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BisMan Writers Guild's mission is to uplift local writers throughout North Dakota by promoting, advancing, and supporting them. We do this by offering workshops, sharing the works of others, and shedding light on the amazing talent of our state. We work hard to bring workshops, write-ins, general get-togethers, as well as go to local events to promote our writers.

Justin Cancilliere, Executive Director

Justin Cancilliere loves telling stories. Led by mythical dreams and astounding visions that can only be described through writing, he is in the business of scripting legends. His desire is to bring to life that which swarms in his mind and cascades into words. But it doesn't end there.

He takes his artistic verbiage to podcasting as well. A place where he can discuss the weird and unusual. This, along with avid research into the paranormal, help quench his interest in the mystical.


He also is the founder and executive director of the BisMan Writers Guild. He and the Board of Directors strive to uphold the mission statement of the Guild.

He currently resides in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he enjoys the finer things in life with his beautiful wife, Shelly.

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Michelle Thomas, President

Michelle Thomas is a Canadian born U.S. citizen who graduated from the University of North Dakota. Native to the north, she lives in the upper midwest to this day. Science Fiction and Fantasy are her preferred genres but, nevertheless, she's a hopeless romantic and her work often shows it. She writes young adult fiction that is often full of adventure so when looking for your next story to immerse yourself in, look up other works from her.

Nick Keller, Vice President

BIGnick is the moniker given to Nicholas F. Keller early on in school – both because of his size and personality. He is an avid Star Wars fan, tea enthusiast, and amateur drummer who enjoys screaming in the shower to Emery, though he never quite found his niche. In that frustration and loneliness, he discovered poetry – not as an identity, but as a release for the immense emotions that tear inside him. His struggles with understanding God, death, existence, and our everyday demons compels his further writings on every emotional plane. In all life’s complexity and its capacity for both insurmountable good and inconceivable evil (and the potential in every human being for both), BIGnick strives to express earnestly and learn desperately.

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Tina Holland, Secretary

Tina Holland was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and is now settled in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. She lives on a hobby farm and enjoys horseback riding, camping, traveling, and reading books by her favorite authors.


Tina has been published since 2005 and continues to release books as her schedule allows.

Katherin Pendergast, Treasurer

Kat Pendergast is an award-winning and 1# best selling author.  Her books include Pickles the Dog, Adopted in North Dakota, Pickles the Dog, A Christmas Tradition, Pickles the Dog, Goes to School, In Loving Memory A Child’s Journey to Understanding a Funeral and Starting the Grieving Process,  In Loving Memory A Child’s Journey to Understanding a Cremation Funeral and Starting the Grieving Process and Babies of the Badlands.  The Pickles the Dog series was inspired by a real dog named Pickles.  She was at an animal shelter in Minot, ND during the flood of 2011 and kept getting returned to the shelter.  Eventually, she ended up with a family member of Kat's, and boy are we glad she did because Pickles is one of the sweetest dogs around.

Over the course of Kat’s author career, her books have won over 6 national awards.  She has enjoyed traveling for different author events including school visits and book signings around the US.  

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Shelly Sayler, Director-at-Large

Shelly Sayler is originally from Bismarck, North Dakota. Shelly is a full-time ceramicist and owns Nodakian Studios in Bismarck. She is active with Pride of Dakota and in the community collaborating with other creatives promoting the arts. 

Stephen VonHaden, Director-at-Large

Stephen VonHaden enjoys making people laugh, and really think about life. Stories have been a part of his life for over 10 years. He started putting to paper, and creating new worlds. He loves discussions and learning new things from people.

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