Jim Acosta is CNN's chief White House correspondent and is currently covering the Trump administration. He has won many awards for his work including the “Truth to Power” Award from the New York Press Club, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2017 Presidential Award, the JSU Journalism School 2018 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award, and he was a part of CNN’s 2012 Emmy-award winning team for their presidential campaign coverage. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America is his first book.
New York Times bestselling author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s first book is Friday Black. He was selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" honorees, is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Friday Black was also long-listed for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel, and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the 2nd Annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest.
Mindy Aloff is dance editor of The University Press of Florida and former adjunct associate professor of dance at Barnard College. Her books include Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation, Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World by Agnes de Mille, The Unpicturelikeness of Pollock, Soutine and Others, Dance Anecdotes, and a collection of poetry, Night Lights. Her essays and reviews on dance, literature, and film have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Village Voice, Dancing Times, and The Threepenny Review. She is a past president of the Dance Critics Association, a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundations, and a winner of a Whiting Writers Award.
Emily Bernard has the distinction of being the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont. Her first book, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and her work has appeared in The American Scholar, The Boston Globe Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, Green Mountains Review, Oxford American, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and theatlantic.com. Her essays have been reprinted in Best American Essays, Best African American Essays, and Best of Creative Nonfiction. She holds a B. A. and Ph. D. in American Studies from Yale University.
David Blight is a Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. His book, Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom, won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in History and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Time Magazine. Author or editor of a dozen books, he has also been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize.
Tina Cassidy is the author of three books, including Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, and Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams. A former journalist who spent most of her career at the Boston Globe covering business, fashion, and politics, she is the Chief Marketing Officer of WGBH. Tina serves on the board of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
Nicole (N.D.) Galland is the author of the contemporary comic novel Stepdog, as well as five historical fiction novels: I, Iago; The Fool's Tale; Godiva; Revenge of the Rose; and Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade. She is the co-author of the alternative history trilogy The Mongoliad, and of the thriller, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. Nicole grew up on Martha's Vineyard, writes a cheeky etiquette column for the MV Times, and co-founded the irreverent “Shakespeare for the Masses” productions at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an award-winning filmmaker, scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder. He has authored or co-authored 22 books and created 18 documentary films, including Finding Your Roots. His six-part PBS documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program-Long Form, as well as a Peabody Award, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, and NAACP Image Award. Dr. Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Richard Gergel is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and a South Carolina lawyer. Judge Gergel presides in the same courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, where Judge Waring, one of the judges featured in Unexampled Courage, also served. With his wife, Dr. Belinda Gergel, he co-authored In Pursuit of the Tree of Life: A History of the Early Jews of Columbia, South Carolina. Judge Gergel earned undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University.
Juliet Grames is a book editor and associate publisher and curator of the Soho Crime imprint. Her debut novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, was named an American Booksellers Association Indie Next Selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a LibraryReads Selection, and a Harper’s Bazaar Best Summer Read of 2019. Juliet has written for Words Without Borders, CrimeReads, and Anderbro, which published her story “Monologue,” winner of the Glass Woman Prize.
John Grisham is the bestselling author of thirty novels— there are currently 300 million copies of his books worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and all of them have become international bestsellers. Nine of his novels have been turned into films, as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. His accomplishments also include one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and six novels for young readers. Formerly a practicing attorney, Grisham has won many awards, including the 2009 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction and two Harper Lee Prizes for Legal Fiction.
Tony Horwitz’s books include the national and New York Times bestsellers, Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, Baghdad Without a Map and A Voyage Long and Strange. Midnight Rising was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2011 and one of the year’s ten best books by Library Journal. Spying on the South was released in May 14, 2019. As a newspaper reporter he spent a decade overseas, mainly covering wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans for The Wall Street Journal. Returning to the U.S., he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and wrote for The New Yorker before becoming a full-time author. Tony died on May 30, 2019. He is survived by his wife Geraldine Brooks and their two sons, Nathaniel and Bizu.
Presenting Spying on the South at the festival will be
Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz
Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz is a venture capitalist in the biotechnology sector. He was the chief executive of Nivien Therapeutics, a startup company that developed an experimental drug for pancreatic cancer. His writing has been published by The Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlantic, Daily Beast, and Town & Country. He studied molecular biology at Harvard after graduating from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and reporting for The Martha's Vineyard Times.
Valerie Jarrett served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs from 2007-2014. She also chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Before that, she was the co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team. Valerie has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.” She is currently a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation and a senior distinguished fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. Her book, Finding My Voice, My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, is a New York Times bestseller.
Eric Klinenberg is a professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He co-authored the #1 New York Times bestseller Modern Romance and is the author of the acclaimed books Going Solo and Heat Wave. Eric’s latest book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, was named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR.
Mark Leibovich is the author of This Town, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller, Citizens of the Green Room, and the New Imperialists. He is the Chief National correspondent for the New York Times Magazine. Mark received a National Magazine Award for his story on Politico’s Mike Allen and the changing media culture of Washington. Prior to joining the New York Times Magazine, Mark was a national political reporter in the Times’ DC bureau where he covered the political campaigns of 2008 and 2012, the Obama presidency and politics in the DC “swamp.”
American Book Award-winning author Valeria Luiselli is acclaimed for both her fiction and non-fiction work, including the essay collection Sidewalks and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions based on her experience volunteering as an interpreter for Central American migrants seeking legal status in the US. Her novels include Faces in the Crowd, which won The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, The Story of My Teeth, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Best Translated Book Award, and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Fiction, and her most recent novel Lost Children Archive. In 2014, Valeria was named a “5 Under 35” by the National Book Foundation. Born in Mexico City, she currently lives in New York City.
Stephen McCauley has written nine novels (two as Rain Mitchell), including The Object of My Affection, True Enough, and Alternatives to Sex. Many of his books have been national bestsellers, and three have been made into feature films. His most recent novel, My Ex-Life, was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Shelf Awareness. Stephen was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. His fiction, reviews, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, Vogue, and many other publications. He currently serves as Co-Director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University.
Admiral William McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) is the author of three books, including the #1 New York Times bestselling book, Make Your Bed, which has sold over one million copies. He served as a Navy SEAL for 37 years, attaining the ranking of four-star admiral. His final assignment was Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. After retiring from the Navy, he served as the Chancellor of the University of Texas System from 2015 to 2018.
Suketu Mehta is the author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, which won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Award and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. He has won the Whiting Writers’ Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Suketu is an Associate Professor of Journalism at New York University and is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. He has written original screenplays for films, including “New York, I Love You.” Born in Calcutta and raised in Bombay and New York, Suketu is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Janet Messineo is a Martha’s Vineyard resident and a former president of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association. She has written about fishing for many publications including On the Water, Vineyard Style, and Martha’s Vineyard Times. Also a professional fish taxidermist, this will be Janet’s 42nd year participating in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. Casting Into the Light: Tales of a Fishing Life is her first book.
Mary Norris worked for The New Yorker as a copy editor and query proofreader for more than thirty years. Her first book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, an account of her years in the copy department, was a New York Times bestseller and was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal. She participated in the 2017 Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.
National Book Award-winning author Sigrid Nunez has written seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, and Salvation City. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. She has been the recipient of several awards including the 2018 National Book Award for her New York Times-bestselling novel The Friend, a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Rome Prize in Literature, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. Sigrid is currently a Writer in Residence at Boston University.
Kwame Onwuachi is the James Beard Award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin and owner of the Philly Wing Fry franchise in Washington, DC. Named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, he is a former Top Chef contestant and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. Kwame was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America and opened five restaurants before turning 30.
Tracy, Dana, Lori, and Corky Pollan are the authors of the multiple award-winning cookbook, The Pollan Family Table. Their awards include The Gourmand International Cookbook Award 2015, Best in the World, Best First Cookbook; BookPage Best Cookbook of 2015; Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Food & Cookbooks. Each of the Pollans is also a recipient of the Global Green 2015 Sustainability in Food Award. Their recipes have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle, People, Vogue, Better Homes and Gardens, Coastal Living, and other magazines.
Ruth Reichl is a food writer and author of eight books, including the best-selling memoirs Garlic and Sapphires, Tender at the Bone, and Comfort Me with Apples, the novel Delicious! and the cookbook My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. Ruth was Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years and was also the restaurant critic for the New York TImes and the Los Angeles Times. She has received six James Beard awards.
Victoria Riskin adapted Willa Cather’s My Ántonia for television and was a producer of Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding as well as The Last Best Year, based on her years as a psychologist. Victoria was president of the Writers Guild of America West and served for twelve years as a director of Human Rights Watch. She lives on Martha's Vineyard with her husband, the writer David W. Rintels.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo is the author of eight novels, including Empire Falls, Straight Man, Mohawk, and That Old Cape Magic; two collections of stories; and a memoir, Elsewhere. Empire Falls (winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize) was made into an award-winning HBO mini-series, and Nobody’s Fool was adapted for film. In recent years, Richard received the Indie Champion Award by the American Booksellers Association and France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine.
Tatiana Schlossberg, former New York Times Science writer, is a journalist who covers climate change and the environment. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg View, Yale Environment 360 and Vineyard Gazette. She attended Yale University and received a master's degree in American history from the University of Oxford. Inconspicuous Consumption, her first book, explores how climate change and environmental pollution are entangled in everything we use, buy, eat, wear, and how we get around.
Dani Shapiro’s books include her memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion and Slow Motion. Her latest memoir, Inheritance, debuted at #11 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Her essays and short fiction pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times op-ed pages and New York Times Book Review. In February, Dani launched her podcast, “Family Secrets” in collaboration with iHeart Media.
Leningrad-born Gary Shteyngart is the prize-winning author of Super Sad True Love Story (selected as one of the best books of the year by numerous publications), Absurdistan (chosen as one the ten best books of the year by The New York Times and Time magazine), and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction). His memoir, Little Failure, was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. His works have won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction.
Two-time Pushcart Prize winner Lisa Taddeo has written for New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, and many other publications. Lisa's nonfiction has been included in the Best American Political Writing and Best American Sports Writing. Her fiction has been published in McSweeney's, Granta, New England Review, Esquire Magazine, among others. Her debut nonfiction book, Three Women, is about desire and sexuality in America. Lisa is a former resident of West Tisbury and currently lives in Connecticut.
Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Previously, she was the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at The Hairpin. Writing across genres, her essays cover the cultural reckoning about sexual assault, abortion, marriage, music criticism, youth culture, and race, and have won accolades. Her first short story won the fall 2012 Raymond Carver Short Fiction Contest and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jia’s essay collection, Trick Mirror, is her first book.
Holden Thorp, Ph.D. is provost and Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. From 2008 - 2013, he was the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Holden was the co-founder of Viamet Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company that develops treatments for cancer and other diseases. He is also the co-author of Engines of Innovation.
Buck Goldstein is the Entrepreneur in Residence and a Professor of Practice in the Department of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Buck co-founded Information America, an online information company that was the first to make courthouse information available from remote terminals in lawyer’s offices. He later founded NetWorth Partners, a venture capital fund focusing on information-based enterprises, Together with Holden, he co-authored Engines of Innovation.
David Wallace-Wells is a deputy editor of New York Magazine, where he writes about climate and the near future of science and technology, including his 2017 viral cover story on worst-case scenarios for global warming. He is currently a national fellow at the New America Foundation. His first book, The Uninhabitable Earth is a #1 New York Times bestseller and an Editors’ Choice. David was previously the deputy editor of The Paris Review.