Newburyport Literary Festival

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

Children/Teens | Fiction | Nonfiction | Poetry | Moderators

Listed in alphabetical order

Cynthia AndersonCynthia Anderson

Home Now: How 6000 Refugees Transformed an American Town[br]April 25, 9:45 AM

Cynthia Anderson is a journalist, author, and lecturer at Boston University. Her new nonfiction book Home Now—described as “vivid and finely tuned” by Publishers Weekly and “timely, richly detailed” by the Star Tribune—tells the story of refugees transforming the town near where she grew up. Her story collection River Talk was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Other work has appeared in Boston Magazine, the Miami Herald, HuffPost, The Iowa Review, Flash Fiction Forward, and the Christian Science Monitor. Anderson lives with her family in Maine and Massachusetts. She likes cross-genre writing and bridges of all kinds. Visit her at

Kate BolickKate Bolick

What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers[br]April 25, 10:30 AM[br]March Sisters: On Life, Death, And Little Women May 3, 1:00 PM[br]Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch May 3, 2:30 PM

Kate Bolick’s first book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, is a distant descendant of Louisa May Alcott’s writings about the single life. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing at New York University, but her heart remains in her hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, not far from where Little Women was born.

Sari BottonSari Botton

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About April 25, 3:00 PM

Sari Botton is a writer and editor living in Kingston, NY. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Women’s Wear Daily, W, The Billfold, The Rumpus, The Millions, Catapult, plus other publications, and assorted anthologies. She is the Essays Editor for Longeads, and edited the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving & Leaving NY and its New York Times bestselling follow-up, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for NY. She teaches at Catapult and in the MFA program at Bay Path University.

Adrienne BrodeurAdrienne Brodeur

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me April 25, 11:15 AM

Adrienne Brodeur has spent the past two decades of her professional life in the literary world—-discovering voices, cultivating talent, and working to amplify underrepresented writers. Her forthcoming memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me, will be published by HMH books in October 2019. The film rights were bought by Chernin Entertainment with Kelly Fremon Craig, the director of Edge of Seventeen, attached to adapt and direct. Adrienne’s publishing career began with founding the fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story, with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, where she served as editor in chief from 1996-2002. The magazine has won the prestigious National Magazine Award for best fiction four times. In 2005, she became an editor at Harcourt (later, HMH Books), where she acquired and edited literary fiction and memoir. Adrienne left publishing in 2013 to become Creative Director — and later Executive Director — of Aspen Words, a literary arts nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute. In 2017, she launched the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. Adrienne splits her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband and children.

Alexander R. CainAlexander R. Cain

“We Could Easily Trace the March of Troops from the Smoke Which Arose Over Them” – The Experiences of the Men and Women at the Battles of Lexington and Concord May 31, 10:00 AM

Alexander R. Cain is an educator, writer, and historian. He graduated from Merrimack College with a degree in economics and New England School of Law with a Juris Doctorate. He frequently lectures on historical issues and developments in the United States. He also developed a wide array of educational and training programs for college and high school students in the areas of political science and social studies. For over the past two decades he was an instructor at Merrimack College, Northeastern University, Mount Ida College and several other schools. He guided hundreds of high school and college-level students in the areas of criminal justice, constitutional issues, forensic investigations, American history, government and criminology.

Alexander R. Cain is considered one of the leading experts on the role of Massachusetts and New England militias and minute companies in the American Revolution. He has authored two books and numerous articles on the War for Independence. He was one of the contributors to the Journal of the American Revolution’s 2016 Teacher’s Guide. He frequently lectures on a variety of topics relevant to American History. Alexander has been an instructor at several historical sites including Minute Man National Park and Fort Ticonderoga. His two books are: We Stood Our Ground: Lexington in the First Year of the American Revolution (2nd Edition) and I See Nothing but the Horrors of a Civil War. He is currently working on two battlefield preservation projects in Northeastern Massachusetts.

Kate Clifford LarsonKate Clifford Larson

The Assassin’s Accomplice:[br]Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln May 3, 9:00 AM

Kate Clifford Larson is a New York Times bestselling author of three critically acclaimed biographies: Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter (2015); Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (2004); and The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln (2008). She has received numerous awards and citations, including the 2016 Mass Book Award in Non-fiction for Rosemary, and one of People Magazine’s top-ten books of 2015. She has consulted on film scripts – including the recent Harriet movie starring Cynthia Erivo – documentaries, museum exhibits, public history initiatives, and numerous publications. Passionate about researching and writing about American women, Larson enjoys the challenges of teasing out life stories from voices that have long been silenced. “I feel strongly that we must reconnect with the women who helped build and shape this country,” Larson recently wrote, “and by putting women at the center of the story, the world looks very different – more complex, interesting, and colorful.” She is currently writing a biography of Civil Rights icon, Fannie Lou Hamer entitled Walk With Me, due out from Oxford University Press in 2021.

Melissa Crandall

Elephant Speak: A Devoted Keeper’s Life Among The Herd April 25, 12:00 PM

Melissa Crandall’s Elephant Speak: A Devoted Keeper’s Life Among the Herd, the beautifully candid story of Roger Henneous’ career as an elephant caretaker, is her debut title in nonfiction. She previously authored Darling Wendy and Other Stories and Weathercock. Melissa’s writing has appeared in dozens of publications—including Allegory Magazine, Wild Musette, ASPCA’s Animal Watch Magazine, and the Journal of the Elephant Managers Association. Her short fiction has been featured in numerous collections, with her stories “The Cellar” and “Thicker Than Water” both nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Melissa is a member of the Authors Guild and the Elephant Managers Association and currently resides in Connecticut with her husband.

Carol DamianCarol Damian

They’re not criminals, they’re our neighbors: Immigration through the art of Nicario Jimenez Quispe May 3, 12:00 PM

Carol Damian is professor of art history (retired) at Florida International University in Miami. Damian is the founding director (2008-2014) of the Frost Art Museum on the campus of FIU. Her specialty is Latin American and Caribbean art with a focus on colonial Andean art.

Jeanne EllsworthJeanne Ellsworth

The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever April 25, 10:30 AM

Jeanne Ellsworth grew up in rural New Jersey (not an oxymoron, or at least it wasn’t back in the 1950s). She has more formal education than is probably good for a person, and she has been a teacher, in one form or another, for nearly fifty years. She has taught art to second graders, science to sixth graders, math to incarcerated men, English to recent immigrants and to women in China, and various education courses to wannabe teachers. When she’s not trying to teach anyone anything, she enjoys birdwatching, traveling, and hanging out with family and friends, preferably in Roxbury, New York, aka The Center of the Universe.

Michele FilgateMichele Filgate

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About April 25, 3:00 PM

Michele Filgate is a contributing editor at Literary Hub and the editor of a critically acclaimed anthology based on her Longreads essay, What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About, published by Simon & Schuster. Currently, she is an M.F.A. student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Longreads, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Refinery29, Slice, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, Salon, Interview Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Barnes & Noble Review, Poets & Writers,, Time Out New York, People, The Daily Beast, O, The Oprah Magazine, Men’s Journal, Vulture, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Star Tribune, The Quarterly Conversation, The Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. She teaches or has taught creative writing at NYU, The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, Catapult, and Stanford Continuing Studies and is the founder of the Red Ink series. In 2016, Brooklyn Magazine named her one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture.” She’s a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Meghan FlahertyMeghan Flaherty

Feels Like the First Time April 25, 2:00 PM

Meghan Flaherty is the author of Tango Lessons. She received her MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts in literary nonfiction. Her essays and translations have appeared in O Magazine, The Iowa Review, Psychology Today, and online at the New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband and two sons in California, and enjoys purchasing vegetables in Romance languages around the world. She is a member of the Writer’s Grotto.

Kent GarrettKent Garrett

The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever April 25, 10:30 AM

After graduating from Harvard in 1963, it took some time before Kent Garrett found his passion. There was a stint in medical school, a flurry of acting classes, an adventure in advertising, and, finally, a landing in news journalism. Since then he has lived a life of tens— ten years at CBS News, ten years at NBC News, ten years as an organic dairy farmer and ten years working on this book. During his time as a farmer, he was also news director at a television station in Binghamton, New York. He says that those were the best years… cows during the day, news at night. He currently hosts and produces (along with classmate John Woodford) a daily morning news radio broadcast in Roxbury, New York on WIOX, 91.3 FM and streaming on the internet at

Bethany Groff DorauBethany Groff Dorau

An Inheritance of Grief: Memory, Serendipity, and the Legacy of Two Fallen Soldiers May 31, 11:00 AM

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 North Shore Regional Site Administrator for Historic New England, based at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in 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

Dyke HendricksonDyke Hendrickson

Relative to Mystery April 25, 4:00 PM[br]New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Mariners May 3, 11:15 AM

Author-journalist Dyke Hendrickson’s new book, New England Coast Guard Stories: Remarkable Mariners, was recently released. It is his fifth. Dyke is the Outreach Historian for the Custom House Maritime Museum. He recently started a new tome, “Merrimack: The Resilient River.” It represents the final book of his Merrimack Trilogy. The first publication in this trio was “Nautical Newburyport: A History of Captains, Clipper Ships and the Coast Guard.” He is a resident of Newburyport, and notes (for the uninitiated) that Newburyport is the birthplace of the Coast Guard (1790). Dyke is a history graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, and he did graduate work at the University of Maine, Orono.

Alexandra JacobsAlexandra Jacobs

Still Here: The Madcap, Nervy, Singular Life of Elaine Stritch May 3, 2:30 PM

Alexandra Jacobs is a longtime features writer, cultural critic, and editor who has worked at The New York Times since 2010. She has contributed to many other publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Observer, and Entertainment Weekly.

Michael LaRosaMichael LaRosa

They’re not criminals, they’re our neighbors: Immigration through the art of Nicario Jimenez Quispe May 3, 12:00 PM

Michael LaRosa is associate professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis. LaRosa focuses on contemporary Colombian history and has published with Colombian historian German R. Mejia, among others.

Mimi LemayMimi Lemay

What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation[br]April 25, 9:45 AM

Mimi Lemay became an advocate for transgender and non-binary youth shortly after her son Jacob’s transition in 2014, at the age of four. Her essay, “A Letter to my Son Jacob on his 5th Birthday,” went viral in February 2015, after which the Lemay family participated in an NBC Nightly News Segment which remains the show’s most watched segment on social media accounts. Mimi and her family have gone on to fight for passage of a nondiscrimination public accommodations law in Massachusetts, and a conversion therapy ban. Lemay continues her national advocacy as a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council, and has appeared on ABC, NBC and CBS news broadcasts as well as on NPR’s Here and Now with Robin Young. Mimi Lemay’s memoir, What We Will Become: A Mother, A Son and a Journey of Transformation, released in November 2019, earned starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and Booklist. It weaves the story of her upbringing in a rigid ultra-orthodox Jewish tradition with her story of parenting Jacob. In the words of Congressman Joe Kennedy III, “With precision, honesty and grace, Mimi Lemay brings us on a journey to an uncertain world with her son, Jacob, and their entire family. Along the way, she reminds us that exclusion and injustice are no match for a mother’s devotion. What We Will Become is more than one family’s story. It is a striking call to action for a country where every child is wor-thy, believed in, and loved.” Mimi is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, where she holds a masters degree in International Affairs.

Sandell MorseSandell Morse

The Spiral Shell – A French Village Reveals Its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in WWII April 25, 12:00 PM

Sandell Morse, author of The Spiral Shell: A French Village reveals its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II, A Memoir, is a non-fiction writer whose works have appeared in several major literary magazines, including Ascent, Ploughshares, Fourth Genre, and Solstice. She has received a Notable Mention in the Best American Essays 2013, and a nomination for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. She lives in Maine. Photo Credit. Doug Morse

Nicario Jimenez QuispeNicario Jimenez Quispe

They’re not criminals, they’re our neighbors: Immigration through the art of Nicario Jimenez Quispe May 3, 12:00 PM

Nicario Jimenez Quispe is an internationally recognized artist of retablos. The retablo, originally known as the “Cajon San Marcos” [Saint Mark’s Box] fuses European Catholic traditions with Andean customs and practices. Widely made, collected and revered in Peru, Mr. Jimenez was born in Ayacucho (Peru), son and grandson of retablo artists. He now lives in the United States and his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis) and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jessica Pearce RotondiJessica Pearce Rotondi

An Inheritance of Grief: Memory, Serendipity, and the Legacy of Two Fallen Soldiers May 31, 11:00 AM [br] What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers[br]April 25, 10:30 AM[clearboth]

Jessica Pearce Rotondi is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers, which Salman Rushdie calls “exceptional.” Originally from West Newbury, MA, she now calls Brooklyn home. Her work has been published by The History Channel, TIME, Reader’s Digest, Salon, Atlas Obscura, HuffPost, and Refinery29. Previously, she was a senior editor at HuffPost and a staff member at the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest literary human rights organization. Her first job in New York City was at St. Martin’s Press, where she had a “room of her own” in the Flatiron Building to fill with books. Jessica is a graduate of Brown University. What We Inherit is her first book. Connect with Jessica on Twitter and Instagram @JessicaRotondi or visit Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan.

Nina SankovitchNina Sankovitch

American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution May 3, 4:00 PM

Nina Sankovitch is the celebrated author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, and has continued to write and publish nonfiction books since her award-winning debut. Her history of the Lowell Family, The Lowells of Massachusetts: An American Family, received praise and commendation from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and The New Yorker, among others publications. She last appeared at the Newburyport Literary Festival to speak about the Lowells and she is thrilled to be coming back to speak about her new book, American Rebels: How the Adams, Hancock, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution, released in March 2020. She has written for the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Huffington Post, and other media. She blogs about books, letters, and life on Medium, and at; and can be followed on Instagram and Facebook. A graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Law School, Sankovitch grew up in Evanston, Illinois, and currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

Tom SchwandaTom Schwanda

Discovering the George Whitefield You Never Knew May 3, 1:45 PM

Tom Schwanda is an emeritus professor of Christian spirituality at Wheaton College (Illinois). As a church historian and spiritual theologian he teaches and writes about the spiritual lives of the eighteenth–century Evangelicals and seventeenth–century Puritans. He received his ministry training from Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary in nearby South Hamilton and his PhD in historical theology from Durham University (England) and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of England. Tom frequently speaks across the United States, Canada, and England on various aspects of the life and ministry of George Whitefield. He is the author of three books and numerous articles and essays on the spiritual life, in particular, George Whitefield, who is buried under the pulpit of “Old South” Presbyterian Church in Newburyport. His acclaimed The Emergence of Evangelical Spirituality: The Age of Edwards, Newton, and Whitefield is part of the highly respected Classics of Western Spirituality published by Paulist Press. Tom is currently writing a new biography of George Whitefield. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois with his wife, Grace. They have two children and five grandchildren, all who live in Michigan.

Katherine Sharp LanddeckKatherine Sharp Landdeck

The Women With Silver Wings May 31, 1:00 PM

Katherine Sharp Landdeck is an associate professor of history at Texas Woman’s University, the home of the WASP archives. A Guggenheim Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she earned her PhD, Landdeck has received numerous awards for her work on the WASP and has appeared as an expert on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” PBS, and the History Channel. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and HuffPost, as well as in numerous academic and aviation publications. Landdeck is a licensed pilot who flies whenever she can.

Lynn Steger StrongLynn Steger Strong

What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About April 25, 3:00 PM

Lynn Steger Strong is the author of the novel Hold Still. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Guardian, The Paris Review, Guernica, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Catapult and Columbia University.

Steve SteinSteve Stein

They’re not criminals, they’re our neighbors: Immigration through the art of Nicario Jimenez Quispe May 3, 12:00 PM

Steve Stein is professor emeritus of history at University of Miami in Coral Gables. He has published widely on the contemporary history of Peru. His most recent work focuses on the history of wine and wine making in Latin America.

Ghlee E. WoodworthGhlee E. Woodworth

The Women With Silver Wings May 31, 1:00 PM
Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail, Volume I May 3, 10:30 AM

Ghlee E. Woodworth is a 12th-generation Newburyport native. Ghlee’s first publication Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, 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. 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.