Jenna Blum is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us, The Stormchasers, and The Lost Family; the novella “The Lucky One” in the collection Grand Central; and memoir Woodrow on the Bench, about her senior black Lab and what his last seven months taught her, available from Harper Collins on October 26, 2021. Jenna is one of Oprah’s Top Thirty Women Writers, with her work published in over 20 countries, and cofounder/CEO of literary social media marketing company A Mighty Blaze. Jenna’s New York Times and internationally bestselling first novel, Those Who Save Us, won the Ribalow Prize, awarded by Hadassah Magazine and adjudged by Elie Wiesel; Jenna interviewed Holocaust survivors for the Steven Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Foundation for five years. Jenna is a public speaker, traveling nationally and internationally; for her 1st novel, she visited over 800 book clubs in the Boston area alone. Jenna is based in Boston, teaching at Grub Street Writers, where she has been running master fiction and novel workshops for over 20 years; she earned her M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University and was the fiction editor for AGNI Literary Magazine.
Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. His most recent book is Stampede, a new history of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. He is also the bestselling author of Disappointment River, All the Ways We Kill and Die, and the war memoir The Long Walk, which was adapted into an opera and named a New York Times Editor’s Pick and Amazon Best Book of the Year. His journalism and essays have appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Esquire, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and on National Public Radio. He is the co-editor of The Road Ahead, a collection of short stories featuring veteran writers, and has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, and to paddle the 1200 mile Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in 2016. In March 2018 he joined Amnesty International as a Senior Crisis Advisor.
Christopher Clarey has covered global sports for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune for 30 years from bases in France, Spain and the United States. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on tennis and the Olympics, reporting from more than 100 Grand Slam tournaments and from seven Summer Olympics, seven Winter Olympics and nine world track and field championships. In 2021, Clarey’s in-depth biography of Roger Federer was published and became a New York Times bestseller and international bestseller. The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer is based on 20 years of interviews and travels following the Swiss champion and this golden age in men’s tennis. The Times of London called it “certainly the best Federer biography yet published”. Corriere dello Sport in Italy called it a “monumental opera”. Clarey and his wife Virginie, proud parents of three multilingual daughters, are based in the Boston area and in Paris.
Julia Cooke is a journalist and travel writer whose features and personal essays have been published in Time, Smithsonian, Condé Nast Traveler, and Saveur. She is the author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba. The daughter of a former Pan Am executive, Cooke grew up in the Pan Am “family,” a still-strong network across the globe. She lives in Vermont.
Alena Dillon is the author of Mercy House, a Library Journal Best Book of 2020 which has been optioned as a television series produced by Amy Schumer, The Happiest Girl in the World, a Good Morning America pick, My Body Is A Big Fat Temple, a memoir of pregnancy and early parenting, and Eyes Turned Skyward, a forthcoming novel. Alena’s work has appeared in publications including The Daily Beast, Parents Magazine, LitHub, River Teeth, Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, and Bustle. She teaches creative writing and lives on the north shore of Boston with her husband, son, and black lab.
In 2019, Mason Engel took a road trip around the country to 50 independent bookstores in 50 days. His goal was to promote his self-published novel, 2084, but his conversations with booksellers shifted his focus. He decided to take a second trip. He would no longer be walking into bookstores with his book; he’d be walking in with a camera and a question: why should we shop indie? The resultant documentary: The Bookstour, premiers on public television this spring. Mason continues to work on his books—and book-ish films—from his home in Los Angeles.
Wil Haygood is the author of Tigerland, which was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; Showdown, a finalist for an NAACP Image Award; In Black and White; and The Butler, which was made into a film directed by Lee Daniels. He has been a correspondent for The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer finalist. Haygood is a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and is currently Boadway Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Plum Island: A Vulnerable Gem – Sunday, 3:15 PM
Dyke Hendrickson is an author-journalist who lives in Newburyport. His most recent book is “Plum Island: A Vulnerable Gem.” It will reach bookstores in June. It includes 75 color photos, and focuses on the dual nature of the barrier island. The northern sector is inhabited by homes and small enterprises, and the southern portion is occupied by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Both face major challenges because of climate change. Hendrickson is the author of “Merrimack: The Resilient River” (2021), and hosts a weekly podcast titled, “Life Along the Merrimack.” He has written seven books.
Ann Hood is the author of the best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most, The Red Thread, The Knitting Circle, and the memoir Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food. Her new book is Fly Girl which will be published by W.W. Norton in May 2022. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Paris Review, O Magazine, and Real Simple. The recipient of a Best American Travel Writing Award, among other honors, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan.
Tim Madigan’s books include the critically acclaimed and best-selling The Burning: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, which is the definitive account of America’s worst episode of racial violence. The Burning became a New York Times bestseller in June 2021. He’s also published a novel of the Greatest Generation, Every Common Sight; and another work of non-fiction, Of the First Class: A History of the Kimbell Art Museum, a behind the scenes account of how the world-renowned Fort Worth cultural institution came to be. It was a 1995 assignment for the Star-Telegram that led to Tim’s interview with Fred Rogers, the icon of children’s television, and a close friendship between the two men that lasted until Rogers’ death in 2003. Tim’s memoir, I’m Proud of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers, is an intimate account of Rogers’ human greatness, and a testament to the healing power of friendship. That transformative relationship and Tim’s own experiences as a seeking and healing human being remain at the heart of his work. More than a decade after it was first published, I’m Proud of You continues to inspire readers around the globe, and Tim continues to speak of Mister Rogers and matters of the heart to varied audiences around the nation.
Azar Nafisi is the author of the multi-award-winning New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, as well as Things I’ve Been Silent About, The Republic of Imagination, and That Other World. Formerly a Fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Foreign Policy Institute, she has taught at Oxford and several universities in Tehran. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Chris Newell is co-founder/director of education for Akomawt Educational Initiative; a majority Native- owned educational consultancy based in Connecticut and author of Scholastic’s If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving. He is a multi-award-winning museum professional born and raised in Motahkmikuhk (Indian Township, ME) and a proud citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the New England Museum Association, Tides Institute, and Maine Public. Chris is a long-time singer with the acclaimed Mystic River singers based out of Connecticut and has travelled the US and Canada singing and participating in cultural celebrations, pow wows, and live stage performance. Chris was the Senior Advisor for the Emmy-award winning documentary Dawnland and co-director of the short documentary Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) (2022) chronicling a historic sunrise concert collaboration in 2021 with Wabanaki musicians/storytellers and 18-time Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Keith O’Brien is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico. His radio stories have appeared on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition, as well as Marketplace, Here & Now, and This American Life. His 2018 book, Fly Girls, was a New York Times bestseller and named one of the Times’ 100 Notable Books of the year. His new book, Paradise Falls, tells the human story behind one of the landmark environmental crises of the 20th century. “Paradise Falls is a narrative resplendent with ordinary people who stood up against overwhelming odds,” said Booklist in a starred review. “O’Brien has accomplished an outstanding work of investigative journalism and created a riveting title.”
Catherine Ostler is an author who has been Editor-in-Chief of Tatler, Editor of ES Magazine at The Evening Standard, and Editor of The Times Weekend. She has also written for a wide range of other publications, including the Vogue (British and US), Newsweek and the Financial Times. She has made numerous radio and television appearances including Good Morning America, ABC News and CNN in the US. She read English at Oxford University, specializing in eighteenth-century literature. The Duchess Countess was published in the UK in March 2021 to critical acclaim. Ostler resides in London, England. Please follow her at https://twitter.com/CatherineOstler and https://www.instagram.com/ceostler/ Photo Credit: JP Masclet.
A.E. Rooks hopes to always be a student of history, which hasn’t stopped her from studying everything else. While her debut, The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade, explores a little discussed facet of the transatlantic slave trade, previous writing credits include the column Between the Briefs, for which she won two national awards for sex positive journalism. A two-time Jeopardy! champion whose schooling spans theatre, law, library and information science, education, human sexuality, Rooks’ literary passions are united by what the past can teach us about the present, how history shapes our future, and above all, really interesting stories.
James Charles Roy
James Charles Roy has been a peripatetic “independent scholar” since 1969, when he left his job in New York City, bought a 500 cc BSA “Royal Star” in London, and took off for Ireland (“it was the cheapest place to go and hang out, as well as being the most interesting place on earth”). His fascination with Ireland has been lifelong, beginning when his parents visited the island in 1955 for two months, bringing their family of three children in tow, and stretching through his purchase and renovation of Moyode Castle in County Galway. He has written innumerable articles on Irish history and seven distinguished books, including The Fields of Athenry and Islands of Storm, a Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selection. His latest book is The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland. He lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts with his wife, the artist Jan V. Roy.
Mayukh Sen is the author of Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America. He has won a James Beard Award for his food writing, and he teaches food writing at Columbia University’s undergraduate creative writing program. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Photo Credit: Christopher Gregory-Rivera.
Aileen Weintraub is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor. She has written for the Washington Post, Glamour, NBC, and AARP, among others. She has also published several children’s books, including Never Too Young! 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference and We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World.
Ghlee E. Woodworth
Ghlee E. Woodworth is a 12th-generation Newburyport native. Ghlee’s first publication Tiptoe Through the Tomb-stones, Oak Hill Cemetery, won awards from the New England (2009) and New York (2010) Book Festivals. She is the creator and author of Newburyport’s Clipper Heritage Trail, a series of self-guided history tours accessed via a website and smart phones. The Clipper Heritage Trail was an American Association for State and Local History Merit Award winner in 2014. Clipper Heritage Trail, Volume I was published in 2020 and Volume II is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2021. Ghlee was honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award for beneficence to the Newburyport community in 2016 presented by Mayor Donna Holaday and the Spirit of Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America and was the recipient of the Pioneer in Partnership Award from the Essex National Heritage Commission in 2017 for her contributions to Newburyport’s local history. Trained in gravestone restoration Ghlee has restored over 1,200 gravestones in Oak Hill Cemetery and other burying grounds.