2020 Nonfiction Participants

Listed in alphabetical order

Cynthia AndersonCynthia Anderson

Cynthia Anderson (cbanderson.net) is a journalist and fiction writer. Her short story collection River Talk was one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Her narrative nonfiction book Home Now (Perseus Public Affairs, 2019) tells the story of Muslim refugees revitalizing the town near where she grew up. Other work has appeared in Boston Magazine, HuffPost, Miami Herald, The Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Anderson lives with her family in Maine and Massachusetts and teaches writing at Boston University.


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.


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.


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.


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


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 a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Her work has been published by The History Channel, Atlas Obscura, The Huffington Post, Refinery29, and Greatist. Previously, she was Senior Lifestyle Editor at The Huffington Post 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 as a book publicist 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, where she received a research grant to conduct an oral history project on World War II. “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.


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