Brattleboro Literary Festival authors

Thursday October 11, 2012

* David Aguilar is an astronomer and the author and illustrator of several National Geographic books on astronomy, including the 2008 Voice of Youth Award winner, "Planets, Stars and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe" and the 2011 Eureka Gold Award best science book winner, "13 Planets." His upcoming book, "Alien Worlds," investigates just how bizarre alien life might be. Aguilar is the host of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for the Astrophysics "Observatory Nights" program, and he leads travelers to destinations around the globe to explore celestial phenomena.

* Steve Almond is a fiction writer and essayist. He is the author of the story collections "God Bless America," "The Evil B.B. Chow" and "My Life in Heavy Metal," the novel "Which Brings Me to You" (with Julianna Baggott), and the nonfiction books "Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, (Not That You Asked)" and "Candyfreak." Almond lives outside Boston with his wife and children.

* Deni Y. Béchard was born in British Columbia to French-Canadian and American parents and grew up in both Canada and the United States. His new book, "Cures for Hunger," is a memoir about growing up with his difficult father. Béchard’s first novel, "Vandal Love," won the 2007 Commonwealth Prize, both for the best first book in Canada and for the best overall first book in the British Commonwealth. Béchard has done freelance reporting from Northern Iraq as well as from Afghanistan. He is currently working on "Empty Hands, Open Arms," a book about grassroots conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

* April Bernard, a graduate of Harvard University, worked publishing and become a senior editor at Vanity Fair. She left publishing to pursue a doctorate in English literature from Yale University. She is the author of four books of poetry and two novels, including her new novel, "Miss Fuller," the imagined story of Margaret Fuller -- feminist, journalist, orator, and "the most famous woman in America." She is director of Creative Writing at Skidmore College and teaches in the MFA program at Bennington College.

* Randall Brown is on the faculty of Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He has been published widely, online and in print, and blogs at FlashFiction.Net. He is also the founder and managing editor of Matter Press and its Journal of Compressed Creative Arts.

* Daniel Chamovitz grew up in Pennsylvania, and studied at both Columbia University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received his doctorate in genetics. He recently served as director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. He is among the most eminent researchers in his field. His new book, "What a Plant Knows, A Field Guide to the Senses," is a captivating journey into the lives of plants.

* Eileen Christelow is the author and illustrator of 29 humorous picture books, including those in the Five Little Monkeys series, "The Great Pig Escape," "Letters From a Desperate Dog," and nonfiction titles "What Do Illustrators Do?," "What Do Authors Do?" and "Vote!" Her most recently published books are "Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed" and "The Desperate Dog Writes Again." Christelow travels widely to visit children at elementary schools across the country. She lives with her husband, artist Ahren Ahrenholz, in Dummerston.

* Martha Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at The University of Massachusetts-Boston. She is the author of six books of poetry and two chapbooks. Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ainsfield Wolf Award, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, three Pushcart Prizes and a Lannan Residency grant. Collins published an award-winning, book-length poem, "Blue Front," where she describes a lynching that her father witnessed in Cairo, Ill., when he was 5. Her new book, "White Papers," is a series of untitled poems that explore race from a variety of personal, historical, and cultural perspectives. Collins is the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College.

* Chard deNiord is the author of four books of poetry, "The Double Truth," which was selected as one of the top 10 books of poetry by the Boston Globe in 2011, "Night Mowing," "Sharp Golden Thorn" and "Asleep in the Fire." His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell,

Ruth Stone, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Jack Gilbert, and Maxine Kumin) titled "Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on Twentieth Century American Poets" was published in 2011. He is the co-founder of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry and professor of English at Providence College. He lives in Putney with his wife Liz.

* Carl Dennis is the author of 11 books of poetry, including "Practical Gods," for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, and his latest volume, "Callings." Dennis has also published a book of criticism, "Poetry as Persuasion." He has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

* Matthew Dicks is a writer and award-winning elementary school teacher. His articles have been published in the Hartford Courant, and he has been a featured author at the Books on the Nightstand retreat. He is the author of the forthcoming novel, "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" and two previous novels, "Something Missing" and "Unexpectedly Milo."

* Angela DiTerlizzi is the author of "Say What?," illustrated by Joey Chou, and the "Adventure in Meno" picture book series, which she created with her husband. The DiTerlizzis and their daughter divide their time between western Massachusetts and Jupiter, Fla.

* Tony DiTerlizzi is widely known as the co-creator and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling "Spiderwick Chronicles," a series that has been translated into 30 languages and adapted into a feature film. His new a illustrated series for middle-grade readers began with "The Search for WondLa" and continues in "A Hero for WondLa." DiTerlizzi has created cover art for fantasy authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter S. Beagle and Anne McCaffrey.

* Ben Dolnick is an American fiction writer and author two coming-of-age novels, "Zoology" and "You Know Who You Are." He is the son of Lynn and Edward Dolnick and a nephew of Arthur Golden, author of "Memoirs of a Geisha." Through his mother’s side he is a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family, publishers of The New York Times.

* Sarah Rose Etter’s fiction collection, "Tongue Party," was selected by Deb Olin Unferth as the winner of the 2011 Caketrain Competition. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Salt Hill Journal, Barrelhouse, The Black Warrior Review, The Collagist, and more. She currently lives in South Philadelphia, where she co-hosts the Tire Fire Reading Series.

* Kathy Fish’s short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, The Denver Quarterly, New South, Quick Fiction, Guernica, Slice and elsewhere. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ "Best of the Web 2010." She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, "A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women," "Wild Life" and "Together We Can Bury It." She blogs at

* Robert Gray works as an editor and columnist at Shelf Awareness, which publishes two newsletters -- one for general readers and one for people in the book business. He launched his book blog, "Fresh Eyes Now," in 2004. From 1992 to 2006, he was a bookseller and buyer at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester. He has an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College and lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

* Rachel Hadas is a poet, professor, essayist and translator. She is the author of 12 books of poetry including her newest book, "The Ache of Appetite." Since 1981, she has taught in the English Department of the Newark, N.J. campus of Rutgers University, and has taught courses in literature and writing at both Columbia and Princeton. Among her honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

* Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels "Envy," "The Seal Wife," "The Binding Chair," "Poison," "Exposure" and "Thicker Than Water." She has also written memoirs, "The Kiss" and "The Mother Knot," a travel memoir, "The Road to Santiago," a biography, "Saint Therese of Lisieux" and a collection of personal essays, "Seeking Rapture." Her latest book is "Enchantments." She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

* Karen Hesse has written many acclaimed works of historical fiction for children and young adults, including 1998 Newbery Medal winner "Out of the Dust." The recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Grant in 2002 and the Kerlan Award in 2006, Hesse immerses herself in extensive research for each of the books she writes. In her newest novel, "Safekeeping," she has turned her attention to a dystopian future and the dislocating experiences of a Brattleboro teenager who walks to Canada in search of her missing parents and safety. Hesse’s stunning black-and-photographs, taken as she walked her character’s northerly route, illustrate this groundbreaking book for students and adults.

* Joan Houlihan is author of four books: "The Us," "The Mending Worm," "Hand-Held Executions" and "Ay," forthcoming in 2013. She is editor for the Contemporary Poetry Review and author of Boston Comment, a series of critical essays archived online. Houlihan founded and directs the Concord Poetry Center and the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. She is on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Mass.

* Major Jackson is an American poet, professor and the author of three collections of poetry: "Holding Company" and "Hoops," both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry and "Leaving Saturn," winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He served as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.

* Tayari Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. Her first novel, "Leaving Atlanta," is a coming-of-age story set during the city’s infamous child murders of 1979-81. "Leaving Atlanta" and received many awards and accolades including the Hurston/Wright Award for Debut Fiction. Her second novel, "The Untelling," is the story of a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident. "Silver Sparrow," her third novel, is the coming-of-age story of two sisters. It was chosen as the #1 Indie Next pick for June 2011. Library Journal, O Magazine, Slate and Salon all selected the novel among the best of the year. She is an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

* John Kelly is the author of nine books about science, medicine and human behavior, including the critically acclaimed "The Great Mortality" and "Three on the Edge." His newest book, "The Graves are Walking," about the Irish poptato famine, has already received rave reviews. He lives in New York City and Sandisfield, Mass.

* Ann Kingman is co-host and co-producer of "Books on the Nightstand," a weekly podcast about books and reading. She and her co-host Michael Kindness strive to bring informative, entertaining and thoughtful book talk to their listeners, recommending books they love. Books on the Nightstand has grown into a thriving online book community, and Kindness and Kingman have recently begun hosting weekend reader retreats around the country. She is a district sales manager for Random House. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Attleboro, Mass.

* Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection "Slapboxing with Jesus" and three novels, "The Ecstatic," "Big Machine" and his forthcoming book, "The Devil in Silver." He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the key to Southeast Queens. "Big Machine" was named a best book of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Nation and was awarded the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel, the American Book Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. LaValle is an assistant professor and the acting fiction director at the Columbia University School of the Arts.

* Sydney Lea is Poet Laureate of Vermont. His most recent collection of poems is "Six Sundays Toward a Seventh: Selected Spiritual Poems," from publishers Wipf and Stock. His 2011 collection is "Young of the Year" (Four Way Books). Later this year, the University of Michigan Press will issue "A Hundred Himalayas," a sampling from his critical work over four decades. "A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters and Wildlife" (Skyhorse Publishing), a third volume of outdoor essays, will be published in early 2013, and his 11th poetry collection, "I Was Thinking of Beauty," will follow from Four Way Books. He lives in Newbury.

* Reeve Lindbergh is the youngest child of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She is the author of several books for adults and children including "Under a Wing," a memoir of her childhood and youth, "No More Words," a description of the last years of her mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and "Forward From Here," a memoir about entering her 60s. Her mother’s final collection of writings, "Against Wind and Tide: Letters and Journals, 1947-1986" was published in April. She lives with her husband, Nat Tripp, on a farm in northern Vermont.

* Margot Livesey is the acclaimed author of the novels "The House on Fortune Street," "Banishing Verona," "Eva Moves the Furniture," "The Missing World," "Criminals" and "Homework." She is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. "The House on Fortune Street" won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Livesey was born in Scotland. She lives in the Boston area and is a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College. Her new book, "The Flight of Gemma Hardy," is a re-imagining of Jane Eyre.

* Richard Mason was born in South Africa in 1978 and lives in New York City. His first novel, "The Drowning People," published when he was 21 and still a student at Oxford, sold more than a million copies worldwide and won Italy’s Grinzane Cavour Prize for Best First Novel. He is also the author of "Natural Elements," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2009. "History of a Pleasure Seeker" is his fourth novel. In 1999, with Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mason started the Kay Mason Foundation, which helps disadvantaged South Africans access quality education. He is the recipient of the Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy.

* Courtney Maum is the humor columnist behind Electric Literature’s "Celebrity Book Review," a frequent contributor of satirical essays about the writing life for Tin House magazine and a book reviewer for Bomb. She additionally works as a corporate namer, trend forecaster and brand strategist for a number of different agencies, and writes screenplays with her husband, the French film director, Diego Ongaro. Her work has recently won awards from Hobart, The Cupboard, Folio magazine and the Cannes Film Festival. A Literary Death Match champion, her short story "Clarins" was a 2011 Million Writers Award notable story. She has just finished a novel written entirely from the point of view of one of the celebrities she channeled for Electric Literature. You can find her on Twitter at @cmaum or at

* Bernice L. McFadden is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels including the classic "Sugar and Glorious," which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, selected as the debut title for the One Book, One Harlem program, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA. Her sophomore novel, "The Warmest December," was praised by Toni Morrison as "searing and expertly imagined." Her new novel, "Gathering of Waters," is the fictionalized story of Emmitt Till and Money, Miss.

* Howard Frank Mosher is a contemporary author of 11 books: 10 fiction and one non-fiction. He is the 1981 recipient of the Literature Award bestowed by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. "A Stranger in the Kingdom" won the New England Book Award for Fiction in 1991, and was later filmed by director Jay Craven, who has also adapted "Disappearances" and "Where the Rivers Flow North" to film. He received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2006. His new book, "The Great Northern Express" is both a chronicle of his recent 100-city book tour across America and a reflection on his development as a writer in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

* Stewart O’Nan’s award-winning fiction consists of 14 novels including "Snow Angels," "A Prayer for the Dying," "Last Night at the Lobster," "Emily," "Alone" and his most recent book, "The Odds." He is also the author of a book of short stories (which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize), a screenplay and two works of non-fiction -- "The Circus Fire" and "Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season" (with Stephen King). Granta named him one of America’s Best Young Novelists.

* Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction and non-fiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies and on-line publications. Her work has appeared in "Best American Short Stories," "The O. Henry Prize Stories" and "New Stories from the South." Her fourth collection, "Binocular Vision," is the winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award, the 2011 PEN/Malamud Award and the 2011 Wallant Award and was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction.

* Mark Rotella is the author of "Amore: The Story of Italian American Song" and "Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria." A senior editor at Publishers Weekly, he lives in Montclair, N.J., with his wife and their two children.

* Tom Santopietro’s three analytical yet witty books: "Sinatra in Hollywood, "Considering Doris Day" and "The Importance of Being Barbra" examine how three very different entertainment superstars came to embody America at the height of its standing in the second half of the 20th century. He has made multiple radio appearances across the country, in forums ranging from National Public Radio to Voice of America, as well as appearing on network and cable television stations. His new book, "The Godfather Effect," is a brilliant examination of our 40-year obsession with the classic film trilogy.

* Alexandra Styron is the author of "Reading My Father" and a novel, "All the Finest Girls." She is the daughter of William and Rose Styron. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal. She currently teaches memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College.

* Daniel Tobin is the author of five books of poems; "Where the World is Made," "Double Life," "The Narrows," "Second Things" and "Belated Heavens." Among his awards are the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, The Robert Penn Warren Award, the Greensboro Review Prize, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a fellowship in poetry from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His critical study, "Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney," came out to wide praise. His recent book of essays, "Awake in America," appeared from the University of Notre Dame Press in 2011. He is Interim Dean of the School of the Arts at Emerson College in Boston.

* Jacob White’s fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review, Salt Hill, The Sewanee Review, New Letters, and elsewhere. His short story collection, "Being Dead in South Carolina," comes out in 2013 from Leapfrog Press. He teaches creative writing at Johnson State College in Vermont, where he also edits Green Mountains Review.

* Isabel Wilkerson is the author of "The Warmth of Other Suns," the New York Times best-seller that tells the universal, human story of three people who made the decision of their lives in what came to be known as the Great Migration. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the 2011 Hillman Book Prize, the 2011 Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the 2011 Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction, among others, and was shortlisted for both the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first African-American woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. Wilkerson also won a George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her research into the Great Migration, and she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

* Jane Yolen, often called "the Hans Christian Andersen of America," is the author of more than 300 books, including "Owl Moon," "The Devil’s Arithmetic" and "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" Yolen is versatile as well as prolific -- she writes for both children and adults in a number of genres. Books featured at the Festival include three published in 2011: her recent poetry collection for adults, "Things to Say to a Dead Man"; the graphic novel, "The Last Dragon," illustrated by fantasy artist Rebecca Guay; and "Snow in Summer," a novel-length version of the Snow White story set in West Virginia. Yolen lives in western Massachusetts.

* Todd Zuniga is the founding editor of Opium Magazine, and the co-creator and host of Literary Death Match, which is a reading series that occurs regularly in New York City, San Francisco and London, and has launched in 39 cities worldwide including Beijing, Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Paris. He was named a LA Times Face to Watch in 2012. Zuniga is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer for his short fiction and an award-winning journalist (Best Feature Writing awarded by Ziff-Davis Media). He created’s Sports Anomaly podcast, and now hosts’s "Weekly Thrillride."


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