Laila Lalami is the author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits; Secret Son; and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Harper’s Magazine, and The Guardian. A professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside, she lives in Los Angeles.
Robin Benway is the acclaimed author of Emmy & Oliver, the Also Known As series, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June, and Audrey, Wait! Benway’s books have been published in sixteen languages, won international awards, and been bestsellers in several countries. Formerly a bookseller and book publicist, she lives in Los Angeles.
Layli Long Soldier holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Bard College. She has served as a contributing editor of Drunken Boat. Her poems have appeared in The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, and other publications. She is the recipient of the 2015 NACF National Artist Fellowship, a 2015 Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a 2016 Whiting Award. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Meg Medina is the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers medal winner for Tía Isa Wants a Car, and a Pura Belpré winner for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and Mango, Abuela and Me. Her novel, Burn Baby Burn, named NAIBA’s 2016 YA Book of the Year, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award and was a finalist for both the Kirkus Prize and the Los Angeles Book Prize. In 2014 she was named one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America.
Paula J. Giddings is the Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor, Africana Studies, at Smith College. She has published four books, including Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching–winner of the Los Angeles Times Prize in Biography and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a member of PEN and serves on the board of the Authors League Fund and the Nation Institute.
Joy Harjo is an acclaimed poet, musician, writer, and performer. Her books of award-winning poetry include her newest Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. Her memoir Crazy Brave won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction. She is the recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is at work on a musical, an album of music, and a second memoir. She holds a Chair of Excellence in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and the author of several books, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Slate, Vanity Fair, and many other publications. A longtime resident of Moscow, Gessen now lives in New York.
James English is John Welsh Centennial Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Penn Humanities Forum and the Price Lab for Digital Humanities. His books include The Global Future of English Studies and The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value, selected as the best academic book of 2005 byNew York magazine.
Woody Holton is an associate professor at the University of Richmond, where he teaches early American history, and his previous book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia, garnered much praise from the academic community. His work has been included in the Organization of American Historians’ Best American History Essays 2006, and his articles and reviews have appeared in American Historical Review, Journal of American History, Reviews in American History, William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of Southern History, among others.
Before he went into teaching, Holton directed numerous campaigns and was founding director of the environmental advocacy group “Clean Up Congress.” He now lives in Virginia with his wife, Dr. Gretchen Schoel, and their daughter, Beverly.