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Concurrent Sessions Speakers and Panelists


Sussanna barsella

Susanna Barsella

Writer, Associate Professor of Italian Fordham University

Dr Susanna Barsella graduated from The Johns Hopkins University and is Associate Professor of Italian for the Modern Languages and Literatures Department and the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham University. Dr. Barsella’s main area of research is in Italian Medieval literature with a specific interest in the literature of Early Humanism. Her publications range from Dante, to Petrarca, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, and on the idea of work from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Dr Barsella’s interests also embrace twentieth-century literature with publications on Pirandello, Gadda, and twentieth-century poetry. Her book In the Light of the Angels. Angelology and Cosmology in Dante’s Divina Commedia has been published by Olschki in 2010. Co-edited with Francesco Ciabattoni she has published The Humanist Workshop. Essays in Honor of Salvatore Camporeale O.P. in 2012. Currently, she is working on a monograph on Architectures of Thought: The Idea of Work in Early Renaissance Humanism.

Paul Baumann

Paul Baumann

Editor of Commonweal

Paul Baumann joined the Commonweal staff in 1990 and was named editor in 2003. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Monthly, the Columbia Journalism Review, Books & Culture, and other publications. With Patrick Jordan he co-edited “Commonweal Confronts the Century: Liberal Convictions, Catholic Tradition,” a selection of essays from Commonweal’s first seventy-five years. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Yale Divinity School, he lives in Connecticut.

Jill pelaez

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

Writer, Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College

Dr. Baumgaertner previously taught at Valparaiso University and joined the Wheaton College faculty in 1980. She is the author of What Cannot Be Fixed (2014), Finding Cuba (2001), a collection of poems that explores her Cuban ancestry; and three poetry chapbooks: Leaving Eden (1995), Namings (1999), and My Father’s Bones (2006). She has also written a textbook/anthology, Poetry (1990); and Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring (1998). In 2012, she edited Imago Dei: Poems for Christianity and Literature (2012). In the past several years she has worked with composer Carl Schalk on several libretti for choral music. She was a Fulbright fellow to Spain, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is the winner of the White Eagle Coffee Store Press’s poetry chapbook contest, the Goodman Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award, the Illinois Prize of the Rock River Poetry Contest, and the CCL Midwest Poetry Contest. She serves as poetry editor of The Christian Century and is past president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature. She has been Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies since 2001.

Mark Bosco

Mark Bosco, S.J.

Professor, Director/Producer, Loyola University Chicago

Mark Bosco is a professor of English and Theology at Loyola University Chicago, and the director of their Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. His main research focuses on the intersection of religion and art, especially on the 20th century Catholic literary revival in Britain and North America. He is the author of Graham Greene’s Catholic Imagination (2005), and has written about the religious imagination of artists such as Flannery O’Connor, Francis Poulenc, Margaret Atwood, Denise Levertov, and Shusaku Endo. His most recent work, Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, is to be published in spring 2017. He is a co-producer and co-director of the first major documentary feature on the life and work of Flannery O’Connor entitled Flannery: Mystery in the Manners, now in postproduction.

Kim bridgford

Kim Bridgford

Poet, Editor, Director of the Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference

Kim Bridgford received both her bachelor's degree and master's in fine arts from the University of Iowa. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Bridgford joined the faculty of Fairfield University in Connecticut in 1989. In 1994, Bridgford was named Connecticut Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 1999, she obtained a fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bridgford was the 2007 Touring Poet for the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. That year, her book Undone received the 2007 Donald Justice Poetry Award. She is also the recipient of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In August 2010, she became director of the West Chester University Poetry Center in Pennsylvania, moving to the state with her family. Currently, she is a professor of English at West Chester University and is the founder and director of the Poetry by the Sea Conference. Bridgford has published nine books of poetry. Her work has appeared in The North American Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Iowa Review. As founder and editor-in-chief of Mezzo Cammin, a journal of poetry by women, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which is designed to become the world's largest database of women poets.

Mark Burrows

Mark Burrows

Writer, Professor of Religion and Literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany

Mark Burrows is professor of religion and literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany. He is also Editor for Poetry and Mt. Tabor Books in the Arts with Paraclete Press (Brewster, MA), and edits poetry for the journals Spiritus and Arts. His academic research and writings explore the intersection of mysticism and poetics, with a special focus on medieval literature, as well as the field of theology and the arts. His poems and translations have recently appeared in Poetry, 91st Meridian, The Cortland Review, The Anglican Theological Review, The Southern Quarterly, Eremos, Weavings, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Metamorphoses, The Tablet, and Almost Island, among others. His recent publications include two volumes of German poetry in translation: Rainer Maria Rilke’s Prayers of a Young Poet (2013; revised pb. edition 2015) and the German-Iranian poet SAID’s 99 Psalms (2013). A forthcoming volume of his poems, The Chance of Home, will be published in 2017.

Paul contino 2

Paul Contino

Writer, Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University

Paul Contino is a Blache E. Seaver Professor of Humanities at Pepperdine University. He and his wife, Marie Mullins, are former co-editors of the journal Christianity and Literature. He co-edited and introduced the book Bakhtin and Religion: A Feeling for Faith (2001) and wrote the "Introduction" to Northwestern's UP's edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (2010). He has published numerous essays--on the Taoist writer Zhuangzi, Jane Austen, and on contemporary Catholic writers such as Andre Dubus and Alice McDermott. His primary scholarly focus is on the Christological dimension of Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. His 2005 Commonweal essay on Tobias Wolf won a Catholic press Association Award, and his essay on Monsignor John Sheridan appears in Catherine Volff's volume Not Less Tha Everything (2013).


Karin Coonrod

Theater Maker

Karin Coonrod is a theater maker whose work has been seen and heard across the country and around the world. She founded two theater companies: 1) Arden Party in downtown New York from 1987-1997 which re-imagined the classics (including Ubu Roi, Waiting for Godot, Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, Marat/Sade et al) and 2) Compagnia de’ Colombari (2004-present) an international company (based in New York) which began a new tradition of theater in Orvieto, Italy with the medieval mystery plays in public spaces (Strangers and Other Angels 2004-2006) as well as a music-theater piece More Or Less I Am (from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself) performed around New York City. Coonrod is known for her Shakespeare productions including her epic Henry VI (1996) and surprising Love’s Labor’s Lost (2011) both at the Public Theater (where she was Artist-in-Residence from 1995-96); King John (2000), Julius Caesar (2003) and Coriolanus (2005) all with Theatre for a New Audience; Othello at Hartford Stage (2005) and many others. Other seminal productions include her own creation for the stage of non-dramatic material: Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge developed at the University of Iowa, Sundance Theatre Lab and premiered at New York Theatre Workshop (2001), Anne Sexton’s Transformations with Arden Party (1991-5) and a cabaret adaptation of Lorca’s Poeta en Nueva York with flamenco dancer La Conja at New York University (2002). Her most recent play is texts&beheadings/ElizabethR.


Angela Cybulski

Writer, Editor at Wiseblood Books

Angela received her MA in British Literature with an emphasis in Composition and Literacy from California State University, Long Beach. Angela’s previous research and writing focused on Gothic Victorian literature and modernist literature. She has taught classes in English, both creative and nonfiction writing, at the high school, college and university levels. Angela left academia to be at stay-at-home mom and homeschooled her son for 8 years. Her writing has appeared on the Dappled Things blog, Deep Down Things, and she is also the author of the blogs Persephone Writes, which focuses on the writing life, and one tiny violet, which is made up of meditations on the ordinary graces of daily life. Angela has done editorial work for Dappled Things and is currently an editor at Wiseblood Books. She continues to mentor writers and work as a freelance editor for a variety of clients. Angela lives in Huntington Beach, California and is at work on her second novel.

Anthony Domestico

Anthony Domestico

Assistant Professor of Literature at Purchase College

Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY and the books columnist for Commonweal. He has had essays published in, among other journals, Literature & Theology and Religion and Literature, and he regularly reviews fiction for the Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle. His book on poetry and theology in the modernist period is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press. He received an AB from Harvard College and a PhD in English from Yale University.

Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen Donohoe


Kathleen Donohoe was raised in Brooklyn, New York in a family of New York City firefighters. She is the author of the debut novel, Ashes of Fiery Weather, which was named one of Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read New York City Novels. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Recorder: The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Web Conjunctions, Washington Square Review, Irish America Magazine. She serves on the Board of Irish American Writers & Artists, a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son and is at work on her next novel.

George drance

George Drance, SJ

Actor, Director, Artist In Residence at Fordham University

George Drance has performed and directed in more than 20 countries on five continents, serving such companies as teatro la fragua in Honduras, and Theatre YETU in Kenya. He is currently the artistic director of the critically acclaimed Magis Theatre Company, praised for its skill and daring, and best known for its stage adaptations of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce and Kalidasa's Shakuntala and the Ring of Recognition. Other acting credits include La MaMa, ETC, The Metropolitan Opera, The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theater, and Ralph Lee's Mettawee River Company. As a resident artist in La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company, he has toured throughout Europe and Asia with Andrei Serban's Fragments of a Greek Trilogy and as a key collaborator on many of Ellen Stewart's original pieces. He has been on the faculty of the Marist International Center in Nairobi, Kenya, and at Red Cloud High School on the Oglala Sioux Reservation. Film credits include The Light of Eons and Solidarity. He received his MFA in acting from Columbia University.

Jim Dwyer

Jim Dwyer

Writer, Columnist for The New York Times

Jim Dwyer, a native New Yorker, has spent most of his professional life covering the city as a reporter, columnist and author. He joined The Times in May 2001 after stints at the Daily News, New York Newsday and several papers in northern New Jersey. His work for The Times has included coverage of 9/11, the Iraq War, the 2004 presidential campaign and law enforcement surveillance of political activities. He has written the About New York column since 2007. The winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and a co-recipient of the 1992 Pulitzer for breaking news, Mr. Dwyer is also the author or co-author of six books.

Carlos Eire

Carlos Eire

Writer, T. L. Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale

Carlos Eire was born in Havana in 1950 and fled to the United States without his parents at the age of eleven. After living in a series of foster homes, he was reunited with his mother in Chicago in 1965, but his father was never able to leave Cuba. He is now the T. L. Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale, where he has served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies and the Renaissance Studies Program. He is the co-author of Jews, Christians, Muslims: An Introduction to Monotheistic Religions (1996), and the author of several scholarly books, including War Against the Idols (1986), From Madrid to Purgatory (1995), A Very Brief History of Eternity (2009), and Reformations: The Early Modern World (2016), which won the Hawkins Award from the Association of American Publishers in 2017. A past president of the American Society for Reformation Research, he is best known outside scholarly circles as the author of the memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana (2003), which won the nonfiction National Book Award, and his second memoir, Learning to Die in Miami (2010). All of his books are banned in Cuba, where he has been proclaimed an enemy of the state – a distinction he regards as the highest of all honors.

Paul elie

Paul Elie

Writer, Senior Fellow with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University

Paul Elie is a senior fellow with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the director of the American Pilgrimage Project, a university partnership with StoryCorps based in the Berkley Center. His work deals primarily with the ways religious ideas are given expression in literature, the arts, music, and culture in the broadest sense. He is the author of two books, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage (2003) and Reinventing Bach( 2012), and of essays and articles for the Atlantic, New York Times, Commonweal, and other periodicals. In the American Pilgrimage Project he is examining the ways religious beliefs inform the experiences of the American people at crucial moments in their lives.

Tom fontana 1

Tom Fontana

Screenwriter, Playwright, Producer

Fontana has been a writer/producer for such series as Oz (which he also created), Copper, The Jury, The Beat, The Bedford Diaries, Homicide: Life on the Street, St. Elsewhere, and The Philanthropist. Fontana wrote the HBO film Strip Search, directed by Sidney Lumet, as well as contributing two pieces to the September 11 special, America: A Tribute to Heroes. He was the executive producer of American Tragedy for CBS, Shot in the Heart for HBO Films, the independent film Jean, and the documentary The Press Secretary for PBS. Fontana has written articles for periodicals as The New York Times, TV Guide and Esquire. He has also taught at Columbia, Syracuse, Rutgers, and the State University College at Buffalo, his alma mater, from which he received the Distinguished Alumni Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters. Fontana has received three Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, three Writers' Guild Awards, four Television Critics Association Awards, the Cable Ace Award, the Humanitas Prize, an Edgar Award, and the first prize at the Cinéma Tout Ecran Festival in Switzerland. In 2003, Fontana was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Outstanding Television Writer Award.

Wendy Galgan

Wendy Galgan

Chair and Associate Professor of English at St. Francis College in Brooklyn

Dr. Wendy Galgan is Chair and Associate Professor of English at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches literature and composition courses. She is Director of the College’s Women’s Poetry Initiative, Co-Director of the Women’s Studies Program, and Editor of Assisi: An Online Journal of Arts & Letters. Her academic interests include women’s poetry, pop culture, gender studies, war writing (particularly the American Civil War) and genre literature. She is a member of the first cohort of Humanities NY Public Scholars, serves as an Editorial Board Member for the journal ASEBL and reviews audiobooks for Library Journal.

Bernardo Aparicio GarcíaBernard Garcia

Writer, Publisher and Founder of the Catholic literary journal Dappled Things

Bernardo Aparicio García publishes the Catholic literary journal Dappled Things, which he founded in 2005. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications including VoxSalonThe MillionsAleteia, and Touchstone, among others. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Liberal Arts from the great books program at St. John's College in Annapolis, and now teaches economics at Ursuline Academy in Dallas, where he lives with his wife and three children. Having grown up during the '80s and '90s in a neighborhood ridden with the mansions of the Cali Cartel's kingpins, he is currently at work on a family memoir of Colombia.


Ken Garcia

Writer, Associate Director of the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame

Dr. Kenneth Garcia is Associate Director of the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame, where he received a PhD in Theology in 2008. His book Academic Freedom and the Telos of the Catholic University (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), won the award for “Best Book Published in Theology in 2012” from the College Theology Society. His scholarly articles have appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Marginalia (2015), The Journal of Academic Freedom (2014), Theological Studies (2012), and Horizons (2011). Garcia’s literary work has been published in The Gettysburg Review (2014), The Southwest Review (2015), Saint Katherine Review (2015), Notre Dame Magazine (2015 and 2016), and Hunger Mountain (2015). Several of these essays have received special honors: “The Hollow Places of the World” was runner up in the 2014 Hunger Mountain Nonfiction Essay contest (judge: Rigoberto Gonzalez), and a finalist for the Waterston Desert Writing Prize; “Diego and Our Lady of the Wilderness,” first published in Gettysburg Review, was a “Notable Essay” in the The Best American Essays 2015; and “Cattle, Casinos, and Cathouses,” first published in The Southwest Review has been selected as a “Notable Essay” in The Best American Essays 2016.


Richard Giannone

Writer, Professor Emeritus ‚Äčof English at Fordham University

Richard Gianaone, emeritus professor of English at Fordham is the author of Music in Willa Cather's Fiction, Vonnegut : A Preface to His Novels, Flannery O'Connor and the Mystery of Love, Flannery O'Connor, Hermit Novelist (2001 Choice Outstanding Academic Title), and Hidden: Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire, a memoir.

Dana greene

Dana Greene

Writer, President of the Evelyn Underhill Association

A New Jersey native and graduate of the College of New Rochelle, Dana Greene served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, returned to the United States and completed a Ph.D at Emory University. For almost thirty years she was on the faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and subsequently became the Dean of Oxford College of Emory University. In retirement as dean emerita she served as executive director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University. Author of three biographies, four edited volumes, and numerous essays and articles, she is a contributing writer for the National Catholic Reporter and she lectures widely on topics related to biography , spirituality and poetry. Dana Greene is the president of the Evelyn Underhill Association, on the Boards of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and formerly of Associates for Religion and Intellectual Life, and is a member of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. She is the recipient of many grants, including from the American Historical Association, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Emory University, The University of Notre Dame, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The American Philosophical Society, The American Theological Library Association, Fulbright-Hays, and the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. She has been given awards by The College of New Rochelle, St. Mary’s College of Maryland , and Emory University

Nathaniel Hassen

Nathaniel L. Hansen

Writer, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Nathaniel L. Hansen is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where he edits The Windhover and directs the annual Windhover Writers’ Festival. His work has appeared in The Curator; Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide; Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland; Driftwood Press; Whitefish Review; Christianity and Literature; The Cresset; Midwestern Gothic; and South Dakota Review, among others. His Twitter is @plainswriter.

John Hunnigton

John P. Harrington

Writer, Associate Vice President and Dean of the Arts and Sciences Faculty at Fordham University

John P. Harrington is Associate Vice President and Dean of the Arts and Sciences Faculty at Fordham University. He is the author of The Irish Beckett, The Irish Play on the New York Stage, and The Life of the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Streetand editor of the W. W. Norton anthology Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama. He is on the Boards of Directors of the Mint Theater in New York City and of the American Irish Historical Society.

Sr. Anne

Sr. Anne Higgins

Writer, Teacher at Mount Saint Mary's University

Sr. Anne Higgins teaches at Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity. Five full-length books and three chapbooks of her poetry have been published: At the Year's Elbow, Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Pick It Up and Read, How the Hand Behaves, Digging for God, Vexed Questions, Reconnaissance, and Life List. She has published poems in Commonweal, Spirituality and Health, The Melic Review, The Umbrella Journal,The Centrifugal Eye, and a variety of small magazines. Her poems have been featured frequently on The Writer's Almanac. She has been a participant in critical seminars at the West Chester Poetry Conference and has served as a panelist at the Poetry by the Sea Conference in Madison Connecticut.

kathleen hill

Kathleen Hill

Writer, Writing Faculty Member at Sarah Lawrence

Kathleen Hill teaches in the MFA Program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her novel Still Waters in Niger was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune; the French translation, Eaux Tranquilles, was shortlisted for the Prix Femina Etranger. Who Occupies This House, a second novel, was named an Editors’ Choice at The New York Times. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best Spiritual Writing, Pushcart Prize XXV, and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories. A memoir, She Read to us in the Late Afternoons: A Life in Novels, will be out in November.

Amy HungerfordAmy 2

Writer, Professor of English and Dean of the Humanities Division at Yale University

Amy Hungerford is Professor of English and Dean of the Humanities Division at Yale University. She is author of The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification (Chicago UP, 2003) and Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960 (Princeton UP, 2010). Her most recent monograph, Making Literature Now (Stanford UP, 2016) is about the social networks within which contemporary literature—in both digital and traditional media—comes to be written and read. In her next project she is studying the social qualities of solitude in American literature and culture from the 19th century to the present. She is currently the editor of the Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th ed., Volume E, “Literature Since 1945.”

Eddie Joyce

Eddie Joyce


Eddie Joyce is the author of SMALL MERCIES (Viking 2015), which was shortlisted for the Grand Prix De Litterature Americaine (France). He graduated from Harvard University and Georgetown Law Center. He practiced law, primarily white collar criminal defense, for ten years before publishing his novel. He was born and raised on Staten Island and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three daughters. He is at work on his second novel. 

James Keane

James T. Keane

Writer, Editor at Orbis Books, Columnist for America Magazine

James is an editor at Orbis Books in Maryknoll, N.Y., and a columnist for America Magazine. He has received Catholic Press Association awards for his columns (2009, 2015) and book reviews (2011) in America. He is the author of Fritz B. Burns and the Development of Los Angeles and a contributor to numerous edited volumes, including Young And Catholic in America and Catholics in New York: Society, Culture, and Politics, 1808-1946. His writing has also appeared in Philadelphia Weekly, U.S. Catholic, Catholic Digest, Popoli, BustedHalo, Maryknoll Magazine, and Hypothetical Review. James holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and has taught literature and theology at Fordham University and the University of San Francisco. A native of Los Angeles, he lives in Riverdale, N.Y.

Tom kelly 1

Thomas Kelly

Writer, Producer

Tom Kelly is an American with Irish roots. He is the writer and producer for the television series, "Blue Bloods." He was a creative consultant for The Black Donnellys and was a writer for the ESPN show "Tilt." He has published three novels, including Empire Rising. One was adapted for a feature film and one for a television movie, and he occasionally writes for Esquire magazine. Thomas attended Fordham University in New York City, where he studied political economy, and received a master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1988. Being involved in union politics, he returned to New York in 1993 and worked as the director of advance for Mayor David Dinkins' re-election campaign.

Phil kay

Phil Klay

Writer, Marine

Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he went to Hunter College and received an MFA. His story “Redeployment” was originally published in Granta and is included in Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Granta, Tin House, and elsewhere. In 2014, Klay’s short story collection Redeployment won the National Book Award for Fiction. He was also shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize and named a National Book Foundation ’5 Under 35′ honoree. In 2015 he received the Marine Corps Heritage Foundations James Webb award for fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life, the National Book Critics’ Circle John Leonard Award for best debut work in any genre, the American Library Association’s W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, and the 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing.

Paul lakeland

Paul Lakeland

Writer, Professor of Catholic Studies and founding Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University

In 2004 Paul Lakeland was named the inaugural Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and founding Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution in Connecticut. He has taught at Fairfield since 1981, serving as department chair in Religious Studies for ten years and six years as Director of the Honors Program. He teaches courses in liberation theology, Catholic ecclesiology and religion and literature. From 2010-2014 he also served as Visiting Faculty at Yale University Divinity School. In 1990 he was chosen AHANA Students’ Professor of the Year, and in 2005 he was named the Alpha Sigma Nu Teacher of the Year. In 2015 he received the Saint Anselm of Canterbury Award from Voice of the Faithful, Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, and the Trivison Award from FutureChurch. In 2017 Fairfield University selected him as a recipient of its Martin Luther King Vision Award. Paul Lakeland holds a Licentiate in Philosophy from Heythrop Pontifical Athenaeum, an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Heythrop College in the University of London and his Ph.D. in 1981from Vanderbilt University. He is the author of ten books, the latest of which is The Wounded Angel: Fiction and the Religious Imagination (2017). Lakeland is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Theological Society, the College Theology Society and the Catholic Theological Society of America, of which he is currently Vice-President. His research interests include Roman Catholic ecclesiology and the relationship between the theological and the literary imagination. He blogs occasionally and reviews fiction for Commonweal, a Catholic journal of opinion.

Dennis looney 1

Dennis Looney

Writer, Director of Programs at the Modern Language Association

Dennis Looney (PhD, 1987, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Director of Programs at the Modern Language Association. From 1986-2013, he taught Italian at the University of Pittsburgh. Publications include: Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance (1996), which received honorable mention, MLA Marraro-Scaglione Award in Italian Literary Studies, 1996-97; Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy (2011), which received the American Association of Italian Studies, First Prize, Book Award, 2011; Carmina: Ariosto’s Lyric Poems, co-authored with Mark Possanza (forthcoming 2017).

Fr. Malone

Matt Malone, S.J

President and Editor in Chief of America Media

Matt Malone, S.J., is the President and Editor in Chief of America Media. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest editor in chief in the history of America magazine. He was the recipient of the 2006 first place Catholic Press Association award for essay writing. From 1997-2002, he served as the founding deputy director of MassINC, an independent political think tank, and co-publisher of Common Wealth, its award-winning review of politics, ideas and civic life. His writing has appeared in numerous national and international publications and his work and ideas have been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post among others. He is the author of Catholiques Sans Etiquette, a book concerning the church and the political, which was published in 2014 by Salvator Press in Paris. Fr. Malone entered the Society of Jesus in 2002. Fr. Malone received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a M.A. from Fordham University; a Bachelor of Divinity (Honors,1st class) from The University of London and a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (summa cum laude) from the Catholic University of Louvain. He was a founding member of REMUS (Religion, Mimesis and Society), an interdisciplinary research group at Heythrop College dedicated to the thought of Rene Girard. He is a member of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion and is chaplain to the New York Press Club.

Paul MarianiPaul Mariani

Writer, University Professor of English emeritus at Boston College

Paul Mariani is the University Professor of English emeritus at Boston College. He has published 300 essays, introductions, and reviews, as well as scholarly chapters in anthologies and scholarly encyclopedias, and is the author of 18 books, including biographies of William Carlos Williams, Berryman, Lowell, Hart Crane, Hopkins, and Wallace Stevens. He has published seven volumes of poetry, most recently Epitaphs for the Journey, and Thirty Days: on Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius. His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA and NEH. He is the recipient of the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry. For fifteen years he taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and another fifteen years at the Image Conferences in Colorado, Santa Fe, and Seattle. His life of Hart Crane, The Broken Tower, a feature-length film, directed by and starring James Franco, was released in 2012. He served as Poetry Editor of America Magazine from 2000—2006. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Image, The Agni Review, First Things, New England Review, Hudson Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, New Criterion, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Sewanee Theological Review,  Gettysburg Review, Santa Clara Review, Doubletake, Boston College Magazine, and Southern Quarterly, as well as in numerous anthologies of contemporary poetry.

Eileen Markey

Eileen Markey

Writer, Investigative Journalist

Eileen Markey is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Reporter, America, Commonweal, and Killing the Buddha. She has worked as a producer for WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show and is a contributing editor for Housing and Homelessness at City Limits. Markey is a graduate of Fordham University's urban studies program and Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She is author of A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura.


Giuseppe Mazzotta

Writer, Sterling Professor in the Humanities for Italian at Yale University

Giuseppe Mazzotta is the Sterling Professor in the Humanities for Italian at Yale University. His training and initial intellectual interests were Medieval Studies and Dante’s poetry and thought, but he also explored the historical background and the articulation of a new culture in two classical Italian authors of the Trecento, Boccaccio and Petrarch. His critical work extends beyond the Middle Ages with ground-breaking studies on the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the poetic philosophy of Vico’s New Science. His influence and legacy are expressed by his ten books, 200 articles/reviews, and the numerous Prizes, Awards, and Laureae ad honorem received in his career. His works have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Scandinavian, Rumanian. Among his major books are: Dante, Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy (Princeton, 1979); The World at Play in Boccaccio’s Decameron (Princeton, 1986); Dante’s Vision and the Circle of Knowledge (Princeton, 1993); The Worlds of Petrarch (Duke UP, 193).

Michael McGregor

Michael N. McGregor

Writer, Journalist, Professor at Portland State University

Michael N. McGregor is a biographer, essayist, fiction writer, journalist and sometimes poet. A Professor of English and Nonfiction Writing at Portland State University, he is a former Director of the school’s MFA in Creative Writing program and a four-time recipient of its John Eliot Allen Award for Outstanding Teaching. His book, Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax, published in 2015 by Fordham University Press, was a finalist for several awards, including the Religion News Association Book Award and the Washington State Book Award in Biography/Memoir. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Columbia University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, McGregor has been the editor of three magazines and spends part of each summer as a writing coach at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s University in Minnesota. His writings have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from Poetry and Poets & Writers to Notre Dame Magazine and The Merton Annual, and he has lectured on Robert Lax, Thomas Merton and various aspects of writing at universities, conferences and public events. McGregor is the recipient of the 2017 Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship at St. Bonaventure University and will be a keynote speaker at the International Thomas Merton Society’s biannual conference this June.

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Mary Ann B. Miller

Editor, Professor and Chair of English at Caldwell University

Mary Ann Buddenberg Miller is a professor and chair of English at Caldwell University in Caldwell, NJ. She is editor of St. Peter's B-list: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints (Ave Maria Press, 2014), a collection of over 100 poems, written by 70 poets from across the USA. She guest-edited the fall 2015 issue of the women’s literary journal, Adanna, which is a specially-themed issue devoted to “women and spirituality.” She is the founding editor of the new journal of Catholic poetry, Presence.

Michael Murphy

Michael P. Murphy

Writer, Director of the Catholic Studies and Associate Director for the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Loyola University Chicago

Mike earned his doctorate in Theology, Literature, and Philosophy from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, an MA in English from San Francisco State University, and undergraduate degrees in English and Great Books from the University of San Francisco. His research interests are in Theology and Literature, Critical Theory, and Christian Spirituality, but he also writes and engages public media about issues in eco-theology, ethics, and the socio-political cultures of Catholicism. Mike is a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and his first book, A Theology of Criticism (Oxford), was named a "Distinguished Publication" in 2008 by the American Academy of Religion. He has also has published occasional pieces on topics ranging from spiritualities of citizenship to dating in digital culture. His most recent academic pieces are “Breaking Bodies: O’Connor and the Aesthetics of Consecration” in Revelation & Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and Her Catholic Heritage (CUA Press, 2017) and the theological introduction to Robert Hugh Benson’s 1907 dystopian classic Lord of the World (Ave Maria, 2016).

Kristina olsen

Kristina Olson

Writer, Associate Professor of Italian at George Mason University

Kristina Olson is an Associate Professor of Italian at George Mason University. Her research concerns the intersection of history and literature in medieval authors, with particular attention to language, gender and reception. She is the author of Courtesy Lost: Dante, Boccaccio and the Literature of History (U of Toronto Press, 2014), and the co-editor, together with Francesco Ciabattoni and Elsa Filosa, of Boccaccio 1313-2013 (Longo Editore, 2015). She is the Vice-President of the Dante Society of America and the Treasurer of the American Boccaccio Association.


Dominic Preziosi

Digital Editor at Commonweal

Dominic Preziosi is digital editor at Commonweal, where he writes on books, culture, and politics. His fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Common, Italian Americana, Nautilus, The Saint Ann’s Review, and elsewhere. He received a BA in English from Fordham University, and MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Peter Quinn


Peter Quinn joined Time Inc. as chief speechwriter in 1985 and retired as corporate editorial director for Time Warner at the end of 2007. He received a B.A. from Manhattan College in 1969 and an M.A. in history from Fordham University in 1974. In 1979, Quinn was appointed to the staff of Governor Hugh Carey as chief speechwriter. He continued in that role under Governor Mario Cuomo, helping craft the Governor's 1984 Democratic Convention speech and his address on religion and politics at Notre Dame University. His 1994 novel Banished Children of Eve won a 1995 American Book Award. Looking for Jimmy: In Search of Irish American, a collection of non-fiction pieces, was published in 2007. He also published a trilogy of historical detective novels: Hour of the Cat(2005), The Man Who Never Returned (2010), and Dry Bones (2013). He was an advisor on Martin Scorsese's film Gangs of New York. Along with his book writing, Quinn was the editor of The Recorder: The Journal of the American Irish Historical Society from 1986 to 1993. Quinn was the 2015 winner of NYU Glucksman Ireland House’s Seamus Heaney Award for Arts & Letters. The Irish American Cultural Institute honored him with its 2016 Annie Moore Award.

Kathryn Reklis

Kathryn Reklis

Writer, Assistant Professor of Modern Protestant Theology at Fordham University

Kathryn Reklis is Assistant Professor of Modern Protestant Theology at Fordham University. Her research and pedagogical commitments investigate the intersection of religion, aesthetics, bodily performance, and material history in various constructions of modernity. She employs methods and insights from history, philosophy, theology, and literary studies, alongside robust engagement with the interdisciplinary fields and theoretical canons of postcolonial history and theory, performance studies, ritual studies, communication studies, and feminist and critical theory. In particular, she is interested in how practices and discourses of “art” and “aesthetics” shape the way “religion” is understood in the modern project. She is a regular On Media columnist for The Christian Century where she writes on film, television, and popular culture. Together with artist AA Bronson she co-founded and directs The Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice.

Ray Schroth SJ

Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.

Writer, Teacher

Son of a journalist and a teacher, now book editor of America magazine, Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. entered the Society of Jesus in 1957. Since then he has taught journalism, theology, and American Studies at five Jesuit colleges and universities and three secular universities. He has been an associate editor at Commonweal, and columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, editor of the Jesuit university magazine Conversations, and a contributor to many publications. His nine books include The American Journey of Eric Sevareid, Fordham: A History and Memoir, The American Jesuits: A History, and most recently Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Priest Elected to Congress.


Margaret Steinfels

Writer, Co-Founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture

Margaret Steinfels and her husband, Peter Steinfels, are the founders and former co-directors of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. Before joining Fordham, Ms. Steinfels served for 15 years as the editor of Commonweal, an independent biweekly journal of political, religious and literary opinion edited by Catholic lay people. She also co-directed “American Catholics in the Public Square." Steinfels is the is the author of Who’s Minding the Children? The History and Politics of Day Care in America (Simon and Schuster, 1974). She was also the founding editor of the Hastings Center Report from 1974 to 1980. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Loyola University in Chicago, a master’s degree in history from New York University, as well as seven honorary degrees.

jon sweeney

Jon Sweeney

Writer, Book Publisher

Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar, writer, critic, and book publisher. Several of Jon's books have become History Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, and Quality Paperback Book Club selections. His 2012 popular history, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, was published by Image/Random House and optioned by HBO. New Testament professor Matthew Skinner called Jon’s book, Inventing Hell, “pleasantly quirky” and “inquisitive and theologically relevant,” in his review in The Christian Century. Jon is also the author of several books about Francis of Assisi, which have combined sales of more than 125,000 copies; most recent are When Saint Francis Saved the Church, winner of a Catholic Press Association award in 2015; and The Complete Francis of Assisi, which received a starred review in Library Journal. He has been interviewed on CBS Saturday Morning, Fox News, CBS-TV Chicago, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and on the popular nightly program, “Chicago Tonight.” Jon is the executive editor for trade books at Ave Maria Press. He is married, the father of three, and lives in Montpelier, Vermont.

Matthew thomas

Matthew Thomas


Matthew has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University,and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. Matthew Thomas's New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; long listed for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Folio Prize; named a Notable Book of the year by the New York Times; named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple, and others. It was also named one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times. We Are Not Ourselves is being translated into nineteen languages.

Keri Walsh

Keri Walsh

Writer, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Fordham University

Keri Walsh (M. Phil. Oxford, Ph.D. Princeton) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Fordham University. She is the editor of James Joyce’s Dubliners (Broadview, 2016) and The Letters of Sylvia Beach (Columbia UP, 2010), and the author of Mickey Rourke (British Film Institute, 2014). Her work has appeared in Critical Inquiry, Modernism/Modernity, Eire-Ireland, and The Irish Times. She is currently editing James Joyce’s play Exiles (1918) for the Oxford World’s Classics series.


Kerry Weber

Writer, Managing Editor of America

is managing editor of America, and author of Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job (Twenty-Third Publications).

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