Cart 0


Harbor Springs Festival of the Book brings renowned, nationally-published authors to Northern Michigan.

See the presenters from our 2018 Festival below. We will begin announcing 2019 Festival Presenters in the Spring. Sign up for our newsletter here for updates.





Lee, Edward.jpg
Lee, Buttermilk Graffiti.jpg


Edward Lee is the author of Buttermilk Graffiti and Smoke & Pickles; chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky; and culinary director of Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland, and Penn Quarter, Washington, DC. He appears frequently in print and on television, including earning an Emmy nomination for his role in the Emmy Award–winning series The Mind of a Chef. Most recently, he wrote and hosted the feature documentary Fermented. He lives in Louisville and Washington, DC, and you can find him on Instagram and Twitter @chefedwardlee.

McFadded,Joshua,Six Seasons.jpg

joshua  Mcfadden

Joshua McFadden is executive chef/owner of Ava Gene’s and co-owner of Tusk in Portland, Oregon. Before moving to Portland, McFadden helped define the burgeoning Brooklyn food scene when he was chef de cuisine at Franny’s; he has also cooked at Momofuku, Blue Hill, and Lupa in New York; North Pond in Chicago; and Lark Creek Inn and Roxanne’s in the Bay Area. McFadden also spent time in Rome, cooking at Alice Waters’s project in sustainable dining at the American Academy. He kindled his love of soil, seeds, and seasons during two years as farm manager at Maine’s Four Season Farm, founded by sustainability pioneers Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. Follow him on Instagram at @jj__mc and on Twitter at @joshua_mcfadden.


Denfeld, Rene.jpg
Denfeld, The Child Finder.jpg

rene denfeld

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, and licensed investigator specializing in death penalty work. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is also the author of the award-winning novel The Enchanted and The Child Finder, as well as three works of nonfiction. For more visit

Fitch, Janet.jpg
Fitch, The Revolution of Marina M.jpg


Janet Fitch is the author of the novels White Oleander, an Oprah Book Club selection translated into 28 languages, and Paint It Black, set in the 1980s punk world in Los Angeles. Both books have been adapted into motion pictures. Her current novel is The Revolution of Marina M., the coming of age of a young poet in the firestorm of the Russian Revolution. She lives in Los Angeles. For more visit,

Hobson, Brandon.jpg
Hobson, When the Dead.jpg

brandon hobson

Brandon Hobson is a recipient of the 2016 Pushcart Prize, and his writing has appeared in such places as Conjunctions, NOON, The Paris Review Daily, and The Believer. He is the author of Desolation of Avenues Untold, Deep Ellum, and The Levitationist. He teaches writing in Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe. For more, visit

Immergut, Debra Jo.jpg
Immergut, Captives.jpg

Debra Jo Immergut

Debra Jo Immergut is the author of the literary thriller The Captives (June, 2018, Ecco) as well as the short fiction collection Private Property. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she worked as an editor and journalist, and has taught writing in various settings, including libraries, military bases, and prisons. Immergut lives in western Massachusetts.

Sarvas, Mark.jpg
Sarvas, Memento Park.jpg

mark sarvas

Mark Sarvas is the author of the novels Memento Park and Harry, Revised, which was published in more than a dozen countries around the world. His book reviews and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Threepenny Review, Bookforum, and many others. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, PEN/America, and PEN Center USA, and teaches novel writing at the UCLA Extension Writers Program. For more, visit

Robertson, Ray.jpg
Robertson, 1979.jpg

Ray Robertson

Ray Robertson is the author of the novels Home Movies, Heroes, Moody Food, Gently Down the Steam, What Happened Later, David, and I Was There the Night He Died, as well as the non-fiction collections Lives of the Poets (with Guitars), Mental Hygiene:  Essays on Writers and Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live, which was short-listed for the Hilary Weston Prize and long-listed  for the Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction.  Born and raised in Southwestern Ontario,  he lives in Toronto. For more, visit

Sharpe, Tess.jpg
Sharpe, Barbed Wire Heart.jpg

tess sharpe

Born in a mountain cabin to a punk rocker mother, author Tess Sharpe grew up in rural Northern California. She lives deep in the backwoods with a lot of dogs and a growing colony of slightly feral cats. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novel Far from You and the co-editor of Toil & Trouble, a feminist YA anthology. Barbed Wire Heart is her adult fiction debut. For more, visit

Shattuck, Jessica.jpg
Shattuck, WomenintheCastle.jpg

jessica shattuck

Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Women in the Castle, The Hazards of Good Breeding, a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and of Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among others. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. Shattuck now lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts. For more, visit

Silver, Marisa.jpg
Silver, Little Nothing.jpg


Marisa Silver is the author of six works of fiction including the novels Little Nothing and Mary Coin. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the Creative Arts in 2017 and is currently The Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. For more, visit

Sopinka, Heidi.jpg
Sopinka, Dictionary of Animal Languages.jpg

Heidi Sopinka

Heidi Sopinka has worked as a bush cook in the Yukon, a travel writer in Southeast Asia, a helicopter pilot, a magazine editor, and is co-founder and co-designer at Horses Atelier. She is widely published as a journalist in Canada, where she won a national magazine award and was The Globe and Mail's environment columnist. She has also written for The Believer. For more, visit

Simonds, Merilyn.jpg
Simonds, Refuge.jpg

Merilyn Simonds

Merilyn Simonds is the author of 18 books, including Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, a 2017 Globe Best Book, The Holding, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and the Canadian classic work of creative nonfiction, The Convict Lover, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her latest novel, Refuge, is published this fall. She grew up in South America and now divides her time between Kingston, Ontario, and Mexico. For more, visit

van den Berg, Laura.jpg
van den Berg, The Third Hotel.jpg


Laura van den Berg is the author of The Third Hotel (August, 2018, FSG), two story collections, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and the novel Find Me. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Born and raised in Florida, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and dog. For more, visit

Yarbrough, Steve.jpg
Yarbrough_The Unmade World.jpg


Steve Yarbrough is the author of eleven books, most recently the novel The Unmade World. His other books are the nonfiction title Bookmarked: Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, the novels The Realm of Last Chances, Safe from the Neighbors, The End of California, Prisoners of War, Visible Spirits and The Oxygen Man, and the short story collections Veneer, Mississippi History and Family Men. His work has been published in several foreign languages, including Dutch, Japanese and Polish, and it has also appeared in Ireland, Canada, and the U.K. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright Award and the Robert Penn Warren Award. He has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. For more, visit



Dionne, Karen copy.jpg
Dionne, March Kings Daughter.jpg


Karen Dionne is the author of 2018 Michigan Notable book The Marsh King's Daughter, a dark psychological novel suspense set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. An international bestseller, The Marsh King's Daughter has been published in 25 languages and was named a "Best of 2017" by iBooks, Hudson Booksellers, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Irish Independent, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and many other booksellers and reviewers. In addition, The Marsh King's Daughter has been nominated for a Barry and Macavity Award, the Dashiel Hammett prize, and is currently in development as a major motion picture. Karen has been honored by the Michigan Humanities Council as a humanities scholar, and lives with her husband in Detroit’s northern suburbs. For more, visit


Doiron, Paul.jpg
Doiron, Stay Hidden.jpg


A native of Maine, bestselling author Paul Doiron attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English. The Poacher’s Son, the first book in the Mike Bowditch series, won the Barry award, the Strand award for best first novel, and has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards in the same category. He is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine with his wife, Kristen Lindquist. For more, visit

Reardon, Real Michael Swann.jpg

Bryan Reardon

Bryan Reardon is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Finding Jake. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Bryan worked for the State of Delaware for more than a decade, starting in the office of the governor. He holds a degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife and kids.



Bailey, Tom.jpg
Bailey, NorthCountry.jpg

Thomas C. Bailey

Thomas C. Bailey has been Executive Director of the Little Traverse Conservancy since November, 1984. Before joining the Conservancy, he spent six years with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and several seasons as a Ranger with the US National Park Service. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Lake Superior State University by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in 2016 and to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Michigan State Parks and Outdoor Recreation in 2011. He previously served on the National Land Trust Council as well as other government appointments and non-profit boards, and is co-founder of Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy and the Top of Michigan Trails Council. He received his Bachelor's degree in Park and Recreation Resources from Michigan State University, where he also pursued graduate studies in land use, resource economics and environmental law. In the 1970s, he worked as a citizen representative and lobbyist for several local, state and national conservation groups.

Blum, Deborah.jpg
Blum, Poison Squad.jpg

Deborah blum

Deborah Blum is director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, and editor of Undark magazine, ( In 1992, she won the Pulitzer Prize for a series on primate research, which she turned into a book, The Monkey Wars. Her other books include The Poisoner's Handbook, Ghost Hunters, Love at Goon Park, and Sex on the Brain. She has written for publications including the New York Times, Wired, Time, Discover, Mother Jones, the Guardian and the Boston Globe. Blum is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a lifetime associate of the National Academy of Sciences. For more, visit


Porter Fox

Porter Fox is the editor of Nowhere and the author of Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Believer, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Best American Travel Writing. Raised in Maine, he lives in New York. For more, visit



Michael Gustafson is the co-editor of Notes from a Public Typewriter, published by Grand Central Publishing. He is also the co-owner of Literati Bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Hilary. 

Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, Ewa.jpg
Hryniewicz, Objects of Affection.jpg


Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough is an essayist and translator. A native of Poland, she arrived in the United States in 1984. The essays in her debut collection Objects of Affection were published in journals such as Agni, Ploughshares, the American Scholar, the Threepenny Review, and TriQuarterly. The title piece, “Objects of Affection,” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Essays 2012; five others were listed among Notable Essays for 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Hryniewicz-Yarbrough’s translations of Polish poetry have appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker, Poetry, TriQuarterly, the Paris Review, and Image. She has also translated a collection of Philip Levine’s poetry into Polish. She divides her time between Boston and Krakow.

Markel, Howard.jpg
Markel, The Kelloggs.jpg

howard markel

Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine, and director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan. His books include Quarantine!, When Germs Travel, and An Anatomy of Addiction, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Markel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Sofija Stefanovic.jpg
MISS EX- YU_SofijaS.jpg

Sofija Stefanovic

Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in Manhattan. She hosts the popular literary salon, Women of Letters New York, and This Alien Nation—a monthly celebration of immigration. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times,, and, among others. Her memoir, Miss Ex-Yugoslavia, has just been published. For more, visit


Collucio, Pino.jpg
Coluccio, Class Clown.jpg

Pino Coluccio

Pino Coluccio's poems have appeared in The Walrus and three anthologies. His first collection, First Comes Love, came out in 2005. He lives in Toronto.

Markus, Peter.jpg
Markus, Inside My Pencil.jpg

Peter Markus

Peter Markus is the author of numerous books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, the most recent of which is Inside My Pencil: Teaching Poetry in Detroit Public Schools. His stories have appeared in such journals as the Iowa Review, Chicago Review, Black Warrior Review, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, Northwest Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, and others.


Rader, Dean.jpg
Rader, Self-Portrait Wikipedia Cover.jpg

Dean Rader

Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was named by The Barnes & Noble Review as a Best Poetry Book. His most recent projects, all published in 2017, include Suture, collaborative sonnets written with Simone Muench, Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence edited with Brian Clements & Alexandra Teague, and Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry, which was a finalist for both the Oklahoma Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco.

Twemlow, Nick.jpg
Twemlow, Harrow Painter.jpg

Nick Twemlow

Nick Twemlow is the author of Attributed to the Harrow Painter, published by the Kuhl House Poets Series of the University of Iowa Press in late 2017, and Palm Trees, which won the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His writing has appeared in A Public Space, Best American Non-Required Reading, Paris Review, and elsewhere. His short films have played Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca, and other festivals. A former Fulbright fellow, he is a senior editor at the Iowa Review and teaches at Coe College.

Wells, The Fix.jpg

Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells is a poet and nonfiction writer from Portland, Oregon. Her debut collection of poetry, The Fix (2018), won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A new book of nonfiction, Believers, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her work can be found in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, The Believer, N+1, Best New Poets, the Iowa Review and elsewhere. With Joshua Marie Wilkinson she edits a poetry journal, The Volta, and a small press called Letter Machine Editions. For more, visit


Picture Book & Early Reader

Hanlon, Abby.jpg
Hanlon, Dory.jpg


Abby Hanlon is the author and illustrator of Dory Fantasmagory, a popular chapter book series for young readers. The first two books in the series are published in twenty languages. Abby lives in Brooklyn with her husband and twins. For more, visit

Ross, Fergus and Zeke.jpg


Heather Ross is an illustrator and fabric designer. She lives in New York City and the Catskill Mountains with her husband, daughter, and dog. For more, visit

Schmidt, Gary.jpg
Schmidt, So Tall Within.jpg

gary d. schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt is the author of more than fifteen books for children and young adults including Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and The Wednesday Wars, which received a Newbery Honor. He lives in Alto, Michigan.

Tavares, Red & Lulu.jpg


Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of Crossing Niagara, Henry Aaron’s Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, Becoming Babe Ruth, and Growing Up Pedro, as well as Zachary’s Ball, Oliver’s Game, and Mudball. He is the illustrator of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas; Over the River and Through the Wood; Lady Liberty, by Doreen Rappaport; The Gingerbread Pirates, by Kristin Kladstrup; and Jubilee!, by Alicia Potter. Matt Tavares lives in Ogunquit, Maine. For more, visit

VanDusen, Hattie & Hudson.jpg


Chris Van Dusen is the creator of many outstanding books for children, including The Circus Ship and Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit. He is also the illustrator of President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, by Mac Barnett and the best-selling Mercy Watson series, by Kate DiCamillo. He lives in Maine.  For more, visit

Middle Grade

Eagar, Linsday.jpg
Eagar, Race to the Bottom.jpg

lindsay eagar

Lindsay Eagar is the author of the novel Hour of the Bees, Race to the Bottom of the Sea, and the forthcoming The Bigfoot Files (October, 2018, Candlewick). She lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband and daughters. For more, visit

Hackl, Jo .jpg
Hackl, SMACK DAB.jpg

jo watson hackl

Jo Watson Hackl is the author of Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe (July, 2018, Random House)She is also founder of and a lawyer with Wyche, PA. She received her B.A. from Millsaps College and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Jo lives in Greenville, South Carolina  with her husband and three children. They all take to the woods whenever they can. For more, visit

Marsh, Katherine.jpg
Marsh, Nowhere Boy.jpg

katherine marsh

Katherine Marsh is the Edgar Award-winning author of The Night Tourist; The Twilight Prisoner; Jepp, Who Defied the Stars; and The Doors By the Staircase. Katherine grew up in New York and now lives in Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and two children. For more, visit

Shabazz, Ilyasah.jpg
Shabazz, BettyBeforeX.jpg

Ilyasah Shabazz

Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, is an educator, activist, motivational speaker, and author of multiple award-winning publications, including X: A Novel. She is also an active advocacy worker and an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. For more, visit

Sharp, Colby.jpg
Sharp, Creativity Project.jpg


Colby Sharp is a fifth grade teacher in Parma, Michigan. He is the co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club, and the literacy conference Nerd Camp Michigan. His debut book, The Creativity Project, is a celebration of reading, writing and creating. For more, visit

Shurtliff, Liesl.jpg
Shurtliff, Grump.jpg

Liesl Shurtliff

Liesl Shurtliff is the author of the New York Times bestselling (Fairly) True Tales series, including Rump, which was awarded an ILA Children’s Book Award. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, she now lives with her husband and four kids in Chicago. Visit her at @LieslShurtliff.

VanEekhout, Greg.jpg
van Eekhout, VoyageOfDogs hc.jpg

Greg van Eekhout

Greg van Eekhout lives in San Diego, California with his astronomy/physics professor wife and two dogs. He’s worked as an educational software developer, ice cream scooper, part-time college instructor, and telemarketer. Being a writer is the only job he's ever actually liked. For more, visit

Yeh, Kat.jpg
Yeh, TheWayToBea.jpg

Kat Yeh

Kat Yeh is the author of the critically acclaimed middle grade novels The Truth About Twinkie Pie and The Way to Bea. She grew up reading, writing, and dreaming in Westtown, Pennsylvania. She currently lives with her family on Long Island. Learn more about Kat at


Young Adult

Arnold, David.jpg
Arnold, StrangeFascinations.jpg

David Arnold

David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages. For more, visit

Flores-Scott, American Road Trip.jpg

Patrick Flores-Scott

Patrick Flores-Scott currently teaches struggling elementary readers and math students. He's written for theatre and the slam poetry stage. Jumped In is his first novel, and American Road Trip will be released in late 2018.  He lives Seattle with his wife and two young boys. For more, visit

Lucier, Makiia.jpg
Lucier, Isle of Blood_Stone.jpg

Makiia Lucier

Makiia Lucier has a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon and a masters in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she studied literature for children. Isle of Blood and Stone was released in April 2018. For more, visit

McKinney, LL.jpg
McKinny, A Blade So Black.jpg

L.L. McKinney

L.L. McKinney is a writer, a poet, and an active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and participating as a judge in various online writing contests. She’s also a gamer girl and an adamant Hei Hei stan. A Blade So Black is her debut novel. For more, visit

Thomas, Leah.jpg
Thomas, When Light Left Us.jpg


Leah Thomas frequently loses battles of wits against her students and her stories. When she's not huddled in cafés, she's usually at home pricking her fingers in service of cosplay. Leah lives in San Diego, California and is the author of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist, Because You'll Never Meet Me, its sequel, Nowhere Near You, and her latest novel, When Light Left Us.


Good Hart Artist in Residence

Cofrin-Shaw, Bryna Peebles.jpg

The Harbor Springs Festival of the Book is excited to announce a cooperative partnership with the Good Hart Artist in Residence program. The program offers 2-3 week residencies dedicated to visual artists and writers. The first writer selected to participate in the program and present during the Festival's Fridays Soup & Stories is Bryna Peebles Cofrin-Shaw.  Originally from Northampton, Massachusetts, and currently living in Brooklyn, New York, Bryna is a graduate of Brown University (BA Environmental Studies) and Hunter College (MFA in Fiction). In addition to writing and teaching, Bryna is an amateur bread-maker, moose lover, and competitive cyclist.  Bryna plans to use her time at Good Hart working on a novel-in-stories that grapples with intimate politics and queer family-building, as well as the interplay of ecology, climate psychology and sexuality. She plans to spend as much time as she can in the varied, splendid habitats of northern Michigan, and to allow these landscapes to shape and infect her creative work, especially as she considers the relationship between human and environmental traumas. For more information about the residency, visit

Book Reviews

Denfeld, The Child Finder.jpg


Reviewed by Judy Cummings, Between the Covers bookstore

The Enchanted, also written by Denfeld, was original in theme and voice and I loved it! The Child Finder is a variation on a theme but original in its presentation. Grief-stricken parents turn to Naomi. She is a child finder. She is their last hope. Their daughter Madison has been missing for three years and there is little hope that she will be found–and found alive. Naomi is fierce and relentless, but has her own demons to confront. A page-turner, perfect for late summer reading.

Fitch, The Revolution of Marina M.jpg

Janet Fitch, The Revolution of Marina M

Reviewed by Izabela Babinska, Festival Volunteer

This was my first time reading Janet Fitch (I know, I know… White Oleander) and the experience was captivating. The Revolution of Marina M.  takes the reader from the bourgeois dinner tables of Tsarist Russia, to the proletariat factories and washrooms of revolutionary Petrograd, and the seedy underground of the counter-revolution. Marina, who is 16 at the start of the novel, comes up in the chaos, her allegiances and priorities torn between family and nostalgia, the opportunist soldier and visionary poet whom she both loves, and the promise of the future. The Revolution of Marina M.  is a story of passion and survival, as much about the transformation of a nation as the evolution of a soul swept up in the current of change.

Janet Fitch spent 11 years researching and writing this 700+ page tome, weaving the threads of history and detail into a rich and complex narrative. Although Marina and many of her peers are poets and artist, the novel’s poetry comes from Fitch’s intimate, exquisite and often frightening snapshots of Petrograd and the Red Terror. Passages like, “It would have been one thing if my departure had been voluntary, but it was another to have my best friend rip my skin off of me and hand it back to me as if it were a cape,” stayed with me for weeks. And the fate of the resilient, perceptive Marina will continue to haunt me.

Shattuck, WomenintheCastle.jpg


Reviewed by Maggie Kane, Between the Covers bookstore

I read the store's advanced copy of this title last year (one of the many benefits of working at Between the Covers), and I'm positive that readers of historical fiction, and readers who don't shy away from conflicted characters, will want this book in their  "To Read" stack.  

The Women in the Castle explores the guilt and the delusion of German civilians in the aftermath of WWII. Shattuck's characters are actively resistant to passively complicit; for every person that spoke out against the Third Reich, hundreds remained silent, out of fear, indifference, or support of the regime. As seen at a lavish dinner party in the first chapter, Marianne von Lingenfels knows Adolf Hitler will bring devastation to Germany. Under his explosive and enticing rhetoric, he is a bully, with an increasingly powerful arsenal of weapons and deluded followers at his disposal. Marianne's personal loathing of the Fuhrer intensifies when her resister husband is executed for a failed assassination attempt. It becomes Marianne's mission to traverse her devastated  country to rescue fellow resistance widows. But the women she encounters, Benita and Ania, are not at all the Nazi-hating compatriots she expected. Among the three women, there are plenty of skeletons in the closet.  

After the war ends, and the monstrosities of the Holocaust are made known, the international community demanded answers from Germany. How could this sophisticated country so dutifully follow a madman? How could they not know what was happening to the Jewish people of Europe, or Hitler's outspoken opponents? If they did know (and how could they not?) shouldn't they be punished too? There are rarely easy answers in The Women in the Castle, and that grey area makes for a unique and discussion-worthy read.

Dionne, March Kings Daughter.jpg


Reviewed by Karen Ford, Between the Covers bookstore

Brilliant storytelling, this is the story of Helena, raised in captivity with her mother, on the wild marsh land in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The story skillfully alternates between Helena's past and present, interweaving the complicated tale between father and daughter, hunter and prey. Each chapter begins with a selection from Hans Christian Anderson's The Marsh King, setting the scene for the coming tale.

 Helena, as an adult, is happily married to Stephen, with two young daughters. Her past remains her past—until the notorious child abductor, known as the Marsh King, escapes from a maximum security prison. Helena knows what she must do to protect the lives closest to her. The story is chilling and suspenseful, and guaranteed to keep you reading long into the wee hours of the night.

Hryniewicz, Objects of Affection.jpg


Reviewed by Izabela Babinska, Festival Volunteer

In 2018, immigration is an almost universal experience; however, that doesn’t make it any less lonely or uncomplicated. In her pragmatic collection of essays, Objects of Affection, Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough shares an intimate and introspective view of her move from Poland to the United States during the 1980’s, and traces how it has shaped her dual-perspective. She discusses home and history, nationality versus identity, and cultural displacement in frank and thoughtful conversation with writers from Zbigniew Herbert to Paul Valery and Gertrude Stein. Hryniewicz-Yarbrough’s reflections on identity, our relationships with our native and adopted tongues, and the misadventures of having a difficult-to-pronounce name provide an affecting, personal account of her experience and challenge us to think about how our place of origin shapes our identity. Although a collection of impactful, topical essays, the book follows an interconnected thread through the writer’s mind.

Hanlon, Dory.jpg

Abby Hanlon, Dory Fantasmagory, Head in the Clouds

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

“If your head is in the clouds,

it means your thoughts are far away

and you are in your own world,

daydreaming or living in a fantasy”

The opening lines of this fourth Dory adventure captures the essence of her imaginative world as Dory discovers her first loose tooth.  Dory, aka Rascal, is a master of creative play and problem solving, though her choices often get her into trouble. A fun book to read aloud then slip into the hands of eager early chapter book readers.  The Dory series is a great springboard for primary readers to try out their own creative storytelling.

Schmidt, So Tall Within.jpg

Gary D. Schmidt , So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk toward Freedom

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

Looking at the cover art and title of this book, I knew I was in for something special.  Schmidt and Minter have dovetailed their talents to create an exceptional and fresh look at a woman who lived a difficult yet purposeful life. Each new thread of the narrative begins with a poetic line accompanied by a stunningly beautiful contemporary painting that, in it’s beauty, also depicts the harsh realities of legal slavery.

 “In Slavery Time, when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted.”

I reread the book many times, once just for the progression of these poetic segments.  Beyond the initial line of each thread, Schmidt’s lyrical text and Minter’s expressive paintings show the challenges and determination that were Sojourner Truth’s life. This is a picture book approachable for young children but also not to be missed by older youth and adults. I came away from the reading with a clearer picture of Sojourner Truth’s struggles and appreciation for her dedication to human rights.

Eagar, Race to the Bottom.jpg

Lindsay Eagar, Race to the Bottom of the Sea

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

Race to the Bottom of the Sea is a page-turning mystery infused with science fiction, a hint of the past, an inventive spirit, and characters so well-developed we can see into their hearts and minds. Fall in love with eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail, a strong-minded inventor and young oceanographer who must find her way after her world is turned upside down by the tragic accidental death of her marine scientist parents. Fidelia is guilt-ridden by thoughts that she could have prevented the accident and by her lack of appreciation for her aunt’s efforts to give her a new life. To add to her troubles, Fidelia is kidnapped by pirates!  The side mystery in the book has enough predictability to let middle grade readers feel like proper sleuths.  But to learn the full details of how all of the characters fit together and what becomes of Fidelia, the author keeps her readers glued to the pages until the very end. Younger middle grade readers may need some help with attention to the time period flashbacks, but the 400+ page length won’t be an issue in this captivating story.

Ilyasah Shabazz, Betty Before X

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member
An engaging and inspiring book for our middle grade readers and those adults who enjoy well-written middle grade literature!

What experiences in a young person’s life impress and inspire how she will choose to live her adult years? Betty Shabazz was the wife of Malcolm X, an educator, dedicated mother, and civil rights activist.    This historical fiction account written by Betty’s youngest daughter with Renee Watson shows the family, friend, and community influences and experiences that shaped Betty’s self-confidence and independent thinking.  You might expect the book to focus on racism given Betty’s later prominent activism.  While that is an undertone of the book, the bigger story is of a young girl searching for a sense of belonging and acceptance from others and herself.  Parents and teachers will find this novel a great springboard to discuss those themes as well as the civil rights movement.  As a teaching tool, Betty Before X also helps our younger readers recognize the differences of telling a life story as historical fiction or biography and speculating why the author may have chosen this format.

Yeh, TheWayToBea.jpg

Kat Yeh, The Way to Bea

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

After the best summer of her life, Beatrix Lee returns from Tiawan to find everything and everyone in her life seems to have changed. Her best friend doesn’t talk to her and her artsy parents are too busy to notice her troubles.  Being herself leads to embarrassment at every turn.  Meanwhile, a mystery friend has found Bea’s secret spot and answers the poems she hides there.  Kat Yeh has created a cast of mostly loveable and often quirky characters to help Beatrix Lee in her quest to find a way to fit in.

If I act
the way
I wish I were
am I still acting
-or becoming?

The suspense builds and the action moves quickly.  Abandon your bookmark and plan to stay glued to this beautifully written book while seventh grader Bea finds her way through the labyrinth of life (or, Extra Credit Curveball, is it a perfect maze?)

Sharp, Creativity Project.jpg

Colby Sharp, The Creativity Project

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

Teachers have used pictorial and written prompts to inspire creative response for decades.  But what happens when successful children’s book creators become a key component in the process? Colby Sharp enlists the help of 44 authors and illustrators to explore this question. Colby explains, “First, I asked each contributor to send me two creative prompts – seeds that could get the wheels of their fellow creative friends’ minds turning…Then, I mailed off a mysterious package to everyone containing the two prompts that I picked for that person.  They were asked to choose one and use it to inspire an awesome creation.” And they did!

I don’t recommend simply reading this book from cover to cover.  Savor each prompt, each response.  Flip through the book to find your favorite author’s and illustrator’s contributions. But in the end, don’t miss a word.  Many contributors include glimpses into their own creative process and the challenge of this particular task.  Mariko Tamaki shows her thinking process by crossing through instead of deleting ideas she rejects. Kate Messner includes an author note longer than her poem response, demonstrating what ideas and knowledge inspire her words. Jarret J. Kroscoczka validates comics as literature.  At the end of Linda Urban’s creative story, she shares a note on the particular pressure and vulnerability she felt in contributing her writing to this project.  But the project is far from over at this point.  Plan for this book to inspire your creativity! The reader is encouraged to respond to any or all of the remaining contributor prompts. This book belongs in the hands of every teacher, student, and creative thinker.  Join the project!

L.L. McKinney  , A Blade So Black

Reviewed by Michelle Boyer, School Visit Committee Member

Alice’s world is turned upside down when her father dies and she is visited by a nightmare – a monstrous creature from the dark side of Wonderland.  Her other worldly savior, Addison Hatta, becomes her mentor as she learns to use the magic weapons and fighting skills that she needs to battle the hideous creatures and save those she loves in both worlds.  McKinney has created a strong character in Alice, our nightmare-slaying teenage warrior.  Think Alice in Wonderland meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the vulnerability, self-doubt, and parental constraints of a teenager.  A Blade So Black brings Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland to today’s young adult readers with captivating contemporary experiences and language. McKinney balances the real world of Atlanta and the fantasy world of Wonderland in crafting a fresh story.   I enjoyed this debut novel from McKinney and suspect she may find a place for Alice in a novel yet to come!

Thomas, When Light Left Us.jpg


Reviewed by Katie Boeckl, Between the Covers bookstore

What most of us know of stories of alien encounters are when people share what the aliens stole from their--months of their lives, their insides, their brains. It's the stuff of science fiction legend. But what if an alien visited and first, he gave things to you. Friendship, hope, comfort. How much worse would it be when he left? For the three Vasquez siblings, it seems that nothing can replace their father's absence. Their extraterrestrial friend, Luz, comes pretty darn close, but then he leaves. And now they have even greater holes in their lives. Everything feels different and there is no going back. Only onward. And only with each other.

Past Presenters

For more information on past festivals, you can also view the Festival Programs from previous years below.

Maureen Abood ‘16
David Arnold ‘18
Thomas C. Bailey ‘18 
Ruth McNally Barshaw ‘17 
Kate Bassett ‘16 
Julie Berry ‘17 
Bryan Bliss ‘16 
Deborah Blum ‘18
Terry Border ‘17 
Martha Brockenbrough ‘16 
Fleda Brown ‘17 
Nickolas Butler ‘17 
Julie Buntin ‘17 
Caroline Carlson ‘17 
Jessie Chaffee ‘17 
Jack Cheng ‘17 
Pino Coluccio ‘18
Diane Cook ‘16 
Kia Corthron ‘17 
Elle Cosimano ‘16 
Luke Davies ‘16 
Alison DeCamp ‘16 
Michael Delp ‘16 
Rene Denfeld ‘18
Jerry Dennis ‘16 
Toi Derricotte ‘16 
Deborah Diesen ‘16 
Karen Dionne ‘18
Paul Doiron ‘18
Alan Drew ‘17
Lindsay Eagar ‘18 
Kim Edwards ‘16 
Ashley Elston ‘16 
Janet Fitch ‘18
Patrick Flores-Scott ‘18
Kathleen Flynn ‘16 
David Francis ‘17 
Gina Frangello ‘16 
Porter Fox ‘18
Dan Gemeinhart ‘16 
Peter Geye ‘16 
Nicole Gulotta ‘17
Michael Gustafson ‘18 
Gabe Habash ‘17 
Jo Watson Hackl ‘18
Ken Haedrich ‘17 
Abby Hanlon ‘18
Corey Ann Haydu ‘17 
Leslie Helakoski ‘17
Brandon Hobson ‘18

Donovan Hohn ‘17 
Meg Howrey ‘17
Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough ‘18
Ladee Hubbard ‘17 
Debra Jo Immergut ‘18
Joshilyn Jackson ‘17 
Craig Johnson ‘16 
Julia Claiborne Johnson ‘16 
Tim Johnston ‘17 
Dan Jones ‘17 
Zilka Joseph ‘16 
Laurie Keller ‘16 
Erin Entrada Kelly ‘17 
Brendan Kiely ‘17 
Denise Kiernan ‘17 
Edward Lee ‘18
Mackenzi Lee ‘17 
Elizabeth Letts ‘16 
Mardi Jo Link ‘16 
Ben Loory ‘17
Makiia Lucier ‘18 
Jim Lynch ‘16 
Thomas Lynch ‘16 
Josh MacIver-Andersen ‘17 
Carmen Maria Machado ‘17 
Dawn MacKeen ‘17 
Naomi Long Madgett ‘16 
Lauren Magaziner ‘17 
Rebecca Makkai ‘16 
David Maraniss ‘16 
Domenica Marchetti ‘16
Howard Markel ‘18
Peter Markus ‘18
Katherine Marsh ‘18 
Herbert Woodward Martin ‘16 
Keith McCafferty ‘16
Joshua McFadden ‘18 
Mindy McGinnis ‘17 
L.L. McKinney ‘18
Maryse Meijer ‘17 
Megan Miranda ’16 & ‘17 
Cindy Hunter Morgan ‘17 
Travis Mulhauser ‘16 
Sarvinder Naberhaus ‘17 
Idra Novey ‘17 
Stewart O’Nan ‘16 
Anne-Maria Oomen ‘16 
Benjamin Percy ‘17 
Drew Philp ‘17 
Deb Pilutti ‘16 


Dan Poppick ‘16 
Dean Rader ‘18
Bryan Readon ‘18
Victoria Redel ‘17 
Skip Renker ‘17 
Ray Robertson ‘18
Augustus Rose ‘17 
Rene Rosen ‘16 
Heather Ross ‘18
Wade Rouse ‘16 
Lance Rubin ‘16 
Mark Sarvas ‘18
Gary D. Schmidt ‘18
Ilyasah Shabazz ‘18
Colby Sharp ‘18
Jessica Shattuck ‘18
Jim Shepard ‘16 
Maggie Shipstead ‘16 
Laura Shovan ‘17
Liesl Shurtliff ‘18
Marsia Silver ‘18 
Adam Silvera ‘17 
Robin Sloan ‘17 
Ronald L. Smith ‘17 
Christine Sneed ‘16 
Tricia Springstubb ‘16 
Sofija Stefanovic ‘18
J. Ryan Stradal ‘16
 Matthew Sweeney ‘16 
Matt Tavares ‘18
Amy Thielen ‘16 
Leah Thomas ‘18
Julie Lawson Timmer ‘16 
Amor Towles ‘16 
Nick Twemlow ‘18
Simon Van Booy ‘17
Laura van den Berg ‘18
Chris Van Dusen ‘18 
Greg van Eekhout ‘18
Lisa Wells ‘18
Lisa Wheeler ‘17 
Marcus Wicker ‘17 
Kenneth L. Woodward ‘16
Steve Yarbrough ‘18
Kat Yeh ‘18 
Molly Yeh ‘17 
Salina Yoon ‘17 
Brenna Yovanoff ‘16 
Sara Zarr ‘16 
Jeff Zentner ‘17