Newburyport Literary Festival: A Celebration of Literature, Readers, and Writers
Newburyport Literary Festival: A Celebration of Literature, Readers, and Writers

2009 Nonfiction Participants

Listed in alphabetical order
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Tania AebiTania Aebi

Women at the Helm—Journeys at Sea - Saturday 9:00 AM

In May 1985, when Tania Aebi was 18 years old, she cast off from the docks of South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan, and sailed 27,000 miles around the world, alone, a challenge her father offered in lieu of a college education. In November 1987, just barely 21, Tania Aebi stepped back onto the cement shores of New York City, a solo-circumnavigator.

Her bestselling book, Maiden Voyage, is the personal account of her modern day odyssey and the dramatic childhood leading up to it. Currently in its thirteenth trade paperback printing, it has been translated into seven languages, and portions of it have been anthologized in many collections. As Walter Cronkite put it, Maiden Voyage is “an exciting tale of an extraordinarily brave and romantic adventure.”

In 1995, she moved to Vermont, where she has been living and raising her two boys ever since. She went back to traditional school, earned her BA and MFA, and published another book of essays, I've Been Around, compiled from a column she writes for a popular sailing magazine.

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Kristin BierfeltKristin Bierfelt

Kristin Bierfelt reads from The North Shore Literary Trail:
From Bradstreet's Andover to Hawthorne's Salem
- Saturday 10:00 AM

Kristin Bierfelt is the author of The North Shore Literary Trail (History Press), a guide to many of the area’s literary landmarks. She has written articles on art and culture for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Peabody Essex Museum, and maintains a blog at thenorthshoreliterarytrail.blogspot.com. When she’s not searching for roadside historical markers and overgrown gravestones, Kristin plays roller derby as a founding member of the Boston Derby Dames.

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Kate BraestrupKate Braestrup

The Truth about the Truth: Memory, Storytelling and Memoir - Saturday 1:00 PM

Kate Braestrup is one of the first chaplains ever appointed to the Maine Warden Service. She is the author of a novel, Onion, and the memoir, Here If You Need Me: A True Story. Braestrup has written for Mademoiselle, Ms., City Paper, Hope and Law and Order. She lives in Maine with her husband, Simon van der Ven, and their six children.

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Deborah CramerDeborah Cramer

Oceans Under Siege - Saturday 10:30 AM

Deborah Cramer writes about science, nature, and the environment. Nobel prize winner Al Gore said of her natural history of the Atlantic, Great Waters, (W.W. Norton), “I urge everyone to read this book, act on its message and pass on its teachings.” Her latest book, Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World (Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins) was published on the occasion of the opening of the new Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the most heavily visited museum in the U.S. She sits on the board of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, was awarded the science writing fellowship at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT in 2005-2006, and is now a visiting scholar at MIT’s Earth System Initiative.

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Richard EllisRichard Ellis

Oceans Under Siege - Saturday 10:30 AM

Richard Ellis is one of America's leading marine conservationists, and is generally recognized as the foremost painter of marine natural history subjects in the world. His paintings, which have been exhibited at museums and galleries around the world, have appeared in Audubon, National Wildlife, Australian Geographic, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Sports Afield, Audubon, Sport Diver, Nautical Quarterly, and Reader's Digest. One hundred and six of his paintings were selected by the Smithsonian Institution to form a traveling exhibit of the marine mammals of the world, and these paintings are now in the permanent collection of Whaleworld, a museum in Albany, Western Australia. In 2008, Knopf published his book Tuna: a Love Story , and coming in 2009, On Thin Ice: The Polar Bear and Global Warming.

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Julia FoxGarrisonJulia Fox Garrison

Memoirs with a Message: Moving from a Personal Life Experience
to a Public Message - Saturday 10:30 AM
Julia Fox Garrison Reads from Don’t Leave Me This Way or When I Get Back On My Feet You’ll Be Sorry - Saturday 2:30 PM

Julia Fox Garrison is the author of Don’t Leave Me This Way (or when I get back on my feet you’ll be sorry), a personal memoir of her struggle to regain control over her life and her body following a devastating hemorrhagic stroke. Julia has lectured at medical conferences where she evangelizes for humaneness in medicine. Her message is a timely one, for medical schools are starting to understand the importance of the doctor/patient relationship. She also speaks to support and patient advocacy groups with whom she shares her story of personal triumph against overwhelming odds. She currently resides with her husband Jim, young son Rory, and dog Shaggy in a suburb outside Boston, where she is researching her next writing project as she continues to overcome the effects of stroke.

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Joseph GarlandJoseph Garland

Unknown Soldiers – Joseph Garland Reads - Saturday 3:00 PM

Born in 1922, Garland was supposed to be the fourth in a line of Dr. Joseph Garlands — a healer, not a killer. But after failing organic chemistry, Joe took a leave from Harvard, swapping the expected medical career — and guaranteed military deferment — for a gun, a gas mask, and the storied U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division. The year was 1943; the destination, Italy, where Nazis held the high ground, eager for target practice on Americans. Voted “most temperamental” in his Roxbury Latin School class of 1940, Garland kept his impetuous nature in check and his ideals in view when he chose journalism as a postwar career. Author of over 20 nonfiction books, Joe lives with his wife on the harbor shore of Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest fishing port and their constant inspiration.  Unknown Soldiers is Garland's most recent book.

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Bethany GroffBethany Groff

Take Me Back to Dear Old Newbury(port) - Saturday 1:00 PM

Bethany Groff is the author of A Brief History of Old Newbury (History Press), and the North Shore Regional Site Manager for Historic New England where she is responsible for four early Newbury houses. She is also the chair of the Historic Sites Professional Affiliation Group of the New England Museum Association, and serves on the boards of the Newburyport Preservation Trust and the North of Boston CVB. She was the recipient of the Pioneer in Preservation Award from the Essex National Heritage Commission in 2005 and the North of Boston CVB Leadership Award in 2007. She has an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts, and has published articles in the New England Quarterly and Historic New England Magazine. Bethany lives in Newburyport with her husband and children.

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Meredith HallMeredith Hall

Meredith Hall Reads From Without a Map: A Memoir - Saturday 9:00 AM
Memoirs with a Message: Moving from a Personal Life Experience
to a Public Message - Saturday 10:30 AM

Meredith Hall’s awards include a Pushcart Prize, notable essay recognition in Best American Essays, the Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation and an Individual Artist Grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Five Points, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and several anthologies. She teaches writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Maine.

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Drew HendricksonDrew Hendrickson

Below the Radar: Immigrants in America - Saturday 2:30 PM

Drew Hendrickson is studying theology and social justice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has experience working with refugee communities in South America and Africa. He also worked with families from Central and South America while he coordinated youth programs for public school students in Boston.

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Tony HorwitzTony Horwitz

Tony Horwitz: A Voyage Long and Strange - Saturday 2:30 PM

Tony Horwitz is the bestselling author of Blue Latitudes, Confederates in the Attic, Baghdad without a Map and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists and Other Adventurers in Early America. He is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Geraldine Brooks, and their son, Nathaniel.

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Eve LaPlanteEve LaPlante

Eve LaPlante Reads from Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall - Saturday 2:30 PM

Eve LaPlante's award-winning Salem Witch Judge (HarperOne, 2007, 2008) follows the Boston Globe bestseller American Jezebel (2004, 2005) and Seized (1993, 2000). She contributed to the essay collection Why I'm Still Married (Penguin, 2006). LaPlante, who has degrees from Princeton and Harvard, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction and lives with her family in New England.

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Elizabeth McCrackenElizabeth McCracken

The Truth about the Truth: Memory, Storytelling and Memoir - Saturday 1:00 PM

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of two novels, The Giant's House: A Romance and Niagara Falls All Over Again, a collection of short stories, Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry, and the recent memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. This year she is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.

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Peter OrnerPeter Orner

Stories of Ordinary Lives Told By Extraordinary Writers - Saturday 9:00 AM
Below the Radar: Immigrants in America - Saturday 2:30 PM

Peter Orner is the author of the novel, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The book has been translated into Italian, German, French, and Dutch. The Boston Globe wrote, "With this staggering debut novel, Orner has joined the first rank of American writers." He is also the author of the collection, Esther Stories, winner of the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and New York Times Notable book. Orner is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations. Orner's work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and Best American Stories. Born in Chicago, he lives in San Francisco.

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Jon PeedeJon Peede

Opening Ceremony - Friday 6:00 PM
Operation Homecoming - Saturday 1:00 PM

Jon Parrish Peede is Director of Literature Grants at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also director of the NEA's acclaimed Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience program. With this program, he traveled to 29 military bases in six countries to gather wartime writing from U.S. troops and their families. In 2007, he co-edited of an essay collection on Flannery O’Connor, and selected contemporary U.S. stories for an anthology published by the Mexican government. He is a former book editor and college administrator.

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Cheryl RichardsonCheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson: The Writer’s Life - Saturday 10:30 AM

Cheryl Richardson is the author of New York Times bestselling books Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace, and her newest book, The Art of Extreme Self Care. She's written for major publications such as Good Housekeeping, O Magazine, and Body & Soul, and writes an e-newsletter that goes out to over 50,000 readers every week at cherylrichardson.com. Cheryl was the team leader for the Lifestyle Makeover Series on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and she accompanied Ms. Winfrey on the "Live Your Best Life" nationwide tour. She also hosts her own Internet talk-radio show called “Coach on Call” on hayhouseradio.com.

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Frank SchaefferFrank Schaeffer

Dear Reader, Dear Publisher, Dear Me. - Saturday 9:00 AM

Frank Schaeffer’s three semi-biographical novels about growing up in a fundamentalist mission: Portofino, Zermatt, Saving Grandma have a worldwide following and have been translated into nine languages. BABY JACK, a novel about service, sacrifice and the class division between who serves and who does not, was published in October of 2006. USA TODAY said of BABY JACK; “The reader marvels at how Schaeffer makes this concise chorus of social conviction moving and memorable...” Schaeffer has written for USA Today, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun and other publications on topics ranging from his critique of American right wing fundamentalism to his experiences as a military parent and novelist and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post website. He has been a commentator on both NPR’s All Things Considered and for the NEWS HOUR with Jim Lehrer and a frequent guest on C-SPAN Book TV. His latest book is a memoir, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back has been acclaimed widely.

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Mary SouthMary South

Women at the Helm—Journeys at Sea - Saturday 9:00 AM

Mary South is the author of The Cure for Anything is Salt Water (HarperCollins, 2007) and her writing has appeared in Departures, Power Cruising, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She also writes regularly on boat travel and adventures for Yachting, where she is Senior Editor, A founding editor of Riverhead Books, South also worked at Houghton Mifflin, Ballantine, Little Brown & Company, and Rodale. In the course of her publishing career, she edited an eclectic list of award-winning and bestselling books, ranging from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ to The South Beach Diet. When South is not aboard her steel trawler Bossanova, she lives in New York City, where she is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

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Beth WelchBeth Welch

Take Me Back to Dear Old Newbury(port) - Saturday 1:00 PM

Executive Editor for History at the college publishing house, Bedford/St. Martin's, Beth Welch has deep ties to Newburyport on both sides of her family.She is currently leading a book group on the works of her grandfather John P. Marquand (1893-1960), the most prominent New England novelist of his generation.

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Joan WickershamJoan Wickersham

Writing about Family: Fiction or Nonfiction?
A Conversation between Friends - Saturday 9:00 AM
The Truth about the Truth: Memory, Storytelling and Memoir - Saturday 1:00 PM

Joan Wickersham is the author of the memoir The Suicide Index, a National Book Award finalist, and the novel The Paper Anniversary. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including AGNI, Glimmer Train, the Hudson Review, Ploughshares, and Story, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. She has published essays in Glamour, Yankee, and the Boston Globe, and she has contributed and read on-air essays for National Public Radio’s On Point and Morning Edition. Wickersham has won the Ploughshares Cohen Award for Best Short Story, and she has received several fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, where much of The Suicide Index was written. She graduated from Yale with a degree in art history, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons.

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Brenda WineappleBrenda Wineapple

Brenda Wineapple Reads from White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson - Saturday 11:00 AM

Brenda Wineapple's books include the recently published White Heat:  The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf 2008), a New York Times Notable Book of 2008, and which The New Yorker called "trenchant," The Washington Post, "a tour de force," and Time  Magazine, "captivating." She is also the author of GenÍt: A Biography of Janet Flanner, Sister Brother Gertrude and Leo Stein, and Hawthorne: A Life, which received the Ambassador Awardof the English-speaking Union for the Best Biography of 2003 and the  Julia Ward Howe Prize from the Boston Book Club. Editor of The Selected Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier for the Library  of  America's American Poets Project, Wineapple has  also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Socieites fellowship, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Her essays and reviews regularly appear in such national publications as  The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Nation. She is presently finishing the anthogolgy, Nineteenth- Century American Writers on Writing for The Writers World, series editor, Edward Hirsch.

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