2020 Nonfiction Participants

Listed in alphabetical order

Cynthia AndersonCynthia Anderson

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 cbanderson.net.


Kabria BaumgartnerKabria Baumgartner

Kabria Baumgartner teaches early African American culture and literature at the University of New Hampshire Durham. Her book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America (New York University Press, 2019), tells the story of courageous African American girls and women who fought to desegregate public and private schools in the nineteenth century Northeast. She has earned awards to support her work, including fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society, Phillips Library, the National Academy of Education, and the Spencer Foundation. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Social History, the New England Quarterly, and Historic New England Magazine. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA and now lives with her family in Newburyport.


Kate BolickKate Bolick

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

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

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.


Kate Clifford LarsonKate Clifford Larson

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.


Jeffrey S. CramerJeffrey S. Cramer

Jeffrey S. Cramer is the editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition (Yale University Press, 2004). A winner of a 2004 NOBA (National Outdoor Book Award) and a co-winner of the Boston Authors Club’s 2005 Julia Ward Howe Special Award, Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition has been called a “handsome, ‘all-things-Walden’ edition” by the Boston Globe. In 2017 Jeff was the historical consultant for the Ken Burns-produced documentary, Walden, created for the Walden Pond State Reservation during the Thoreau Bicentennial. Jeff’s other works include I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau (Yale University Press, 2007), The Maine Woods: A Fully Annotated Edition (Yale University Press, 2009), and The Portable Thoreau (Penguin, 2012). Essays by Henry D. Thoreau: A Fully Annotated Edition (Yale University Press) was published in 2013. His The Portable Emerson was published by Penguin in 2014, and Solid Seasons; The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson in 2019. Jeff is the Curator of Collections at the Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute Library. He has appeared on various radio and television programs, including “On Point with Tom Ashbrook,” WUMB-Boston’s Commonwealth Journal, Wisconsin Public Radio’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” and C-SPAN’s Book-TV. His essays and other writings have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Literary Review, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others, and have appeared in such collections as The Reality of Breastfeeding, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and The Robert Frost Encyclopedia. Jeff is married to the artist Julia R. Berkley and is the father of two formerly-homeschooled daughters.


Melissa Crandall

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.


Jeanne EllsworthJeanne Ellsworth

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

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, CNN.com, 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

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.


Anne Gardiner PerkinsAnne Gardiner Perkins

Anne Gardiner Perkins is an award-winning historian and expert in higher education. She grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Yale University, where she won the Porter Prize in history and was elected the first woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News. Anne is a Rhodes Scholar who received her PhD in higher education from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She earned her master’s degree from Harvard, where she won the Littauer Award for academic excellence and served as a teaching fellow in education policy. Anne has spent her life in education, from urban high school teacher to elected school committee member, and has presented papers on higher education at leading conferences. When she is not writing or doing research, Anne enjoys hiking with her family, tending her vegetable garden, and beating her children at board games. She lives with her husband in Boston and in Harvard, Massachusetts. Yale Needs Women is her first book.


Kent GarrettKent Garrett

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 wioxradio.org.


Dyke HendricksonDyke Hendrickson

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

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. © 2019 Nancy Crampton.


Mimi LemayMimi Lemay

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 worthy, believed in, and loved.” Mimi is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, where she holds a masters degree in International Affairs.


Matt McCarthyMatt McCarthy

Matt McCarthy, MD is the author of two national bestsellers, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly and Odd Man Out. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and a staff physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he serves on the Ethics Committee. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Slate, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Deadspin. He reviews nonfiction for USA Today and is editor-in-chief of Current Fungal Infection Reports. Photo Credit: Nina Subin


Sandell MorseSandell Morse

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


John R. NelsonJohn R. Nelson

John R. Nelson is the author of Flight Calls: Exploring Massachusetts through Birds, published by the University of Massachusetts Press. He has contributed essays to birding and literary magazines including the Gettysburg Review, the Harvard Review, the Massachusetts Review, the Missouri Review, the New England Review, and Shenandoah. His essay “Funny Bird Sex,” from the Antioch Review, was awarded a 2018 Pushcart Prize. In 2016 he founded the Association of Massachusetts Bird Clubs to promote bird conservation and alliances within the birding community, and he serves as a director of the Brookline Bird Club, Essex County Ornithological Club, and New England journal Bird Observer. His book Cultivating Judgment: A Sourcebook for Teaching Critical Thinking across the Curriculum was published by New Forums Press in 2005. He lives with his wife Mary in a hilltop woodland above salt marsh in Gloucester, MA.


Jessica Pearce RotondiJessica Pearce Rotondi

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 JessicaPearceRotondi.com. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan.


Nina SankovitchNina Sankovitch

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 www.readallday.org; 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

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 Pau-list 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.


Ghlee E. WoodworthGhlee E. Woodworth

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: www.clipperheritagetrail.com. 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.

Newburyport Literary Festival, A Project of the Newburyport Literary Association
PO Box 268 Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465-1257