Jason Broughton

Jason Broughton is the Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS). Prior to joining the Library of Congress, Broughton became the first African American to serve as Vermont State Librarian, where he engaged in strategic planning for the Department of Libraries and establishing a long-term vision for the State Library. For over a decade, Broughton held numerous library roles in South Carolina and Georgia, where he used his prior training as an educator to focus on such issues as workforce development and public outreach engagement.Broughton earned his M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina, an M.S. in Public Administration from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida A&M University.

Michael Gorra

Michael Gorra is the author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War. Earlier books include Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of An American Masterpiece, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. As an editor, Gorra has put together volumes of stories by Joseph Conrad and Henry James for Penguin, along with the Norton Critical Editions of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, including a Public Scholar Award, and a National Book Critics Circle award for his work as a reviewer. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the TLSThe Atlantic, and The New York Times Book Review, among others, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing. In 2014 he was a judge for the National Book Award in fiction. He is the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College.

Leah McGrath Goodman

Leah McGrath Goodman is an award-winning investigative journalist, author and speaker who writes about money and politics from New York and London. She has written for CNN/Fortune, Bloomberg, Marie Claire, Forbes, the Financial Times, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and Dow Jones Newswires, where she was a special writer, editor and foreign correspondent. Most recently she was  the finance editor for Newsweek, where she was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. Goodman is a member of the London Speaker Bureau and Middle East Speakers Bureau. Her first book, The Asylum: Inside the Rise and Ruin of the Global Oil Market was nominated for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award and her new book, Arianna Huffington, was published in April.

Shanta Lee Gander

Shanta Lee Gander is a multidisciplinary artist who was the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts. She was named as Diode Editions’ full-length book contest winner for her debut poetry compilation, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues and her second collection of poetry,  Black Metamorphosis, is forthcoming.  She holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College. For more on Shanta Lee’s photography and writing, visit Shantaleegander.com.


Farah Jasmine Griffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin is the inaugural chair of the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department at Columbia University, where she is also William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature. She is the author of numerous books including her new book Read Until You Understand: The Profound Wisdom of Black Life and Literature, and her essay on the Harlem Renaissance was included in 400 Souls: A community History of African America, 1619-2019. She is the recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship and she lives in New York. (more…)