As a boy, Grant spent his allowance on all sorts of pens and paper, so there was never much question that he would become a writer. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College in English and his M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He’s also the co-founder of the journal 100 Word Story.
He has published short stories in dozens of lit mags and placed essays on creativity in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. He recently published a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Fissures, two of which are included in The Best Small Fictions 2016. His book of essays on creativity, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Prompts to Boost Your Creative Mojo, is forthcoming from Chronicle Books in the fall of 2017.
Tim Kim, NaNoWriMo Program Director
Tim has worked for Wired, San Francisco magazine, and Condé Nast. He was part of the founding team for Once, a tablet-based, photojournalism-focused magazine.
As NaNoWriMo program director, Tim works with an awesome programs team to run National Novel Writing Month, Camp NaNoWriMo, NaNo Prep, and the “Now What?” Months. In his free time, Tim likes to write novels (surprise!), bake Wookiee Cookies, and puzzle out whether a utopia can be non-creepy.
Marya Brennan, Young Writers Program Director
Marya taught middle school English and History in San Francisco and Oakland for five years (with a small break in between to travel, write a terrible NaNoWriMo novel, learn and forget Spanish, and adventure through Europe as part of a two-person street circus).
She’s worked with other literary non-profits like Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe and the Oakland Book Festival, and is excited to be NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program Director because she loves writing, working with young people, and conquering seemingly impossible goals.
Chris Angotti, Chief Operating Officer
Chris Angotti is a former middle and high school teacher who believes in encouraging creativity among all ages. In his spare time, he tries to make his own things, as well as read, watch, and listen to as much as he can. Also, he will never get tired of looking at dogs. Here at the office, Chris oversees our nonprofit’s daily operations—including budget, HR, and internal systems—and collaborates with all staff on big-picture strategy and fundraising.
Shelby Gibbs, Director of Operations
Shelby Gibbs received her B.A. in English Literature from Mills College in Oakland, California. She has written literary criticism, essays, and the occasional poem on the color purple since childhood. Before NaNoWriMo, she worked at a small publishing house and penned a senior thesis on Virginia Woolf.
In her free time, she enjoys grocery shopping (especially the free samples), and further exploring her native Bay Area. At HQ, she holds down the fort by tending to office plant life, managing NaNoWriMo’s Donation Station and Store, helping out with bookkeeping and financials, and managing the intern program.
As Director of Community Engagement, Sarah is responsible for coordinating NaNoWriMo’s more than 900 volunteers around the world, running various social media accounts, working with hundreds of libraries, bookstores, and community spaces through the Come Write In partnership, and coordinating the Ambassadors program.
Sarah is a pens and yarn enthusiast with a background in libraries, an English degree, a diploma in Public Relations, two kids, and a cat named Weasley. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and thus spends a great deal of time on webcams and Google chat with her coworkers.
Dave Beck, Technical Director
Brownian motion is Dave’s career arc. With a B.A. in Italian Literature and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence, he has worked as a chef, reporter, editor, museum exhibit developer, website designer, computer programmer, and now the Director of IT for the most awe-inspiring community on the planet. When he’s not helping people achieve their literary dreams he builds wooden kayaks, writes browser-based interactive mysteries, and creates extravagant book-themed birthday parties. He and his beloved twin daughters are attempting to watch every great movie ever made.
Heather Dudley, Lead Forums Moderator
Heather is a 30-something mother of two and a hopeless writing addict. She is currently the Lead Forums Moderator for the community forums. A relapsed webmaster with extensive moderating experience, she started volunteering in the NaNoWriMo forums in 2003. Her dreams came true in 2007 when she was asked to join staff as the Forums Moderator. She wrangles the hundreds of thousands of posts and participants that flow through the forums on a daily basis, moving them around, answering questions, and reporting feedback to the staff back at HQ. In 2012, she was promoted to Lead Forums Moderator, and is responsible for overseeing the volunteer and staff moderators over both the main and YWP websites.
Katharine Gripp, Communications Manager
Katharine is a multi-faceted creative human who wears many metaphorical hats (although, surprisingly, very few literal ones). Since moving to Berkeley, she has at various times worked as a professional modern dancer, ballet teacher, online news journalist, publishing agent assistant, art model, personal trainer, and nonprofit project manager—clearly putting to good use the B.A. in English and correlate in Medieval and Renaissance history that she received from Vassar College in 2013.
She has published a couple sci-fi/fantasy short stories in anthology magazines, and hopes that this year, really, will be the one where she completes that novel she’s been working on for so long. She couldn’t be happier to be a part of the wacky, wonderful NaNoWriMo community.
Jezra Lickter, Web Developer
Jezra enjoys writing code in various programming languages, as well as riding a bike, trying not to fall off a skateboard, and playing the bagpipes. When he grows up, he hopes to be an an astronaut.
Rebecca Stern, Development Manager
Rebecca Jackson Stern was an elementary and middle school teacher for a decade, after which she was a Senior Digital Editor at Pearson Education, where she worked on a tablet-based curriculum. Rebecca co-edited an anthology of essays by notable authors for kids called Breakfast on Mars.
Rebecca has experienced NaNoWriMo from every angle: she had her fifth and sixth grade students participate in the Young Writers Program when she was a teacher, did a victory dance in the 50K winner’s circle in 2014, served on the Associate Board, was our Director of Programs, and is now our Young Writers Program and Development consultant.
Chanda Briggs, Community Manager
Chanda Briggs is a graduate of UCLA’s Department of Anthropology and a current graduate student in Syracuse University’s Library Sciences program. As a farmer’s granddaughter, she carries on the traditions of cultivation, jarring, and pickling; is known to bring desserts to work; and enjoys frequent science fiction references. With a long and varied history of customer service and management roles, she is excited to join NaNoWriMo as Community Manager—and hopefully make everyone in the office laugh on a regular basis.
Rob Diaz, YWP Forums Moderator
Rob hoped to major in Coffee Studies at Rutgers University but settled for a degree in Computer Science instead. This degree helped him get a foot in the door at a large software company where he spent over 13 years as Chief Coffee Officer. Rob signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2006 and has participated alongside his wife and children every year since then. He has now had five short stories published, two plays produced and has become a regular contributor to the Write Anything blog.
Rob is often found on baseball diamonds or marching-band fields, or in his dungeon plotting new ways to bring on a golden age of Vegetarian World Domination. Or drinking coffee—he’s been known to do that, too.
Nina Sacco, Editorial Intern
Nina Sacco received her BFA from Goddard College. Until now, her diploma has made a wonderful coaster. She would like to thank the NanoWriMo staff for the opportunity to dust if off and put it to good use. Her first One Act play was produced in San Francisco and the UK in 2018. She has been scribbling away for many years and hopes that her time interning with NaNoWriMo will compel her to finally complete a draft of something that feels like a real live novel. She is very excited to be part of the behind the scenes activities at the Office of Light and Letters and beyond.