Eileen McNamara

Eileen McNamara is the Director of the Journalism Program at Brandeis and the author of Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World, published in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster. A Professor of the Practice of Journalism since 2007, she was previously an award-winning reporter and columnist for The Boston Globe, where she won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary and contributed to the coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. Her writing continues to appear there and on Cognoscenti, the commentary pages of WBUR.org, Boston’s National Public Radio station. 

John Leland

John Leland is a reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote a yearlong series that became the basis for his NYT bestseller, Happiness Is a Choice You Make. He is the author of two previous books, Hip: The History and Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of “On the Road” (They’re Not What You Think). Before joining the Times, he was a senior editor at Newsweek, editor in chief of Details, a reporter at Newsday, and a writer and editor at Spin magazine.

Madeline Kunin

Madeleine Kunin served as the Governor of Vermont from 1985 to 1991. As a member of President Bill Clinton’s administration, she served as Deputy Secretary of Education of the United States from 1993 to 1997 and United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999. Former Governor Kunin was Vermont’s first and, to date, only female governor and the first woman in U.S. history to be elected governor three times. During her tenure as Governor, she focused on the environment, education, and children’s issues. She appointed the first woman to the State Supreme Court and created the family court system. Former Ambassador Kunin is the author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead and Living a Political Life. Her new book, Coming of Age: My Journey Into the Eighties, takes a close and incisive look at what it is like to grow old. Former Ambassador Kunin is the recipient of numerous awards for work in the environment, education and human services, including the Dean’s Medal for Public Service from Columbia University, School of Journalism. Former Ambassador Kunin received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Master of Science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a Master of Arts degree from The University of Vermont, and numerous honorary degrees from over 15 different institutions.

Stephen Greenblatt

Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of thirteen books, including The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve; The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; Shakespeare’s Freedom; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; Marvelous Possessions; Renaissance Self-Fashioning and his new book Tyrant; Shakespeare on Politics He is General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and of The Norton Shakespeare, has edited seven collections of criticism, and is a founding editor of the journal Representations. His honors include the 2016 Holberg Prize from the Norwegian Parliament, the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Award for The Swerve, MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize (twice), Harvard University’s Cabot Fellowship, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the Mellon Foundation, Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal, the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, the Erasmus Institute Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Berkeley. Among his named lecture series are the Adorno Lectures in Frankfurt, the University Lectures at Princeton, and the Clarendon Lectures at Oxford, and he has held visiting professorships at universities in Beijing, Kyoto, London, Paris, Florence, Torino, Trieste, and Bologna, as well as the Renaissance residency at the American Academy in Rome. He was president of the Modern Language Association of America and a long-term fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. He has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Philosophical Society. 

Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman is an essayist and reporter. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, her account of the cross cultural conflicts between a Hmong family and the American medical system, won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, is a book about books (buying them, writing in their margins, and arguing with her husband on how to shelve them). At Large and At Small is a collection of essays on Coleridge, postal history, and ice cream, among other topics; it was the source of an encrypted quotation in the New York Times Sunday Acrostic. Her most recent book, The Wine Lover’s Daughter​, is a memoir about her father, wine, and the upsides and downsides of upward mobility. Fadiman is the only writer to have won National Magazine Awards for both reporting (on elderly suicide) and essays (on the multiple and often contradictory meanings of the American flag). She worked with the family of her former student Marina Keegan to edit The Opposite of Loneliness, a posthumous collection of Marina’s work. She has also edited a literary quarterly (The American Scholar) and two essay anthologies.