2016 Conference: Biographies of Participants

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. He was the founding editor of the Penguin Lives and of three other series of brief biographies: Great Discoveries, Eminent Lives, and Icons. He was for many years an editor at The New York Times, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Review of Books, and many other publications. He is the author of a forthcoming memoir entitled The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer’s Tale.

Blake Bailey is the author of biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, and he is working on the authorized biography of Philip Roth. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize, and a finalist for the Pulitzer and James Tait Black Memorial Prizes. His last book, The Splendid Things We Planned, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Patricia Bell-Scott is the author of The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice and professor emerita of women’s studies at the University of Georgia. Her previous books include Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women, Flat-Footed Truths: Telling Black Women’s Lives, and Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters, which won the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize. A former contributing editor to Ms. magazine, she served as cofounding editor of SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women from 1984-94.

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, a best-selling author, and a presidential historian. CNN has described him as “a man who knows more about the presidency than just about any human being alive.” His works of history, biography, and journalism include FDR and the Creation of the U.N. (with Townsend Hoopes), The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House,  Rosa Parks: A LifeThe Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion, Gerald R. Ford, Cronkite, and others. He is completing the third volume of his U.S. environmental history series, tentatively titled Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Conservation Movement. The first two volumes—The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America and The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879 to 1960—were published in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Eight of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas, with his wife and three children.

Kate Buford’s award-winning Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe (Knopf 2010) was an Editors’ Choice of The New York Times. Burt Lancaster: An American Life (Knopf/Aurum UK) was named one of the best books of 2000 by The New York Times. Buford has written for The New York Times and other publications and has appeared on many radio and television shows including Charlie Rose, History Detectives, and Reel Sports. She was a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition and APM’s Marketplace from 1995 – 2004. She serves on the board of BIO.

Barbara Burkhardt’s William Maxwell: A Literary Life (University of Illinois Press, 2005; paperback, 2008), a biography of the longtime New Yorker editor and novelist, received praise in The New York Times, TLS, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune, among other periodicals. She subsequently edited Conversations with William Maxwell (University Press of Mississippi, 2012). Burkhardt is associate professor emerita of American literature at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she was named University Scholar in 2007. A founding member of BIO, she has served on the BIO board for three years as its secretary. She is writing a biography of Garrison Keillor under contract to St. Martin’s Press.

In 2014, Michael Coffey stepped down as co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly, where he worked for 26 years. Prior to that, he served as editor-in-chief of Small Press magazine. He has published three books of poems (Elemenopy, Sun & Moon Press; 87 North, Coffee House Press; and CMYK, O Books). He co-edited The Irish in America (with Terry Golway, published by Hyperion), a companion volume to a three-part PBS documentary on Irish immigration to America. HIs book 27 Men Out, on baseball’s perfect games, was published by Atria/Simon & Schuster. Most recently, his collection of short stories, The Business of Naming Things, was published by Bellevue Literary Press.

Cathy Curtis is the author of Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Oxford University Press, 2015), the first biography of a prominent 1950s New York artist whose life was as colorful as her paintings. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, Curtis holds a BA from Smith College and an MA in art history from the University of California, Berkeley. Her next biography, Quicksilver: The Creative Life of Elaine de Kooning—about a glamorous, free-spirited artist and writer at the social center of the Abstract Expressionists—will be published in 2017, inaugurating the Oxford Cultural Biographies series.

Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, a WGA Award, a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for his work as writer and co-executive producer on the HBO miniseries John Adams. Programs on which he has served as writer and producer have garnered more than 50 Emmy nominations. Ellis is currently writing the Harriet Tubman story, Bound for the Promised Land, for Viola Davis and HBO, as well as Explorers, a limited series recounting the Nile quest of Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke.

John A. Farrell is the author of Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century and Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, which won the Los Angeles Times award for the best biography of 2011. He is a native of New York, a graduate of the University of Virginia, and a former White House correspondent, investigative reporter, and editor for The Boston Globe and other publications. His upcoming biography of Richard Nixon will be published by Doubleday.

Jeffrey Frank was a senior editor at The New Yorker, where he’s still a contributor, and deputy editor of the Washington Post’s Outlook section. He has published four novels, including the satiric Washington Trilogy, and is co-translator, with Diana Crone Frank, of The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen. His non-fiction book, Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage, explores the twenty-year relationship between Richard Nixon and Dwight D. Eisenhower; Russell Baker, writing in The New York Review of Books, called it “an elegant example of how pleasurable political history can be when written by a skilled teller of fictional tales who has a careful reporter’s respect for facts.”

Irwin Gellman’s first three books featured Franklin Roosevelt and his administration. His fourth book, The Contender: Richard Nixon, The Congress Years 1946-1952 was published by Simon & Schuster’s Free Press in 1999. His next book, The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon 1952-1961, published by Yale University Press in 2015, is a painstaking look at the Eisenhower Administration, the relationship between Eisenhower and Nixon, and the politics of the 1950s. Dr. Gellman served as an advisor to the Miller Center’s Presidential Recording project at the University of Virginia from 1999 to 2002. He has been a professor at Morgan State College in Baltimore, at Chapman University, where he held the Allergan Chair of Modern American History, at the University of California, Irvine, and at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His article, “The St. Louis Tragedy,” was the basis of the movie The Voyage of the Damned. He and his wife live in the Philadelphia suburbs.

George Getschow is the writer-in-residence of the nationally acclaimed Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, an annual gathering for writers and editors devoted to the narrative craft. He is the editor of The Best American Newspaper Narratives, an annual anthology of the best narratives published by the nation’s daily newspapers, and the editor of Ten Spurs, a collection of the best essays and narrative submitted to the Mayborn’s national writing contests. He was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2012 for “distinctive literary achievement.”  He recently served as a Pulitzer Prize jurist for feature/narrative writing at Columbia University. During a 16-year career at the Wall Street Journal, Getschow was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Robert F. Kennedy Award for “distinguished writing” about the underprivileged. Today, Getschow is a principal lecturer for the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism. He is completing a book, Walled Kingdom, for Henry Holt and Co.

Charlotte Gordon is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Magazine, and The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry, among other publications. Her latest book is the dual biography: Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley (Random House). 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). An associate professor of English at Endicott College, she has been a frequent guest on NPR and the CBC. Charlotte received her A.B. from Harvard College and her Ph.D. from Boston University.

Annette Gordon-Reed received the 2008 National Book Award and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. She is also the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997), Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir, with Vernon Jordan, Jr (2001), and Andrew Johnson (2010). “The Most Blessed of Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Imagination (co-authored with Peter S. Onuf) is forthcoming in April 2016. Gordon-Reed’s many honors include the National Humanities Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. She holds chaired professorships in both law and history at Harvard University.

Nigel Hamilton is an award-winning British-born biographer, academic, and broadcaster, whose works have been translated into sixteen languages. In the United States, he is known primarily for his best-selling work on the young John F. Kennedy, JFK: Reckless Youth, which was made into an ABC miniseries, and American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. In the United Kingdom, he is known for Monty, a three-volume official life of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, the World War II Field Marshal, which won both the 1981 Whitbread Award and the Templer Medal for Military History. He has also written about the lives of Thomas Mann and former President Bill Clinton, as well as numerous other works in a variety of fields. His film on the life of Field Marshal Montgomery won the New York Blue Ribbon Award for Best Documentary. He founded the British Institute of Biography and became the first Professor of Biography in the U.K. at De Montfort University. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, and at work on the third volume of his life of FDR; the second volume will be published in June.

Anne C. Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made (Nan Talese/Doubleday/Anchor 2009/2010) was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen a best book of the year by Time magazine, The Daily Beast, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune Library Journal, and Bloomberg. Her most recent book is Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times, published by Harcourt Houghton Mifflin in August 2015. She has been an adjunct professor of American literature at Bennington College and an award-winning editor at magazines including The Antioch Review, EsquireLear’s, and Vanity Fair. She is the former executive editor of magazine development at Condé Nast Publications.

Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs is a professor of medicine (emerita) at Stanford University. Mid-career she began studying biography writing. Her first book, Henry Kaplan and the Story of Hodgkin’s Disease was called one of the “Best Five Books” on doctors’ lives by the Wall Street Journal. Her second biography, Jonas Salk: A Life was named one the 100 notable books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review editors. She and husband Rod live in Palo Alto, CA, where she cares for veterans with cancer.

Kathy Jordan joined the staff at the Library of Virginia in 2000 as a research archivist. In 2005, she became a member of the Library’s IT staff and has served as the Library’s Digital Initiatives & Web Services Manager since then. During this time, she has worked with staff throughout the agency to create new web sites and build digital collections, develop a Web Archiving program at the Library, publicly release Governor Tim Kaine’s archival e-mail collection (the first state archives in the nation to make such a collection available), and launch the LVA’s major crowd-sourcing initiative, Making History: Transcribe.

Carla Kaplan, Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University and Chair of the Signs Editorial Board, writes on African-American and women’s literature and culture. Her trade books include the award-winning Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters and Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance (both New York Times Notable Books) and a forthcoming life of muckraking activist Jessica Mitford. Kaplan has also edited and authored numerous scholarly books and editions and received fellowships from the NEH Public Scholar Program, Cullman Center, DuBois Institute, Ransom and Beinecke Libraries, Guggenheim Foundation, and elsewhere.

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 she’ll publish a 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 TimesThe New York Times, USA Today, Psychology Today, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. He is an Associate Fellow of Yale’s Trumbull College.

Dean King, a native of Richmond, Va., is the nationally best-selling author of nine books, including Skeletons on the Zahara, a Salon Book Award winner, and The Feud, which the Wall Street Journal called “popular history the way it ought to be written.” His biography Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed was serialized in the Daily Telegraph, which named it a book of the year. He has appeared on NPR, the BBC, and as the chief storyteller on two History Channel documentaries, and his writing has appeared in OutsideGarden & Gun, Granta, National Geographic Adventure, and The New York Times.

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.

Marc Leepson is a journalist, historian, and the author of eight books. A former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, he has written for many newspapers, magazines, and reference works, including The Dictionary of Virginia Biography and The Encyclopedia Britannica. His books include What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life (2014); a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette for Palgrave’s World Generals Series (2011); and Saving Monticello (2001). His biography of Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, who wrote “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” will be published in November. Leepson lives in Middleburg, Virginia. He is BIO’s treasurer.

Andrew Lownie has been a journalist, a publisher, a bookseller, a director of the Curtis Brown literary agency and, since 1988, has run his own literary agency, the Andrew Lownie Agency. He is the author of several books including lives of the writer John Buchan and, most recently, the spy Guy Burgess. He was educated in Asheville, North Carolina, and at the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. He is the founder and president of The Biographers Club of London and is at work on a life of Lord Mountbatten, a crucial influence on the British Royal Family.

Beth Macy is the author of the Lukas Prize-winning Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town. A longtime reporter who specializes in outsiders and underdogs, Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Nieman Fellowship. In October, Little Brown will publish Macy’s Truevine: A Strange and Troubling Tale of Two Brothers in Jim Crow America. It traces the kidnapping of two African-American brothers who were sold to the circus around the turn of the last century, and of their mother, who risked her life to win their freedom back.

Thomas Mallon’s nine books of fiction include Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, Watergate and Finale: A Novel of the Reagan Years.  He has written volumes of nonfiction about plagiarism (Stolen Words), diaries (A Book of One’s Own), letters (Yours Ever) and the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Paine’s Garage), as well as two books of essays (Rockets and Rodeos and In Fact).  His work appears in The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times Book Review.  He received his Ph. D. in English from Harvard University and was awarded the Vursell prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for distinguished prose style.

Julia Markus is a novelist and a biographer. Her  novels include the award-winning Uncle and Friends along the Way. She is the author of  four biographies:  Dared And Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning; Across an Untried Sea, concerning women artists who loved women in the nineteenth century; J. Anthony Froude, The Last Undiscovered Great Victorian (at last count, still undiscovered);  and the recently published Lady Byron and Her Daughters. She  has received one NEA and two NEH fellowships and is Professor of English, Director of Creative Writing at Hofstra University in New York.

Justin Martin is the author of four biographies featuring subjects ranging from a Federal Reserve chairman, Greenspan: The Man Behind Money (1999), to a pioneering landscape architect, Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, (2011). His most recent is a group biography, Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians (2014). Martin prides himself on being a thorough researcher and reporter. Armed with the facts, he aims to render his subjects in novelistic fashion and considers it the highest compliment when someone says: “your book reads like fiction.” Martin, a member of BIO’s board, lives in New York City.

D.T. (Dan) Max is a graduate of Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. His book, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, published in 2012, was a New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, their two young children, and a rescued beagle who came to them named Max.

Lisa Napoli is a biographer and career journalist (The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC) who currently works in public radio as an arts and culture reporter at KCRW in Santa Monica. She left her position as a reporter/host for the public radio show Marketplace after being invited to the Kingdom of Bhutan to help start a radio station at the dawn of democratic rule there, which led to her 2011 book Radio Shangri-La (Crown). She is currently finishing work on a biography of the late philanthropist and McDonald’s heiress, Joan Kroc, called Ray and Joan, which will be published by Dutton in November.

Anne C. Osterman is Director of the Virtual Library of Virginia, the consortium of the 72 nonprofit college and university libraries within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Before taking this position, she served as the Director of Information Delivery Services at American University and as the Reference and Data Services Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree in Statistics from American University, and she is co-author of Electronic Resource Management: Practical Perspectives in a New Technical Services Model.

Lisa Reardon is senior editor at Chicago Review Press, an independent nonfiction publisher founded in 1973. Among other categories, she acquires children’s, YA, and adult biographies. Lisa has been with Chicago Review Press, Inc. since 1999, starting at sister company and distributor IPG before moving to editorial in 2004. Previously she worked at textbook publisher McDougal Littell and managed bookstores in Chicago and Austin. Lisa graduated with a BA in French Language and Literature from Kalamazoo College and holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois, with her husband and daughter.

Anne Boyd Rioux is the author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist, out from W. W. Norton in February. It is the first full-length biography of this important but neglected American writer, who remains in the shadow of her close friend Henry James. Rioux is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities awards, one for public scholarship. She is also an English professor at the University of New Orleans, where she teaches courses in American literature and women writers.

Carl Rollyson is a professor of Journalism at Baruch College, CUNY. His 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.

Gail Ross, who is the president of the Ross Yoon Agency, represents important commercial nonfiction and counts top biographers, doctors, CEOs, prize-winning journalists, and historians among her clients. In 2014 alone, a half-dozen of her books have been New York Times bestsellers. Ross is also a partner in the law firm of Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC, where she focuses on the legal aspects of publishing and media law. She writes and lectures frequently on publishing issues and is the author of The Writer’s Lawyer (Times Books, 1989).

Penelope Rowlands is the author of A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters, a critically-acclaimed biography of the legendary Irish-American editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1957 (Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster). She is both the editor of and a contributor to two recent anthologies, Paris Was Ours and The Beatles Are Here!, both published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and is working on a biographical project about Aaron Burr’s later years.

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, as well as of Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, awarded the George Washington Book Prize, and Cleopatra: A Life, a #1 bestseller. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  In 2011 she was named a Library Lion of the New York Public Library.  Her most recent book is The Witches: Salem, 1692.

Kirk T.  Schroder operates an extensive entertainment and arts law practice, involving all aspects of entertainment and the arts, including film, television, literary publishing, music, radio, theater, visual arts, advertising and marketing, internet, and new media. He is the immediate past chair of the American Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law section and a past program chair of the Harvard Law School/ABA Symposium on Entertainment Law. He has taught at the law schools of the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond and in the Graduate School of Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition to being selected to The Best Lawyers In America®, he is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for lawyers.

Hampton Sides is the author of In the Kingdom of Ice, Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail, and other best-selling works of narrative history and literary non-fiction. He is editor-at-large for Outside magazine and a regular contributor to National Geographic. His magazine work has been twice named a Finalist for the National Magazine Awards. He teaches at Colorado College and lives with his wife Anne in Santa Fe, N.M., where he is a partner in Atalaya Productions, an independent film company that develops historical dramas for the screen. In 2015, he was a Miller Distinguished Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. He is now working on a book about the Korean War Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Carol Sklenicka’s Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life was named one of the “Best 10 Books of 2009” by The New York Times Book Review, and a notable book of that year by the San Francisco Chronicle,  the Seattle Times, the Oregonian, and the Washington Post. The book was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award and the PEN USA award. Before becoming a biographer, Sklenicka earned a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis and taught writing at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and Marquette University.  Her current project, a biography of short story writer and novelist Alice Adams, will be published by Scribner.

Paul Sorrentino, the Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor Emeritus of English at Virginia Tech, is the editor, co-editor, or author of eight books, including his first biography, Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire (2014). He has been a consultant on American literature for such publications and organizations as The New Yorker, National Gallery of Art, CNN, A&E Network, NPR, and BBC-TV. A recipient of teaching and research awards—including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation—he received in 2006 from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia the Commonwealth’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

David O. Stewart’s first book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, won the Washington Writing Award as Best Book of 2007. Two years later, Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, was called “by all means the best account of this troubled episode.” Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, was released in February, 2015. His second novel, The Wilson Deception, set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, was released in late September, 2015. He is the president of the Washington Independent Review of Books, an online book review.

T.J. Stiles is the author of Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History. His previous book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, received the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. A member of the Society of American Historians, 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, and 2004 Gilder Lehrman Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers, he serves on the BIO Advisory Board and Authors Guild council.

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). A founding board member of BIO, Will chairs its Awards Committee, is a member of the 2016 Plutarch Committee, and co-founded the BIO mentorship program. He particularly enjoys discovering facts which help repair historical reputations.

Evan Thomas is the author of nine books: Being Nixon; Ike’s Bluff; The War Lovers; Sea of Thunder; John Paul Jones; Robert Kennedy; The Very Best Men; The Man to See; and The Wise Men (with Walter Isaacson). He was a reporter, writer, and editor at Time and Newsweek for 33 years, including ten years as Washington Bureau Chief at Newsweek, where he won a National Magazine Award in 1999. He often writes book reviews for The New York Times and Washington Post. He has taught writing and journalism at Harvard and Princeton, where he was Ferris Professor of Journalism in Residence from 2007 to 2014.

Claire Tomalin, nee Delavenay, was born in London in 1933 to a French father and English mother, studied at Cambridge, and worked in publishing and journalism, becoming literary editor of the New Statesman, then of the (British) Sunday Times, while bringing up her children. In 1974, she published The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, which won the Whitbread First Book Prize. Since then she has written Shelley and His World, 1980; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life, 1987; The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, 1991 ( which won the NCR, Hawthornden, and James Tait Black prizes, and is now a film); Mrs. Jordan’s Profession, 1994; Jane Austen: A Life, 1997; Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, 2002 (winner of the Whitbread Biography and Book of the Year prizes, Pepys Society Prize, and Rose Crawshay Prize from the Royal Academy). Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man, 2006, and Charles Dickens: A Life, 2011, followed. She has honorary doctorates from Cambridge and many other universities, has served on the Committee of the London Library, is a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, and is a vice-president of the Royal Literary Fund, the Royal Society of Literature, and English PEN. She is married to the writer Michael Frayn.

Marlene Trestman retired from a thirty-year legal career to complete her first book, Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin (LSU Press, March 2016). A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Goucher College, who received her JD from George Washington University and an MBA from Maryland’s Loyola University, Trestman has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, and a literary prize from the Supreme Court Historical Society. A New Orleans native who lives in Baltimore, Trestman had a personal relationship with Margolin that grew from common childhood experiences.

Bruce Tulgan is the founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a research and consulting firm in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author or co-author of 20 books, including the best-sellers It’s Okay to Be the Boss and Managing Generation X. Bruce’s work has been the subject of thousands of news stories around the world. His wife Debby Applegate won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for The Most Famous Man in America, about the 19th-century minister Henry Ward Beecher.

Amanda Vaill is a former book-publishing executive and a biographer, journalist, critic, and screenwriter. Her books include the bestselling Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy – A Lost Generation Love Story, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award; Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins; and Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War. A 2000 Guggenheim fellow who has served as a judge or advisor for the National Book Awards, the Whiting Writers’ Awards, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Amanda also wrote the screenplay for the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About. She has just begun research for her next book, The Schuyler Sisters – and Mr. Hamilton.

Steve Weinberg started as a newspaper reporter, moved to magazines, and finished his first book in 1978. He has written seven books since, including three biographies, a book about the craft of biography, and a book about the craft of book reviewing. His reviews have been published in three dozen newspapers and magazines. Weinberg is currently working on a biography of Garry Trudeau for St. Martin’s Press.

John Taylor “Ike” Williams is a publishing lawyer and the co-founder and director of The Kneerim & Williams Agency, LLC, a literary and dramatic rights agency, with offices in Boston and New York. He represents authors including include Howard Gardner, Michael MacDonald, Joseph J. Ellis, E.O. Wilson, Frances Fitzgerald, Jeff Kinney, Richard Wilbur, Lawrence Tribe, Tim Berners-Lee, Charles Ogletree, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Nigel Hamilton, James MacGregor Burns, Drew Gilpin Faust, and Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot. His law practice emphasizes publishing, film, intellectual property, and First Amendment litigation as well as entertainment law. He specializes in book-to-movie licenses. He is admitted to the United States Supreme Court and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Harvard College.

Sonja D. Williams is the author of Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom, about pioneering the National Radio Hall of Fame broadcast dramatist, journalist and writer Richard Durham (September 2015, University of Illinois Press). Williams has served as a journalist and media trainer in Africa, the Caribbean, and throughout the United States. Her radio documentaries have won numerous awards, including three consecutive and prestigious 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.