Please note, the list of speakers is constantly being updated. Check back often for additions, changes and cancellations.

Kenneth Ackerman

Trotsky in New York, 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution

Kenneth Ackerman is the author of Trotsky in New York, 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution and five other histories, including Boss Tweed. He has served a long legal career in Washington, D.C. inside and out of government, including as counsel to two U.S. Senate committees & posts in the Reagan & Clinton administrations. He continues to practice private law.

Speaker's Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Jennifer Ackerman

The Genius of Birds

Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds, has been writing about science, nature, and biology for almost three decades. She is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship for nonfiction, a Bunting Fellowship, and a grant from the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation.

Speaker's Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Kwame Alexander

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

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.

Speaker's Website Speaker's Facebook Speaker's Twitter Genre: Children/Youth, Poetry

Jane Alison

Nine Island

Jane Alison, author of Nine Island, has written three other novels,The Love-Artist, The Marriage of the Sea, and Natives and Exotics; a memoir, The Sisters Antipodes; and a translation, Change Me: Stories of Sexual Transformation from Ovid. She is a professor and director of creative writing at UVa.

Speaker's Website Speaker's Facebook Genre: Fiction

Jeffery Renard Allen

Song of the Shank

Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of five books including the novel Song of the Shank, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; the short story collection Holding Pattern, and two collections of poetry. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia.

Speaker's Website Genre: Fiction

Jennifer Alluisi

Jennifer 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.

Speaker's Twitter Genre: Fiction

Tom Angleberger

Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall!

Tom Angleberger is the author of Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall. He also wrote the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Origami Yoda series as well as Fake MustacheHorton Halfpott, and the Qwikpick Papers series. He lives with his wife in Christiansburg, Va.

Speaker's Website Genre: Children/Youth

Hannah Assadi


Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of Sonora, received her master of fine arts degree in fiction from the Columbia University School of the Arts, where she was granted a Woolrich Award. Raised in Arizona by her Jewish-American mother and Palestinian father, she now lives in Brooklyn.

Speaker's Website Genre: Fiction

Edward Ayers

America's War

Edward Ayers is the author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America, winner of the Bancroft Prize, and The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

Genre: Non-Fiction

Marie Coles Baker

Marie Coles Baker, an avid reader, is a member of the African American Authors Book Club. She retired from Howard University School of Social Work and is interested in education and social justice issues.

Genre: Fiction

Lisa Bankoff

Lisa Bankoff, literary agent with ICM Partners, represents quality fiction and nonfiction.

Clients include present and past Festival participants Carrie Brown (The Stargazer’s Sister), Barnes & Noble Discover Award-winner and two-time recipient of the Library of Virginia Award, Julia Claiborne Johnson (Be Frank With Me) and Douglas Brinkley (The Great Deluge, Rightful Heritage:Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America),presidential historian and CNN commentator.

Speaker's Website Genre: Publishing

Frances Barnhart

The Beauty of Impermanence: A Woman's Memoir

Frances Curtis Barnhart, author of The Beauty of Impermanence: A Woman’s Memoir, is an artist, spiritual explorer, evolutionary activist in the human potential movement, author of The New Woman Warrior’s Handbook: Not for Women Only, and grandmother of ten.

Speaker's Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Fred Bartenstein

Lucky Joe's Namesake: The Extraordinary Life and Observations of Joe Wilson

Fred Bartenstein, editor of Lucky Joe’s Namesake: The Extraordinary Life and Observations of Joe Wilson, is a native of Virginia and graduate of Harvard College. He has performed many roles in bluegrass and country music, including magazine editor, broadcaster, musician, festival emcee, and scholar.

Speaker's Website Speaker's Facebook Genre: Non-Fiction

Susan Bauer-Wu

Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness.

Susan Bauer-Wu, president of the Mind & Life Institute, is a leader, teacher, and researcher of mindfulness in health care and higher education. She is the author of Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness.

Speaker's Website Speaker's Facebook Genre: Non-Fiction

Robert Bausch

The Legend of Jesse Smoke

Robert Bausch, author of The Legend of Jesse Smoke, was born in Georgia and raised near Washington, D.C. He earned his BA, MA, and MFA degrees at George Mason University. He has received the Fellowship of Southern Writers Hillsdale Award and the John Dos Passos Prize.

Speaker's Website Genre: Fiction

Clare Beams

We Show What We Have Learned and Other Stories

Clare Beams, author of We Show What We Have Learned, has appeared in One Story, n+1, Ecotone, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and currently blogs for Ploughshares.

Speaker's Website Speaker's Facebook Speaker's Twitter Genre: Fiction

Faith Andrews Bedford

Barefoot Summers: Simple Pleasures

Faith Andrews Bedford, author of Barefoot Summers, was a columnist at Country Living magazine for 13 years. She teaches memoir writing at OLLI – the Osher Institute for Life Long Learning and has written three books on American Impressionism.

Speaker's Website Genre: Non-Fiction