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Aya de León teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley. She is the acquiring editor for Fighting Chance Books, the new climate justice fiction imprint at She Writes Press. Fighting Chance will publish novels for adults by writers of all genders that tell stories of people taking collective action in the here and now to solve the climate crisis. She is currently acquiring titles for 2023/24 from both agented and unagented authors. Fighting Chance is open to all popular genres: crime fiction, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, women’s fiction, urban fiction and beyond. In spring 2022, she organized a conference entitled Black Literature vs. the Climate Emergency (available on YouTube). Aya is the award-winning author of nine novels, four of which have been optioned for television. 

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Originally from Chino Hills, CA, Natalie Gomez (she/her) graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in June 2022 with a BA in English Literature and Classical Civilization. As an undergrad, she worked as a copyeditor for the campus newspaper, the Daily Nexus, and was most recently their Copy Chief, where she discovered her love of collaborating with a team to help a story reach its fullest potential. She currently holds an internship at North Atlantic Books that spans the acquisitions, editorial, marketing, and publicity departments while also working as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. In her free time, you can find her traveling up and down the California coast, catching the latest movies in theaters, and exploring new food spots with friends.


Justine Villanueva traces her ancestral roots to the Bukidnon tribe of Kalasungay, Bukidnon. She is the third child of Julieta Li and Ernesto Villanueva, fifth child of Filemon Villanueva and Felipa Okit Apoong, a descendant of Apu Mansaliwa. Justine immigrated to the United States when she was 17 and now resides in the unceded Patwin-Wintun-Yocha Dehe homeland in Davis, California.  Justine ran her independent law practice in immigration and bankruptcy for a decade while also mothering her two young sons. She recently transitioned to public service and now works with the Department of Managed Health Care to advocate for health care rights. Beyond her work as an attorney, Justine's creative work focuses on decolonization, social justice, and reconnecting  with the living Earth. She writes children's books and is the  founder of Sawaga River Press, a nonprofit press that publishes children's books featuring Filipino children in the diaspora. Justine manifests her prayer for our collective healing and liberation through Sawaga River Press. 


Maw Shein Win is an author, editor, and educator. Her most recent poetry book is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn), which was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry, longlisted for the PEN America Open Book Award, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers Alliance's Golden Poppy Award for Poetry. Win's previous collections include Invisible Gifts (Manic D Press); her chapbooks include Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). Win’s Process Note Series on periodicities : a journal of poetry and poetics features poets on their process. She is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito, CA and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of San Francisco.

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An Oakland transplant from Annapolis, Maryland, Joyce is excited to be one of BAWIP's 2022-23 mentees. She's a former high school teacher, environmental advocate, and stay-at-home parent who, drawn to the educational aspect of editing, started freelancing during the COVID pandemic. She loves to help authors say what they mean to say; and she enjoys playing a role—through her work with publishers like New Harbinger Publications and Ulysses Press—in informing, soothing, and motivating readers seeking answers or support. Joyce is the mostly happy but not infrequently exasperated mom of identical twin boys. When she's not despairing over teenage boy hygiene, she likes to read almost any nonfiction book, eat all the food, make bad copies of other people's master paintings, and stay active by hiking, cycling, skiing, and doing yoga and pilates.


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Beth Barany (she/her) ( teaches and coaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books. Based in Oakland, California, she consults for local and international organizations. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction mystery novelist. Her series include the Henrietta The Dragon Slayer trilogy and the Janey McCallister Mystery series, about a space station investigator. She’s authored many resources for writers including Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, with her husband and thriller novelist, Ezra Barany, and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.” Connect with Beth via LinkedIn or email her directly


Guillian Hetzler is a founding board member of Bay Area Women in Publishing and is co-chair of the Robin Seaman Award Committee. Most recently she was Director of Content and Library Partnerships at Benetech, a nonprofit that runs Bookshare, a global digital library for people with print disabilities. She is a passionate advocate for accessible books and has served on related committees with organizations including the Book Industry Study Group, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, W3C, and the DAISY Consortium. Previously, Guillian worked in client services at INscribe Digital and editorial at Simon & Schuster and Entangled Publishing. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia Publishing Course and is always on the lookout for her next great read.

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Kate McKinley decided to become an editor at the age of 8, when she found out there was a job that would pay her to read. Since then she’s edited books, magazines, websites, government reports, and anything else someone will pay her to read. Currently a freelance editor, when not reading she spends her time motorcycling or volunteering with dog rescues, particularly for Great Pyrenees dogs.

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Natalie Nicolson is a Senior Marketing Manager at Chronicle Books. She has been in publishing and communications in the SF Bay Area for over 12 years. Prior to joining Chronicle Books, she managed PR and communications for Lonely Planet. She got her publishing start as an intern for Berrett-Koehler and Publishers Group West, where she joined Seal Press and Avalon Travel as a publicity assistant. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Literature and lives in Oakland, California. She can be found at

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Lara Starr is the Associate Director of Publicity for Insight Editions/Weldon Owen. She got her start in publishing as the receptionist at Collins Publishers, a division of Harper Collins based in San Francisco during her last year of college. She quickly moved into a role in the publicity department and worked on high-profile campaigns for bestselling books like Michael Jordan’s Rare Air and award-winning series like The Beautiful Cookbooks. She was previously a Publicity Manager at Conari Press, where she also authored two cookbooks, and Senior Publicist at Chronicle Books, overseeing campaigns for bestsellers including Press Here, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, and Ivy and Bean, and wrote several cookbooks including Ice Sabers: The Star Wars Cookbook and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookbook. She has been a featured presenter and panelist at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival and BookExpo, as well as a mentor in the BookPassage Path to Publishing Program and Women’s Book Network’s Pitch-O-Rama. She lives in Marin County and is a semi-pro thrift shopper, hobby cake decorator, co-coordinator of the local chapter of the progressive political action group Solidarity Sundays, and a regular volunteer with the Marin Diaper Bank.

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Kate Warne is Director of Editing, Design, and Production at the University of California Press. She is a board member for Bay Area Women in Publishing and an advisory board member for the Bay Area–based Publishing Professionals Network. An editor by training, she now enjoys being a manager and is interested in the ways professional relationships drive success in organizations. Outside work, Kate hikes, reads, writes, and sometimes rides her bike.

© 2018 Bay Area Women in Publishing

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