BIO Welcomes New President, Board Members

BIO’s new President and Board members (from left to right): Steve Paul, Susan Page, Tamara Payne, and Barbara Lehman Smith.

On May 22, following the 2023 BIO conference, Steve Paul became the new president of BIO, succeeding Linda Leavell, who had served two terms in office. (Leavell’s presidency, which brought many beneficial changes to BIO, will be explored in a future edition of The Biographers Craft.) Paul is the author of biographies of Ernest Hemingway and Evan S. Connell. The latter won the 2022 Society of Midland Authors Award for “best biography or memoir.” He’s currently working on the life and poetry of William Stafford (1914–1993). Steve joined BIO in 2016 after a long newspaper career. A BIO Board member since 2020, he has served as BIO’s secretary, been on committees for the Caro fellowship, Rowley prize, and online events, and co-chaired the Program Committee for the 2023 BIO Conference. The facilitator of BIO’s biweekly Zoom roundtable on literary biography, he’s also a former board member and officer of the National Book Critics Circle.

BIO Board member Kathleen Stone has become BIO’s secretary. Additionally, three new members have joined the board of directors: Susan PageTamara Payne, and Barbara Lehman Smith. Their bios follow.

Susan Page is the Washington Bureau chief of USA Today. She is the author of Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power and The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, both New York Times bestsellers. She is finishing a biography of Barbara Walters, to be published by Simon & Schuster. Susan has covered 11 presidential elections, interviewed the past 10 presidents, and reported from six continents. She has won every journalism award given specifically for coverage of the presidency and has served as president of the White House Correspondents Association. In 2020, she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. A native of Wichita, Kansas, she received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She and her husband, Carl Leubsdorf, have two sons, Ben and Will.

Tamara Payne is the co-author of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, written with her father, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Les Payne. In 1991, she joined Les Payne on this project, as the principal researcher. After Les Payne’s sudden passing in 2018, Tamara made it her purpose to finish his life’s work (the Malcom X project). The Dead Are Arising has won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Award. Since joining Biographers International Organization, Tamara has served on the Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship Committee and the Plutarch Committee.

An active member of BIO since 2010, Barbara Lehman Smith currently serves on the Development Committee and formerly served on the Plutarch Committee (2013–2015). She is the author of Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones: The Artist Who Lived Twice, a biography of the 20th-century painter, and has written for various publications including Fine Art ConnoisseurPennsylvania HeritageJohns Hopkins, and TriAthlete magazines, as well as for The Baltimore Sun. As adjunct faculty for Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, she also taught a writing and graphic design class for eight years. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Members of the Board of Directors serve two-year terms. A complete list of the current members of BIO’s Board of Directors can be found here.