Marie Arana

Marie Arana is a prizewinning author, literary critic, and former Literary Director of the Library of Congress. Her most recent book is “Silver, Sword, and Stone,” a sweeping narrative that places contemporary Latin America in the context of its history. It was chosen by the American Library Association as the top nonfiction book of 2019. Among her other books are: the National Book Award Finalist “American Chica,” the novels “Cellophane” and “Lima Nights,” and the biography “Bolívar: American Liberator,” winner of the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has been the recipient of an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award for Literature (2020), a former executive at two major publishing houses, a judge for the National Book Awards and the Pulitzer Prizes, a visiting columnist for the New York Times and, for many years, editor in chief of Book World at the Washington Post. She is president of the Authors Guild Foundation, and a board member of PEN America, PEN Faulkner, the Leon Levy Biography Center, and the American Writers Museum; a governor of Northwestern University’s Libraries; and Vice President of the 150-year-old Literary Society of Washington.

Wendy Strothman

Wendy Strothman founded The Strothman Agency in 2003 after seven years as publisher of Trade & Reference at Houghton Mifflin Company where she oversaw all adult, reference, and children’s publishing, and edited five books with Philip Roth as well as works by Arthur Schlesinger and John Kenneth Galbraith. She was director of Beacon Press in Boston for twelve years and began her publishing career at the University of Chicago Press. As agent, she represents serious non-fiction by scholars and journalists. In the past five years, two clients, David Blight (Frederick Douglass) and David Kertzer (The Pope and Mussolini), have won Pulitzer Prizes, and two clients, James Scott (Target Tokyo) and Wendy Warren (New England Bound) have been Pulitzer Finalists. Her clients include Sian Beilock, Martha Hodes, Alison Richard, Judith Resnik, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Richard T. Ford, Joanne Freeman, Kenn Kaufman, Thanassis Cambanis, Kathryn Miles, Amy Ellis Nutt, and Yanis Varoufakis. Wendy was a trustee of Brown University for six years and served as Secretary of the Corporation of Brown University for ten years. She currently serves on the Board of the Association of Authors Representatives and the Copyright Clearance Center. She is based in Greenwich Village.

Scott Turow

Scott Turow was a struggling novelist and university teacher when he decided to go to law school, which he admits proved to be the great break of his literary career. He has published ten bestselling works of fiction, starting with Presumed Innocent, and has also written two non-fiction books about the law, including his first published book, One L, about his experiences as a law student. He is a former president of the Guild.

Personal website:

Robert Pesce

Robert M. Pesce is a partner in Marcum’s Tax & Business Services division and the National Partner-in-Charge of its Accounting Services Group. He has an outstanding reputation for developing strong relationships with clients in the entertainment industry as well as professional services firms. His ability for successfully working with actors, authors and agencies led to his instrumental role in the founding of the Firm’s Media and Entertainment group.

A trusted advisor, Mr. Pesce is often engaged by clients for business advice and tax saving strategies. He provides a variety of accounting, business management, consulting and tax planning services that enable his clients to become more profitable and efficient.

Mr. Pesce has more than 30 years of experience. He joined the firm in 1986 beginning his professional career at Marcum. He has spoken before industry groups on various tax topics and published numerous articles. Mr. Pesce is very involved within the New York City community and volunteers his time and serves on committees for cultural and community-minded not-for-profit organizations.

Roxana Robinson

Roxana Robinson writes novels, short stories, biography, essays, reviews, and other things. She’s the author of nine books, including the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Her most recent is the novel, Sparta, about a Marine coming home from Iraq. She writes about war, the environment, and human relations.

Her website is

Members of the Board

Janet Dewart Bell

Janet Dewart Bell is a communications strategist and management consultant with a multimedia background, as well as experience in policy advocacy, strategic planning, fund development, media training, and education. She is a social justice advocate, activist, executive coach, and motivational speaker, with a doctorate in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She is the author of Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement.

Among her accomplishments are an Emmy® for outstanding individual achievement (CBS-TV affiliate in Washington, DC) and programming for National Public Radio honored with a Peabody award, considered the highest award in broadcasting.

She has been a key strategist and senior executive at a number of national organizations, including The Opportunity Agenda, PolicyLink, the National Urban League, the National Committee on Household Employment, and National Public Radio (NPR). She was Director of Communications and Public Relations for District Council 37, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), in New York City. As a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, she developed and taught a course on Effective Advocacy and co-taught a constitutional law course with her husband Professor Derrick Bell.

She developed and managed The Opportunity Agenda’s acclaimed Communications Institute, a four-day, intensive multi-media training for social justice advocates. As Director of Communications at PolicyLink, Bell was instrumental in developing the organization’s collaborative approach to advocacy and communications and developed the trademark “Lifting up what works.”® As Director of Communications at the National Urban League, she was the League’s chief communications strategist and editor of The State of Black America. As part of AFL-CIO delegations, she has taught trade unionists in Morocco and Tunisia. She was the Chairperson of the District of Columbia Commission for Women and represented the District at the International Conference of Women in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bell established the Derrick Bell Lecture Series on Race in American Society at the New York University School of Law, now in its twenty-fourth year. Along with other lead donors, she helped establish in 2012 the Derrick Bell Fund for Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Professor Bell’s alma mater, to honor his memory and legacy. See She has also endowed the Janet Dewart Bell scholarship at Baruch College, where she earned a Master’s.

Bell is the founder and president of LEAD InterGenerational Solutions, Inc. A nonprofit dedicated to developing intergenerational leadership as social change agents. She serves on the boards of CancerCare, the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the Women’s Media Center.

She is an ordained elder, serving at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, an intentionally inclusive and diverse Christian community, where all are welcome.

Amanda Benchley

Amanda has worked in public relations at Random House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then went on to research and produce documentaries for A&E’s Biography Series and the History Channel, including several shorts on the American Presidents that are still running at the Smithsonian Institute.  After earning a Master’s at Columbia Journalism School, she wrote articles on art and culture for the New York TimesWall Street Journal, the New York Observer and the Huffington Post. Her books include Artists Living with Art, Our Shoes, Our Selves: 40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes, and OPEN STUDIO: Do it Yourself Projects by Contemporary Artists.  She is currently working on a book about the creative community in Martha’s Vineyard. 

Neal Cohen

Neal M. Cohen is President of Aperture Communications LLC, a strategic communications company focused on crafting client messages that have impact, stories that resonate and are memorable, and results that benefit both reputation and the bottom line.

Prior to starting Aperture Communications, he was Vice Chairman of APCO Worldwide’s Board of Directors and President of Global Client Strategies. APCO is one of the largest independent global public affairs and strategic communications companies. Prior to this position, he was President and Chief Operations Officer of APCO Worldwide, served on the company’s executive committee and chaired its global management committee. He helped build APCO globally over a thirty-year career.

Following APCO, Neal was Senior Vice President, External Affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute. His responsibilities included driving all matters related to governmental affairs, communications, and policy development. He sought to ensure the integration and consistency of messaging to numerous stakeholders, including member organizations, the media, local and national political figures, third party influencers, community leaders, and the general public.

Before joining APCO, Neal was a legislative assistant to Congressman Esteban E. Torres, an associate at the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and an intern for then-Speaker of the California Assembly Leo McCarthy and Congressman Pete Stark.

He has a BA from Claremont McKenna College and an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley.

Neal sits on the boards of the Creative Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group formed of members of the American entertainment industry, and Restless Books, an international, nonprofit publisher of fiction, journalism, memoirs, children’s books, and classics.

Sylvia Day

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a number one bestseller in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Ms. Day currently divides her time between Las Vegas, Seattle, and Manhattan.

Richard Thompson Ford

Richard Thompson Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster, served as a Commissioner of the San Francisco Housing Authority and worked as a policy consultant for the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the City and County of San Francisco, California and the County of San Mateo, California.

He writes for both scholarly and popular audiences in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Slate, where he has been a regular contributor on legal affairs, as well as in the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law Review and the Yale Law Journal.

He has written several books, including two selected as Notable Books of the year by the New York Times: The Race Card: how bluffing about bias makes race relations worse, which The New York Times Sunday Book Review selected as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2008and Rights Gone Wrong: how law corrupts the struggle for equality, which The New York Times selected as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011. In 2012 ON BEING A BLACK LAWYER selected him as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in the OBABL Power 100: On Being a Black Lawyer Salutes the 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in the Nation.

He has appeared on several television and radio programs including The Colbert Report, the Rachel Maddow Show and the Dylan Rattigan Show. He is currently writing a book on the history of laws and rules about clothing entitled “Dress Codes: how the law of fashion made history” scheduled for publication in 2021.

Lynn Goldberg

Lynn Goldberg has spent her professional life connecting writers with readers and bringing authors to the attention of the public. She was Publicity Director of Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Pantheon Books and was Associate Director of Publicity for Random House before opening her own company. She founded Lynn Goldberg Communications in 1981 and later changed the firm name to Goldberg McDuffie Communications. Among the authors she worked with are Ron Chernow, Susan Sontag, Harold Bloom, Alan Greenspan, Jerome Groopman, Arlie Hochschild, Susan Isaacs, Ian Bremmer, Nicole Krauss, John Lahr, Peter Peterson, Jodi Picoult, Roxana Robinson, Dava Sobel, Maurice Sendak, Joseph Stiglitz, and E.O. Wilson. She also worked with The National Book Awards, The PEN Writers Festival, The Whiting Awards, Poets & Writers and The Library of America.

She has served on the boards of Poets & Writers as well as the advisory boards of the Friends Program of the New York Public Library, The New School’s MFA program in Creative Writing, the Advisory Council for Literacy Partners, and the Jerusalem International Book Fair. She has been a member of the President’s Council of Heritage College, located on the Yakama Nation reservation in Washington.

Lynn Goldberg is now consulting for literary writers.

Taryn Leavitt

Taryn Leavitt is the founder of Taryn Leavitt in Gold, an artisanal fine jewelry atelier. She began her working life as a news reporter for United Press International Radio in London, then spent her on air career with Financial News Network and CNBC, before becoming a local news reporter with Channel 9 and 5 in NYC.

She has a BA in Literature and Society from Brown University and an MA in Folk Art studies from NYU.

Taryn has served on the Board of the American Folk Art Museum in NYC and is an active Elder Care Volunteer with DOROT.

She lives in NYC and the Berkshires.

Meredith Lesher

Meredith Lesher is a board member of the Lesher Family Foundation (LFF) where she has taken an active role in foundation business and charitable giving with a specific focus on issues impacting Tulsa and mid-coast Maine. In addition to her work at LFF, she was accepted to Class 67 of Leadership Tulsa, a city-wide program designed to build leadership skills and to create deeper connections to the Tulsa community through service. In Tulsa, she serves on the beautification committee of Kendall Whittier Main Street, a non-profit working to promote vibrancy in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood. After seventeen years working as an ethics and political compliance attorney for a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., she retired in 2020 to focus on raising her twin girls, Jane and Bee, and to be more involved in the Tulsa and mid-coast Maine communities. In her spare time, she is active in the Afghan refugee community in Tulsa, both hosting an Afghan refugee in her home and volunteering as a lawyer to prepare asylum applications.

Jeff Mayersohn

Jeffrey Mayersohn has been the co-owner of the Harvard Book Store, with his wife, Linda Seamonson, since October 2008. Under their direction, Harvard Book Store has continued to innovate and to lead the way in supporting local and sustainable business. In September of 2009 it unveiled their print-on-demand machine that can print millions of public domain or print-on-demand books right in the store, and allows them to offer an affordable option for authors interested in self-publishing. In 2010 they relaunched their website with a look and feel that replicates the in-store shopping experience and exemplifies the best of the Harvard Book Store. At customers can browse shelves, read wide-ranging staff recommendations, peruse an interactive events calendar, and discover a great selection of books. The store is perhaps best known for its event series. Prior to the pandemic, it participated in 450 author readings a year. Since early 2020, the store has continued its commitment to helping authors promote their works, often holding more than one virtual event per day.

Throughout its history, Harvard Book Store has been active in the local community and in bookselling—holding active roles on American Booksellers Association committees and boards, and in the New England Independent Booksellers Association. The store is also a founding member of Cambridge Local First, a strong and successful independent business alliance. In 2002, the bookstore was awarded the prestigious “Bookseller of the Year” Award from Publishers Weekly. Over the years the bookstore has been frequently recognized by local polls and publications, including Boston magazine’s “Best Bookstore” (2014), “Best Literary Series” (2017, 2018), “Best Neighborhood Shop” (2019), and “Best Virtual Author Series” (2020, 2021).  

Prior to buying the bookstore, Jeff worked on the development of the Internet. He was initially employed by Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), the Cambridge R&D firm that built the prototype for the internet. Jeff rose to become Senior Vice President for Engineering in the Communications Division of BBN. After that, he served as an executive at the startup, Sonus Networks, a pioneer in Internet-based telephony.

Jeff was trained as a particle physicist, holding degrees from Harvard and Yale.

Katherine Neville

Katherine Neville’s 20-year data processing career, in the fields of energy and transportation, took her to live and work in seven countries on three continents, and half the states of the USA.  Between jobs, she supported herself as a busboy and waiter, fashion model, commercial photographer, and professional artist. When her first book, The Eight, was published (1988) she left the computer world and became a full-time author.

Neville’s groundbreaking work defies categorization. She has been dubbed “the female” Umberto Eco, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, and Stephen Spielberg. The Washington Post called her first book, The Eight, “a feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Publishers Weekly predicted that The Eight was “destined to become a cult classic,” andmore recently, credited her work as having “paved the way for books like The Da Vinci Code.” 

Her colorful, complex adventure/quest novels have been translated into 40 languages, have received multiple awards and honors, and have remained on bestseller lists around the world. (See Awards, Honors & Bestsellers.)

As a great supporter of libraries and books, Neville was the first author ever invited onto the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC, where she has served a full three terms and is now emerita. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Authors Guild Foundation in New York. She is co-creator and sponsor of two international Library Awards, and co-producer of a series of short film clips by famous authors, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian Libraries. Katherine is one of the original 32 sponsoring founders of International Thriller Writers.

Katherine Neville resides in Washington, DC and Virginia where she has restored the fabled 1960s house and studio of an award-winning Japanese potter, and where she is completing her new novel about artists in the 1600s.

Laura Pedersen

Laura Pedersen is an author, humorist, journalist, and playwright. A former columnist at The New York Times, she’s written 14 books of adult fiction and nonfiction, the most recent being Life in New York. An ongoing series of educational children’s books tackles subjects such as managing screen time, coping with family finances, and girls pursuing STEM. Her award-winning play The Brightness of Heaven had an extended run Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Laura writes for several well-known comedians and has appeared on programs such as Oprah, David Letterman, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and The Today Show. She lives in NYC.

Douglas Preston

Douglas Preston is a journalist and author who has published over thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Before becoming a full-time writer, Preston worked as an editor at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught non-fiction writing at Princeton University. He also writes occasional articles about science for The New YorkerSmithsonian, and other magazines.

Diana Rowan Rockefeller

Diana Rowan Rockefeller is Founder and Chair of Afghan Women Leaders CONNECT, founded in 2001 which for thirteen years supported Afghan women NGO leaders rebuilding their country through health, educational and legal aid programs ( A philanthropist and activist focusing for over three decades on women’s economic, educational and social equity issues, Ms. Rowan Rockefeller served for fourteen years on the Rockefeller Family Fund in New York.

Ms. Rowan Rockefeller has served on the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council since its inception at the U.S. State Department and has taken part in delegations to Afghanistan, also traveling there on her own. She is a current member of the Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Council at the Council on Foreign Relations. She served for two years as New York Leadership Circle Co-Chair of Women for Women International, which supports women survivors of war in eight countries.

Ms. Rowan Rockefeller has been active for more than two decades with the Tibetan struggle for human rights and cultural survival, and has hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama on behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet. She has worked as a management development consultant for Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. government, as an editor for The Atlantic magazine, and as a writer for international publications. She holds a B.A. with honors, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and has studied at the Harvard Divinity School. Ms. Rowan Rockefeller has also received an Honorary Doctorate for Humanitarian Services from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Hunter K. Runnette

Hunter K. Runnette’s respect for—and devotion to—authors and ideas started in his teenage years as a volunteer at the famed Giovanni’s Room bookstore in Philadelphia, PA. He is a trustee emeritus of Jacob’s Pillow after 16 years of board service on the executive committee and is thrilled to represent his community as a committee member for the Authors Guild WIT: Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival.

After years as an actor and director, Runnette currently devotes his time to producing theatre while renovating a 19th century carriage house in Lenox, MA. Runnette and his husband moved to The Berkshires after 15 years on a 250-acre farm in Bucks County where they learned self-sustaining gardening and tended to over 1,500 animals. They are devoted supporters of land conservancy in the U.S. and Canada, LGBT causes and concerns, and many nonprofits that make Berkshire County so beloved. Runnette is a graduate of The Haverford School and Villanova University and continues his education in horticulture whenever possible.

Karyn Schoenbart

Karyn Schoenbart is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Duo Partners Consulting, LLC, a New York based consulting and investment firm.

Previously Karyn was the Chief Executive Officer of The NPD Group, one of the largest global providers of information and advisory services. Under Karyn’s leadership, NPD was proud to have been named one of the Best Companies to Work For in New York State, earning a reputation as one of the most respected firms in its industry. Karyn played an integral role in the successful August 2022 merger of NPD and IRI, helping to create a $2.3B global technology, analytics and data provider.

Passionate about coaching others to greater levels of achievement, Karyn wrote Mom.B.A: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next as a practical guide on everything from effective first impressions and workplace politics to relationship development, work/life balance, skill-building, and achieving balance between work and family. The book is based on the real-life business lessons Karyn amassed during her career.

Karyn has received numerous awards recognizing her outstanding impact as a female business leader including the Accessory Council’s HERO Award, Long Island Brava Award, and the Legacy Award from Women in Consumer Technology. She was also named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women of the Mid-Market by the CEO Connection four years consecutively and is an inductee of the Long Island Business Hall of Fame.

Karyn currently serves on the Board of Directors of Arpalus, Circana (the combined NPD/IRI company), CivicScience, Stylitics, Revuze and was previously a member of the Retail Industry Association board (RILA). Additionally, Karyn serves on the Advisory Board of The Resolution Project, a non-profit organization that develops socially responsible young leaders, and The Authors Guild Foundation, which educates, supports, and protects American writers.

Karyn is an in-demand, highly sought-after moderator, panelist, and keynote speaker – a platform which allows her to drive one of her life passions, elevating women across all career levels. She also has curated workshops on a variety of topics to help employers invest in and grow their employees including developing client relationships, dealing with difficult situations and overcoming the impostor syndrome.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, summa cum laude, Karyn and her husband divide their time between New York and Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys, reading, tennis, relaxing on the beach and spending time with her family.

You can follow Karyn LinkedIn @Karyn Schoenbart, Twitter @karynschoenbart, Facebook @karynschoenbartauthor and

Ben Sevier

Ben Sevier is Executive Vice President and Publisher of Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group. He oversees the acquisition and publication of the approximately 350 titles per year on Grand Central Publishing’s list. Mr. Sevier is responsible for all aspects of publishing activities for its imprints, including Grand Central, Balance, Forever, Legacy Lit, and Twelve.

Writers Sevier has worked during his twenty-five years in publishing include the New York Times-bestselling novelists David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben, Lisa Gardner, Thomas Harris, Colleen Hoover, Nicholas Sparks, Jonathan Tropper, and Scott Turow, and he acquired and edited the first books by bestselling novelists Louise Penny, Charles Finch, Selden Edwards, Brad Taylor, Daniel Suarez, and Jussi Adler-Olsen. He has also worked on a broad range of nonfiction including the two-million-copy seller No Easy Day by Navy SEAL Mark Owen, Red Platoon by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha, and directed the acquisition and publication of bestsellers by Sally Field, Tom Segura, Nick Offerman, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Dr. William Li, Admiral William McRaven, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, and theoretical physicist Sean Carroll. Prior to Grand Central, Sevier was the Vice President and Publisher at Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, which followed editorial roles at Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, and HarperCollins Children’s Books.

R.L. Stine

Robert Lawrence Stine known as R. L. Stine and Jovial Bob Stine, is an American novelist and writer, well known for targeting younger audiences. Stine, who is often called the Stephen King of children’s literature, is the author of dozens of popular horror fiction novellas, including the books in the Goosebumps, Rotten School, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room and Fear Street series.

R. L. Stine began his writing career when he was nine years old, and today he has achieved the position of the bestselling children’s author in history. In the early 1990s, Stine was catapulted to fame when he wrote the unprecedented, bestselling Goosebumps® series, which sold more than 250 million copies and became a worldwide multimedia phenomenon. His other major series, Fear Street, has over 80 million copies sold.

Stine has received numerous awards of recognition, including several Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and Disney Adventures Kids’ Choice Awards, and he has been selected by kids as one of their favorite authors in the NEA’s Read Across America program. He lives in New York, NY.

William N. Thorndike, Jr.

Will Thorndike founded Housatonic Partners in Boston in 1994 and has been Managing Director since that time. Prior to that, Mr. Thorndike worked with T. Rowe Price Associates and Walker & Company where he was named to the Board of Directors. In May 2019, he purchased the Boston-based publisher David R. Godine.

Will is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a Director of Carillon Assisted Living, LLC; Lincoln Peak Holdings, LLC; OASIS Group Ltd.; QMC International, LLC; ZircoDATA; a Trustee of The Stanford Business School Trust; WGBH; the College of the Atlantic (Chair); and a founding partner at FARM, a social impact investing collaborative. He is the author of The Outsiders.

Rachel Vail

Rachel Vail is the award-winning author of more than 30 books for young people, including Unfriended, the Justin Case books, and Sometimes I’m Bumbaloo. Rachel lives in New York City with her husband, their two sons, a tortoise named Lightning, and a stack of emails she really is about to deal with as the head of the Authors Guild Children’s Book Group.

You can visit her online at