Please note, the list of participants is constantly being updated. Check back often for additions, changes and cancellations.
Kwame Alexander, co-author of Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, is a poet, educator, and author of twenty-one books for children, including The Crossover, which was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal.
The founder of two literacy organizations, he regularly travels the world as a literacy advocate and expert. Currently the poet laureate of LitWorld, Alexander lives in Virginia.
Jen Alluisi is the organizer of the Good Reads and Good Eats book club in Charlottesville. She is a lifelong book-lover who spends most of her free time reading at home with her husband and daughter and watching Gilmore Girls re-runs.
John Benditt, author of The Boatmaker, is a former editor at Scientific American and was editor-in-chief of Technology Review. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College he studied with Adrienne Rich and was awarded the John Russell Hayes Poetry Prize by Robert Creeley. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Susan Berres, founder and organizer of the Bus Lines Community Poetry contest, seeks to promote poetry and flash fiction in public spaces and provide opportunities for writers of all ages to share their work.
Sheila Blackford is the librarian at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, a non-partisan research institute that focuses on the U.S. presidency. She is also managing editor of American President, a general reference website on all 44 presidencies.
Nell Boeschenstein teaches creative writing at Sweet Briar College. She is a former producer at Fresh Air with Terry Gross and has her MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia University.
Sara Bon-Harper is executive director of Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe, where her focus is sharing the relevance of James Monroe in U.S. history, and broadening interest in the exploration of the past.
Rick Britton, author of Virginia Vignettes: Famous Characters & Events in Central Virginia History, which shares a glimpse of life in the Old Dominion, is a cartographer, tour guide and local historian.
Kate Buford, author of Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe and Burt Lancaster: An American Life, both Editors’ Choice of The New York Times, has been a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition and APM’s Marketplace.
Eboni Bugg is a therapist & community programs director at The Women’s Initiative where she focuses on improving access to care and helping women make meaningful changes in their lives. She’s an avid reader and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform.
Carolyn Cades has served on the staff of Grants and Community Programs at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities since 2008.
Blake Caravati is a former planning commissioner and mayor of Charlottesville. He has served on the Virginia Festival of the Book Advisory Council and has moderated program for sixteen years.
Ashley Christensen, author of Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner, is the chef and owner of seven restaurants in Raleigh, N.C.
She is involved in many charities, including the Frankie Lemmon Foundation and Share Our Strength.
In 2014, she was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast.
Leone Ciporin is the author of four mini-mysteries in Woman’s World magazine, two stories in the Chesapeake Crimes series from Wildside Press, and a story in The Hook. When she’s not writing mysteries, she’s a manager at State Farm.
Meredith Cole, author of Virginia is for Mysteries, started her career as a filmmaker and screenwriter. She is the author of several mystery novels, and her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies and magazines. She teaches writing in Charlottesville, Va.
Tanya Denckla Cobb is Associate Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia. She is an environmental mediator, writer, and has taught conflict resolution and food system planning at the University of Virginia.
Rebecca Dillingham, MD/MPH, is the director of UVa¹s Center for Global Health. Dr. Dillingham holds faculty positions in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Health and in Public Health Sciences.
Dan Doernberg, president of public interest group Fairness.com LLC, is the creator of NowComment, a close reading/critical thinking cloud-based tool used at UVa and other schools. He co-founded Silicon Valley’s Computer Literacy Bookshops, which went public after its sale in 1997.
Stacey Evans began her photographic career in the middle school as yearbook photographer. She went studied photography at Virginia Commonwealth University and received a BFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Currently, Evans works as an artist, educator, and commercial photographer.
Stuart Firestein, author of Failure: Why Science Is So Successful, is a professor and department chair of biological sciences at Columbia University. He seeks to reach broader audiences through nonscientific writing and his support of science in the arts.
He is also an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow and an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science.