Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23
The mission of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference is to invite readers and writers into a realm of intellectual intimacy. In an annual program, anchored by recognized writers of fiction and nonfiction, readers and writers come together as a community to be educated, enlightened, challenged and inspired.
Writers & Presenters
Naomi Shihab Nye
Freida Lee Mock
Joanne B. Freeman
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus – Chamber Singers
Kwame Anthony Appiah
John Burnham Schwartz
Min Jin Lee
Strobe Talbott is a scholar at the Brookings Institution, where he was president for sixteen years. Before serving as Deputy Secretary of State, he was a foreign correspondent, Washington bureau chief, and columnist for TIME magazine spanning 21 years. An authority on diplomacy, global governance, and arms control, Talbott has written twelve books, including The Russia Hand and The Great Experiment. He translated Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs and nineteenth-century Russian verse into English and published his own poetry in The New Yorker. Talbott chaired the Foreign Affairs Policy Board under two U.S. Secretaries of State and was the founding director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.
Photo Credit: Katherine Lambert
Andrew Proctor is the Executive Director of Literary Arts, Inc., a nonprofit literary center based in downtown Portland, OR, that serves thousands of readers and writers each year. Previously, Proctor was the Membership and Operations Director at PEN American Center, a global human rights organization based in New York City that seeks to defend writers wherever they are imperiled. He has also been an Associate Editor at HarperCollins and worked in the Cultural Affairs office at the Canadian High Commission in London (UK). He has a bachelor’s degree in English and Music from Concordia University in Montreal (Canada) and a master’s degree in English from the University of East Anglia (UK).
Mitch Landrieu was the 61st Mayor of New Orleans (2010-2018). When he took office, the city was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of the BP Oil Spill. Under Landrieu’s leadership, New Orleans is widely recognized as one of the nation’s great comeback stories. In 2015, Landrieu was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing, and in 2016 was voted “America’s top turnaround mayor” in a Politico survey of mayors. He gained national prominence for his powerful decision to take down four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, which also earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
In his book, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, Landrieu recounts his personal journey confronting racism, and tackles the broader history of slavery, race relations, and institutional inequalities that still plague America. He recently launched the E Pluribus Unum Fund, which will work to bring people together across the South around the issues of race, equity, economic opportunity and violence. Prior to serving as mayor, Landrieu served two terms as lieutenant governor and 16 years in the state legislature. He also served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Gerber
Mark Leibovich is the Chief National Correspondent for The New York Times Magazine. He is the recipient of the National Magazine Award for profile writing. Leibovich is the author of three books, including This Town, about the political culture of 21st-century Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Times magazine in 2012, Leibovich covered national politics in The New York Times‘ Washington Bureau. He previously worked at The Washington Post and San Jose Mercury News.
Photo Credit: Ralph Alswang
Ambassador Victoria Nuland is Chief Executive Officer at the Center for a New American Security. She is also the Brady-Johnson distinguished practitioner in the Grand Strategy Program at Yale University and a member of the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy. A U.S. diplomat for 32 years, Ambassador Nuland served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from September 2013 until January 2017 under President Obama and Secretary Kerry. She was State Department Spokesperson during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s tenure, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO during President George W. Bush’s second term. She also served as Special Envoy and chief negotiator on the Treaty on Conventional Arms Control in Europe from 2010-2011, and as Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney from 2003-2005. In addition to two tours at NATO in Brussels, Belgium, Ambassador Nuland has served overseas in Russia, China, and Mongolia, and in various assignments in the State Department. She has a bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from Brown University.
Photo Credit: Erin Scott Photography/CNAS
Barry Lopez is best known as the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award. Among his other nonfiction books are About This Life and Of Wolves and Men, which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count, and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. His recent work includes Light Action in the Caribbean, Resistance—Lopez’s response to the recent ideological changes in American society, and a short-story collaboration with artist Barry Moser titled Outside. He is also the co-editor with Debra Gwartney of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, a work of language, geography, and folklore. His books, along with his magazine work, reflect a life of travel and cultural inquiry that has taken him to more than 90 countries. Lopez’s latest release is a memoir titled Horizon.
Once a landscape photographer, Lopez continues to maintain close contact with a diverse community of artists. He is on the advisory board of Theater Grottesco in Santa Fe. He has collaborated with composer John Luther Adams on several concert and theater productions and spoken at openings for sculptor Michael Singer and photographer Robert Adams. In another arena of work, Barry Lopez collaborated with E. O. Wilson in the design of a university curriculum that combines the sciences and humanities in a new undergraduate major. Lopez has also been the subject of a book by William E. Tydeman titled Conversations with Barry Lopez: Walking the Path of Imagination.
Lopez received the Honorary Geographer 2011 Award from the Association of American Geographers (past recipients have been Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Krugman, and John McPhee), as well as the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Burroughs and John Hay Medals, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, five National Science Foundation Fellowships, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, as well as Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction. In 2017, he was awarded the University of Texas at Austin’s Dobie Paisano International Residency Prize. His essay “Sliver of Sky” was selected for Best American Essays 2014 and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in Essays and Criticism. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Paris Review, Orion, Outside, and National Geographic.
Photo Credit: David Liittschwager
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words under the Words, Fuel, and You & Yours. She is also the author of Mint Snowball; Never in a Hurry; I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay?; Tales of Driving and Being Driven; Habibi; Going, Going; Sitti’s Secrets; and There Is No Long Distance Now. Other works include several prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including Time You Let Me In, This Same Sky, The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East, What Have You Lost?, and Transfer. Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Her novel for children, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen both a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association. The Turtle of Oman was also awarded the 2015 Middle East Book Award for Youth Literature. Nye’s new book is Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners. Her next book of poems is entitled The Tiny Journalist, due in April 2019.
Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize, and “The Betty Prize” from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011, Nye won the Golden Rose Award, given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry reading series in the country. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac and she has been featured on two PBS poetry specials including “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. Nye has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. In January 2010, Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, she is a laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented her with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018, the Texas Institute of Letters awarded Nye the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She is Professor of Creative Writing – Poetry at Texas State University.
Photo Credit: Chehalis Hegner
Francis Lam is the host of public radio’s “The Splendid Table,” is the editor-at-large at Clarkson Potter, and serves on the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His writing has won numerous awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. As an editor, he was responsible for The New York Times cookbooks Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and Koreatown by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard, as well as the two-time James Beard Award-winning Victuals by Ronni Lundy.
In past lives, he was a columnist for The New York Times Magazine, a regular judge on “Top Chef Masters,” the features editor at Gilt Taste, a senior writer at Salon, and a contributing editor at Gourmet. His work has appeared in ten editions of the annual Best Food Writing anthology. He believes that, in professional football, that would count as a dynasty; in ancient China, not so much.
Photo Credit: Pableaux Johnson
Vendela Vida is the author of the acclaimed novels The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, The Lovers, Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, And Now You Can Go, as well as an essay collection Girls on the Verge: Debutante Dips, Drive-Bys, and Other Initiations. She is a founding co-editor of The Believer magazine, and the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. Vida co-wrote the screenplay for Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker and in The New York Times Book Review.
Photo Credit: Chloe Veltman
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of numerous novels, including Razor Girl, Bad Monkey, Star Island, Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and five children’s books, Hoot, Flush, Scat, Chomp, and Skink. His most recent work of nonfiction is Dance of the Reptiles, a collection of his columns from The Miami Herald.
Photo Credit: Quinn Hiaasen
Freida Lee Mock
Academy and Emmy Award winner Freida Lee Mock is a Santa Monica-based director, writer, and producer of feature-length and short-form theatrical documentary films. Her extensive body of work has garnered five Academy Award nominations including the winner, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision; Oscar nominations for Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember; Sing!; Never Give Up; and To Live or Let Die as well as numerous best director awards. Mock is completing RUTH – Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words and just finished the CHOIR and CONDUCTOR, part of the Sing! series, and is developing the series Stories from the ‘Hood based on G-Dog and Fr. Greg Boyle’s global work with youth-at-risk at Homeboy Industries.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Caren
Andrew Roberts has a PhD from Cambridge University, is a Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department of King’s College, London, is the Lehrman Institute Distinguished Lecturer at the New-York Historical Society, and is the author of 13 books, including Eminent Churchillians, Hitler and Churchill, A History of the English-speaking Peoples Since 1900, The Storm of War: A History of the Second World War, Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Alanbrooke and Marshall Won the War in the West, and his latest, a single-volume biography, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. Roberts is a Trustee of the International Churchill Society, the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, and the National Portrait Gallery. He is also the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Photo Credit: Anna Kunst
Joanne B. Freeman
Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, is a leading expert on early American politics and culture. The author of the award-winning Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic, and editor of Alexander Hamilton: Writings and The Essential Hamilton, Freeman is particularly well known for her expertise in dirty, nasty politics, an interest that has made her work particularly relevant in recent years. Her most recent book, The Field of Blood: Congressional Violence and Road to Civil War, explores the impact and legacies of physical violence in the U.S. Congress in the decades leading up to the Civil War.
Long committed to public-minded history, she has been an historical advisor for writers, documentary filmmakers, the National Park Service, and a playwright; Lin-Manuel Miranda used her work in writing Hamilton. She is the lead historian in the Hamilton-linked traveling exhibit, which opens in the spring of 2019. A co-host of the popular American history podcast BackStory, she is a frequent commentator on PBS, NPR, CNN, the BBC, and MSNBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, TIME magazine, and Slate, among others. Her Yale online course, The American Revolution, has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people in homes and classrooms around the world.
A fellow of the Society of American Historians, Freeman has won fellowships from, among others, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Dirksen Congressional Research Center, the American Historical Association, and the Library of Congress. A board member of the Library of America, the International Center for Jefferson Studies, and the National Council for History Education, she was named one of the nation’s Top Young Historians in 2001. Freeman was awarded the DeVane Award for Teaching and Scholarship by Yale University in 2017, and the Clauss Prize for Teaching in the Humanities in 2018.
Madeline Miller attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students for the past 20 years.
Miller has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.
The Song of Achilles, Miller’s first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. It has been translated into over 25 languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic, and Greek. Miller was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, won the 2018 Elle Big Book Award and was longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Miller’s essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham’s Quarterly, and NPR.org.
Photo Credit: Nina Subin
Tommy Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. Orange is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma. He is the author of the novel There There, which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award. Orange was born and raised in Oakland, California.
Photo Credit: Elena Seibert
Danzy Senna is the author of five critically acclaimed books of fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel, Caucasia, won the Book of the Month Award for First Fiction and the American Library Association’s Alex Award. The book was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Senna’s debut has been translated into ten languages and become a modern classic.
Since publishing Caucasia, Senna has grown to become one of today’s most widely respected voices tackling multiracial and complex social identities. Her other books include the novel, Symptomatic, the memoir, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? A Personal History, and the short-story collection, You Are Free. Her latest book, New People, is a subversive and engrossing novel of race, class, and manners in contemporary America.
Senna is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and was recently awarded the 2016 Dos Passos Prize for Literature. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Vogue, among other publications.
Miriam Pawel is an author, journalist, and independent historian. Her most recent book, The Browns of California — The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation, traces the history of California through four generations of the family of Governors Pat and Jerry Brown.
She has written extensively about agriculture, labor, and social movements, including two books, The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement, and The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, which won the 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, the California Book Award, and was a National Book Critics Circle award finalist. Her writing has been supported with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation.
Before focusing on the second cut of history, she spent 25 years as an award-winning reporter and editor on both coasts, directing coverage that won Pulitzer prizes at Newsday and at the Los Angeles Times. She is currently a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.
Photo Credit: Wendy Vissar
Physician-writer Abraham Verghese is a professor at Stanford University, where he is vice-chair in the department of medicine and director of PRESENCE, a new research center exploring the art and science of human connection. He is the author of three books, including his debut novel Cutting for Stone, which spent over two years on The New York Times bestseller list and was named by Amazon one of its “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” In 2011, Verghese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, and in 2016, President Obama honored him with a National Humanities Medal. He is currently at work on his second novel, set during the 1940s in India’s Kerala state.
Photo Credit: Barbi Reed
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus – Chamber Singers
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), widely recognized for its agile bel canto sound and artistic excellence, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine), and “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News). Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Fernando Mulvar-Ruiz, who began his tenure in August 2018, LACC presents its own concerts and regularly performs with such organizations as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Jacaranda. The Chorus serves 400 children ages 6 to 18 in seven choirs – Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Mixed Chamber Choir, Young Men’s Ensemble, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir, and Preparatory Choir – and a First Experiences in Singing program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6- to 8-year-olds. LACC, recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, tours internationally, is the subject of three documentaries, and has appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, Public Radio International’s “From the Top,” and is featured on John Williams’ latest recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection. Chamber Singers is LACC’s performing ensemble for more musically accomplished and technically sophisticated female singers.
Photo Credit: Jamie Pham
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah was born in England and raised in Ghana. He studied medical sciences and philosophy at Cambridge University as an undergraduate and completed a doctoral degree in philosophy there in 1982. Since then, he has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, and Princeton, before coming to NYU to be Professor of Philosophy and Law in 2013. He has written widely in philosophy, especially in ethics and political philosophy, and in African and African-American Studies, and lectured on these subjects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Professor Appiah is the author of In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, and The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, as well as more than a dozen other philosophical works, three novels, and hundreds of articles and reviews. With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. he edited the Encarta Africana for Microsoft and the five-volume Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience. Since October 2015, Appiah has written the weekly Ethicist column in The New York Times. In 2016, he gave the Reith Lectures for the BBC, which were entitled Mistaken Identities, and were recorded in London, Glasgow, Accra, and New York.
Professor Appiah has received honorary degrees from 15 universities, most recently Occidental College (2012), Harvard University (2012), the University of Pennsylvania (2013), Edinburgh University (2013), and Wesleyan University (2016). He has been President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, of the PEN American Center, and of the Modern Language Association, and also chaired the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies. He currently sits on the boards of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Facing History and Ourselves, the New York Public Theater, and The New York Public Library. In 2012, President Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal. In 2017, he became a member of the Royal Society of Literature.
Photo Credit: Henry Finder
Jeffrey Brown is an award-winning senior correspondent and chief arts correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, public television’s national nightly newscast. In his more than 25 years with the program, he has served as co-anchor, studio moderator, and field reporter on a wide range of national and international issues, with work taking him around the country and to numerous parts of the globe. Brown has profiled many of the world’s leading writers, musicians, actors, and other artists. He also serves as the host of “Art Beat,” the NewsHour’s arts and culture blog, and of the new book club, “Now Read This,” a partnership with The New York Times. A poet, Brown is author of the collection, The News.
Dani Shapiro’s books include the memoirs, Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work spans diverse subjects from her tumultuous upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish community and the tragic death of her father to her explorations of spirituality and the nature of our deepest relationships. Dani’s memoir, Inheritance, was recently published by Knopf.
Dani’s essays and journalistic pieces have appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Salon, n+1, Tin House, and Vogue, and have been widely anthologized. She contributes regularly to The New York Times Book Review and has been broadcast on This American Life.
Along with teaching writing workshops around the world, Dani has taught at Columbia and New York University, and is the cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy.
In February of 2019, Dani launched an original podcast titled “Family Secrets.” The podcast features stories from guests who—like Dani— have uncovered life-altering and long-hidden secrets from their families’ past.
Photo Credit: Michael Maren
Alice McDermott’s critically acclaimed eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction. TIME magazine, The Library Journal, and The Wall Street Journal named The Ninth Hour among the top ten works of fiction in 2017. In 2018, the novel was awarded France’s Prix Femina for a work in translation. Her seventh novel, Someone, was a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction, and The Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Someone was also long-listed for the National Book Award. Three of McDermott’s previous novels, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Charming Billy won the National Book Award for fiction in 1998 and was a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award. That Night was also a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Commonweal, and elsewhere. McDermott has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
Photo Credit: Jamie Schoenberger
Rick Atkinson is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize. The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from The New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written…and rooted in the sight and sounds of battle.” The final volume of the Liberation Trilogy, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945, was published in May 2013. After completing his World War II books, Atkinson began work on the Revolution Trilogy, a three-volume battle history of the American Rebellion from 1775 to 1783. The first volume, scheduled for publication by Henry Holt & Co. in May 2019, is titled, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.
Atkinson is also the author of The Long Gray Line, a narrative saga about the West Point class of 1966, and Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War. He also wrote In the Company of Soldiers, an account of his time with General David H. Petraeus and the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is the lead essayist in Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery, published by National Geographic in 2007.
Atkinson’s awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to The Washington Post for investigative articles directed and edited by Atkinson on shootings by District of Columbia police officers. He is winner of the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting, the 2003 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award, the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, the 2013 New York Military Affairs Symposium award for lifetime achievement, and the 2014 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize for lifetime achievement from the Society for Military History. In December 2015, he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, previously given to Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, and David McCullough. Atkinson has served as the Gen. Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College, where he remains an adjunct faculty member. He is a Presidential Counselor at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, a member of the Society of American Historians, and an inductee in the Academy of Achievement, for which he also serves as a board member. He serves on the governing commission of the National Portrait Gallery.
Atkinson worked as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and senior editor for 25 years at The Washington Post. His last assignments were covering the 101st Airborne during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and writing about roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. Previously he served as the assistant managing editor for investigations. Atkinson’s journalism career began at the Pittsburg (Kansas) Morning Sun in 1976; in 1977, he moved to the Kansas City Times, before going to The Washington Post in 1983. Among other assignments, he served as the Post’s Berlin bureau chief, covering not only Germany and NATO, but also spending considerable time in Somalia and Bosnia.
Photo Credit: Elliott O’Donovan
Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including The Monk of Mokha; The Circle; A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; and What is the What, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of France’s Prix Médicis Etranger. He is the founder of McSweeney’s Publishing and cofounder of Voice of Witness, a book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises. In 2002, he cofounded 826 Valencia, a youth writing center with a pirate-supply storefront, which has inspired similar programs around the world. ScholarMatch, now ten years old, connects donors with students to make college possible for all. In 2018 he cofounded the International Congress of Youth Voices, a global gathering of writers and activists under twenty. He is a winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His newest book, a novel titled The Parade, was released in March 2019.
Madhuri Vijay’s first novel, The Far Field, was published by Grove Atlantic in January 2019. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in Best American Non-Required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications. Vijay was a 2016 Fellow at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.
Photo Credit: Manvi Rao
Julie Lythcott-Haims roots for humans. Humans need agency in order to make their way forward; Julie is deeply interested in what impedes us. She is the author of How to Raise an Adult, an anti-helicopter parenting manifesto which gave rise to one of the top TED Talks of 2016, and now has over 3 million views. Her second book is the critically-acclaimed prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience with racism and her journey toward self-acceptance. A third book on how to be an adult, for young adults, is forthcoming. She is a former corporate lawyer and Stanford dean, and she holds a BA from Stanford, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts.
Photo Credit: Kristina Vetter
John Burnham Schwartz
John Burnham Schwartz is the author of five acclaimed novels, including The Commoner and Reservation Road, which was made into a film based on his screenplay. The Red Daughter, his sixth novel, will be published in April 2019. His books have been translated into 20 languages, and he has done extensive film and television writing, including as screenwriter of HBO Films’ The Wizard of Lies, for which he was nominated for a 2018 WGA Award for Outstanding Writing. He is the Literary Director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.
Photo Credit: Melissa Forman
Simon Rich has written for “Saturday Night Live,” Pixar, and “The Simpsons.” He is the creator and showrunner of “Man Seeking Woman” (FXX) and “Miracle Workers” (TBS), which he based on his books. His other collections include Spoiled Brats and Ant Farm. Rich is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker.
Photo Credit: Ed Steed
Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fiction fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-9). Lee’s recent novel Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, a Top 10 Books of the Year for The New York Times, a joint book club selection of PBS NewsHour and The New York Times, and on over 75 best-of-the-year lists. Lee’s debut novel, Free Food for Millionaires, was on the Top 10 Books of the Year list for The New York Times,
NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, Guardian, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal. She has served as a columnist for The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s leading newspaper, for three seasons.
Photo Credit: Elena Seibert
Brando Skyhorse’s debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The book was also a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Take This Man: A Memoir was an Amazon Best Book of the Month selection and named by Kirkus Reviews as one the Best Nonfiction Books of the year. Skyhorse has also co-edited an anthology, We Wear The Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America. He has been awarded fellowships at Ucross Foundation, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and was the 2014-2015 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-In-Washington at George Washington University. Skyhorse is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Photo Credit: Eric van den Brulle
Playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar is the author of award-winning plays including: Junk (2018 Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); Disgraced (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination, Nestroy Award); The Who & The What; and The Invisible Hand (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award). As a novelist, he is the author of American Dervish, published in over 20 languages. Akhtar is also the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2017 Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the 2019 Erwin Piscator Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome and the Sundance Institute, among others. He serves on the boards of Yaddo, PEN/America, and the New York Theatre Workshop.
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho panhandle on Hoodoo Mountain. Her novel Idaho is the winner of the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award. In addition, she has received an O. Henry Award, a Pacific Northwest Book Award, and has been a shortlisted finalist for the Dylan Thomas International Prize, the Edgar Allen Poe Award for first novel, and the New York Library’s Young Lion’s Award.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches Creative Writing in the MFA program at Boise State University. Ruskovich’s writing has appeared in Zoetrope, The Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and LitHub. She lives in Boise with her husband and daughter.
Photo Credit: (c) Sam McPhee
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is a contributing columnist at The Washington Post. His latest book is The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World. His previous book was The World America Made.
Kagan is also the author Return of History and the End of Dreams, Dangerous Nation: America’s Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the 20th Century, Of Paradise and Power, and A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990.
For his writings, Politico Magazine named Kagan one of the “Politico 50,” the top “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.” His most recent essays include “The Twilight of the Liberal World Order” in Brookings Big Ideas for America and “Backing into World War III” in Foreign Policy.
Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the policy planning staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and holds a doctorate in American History from American University.
Photo Credit: Paul Morigi
“SVWC is everything I love in one place, during one week…I find that the most unique part of the conference is its enormous heart. The conversations and interactions renew me spiritually and make me want to keep reaching, however impractical and distant the goal might be. SVWC is my church.”
– Firoozeh Dumas