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

2014 Nonfiction Participants

Listed in alphabetical order
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C.B. BernardC.B. Bernard

Chasing Alaska — Saturday 2:30 PM

Chris Bernard is a freelance writer and the author of Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now (Lyons Press), a Publishers Weekly and National Geographic top travel pick and finalist for an Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction. He’s been a newspaper and magazine journalist, among other writing-related jobs, and his work has appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, The Huffington Post, and the Utne Reader. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and a temperamental bird dog named Shakespeare.

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Abigail CarrollAbigail Carroll

The Invention of the American Meal — Saturday 11:00 AM

Abigail Carroll delights in uncovering the stories behind the foods we eat. She is an author and cultural historian who has taught in the Gastronomy Program at Boston University and has published articles in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post. She holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University and makes her home in Vermont.

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Marc CloptonMarc Clopton

Voices of the Clipper City — Saturday 9:00 AM

Marc Clopton has been involved in creating new original theater since his college days. He has worked in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Los Angeles, and is now Executive Director of The Actors Studio of Newburyport. He has written and produced numerous original plays and published an actor's workbook, entitled Breathe and Speak.

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Jean DoyleJean Foley Doyle

The Fight Comes Home: Newburyport At War — Saturday 1:00 PM

Jean Foley Doyle, a lifelong resident of Newburyport, Massachusetts, is the mother of seven and grandmother of eleven children. She graduated from Newburyport High School (NHS) in 1947 and joined the ranks of her peers who married young and started their families after World War II, thus contributing to the baby boomer generations. She stayed at home for the next nineteen years. Finally able to achieve her dream of a college education, she graduated summa cum laude from Merrimack College in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in history. In 1972, she earned her master’s degree in history from the University of New Hampshire. Returning to her alma mater, Jean taught history and international relations for thirty years until her retirement in 1999. While teaching at NHS, Jean was responsible for implementing the highly successful community service program which allowed hundreds of students to get to know and contribute to the Newburyport community. Jean is the author of Life in Newburyport 1900 - 1950 and Life in Newburyport 1950 - 1985. An avid gardener, she lives in Newbury, Massachusetts.

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Bethany GroffBethany Groff

250 Years of Newburyport – Student Presentations — Saturday 12:00 PM
The Fight Comes Home: Newburyport At War — 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, based at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury. She 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 family.
Photo credit: Eva Timothy.

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William HallettWilliam Hallett

The Fight Comes Home: Newburyport At War — Saturday 1:00 PM

A former radio announcer turned writer, William Hallett is a twelfth- generation descendant of a first settler of Newbury, Nicholas Noyes. Always a fan of American history, Bill lived in Maryland near Pennsylvania as a youth and by his twenties had acquired an interest in Civil War history, which is so prevalent in that region. In 1994, he returned to New England and not long after became involved in the Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire. He led that group as president for ten years and as vice-president for two. He also joined the Civil War Roundtable of the Merrimack and served on the board. During the same time, he was introduced to the world of reenacting, with his first occasion being an encampment on the grounds of Gettysburg National Military Park in June 1994. Determined to keep alive the memory of the people and events of this most crucial time in history, Bill has decided to create this book hoping to spotlight Newburyport’s place in Civil War history. Bill lives in Newburyport with his wife, Elizabeth. The couple periodically hosts Footsteps of Heroes: Civil War Walking Tour of Newburyport.

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Kevin HuntKevin Hunt

The Fight Comes Home: Newburyport At War — Saturday 1:00 PM

Kevin Hunt is presently the Veterans’ Services Officer for the City of Newburyport. He is a 1963 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Communications. After college, Kevin joined the Navy in 1965 and served as the Legal Officer on the aircraft carrier Kearsarge CVS-33. He spent hours on the carrier’s bridge and qualified to stand watch as the Captain’s replacement when the Captain was not on the bridge. Translated: that meant he drove the aircraft carrier – a unique experience. Besides touring the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, Kevin also served as an instructor at the Navy’s Officer Candidate School on Newport, Rhode Island . He left the Navy in 1969 while the Vietnam sentiment in this country was just building. In the forty plus years before accepting his present position, he was a Regional Sales Manager for EDS, ADP, Xerox, and smaller firms. He has been lucky enough to be involved with a number of firsts: The development of commercial computers with IBM in the early 1960’s, the first plain paper copiers with Xerox, the first fax machines with Xerox, the first “On-Line” ATM networks with ADP and EDS and most recently, the cutting edge of Home Theater and Hi-Definition television. He has three grown sons and seven grandchildren and has lived on Plum Island since 1973.

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Tom JuergensTom Juergens

Puritan Myths & Stereotypes Debunked! — Saturday 2:30 PM

Tom Juergens is the author of Wicked Puritans of Essex County (The History Press), a detailed look at the surprisingly robust – and twisted -- Puritan criminal record. Gritty, bloody, salacious, and sometimes darkly comic, the record undermines all the established Puritan mythologies, and shows that a good number of Puritans, from all walks of life, didn’t fit the convenient, one-dimensional mold history has made for them. Weren’t obedient, conformist, morally superior churchgoers who would never kick the dog, miss a Sunday, or talk about sex. On the contrary, it seems there were just many of the irreverent, ruthless, desperate, libidinous, and habitually lawless then as now. Wicked Puritans draws mainly on the 4,000-page Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, the colony’s own accounting of crime. The book, while scholarly, is pointedly non-academic: it is a popular history, spiced with humor and irony wherever possible. Tom Juergens has worked in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing as a reporter and editor. His journalism has appeared in The Boston Globe, Popular Science, Offshore, and The Boston Business Journal. In 2012 his short story, One Little Rabbit, placed eighth in the Literary/Mainstream category in the Writer’s Digest short story competition. He continues to practice the disciplines of fiction on the North Shore.

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Skip and Marge MotesSkip and Marge Motes

A Walk Along Historic Water Street — Saturday 11:00 AM

Skip and Marge Motes, of Newburyport, have been researching Newburyport’s history since moving here in 1995. Skip has given lectures for the Newburyport Preservation Trust and the Custom House Maritime Museum. Marge answered queries for fourteen years for the Historical Society of Old Newbury, and has published North End Papers, 1618-1880: Newburyport, Massachusetts—Development of the North End of the City, which is a compilation of the writing of Oliver B. Merrill; and Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker—Occupations in Newburyport, Massachusetts from the 1850 Census. Their earliest book, published in 1994, was Laurens & Newberry Counties, S.C.: Saluda and Little River Settlements, 1749-1775, which won the 1995 National Genealogy Society prize for methods and sources. They are currently writing Bound for Batavia: Historic Water Street, Newburyport Massachusetts in the Age of Sail from which material is taken for their Literary Festival talk, A Walk along Historic Water’s Street’s Maritime Past.

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Will SchwalbeWill Schwalbe

The End of Your Life Book Club — Saturday 10:00 AM

Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing (most recently as senior vice-president and editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books); new media, as founder of Cookstr.com; and as a journalist. He serves on the board of the Kingsborough Community College Foundation. He is the author with David Shipley of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better. His most recent book, The End Of Your Life Book Club, spent twelve weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover and paperback, was named an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year and was one of Amazons top four best books of the year, won an Indie Choice Honor Award, and was awarded the Books for A Better Life Award for Best Inspirational Memoir. It has been translated into ten languages.

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Lauren SlaterLauren Slater

Lauren Slater reads from Playing House:
Notes of a Reluctant Mother — Saturday 9:00 AM
All Creatures Great and Small:
The Bond Between Humans and Animals — Saturday 2:30 PM

Lauren Slater is the author of eight books, both fiction and literary non-fiction. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2004 National Endowment for The Arts Award, a 2006 Knight Science Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a 2002 Bild Der Wissenchaft Award for the most groundbreaking science book of the year in Germany, a 2004 nomination for the Los Angeles Book Award for Excellence in Science Writing, and many others. Slater has also been nominated numerous times for National Magazine Awards in both the Essay and Profile Categories, and her work has been included in eight volumes of the Best American series, most recently Best American Essays 2012. Slater's latest book, Playing House (Beacon Press), is a collection of her autobiographical essays culled from ten years of magazine writing. She is currently working on The Drugs that Changed Our Minds: A History of Psychiatry in Ten Treatments, to be published by Little, Brown, in 2015. Slater lives with her husband, two children, one dog, one cat, and three horses in Harvard, Massachusetts.

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Neil SwideyNeil Swidey

Trapped Under the Sea — Saturday 2:30 PM

Neil Swidey is author of Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness, a No. 1 Boston Globe Bestseller and New England Indie Bestseller that has been named one of the best new nonfiction releases by Publishers Weekly, Amazon, iTunes and other outlets. His first book, The Assist, was a Globe bestseller that was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post. He was also a coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy. A staff writer for The Boston Globe Magazine, Swidey also teaches multimedia journalism at Tufts University. His award-winning writing has been featured in The Best American Science Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and The Best American Political Writing.

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Vint VirgaDr. Vint Virga

Vint Virga, DVM, reads from The Soul of All Living Creatures — Saturday 11:00 AM
All Creatures Great and Small:
The Bond Between Humans and Animals — Saturday 2:30 PM

For over twenty-five years, Dr. Vint Virga has been a distinguished practitioner and leader in veterinary medicine, recognized for his insights into our relationships with animals. As a specialist in veterinary behavioral medicine and consultant to zoos and wildlife parks, his expertise spans the animal kingdom from dogs and cats to wild species such as leopards, gibbons, wolves, and giraffes. He has served as an advisor to leading U.S. corporations, professional associations, and animal welfare organizations and has appeared as a featured guest on ABC World News, National Geographic Explorer, and PBS Nature. Dr. Virga’s first book, The Soul of All Living Creatures was published in July 2013 by Random House / Crown. Dr. Virga also posts a blog for Psychology Today and has contributed to Conjunctions, Biographile, Mind Body Green, Books for Better Living, and TheDodo.com. In recognition of his writing, he’s been awarded two MacDowell Fellowships and a Kate and George Kendall Fellowship.

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Ira WoodIra Wood

Ira Wood: You Are What You Owe — Saturday 10:00 AM

Ira Wood is the author of three novels, The Kitchen Man, Going Public, and Storm Tide, co-authored by Marge Piercy, with whom he has also written So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir, the basis of the workshop they’ve taught for the last twenty years at the Omega Institute. His most recent book is the comic memoir, You’re Married to HER? He is the former Managing Editor of Leapfrog Press. His talk show, The Lowdown, addresses politics, books, and national trends. It airs on WOMR-FM Provincetown, the Pacifica network affiliate on Cape Cod, and streams on WOMR.ORG. His website is www.irawood.com 

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Ghlee WoodworthGhlee E. Woodworth

Newburyport: Then and Now — Saturday 10:00 AM

Ghlee E. Woodworth, a local historian, is the creator and author of Newburyport’s Clipper Heritage Trail, a series of self-guided history tours of Newburyport in the 1700s and 1800s accessed via a website – www.clipperheritagetrail.com. The website offers 125 different locations of historical points of interest with over 200 images on 12 tours, downloadable maps and brochures, a welcome video, and a downtown mobile tour with granite markers inlaid in the brick sidewalks to help pinpoint the historical location. Ghlee’s first publication Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery, won awards from the New England (2009) and New York (2010) Book Festivals and was one of the top 75 nationwide finalists of the American Association for State and Local History (2010). Having trained in gravestone restoration Ghlee has lead volunteers in repairing over 1,400 gravestones during the past four years in local cemeteries.

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Newburyport Literary Festival, A Project of the Newburyport Literary Association – PO Box 268 Newburyport, MA 01950 – 978-465-1257

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