Speakers

Lawrence Saint

Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses

Larry Saint, author of Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses, is a retired registered investment advisor who has a love of maritime history, boats and boat modeling. He is a member of several civic organizations, is married to his wife Nancy 43 years, and has one daughter.

Speaker's: Website Facebook Genre: Non-Fiction

Jessica Salfia

55 Strong: Inside the West Virginia Teachers' Strike

Jessica Salfia, co-editor of 55 Strong: Inside the West Virginia Teachers’ Strike, is a writer, activist, and teacher at Spring Mills High School in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her writing has appeared in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and WVCTE Blog.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Kathryn Schwille

What Luck, This Life

Kathryn Schwille is the author of What Luck, This Life and work published in New Letters, Crazyhorse, West Branch, Sycamore Review and other literary journals. She was an award-winning newspaper reporter before moving to North Carolina to become an editor at the Charlotte Observer. Schwille received her MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Speaker's: Website Instagram Facebook Genre: Fiction

Lisa See

The Island of Sea Women

Lisa See, author of The Island of Sea Women, is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Dreams of Joy, which debuted at number one, and many other novels. See is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which is tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. Shhas been honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award.

Speaker's: Website Instagram Facebook Twitter Genre: Fiction

Arjun Sethi

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out

Arjun Sethi, editor of American Hate, is a community activist, civil rights lawyer, writer, and law professor based in Washington, D.C. He has faculty appointments at Georgetown University Law Center and Vanderbilt University Law School.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Leona Sevick

Lion Brothers

Leona Sevick is the author of Lion Brothers. Her work appears in The Journal, Crab Orchard Review, The Normal School, and The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. She was named a 2018 Tennessee Williams Scholar for the Sewanee Writer’s Conference.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Poetry

Adam Shapiro

Adam Shapiro is an associate producer and researcher at BackStory, the American history podcast produced by Virginia Humanities. He previously produced various radio shows at WNYC in New York City and CJAD in Montréal, Canada. He holds a degree in history from Columbia University.

Speaker's: Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Susan Hand Shetterly

Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water's Edge

Susan Hand Shetterly is the author of Seaweed Chronicles, the essay collections Settled in the Wild and The New Year’s Owl, as well as several children’s books including Shelterwood. Shetterly has received a nonfiction writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and two grants from the Maine Arts Commission. In 2017, she received an Alfred P. Sloan grant to complete Seaweed Chronicles, which is currently longlisted for the PEN/E.O.Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Speaker's: Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, grew up in Hampton, Va., where she knew many of the women in her book. She is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellow and the recipient of a Virginia Humanities grant.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Charles J. Shields

The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, Stoner, and the Writing Life

Charles J. Shields, author of The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel, is also The New York Times bestselling author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee and And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life, a Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year.

Speaker's: Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Jeanne Siler

Jeanne Nicholson Siler has been involved with the Festival of the Book for most of its 25 years, alternately as moderator, driver, author, and a variety of volunteer roles. Currently a staff member at Virginia Humanities, she directs the Fellowship program.

Speaker's: Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Sarah Smarsh

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Sarah Smarsh, author of Heartland, is a speaker and journalist who focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book was a 2018 National Book Award finalist and examines historic economic inequality through the story of her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm.

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

Angie Smibert

Lingering Echoes

Angie Smibert, author of Lingering Echoes, lives in Roanoke, Virginia. Her middle-grade Ghosts of Ordinary Objects series includes Bone’s Gift, and she has also written YA novels, short stories, and many science and technology books for kids.

Speaker's: Website Instagram Facebook Twitter Genre: Children/Youth

Lee Smith

Dimestore: A Writer's Life

Lee Smith, author of Dimestore, was born in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Va., and began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. She has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and The Last Girls.

She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature, an Academy Award in Fiction, and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Hillsborough, N.C., with her husband, writer Hal Crowther.

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

Karla Smith

Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses

Karla Smith, co-author of Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses, has been involved in writing books for over 30 years. She has combined her love of geography and history to create a “sense of place” in maps for all of her books. She is an artist, teacher, sailor, and mother.

Speaker's: Website Facebook Genre: Non-Fiction

Gregory Smithers

Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal

Gregory Smithers, author of Native Southerners, is a professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has written extensively about Indigenous histories in North America and Australia, including his most recent, The Cherokee Diaspora.

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

Tatjana Soli

The Removes

Tatjana Soli, author of The Removes, is a New York Times bestseller. Winner of the U. K.’s James Tait Black Prize, her work was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award and twice listed as a New York Times Notable Book.

Speaker's: Website Facebook Genre: Fiction

Hawes Spencer

Summer of Hate: Charlottesville, USA

Hawes Spencer, author of Summer of Hate: Charlottesville, USA, is a journalist who has reporter for the New York Times, NPR, the Hook, and other publications. He has taught journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University and James Madison University.

Genre: Non-Fiction

Rachel Spraker

Rachel Spraker is the compliance director for equity and affirmative action in UVa’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. She holds an MS in sociology with work focused on landscapes of racial violence and environmental racism.

Speaker's: Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Bella Stander

Bella Stander is the publisher of Bella Terra Maps. Stander has reviewed books for Publishers Weekly, the Washington PostChicago Tribune and Wall St. Journal; and written eight lighthouse guides.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Non-Fiction

Lois Farfel Stark

The Telling Image: Shapes of Changing Times

Lois Farfel Stark, author of The Telling Image, is an Emmy Award-winning producer and documentary filmmaker. She has produced and written over forty documentaries on architecture, medical research, wilderness protection, artists, and social issues.

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

Kelly Starling Lyons

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

Kelly Starling Lyons, contributor to We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, is also author of the Jada Jones chapter book series and has written ten books for kids. She presents at schools, libraries, and conferences around the country.

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

Melissa Stein

Terrible Blooms

Melissa Stein, author of Terrible Blooms, is a past winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. She has received awards and fellowships from the NEA, Pushcart Prize, Bread Loaf, MacDowell, and Yaddo. She lives in San Francisco.

Speaker's: Website Instagram Facebook Twitter Genre: Poetry

Mary Stockwell

Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America

Mary Stockwell, author of Unlikely General: “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America. She holds a PhD in history, served as a history professor and department chair at Lourdes University, and is now a full-time writer.

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

tammy lynne stoner

Sugar Land

tammy lynne stoner, author of Sugar Land, has been published in more than a dozen anthologies and literary journals. stoner has lived in 15 cities, working at countless odd jobs, as well as creating Dottie’s Magic Pockets and publishing Gertrude literary journal, now in its 21st year. She wears pajamas 80% of the time.

 

Speaker's: Website Facebook Twitter Genre: Fiction

Andy Straka

A Witness Above

Andy Straka is the author of A Witness Above and the Shamus Award-winning Frank Pavlicek mystery series. Among his other novels are the thriller series Dragonflies, Record of Wrongs, and the critically-acclaimed The Blue Hallelujah.

Speaker's: Website Facebook Twitter Genre: Crime Wave, Publishing

Nadine Strossen

Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship

Nadine Strossen, author of Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship, is the New York Law School Constitutional Law Professor and the immediate past president of the American Civil Liberties Union, serving from 1991 to 2008.

Speaker's: Website Genre: Non-Fiction

Wendy Strothman

Wendy Strothman is an agent representing nonfiction by scholars, journalists, and other experts. Clients include David Blight (Frederick Douglass); Ray Arsenault (Arthur Ashe); David Kertzer (The Pope and Mussolini, Pulitzer Prize winner); Amy Ellis Nutt (Becoming Nicole); and Linda Greenhouse, among others.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Publishing

James Sturm

Off Season

James Sturm, author of Off Season, lives in Vermont, where he helps run a cartooning school that he co-founded, The Center for Cartoon Studies. His graphic novels include The Golem’s Mighty Swing and Market Day. He is a contributing editor to Slate and co-founder of Seattle’s biweekly newspaper, The Stranger.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Fiction

Mathangi Subramanian

A People's History of Heaven

Mathangi Subramanian, author of A People’s History of Heaven, is an award-winning Indian American writer, author, and educator. A graduate of Brown University and the Teachers College of Columbia University, and the recipient of a Fulbright and other fellowships, Subramanian’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Quartz, Al Jazeera America, and elsewhere. This is her first work of literary fiction.

Speaker's: Website Twitter Genre: Fiction

Matthew Swanson

The Real McCoys: Two's A Crowd

Matthew Swanson, co-creator of The Real McCoys series, is one part of an author-illustrator duo with his wife, Robbi Behr. Their picture books include Everywhere, Wonder and Babies Ruin Everything. They live with their four children in Maryland.

Speaker's: Website Instagram Facebook Twitter Genre: Children/Youth

Earl Swift

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

Earl Swift, author of Chesapeake Requiem, spent two years researching the book, including living on Tangier Island, and has navigated the Chesapeake Bay by sea kayak. A Virginia-based journalist, Swift has written six previous books and has contributed major features to Outside as well as to numerous magazines.

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

David Swinson

Trigger

David Swinson is the author of Trigger, the finale of his critically acclaimed crime trilogy which includes The Second Girl, and Crime Song. A former Washington, D.C., police detective, Swinson got his start in Los Angeles as a punk rock concert promoter, record store owner, and independent filmmaker.

Speaker's: Website Facebook Twitter Genre: Crime Wave