Dr. K. Renee Horton is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and lifelong lover of science and NASA. A graduate of Louisiana State University with a B.S. of Electrical Engineering with a minor in Math in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Material Science with a concentration in Physics, becoming the first African American to graduate from the University of Alabama in 2011 in this area.
Journalist C.J. Chivers is one of this generation’s most revered war correspondents and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for 'The New York Times.' His magazine story, “The Fighter,” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, and he was part of a team of journalists awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Chivers served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf War.
Madeline Miller’s 2018 novel, 'Circe,' was a 'New York Times' #1 best-seller and appeared on dozens of “best books of 2018” lists, including NPR, 'People,' 'The Washington Post,' 'Time,' 'Entertainment Weekly,' Buzzfeed, Book Riot, and more. 'Circe' was also named 2018 Book of the Year by 'Publishers Weekly' and 'BookPage.' The novel, a retelling of the life story of the goddess and witch Circe, recasts the infamous figure who turned men into pigs in The Odyssey into a feminist hero.
To kick off the 2019 season, AViD presents Susan Orlean at the DSM Book Festival. She is the author of the critically acclaimed 2018 best-seller, The Library Book, a love letter to libraries that doubles as a true crime exploration of the massive unsolved 1986 fire that damaged the Los Angeles Public Library. Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club selected the book as its first 2019 read. Orlean’s 1998 nonfiction classic, The Orchid Thief, was adapted into the Academy Award-winning feature film, Adaptation, starring Meryl Streep as the author.
Journalist, educator and author Sarah Smarsh’s debut book, 'Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth', was an instant best-seller upon release in 2018, and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and National Book Award. 'Heartland' was named one of the best books of 2018 by 'NPR', 'Amazon', Audible, 'Publisher’s Weekly', and more. Sarah Jessica Parker, the honorary chairwoman for the American Library Association's Book Club Central, chose 'Heartland' for her most recent "SJP Pick" for libraries.
Laurie Frankel is the author of the best-selling 2017 novel, 'This is How It Always Is', which gracefully tells the story of a family struggling with the challenges and questions that arise after their youngest son declares that he wants to be a girl when he grows up. The story is a work of fiction, but the author is the mother of a transgender child herself. The book was chosen as a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club pick in fall 2018.
The Nigerian-born author Chigozie Obioma burst onto the literary scene in 2015 with his debut novel, 'The Fishermen', which won multiple national and international awards – including an NAACP Image Award – and was a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. It was later adapted into a stage play in the United Kingdom. In 2015, Obioma was also named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. His much-anticipated second novel, 'An Orchestra of Minorities', released Jan.