Newburyport Literary Festival

A Celebration of Literature, Readers, and Writers
• In-Person & Virtual Events • April 26–28, 2024

Listed in alphabetical order

Peter BerkrotPeter Berkrot

Listening to Literature — Saturday 10:30 AM A veteran of stage and screen, Peter Berkrot’s career spans four decades. Highlights include feature roles in Caddyshack and Showtime’s Brotherhood, and appearances on America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries. His voice can be heard on television, radio, video games, documentaries and industrials. He is a prominent acting coach and a regular contributor to the award-winning news program Frontline produced by WGBH in Boston. Peter served as director of narration for the Emmy-nominated The Truth About Cancer. Peter has recorded over 200 audiobooks and over 100 for children. He has been nominated for an Audie Award and has received 5 AudioFile Earphones Awards and a number of starred reviews. Favorite titles include Toby and the Secrets of the Tree by Timotee de Fombelle, Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith, The Accident by Linwood Barclay and The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters.

Jessie CrockettJessie Crockett

What’s so Cozy about Murder? — Saturday 10:30 AM A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she enthusiastically combs the beach, designs bento lunches and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small most other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.

Elisabeth EloElisabeth Elo

Through a Glass Darkly: Creating Real Lives for Fictional Characters [br] — Saturday 9:00 AM Elisabeth Elo’s literary suspense novel, North of Boston, was named one of the Year’s Best Crime Novels: 2014 by Booklist. Elisabeth worked as an editor, a copywriter, a project manager, and a halfway-house counselor before getting a PhD in American Literature. Since then, she’s taught writing at Boston-area colleges and published essays and stories in a variety of publications. She lived in Newburyport for seventeen years and now resides in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Lucy FerrissLucy Ferriss

A Sister to Honor by Lucy Ferriss — Saturday 9:00 AM Born in St. Louis, Lucy Ferriss has lived on both coasts, in the middle, and abroad. She is the author of ten books, mostly fiction. In addition to her new novel, A Sister to Honor, her novel The Lost Daughter, a Book-of-the-Month pick, was published in February 2012 and has appeared in Poland and China. Her memoir Unveiling the Prophet: The Misadventures of a Reluctant Debutante was called Best Book of the Year by the Riverfront Times; her novel Nerves of the Heart was a finalist in the Peter Taylor Prize competition; her collection Leaving the Neighborhood and Other Stories was the 2000 winner of the Mid-List First Series Award. She received her Ph.D. from Tufts University and lives with her husband, Don Moon, in the Berkshires and in Connecticut, where she is Writer-in-Residence at Trinity College. She has two strong sons and abiding passions for music, politics, travel, tennis, and wilderness.

Rory FlynnRory Flynn

Through a Glass Darkly: Creating Real Lives for Fictional Characters [br] — Saturday 9:00 AM Rory Flynn is the author of the Eddy Harkness series of Boston-based crime/mystery novels – Third Rail, the series debut, is out now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and has been optioned for television by Universal NBC. Rory Flynn is the pen name of novelist Stona Fitch (Senseless, Give + Take), who runs the revolutionary Concord Free Press – the world’s first generosity-based publisher. His work has been widely published internationally and praised by Megan Abbott, Richard Price, Russell Banks, J. M. Coetzee, and Jess Walter.

Tavia GilbertTavia Gilbert

Listening to Literature — Saturday 10:30 AM Multiple Audie nominee and Earphones and Parent’s Choice Award-winning producer, narrator, and writer Tavia Gilbert has appeared on stage and in film. School Library Journal has called the performances of this highly-acclaimed actress “as close as you can get to a full cast narration with a solo voice.” She has narrated more than 300 multi-cast and solo voice audiobooks.

Lev GrossmanLev Grossman

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman — Saturday 4:00 PM CANCELLED Lev Grossman is the book critic and lead technology writer for Time magazine and a widely published cultural critic. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can learn more about Lev Grossman on his website,, and follow him on Twitter @leverus.

Bruce HolsingerBruce Holsinger

The Invention of Fire: A Conversation with Bruce Holsinger — Saturday 10:00 AM Bruce Holsinger, an award-winning novelist and literary scholar, is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. The New York Times Book Review has praised his debut historical novel, A Burnable Book (HarperCollins), for “delivering up a world where even the filth is colorful,” and hails its protagonist as “the perfect narrator and amateur sleuth.” His second novel, The Invention of Fire (out in April), imagines the beginnings of gun violence in the western world. Holsinger’s scholarly work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship and other major awards. He has written for The Washington Post, Slate, The Nation, and other national publications, and appears regularly on NPR.

Ann Hood Ann Hood

Listening to Literature — Saturday 10:30 AM [br] An Italian Wife — Saturday 4:00 PM Ann Hood is the author of An Italian Wife and bestsellers such as The Knitting Circle, The Obituary Writer, The Red Thread, and Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, a New York TimesEditor’s Choice and named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She’s received a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, two Best American Food Writing Awards, a Best American Travel Writing Award, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and two Pushcart Prizes. Her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Paris Review, Tin House, More, Real Simple, Bon Appetit, and National Geographic Traveler, with regular columns in Self, Glamour, Parenting. She became an avid knitter in 2002 to help get through the grief of losing her daughter, Grace, to a virulent form of strep. Through knitting, Hood was able to pick up her craft again and share her painful journey with the world. She was born in the mill town of West Warwick, Rhode Island, and now lives in Providence.

ZacharyKleinZachary Klein

Through a Glass Darkly: Creating Real Lives for Fictional Characters [br] — Saturday 9:00 AM [br]Ties that Blind by Zachary Klein — Saturday 2:30 PM Zachary Klein is the author of the critically acclaimed Matt Jacob mystery series, which includes Still Among the Living (a New York Times Notable), Two Way Toll, and No Saving Grace. A self-proclaimed “serial careerist,” Zach has worked as a Vista volunteer, a private counselor, a clinical supervisor for a Boston methadone clinic, and a trial and jury consultant. He was a founder of the People’s School in Uptown, Chicago, a school for high school dropouts, and he worked at Boston’s Project Place when it was a worker-run social service collective providing free crisis intervention and other community services. In 2015, Polis Books will reissue the first three books in the Matt Jacob series. The long-awaited fourth book in the series, Ties that Blind, will be published for the first time in 2015, also by Polis Books. When he’s not writing fiction, Zach plays sax in an eight-person ensemble. He lives in Boston with his wife, Susan E. Goodman, a children’s book author. He has two sons, Matthew and Jacob, a daughter-in-law, Alyssa, and twin granddaughters, Mari and Vivian. Zach blogs at:

William MartinWilliam Martin

Lincoln and Liberty, Too! — Saturday 2:30 PM Forty years ago, William Martin went to Hollywood to become a movie director. He began by writing spec screenplays. One of them, THE MOTHER LODE, about the Gold Rush, won the Hal Wallis Screenwriting Fellowship and put him on the front page of VARIETY. But no one wanted to produce his scripts. So he decided to write a novel. BACK BAY spent 14 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and is still in print 34 years later. He’s had Times bestsellers in his 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s and made many other bestseller lists, too, while chronicling the American story from the Mayflower in 1620 to the South Tower on 9/11. He has written 10 novels, an award-winning PBS documentary on the life of George Washington, and one of the cheesiest horror movies of all time. His book reviews have appeared in the Boston Globe, the NY Journal of Books, and the Wash ington Independent Book Review. He was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious New England Book Award, given to ‘an author whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region.’ He lives near Boston with his wife, and they have three grown children and two grandchildren. His eleventh novel will be THE MOTHER LODE, about the Gold Rush. He never wastes research.

Edith MaxwellEdith Maxwell / Tace Baker

What’s so Cozy about Murder? — Saturday 10:30 AM Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling Amesbury author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, as well as award-winning short stories. Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in her Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing), with organic farmer Cam Flaherty and locally sourced murder set in a town much like West Newbury. The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder, which takes place in a fictionalized Ipswich. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in April 2016. Maxwell holds a doctorate in linguistics and is a long-time member of Amesbury Friends Meeting. A fourth-generation Californian and former organic farmer, Maxwell lives in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (, and you can find her at, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest, and at

Ellen MeisterEllen Meister

Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister — Saturday 1:00 PM Ellen Meister is the author of five novels, including DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE (Putnam 2015), FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER (Putnam 2013), and THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam 2011), as well as numerous essays and short stories. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University Continuing Education, mentors emerging authors, lectures on Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related topics. For more information visit

Susan MinotSusan Minot

Thirty Girls: A Conversation with Susan Minot — Saturday 2:30 PM Susan Minot is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, poet, and screenwriter. Her first novel, Monkeys, was published in a dozen countries and won the Prix Femina Étranger in France. Her novel Evening was a worldwide best seller and became a major motion picture. She teaches at New York University and lives with her daughter in New York City and on North Haven island Maine. Photo © 2014 by Huger Foote.

Meg Mitchell MooreMeg Mitchell Moore

The Life of a Debut AuthorSaturday 1:00 PM Meg Mitchell Moore worked for many years as a journalist for a wide variety of consumer and business publications before exchanging fact for fiction. She has a B.A. from Providence College and an M.A. in English Literature from New York University. She is the author of the novels The Arrivals (2011) and So Far Away (2012). So Far Away was named one of the best adult books for young adults in 2013 by Booklist. She lives with her husband and their three daughters in Newburyport.

Donna Russo MorinDonna Russo Morin

Why History is Sexy Now — Saturday 1:00 PM Donna Russo Morin’s passion for the written word began when she was a child, took on a feminist edge as she grew through the sixties, and blossomed into a distinctive style of action-filled historical fiction at a defining moment in her life. With two degrees from the University of Rhode Island, the state in which she was born and raised, Donna’s first book, The Courtier’s Secret (2009) won RWI-RWA’s Best First Book Award and was a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Award. The Secret of the Glass (2010), her second book, received a Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist in the USA Best Books of the Year Contest. Also a recipient of a Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award and a finalist in the USA Best Books of the Year Contest, Donna’s third Book, To Serve a King (2011), was a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award as well. The King’s Agent (2012), Donna’s latest release, received a coveted starred review in Publishers Weekly. In addition to writing, teaching writing, and reviewing for literary journals, Donna works as a model and actor; highlights of her work include two seasons on Showtime’s Brotherhood and an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Donna is a proud mother of two sons, Devon and Dylan—a future opera singer and a future chef—her greatest works in progress.

Liz MugaveroLiz Mugavero

What’s so Cozy about Murder? — Saturday 10:30 AM Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha-nominated Pawsitively Organic Gourmet Pet Food Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, and The Icing on the Corpse. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College and a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association.

Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKristin Bair O’Keeffe

Getting Real: The Raw, Risky Business of Writing Fiction — Saturday 9:00 AM Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is the author of the novels The Art of Floating and Thirsty, as well as numerous essays about China, bears, off-the-plot expats, and whatnot. Her work has been published in a wide variety of magazines and journals, including The Gettysburg Review, The Baltimore Review, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, HYPERtext, and Writer’s Digest. In late 2010, after nearly five years in Shanghai, China, she repatriated to the United States and now lives north of Boston with her husband and daughter. Please visit Kristin at, and follow her on Facebook (Kristin Bair O’Keeffe) and Twitter (@kbairokeeffe).

Daniel PalmerDaniel Palmer

Listening to Literature — Saturday 10:30 AM Daniel Palmer is the author of four critically-acclaimed suspense novels. After receiving his master’s degree from Boston University, he spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer. A recording artist, accomplished blues harmonica player, and lifelong Red Sox fan, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children where he is currently at work on his next novel.

Carla PancieraCarla Panciera

My Friend, The Writer — Saturday 2:30 PM Carla Panciera has published two collections of poetry: One of the Cimalores (Cider Press) and No Day, No Dusk, No Love (Bordighera). Her collection of short stories, Bewildered, received AWP’s 2013 Grace Paley Short Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in several journals including The New England Review, Nimrod, The Chattahoochee Review, Painted Bride, and Carolina Quarterly. A high school English teacher, Carla lives in Rowley, MA.

Alyson RichmanAlyson Richman

Why History is Sexy Now — Saturday 1:00 PM Alyson Richman is the internationally bestselling author of five historical novels including the “The Lost Wife” and “The Garden of Letters.” Her books have been translated into 18 languages and “The Lost Wife” is in development to be made into a major motion film. She currently lives in New York with her husband and children.

Holly RobinsonHolly Robinson

Getting Real: The Raw, Risky Business of Writing Fiction — Saturday 9:00 AM Novelist, journalist and celebrity ghost writer Holly Robinson is the author of several books, including The Gerbil farmer’s Daughter: A Memoir and the novels Beach Plum Island and Haven Lake. Her articles and essays appear frequently in The Huffington Post, More, Parents, Redbook and dozens of other newspapers and magazines. She and her husband have five children and a stubborn Pekingese in Rowley, MA, where they’re fixing up a creaky old house one shingle at a time.

M.J. RoseM.J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose — Saturday 11:00 AM [br]Why History is Sexy Now — Saturday 1:00 PM M.J. grew up in New York City, mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She is the author of more than a dozen novels and the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers. As well she is president of the first marketing company for authors, which she founded in 2005. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Said SayrafiezadehSaïd Sayrafiezadeh

The Short Fiction of Said Sayrafiezadeh — Saturday 10:00 AM Saïd Sayrafiezadeh was born in Brooklyn and raised in Pittsburgh. He is the author, most recently, of the story collection, Brief Encounters With the Enemy, and the critically acclaimed memoir When Skateboards Will Be Free, selected as one of the ten best books of the year by Dwight Garner of The New York Times. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, The New York Times and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, among other publications. He is the recipient of a 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction and a 2012 fiction fellowship from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Saïd lives in New York City and teaches creative writing at Hunter College and New York University, where he received a 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award.

Katie SchickelKatie Schickel

The Life of a Debut AuthorSaturday 1:00 PM Katie Schickel grew up in Ithaca, NY and graduated from Georgetown University. She’s worked as a newspaper reporter in New York, a scuba instructor in Key West, a magazine editor in Pensacola, and a dot com editor in San Francisco. Eventually, she moved back east where she has worked, among other things, as a middle school English teacher, farmer, fisherman, and silversmith. She lives in Newburyport, MA with her husband and two children. HOUSEWITCH is her debut novel.

Anne Easter SmithAnne Easter Smith

Why History is Sexy Now — Saturday 1:00 PM Award-winning historical novelist Anne Easter Smith’s love of history began during her first 20 years in England, where she grew up with London on her doorstep. Known for her period detail, she was an invited to give a workshop on researching historical fiction at the 2015 San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference and Literary Festival. Anne’s six books focus on the Yorkist perspective of the Wars of the Roses, and grew from a life-long study of King Richard III and his family. Her five-book contract with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books include The King’s Grace, which won the Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award in 2009 and Queen By Right, which was nominated in the same category in 2011, and the best-selling A Rose for the Crown. She has worked as a features editor for an upstate NY daily newspaper and has been published in several U.S. magazines. Anne has lived for 44 years in U.S., on both coasts, but is now settled in Newburyport, MA with her husband, Scott. When she is not writing, Anne can be found acting and directing at the Firehouse Center for the Arts or Actors Studio.

Lorrie ThomsonLorrie Thomson

Getting Real: The Raw, Risky Business of Writing Fiction — Saturday 9:00 AM Lorrie Thomson is the author of two novels from Kensington Books, Equilibrium (September, 2013) and What’s Left Behind (September, 2014). Booklist calls her work “hopeful” and “uplifting.” Lorrie holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she minored in psychology. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their children. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, her family lets her tag along for camping adventures, daylong paddles, and hikes up 4,000 footers. Visit Lorrie at her website. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Laura van den BergLaura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg reads from Find Me — Saturday 9:00 AM [br]Thirty Girls: A Conversation with Susan Minot — Saturday 2:30 PM Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and The Isle of Youth, which won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and The Bard Fiction Prize. Both collections were shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Laura’s first novel, Find Me, is out from FSG in February 2015. She is currently a Writer-in-Residence at Bard College.

Sarah YawSarah Yaw

My Friend, The Writer — Saturday 2:30 PM Sarah Yaw’s novel You Are Free To Go (Engine Books, 2014) was selected by Robin Black as the winner of the 2013 Engine Books Novel Prize. Sarah received an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, and is an assistant professor at Cayuga Community College. She lives and writes in Central New York.