Newburyport Literary Festival

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

Listed in alphabetical order

David J. BarronDavid Barron

Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress: 1776 to ISIS [br] — Saturday 10:30 AM David Barron was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in May 2014. He graduated from Harvard College in 1989 and Harvard Law School in 1994. From 1989 to 1991, he worked as a newspaper reporter. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, from 1994 to 1995, and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court, from 1995 to 1996. He then worked as an attorney advisor for the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice, from 1996 to 1999. In 1999, Barron became an Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School. He became a full Professor at Harvard Law School in 2004, where he worked until he rejoined the Justice Department as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, from 2009 to 2010. He then returned to the Harvard Law School faculty in 2010, where he was named the S. William Green Professor of Public Law in 2011, and worked until his appointment to the federal bench in 2014. Currently, Barron is the S. William Green Visiting Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School. Barron has published articles in the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. His book, Waging War, won the 2017 William E. Colby Award.

Erica DunbarErica Armstrong Dunbar

Never Caught: [br]The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge [br]— Saturday 2:00 PM Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the Blue and Gold Professor of Black Studies and History at the University of Delaware. In 2011, Professor Dunbar was appointed the first director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia. She has been the recipient of Ford, Mellon, and SSRC fellowships and is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Her first book, A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City, was published by Yale University Press in 2008. Her new book is Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge.

Kate Clifford LarsonKate Clifford Larson

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter — Saturday 1:00 PM Kate Clifford Larson is the author of three critically acclaimed biographies: Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter (2015), a New York Times best seller; Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (2004), optioned by HBO for an Original Movie; and The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln (2008). With degrees from Simmons College and Northeastern University, and a doctorate in history from the University of New Hampshire, Larson specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. Women’s and African American History. She has been a consultant and interpretive specialist for numerous museum and public history initiatives focusing on the lives and contributions of women in the making of our national identity. Rosemary, her latest work, reveals the central role intellectual disabilities and mental health issues played in the tragic life of the Kennedys’ eldest daughter, and how Rosemary’s legacy lives on in our nation’s efforts to accommodate differently-abled people. Larson lives in Winchester, MA.

Charles CoeCharles Coe

Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse — Saturday 10:30 AM Poet and writer Charles Coe is the author of two books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents and Picnic on the Moon, both published by Leapfrog Press. He is the author of Spin Cycles, a novella published by Gemma Media. His essay, Hill of Dreams, about his travels through the Soviet Union in 1988, appears in Inspired Journeys: Travels with the Muse (University of Wisconsin Press 2016). Peach Pie, a short film by filmmaker Roberto Mighty based on Charles’ poem, Fortress, is currently showing in film festivals nationwide. Charles is the winner of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light for 2014.” He’s in the second year of a three-year term as an Artist Fellow for the St. Botolph Club, an organization that supports arts and the humanities in Greater Boston. He has also been chosen as an Artist-in-Residence for the city of Boston for 2017. Photo Credit: Roberto Mighty.

ericjdolin-sEric Jay Dolin

Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse — Saturday 10:00 AM Eric Jay Dolin is the author of twelve books, including Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U.S. Maritime History; and Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, a national bestseller that was chosen by the Seattle Times as one of the best nonfiction books of 2010, and also won the James P. Hanlan Book Award, given by the New England Historical Association. He is also the author of When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail, which was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of 2012. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, Dolin lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his family. For more information on his background and writing, please visit his website www.ericjaydolin. Photo by Kimberly Drooks.

Carole FirstmanCarole Firstman

Origins of the Universe and What it All Means — Saturday 10:00 AM Carole Firstman is an essayist, memoirist and journalist. Her award-winning memoir, Origins of the Universe and What It All Means, was a Paris Review Staff Pick and praised by The New York Times as “a strangely dazzling memoir.” Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Colorado Review, South Dakota Review, Watershed Review, Defunct Magazine, Reed Magazine, and Man in the Moon: Essays on Fathers and Fatherhood. Among other honors, Firstman has been twice noted in Best American Essays, received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention, and she won the Dzanc Nonfiction Book Prize. She lives in Central California where she teaches writing at College of the Sequoias and California State University, Fresno. Visit

Ellen FitzpatrickEllen Fitzpatrick

The Highest Glass Ceiling: [br]Women’s Quest for the American Presidency — Saturday 1:00 PM A professor and scholar specializing in modern American political and intellectual history, Ellen Fitzpatrick is the author and editor of eight books, including The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidency (Harvard University Press, 2016), the New York Times best selling, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation (Ecco, 2010); History’s Memory: Writing America’s Past, 1880-1980 (Harvard University Press, 2002); America in Modern Times, co-authored with Alan Brinkley (McGraw Hill, 1997); Endless Crusade: Women Social Scientists and Progressive Reform (Oxford University Press, 1990), an updated edition of Eleanor Flexner’s classic study of the women’s rights movement, Century of Struggle (Harvard University Press, 1996) as well as many articles and reviews. Letters to Jackie became the basis for a recent documentary film by Bill Couturié entitled Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy for which Fitzpatrick served as Associate Producer. Fitzpatrick, who holds a PhD in History from Brandeis University, is Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and has taught previously at Harvard University, M.I.T. and Wellesley College. She is the recipient of the University of New Hampshire’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Bethany Groff Dorau

Our Boy: Newburyport’s First WWI Casualty Finds His Way Home [br]— Saturday 11:00 AM Bethany Groff Dorau is the author of A Brief History of Old Newbury (History Press), and a primary contributor to the Defining Documents in American History Series. She is the North Shore Regional Site Manager for Historic New England, based at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, and a recipient of the Pioneer in Preservation Award from the Essex National Heritage Commission and the North of Boston CVB Leadership Award. Bethany sits on the boards of the North of Boston CVB, the Newburyport Preservation Trust, and the planning committee of the Newburyport Literary Festival. She has published articles in the New England Quarterly, the Encyclopedia of American History, and Historic New England Magazine. She holds an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts, and lives in Newburyport with her family. Photo credit: Eva Timothy.

Dyke HendricksonDyke Hendrickson

Where the Bodies are Buried: The Power of Place in Crime Fiction [br]— Saturday 9:00 AM [br]Nautical Newburyport: A History of Captains, Clipper Ships and the Coast Guard [br]— Saturday 1:00 PM Dyke Hendrickson has a new book out this spring titled, Nautical Newburyport: A History of Captains, Clipper Ships and the Coast Guard. It was published by The History Press in Charleston, S.C. He is a writer for The Daily News in Newburyport, where he covers City Hall, the riverfront and nearby Plum Island on the Atlantic. He has always lived and worked near maritime activity, and newspapers with which he has been a writer and/or editor include The Portland Press Herald, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The Boston Herald and now The Daily News. This is his fourth book.

Susan Fox Rogers

Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse — Saturday 10:30 AM Susan Fox Rogers is the author of My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir, which explores the built and natural history of the Hudson from the perspective of her kayak. She is the editor of twelve anthologies including Solo: On Her Own Adventure and Going Alone: Women’s Adventures in the Wild. She compiled Antarctica: Life on the Ice while on a National Science Foundation grant to Antarctica. Her latest project, Taking Flight, is a memoir of birding that travels the continent. She makes her home in the Hudson Valley where she teaches writing at Bard College.

Ruth FranklinRuth Franklin

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life — Saturday 9:00 AM [br]The Importance of Books in the Age of Digital Overload — Saturday 2:30 PM Ruth Franklin is a book critic and former editor at The New Republic. She has written for many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, and The New York Review of Books. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2011), was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Stuart IsacoffStuart Isacoff

When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and its Aftermath — Saturday 2:30 PM Stuart Isacoff is active across North America and Europe as a writer, pianist, composer and lecturer. His ongoing presence in the cultural landscape has included presentations at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center, as well as at festivals around the world; and regular contributions on music and art to The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Isacoff is the author most recently of When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and its Aftermath (Knopf), as well as of A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians—From Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between (Knopf), and the highly acclaimed Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization (Knopf/Vintage). He is a winner of the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music.

Marianne LeoneMarianne Leone

Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back — Saturday 4:00 PM Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. Her memoir, Jesse, A Mother’s Story of Greif, Grace, and Everyday Bliss, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. She had a recurring role on HBO’s hit show, “The Sopranos” as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother. She has also appeared in films by David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles and Martin Scorsese. She is married to award-winning actor, Chris Cooper. Her memoir Ma Speaks Up from Beacon Press launches on April 25, 2017. Photograph by Kerry Brett.

Megan MarshallMegan Marshall

Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast — Saturday 11:00 AM Megan Marshall is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography for Margaret Fullerand the author of The Peabody Sisters, which won the Francis Parkman Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. She is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College. Photo by Gail Samuelson. [clearboth]

Tom NealonTom Nealon

Food Fights and Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste — Saturday 2:30 PM Tom Nealon runs the online rare bookshop Pazzo Books specializing in early printed books, cookery and literature. In his spare time he works on barbecue techniques in the test pit in his backyard. He can be found at and @pazzobooks on Twitter.

William QuigleyWilliam F. Quigley, Jr.

Pure Heart – The Faith of a Father and Son in the War for a More Perfect Union [br]— Saturday 3:00 PM William F. Quigley, Jr. teaches history at The Governor’s Academy, the nation’s oldest nonsectarian secondary boarding school, founded in 1763. During his 25 years at the Academy, he has served as head of the history department, dean of academics, dean of faculty / asst. head of school, and now as a teacher, varsity coach, and founding director of the Academy’s Writing Center. Previously, Bill did editorial work in book publishing, consulted to schools and colleges on their admissions marketing, and worked as a newspaper reporter (for The Newburyport Daily News), where his work earned two UPI New England Awards and a National Education Reporting Award. PURE HEART, his first book, began as his award-winning master’s thesis (2009) at Harvard University Extension School. Published in 2016 by The Kent State University Press, PURE HEART is a ground-level micro-history of the American Civil War. He and his wife, Leslie Cargill, have two grown daughters: Kelsey and Annie. Photo by Annie P. Quigley.

Will SchwalbeWill Schwalbe

Books For Living — Saturday 10:30 AM Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing (currently with Macmillan); in new media (as founder of, and as a journalist. His previous book was The End Of Your Life Book Club, which spent twelve weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover and paperback, was named an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year, was one of Amazons top four best books of the year, won an Indie Choice Honor Award, and was awarded the Books for A Better Life Award for Best Inspirational Memoir. It has been translated into ten languages. He is also the author with David Shipley of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better. His newest title, Books for Living, describes the role that a wide variety of books can play in our lives and shows how a few specific and unusual books that Schwalbe champions can help us live each day more fully and with more meaning.

Martha WhiteMartha White

Writing “Up” With E.B. White — Saturday 7:00 PM Martha White is a freelance writer and editor from coastal Maine, with over thirty years of publication credits in creative fiction, non-fiction, syndicated columns, books, and essays. She was a contributing editor at Yankee Publishing & The Old Farmer’s Almanac for many years. Her books include Traditional Home Remedies, (Time-Life, 1997); The Letters of E.B. White, Revised Edition, (HarperCollins, 2006); In The Words of E.B. White (University of Cornell Press, 2011) and E.B. White on Dogs (Tilbury House, 2013). Her essays and articles have appeared most frequently in the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, DownEast, The New York Times, The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Yankee. She lives with her family in Rockport, Maine and is the Manager of the White Literary LLC, managing E. B. White’s literary estate. Photo credit: Marti Stone Photography.

Wendy WilliamsWendy Williams

The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion — Saturday 9:00 AM Thirty-year science journalist Wendy Williams, author of six books, has spent a lifetime with horses. In The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, she was finally able to combine both loves in a book that chronicles the evolving partnership between horses and humans over the past 56 million years. The Horse was named one of the Year’s Ten Best Non-Fiction books by the Wall Street Journal, and was a New York Times best seller. It received a wide variety of praise from both professional reviewers and individual readers. NPR’s Scott Simon told her before her on-air interview that the final chapter moved him to tears of joy. She is at work on her new book, tentatively titled The Innocence of Butterflies.

Richard ZacksRichard Zacks

Chasing the Last Laugh: How Mark Twain Escaped Debt and Disgrace with a Round-the-World Comedy Tour — Saturday 1:00 PM Richard Zacks is the bestselling author of six books: Chasing The Last Laugh: How Mark Twain Escaped Debt and Disgrace with a Round-the-World Comedy Tour, Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York; Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805; Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd; History Laid Bare; and An Underground Education. His books have sold more than half a million copies, and been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Korean and Finnish. TIME chose Pirate Hunter as a non-fiction best book of the year. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and many other publications. His academic studies include: University of Michigan (B.A. Classical Greek), Columbia University (M.S. Journalism), and stints at Universita Italiana per Stranieri in Perugia, and American University in Cairo. Born in Savannah, Georgia, he now lives in New York City.

Andrew ZimbalistAndrew Zimbalist

No Boston Olympics: How and Why Smart Cities are Passing on the Torch [br]— Saturday 9:00 AM Andrew Zimbalist has been in the economics department at Smith College since 1974 and has been a visiting professor at Doshisha University, the University of Geneva and Hamburg University. Zimbalist has consulted in Latin America for the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development and numerous companies. He has consulted in the sports industry for players’ associations, cities, companies, teams and leagues. He has published several dozen articles and twenty-seven books, including The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball (2014), Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup (2015), Unwinding Madness: What Went Wrong with College Sports and How to Fix It (February 2017), No Boston Olympics: How and Why Smart Cities Are Passing on the Torch (April 2017). His edited book Rio 2016: Olympic Myths and Hard Realities will be published by Brookings in August 2017. Photo credit: Dominic Chavez.