Newburyport Literary Festival

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

2023 Moderators | Speakers

Fiction | Nonfiction | Poetry | Moderators |

Listed in alphabetical order

Joshua Bodwell

Joshua Bodwell is the editorial director of Godine, an independent Boston-based press established in 1970. In addition to the Godine list, he also oversees the house’s Black Sparrow Press imprint, a continuation of the famed West Coast avant-garde publisher. Bodwell served as the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance for nearly a decade.

Imogen Church

Imogen Church

Imogen Church is an award-winning actor and scriptwriter. Her debut novel, Death and the Burlesque Maiden, was published by Audible Originals in 2021. She has won many awards for narrating audiobooks like an absolute boss. She also lends her voice to audio dramas, comedy, documentary, cartoons, and games.

Maggie Doherty

Maggie Doherty is the author of The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s, which was the winner of the Marfield Prize for Arts Writing and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the Nation. She currently teaches creative nonfiction and journalism at both Tufts and Harvard.

Bethany Groff Dorau

Bethany Groff Dorau

Bethany Groff Dorau is the author of A Newburyport Marine in World War I: The Life and Legacy of Eben Bradbury, A Brief History of Old Newbury (History Press), and a primary contributor to the Defining Documents in American History Series. She is the executive director of the Museum of Old Newbury, and a recipient of the Preservation Leadership Award from the Newburyport Preservation Trust, the Pioneer in Preservation Award from the Essex National Heritage Commission, and the North of Boston CVB Leadership Award. Bethany sits on the executive board of the North of Boston CVB, Lowell’s Boat Shop, and the planning committee of the Newburyport Literary Festival. She has published articles in the New York Times, 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 West Newbury with her family. Photo credit: Amanda Ambrose.

Emily Fine

Emily Fine is producer and co-host of the podcast the Book Cougars: Two Middle-Aged Women on the Hunt for a Good Read, along with her friend and fellow book lover, Chris Wolak. When not engaged in the world of books or embarking on literary adventures, she spends her time as a business and philanthropic consultant. Originally from the Midwest, Emily now lives in Connecticut, where she devotes as much time as she can to reading, writing, and paddling the Long Island Sound. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @bookcougars.

Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein

Zoom EventOn Friendship — Sunday 12:00 PM
Meredith Goldstein is an author, journalist, and the longtime advice columnist at The Boston Globe. Her books include the young adult novels Things That Grow and Chemistry Lessons; the novel The Singles; and the memoir Can’t Help Myself: Lessons and Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist, based on her Love Letters column, which also has a popular podcast (now in its eighth season!). Meredith lives in Boston with a carnival-size cotton candy machine and a lot of romance novels. Photo credit: Alex Teng.
Owen Grey

Owen Grey

Owen Grey is a poet and editor. He has been a member of the Powow River Poets since 2012, and recently organized their celebration of the poetry of Jane Kenyon. You can find his poems in The Powow River Poets Anthology II. He lives in central Massachusetts.

Connie Johnson Hambley

Thrills, Chills, and Bills — Saturday 2:30 PM

A former lawyer, Connie Johnson Hambley has been a featured columnist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek and an invited contributor to Nature, MassHighTech and other journals, but her passion is writing great suspense. After working in venture capital and start-up communities, Connie learned that creating successful books is like creating a business. A hybrid author, she knows the full spectrum of pressures involved in making dreams a reality in today’s changing marketplace. Two of Connie’s novels in The Jessica Trilogy won the Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in New York City. Her short stories appear in Mystery Writers of America’s Crime Hits Home, New England’s Best Crime Stories: Windward and Snowbound, and Mystery magazine. Her short story in Running Wild Anthology was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Connie is co-chair of New England Crime Bake, a past president and a featured speaker of Sisters in Crime New England, and a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Liberty Hardy

Liberty Hardy

Liberty Hardy has worked as an indie bookseller, a judge for Book of the Month, and a Hollywood book scout. Currently she is a senior contributor editor for Book Riot, the co-host of the popular All the Books! podcast, and curator of the What’s My Page Again? newsletter. Liberty spends her days in the great state of Maine, where she reads 600-700 books a year and lives with her husband and three cats (who hate to read.)

Hannah Harlow

Hannah Harlow

Hannah Harlow has an MFA in fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars. After working in publishing for 17 years, most recently at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as Executive Director of Marketing, she left in January 2020 to purchase the Book Shop of Beverly Farms in Beverly, MA. She lives on the north shore of Massachusetts with her husband and two boys.
Leslie Hendrickson

Leslie Hendrickson

Leslie Hendrickson is a New York City and Connecticut-based journalist. She is also a puppet maker, an Agatha Christie aficionado and has been involved in every Newburyport Literary Festival. She leads a monthly writing group and volunteers for Girls Write Now, mentoring a high school student on writing.

Melissa Joulwan and David Humphreys

Melissa Joulwan and David Humphreys

Melissa Joulwan and David Humphreys are the co-creators of Strong Sense of Place, a podcast and website dedicated to armchair travel and books with vivid settings. Each episode of their show focuses on one destination: They discuss what makes that place different than anywhere else, then recommend five books that took them there on the page. They’re introverts who love travel adventures and exploring new places. In 2017, they sold almost all of their stuff and moved from the U.S. to Prague, in the Czech Republic, with their laptops and their cat Smudge.

Susan Keatley

Susan Keatley

Susan Keatley is a freelance science writer and has written for the Simons Foundation, the Science Philanthropy Alliance, the Princeton Alumni Weekly, and the New York Times. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and M.A. in Anthropology, and is working on a thriller novel set in the pharmaceutical world. A Newburyport native, she now lives in rural Baltimore County with her husband and two children and one large Bernedoodle.

Christina Koliander

Zoom EventNo Reservations Required — Sunday 4:45 PM

A regular Festival moderator with a focus on food, Christina Koliander is a writer and editor (and avid home cook) who also leads a monthly writing workshop near her home in Vermont. She has presented at the Boston Book Festival with a panel of authors discussing food in fiction and for many years authored the nationally-recognized blog, My Vermont Kitchen. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook @chriskoliander.

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Laura Szaro Kopinski

Laura Szaro Kopinski is a local librarian and podcaster. She hosts A Bookish Home podcast, featuring “behind the book” interviews with bestselling authors. Laura is on the Newburyport Literary Festival programming committee and has served as a lead judge for the Massachusetts Book Awards, a reviewer for the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowships, and as a Boston Book Festival moderator. You can find her on Instagram @ABookishHome or at ABookishHome.com

Natalia Martinez

Natalia was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. As a young adult, she moved to the United States and completed her studies in Boston, MA. She is a former public school teacher and now works with the YMCA. She lives with her family in Somerville, MA and has been attending this literary festival for a few years. She is not an author, but she is an eager reader!
Kurt Mullen

Kurt Mullen

Kurt Mullen is an award-winning storyteller, writer, teacher, editor, and producer. In magazines, literary journals and anthologies, Kurt has reported on soldiers coming home from war, about his own personal loss and grief, and about quirky folks who like to go it alone. He has told stories twice on PBS’s “Stories from the Stage,” and he now coaches for that program. He coaches live storytelling and writes for the Stellar Story Company in Boston. As a live storyteller, he’s told stories on The Volume Knob podcast, the GRIT: True Stories podcast, which he co-founded, and on the RISK! true stories podcast. He is an editor of the Pathfinders Collective, a true-stories anthology. Kurt lives in Newburyport, Mass., with his wife, Amy.

Zara Raab

Zara Raab

Zara Raab’s new edition of Swimming the Eel appeared last year. Her work, including book reviews as well as poems, has appeared in The Hudson Review, Mezzo Cammin, Verse Daily, Arts & Letters, Stand (UK), and Poet Lore. She joined the Powow River Poets shortly before the pandemic in 2020, and lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

Holly Robinson

Holly Robinson

Holly Robinson is a novelist, journalist, and ghostwriter. Under her own name, she has published a memoir and six novels with Penguin Random House, as well as articles, essays, and humor columns in national publications such as Real Simple and Parents. As a ghostwriter, she has published 12 works of nonfiction with major publishers such as St. Martin’s, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Random House. Her special areas of interest include education, health, medical research, family relationships, immigrant stories, Latin America, and women’s lives.

J. Courtney Sullivan

J. Courtney Sullivan

The Maine Idea — Saturday 2:30 PM

J. Courtney Sullivan is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Commencement, Maine, The Engagements, Saints For All Occasions, and Friends and Strangers. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children.

Grace Talusan

Grace Talusan is the author of The Body Papers, winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction. Her writing has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright, United States Artists, Brother Thomas Fund, and Massachusetts Cultural Council. She teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s first novel, House of Stone (W. W. Norton, 2019), won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award and the Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Balcones Fiction Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. Tshuma has lectured on House of Stone at the University of Oxford in England, the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden, and Vassar College in New York, among others. The recipient of honors including a 2017 Bellagio Center Literary Arts Residency and a 2020 Lannan Foundation Fiction Fellowship, Tshuma has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Emerson College. Her second novel, Digging Stars, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton in September 2023.

Kate Tuttle

Kate Tuttle

Kate Tuttle is an executive editor at People magazine, covering books. A past president of the National Book Critics Circle, she formerly edited the books pages at the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Poets and Writers, Salon, Dame and elsewhere. Tuttle’s author profiles include subjects such as Salman Rushdie, Susan Orlean, and Patricia Lockwood. Her essays have ranged from pondering the popularity of true crime stories among women readers to recounting the year in her childhood when she strongly identified with disgraced president Richard Nixon. A Kansas native, she now lives in New Jersey after long stints in Boston and Atlanta.

Jane Ward

Jane Alessandrini Ward

Jane Alessandrini Ward is the author of In the Aftermath (a Kirkus Reviews selection for The Best 100 Indies 2021), The Mosaic Artist, and Hunger. She has been a contributing writer for an online regional and seasonal food magazine and a blogger and occasional host of cooking videos for an internet recipe resource. A passionate public library advocate, Jane has served on Friends and Trustees boards in both Amesbury and Chicago. She lives in Ipswich. Photo Credit: Jason Grow.