of Chapter One Events, the nonprofit behind both Ch21Con and its little sister conference, Ch1Con. She is also a recent graduate of the University of Michigan–where she majored in Honors Creative Writing & Literature with a minor in Global Media Studies–and of the inaugural Columbia Publishing Course UK at Exeter College, Oxford University. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications and has received a number of honors, including Highest Honors (for her creative writing honors thesis), first place in the Children’s/Young Adult Fiction category of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, a Hopwood Award, and the Arthur Miller Award.
Previously, Julia founded and directed the Chapter One Young Writers Conference from 2012 to 2017. Additionally, she has interned all over the publishing industry, including most recently as an editorial intern at Scholastic. As an undergraduate student, she studied British literature abroad at St Peter’s College, Oxford University; wrote for a number of blogs, including the acclaimed (and dearly missed) Teens Can Write, Too!; wrote film reviews for [art]seen; was the publicist and assistant manager for a local used bookshop; co-chaired U of M’s Publishing Career Forum; and produced a play that a student theatre troupe performed at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.
Currently, Julia lives in New York City and spends her days as an assistant at a children’s literary agency. She also has a side gig as a photographer, suffers from chronic wanderlust, and is working on a number of writing projects, including a YA novel and a screenplay.
Ariel Kalati, Marketing Manager
Ariel knows the internet better than
probably literally anyone, and puts this knowledge to good use as Ch21Con’s Marketing & Social Media Manager. She organizes and executes Ch21Con’s annual marketing plan, including a spring blog tour and major flyering campaign, as well as contributes to the Ch21Con social media accounts.
Ariel is currently a senior at Sarah Lawrence College, studying writing, literature, and sociology. She’s been working with Chapter One Events since its founding and is excited about the future of the organization. Previously, she has worked as a remote reader for literary agents and a blogger for Indie Reader. Currently, in addition to her work with Chapter One Events, she is a member of the YA Pride team and the NY Writers Coalition Volunteer Corps.
Ariel has been writing from a young age and is currently in the seemingly eternal process of editing one of her novels. She has completed National Novel Writing Month eight times and has been a finalist in the Morris J. and Betty Kaplun Essay Contest. In addition to writing and reading, she is passionate about community building and loves art history. She can’t wait to see what the future holds for her as the Marketing Director for Chapter 21 Con.
Find Ariel Online: Twitter
Katelyn Pettit, Nonprofit Coordinator
Katelyn is a badass at everything not-for-profit, so she organizes all of the Chapter One Events nonprofit paperwork and legal stuff (as well as doing lots of other awesome things as a member of the Ch21Con team, of course).
Katelyn recently graduated with honors from Oakland University, where she received her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She has previously interned at Dzanc Publishing, worked as a freelance editor, and studied Medieval Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford University. When she’s not wishing she was back at college studying instead of being in the big, bad, real world, she’s either reading, writing, or teaching herself Japanese. She loves to travel, which means she works a lot to save up the money to do so, and her current goal is to work in Children’s/YA Literature, bringing fresh, diverse voices from around the world to the genre(s). But, for now, she spends most of her time trying to keep from spending her entire paycheck on candy – something that’s not easy to do when you have a sweet tooth the size of Canada!
Allison Mulder, Chief Creative Consultant
Allison is one of the smartest and funniest people to ever live, which is why she makes such an amazing Chief Creative Consultant. From helping decide all the nitty gritty details of the conference, to keeping the rest of the team’s outrageous ideas in check (and of course proposing some of her own), she keeps the heart of Ch21Con beating.
Allison served as an unofficial shadow member of the Ch1con team for two years before they blew her cover and gave her an official position leading up to the 2017 conference. She writes fantasy, science fiction, and–often by accident–horror. Her short stories have appeared in various pro-level genre magazines such as Escape Pod, Fireside Fiction, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Crossed Genres, and more. She is also a First Reader for Strange Horizons. In 2016, Allison graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA, with a Writing & Rhetoric degree, a Literature minor, and experience copy-editing for the campus newspaper and annual literary journal. She’s also had a PR internship in Chicago, working in either Willis or Sears Tower depending on who you ask and how intent they are on correcting you.
With patience, sensitive equipment, and ample provisions, you can sometimes glimpse Allison at allisonmulder.wordpress.com. Or, track her far more easily on Twitter at @AMulderWrites, where she broadcasts any significant life happenings, gushes over her current fictional obsessions, and uses far too many X-Files gifs.
Katie Nichols and Liam Wood, Deputy Creative Consultants
Human magic eight balls Katie and Liam have a knack for knowing the best decisions for Ch21Con (which is why we’re so excited they joined the team this year!).
Katie grew up in Middle of Nowhere, Midwest, with seven hobbit-like younger siblings and has been telling stories her entire life. When she was six, she came home from her first young authors conference and declared that she wanted to be a writer. Since then, she has fallen hard for creating worlds with ink, paper, and 26 letters. Her favorite genre to pen these days is contemporary fantasy. She also creates blog posts and tweets and horrible puns. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or doing things that make her writing better. Really the only non-writing thing she does is sing Hamilton. And maybe that doesn’t count because her favorite song is “Non-Stop.” Regardless, Katie dreams of being a bestselling author one day and she is not throwing away her shot.
Liam has been writing, thinking about writing, or thinking about having written for all his known life. Over the past six years, since he started to take the career seriously, he’s written novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, essays, comics, and an album of story-focused songs. When he’s not creating, he’s turning his life into a sea story at a military maritime college in New York.
Find Liam Online: Instagram
The Chapter Twenty-One Conference is brought to you courtesy of countless volunteers. Those listed above are only a few of the amazing people who can count themselves as members of the Ch21Con community, and we’re supremely grateful for all of them.
Special thanks to Lynn Byers, the Ch1Con team, all of Ch1Con’s previous speakers and volunteers, and our future attendees.
You guys rock our socks off!