Books In Bloom Author Bios

Authors are listed below in alphabetical order by last name.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Howard Hughes Corporation Chrysalis Stage • 4:15 – 5:00 PM — Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the leading African writer of her generation. She grew up on the campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and left Nigeria for the U.S. at the age of 19. Ms. Adichie’s work is read around the world, and has been translated into over thirty languages. Her first novel  Purple Hibiscus (2003) won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), won the Orange Prize (now the Bailey’s Women’s Prize). Her 2013 novel Americanah has received numerous accolades, including the US National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named one of  The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of the Year.

Ms. Adichie has been invited to speak around the world. Most notably her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks of all time, with over five million views. Her 2012 TED talk, We Should All Be Feminists, has a started a worldwide conversation about feminism, and was published as a book in 2014.

Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.

Ms. Adichie leads an annual Writers Workshop in Nigeria to support aspiring young writers.

Mary Amato

Children’s Tent • 2:30 – 3:15 PM — Mary Amato is the award-winning author of over 16 books with humor and heart for children and teens. Our Teacher is a Vampire is about a secret journal that causes hilarious problems and excitement in a 5th grade classroom

Sonia Belasco

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 1:15 -2:00 PM • Young Adult Author Panel — Sonia Belasco has spent much of her professional life working with teenagers as a mentor, tutor, and therapist, and she is often inspired by their passion, creativity, and strength. She will watch almost any TV show about high school and has seen every contemporary movie that involves dance battles or superheroes. She is a native of Washington, D.C. and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she is trying to acquire a taste for cheesesteak. Follow her on Twitter @SoniaBelasco. (

Karen Branan

M&T Bank Stage • 2:30 – 3:15 PM — Karen Branan is a veteran journalist who has written for newspapers, magazines, stage, and television for almost fifty years. Her work has appeared in Life, Mother Jones, Ms., Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Today’s Health, Learning, Parents, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on PBS, CBS, ABC, CBC, BBC, and CNN.

Mikita Brottman

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 12:15 -1:00 PM — Mikita Brottman is a professor in the Department of Humanistic Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a critic, author and analyst. She writes and teaches about the uncanny, abjection, true crime, esotericism, horror in film and literature, and the history of psychoanalysis. Brottman lives in the old Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore, with her partner David Sterritt and their popular and charismatic French bulldog, Grisby.


Tayla Burney

Columbia Association Stage2:00 – 3:00 PMMedia Panel — Tayla Burney is the creator and curator of the WAMU in Your Bookstore series. She’s also the founder of a Facebook group for young professionals in public media, a topic she has presented on for public radio conferences and local journalism students.



Carrie Callaghan

Columbia Association Stage2:00 – 3:00 PMMedia Panel — Carrie Callaghan lives, reads, and writes in Maryland with her husband, two children, and two floppy cats. Her short fiction has appeared in the Silk Road Review, Floodwall, the MacGuffin, the Northern Virginia Review, and elsewhere. She’s the senior assignments editor for @wirobooks. Twitter at @carriecallaghan.


Jennifer Close

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 3:15 – 4:00 PM — Jennifer Close received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a MFA in fiction writing from The New School in 2005. She is the author of several books including Girls in White Dresses, The Smart One, and The Hopefuls. She teaches creative writing at George Washington University.


Michael Eric Dyson

The Howard Hughes Corporation Chrysalis Stage • 1:00 – 2:00 PM • Race In America DiscussionMichael Eric Dyson is  one  of  America’s  premier  public  intellectuals.  He  occupies  the distinguished position of University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, has been an ordained minister for 35 years, is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and is a contributing  editor  for The New  Republic  and  ESPN’s The  Undefeated. Ebony magazine  named him one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans and one of the 150 most powerful blacks in the nation.


David Ebershoff

The Howard Hughes Corporation Chrysalis Stage • 2:30-3:30 PM — David Ebershoff is the author of four books, including The Danish Girl and the #1 bestseller The 19th Wife. The Danish Girl was adapted into an Oscar winning film starring Academy Award winners Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and five BAFTAs. The 19th Wife was made into a television movie that has aired around the globe. Ebershoff’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages to critical acclaim and twice Out Magazine has named him to its annual Out 100 list of influential LGBT people. David had a long career as an editor at Random House, where he edited more than twenty New York Times bestsellers and three Pulitzer Prize winners and a winner of the National Book Award. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Columbia University. Originally from Pasadena, California, he now lives in New York City.

Laurie Frankel

Columbia Association Stage12:30 – 1:30 PM — Laurie Frankel is the author of two previous novels, The Atlas of Love and Goodbye for Now. She lives in Seattle with her daughter and husband.


Katherine Heiny

M&T Bank Stage • 12:30- 1:15 PM — Katherine Heiny is the author of Single, Carefree Mellow, a collection of short stories. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other places. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and children.


Christina June

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 1:15 -2:00 PM • Young Adult Author Panel — Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoasta l– the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.


Miranda Keannelly

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 1:15 -2:00 PM • Young Adult Author Panel — Miranda Kenneally enjoys reading and writing young adult literature, and loves Star Trek, music, sports, Mexican food, Twitter, coffee, and her husband. She is from Tennessee but now lives in Arlington, Virginia.


Karen Leggett Abouraya

Children’s Tent • 1:30 – 2:15 PM — Karen Leggett Abouraya is a veteran print and broadcast journalist (WMAL Radio in Washington, D.C.) who has reviewed children’s books for The New York Times, Children’s Literature, Washington Parent, and more. She is a past president and active member of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C. Karen, her Egyptian husband and their two children have traveled frequently to Egypt, so it is not surprising that Egypt is the focus of her first children’s book, Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books. Illustrated with the exuberant cut-paper collages of Susan L. Roth, Hands Around the Library tells the story of Egyptian protesters who held hands around the great library of Alexandria to protect it from vandals during the 2011 revolution.

Debbie Levy

Children’s Tent • 3:30 – 4:15 PM — Debbie Levy writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for people of all  ages, and especially for young people. Before starting her writing career, she was a newspaper editor with American Lawyer Media and Legal Times; before that, a lawyer with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Rick Hoffman. Besides writing, she loves to kayak, boat, and fish in the Chesapeake Bay region, swim, bowl duckpins, and tramp around the woods. And, of course, she loves to read.


Petra Mayer

Columbia Association Stage2:00 – 3:00 PMMedia Panel — Petra Mayer is an editor (and the resident nerd) at NPR Books, focusing on genre fiction. She brings to the job passion, speed-reading skills, and a truly impressive collection of Doctor Who doodads. You can also hear her on the air, and on the occasional episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Previously, she was an associate producer and director for All Things Considered on the weekends. She handled all of the show’s books coverage, and she was also the person to ask if you wanted to know how much snow falls outside NPR’s Washington headquarters on a Saturday, how to belly dance, or what pro wrestling looks like up close and personal.

Mayer originally came to NPR as an engineering assistant in 1994, while still attending Amherst College. After three years spending summers honing her soldering skills in the maintenance shop, she made the jump to Boston’s WBUR as a newswriter in 1997. Mayer returned to NPR in 2000 after a roundabout journey that included a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a two-year stint as an audio archivist and producer at the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She still knows how to solder.

Mary McCauley

Columbia Association Stage2:00 – 3:00 PMMedia Panel — Mary Carole McCauley joined The Sun in 2000 and is an arts reporter specializing in books and visual arts. Previously, she was The Sun’s theater critic and an assistant arts editor. A native Chicagoan, she graduated from the University of Chicago and completed a fellowship for arts journalists at Northwestern University. Her writing has been recognized with a National Headliner Award and three times by the Society for Features Journalism.


Jerdine Nolan

Children’s Tent • 12:30 – 1:15 PM — Jerdine Nolen is the beloved author of many award-winning books, including Big Jabe, Thunder Rose (a Coretta Scott King Illlustrator Honor Book), and Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life (a Bank Street Best Book of the Year), all illustrated by Kadir Nelson. She is also the author of Eliza’s Freedom Road, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, which was an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction Nominee for Young Adults, and nominated for the NAACP Image Award; Raising Dragons, illustrated by Elise Primavera, which received the Christopher Award; and Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, illustrated by Mark Buehner, which won the Kentucky Bluegrass Award. Her other books include Plantizilla, illustrated by David Catrow, which was a BOOKSENSE 76 Selection, and Irene’s Wish, illustrated by A.G. Ford, which Kirkus Reviews called “ delightful and memorable” in a starred review. Ms. Nolen is an educator and lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Eric Puchner

M&T Bank Stage • 1:30 – 2:15 PM — Eric Puchner is the author of the novel Model Home, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and two collections of stories, Music Through the Floor and Last Day on Earth. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including GQ, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope, The Best American Non-required Reading, Puschart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and The Best American Short Stories 2012 and 2017. He has received an NEA fellowship, a California Book Award, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A professor at Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Baltimore with his wife, the novelist Katharine Noel, and their two children.


Alec Ross

Columbia Association Stage • 3:30 – 4:30 PM — Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He served for four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and serves as an advisor to investors, corporations, and government leaders. Ross lives in Baltimore with his wife and their three young children. He is the author of The Industries of the Future.


April Ryan

The Howard Hughes Corporation Chrysalis Stage • 1:00 – 2:00 PM • Race In America DiscussionApril Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran, has been the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) since January of 1997, covering three Presidents. Ryan is also the author of the best- selling book, The Presidency In Black and White: My Up Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.


Katy Upperman

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 1:15 -2:00 PM • Young Adult Author Panel — Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.


Ursula Werner

Inner Arbor Trust Stage • 2:15-3:00 PM — Ursula Werner is a writer and attorney currently living in Washington, DC, with her family. Born in Germany and raised in South Florida, she has practiced law while continuing her creative writing, publishing two books of poetry, In the Silence of the Woodruff (2006) and Rapunzel Revisited (2010). The Good at Heart is her first novel.


Ariel Winter

M&T Bank Stage • 3:30-4:15 PM — Ariel S. Winter was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Shamus Award, and the Macavity Award for his debut novel, The Twenty-Year Death. He is also the author of the children’s picture book One of a Kind, illustrated by David Hitch, and the blog We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie. He lives in Baltimore.



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