2013 Literary Hill BookFest Author Bios
BRETT L. ABRAMS
Brett L. Abrams is a native of New Jersey who came to Washington, DC and earned a doctorate in U.S. History at American University, which resulted in the book, Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality in the Movieland Dream. He recently turned to writing about his adopted hometown, with Capital Sporting Grounds: A History of Stadiums and Ballpark Construction in Washington, D.C. (2009) and his most recent work, The Bullets, The Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball (2012), which covers 90 years of the sport including the 1940s through 1970 when the teams played at the Uline Arena.
BILL S. ASHLEY
Bill S. Ashley is a local first-time author with a Ph.D. in education who was a secondary school teacher in Virginia from 1960 through 1993, but says that he received his most meaningful education through his passion for traveling. He is a member of the Circumnavigators Club, whose members have circled the globe in one trip, and the Travelers Century Club, whose members have been to more than 100 countries, and in 2003, he realized his goal of visiting all seven continents within one year. Ashley recently wrote about his lifetime on the road in The Diary of a Compulsive Traveler (2011).
MEREDITH HENNE BAKER
Meredith Henne Baker holds a graduate degree in American history and a museum studies certificate from the College of William and Mary. She is a former boarding-school history instructor and urban public-school administrator whose first book, The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America’s First Great Disaster, is winner of the 2012 Jules and Frances Landry Award.
A long-time Hill resident, Mike Canning has written about movies for the Hill Rag since 1993 and is a member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association. He is the author of Hollywood on the Potomac, How Movies View Washington, DC (2012). Prior to his reviewing gig (which he calls the “Best Job in the World”), he served for 28 years as a press and cultural officer with the United States Information Agency overseas, serving in eight countries on four continents before retiring in 1993.
Stephanie Deutsch is a journalist who has lived on Capitol Hill for thirty-five years. She was attracted to the subject of her new book, You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South (2011), about an unlikely partnership that led to the establishment of more than five thousand schools in the rural American South in the early 20th century.
Tom Dunkel is a long-time contributor to The Washington Post Magazine and a former staff feature writer for the Baltimore Sun. His freelance credits include The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, and The Wall Street Journal. Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball’s Color Line is his first book. He lives on Capitol Hill.
Emily Goodstein is a local photographer who took the good-enough-to-eat photographs for Washington DC Chef’s Table by Beth Kanter. Photographing all of the delicious food and insanely attractive chefs was her first foray into print photography and now she’s hooked! In addition to taking pictures, Goodstein is a sweatpants enthusiast, reproductive justice activist, online organizer, and rabble-rouser who leverages her status as a native Washingtonian (and expert Googler) to recommend products, restaurants, and recipes (in addition to other things she finds mildly diverting) on her blog, Wild and Crazy Pearl.
MARY Z. GRAY
Mary Z. Gray was born on Capitol Hill in 1919 and grew up above the family funeral parlor at 301 East Capitol, which inspired the title of her 2012 memoir. A journalist and speech writer, she has written for the Washington Post and The New York Times, served in the Kennedy-Johnson White House and on a Presidential committee, and wrote speeches for Cabinet members and members of Congress. 301 East Capitol Street: Tales from the Heart of the City is the first title published by the Overbeck History Press.
Patricia Gray is the former director of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress, and has taught several poetry workshops, most recently at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. She also served as a judge for the Poetry Out Loud national competition from 2009-11. Her poetry collection, Rupture, was published by Red Hen Press, and she has had poems in numerous magazines, including Best of the Potomac Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Poetry International, The Poet’s Cookbook, and in the online publications Forpoetry.com and Poetrymagazine.com. A recipient of artist fellowships, from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she lives and works on Capitol Hill.
Maggie Hall, a former Fleet Street reporter, has lived on Capitol Hill for nearly three decades. For the last few years she has been a regular contributor to the Hill Rag and she is the author of a book about that most iconic of British products, The Mish-Mash Dictionary of Marmite, which, to her enormous surprise, has turned out to be something of a hit in her adopted country. It has already resulted in a second edition and was released as an e-book in 2012. Maggie was the co-founder of the Literary Hill BookFest and served as publicist for its first two years.
SHARON M. HANNON
Sharon M. Hannon is a freelance writer and historical researcher who has written about topics ranging from World War II, to spies and secret agents, and the Spanish conquest of Central and South America. She is the author of Punks: A Guide to an American Subculture and Women Explorers, part of the Library of Congress’s Women Who Dare series. Most recently, she co-wrote The Nation’s Library, a guidebook to the Library of Congress.
Lucinda Janke is an independent historian who was formerly curator of the Kiplinger Washington Collection and Collections Manager at the City Museum of The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. She has served on the boards of The Historical Society, Congressional Cemetery, and the local chapter of the Victorian Society, and has given numerous lectures and tours. Janke wrote the text for photographer George Ross Jezek’s 2011 book Washington D.C.: Views of the Past and Present (2011) and is the author of A Guide to Civil War Washington, D.C.: The Capital of the Union (2013). She lives on Capitol Hill in a Civil War-era house.
ABBY ARTHUR JOHNSON AND RONALD MABERRY JOHNSON
Abby Arthur Johnson and Ronald Maberry Johnson have long been partners in the research of historical and cultural topics. Their most recent book is In The Shadow of the United States Capitol: Congressional Cemetery and the Memory of the Nation (2012). They also wrote Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of African-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century (rev. ed., 1991) and have published essays and presented scholarly papers on African-American literary and historical topics. Abby is an Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies and Ronald is a Professor Emeritus of American History at Georgetown University.
Beth Kanter’s books and articles help visitors and locals alike experience the tastes, sights, and unique feel of the nation’s capital. The Washington, DC Chef’s Table is Beth’s third book about her favorite city. The author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Washington DC and Day Trips from Washington DC, Beth’s essays and articles have appeared in national newspapers, magazines, and online. Beth has an MSJ from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and, when not writing about her favorite hometown, teaches writing workshops.
Katy Kelly has published eight books for young readers, including Lucy Rose: Here’s the Thing About Me, Lucy Rose: Big On Plans, Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can’t Believe, Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces & Bits, Melonhead, Melonhead and the Big Stink, and Melonhead and the Undercover Operation, and her newest, Melonhead and the Vegalicious Disaster. Stay tuned for yet another Melonhead adventure in September 2013. Katy’s books are set on Capitol Hill, where she grew up.
Marguerite Kelly has written the nationally syndicated column The Family Almanac in the Washington Post since 1979 and is author of The Mother’s Almanac (1975), still billed by Doubleday as “the most complete book ever written about loving and living with small children.” Other titles include The Mother’s Almanac Goes to School (1989) and Marguerite Kelly’s Family Almanac (1994). She is currently working on Where Do We Go From Here?, a book to help parents identify and correct behavioral problems.
Linda Killian is a Washington author and journalist whose latest book, The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents (2012), examines the polarization and dysfunction of our political system from the perspective of independent voters. She is a columnist and national political writer for The Atlantic and Politico, has written for Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and U.S. News and World Report.com, and appears frequently as a political analyst on national television and radio, including The Dylan Ratigan Show, the NewsHour on PBS, and Hardball with Chris Matthews. Visit her website at www.lindakillian.com.
KEVIN R. KOSAR
Kevin R. Kosar is the founder of AlcoholReviews.com and writes extensively on potent potables. His 2010 Whiskey: A Global History is an illustrated compendium that, according to The Washington Post, “is the perfect primer for the person who wants to quickly learn the basics.”
Tim Krepp is the author of Capitol Hill Haunts and part owner of Walking Shtick Tours, a Capitol Hill-based tour company. He graduated from George Washington University with a degree in history, served as a naval officer, and gives tours in D.C. and New York to school groups, professional associations, and pretty much any group that will listen to him. While the topics are eclectic and diverse, he particularly enjoys delving into tales of ghostly lore.
James Magner is a decorated Vietnam veteran who is an award-winning painter and writer. His artwork was recently part of an exhibition called “Eight Artists at the Hill Center Galleries. He has also written the Hill Rag’s popular “Art and the City” column since 2002, and his 2011 book, A Haunting Beauty, recently earned the Richard Boes Award for the Best Debut Book by a Veteran (fiction or memoir).
Chuck McCutcheon is an award-winning journalist and author. His books include What Are Global Warming and Climate Change?: Answers for Young Readers (which the National Science Teachers Association called “an excellent resource”), National Journal’s Almanac of American Politics, and The Elections of 2012: Outcomes and Analysis.
John Muller is a local journalist and historian whose recent book is Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC: The Lion of Anacostia. A former reporter for the Washington Times, his writing and reporting have appeared in Capital Community News, the Georgetowner, the Washington Informer, and other media in the metropolitan DC area, where he writes about municipal and neighborhood politics, public policy, and current affairs. In 2004, John co-founded the DreamCity Theatre Group, which was a Finalist for three 2007 Mayor’s Arts Awards including Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education.
GEORGE DEREK MUSGROVE
George Derek Musgrove is an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Maryland who lives on Capitol Hill. Dr. Musgrove is the author of the incisive Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: How the Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post-Civil Rights America (2012) and a number of popular and scholarly articles on post-civil rights era black politics. He is currently working on a history of race relations in Washington, DC, with his good friend Chris Myers Asch. For more information, go to www.gdmusgrove.com.
Jean Nordhaus was the subject of a “Closer Look” in the fall 2011 issue of The Innisfree Poetry Journal, an online publication featuring contemporary poetry. She is the author of the award-winning poetry collection Innocence, as well as The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn and several other books and chapbooks. She has administered the poetry program at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she currently serves on its Poetry Board, and she teaches poetry at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda.
Rindy O’Brien has been the garden writer and photographer for the Hill Rag for the past six years. Her photography has been included in numerous juried exhibitions, including four at the Capitol Hill Art League, and she has done work for Amnesty International, Friends of the National Arboretum, and the City Parks Alliance. In 2011, she published a book of local photographs called @ Home on the Hill. Visit her website at www.At1stBlush.com.
Garrett Peck is a literary journalist, independent historian, and author of four books. He leads tours of the Seneca quarry, as well as the Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites in the nation’s capital. At the Literary Hill BookFest, he’ll be happily signing copies of Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren’t; The Potomac River: A History and Guide; and its sequel, The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry.
Quintin Peterson is a native Washingtonian who served for 28 years as a D.C. police officer. He is an artist and an award-winning writer of noir stories that have appeared in a variety of crime fiction anthologies, including D.C. Noir (edited by George Pelecanos) and To Hell in a Fast Car (edited by John L. French). He currently serves on the security staff of the Folger Shakespeare Library, which provides the setting for a story that appears in the January 2013 issue of eNoir, an online magazine available in a variety of e-reader formats.
Robert Pohl researches and writes about Capitol Hill history, including columns for the Hill Rag. He is founding partner of Walking Shtick Tours of DC, author of The History of 219 11th St SE Washington DC, and co-author with John Wennersten of Abraham Lincoln and the End of Slavery in the District of Columbia. His latest offering is Wicked Capitol Hill: An Unruly History of Behaving Badly (2012).
Ariel Sabar‘s debut book, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. His latest book, Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York, was called a “beguiling romp” (N.Y. Times) and an “engaging, moving and lively read” (Toronto Star). He is a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun and Christian Science Monitor, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, and Harper’s.
Canden Schwantes is a historian and tour guide in Washington, D.C., and manages Free Tours By Foot, an international walking tour company. When she isn’t showing tourists and locals around the sites of her favorite neighborhoods, Canden volunteers at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and enjoys researching (and talking about) the stories of our past. Her new book, Wicked Georgetown: Scoundrels, Sinners and Spies, will be published just in time for the BookFest.
DAVID H. SHINN
David H. Shinn is the co-author, with Joshua Eisenman, of China and Africa: A Century of Engagement (2012). He is the former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, and served for 37 years in the United States Foreign Service, with assignments at embassies in Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritania, Cameroon, and Sudan. He currently teaches international affairs at George Washington University. An expert on the Horn of Africa, Dr. Shinn speaks at events around the world and is also the co-author of The Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia and the brand-new second edition of The Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia (Scarecrow Press, 2013).
Paris Singer’s first book, Lunch with Diogenes: The Greek Philosopher and the Dog, written with her son Adam Russell, is about the lessons she learned from Diogenes, a rescue mutt turned philosopher dog. The book pairs photos of Diogenes with wise, witty, and surprisingly contemporary quotations from the fourth-century BC Greek philosopher. “We hope it is a good book for the friends, family, lunch pals, philosophers, and puppies in everyone’s life,” says Singer.
An excerpt from Louise Smith’s 2012 novel in stories, One Hundred Years of Marriage, was nominated by the Bellevue Literary Review for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has won first-place fiction prizes in the Antietam Review, Potomac Review, and Glimmer Train, has appeared online in several e-publications, and been included in a number of print anthologies.
JANINE K. SPENDLOVE
Janine K. Spendlove is a KC-130 pilot for the United States Marine Corps who has written two novels for young adults: War of the Seasons, Book One: The Human, was published in June 2011, and Book Two: The Half-Blood, in 2012. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she is an avid runner who enjoys knitting, playing Beatles tunes on her guitar, and spending time with her family. She currently resides with her husband and daughter on Capitol Hill, where she serves as the Marine Corps liaison to the U.S. Capitol and is currently at work on her next novel.
James Swanson is the Edgar Award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, a young-adult version, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, and, with Daniel Weinberg, Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution. His latest book is Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse. This fall he will publish a new book called End of Days: The Assassination of President Kennedy.
Craig Timberg is The Washington Post’s deputy national security editor and co-author of Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It (March 2012). He joined the Post in 1998 and covered Virginia politics in Richmond and the D.C. mayor and city council before joining the Post’s Foreign Staff in 2004. After a stint as Johannesburg Bureau Chief, covering political crises in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, as well as the continuing emergence of a new South Africa, he became education editor in 2009 and deputy national security editor in 2011.
Cathy Travis worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years as a communications director, senior advisor, and political consultant for various members of Congress until her early retirement. She is the author of the award-winning Constitution Translated for Kids, which The Washington Post has called “enlightenment for all,” and she recently embarked on digital publishing with a series of books: Target Sitting (a diary of 9/11), Remember Who You Are, Elected (a novel), and Manifesto: Staffing Capitol Hill. Visit her website at www.travisbooks.com.
Gene Weingarten has been called ‘the O. Henry of American journalism.’ A nationally-syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer for the Washington Post, his books include The Hypochondriac’s Guide to Life and Death, I’m With Stupid (with Gina Barreca), Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs, and The Fiddler in the Subway: The Story of the World-Class Violinist Who Played for Handouts, which includes the prizewinning piece that one critic has called ‘the greatest feature story ever written.’
JOHN R. WENNERSTEN
John R. Wennersten is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland and was a senior fellow in Environmental History at the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History. His works include The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay, which won the Maryland Writers Prize in nonfiction, and Anacostia: The Death and Life of An American River. His latest book is Global Thirst: Water and Society in the 21st Century (2012). Find out more about John at http://easternbranchpress.com.