Featured Speakers

There will be more than 25 speakers at the conference. View the full list of sessions and speakers.

Keynote Speaker

Dennis Lehane, Award-winning Novelist & Screenwriter

Dennis Lehane has published thirteen award-winning novels including Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile and Live by Night. Three of his novels—Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island—have been adapted into award-winning films. His latest novel World Gone By was published in March 2015. Lehane was also a staff writer on the acclaimed HBO series The Wire and a writer-producer on the 4th season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Lehane currently has three dramatic series in development at HBO, Showtime, and WGN America.

Other Featured Speakers

David Bianculli

David Bianculli, NPR’s Fresh Air TV critic and university professor of television and film history, has authored four books about television, including 2016’s The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific.

Mark Doty

Mark Doty, author of over a dozen books of poetry and prose, has won the 2008 National Book Award for Poetry, and been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers' Award and more.


Janis Ian, singer-songwriter nominated for ten Grammy Awards, wrote her first hit, Society’s Child, at the age of fourteen, and performed as musical guest on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. She was awarded the 2013 Grammy for Best Spoken Word for her autobiography audio book.


Eloisa James, author of My American Duchess, is a Shakespeare professor at Fordham University and a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance novels.