Please note, the list of speakers is constantly being updated. Check back often for additions, changes and cancellations.
Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me, has written eight novels. She received her doctorate in English and American literature from New York University. Currently living in New York City, she is a staff writer on HBO’s forthcoming David Simon show, The Deuce.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeff Alt, author of The Adventures of Bubba Jones series, is also author of Four Boots-One Journey, Get Your Kids Hiking, and A Walk for Sunshine, and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
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 Mustache, Horton Halfpott, and the Qwikpick Papers series. He lives with his wife in Christiansburg, Va.
Andi Arndt, narrator of over 175 audiobooks, works for authors, audiobook producers, and publishers in her home studio in the Shenandoah Valley. AudioFile magazine named her one of the Top Romance Narrators of 2015.
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.
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.
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.
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), Julia Claiborne Johnson (Be Frank with Me), and Douglas Brinkley (Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.