AMANDA STERN is a writer, and the founder of the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series. She’s published twelve books: The Long Haul, and eleven books for children under pseudonyms (Fiona Rosenbloom and A.J. Stern). She’s written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Filmmaker, The Believer, Salon, and Interview Magazine, among many others. She’s received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and won a NYFA fiction grant in 2013. She’s currently working on her first book of non-fiction. Obviously, she lives in Brooklyn.
ELIZABETH STROUT is the author of four New York Times-bestselling books of fiction: Olive Kitteridge, Amy and Isabelle, Abide with Me, and, most recently, The Burgess Boys. Amy and Isabelle was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and was adapted by Oprah into a television movie. Olive Kitteridge earned the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and
was recently adapted into an Emmy-winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand. The Burgess Boys was named one of the best books of the
year by The Washington Post, NPR, and Good Housekeeping. She has taught creative writing at Colgate University and Queens University of Charlotte.
JUDITH THURMAN is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction, and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography and the Salon Book Award for biography. A collection of her New Yorker essays, Cleopatra’s Nose, was published in 2007. She received the Rungstedlund Prize and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for prose style, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
JOHN WATERS is a filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including, Pink Flamingos, Cecil B. DeMented, and Hairspray, which was adapted into the Broadway Musical. He is the recipient of the Filmmaker on the Edge Award from the Provincetown International Film Festival, the
Jack Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the GLAAD Media Stephen F. Kolzak Award, and the Copper Wing Tribute Award from the Phoenix Award Festival. He is also an accomplished photographer, as well as the author of Role Models, Shock Value, and most recently, Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America.