We're up to 60 featured authors and counting for the 2012 Gaithersburg Book Festival. Here's a closer look at the newest additions to our line-up.
Marc Kaufman is author of “First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth” (Simon and Schuster). A science writer for The Washington Post, Kaufman traveled the world while reporting “First Contact” to speak with scientists on the cutting edge of the burgeoning field of astrobiology — the hunt for life beyond Earth. He has been a journalist for more than three decades, mostly at the Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He believes that his many years as a foreign correspondent taught him how to be a good translator of science (and scientists). He lives with his wife, Lynn Litterine, in Silver Spring, Md.
Jen Lancaster is The New York Times best-selling author of five memoirs published by NAL, and most recently, the novel “If You Were Here.” Her newest memoir, “Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development, or Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops are Not Dinner,” comes out in May 2012. Lancaster’s loyal fans have followed her as she recounts the woes of job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts and 1980s nostalgia in her hilarious memoirs, including, “Bitter is the New Black,” “Such a Pretty Fat” and “My Fair Lazy.” A nationally syndicated monthly columnist for Tribune Media Services’ Humor Hotel, Lancaster lives outside Chicago. She still writes the blog where it all started: www.jennsylvania.com.
David J. Linden, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His laboratory has worked for many years on the cellular substrates of memory storage in the brain and a few other topics. He has a long-standing interest in scientific communication and serves as the chief editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. He is the author of two books on the biology of behavior for a general audience, “The Accidental Mind” (Harvard/Belknap, 2007) and “The Compass of Pleasure” (Viking Press, 2011) which, to date, have been translated into 12 languages. He lives in Baltimore with his two pleasure-seeking children.
Baratunde Thurston is the author of “How to Be Black” (Harper), director of digital at The Onion, the co-founder of Jack & Jill Politics, a stand-up comedian and a globe-trotting speaker. Thurston was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2011 by The Root, one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine, and will be giving the opening keynote address at SXSW Interactive 2012. Then-Senator Barack Obama called him “someone I need to know.” Thurston resides in Brooklyn and lives on Twitter (@baratunde).
Eric Weiner is author of “Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine” (Twelve) and The New York Times best-seller “The Geography of Bliss,” which has been translated into 18 languages. A former correspondent for NPR and The New York Times, Weiner has reported from more than three dozen countries. His work has appeared in the New Republic, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The New York Times Magazine and the anthology Best American Travel Writing. He divides his time between Starbucks and Caribou Coffee.
Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of “Birds of Paradise” (W.W. Norton & Co.), her fifth book. It follows several notable titles, most recently, “Origin” and “The Language of Baklava.” She has won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the American Book Award, and other prizes. Abu-Jaber’s writing appears in Good Housekeeping, Ms., Salon, Vogue, Gourmet, The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. She is frequently featured on National Public Radio. She divides her time between Coral Gables, Fla., and Portland, Ore.
Cathy Alter had had feature articles, essays and reviews in local and national newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, Washingtonian, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Self, McSweeney’s and SMITH Magazine. Her book, “Virgin Territory: Stories from the Road to Womanhood,” was released in 2004 and her memoir, “Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over,” was released in July 2008. She earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, where she is currently a faculty member and non-fiction advisor.
Stacia Brown is the author of “Accidents of Providence” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a historical fiction novel that takes place during the English Civil War. Brown grew up in Asheville, N.C. She earned graduate degrees in religion and historical theology from Emory University in Atlanta. Before moving to Atlanta, Brown worked as a swing-shift monitor for a 250-bed homeless shelter in San Francisco. She lives and works in Decatur, Ga.
Rae Bryant is author of the story collection, “The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals” (Patasola Press), which has been nominated for the 2012 Pen/Hemingway and Pushcart awards. Her stories have appeared, or are soon forthcoming, in StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review) and Gargoyle Magazine, among others. She writes essays and reviews for places like Puerto del Sol and The Nervous Breakdown. She’s received fellowships from the VCCA and Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches multimedia and creative writing and is editor-in-chief of the program’s new literary and arts journal, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.
Siobhan Fallon’s debut collection of stories, “You Know When the Men Are Gone” (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam), was listed as a Best Book of 2011 by The San Francisco Chronicle and Janet Maslin of The New York Times, and has been called “the explosive sort of literary triumph that appears only every few years” by New York Journal of Books. Her stories and essays have appeared in Women’s Day, Good Housekeeping, New Letters, and Publishers Weekly, among others. She and her family live in Falls Church, Va.
Alex George is the author of “A Good American” (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam), a novel which is receiving rave reviews, including #1 Pick for Indie Next List, Amazon “Best Books of the Month” List February 2012 and Barnes & Noble Discover Pick for Spring 2012. George is an Englishman who lives, works and writes in the middle of America. He studied law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris before moving to the United States in 2003. He is the author of four previous novels published in the U.K. and several European countries. Before moving to America, he was named one of Britain’s top ten “30-something” novelists by the Times of London, and was also named by the Independent on Sunday as a “face to watch” for fiction in its Fresh Talent feature. He now runs his own law firm in Columbia, Mo., and has applied for U.S. citizenship.
L. E. Modesitt Jr., is a New York Times best-selling author of 60 novels – primarily science fiction and fantasy – a number of short stories and numerous technical and economic articles. His novels have sold millions of copies all around the world. His first story was published in Analog in 1973. His latest book, “Princeps” (Tor Books), will be released in May 2012 and is the sequel to “Scholar,” which was named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the 10 Best F&SF Books of 2011.
Thomas Mullen is the author of “The Last Town on Earth,” which was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize, “The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers” and his new novel, “The Revisionists” (Mulholland Books). His books have been named to Year’s Best lists by such publications as The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Diego Union-Times, The Onion, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer and by Amazon.com. He lived in Washington, D.C., from 2002-2008 and now lives in Atlanta with his wife and sons.
Varley O’Connor is the author of the upcoming novel, “The Master’s Muse” (Scribners). She is the author of three previous novels, “The Cure,” “A Company of Three” and “Like China.” Her shorter prose has appeared in The Sun magazine, AWP Writer’s Chronicle, Faultline: A Journal of Art and Literature, Driftwood, Algonkian magazine and The MacGuffin. O’Connor teaches fiction and creative non-fiction writing at Kent State University and for the Northeast Ohio Universities Consortium MFA program.
Christopher Tilghman is the author of “The Right-Hand Shore” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), his third novel. Tilghman’s previous works include two short-story collections, “In a Father’s Place” and “The Way People Run,” and two novels, “Mason’s Retreat” and “Roads of the Heart.” Currently the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia, he lives with his wife, writer Caroline Preston, in Charlottesville, Va.
Mark Henshaw is the author of “Red Cell” (Touchstone), his debut thriller that follows two CIA agents as they race to stop a secret Chinese weapon that threatens to provoke a world war. Henshaw is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a decorated CIA analyst with more than 11 years of service. In 2007, he was awarded the Director of National Intelligence Galileo Award for innovation in intelligence analysis. Henshaw lives with his family in Leesburg, Va.
Thomas Kaufman is the author of “Steal the Show” (Minotaur Books), his second book about Washington, D.C., private eye Willis Gidney. In addition to writing the third book in his series, Kaufman is working as an Emmy Award-winning director/cameraman, shooting TV programs for BBC, Discovery and NatGeo. Thomas has also shot on the sets of “The Wire,” “West Wing,” “John Adams” and “VEEP.”
Alan Orloff is making his third Festival appearance with his latest release, “Deadly Campaign” (Midnight Ink), the second in the Last Laff Mystery series (following “Killer Routine”). His debut mystery, “Diamonds for the Dead,” was an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel, and, writing as Zak Allen, he’s published two e-books, “The Taste” and “First Time Killer.” A former engineer, marketing manager and newsletter editor, Orloff grew up in Montgomery County and is a proud product of the County’s public school system.
Chris Pavone is the author of the highly-anticipated spy thriller, “The Expats” (Crown), which came out this month. Chris Pavone grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Cornell. For nearly two decades he was a book editor and ghostwriter; he is also the author of "The Wine Log." Chris and his family have lived in Luxembourg, but recently returned to New York City. "The Expats" is his first novel.
Tom Angleberger is the best-selling author of “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda,” which won the 2010 E. B. White Read Aloud Award for middle readers, “Darth Paper Strikes Back” and “Horton Halfpott,” a 2012 Edward Award finalist, which Kirkus dubbed “a romp from start to finish.” He lives in Christiansburg, Va., with his wife, author and illustrator Cece Bell.
Fred Bowen, who writes the weekly KidsPost sports column in The Washington Post, is the author of 16 books of sports fiction (ages 8+) and a picture book biography of Red Sox legend Ted Williams titled “No Easy Way.” Bowen is not your usual sports fiction writer; he always weaves a little real sports history into his fast-moving plots, and includes a history chapter at the back. He likes showing kids that the games they play are part of a large rich tradition. Bowen grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Silver Spring, Md.
Andrew Clements is the bestselling author of “Frindle,” a modern classic, in addition to dozens of other novels, such as "The Keepers School: Fear Itself," specialty books, chapter books and picture books, including “No Talking and Extra Credit.” He has won two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. He lives in central Massachusetts.
Kate Feiffer’s newest chapter book, “Signed by Zelda” (Simon & Schuster), features a girl who believes there’s a secret hidden in every signature, a boy stuck in time-out and a missing grandmother. Feiffer is the author of 11 popular books for children, including “Double Pink” and “My Side of The Car.” Her book “My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life” is currently being adapted as a musical for the stage. Her latest picture book is “No Go Sleep,” illustrated by her father, Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer.
Mary Downing Hahn has been writing children’s books for more than 30 years and is a perennial favorite with readers. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies and consistently win state children’s choice awards. Hahn’s work spans a variety of genres, but she is best known for her ghost stories and mysteries. “Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls” (Clarion Books), her latest book, will be released in April.
John “Corey” Whaley is the author of “Where Things Come Back” (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), his highly-acclaimed debut novel for young adults. Whaley was named a “Spring 2011 Flying Start Author” by Publishers Weekly, as well as a “Top 10 New Voice for Teens” by the ABC Children’s Group at ALA and a “Spring 2011 Okra Pick” from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. “Where Things Come Back” also has been nominated for the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012. He was recently selected by the National Book Foundation as a Top 5 Under 35 author, making him the first YA author to be awarded the honor.