Read more about our wonderful moderators for this year’s Festival!
Leslie Bensley has served as executive director of the Morris County Tourism Bureau for the last 20 years. In 2010, she was vice chair of the Governor’s Task Force for Heritage Tourism. Currently, she is the treasurer of the Advocates for NJ History and board member of the Crossroads of American Revolution Heritage Area and the New Jersey Travel Industry Association. Leslie and her husband have lived in Morristown for 23 years.
Amy Brady is the deputy publisher of Guernica magazine and the senior editor at the Chicago Review of Books, where she writes a monthly column about contemporary fiction and climate change. Her work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the Dallas Morning News, the Pacific Standard, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other places.
David Ebershoff’s novels include The Danish Girl, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, and the #1 bestseller The 19th Wife, which was adapted into a television movie that has aired around the world. He’s finishing a new novel called The Prodigies.
Carol Fitzgerald is the founder and president of The Book Report Network―a group of Internet sites about books and authors that have become the gathering places for a large and devoted community of booklovers since 1996. Programming is organized by demographic at Bookreporter.com, 20SomethingReads.com, Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com and by special interest at ReadingGroupGuides.com and GraphicNovelReporter.com. In addition, the company’s Authors on the Web division provides website design and development and consulting services for authors and publishers. She lives in Warren, New Jersey, with her husband and two sons.
Lance Gould is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Silicon Valley Story Lab, a content-strategy firm that works with purpose-driven organizations and teaches them how to think and behave like great media companies. He was previously a journalist, where he held newsroom-leadership positions at The Huffington Post (Executive Editor), The Boston Phoenix (Editor in Chief), The New York Daily News (Deputy Managing Editor) and Spy magazine (Editor). He lives in New York City.
Leigh Haber has been Books Editor for O, the Oprah Magazine for the last six years. She curates literary coverage for the magazine, including the monthly Reading Room section, and works as coordinator of Oprah’s Book Club. Leigh is a New Jersey resident who has worked with books and authors for her entire professional life, starting as a copy aide for the Book World section of the Washington Post. For many years she worked as a publicity director and then an editor for a variety of book publishing houses.
Allyson Hobbs is an associate professor in the department of American History and director of African and African American Studies at Stanford University. Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (Harvard University Press, 2014) won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history. Allyson is originally from Morristown.
Unjeria Jackson, MD is a retired maternal-fetal medicine specialist who attended Yale College and Boston University School of Medicine. She did her residency at Harlem Hospital and her fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Dr. Jackson practiced at Morristown Memorial Hospital for 18 years full-time and four years per diem. She is on the Morristown Medical Center Community Advisory Board.
Pat Kennedy-Grant has been the Adult Services Manager at the Bernardsville Library for 20 years, where helping patrons make book choices is part of her job. Collection development in the area of digital media has also been a priority, as well as choosing audio books and large print material for the collection. Pat instituted round-table discussions of genre selections at the library for the staff to improve readers’ advisory skills. She also leads Memoirs and Coffee, a long standing book group that is beginning its 17th year.
Jean Hanff Korelitz was born and raised in New York and graduated from Dartmouth College and Clare College, Cambridge. She is the New York Times best-selling author of five novels and creator of BOOKTHEWRITER, a New York City-based service that sends authors to book groups. In 2016, she and her husband (Irish poet and professor Paul Muldoon) adapted and co-produced The Dead, 1904, an immersive adaptation of James Joyce’s The Dead, for New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre.
Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a BA in English and American literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. She wrote her first novel, The Two-Family House, while she was a student of the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute. The Two-Family House was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in historical fiction. Lynda’s second novel, The Wartime Sisters, will be published in early 2019.
Emmy Laybourne writes about good kids in dangerous situations. Her Monument 14 trilogy has sold over a quarter-million copies in the United States, has been translated into 12 languages, and was optioned for film development by Strange Weather Films. Her latest books, Berserker and Ransacker (to be released in January 2019) tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking powers.
Lisa Lucas is the executive director of the National Book Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the publisher of Guernica, a nonprofit, online magazine that focuses on writing and explores the intersection of art and politics, and as director of education at the Tribeca Film Institute. Lucas also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Rebecca Munro is the editorial manager of Kidsreads.com and Teenreads.com, which are part of The Book Report Network. Both sites feature reviews, interviews, special features and roundups, as well as monthly newsletters. She coordinates all editorial content and manages the Teen Board, a group of 55 teens nationwide who read, review and blog for Teenreads.
Ken Schlager is editor of New Jersey Monthly, the leading magazine in the Garden State. Prior to joining the magazine in April 2008, Ken was executive editor of Billboard, the music-business newsweekly. He also has served as associate features editor of the New York Post, and as a reporter and editor at Gannett Westchester Newspapers and the Fort Lauderdale News. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Ken lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
Courtney Zoffness won the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the largest international prize for short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Southern Review, Indiana Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere, and won the 2017 Arts & Letters Creative Nonfiction Prize. A recipient of fellowships from The Center for Fiction and The MacDowell Colony, she directs the Creative Writing Program at Drew University.