Newburyport Literary Festival

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

Fiction | Nonfiction | Poetry | Moderators |

Listed in alphabetical order
Steve Almond

Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of twelve books of fiction and non-fiction including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His novel, All the Secrets of the World, is in development for television by 20th Century Fox. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for 2022, and his short fiction has appeared in the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, and Best American Mysteries. His most recent book, Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow, is about craft, inspiration, and how to keep going at the keyboard. Almond teaches at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and Wesleyan University, and lives outside Boston with his anxiety. [www.stevealmondjoy.org]

Featured Book
Steve Almond Book
Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books of fiction, including The Middlesteins and All Grown Up, the memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You, and, most recently, the USA Today bestselling writing guide 1000 WORDS. She is also the founder of the annual #1000WordsofSummer project, and maintains the popular Craft Talk newsletter year-round. In September, a new novel, A Reason to See You Again, will be released. Her work has been published in sixteen languages. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Featured Book
Jami Attenberg Book
Karen Azoulay

Karen Azoulay

Karen Azoulay is a Canadian born, Brooklyn-based author and artist whose projects have been featured and reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Hyperallergic, Town & Country, and Vogue. Inspired by “feminine” motifs, Azoulay explores cultural phenomena that have historically been overlooked with the purpose of recontextualizing and championing them. Her debut book Flowers and Their Meanings, The Secret Language and History of Over 600 Blooms was selected by Barnes & Noble as one of the best books of 2023.

Featured Book
Karen Azoulay Book
Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker has written seventeen books, including The Mezzanine, Vox, Human Smoke, The Anthologist, and Baseless—also an art book, The World on Sunday, in collaboration with his wife Margaret Brentano. Several of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, and he has won a National Book Critics Circle Award, a James Madison Freedom of Information Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Herman Hesse Prize. Baker has two grown children; he and his wife live on the Penobscot River in Maine.
Featured Book
Nicholson Baker Book
Nikole Beckwith​

Nikole Beckwith

Nikole Beckwith is a playwright, writer, and filmmaker from Newburyport, MA. She has made plays with The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, The National Theatre of London, and The Royal Court. Her films (Stockholm, Pennsylvania and Together Together) both premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in the US Dramatic Competition. She was rejected from Juilliard four times.

Featured Book
Nicholson Baker Book

Richard Deming

Richard Deming is an award-winning poet, essayist, and critic, whose work explores the intersections of literature, philosophy, and visual culture. He is the author of six books, including This Exquisite Loneliness. He teaches at Yale University, where he is the director of Creative Writing.

Featured Book
Richard Deming Book
Eric Dolin

Eric Jay Dolin

Eric Jay Dolin is the author of sixteen 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, won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U.S. Maritime History, and was an “Editor’s Choice” selection by The New York Times Book Review. His most recent book before Rebels at Sea was A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes, which was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and was chosen as one of the 50 notable books of nonfiction of the year by The Washington Post. It was also chosen as a Must Read book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, as an Editor’s Choice selection by The New York Times Book Review, and was the winner of Atmospheric Science Librarians International Choice Award for History. Rebels at Sea was awarded the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award and the Samuel Eliot Morison Book Award for Naval Literature, given out by the Naval Order of the United States; and was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award and the Boston Authors Club Julia Ward Howe Book Award. Rebels was also selected as a Must Read book. His forthcoming book, to be published on May 7, 2024, is Left for Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World. Dolin lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his family. For more information, please see www.ericjaydolin.com.

Featured Book
Eric Dolin Book

Bethany Groff Dorau

Bethany Groff Dorau is the executive director of the Museum of Old Newbury, after 21 years with Historic New England. She is the author of A Newburyport Marine in World War I: The Life and Legacy of Eben Bradbury and A Brief History of Old Newbury (History Press), and has won several awards for preservation advocacy and museum leadership. Bethany has appeared on This Old House and Chronicle, published articles in The New York Times, New England Quarterly, and Historic New England Magazine, among others. Her writing has been featured on NPR and publications of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. She holds an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts, and lives in West Newbury with her family. Photo credit: Amanda Ambrose.

Featured Book
Christopher Gorham Book
Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III’s nine books include the New York Times bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie, a #4 New York Times bestseller and a New York Times Editors Choice. His work has been included in The Best American Essays and The Best Spiritual Writing anthologies, and his novel, House of Sand and Fog, was a finalist for the National Book Award, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. His 2013 novella collection, Dirty Love, was listed as a “Notable Book” by The Washington Post and The New York Times, and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice” and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013.” His 2018 novel, Gone So Long, was named on many “Best Books” lists, including selection for The Boston Globe’s “Twenty Best Books of 2018” and “The Best Books of 2018, Top 100” on Amazon. His most recent novel, Such Kindness, was one of Amazon’s “The Best Books of 2023, Top 100.” His collection of personal essays, Ghost Dog: On Killers and Kin, is forthcoming in March 2024. He is the editor of Reaching Inside: 50 Acclaimed Authors on 100 Unforgettable Short Stories (Godine, 2023). Mr. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over 25 languages, and he teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Featured Book
Andre Dubus III Book
Oline Eaton

Oline Eaton

A biographer and writer of creative nonfiction, in her work Oline Eaton examines the intersections of language, celebrity, feelings, disaster, and trauma. She holds degrees from Mississippi State University, the University of Chicago, and King’s College London, and teaches first year writing as a full-time, non-tenure track lecturer at Howard University. Currently, she is writing a biography of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher in space. Oline lives in Washington, DC, with her cats: Claude, Lulu, and Marcel.
Featured Book
Oline Eaton Book
Chad Finn

Chad Finn

The Most Literary Game — Saturday 3:00 PM

Chad Finn is a sports and sports media columnist. He is the editor of The Boston Globe Story of the Red Sox and the upcoming The Boston Globe Story of the Celtics, which will be published by Black Dog & Leventhal in October 2024. He joined the Globe from the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire in 2003 as a sports copy editor and page designer before moving to the writing side and taking over the sports media beat in 2009. He has won multiple Associated Press Sports Editors awards, including for a multimedia project in 2018 on LeBron James’s time in the NBA summer league in Boston. His favorite projects have included an oral history of Larry Bird’s 60-point game and a profile of former Red Sox pitcher and broadcaster Dennis Eckersley for the Globe Magazine. He has had stories selected for the notables section of The Year’s Best Sports Writing anthologies in 2022 (a look back at Wide World of Sports) and 2023 (on the end of his daughter’s high school sports career). From 2020-22 he was named Favorite Sports Writer in Boston in the annual Channel Media Market and Research Poll, and was named Most Trusted in 2022. He is a Maine native who got his first big break covering the 42-1-2 national champion University of Maine hockey team as a student in 1993.

Featured Book
Andre Dubus III Book
Elisa Grammer

Elisa Grammer

After retiring from an energy and environmental law practice in Washington, D.C., Elisa Grammer moved to West Newbury, where she joined a handful of town committees, not least the Historical Commission. Since 2019, she has written periodic short histories about West Newbury’s people, places, and practices—particularly all-in, townwide events and celebrations of the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. These stories are now collected in Minute Histories of West Newbury, Massachusetts: Tales of a Classic New England Town (2024), which was supported by a grant from the West Newbury Cultural Council, as well as receiving an award from the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for contributions to local history. She was West Newbury’s citizen of the year in 2021.

Featured Book
Elisa Grammer Book
Esmond Harmsworth

Esmond Harmsworth

Esmond Harmsworth is the President of Aevitas Creative Management. Prior to that was a founding partner of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. Born in London, Harmsworth was educated in England before graduating magna cum laude from Brown University and cum laude from Harvard Law School. His nonfiction list includes Amanda Ripley’s New York Times bestseller The Smartest Kids in the World—And How They Got That Way; Keith Ferrazzi’s business classics Leading Without Authority and Competing in the New World of Work; Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis; the true crime classic Black Mass by Dick Lehr and Gerry O’Neill; and Rebecca Frankel’s New York Times bestseller War Dogs. For fiction, Harmsworth represents literary fiction, mystery and crime, thriller, suspense, speculative fiction, and horror. His list includes: Emily Franklin (The Lioness of Boston); Paul Rudnick (Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style); Craig Russell (The Devil Aspect); Elisabeth Elo (North of Boston); John Twelve Hawks (his forthcoming novel, Certainty); Michelle Hoover (The Quickening); Sarah Stewart Taylor (The Mountains Wild); Nathaniel Miller (The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven); Jedediah Berry (The Manual of Detection and The Naming Song); Gary Braver (Rumor of Evil) and Grace Dane Mazur (The Garden Party).
Featured Book
Dennis Donoghue Book
Tamar Haspel

Tamar Haspel

Tamar Haspel writes the James Beard Award-winning Washington Post column Unearthed, which looks at how our diet affects us and our planet. She’s also written for Discover, Vox, National Geographic, Slate, Fortune, Eater, and Edible Cape Cod. Her book, To Boldly Grow, is a rollicking good-time adventure story about food, love, and the secret to successful self-improvement. Reviewers call it “hilarious” and “delightful,” and if it doesn’t make you laugh out loud at least once, Tamar will buy you a beer.

Featured Book
Dennis Donoghue Book
Dyke Hendrickson

Dyke Hendrickson

Author-journalist Dyke Hendrickson recently came out with his eighth book titled, “Reclaiming the Merrimack: An Action Plan to Clean the River.” He is a resident of Newburyport, and a former writer with the Portland Press Herald, the Boston Herald and The Daily News of Newburyport. HIs other books of local interest include “Nautical Newburyport” (2017), “New England Coast Guard Stories” (2020), “Merrimack, the Resilient River”/(2021), and “Plum Island: A Vulnerable Gem” (2022). He is a former adjunct professor of journalism at Northeastern University.

Featured Book
Dyke Hendrickson Book
Erik Hoel

Erik Hoel

Erik Hoel grew up in Newburyport’s Jabberwocky Bookshop, which is still owned by his mother. He’s one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in science and also a New York City Emerging Writers Fellow. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, and his nonfiction was selected as notable in the Best American Essays series. Hoel received his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a research professor at Tufts His first novel, The Revelations, was published in 2021, and he currently runs a popular Substack, The Intrinsic Perspective. His most recent book is The World Behind the World: Free Will, Consciousness, and the Limits of Science. He lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Featured Book
Erik Hoel Book
Alexandra Horowitz

Alexandra Horowitz

For the Love of Dog — Saturday 10:15 AM

Alexandra Horowitz heads the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, where she also teaches seminars in canine cognition, creative nonfiction writing, and audio storytelling. She is the author of New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, and four other books, including, most recently, The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves. She lives with her family of Homo sapiens, Canis familiaris, and Felis catus in New York City.

Featured Book
Alexandra Horowitz Book
Marian Levy

Marian Leighton Levy

A co-founder of Rounder Records fresh out of college in 1970, Marian Leighton Levy is a longtime resident of the North Shore. A voracious reader, she is also involved in activist politics, radical thought, and remains passionate about music. She is currently part of Down the Road, the latest enterprise to continue the original project that gave birth to Rounder.
Featured Book
Rounders Records Book
Ken Irwin

Ken Irwin

Born in New York City and raised in Westchester, NY, Rounder Records co-owner and co-founder Ken Irwin never planned on a career in the music industry. Despite a casual interest in folk music as a teenager, after high school, he landed at Tufts University in Massachusetts. There he became a psych major, later completing a graduate degree in Special Education and was ABD (“all but dissertation”) for the doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies at Cornell. In 1970, Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton Levy started Rounder Records, with the simultaneous release of albums by old-time banjo player George Pegram and young old-timey Cambridge stringband the Spark Gap Wonder Boys. With such modest beginnings and equally humble goals, Rounder started to build its catalogue, documenting what one reviewer of that period referred to as “roots music and its contemporary offshoots.”

Irwin was actively involved in signing and discovering new artists. Irwin was responsible for signing previously unsung talents including Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, George Thorogood, Buckwheat Zydeco, and, more recently, Bradley Walker, James Hand, Harley Allen, Donna Hughes, Sierra Hull, and Dailey & Vincent, among others. Among the bluegrass and old-time artists he has worked with are Hazel Dickens, James King, Del McCoury, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Bobby Osborne, Jeannie Kendall, the Whitstein Brothers, and many more. He also helped to raise awareness of bluegrass’s first generation, producing and licensing a series of crucial reissues by some of the music’s legendary early figures, including Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, Jim & Jesse, Flatt & Scruggs, and others — keeping this essential music in print when few other labels did so. Irwin has also created many illuminating and bestselling compilations drawn from Rounder’s archive of over 3,000 albums, among them the remarkable O, Sister: A Women’s Bluegrass Collection (which doubled as a document of Rounder’s extensive efforts to promote female bluegrass musicians), Blue Trail of Sorrow, and Bluegrass #1s. Outside of bluegrass, Irwin has been involved with producing a string of Grammy-winning polka records with bandleader Jimmy Sturr.

When not on the road, in the studio, at a festival, or at a conference, Ken lives with his wife in a coastal city north of Boston and still feels the same excitement and passion for the music that he always has.

Featured Book
Rounders Records Book
Gillian MacKenzie

Gillian MacKenzie

Gillian MacKenzie represents a wide variety of nonfiction writers and thinkers, as well as children’s book authors and illustrators, helping them develop their ideas and sell and market their books to publishers and beyond. Before starting Gillian MacKenzie Agency in 2005, she was vice president of Jane Startz Productions, where she helped adapt books into feature films with major studios. Prior to that, she was a product developer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she conceived of merchandise based on works in the collections. She began her career at the literary agency Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Featured Book
Alexandra Horowitz Book
Nina MacLaughlin

Nina MacLaughlin

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren (FSG), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Massachusetts Book Award, as well as the book-length essays Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice (Black Sparrow). Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head (W.W. Norton), a finalist for the New England Book Award. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for The Boston Globe. Her work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, n+1, The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Agni, American Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Meatpaper, and elsewhere. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo Credit: Kelly Davidson.

Featured Book
Nina MacLaughlin Book
David Menconi

David Menconi

The 2019 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, David Menconi was a staff writer at the Raleigh News & Observer for 28 years. He has also written for Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin, and The New York Times. His most recent book is Oh, Didn’t They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Roots Music. Photo credit: Bill Reaves.

Featured Book
Rounders Records Book
Skip & Marge Motes

Skip and Marge Motes

Skip and Marge Motes, of Newburyport, have been researching Newburyport’s history since moving here in 1995. Skip has given lectures for the Newburyport Preservation Trust, Custom House Maritime Museum, and the Newburyport Public Library Lecture Series. Marge answered queries for fourteen years for the Museum of Old Newbury and has published North End Papers, 1618-1880: Newburyport, Massachusetts—Development of the North End of the City, a compilation of the writing of Oliver B. Merrill, and has transcribed the newly discovered Newburyport Revolutionary War records for the Committee of Safety, Correspondence and Inspection. Their first book, published in 1994, was Laurens & Newberry Counties, S.C.: Saluda and Little River Settlements, 1749-1775, which won the National Genealogy Society prize for methods and sources.
The Motes’ Newburyport area publications include The Newburyport Art Association: First Sixty Years, 1948-2008; Harbor Range Lights, Newburyport, Massachusetts, 2016; Harbor Range Lights and the Waterside; Legendary Newburyporters, Briggs Exhibition, Custom House Maritime Museum; Going One Better, and The Federal Street Mansion of William Bartlet, Merchant 1778-2024, Newburyport, Massachusetts. Their compilations list includes Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker, and Other Occupations in Newburyport, Massachusetts 1850 Census; Reminiscences of Newburyport Peter Fudge an 18th Century Boy (originally published in the Daily Herald in 1858), and Among the Whales, Joseph Nye Clark.

Featured Book
Alexandra Horowitz Book
Gillian MacKenzie

Keith O’Brien

The Most Literary Game — Saturday 3:00 PM

Keith O’Brien is the New York Times bestselling author of Paradise Falls, Fly Girls, and Outside Shot, a finalist for the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, and an award-winning journalist. O’Brien has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico, and his stories have also appeared on National Public Radio and This American Life. A native of Cincinnati, he now lives in New Hampshire.

Featured Book
Alexandra Horowitz Book
Toni Reavish

Toni Reavis

An award-winning broadcaster and writer, Toni Reavis is one of the most respected names in running journalism, having pioneered the widespread coverage of distance running on radio, television, and in print, beginning with his seminal Runner’s Digest radio show in Boston in 1977. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s he helped bring the sport to public attention as a columnist for the Boston Herald, and host of ESPN’s Road Race of the Month series. He has written for many publications, including Runner’s World, Running Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Phoenix, Competitor, and Blackbook Magazines. Bisia & Isham: The Countess & The P.O.W. is his first book of nonfiction. A St. Louis native, then long-time Bostonian, Reavis currently lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, Toya.

Featured Book
Toni Reavish Book
Lucy Sante

Lucy Sante

Lucy Sante is the author of Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings, Folk Photography, The Other Paris, Maybe the People Would Be the Times, and Nineteen Reservoirs. Her awards include a Whiting Writers Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships. She recently retired after 24 years teaching writing and the history of photography at Bard.

Featured Book
Lucy Sante Book
Charlie Sawyer

Charlie Sawyer

B.B. King: From Indianola to Icon — Saturday 5:00 PM

Charlie Sawyer developed his passion for both photography and blues music back in the mid-1960s. In 1980, Doubleday published The Arrival of B.B. King, Charlie’s biography of the talented orphan who became a great bluesman and international star. Today, many of Charlie’s photographs from that book and his recent one, B.B. King: From Indianola to Icon (Schiffer Books 2022), are displayed in the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi—B.B. King’s hometown in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, birthplace of the blues. Besides the blues, Charlie’s photographic subjects include Eastern and Central Europe just before the end of Communism; Israel, the Caribbean, New England, American politics in the 1970s and ’80s, and rodeo life in the U.S. and Canada. Charlie still leads the blues band, 2120 South Michigan Avenue (harp/keys/vocals), shows his photographs, gives talks, and does whatever he can to ensure that the great blues artists of the 20th century are remembered and revered.

Featured Book
Charlie Sawyer Book
Sam Szabo

Sam Szabo

Sam Szabo is a gorgeous cartoonist from Newburyport. Over the past decade, she has hand-printed and self-published more than a hundred comic books, including “Girl Hell,” “Momix,” and “Virile.” Sam’s first graphic novel, Enlightened Transsexual Comix, was published by Silver Sprocket in 2023. Sam currently resides in Chicago.
Featured Book
Sam Szabo Book
Terri Trespicio

Terri Trespicio

Terri Trespicio is the author of Unfollow Your Passion: How to Create a Life that Matters to You (Atria/Simon & Schuster). Her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has been viewed more than eight million times. An award-winning writer and speaker, she’s also a former magazine editor at Martha Stewart, and her writing has been featured in Marie Claire, Jezebel, Business Insider, Oprah magazine, and others. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and won first place for creative nonfiction in the Baltimore Review’s 2016 literary contest. Learn more about her programs and workshops.

Featured Book
Terri Trespicio Book
Ilyon Woo

Ilyon Woo

Ilyon Woo is the New York Times bestselling author of Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom. Reviewed as an “edge-of-your-seat drama,” the book was recognized as one of the best books of 2023 by many outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, Time, The New Yorker and Smithsonian Magazine. The recipient of fellowships from National Endowment for the Humanities and American Antiquarian Society, Woo is also the author of The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother’s Extraordinary Fight Against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times. Ilyon Woo is honored to share the daring account of Ellen and William Craft in Newburyport, the site for the only known public occasion of Ellen relating her story.

Featured Book
Ilyon Woo Book
Ghlee E. Woodworth

Ghlee E. Woodworth

Ghlee E. Woodworth is a 12th-generation Newburyport native. Ghlee is the creator of Newburyport’s Clipper Heritage Trail, a series of self-guided history tours accessed via the web, brochures, and smartphones (2014). She is the author of Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery, (2009) and Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail Volume I (2020) and Volume II (2022). Ghlee has won several awards for contributions honoring Newburyport history. For the past 17 years, Ghlee has conducted over 230 slideshow presentations and walking, bus, and boat tours of cemeteries, neighborhoods, and the city. Ghlee is currently researching and writing about Newburyport’s early Black history. Two 11 x 17-inch brochures have just been completed celebrating our early Black citizens. Trained in gravestone restoration, Ghlee has restored over 1,500 gravestones in Oak Hill Cemetery, city cemeteries, and other burying grounds.

Featured Book
Ghlee Woodworth Book
Ghlee E. Woodworth Black History