This is the speaker list for 2018; to be notified when the 2019 schedule is up and our schedule has been announced, sign up here.
Ignatius Valentine Aloysius teaches advanced writing and experimentation in the Integrated Design and Strategy graduate program at Northwestern, and is a lecturer in creative writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). A designer and lead guitarist, he co-curates Sunday Salon Chicago, a bi-monthly reading event series, and is a recipient of a 2017 Ragdale Foundation residency. His novel Fishhead. Republic of Want. is forthcoming from Tortoise Books. Ignatius carries purple pride and lives with his wife in Evanston.
Pamela Bannos is professor of photography in Northwestern University’s department of art theory and practice. She is the author of Vivian Maier: A Photographer's Life and Afterlife (University of Chicago Press, 2017).
David W. Berner has been fascinated with stories since his days delivering The Pittsburgh Press newspaper as a young boy. Many early Sunday mornings, when he was supposed to be dropping off the latest edition on the doorsteps of his customers, he instead sat on the curb and read about the world. He began telling his own stories and the stories of others as a reporter for numerous radio stations, including freelance work at National Public Radio and more recently for CBS in Chicago. His reporting background has given birth to award-winning memoirs and novels. He has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, where he was privileged to live and work at the Kerouac House in Orlando for two-and-a-half months. He later was honored with the Writer-in-Residence position at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois.
Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library, and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. She reviews for Kirkus, served on the 2007 Newbery Award committee, and her children's literature blog, A Fuse #8 Production, is hosted by School Library Journal. She is the author of the picture book Giant Dance Party (Greenwillow, 2013) illustrated by Brandon Dorman, and a co-author on the nonfiction book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (Candlewick, 2014) which she wrote with fellow bloggers Julie Danielson and Peter Sieruta.
Landis Blair is a pen and ink illustrator and author best known for his whimsically dark picture books and for his heavily crosshatched drawing style. His most notable works include illustrating the graphic novel, The Hunting Accident: a True Story in Crime and Poetry, written by David Carlson, as well as illustrating From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, written by Caitlin Doughty. He is currently based out of Chicago, where he naps and broods as often as possible.
Niala Boodhoo is the host and executive producer of The 21st, a new statewide, interactive weekday talk show for Illinois. She is also National Vice-President for Broadcast for the Asian American Journalists Association. She has been a journalist since 2000 for Reuters, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, and WBEZ. She often lectures or hold workshops about social media and multimedia journalism, for colleges, universities and professional associations.
Daniel Borzutzky’s latest poetry collection is Lake Michigan (Pitt Poetry Series, 2018). He is the author of The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press), recipient of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia (Co-im-press) won the American Literary Translator’s Association 2017 National Translation Award. He lives in Chicago.
Jerry Brennan earned a B.S. in European History from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University in New York. He's the founder of Tortoise Books and the author of Island of Clouds, Public Loneliness, Zero Phase and Resistance; his writing has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, The Good Men Project, and Innerview magazine. He resides in Chicago.
Annah Browning recently completed her Ph.D. from the Program for Writers at The University of Illinois-Chicago. She is the author of a chapbook, The Marriage (Horse Less Press, 2013), and her poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and other journals. She is poetry editor of Grimoire, an online literary magazine of dark arts.
Publishers Weekly calls Eddie Campbell "one of the premier cartoonists of his generation." Campbell has been writing and drawing comics since 1974, and is best known for his collaborations with Alan Moore (From Hell, A Disease of Language) and Neil Gaiman (The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains), as well as for Alec, his tour-de-force autobiographical series that Booklist called "a high-water mark in the graphic novel's short history," and the 1200-page epic Bacchus. His latest books are Bizarre Romance (in collaboration with Audrey Niffenegger) and The Goat Getters: Jack Johnson, the Fight of the Century, and How a Bunch of Raucous Cartoonists Reinvented Comics.
David L. Carlson has been a filmmaker, musician, car salesman, experience designer, and is the co-founder of Opera-Matic, a nonprofit street opera company in Chicago. The Hunting Accident is his first book.
Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. Dr. Christian’s first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. He leads Open TV (beta), a research project and platform for television by queer, trans and cis-women and artists of color.
Christa Desir writes contemporary fiction for young adults. She’s an avid reader, roller derby enthusiast, Sunday school teacher, romance editor, and podcaster. She lives with her husband, three children, and overly enthusiastic dog outside of Chicago. She has volunteered as a rape victim activist for more than ten years, including providing direct service as an advocate in hospital ERs. She is a founding member of the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit organization for rape survivors that conducts an international survivor-based testimonial writing workshop.
Dina Elenbogen is an award winning and widely published poet and prose writer. She is author of the memoir Drawn from Water (BkMKPress, University of Missouri and the poetry collection Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY). Her work has appeared in magazines such as Lit Hub, Bellevue Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Paterson Literary Review, December Magazine, Tiferet, Woven Tale Press and anthologies including City of the Big Shoulders (University of Iowa Press), Rust Belt Chicago, Where We find Ourselves (SUNY Press), and Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press). She has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and Ragdale Foundation. She holds an MFA from the Iowa writer's Workshop and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago Writer's Studio.
Renee Engeln, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, is the author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women. Her work has appeared in numerous academic journals and at academic conferences, and she speaks to groups across the country. She is regularly interviewed by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Today.com, the Huffington Post, Think Progress, and other national media, and her TEDx talk has almost half a million views on YouTube.
David Faris is an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of It's Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. He is a frequent contributor to Informed Comment, and his work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Indy Week.
Aricka Foreman’s chapbook Dream with a Glass Chamber was released by YesYes Books in 2016. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Drunken Boat, Torch Poetry: A Journal for African American Women, Minnesota Review, Union Station Magazine, Vinyl Poetry, RHINO, shufPoetry, Day One, and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), among others. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Callaloo Writers Workshop, and is the Enumerate Editor for The Offing.
Amy and Dave Freeman’s expeditions have taken them over thirty thousand miles by canoe, kayak, and dogsled through some of the world’s wildest places, from the Amazon to the Arctic. National Geographic named Amy and Dave Adventurers of the Year in 2014 and their images, videos, and articles have been published by a wide range of media sources from the CBC, NBC, and FOX to the Chicago Tribune, National Geographic, Outside, Backpacker, Canoe and Kayak, and Minnesota Public Radio.
Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert is a nationally recognized playwright, an Alliance-Kendeda National Graduate Playwright winner for The C. A. Lyons Project, and a Rising Voices Fellow. Formerly of Evanston, she produced the Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival for five years through the Evanston Arts Council. She is a Northwestern University graduate.
Liam Heneghan is professor and chair of environmental science and studies at DePaul University. He is a Dubliner, an occasional poet, a tin whistle player, and a father of two grown children to whom he read every night of their early years.
Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, and professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. A MacArthur fellow, his fiction includes Night Hawks, Dr. King’s Refrigerator, Dreamer, Faith and the Good Thing, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle.
Nina Kavin is a writer and community activist who founded Dear Evanston, a social media platform and action-oriented entity that seeks to engage Evanstonians in constructive dialogue and action around issues of racial equity and youth gun violence, and to tell the stories of Evanstonians whose voices are less-often heard. Nina was born and raised in Johannesburg South Africa and came to the States at age 15. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago.
Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling author. He landed on Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year (The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch), won two Odyssey Awards (for both Rotters and Scowler), and has been a Library Guild selection, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Bram Stoker finalist, and more. With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. Also with del Toro, he co-authored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea Kraus and del Toro created for the Oscar-winning film. Kraus’s next novel is The Living Dead, a posthumous collaboration with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. Kraus’s work has been translated into over 20 languages. His feature films as director include Musician (2007 New York Times Critics’ Pick) and Sheriff (2006 season premiere of PBS’s Independent Lens). He lives in Chicago. Visit him at danielkraus.com.
Kate Masur teaches in the Department of History at Northwestern University. She is the author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. and the co-editor of The World the Civil War Made.
Faisal Mohyuddin is the author of The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear, 2018), winner of the 2017 Sexton Prize for Poetry, and The Riddle of Longing (Backbone, 2017). He teaches English at Highland Park High School and lives in Chicago.
Angela Morales, a graduate of the University of Iowa's nonfiction writing program, is the author of The Girls in My Town, a collection of personal essays. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays 2013, Harvard Review, The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, The Los Angeles Review, Arts and Letters, The Baltimore Review, The Pinch, Hobart, River Teeth, Under the Sun, and Puerto del Sol, and The Indianola Review. She is the winner of the River Teeth Book Prize, 2014, and is a MacDowell Fellow. Her book is the 2017 winner of the PEN Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Currently she teaches composition and creative writing at Glendale Community College and is working on her second collection of essays. She lives in Pasadena, CA with her husband Patrick and their two children, Mira and Leo.
Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. Nagle has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Her productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59, January 2014), and Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry, March 2017). She has received commissions from Arena Stage (Sovereignty), the Rose Theater (Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Her other plays include Manahatta, Diamonds are a Boy’s Best Friend, Waaxe’s Law, Sliver of a Full Moon, and My Father’s Bones.
Audrey Niffenegger is the author of the international bestsellers The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, as well as a fine artist who has published four illustrated books with Abrams: The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, Raven Girl, and The Night Bookmobile.
Alissa Nutting is the author of the novels Made for Love, a New York Times editor's choice selection, and Tampa, the film version of which is in development at HBO, as well as the story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, an expanded/revised version of which is being rereleased in Summer 2018 as part of Ecco's "Art of the Story" series. A nonfiction book of her comedic essays is forthcoming from Ecco in 2019. Her fiction and essays have appeared in publications such as Tin House, BOMB, Elle, Real Simple, Buzzfeed, and many others. She is currently at work on two television projects--one animated in development with Cartoon Network, the other based on her recent novel and being co-written with Dean Bakopoulos for Paramount Studios. She is an assistant professor of English and writer-in-residence at Grinnell College.
Miriam Petty is Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University and Screen Cultures Director of Graduate Studies. She writes and teaches about race, stardom, performance, reception, adaptation, and genre and is especially interested in the history of African American representation in Hollywood film. Her first book, Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood (University of California Press) explores the complex relationships between black audiences and black performers in the classical Hollywood era.
Rowan Ricardo Phillips is recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the author of Heaven, which was longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award, and The Ground: Poems, for which he received a 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award, the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, Granta, and many other publications, and he has written about soccer and basketball for The Paris Review. The author of the influential critical volume When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, Philips is also the translator of Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth as well as numerous other works from Catalan, Spanish, and Italian.
Liz Radford works as a corporate writer by day. She is completing her MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies, and is a co-founder of Women's March Chicago. She's had the opportunity to work with fantastic women and men dedicated to ensuring all people have the chance to improve their lives through equal access to education, resources, opportunities, and power.
Keiler Roberts' autobiographical comic series Powdered Milk has received an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series and was included in The Best American Comics 2016. Her work has been published in the Chicago Reader, Mutha Magazine, Newcity, and several anthologies. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and DePaul University in Chicago. Her newest book, Sunburning, is available from Koyama Press.
Natania Rosenfeld is the author of a book of poetry, Wild Domestic, published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2015, and a critical book, Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf (Princeton 2000). An e-chapbook of essays, She and I, is forthcoming in May 2018 from Essay Press. Her essays, poems and fiction have appeared in many journals, including APR, Raritan, Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Southwest Review, and four of the former have been listed as "Notable" in recent Best American Essays collections. She is a soon-to-be Professor Emerita of English at Knox College and lives in Galesburg and Chicago, IL.
Margarita Saona studied linguistics and literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. She received a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Columbia University in New York. She lives in Chicago, where she is head of the department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois. She has published numerous articles, two books on literary and cultural criticism, Novelas familiares: Figuraciones de la nación en la novela latinoamericana contemporánea (Rosario, 2004) and Memory Matters in Transitional Perú (Londres, 2014), two books of short fiction, Comehoras (Lima, 2008) and Objeto perdido (Lima, 2012). Corazón de hojalata/Tin Heart (Chicago, 2017) is her first book of poems.
Bill Savage teaches Chicago literature and history at Northwestern University and the Newberry Library. His freelance work has appeared in many Chicago publications, including the Tribune, the Reader, Chicago Magazine, and Newcity; he performs live lit at the Paper Machete, the Frunchroom, and other venues. His latest book is an annotated edition of George Ade's The Old-Time Saloon, wherein he drew on scholarship regarding Chicago history, as well as personal experience of over 30 years tending bar.
Emma Stein has served as the Student Representative to the District 202 School Board. She also heads the Student Senate and helped plan the March 14th walkout at ETHS.
Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections: The Wrong Way To Save Your Life, Once I Was Cool, and Everyone Remain Calm. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Guernica, Catapult, Lit Hub, Buzzfeed Reader, PANK, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Neo-Futurarium, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She is currently an artist in residence at Northwestern University.
Dan Stolar is the author of a collection of a short stories, The Middle of the Night (Picador). His fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications including the Missouri Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Utne Reader, Bomb, DoubleTake and the Chicago Tribune. He is a professor at DePaul, where he teaches fiction writing in the English Department. He lives in Evanston with his wife, Lauren Cathcart, and their two daughters, Callie and Anna. He is still trying to recover from the fact that George W. Bush won reelection.
Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty in 1973, after serving as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He later served as Dean of the Law School (1987-1994) and Provost of the University of Chicago (1994-2002). Stone is the author of many books on constitutional law, including Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century; Speaking Out: Reflections of Law, Liberty and Justice; Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark; War and Liberty: An American Dilemma; Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime; and Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era. He is also an editor of two leading casebooks, Constitutional Law and The First Amendment. Stone is an editor of The Supreme Court Review and chief editor of a twenty-volume series, Inalienable Rights, which is published by the Oxford University Press.
Nadine Strossen is Professor of Constitutional Law at New York Law School and the first woman national President of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she served from 1991 through 2008. A frequent speaker on constitutional and civil liberties issues, her media appearances include 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Today, Good Morning America, The Daily Show, and other news programs on CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, Al-Jazeera, and in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. She is the author of HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Alison Thumel is a Chicago-based poet, writer, and erasurist. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she was awarded the Elsie F. Filippi Memorial Prize in Poetry. Her work has recently appeared in DIAGRAM, The Rumpus, and Salt Hill. She is the author of the chapbook LIFE OF, which won Salt Hill's Dead Lake Chapbook Contest in 2016. Her second chapbook is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in late 2018.
Liana Wallace is a 17 year old Junior at ETHS. As a known spoken word artist at her school, she performs frequently at rallies and marches.
Rachel Jamison Webster is author of the full-length collection of poetry September (Northwestern University Press, 2013); the cross-genre book The Endless Unbegun (Twelve Winters, 2015); and the forthcoming book Mary Is a River, which was a finalist for the 2014 National Poetry Series. She is the Director of Creative Writing at Northwestern University, where she has taught since 2005. For several years, she developed After School Arts programs for Chicago teens.
David Welch is the author for the forthcoming collection, Everyone Who Is Dead, and of a chapbook, It Is Such a Good Thing to Be In Love with You. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, Greensboro Review, Pleiades, Meridian, and RHINO. He teaches creative writing and popular literature at DePaul University, where he is Assistant Director of Literary Programs and Outreach.