2018 Authors 


Opening Keynote
Madeline Miller
was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students for more than fifteen years.
She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.
The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, was a New York Times Bestseller, and shortlisted Madeline for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller. Her work has been translated into over twenty-five languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek, and her essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Lapham’s Quarterly and She currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Closing Keynote
Authors in Conversation Lisa Genova and Joseph Deitch
Acclaimed as the Oliver Sacks of fiction and the Michael Crichton of brain science, Lisa Genova has captured a special place in contemporary fiction, writing stories that are equally inspired by neuroscience and the human spirit. She is author of the New York Times bestselling novels, Still Alice, Left Neglected, Love Anthony, and Inside the O’Briens. Still Alice was adapted into a film starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. Julianne Moore won the 2015 Best Actress Oscar for her role as Alice Howland. In 2015, Lisa was named one of the U.S. Top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, the TODAY show, CNN, PBS Newshour, and NPR. Her TED Talk, “What You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s” has been viewed over three million times.

Joseph Deitch is the author of Elevate!, a philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of Commonwealth Financial Network, with assets under management of over 150 billion dollars. He is also chairman of Southworth Development, a golf and resort real estate company with award-winning properties in the US, the Bahamas, and Scotland. He established the Deitch Leadership at the Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in the United States. He has also been a Broadway producer and won a Tony Award as co-producer of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Joe divides his time primarily between Miami, Boston, and Cape Cod—depending on the weather.

With readings by:

BRUNONIA BARRY is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Lace Reader, The Map of True Places, and The Fifth Petal, which was recently chosen #1 of Strand Magazine’s Top 25 Books of 2017. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages and has been an Amazon Best of the Month and a People Magazine Pick. Barry was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Invitational Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Brunonia served as chairperson of the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee, as Executive Director of the Salem Literary Festival, and as a member of Grub Street’s Development Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband, Gary Ward, and their dog, Angel.

Janet Benton is the author of Lilli de Jong, published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in May 2017. Kirkus Reviews called it a “monumental accomplishment.” Library Journal and NPR named it a Best Book of 2017, Bustle called it one of 2017’s best debut novels, and Amazon picked it as a Best Book of May. Her writings have also appeared in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other publications. She has edited and co-written TV documentaries for The Great Experiment, a series on Philadelphia history. Janet holds an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a B. A. in religious studies from Oberlin College. She has taught writing at universities and in private workshops for over two decades. Through her business, The Word Studio, she mentors writers and teaches workshops, helping people learn the craft and find the stories only they can tell. Her Word Studio website is, and her author website is

Eric Jay Dolin is the author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Providence Journal, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U.S. Maritime History; and Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America, which was chosen by the Seattle Times as one of the best nonfiction books of 2010, and also won the James P. Hanlan Book Award, given by the New England Historical Association. He is also the author of When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail, which was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of 2012; and Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse, which was chosen by gCaptain and Classic Boat as one of the best nautical books of 2016. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his PhD in environmental policy, Dolin lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his family. For more information on his background, books, and awards, please visit his website, You can also follow Dolin’s posts on Facebook on his professional page, @ericjaydolin, or on Twitter, @EricJayDolin.

Jane C. Esther is the author of The Universe Between Us, a book The Advocate called “a brilliant debut lesbian sci-fi novel,” and Uninvited, due out in 2019. She’s a librarian by day and a writer by night. Her idea of a good time involves a microscope, binoculars, trashy TV about the British royal family, or randomly singing Broadway show tunes. You can find her recounting the results of the latest scientific studies to whoever will listen, and secretly transforming her house into an indoor vegetable farm. She lives in New England with her wife and two cats.

Julia Glass is the author of the novels A House Among the TreesAnd the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s TaleThe Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” Her third book, I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the 2009 SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. Other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as well as residencies at the James Merrill House and Civitella Ranieri. Her essays have been widely anthologized, most recently in Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book, edited by Sean Manning, and in Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, edited by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon. Julia is a co-founder of the arts festival Twenty Summers, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a literary board member of 826 Boston, and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.

Hannah Kimberley’s  biography involves a more intimate view of Peck and her accomplishments that will be enjoyed by a popular audience – one that recreates her dramatic achievements and iron resolve to explore uncharted territory and conquer virgin peaks in a world dominated by men.
Hannah first learned about Peck in 2007 via a poster from an antique shop that displays an image of her in her climbing costume and reads, “A Woman’s Place Is at the Top.” She had never before heard of Peck, but the image of her in her climbing costume was so striking that she set out to see who she was and what she had accomplished. After some research, Hannah became completely enthralled with Peck’s accomplishments, including her scholarship, her climbing career, her role in politics, and her longstanding commitment to the advancement of women’s rights.
Annie Smith Peck is one of the most accomplished women of the twentieth century that you have never heard of. Until now.  A Woman’s Place Is at the Top is the biography of an ultimate underdog, a woman who singlehandedly carved her place on the map of mountain climbing and international relations. With unprecedented access to Peck’s original letters, artifacts, and ephemera, this book will bring her entire life to the page for the first time.

Giles Laroche has been drawing for as long as he can remember. Giles fell in love with books at a young age. Little did Giles know that when he grew up, other people would gaze at his books about faraway lands and that he would also travel to many of the places he would come to illustrate and write about in such books as Bridges Are to Cross, Sacred Places, What’s Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World, and If You Lived Here: Houses of the World. Giles lives and works in his house in Salem, Massachusetts, and in a 230-year-old barn in southwestern New Hampshire.

Stephen McCauley is the author of seven novels, including The Object of My Affection and, most recently, My Ex-Life. Three of his novels have been made into feature films–one in the US, two in France–and several have been national bestsellers. His reviews, columns, and fiction have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times, the Boston GlobeVogueHarper’s, and other publications. He has taught at UMass, Harvard, and Wellesley College, and currently serves as co-director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

Matthew Phillion is the author of the Indestructibles, an ongoing series of Young Adult superhero adventure novels. A former journalist, Phillion has also worked as a writer and editor in the healthcare world as well as a marketing writer in IT security. Before the Indestructibles, he wrote and directed the romantic comedy Certainly Never, nominated by the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for five awards, including best screenplay and best New England film. He is also involved as a playwright in the recently debuted project “Stories of Substance” with the Salem Athenæum.
Twitter: @mattphillion

David Roper’s collection of stories and essays, Watching for Mermaids, was a four-time Boston Globe Bestseller. His 2017 novel Rounding the Bend…The Life and Times of Big Red follows the life and redemption of a washed-up Mississippi River pilot and Vietnam vet.  David’s non-fiction work includes Getting the Job You Want Now! (Warner Books). He is a regular columnist for Points East Magazine and been featured in Cruising World, Lakeland Boating, Sail, Sailing, Reader’s Digest, and The Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly.  David was a three-time Best of Show fiction winner of the Marblehead Festival of Art Writers’ World. His writing has been published in eighteen languages. This winter he co-wrote the screenplay for Rounding the Bend, after it  was optioned for a film. Among his youthful occupations was captaining a 135’ Mississippi River paddlewheel cruise ship. Since 1982 he has run A-Script, a career advisory and resume writing firm in Marblehead, MA.
Writing Website/Blog (books & archived writing):

Paul Tremblay is the award-winning author of seven novels including The Cabin at the End of the World, A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, and The Little Sleep. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment, and numerous “year’s best” anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his wife and two children.

Meghan Maclean Weir was raised in the rectory of her father’s church in Southbridge, Massachusetts, and later moved with her family to Buffalo, New York. Her memoir, Between Expectations: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency, chronicles her years in training at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. She continues to live and work as a physician in the Boston area. This is her first novel.

Joan Wilking‘s short fiction has been published in The Atlantic, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, Other Voices, The Mississippi Review, Ascent, The MacGuffin, Hobart, Clackamas and many other literary journals and anthologies online and in print. Her story, ‘Deer Season’, was a finalist for the 2010 Nelson Algren Short Story Competition of The Chicago Tribune. Her story, “Clutter” received a special mention in the 2016 Pushcart Prize XL Anthology. Her novella, Mycology, winner of the 2016 Wild Onion Novella Prize, was published in 2017 by Curbside Splendor.

2017 Authors

M. T. Anderson

M. T. Anderson has written stories for adults, picture books for children, adventure novels for young readers, and several books for older readers (both teens and adults). His satirical book Feed was a Finalist for the National Book Award and was the winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize. The first volume of his Octavian Nothing saga won the National Book Award and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Prize. Both the first and second volumes of that two-part series were Printz Honor Books. He has published stories for adults in literary journals like The Northwest Review, The Colorado Review, and Conjunctions. His new novel, Yvain, will be released in spring 2017.

Twitter: @_MTAnderson

Brunonia Barry


Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction and Amazon’s Best of the Month. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times and The Washington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel.

Twitter: @BrunoniaBarry

Deborah Cramer


Deborah Cramer lives with her family at the edge of a salt marsh in Gloucester, MA where each year she eagerly awaits the return of migrating shorebirds and horseshoe crabs coming into the creeks at the highest of spring’s high tides, in the new and full moons, to lay their eggs.  Cramer has written two natural histories of the sea, Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage (W.W. Norton) and Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World, the companion to the Ocean Hall at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History.  In her most recent book, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey, she accompanies small sandpipers on their long migration from Tierra del Fuego up into the Arctic.  The Narrow Edge is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Book Award, from the Society of Environmental Journalists; the Best Book Award from the National Academy of Sciences; the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Reed award honoring the “power of writing to change hearts and minds.,”  The Massachusetts Book Awards chose The Narrow Edge as a “Must Read.” She is a Visiting Scholar at MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative.  Perhaps you’ve seen Deborah’s Op-Eds in the New York Times, or heard her on Radio Boston.


Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington, award winning playwright, lyricist and librettist, winner of the 2008 Kleban Award for “most promising librettist in American Musical Theatre,” has written dozens of plays, musicals, operas and radio plays which have been produced in 28 states, Canada and Europe, in venues ranging from Off-Broadway to Houston Grand Opera to the Paris Cinemateque. Harrington has twice won both the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in playwriting and the Clauder Competition for best new play in New England.  Additional awards include a Boston IRNE Award for Best New Play, a Bunting Institute Fellowship at Harvard/ Radcliffe, a Whiting Foundation Grant-in-Aid, the Joseph Kesselring Award for Drama, a New England Emmy, and a Quebec Cinemateque Award. Laura teaches playwriting at MIT where she was awarded the 2009 Levitan Prize for Excellence in Teaching.  She has also been a frequent guest artist at Tufts, Harvard, Wellesley, Skidmore, and the University of Iowa.  She was the 2014 Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence at UMASS Lowell.

A Catalog of Birds, her second novel, will launch in July 2017, published by Europa. Alice Bliss, (Penguin/ Viking) her first novel, widely acclaimed in print and online and a Boston Globe bestseller, won the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction. Alice Bliss was published in Italy, Denmark and the UK, where it was a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick. In addition, Playwrights Horizons in NYC has commissioned Alice Bliss, the musical with composer Jenny Giering, librettist Karen Hartman and lyricist Adam Gwon. A workshop of the musical will take place in 2018 in NYC, with Mark Brokaw directing.

Twitter: @LaurHarrington

Katherine Howe


Katherine Howe  is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of four novels and a nonfiction book. Her best known works are The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2009, and Conversion, which received the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award in young adult literature. Her newest novel, a New York City-based literary thriller called The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, was released in paperback in 2016. She has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” BBC Radio 5, and the History Channel, and she hosted “Salem: Unmasking the Devil” for National Geographic. Her fiction has been translated into over twenty languages. In 2015 she was the visiting writer in residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina, and she spent 2016 as a visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. While at CASBS she completed a novel set among the pirates of the Gulf coast. She holds a BA in art history and philosophy from Columbia and an MA in American and New England studies from Boston University. A native Houstonian, she lives in New England and New York City.

Twitter: @katherinebhowe

Kathleen Kent 


Kathleen Kent is the author of two best-selling novels, THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER, for which she received the David J. Langum Sr. award for American Historical Fiction, and THE TRAITOR’S WIFE (published in hardcover as THE WOLVES OF ANDOVER). Her most recent historical fiction novel, THE OUTCASTS, was awarded the American Library Association’s “Top Pick” Historical Fiction in 2014 as well as being the recipient of a Will Rogers Medallion award for Western fiction. She has completed her fourth novel, THE DIME, based on a short story published in the crime anthology Dallas Noir.  Her novels are collectively published in 16 countries.

Twitter: @kathleenkent214

Crystal King


Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart-nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her M.A. in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She considers Italy her next great love, after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin.


Louise Miller


Louise Miller is a pastry chef who lives and works in Boston, MA. She received a scholarship to attend GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, a yearlong workshop for novelists. She is an art school dropout, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is her debut novel.

Laurie Stolarz

Laurie Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels including the Dark House series, the Touch series, Project 17, Shutter, and Bleed, (all published by Disney/Hyperion Books for Children), as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series (Flux Publications). With over a million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been translated into over twenty languages, been named on numerous award lists, including the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list and the Top Ten Teen Pick list, both through the American Library Association, and have been optioned for TV. For more information, please visit her Web site at

Twitter: @lauriestolarz

Peter Swanson


Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.

Twitter: @PeterSwanson3

Young Adult Writing Workshop:
M.P. Carver and Matthew Phillion

M.P. Carver is a poet from Salem, MA.  She is an editor at YesNo Press, former poetry editor of Soundings East, and runs the Small Press Fair at the annual Mass Poetry Festival.  Her chapbook, Selachimorpha, was published in 2015 by Incessant Pipe Print Works.


Matthew Phillion is the author of the Indestructibles, an ongoing series of Young Adult superhero adventure novels. A former journalist, Phillion has also worked as a writer and editor in the healthcare world as well as a marketing writer in IT security. Before the Indestructibles, he wrote and directed the romantic comedy Certainly Never, nominated by the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for five awards, including best screenplay and best New England film. He is also involved as a playwright in the upcoming project “Stories of Substance” with the Salem Athenaeum.

Twitter: @mattphillion

Moderator: Karen Scalia


Karen Scalia is the founder and owner of Salem Food Tours and the Salem Spirit Trolley. Her five-star rated Tours have been featured on Chronicle, NY1, Fox CT, as well as in the Boston Globe, Northshore Magazine, Vegetarian Times, and more.  Karen hosts culinary events, such as emceeing the Giada De Laurentiis cookbook tour appearance at Northshore Music Theater.  Her background includes corporate event planning. She is an active actor and voiceover artist, and currently sits on the New England Board of SAG-AFTRA as well as Destination Salem.

Twitter: @SalemFoodTours

Moderator: Diane Stern

Diane Stern spent four decades anchoring and reporting the news in Boston. Before retiring from broadcasting in November 2016, she had spent most of her career at the CBS all news station, WBZ, where she anchored pm drive for many years. She is currently “The Voice of Health Information” for Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Diane’s Massachusetts ancestors include Susannah Martin and Samuel Wardwell, both victims of the Salem witch hysteria.

Twitter: @DianeWBZ