Portals Writing Academy


David Barker

David Barker’s short stories and poems have been published in many small press chapbooks, little magazines, and anthologies in the U. S. and Europe since the early 1970s. In 2011, Bottle of Smoke Press published his novel, “Death at the Flea Circus.” In 2013 he published the third volume of a serialized horror novel, “Electro-Thrall Zombies,” as well as “Opal’s Trails,” a tiny book of poems about nature diarist, Opal Whiteley, printed by Bottle of Smoke Press and published by Pig Ear Press. David will be a co-presenter in Gina Ochsner's breakout session titled Creativity: Making Messes without Apology, Wed., June 18, 3:40-5:30 p.m.

Bryan Bliss

Bryan Bliss is a young adult writer. His first book, Meet Me Here, will be published next year by HarperCollins. His second novel, Bound, will follow. In addition to nearly ten years as a youth pastor, Bryan has taught fiction in a variety of settings, from prisons and libraries, to festivals and classrooms. He is currently finishing a MFA in fiction from Seattle Pacific University and lives in Corvallis, OR with his wife and two children.

Linda Clare

Linda S. Clare is the author of several nonfiction books and novels. Her latest release is "A Sky without Stars," a Quilts of Love novel from Abingdon Press. Linda also teaches writing at Lane Community College and is an expert writing advisor for George Fox University. She lives in Eugene, OR. Connect with her at www.Lindasclare.com

Nathan Foster

Nathan Foster is assistant professor of social work at Spring Arbor University in Michigan. He has been a counselor and founded/directed Door of Hope Counseling (Arvada, Colorado).  He is married and has two children.  He is an avid cyclist and still dreams of mountain adventures. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir "Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet."

Wendy Goodwin

Wendy Goodwin has distinguished herself as a versatile and creative presence in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Wendy is a popular session player and guest performer with artists ranging from pianist Michael Allen Harrison to singer-songwriter Michelle Tumes. She also is the featured violinist on singer-songwriter Jeff Johnson’s acclaimed albums, “Antiphon,” “The Wonder Sky,” and “Winterfold.” Wendy lives in Portland, OR. Wendy will be performing with Jeff Johnson during the closing evening presentation.  

Noah Hall

Noah has been writing and recording his own music for 15 years. He has performed under his own name and as Easterly, Class Picture Project, and Whiskey Priest. He has released 7 albums through his own and other independent labels. His focus is on a confessional style of lyric writing that relates his own experiences. He is often surprised by stories of listeners who have found their own meaning in his songs and have made them their own.

Jim Hills

Jim Hills was born in Ithaca, New York. He has English degrees from The Master’s College and California State University at Los Angeles. He started at Corban University in 1973, and has taught at the university since that time. Jim also has taught writing and literature courses for Chemeketa Community College, including CCC evening classes at several area prisons, and recently spent a summer teaching at Universitas Pelita Harapan in Indonesia. Jim has published poetry and fifty articles and essays, and has served as consultant and line editor for novel manuscripts. What he likes best, though, is being in the classroom. At Corban he teaches American Thought and Culture, College Writing and Creative Non-Fiction. Jim and his wife, Bonnie, have four children and six grandchildren.

Diana Huey

Diana Huey studied Printmaking at Whitworth University where she wrestled with the desire to litter her art with text. When she began writing fiction, she wrestled with how to form visual art with words. As she completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, the tension between the two media became a driving force toward the act of creation--toward fleshing out the ether between her art and life and faith.

Jeff Johnson

Jeff was born in 1956 and began experimenting with making his own recordings at an early age. After graduating from Portland State University in 1978, he began devoting his attention to Ark Studios and established ArkMusic, which has been home to every Jeff Johnson project since 1977. Jeff's collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning, are a delight to Contemporary Celtic music fans and include the acclaimed Windham Hill release, "The Music of Celtic Legends: The Bard & The Warrior." Their song, Vows, was featured in the sound-track of the Oscar-winning Martin Scorcese film, "Gangs Of New York."  Jeff will be a panelist on Wed., June 18, 3:00-3:30 p.m., and will be performing with Wendy Goodwin during the closing evening presentation. 

Phil Long

Phil Long is a popular spoken word artist who came to this creative writing genre late in life. While using his left brain flying Boeing 767's for a major U.S. carrier, Phil, a self-described "closet poet " for  more than 30 years, discovered poetry slams at age 50 and began using his right brain to write and compete in poetry slams during airline layovers across the country. He competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam (IWPS) in December 2008 and was hooked; his hobby became his passion. He presents his unique and compelling poetry nationwide in bars, nightclubs, universities, prisons, churches, and coffee shops.

Abigail Magsarili

At age 16, Abigail Magsarili won best screenplay for a short film about girls in World War II Germany at a film festival for young filmmakers. Abigail took home the award at the Future of Cinema Film Festival held by the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a fine arts boarding school in Michigan. Her winning script, “Shadow Puppets,” tells a story about two sisters comforting themselves during air raids with a shadow puppet adventure on their bedroom wall. It reads as a silent short film. ”Abigail’s screenplay has a great sense of image on the page, completely without the aid of dialogue,” said Michael Mittelstaedt, a judge and director of the Motion Picture Arts program at Interlochen. Abigail will be a panelist on Wed., June 18, 3:00-3:30 p.m.

Scott Nadelson

Scott Nadelson is the author of three short story collections, most recently "Aftermath," and a memoir, "The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress." A winner of the Oregon Book Award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, he teaches at Willamette University and in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Gina Ochsner

Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, OR and divides her time between teaching at Corban University and writing. She is the author of the short story collection "The Necessary Grace to Fall," which received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the story collection "People I Wanted to Be." Both books received the Oregon Book Award. Her novel "The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight" was long-listed for the Orange Award (UK). Gina's great passion is to inspire and encourage young writers.

Jerreme Lynn Rhodes

Jerreme Lynn Rhodes is a story lover with a life goal of building people. Why should you listen to him? He has a Bachelor of Science in Drama, TV, and Film Performance and a M.F.A. in Script and Screenwriting. More importantly, Jerreme is actively writing screenplays and working to get them sold while providing for his family. His current day jobs include instructional assistant in a special needs classroom, private screenplay mentor, and Speech and Playwriting instructor at Corban University.


Colette Tennant

Colette Tennant teaches creative writing and poetry at Corban University. She also teaches art history in Germany and Italy. Main Street Rag published her poetry book, "Commotion of Wings," as an Editor’s Choice in 2010. Her poems have appeared in various journals including "Southern Poetry Review," "Natural Bridge," and "The Dos Passos Review." 

Paul Willis

Paul Willis, a Professor of English at Westmont, has published numerous poems in "Poetry," "Ascent," "Wilderness," "Christian Century" and other journals. His most recent collections of poetry are "Rosing from the Dead" (WordFarm, 2009) and "Visiting Home" (Pecan Grove Press, 2008). Paul’s essays, reviews, and short narratives have appeared in "Books & Culture," "River Teeth," "Image," and "Redwood Coast Review." Some of this work is collected in his first book of creative nonfiction, "Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild" (WordFarm, 2005).   His work has been featured by  Garrison Keillor on "The Writer's Almanac" and has been included in "The Best Christian Writing 2006" (Jossey-Bass) and "The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004" (Houghton Mifflin). Paul has also published a four-part eco-fantasy novel, "The Alpine Tales" (WordFarm, 2010).