This is a partial list of the moderators, panelists, and speakers who will participating in the conference. Check back for updates.
Kenneth D. Ackerman, a writer and attorney in Washington, D.C., is a long-time veteran of senior positions both in government and private law. As a writer, Ken has authored five major books: Boss Tweed: Corrupt Pol who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York; Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield; Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare,1919-1920; The Gold Ring: Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, and Black Friday 1869; and his most recent, Trotsky in New York 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution. When not writing, Ken continues his practice at OFW Law, Washington’s leading firm dealing with agriculture and food, and lives with his wife Karen in Falls Church, Virginia.
Andrew Richard Albanese is Senior Writer for Publishers Weekly. He has covered the publishing and information technology since 1999, and has written for numerous publications including Lingua Franca, and Salon.com. Prior to joining Publishers Weekly he was a reporter and editor at Library Journal and a former editor of American history at Oxford University Press.
Debby Applegate’s first book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday), won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Her second book, Madam: The Notorious Life and Times of Polly Adler, is forthcoming from Doubleday. She was a Sterling Fellow in American Studies at Yale, where she earned her Ph.D., and is a graduate of Amherst College. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her husband, the business writer Bruce Tulgan.
James Atlas is the author of Delmore Schwartz: The Life Of An American Poet, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and Bellow: A Biography. His memoir about his career as a biographer, The Shadow In The Garden: A Biographer’s Tale, will be published this summer. He is also the founder of the Penguin Lives. In his long career as a journalist and critic, he has been on the staffs of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.
A native of Washington, D.C., Alex Beam began his career in journalism as a researcher at Newsweek magazine in 1977. From there he moved to Business Week as a correspondent in Los Angeles, and then as bureau chief in Moscow and Boston. He has been writing for the Boston Globe since 1986. He is the author of several non-fiction books, including American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church (2014) and The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016.
Patricia Bell-Scott is professor emerita of women’s studies at the University of Georgia, co-founding editor of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women, and former contributing editor to Ms. Magazine. Her recent book, The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice, was a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, longlisted for the National Book Award, and named to best of the year lists by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Kai Bird is the Executive Director and Distinguished Lecturer of CUNY Graduate Center’s Leon Levy Center for Biography. With co-author Martin J. Sherwin he won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He has also written biographies of John J. McCloy and McGeorge Bundy and a memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis. His most recent book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. He is currently working on a biography of President Jimmy Carter.
Kate Bolick‘s first book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. A contributing editor for The Atlantic, Bolick is also a freelance writer for The New York Times, Slate, and Vogue, among other publications, and host of “Touchstones at The Mount,” an annual interview series at Edith Wharton’s country estate, in Lenox, Massachusetts. She teaches creative nonfiction at New York University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Patricia Bosworth is the biographer of Diane Arbus, Jane Fonda, and Marlon Brando, which was published in the Penguin Lives series. She is also the author of two memoirs, Anything Your Little Heart Desires and The Men In My Life, an account of her turbulent career as an actress. A longtime contributor to Vanity Fair, she won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York in 1999 for her profile of Eliza Kazan.
Rachel Cass is the head buyer at Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., where she has worked in various capacities since 2006. She earned a BA in Mathematics from Vassar and an MA in Mathematics from Brandeis. Part of her job involves planning in-store events.
Kavita Das worked in social change for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness, to public health disparities, to racial justice, and now focuses on writing about culture, race, feminism, social change, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Colorlines, and elsewhere. She’s at work on a biography about Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, Lakshmi Shankar, who played a pivotal role in bringing Indian music to the West, to be published by Harper Collins India.
Deirdre David published her first biography, Fanny Kemble: A Performed Life, in 2007, after a long career teaching and publishing books about Victorian literature, nineteenth-century women writers, and the history of the novel, and editing two editions of the Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel. She followed Fanny Kemble with Olivia Manning: A Woman at War (2013), and her most recent biography, Pamela Hansford Johnson: A Writing Life, will be published by Oxford University Press in September 2017.
John A. Farrell has had a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, notably at The Boston Globe, where he worked as White House correspondent and on the Spotlight team. His Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century, a biography of the late Speaker of the House, won the 2001 Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress. His Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned, a biography of the great American defense lawyer, won the 2012 Los Angeles Times book award for best biography. His latest biography, on which he has worked for many years, is Richard Nixon: The Life.
Ruth Franklin is a book critic and biographer. She has written for many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, and The New York Review of Books. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016 and appeared on “Best of the Year” lists from NPR, Time, Entertainment Weekly, the Boston Globe, and many more. She lives in Brooklyn.
Charlotte Gordon is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among other publications. Her latest book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley (Random House) won the National Book Critics Circle award. She has also published Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America’s First Poet (Little, Brown) and The Woman Who Named God: Abraham’s Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths (Little, Brown). A Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Endicott College, Charlotte received her A.B. from Harvard College and her Ph.D. from Boston University. www.charlottegordonbooks.com.
Beverly Gray, who once developed 170 low-budget features for B-movie maven Roger Corman, is the author of Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers. Beverly has also published Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon . . . and Beyond. She teaches online screenwriting workshops for UCLA Extension’s world-famous Writers’ Program, and her popular blog, “Beverly in Movieland,” covers movies, moviemaking, and growing up Hollywood-adjacent. In November 2017, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, Algonquin will publish her Seduced by Mrs. Robinson: How The Graduate Reshaped Hollywood and Defined a Generation.
Nigel Hamilton, a senior fellow in the McCormack Graduate School, UMass Boston, is the author of the best-selling JFK: Reckless Youth, which was made into an ABC TV mini-series; a two-volume biography of Bill Clinton; and American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents, From Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, published in 2010. He is currently completing the final volume of his FDR at War trilogy.
Anne Heller is the author of Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times and Ayn Rand and the World She Made, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by Time, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Beast, and others. She is a former managing editor of The Antioch Review, fiction editor of Esquire and Redbook, and executive editor of the magazine development group at Condé Nast Publications, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Biographers International Organization and of the New York University Biography Seminar.
Brian Jay Jones is a New York Times bestselling biographer of “slightly off-center American geniuses” (Washington Post). His most recent book, George Lucas: A Life (Little, Brown, 2016) was lauded by Rolling Stone as “the one biography for casual and die-hard [Star Wars] fans alike,” and hailed as “whiz-bang” by People magazine, which pretty much made his year. His 2013 biography Jim Henson was the first comprehensive look at the iconic creator of the Muppets, and got him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he nearly forgot to speak. The immediate past-president of BIO, Jones serves as Biographer in Residence at the University of Mary Washington, and as Associate Director of the Great Lives program.
Jane Karker is the founder and president of Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative in Rockland, ME, and the newly established Boston Writers Publishing & Cooperative in Waltham, MA. She comes to publishing after over 20 years in the printing and publishing industry. Jane founded Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative to offer a totally different, cooperative approach to self-publishing, with a vision of making self-publishing affordable for authors while holding to the same standards that traditional publishing does. Her model includes Amazon distribution, a trade catalog sent to local bookstores and shops, followed by a sales representative who forms relationships with buyers on behalf of the authors.
Marjorie Kehe is the Christian Science Monitor’s Books editor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Principia College, a Masters degree in Italian language and literature from Middlebury College, and a PhD in comparative literature from New York University. Before joining the Monitor in 1998 she worked as a business writer, covering subjects ranging from metals markets to the restaurant industry.
Cathryn Keller is a museum consultant and filmmaker. She has written and produced films for public television and consulted on a feature documentary on artists Ilya and Emila Kabakov. Currently writing the biography of a modern yoga pioneer, she served as a senior advisor on the Smithsonian exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation. Former publisher/editor of El Palacio and other museum magazines, she has contributed to the Washington Post, the East Hampton Star, Sculpture, and other publications. She has written about art, artists and museums for the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of New Mexico.
Kitty Kelley is an internationally acclaimed writer whose last five biographies have been number one New York Times best sellers: His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra; Nancy Reagan; The Royals, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty; and Oprah. In 2012 she published Capturing Camelot: The Iconic Images of Stanley Tretick and donated royalties to the D.C. Public Library Foundation. In 2013, she published Let Freedom Ring to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, with royalties going to the Children’s Defense Fund. In 2017, on Martin Luther King Day, she published her first children’s book, Martin’s Dream Day, with royalties going to Reading is Fundamental. She is under contract to write a social history of Georgetown.
Joshua Kendall is the author of The Man Who Made Lists, about the creation of Roget’s Thesaurus, and The Forgotten Founding Father, a biography of Noah Webster, the lexicographer responsible for Webster’s Dictionary. His latest book is First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama. He is also an award-winning journalist, with work in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, Psychology Today, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. He is an Associate Fellow of Yale’s Trumbull College.
Louise W. Knight is a biographer and historian. The author of Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy and Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, she is currently working on a biography of two antebellum southern-born, abolitionists-feminists. The book, titled, American Sisters: Sarah and Angelina Grimké and the First Fight for Human Rights, will be published by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan. She is a gratefully perennial Visiting Scholar at the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern University, where she has also taught rhetoric, a former president of the Frances Willard Historical Association, and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Eve LaPlante has published essays and nonfiction books. Seized is a narrative portrait of a common brain disorder that can alter personality. American Jezebel tells the true story of the colonial heretic and founding mother Anne Hutchinson. Salem Witch Judge, LaPlante’s biography of the 1692 judge who became an abolitionist and feminist, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. Marmee & Louisa, her dual biography of Louisa May Alcott and her mother, Abigail, was named a top ten book of the year by NPR. LaPlante collected and edited a companion volume to Marmee & Louisa, a compilation of Abigail May Alcott’s writings entitled My Heart Is Boundless.
Kate Clifford Larson is the author of three critically acclaimed biographies: Rosemary; The Hidden Kennedy Daughter (2015), a New York Times best seller; Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (2004), optioned by HBO for an Original Movie; and The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln (2008). She has been a consultant and interpretive specialist for numerous public history initiatives and films, and is currently consulting historian for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, an All-American Road, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and National Monument in Maryland.
Linda Leavell is the author of Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore, which won the 2014 Plutarch Award, the Modernist Studies Association book award, and the PEN/Weld award for biography. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. She is also the author of Marianne Moore and the Visual Arts: Prismatic Color, a book of literary criticism, and for twenty-five years was a professor of American literature. Her current project, under contract with FSG, is a group biography of the Stieglitz circle.
Joseph Lelyveld’s Pulitzer-Prize winning Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White (1986) is an account of South Africa before the end of apartheid. His first biography, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India, allowed him to span his interests in South Africa and India. He wrote about his childhood and family in Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop. Lelyveld’s most recent book, His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt, was long listed for the Plutarch Award this year. A former correspondent and editor of the New York Times, he has also written for the New York Review of Books.
Fredrik Logevall hails from Stockholm, Sweden, and is Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard. His America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity, written with Campbell Craig, was published in 2009, and his Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History as well as the 2013 Francis Parkman Prize and Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations. He has now switched to become a biographer, in order to undertake a one-volume life of John F. Kennedy.
Andrew Lownie was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. A former journalist and publisher, he has run his own literary agency since 1988. His books include lives of the writer John Buchan , the spy Guy Burgess (which won the St. Ermin’s Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year) and a forthcoming joint life of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten. He has been a visiting fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, is life President of The Biographers Club, is a trustee of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, and is a reviewer for the Times and Wall Street Journal.
Julia Markus is a novelist and biographer, the recipient of one NEA and two NEH awards, as well as the Houghton Mifflin Literary Award for her novel UNCLE. Her biographies include Dared And Done: The Marriage Of Elizabeth Barrett And Robert Browning; Across An Untried Sea, a study of nineteenth-century women artists who were lovers of women; And J. Anthony Froude, The Last Undiscovered Great Victorian. Her most recent biography, Lady Byron And Her Daughters, is a startling reevaluation of the poet’s maligned wife and their daughter Ada Lovelace and was short-listed for the prestigious Elma Dangerfield Prize. She is Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Hofstra University. Find out more about her work at juliamarkuswrites.com.
Megan Marshall is the author of the new biography, Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast. She is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in biography for Margaret Fuller and the author of The Peabody Sisters, which won the Francis Parkman Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. She is the Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College where she teaches narrative nonfiction and the art of archival research in the MFA creative writing program.
Candice Millard’s three bestselling books have been named one of the best books of the year by publications from the New York Times to the Washington Post. Her first book, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, won the PEN Center USA award for Research Nonfiction. Her most recent book, Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, was named a New York Times top ten book of the year and Amazon’s number one history book of 2016.
Marla Miller is the author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America (Holt, 2010), which was a finalist for the Cundill Prize in History at McGill University (the world’s largest non-fiction historical literature prize), and named to the Washington Post‘s “Best of 2010” list. A short biography of Massachusetts gownmaker Rebecca Dickinson appeared in the Westview Press series Lives of American Women in summer 2013. In her work as director of the Public History Program at UMass Amherst, Miller also teaches courses that focus on writing history for general readers, including seminars on Writing History Beyond the Academy, History Communication and The Art and Craft of Biography.
Honor Moore’s most recent book is The Bishop’s Daughter, a memoir, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, an Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year and a NY Times editor’s choice. Poems and prose have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The American Scholar, Salmagundi, Freeman’s and elsewhere. The White Blackbird, A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent by Her Granddaughter (1996, reissued 2009) was a New York Times Notable Book. In progress is a memoir of her mother, a fourth poetry collection, and edited with Alix Kates Shulman, Writing the Women’s Movement for Library of America.
James McGrath Morris is author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, as well as several biographies, including the New York Times bestselling Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press and Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. He has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, PBS’s NewsHour, and C-Span’s Book TV. He was the founding editor of the monthly Biographer’s Craft and has served as both the executive director and president of BIO.
Lisa Napoli is the author of Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave it All Way. Her first book, Radio Shangri-la, is a chronicle of her time in and around Bhutan, where she went to start a radio station at the dawn of democratic rule. A veteran reporter, Lisa has worked at the New York Times, CNN, the public radio show Marketplace, and many interesting but failed startup ventures. She’s a native of Brooklyn but found herself living in Los Angeles over a dozen years ago.
David Nasaw is the author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, a “brilliant, compelling” (The New York Times Book Review) biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, selected by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year and a 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Biography. His bestseller Andrew Carnegie was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, the recipient of the New-York Historical Society’s American History Book Prize, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst was awarded the Bancroft Prize for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Non-Fiction, the Ambassador Book Prize for Biography, and the Sperber Prize for Biography. Nasaw’s other publications include Schooled to Order: A Social History of Public Schooling, Children of the City: At Work and At Play, the “inspiration” for Newsies, the Disney film and musical, and Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements. Professor Nasaw is the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a past president of the Society of American Historians. He received his Ph.D. degree in history from Columbia University.
Pamela Newkirk, PhD, is a multifaceted scholar, author and award-winning journalist. Her latest book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, (HarperCollins) – a NAACP Image Award and Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award winner and a top pick by NPR and other media outlets – illuminates how racial mythology distorted the historical accounts about a young African exhibited in the Bronx Zoo monkey house in 1906. Newkirk’s first book, Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, (NYU Press), examines how race influences news coverage. Her insightful articles on race, media and African American culture have appeared in major newspapers nationwide.
Janice P. Nimura is the author of Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in newspapers including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She lives in New York, where she is at work on her second book: a biography of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell, pioneering nineteenth-century doctors.
Patricia’s O’Toole‘s third biography The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made, will be published next year by Simon & Schuster. Her last, When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House, was hailed by the historian John Morton Blum as “the wisest, most perceptive, best informed and most graceful study of Theodore Roosevelt ever published.” Her first, The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives in Camden, Maine.
Gayatri Patnaik, editorial director at Beacon Press, was previously an editor at both Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge. In her fifteen years at Beacon, she has published Cornel West, Kate Bornstein, Marcus Rediker and Mary Frances Berry. She acquires in US History, with a focus on African American History and race/ethnicity/immigration. She began Beacon’s “ReVisioning American History” series as well as its LGBTQ series, “Queer Action/Queer Ideas,” and has developed books in a series about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her acquisitions include The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis, winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award.
Carla L. Peterson is professor emerita in the Department of English at the University of Maryland. Her field of expertise is nineteenth-century African American literature, history, and culture. She has published numerous essays in this area as well as two books: “Doers of the Word”: African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North, 1830-1880 (Oxford, 1995) and Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale, 2011), a social and cultural history of black life in nineteenth-century New York City as seen through the lens of family history. Black Gotham was awarded the 2011 prize for the best book on New York History by the New York Society Library and was a finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman 2011 Frederick Douglass Prize. Peterson’s new project is titled “All Things are Becoming New”: Taste and the Making of African American Modernity in Antebellum New York and Philadelphia.
Melinda M. Ponder is the author of Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea, a life and times biography of the poet of “America the Beautiful” to be published July 4, 2017, by Windy City Publishers. She has published two books on Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is professor of English and coordinator of the English and Women’s Studies programs at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
George Prochnik’s most recent book is Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem. His previous book, The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, received the National Jewish Book Award for Biography/Memoir in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Wingate Prize in the UK. Prochnik is also the author of In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise (2010), and Putnam Camp: Sigmund Freud, James Jackson Putnam and the Purpose of American Psychology (2006). He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the LA Review of Books, and is editor-at-large for Cabinet magazine.
James Reston Jr. is author of 17 books, including national and international bestsellers. His book Warriors of God, about the Third Crusade of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, has been translated into 13 languages. His plays include Galileo’s Torch. His NPR documentary on Jonestown won the Prix Italia and a Dupont-Columbia award. Reston was David Frost’s adviser for the 1976-1977 Frost/Nixon interviews, seen by 57 million people worldwide. His narrative of that experience inspired the London and Broadway hit play Frost/Nixon (by Peter Morgan), featuring Reston as a major character; Ron Howard’s Hollywood adaptation was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Tim Riley has written six books about the history of rock music, including a major biography of John Lennon, hailed by the New York Times as a “critical tour-de-force” in 2011. He contributes to Tom Ashbrook’s On Point, and other NPR programs. His book reviews appear regularly in truthdig.com, and his byline has run in in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, and the independent journal Radio Silence. In 2016, he won the National Entertainment and Arts Journalism award at the LA Press Club for Best Book Critic. His current projects include a podcast, Roll Over Beethoven: A Rock Critic’s Guide to Classical Music.
Anne Boyd Rioux is the author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist, which was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune. She is currently at work on her next book, The Story of Little Women, supported by an NEH Public Scholar Award and to be published by W. W. Norton in 2018. She is also a professor of English at the University of New Orleans. You can find out more about her work at anneboydrioux.com.
Taryn Roeder is the Associate Director of Publicity at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She manages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Boston-based publicity team and works on the publicity campaigns for dozens of books a year. Bestselling authors she’s worked with include Temple Grandin, Lesley M. M. Blume, Paul Tough, Amy Stewart, Jami Attenberg, Dale Russakoff, Jade Chang, and the late longtime Boston Mayor Tom Menino. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, and a BA in English/Creative Writing from Barnard College. She lives with her two sons.
Carl Rollyson’s biographies include American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath, A Real American Character: The Life of Walter Brennan, Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews, Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress, and Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography. His books about biography include Biography: A User’s Guide and Confessions of a Serial Biographer. His reviews of biographies have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the New Criterion, and other publications. He is at work on This Alarming Paradox: The Life of William Faulkner.
Ray Anthony Shepard is a grandson of a slave and retired editor-in-chief of Houghton Mifflin’s School Division. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Teachers College and Harvard Graduate School Education where he received a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. His debut young adult biography Now or Never: 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery will be published in September. The story chronicles the army lives of George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, free Black men from the North who risked enslavement and their lives to follow Frederick Douglass’s urging “We can get at the throat of treason and slavery through the State of Massachusetts.”
Wendy Strothman founded a literary agency in Boston in 2003 after a long career as publisher. She was publisher of trade books at Houghton Mifflin where she oversaw adult, reference, and children’s publishing, and edited books by Philip Roth, Arthur Schlesinger, and John Kenneth Galbraith. As agent, she represents Pulitzer Prize for Biography winner David Kertzer, NBCC and Pulitzer winner David Brion Davis, Pulitzer Feature-Writing winner Amy Ellis Nutt, and Pulitzer finalist James Scott, as well as historians Ray Arsenault (writing a biography of Arthur Ashe), David Blight (biography of Frederick Douglass), and Martha Hodes (Mourning Lincoln).
Will Swift is a biographer, a historian, and a practicing clinical psychologist. His Pat and Dick: The Nixons, An Intimate Portrait of a Marriage (January, 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Plutarch Award and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His previous books are The Roosevelts and the Royals (2004) and The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm (2008). Will is the president of BIO and a founding board member of the organization. He has chaired BIO’s Awards Committee, served on the Plutarch Committee and co-founded the BIO mentorship program. He particularly enjoys discovering facts that help repair historical reputations.
Louisa Thomas is the author of two biographical works: Louisa: The Extraordinary Life Of Mrs. Adams, released last April, and Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family–A Test Of Will And Faith In World War I, published in 2011. She is a contributing writer to The New Yorker’s website, a former senior editor and sportswriter for ESPN’s Grantland, and a former fellow at the New America Foundation. Her work has been published in, among other journals, The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.
Marlene Trestman, author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin (LSU Press 2016), is currently at work on a collective biography, The Most Fortunate Unfortunates: Children of New Orleans’s Jewish Orphans’ Home, 1855-1946. Both books draw on experience. Lawyer-turned-author Trestman, who has won funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, American Jewish Archives, and Supreme Court Historical Society, had a personal relationship with Margolin prompted by their common childhood experiences; Margolin grew up in the orphanage and Trestman was a ward of its successor agency.
Larry Tye is a New York Times best-selling author whose most recent book is a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, the former attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon explores RFK’s extraordinary transformation from cold warrior to fiery leftist. Tye’s first book, The Father of Spin, is a biography of public relations pioneer Edward L. Bernays. His other books include Home Lands, Rising from the Rails, and Satchel, a biography of two American icons—Satchel Paige and Jim Crow. From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Before that, he was the environmental reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and covered government and business at The Anniston Star in Alabama. Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts. He is currently writing a biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy for Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt.
Lissa Warren is Vice President, Senior Director of Publicity, and Acquiring Editor at Da Capo Press—an imprint of Perseus Books, a division of the Hachette Book Group. She is the author of The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity. A sucker for dual biographies in particular, she has publicized biographies of a host of US presidents, as well as Patrick Henry, Henry Clay, John Marshall, Robert E. Lee, Winston Churchill, Alan Greenspan, Genghis Khan, Ralph Nader, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Shakespeare forger William Henry Ireland, Frederick Law Olmsted, Paul McCartney,and the Rolling Stones.
Quincy Whitney, primary Boston Sunday Globe NH Weekly arts journalist for fourteen years, was a Eugene O’Neill Critic Fellow; Salzburg Seminar Fellow (“Modern Novel”; “Biography as a Mirror on Society”); Metropolitan Museum of Art Research Fellow; and a 2013 Hosking Houses Trust Fellow (UK). Her first book Hidden History of New Hampshire is the best-selling New Hampshire title for History Press (Acadia), now in its fifth edition. Her second book American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins—the Art and Science of the Violin (ForeEdge) was one of ten biographies selected for the 2017 PEN America—Jacqueline Bograd-Weld Award for Excellence in Biography.
John Taylor “Ike” Williams’ legal practice emphasizes media and entertainment law including the creation, production, and licensing of intellectual property, particularly in the areas of publishing, film, television, and music. He is the co-author of Perle, Williams & Fischer on Publishing Law. Ike is also a founding Partner of The Kneerim & Williams Agency, LLC, a literary and dramatic rights agency. As a lawyer or agent, he represents book to movie and production companies in the placement or acquisition of dramatic rights. He has lectured widely on intellectual property and entertainment law and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.
R. Scott Williams is the chief operating officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Williams earned his degree in journalism from the University of Memphis. He then held positions at several advertising agencies and organizations, including Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. He currently serves on the board of the D.C. chapter of the American Advertising Federation and on the board of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Williams is the author of An Odd Book, How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York and The Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton: from Tennessee to Timbuktu.
Sonja D. Williams is a 2016 Phyllis Wheatley Book Award finalist for her biography, Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom (University of Illinois Press), about pioneering National Radio Hall of Fame broadcast dramatist, journalist and Chicago-based activist Richard Durham (1917-1984). Williams has served as a journalist and media trainer in Africa, the Caribbean, and throughout America. Her radio documentaries have won numerous awards, including three consecutive George Foster Peabody Awards for Significant and Meritorious Achievement and a DuPont-Columbia University Journalism Award. Williams is a professor in the Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film in Washington, DC.
Richard Zacks writes subversive history. The New York Times stated in 1994 the author “specializes in the raunchy and perverse” and ever since then he has been on a slow reluctant march toward respectability. His books include History Laid Bare (with Joan of Arc’s virginity tests), An Underground Education (featuring Edison’s electric chair), Pirate Hunter (Captain Kidd not guilty), Pirate Coast (U.S. Marines first covert op), Island of Vice (fumbling Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt), Chasing the Last Laugh (Mark Twain’s Stand-Up Comedy World Tour). His works have been optioned for movies and translated into Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Finnish.