Eric Sundquist is the author of To Wake the Nations, winner of the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association for best book published during the year, the Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa for the best book in the humanities, and the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. He is Chair of the Department of English and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
Charles McGrath is former editor of The New York Times Book Review and before that deputy editor at The New Yorker.
Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator, as well as an accomplished writer of over thirty award-winning books for adolescents and teachers, including Copper Sun, Winner the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award and the highly acclaimed Jericho and Hazelwood trilogies. She served as the National Teacher of the Year, has been honored at the White House six times, and is a New York Times bestselling author. She was selected by the US State Department to be a literary ambassador to the children of Africa as well as China.
Robert Polito‘s books include the poetry collections Hollywood & God and Doubles, as well as A Reader’s Guide to James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover and the Library of America editions of Kenneth Fearing, Manny Farber, and David Goodis. He received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson. He founded the graduate program in creative writing at the New School, and is President of the Poetry Foundation.
Alan Taylor has published seven books, including William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, which won the Pulitzer Prize for American history and the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes; The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution; The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies; and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2013.
Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, March. A former foreign correspondent, she has reported from more than fifteen countries and wrote two works of nonfiction before turning to novels, which include Year of Wonders, People of the Book, and Caleb’s Crossing. Born and raised in Sydney, she now lives on Martha’s Vineyard
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. The Poetry Foundation recently named Woodson the Young People’s Poet Laureate. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.