Advisory Board

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red TentGood Harbor, and The Last Days of Dogtown, as well as the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Her most recent novel is Day After Night.

Junot Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. He has received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Martín Espada has published seventeen books in all as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. The Republic of Poetry, his 2006 collection of poems, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the American Book Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. His poems have appeared in the The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, and The Best American Poetry.  A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Gish Jen’s short work has appeared in many periodicals and anthologies, including The New YorkerDaedalusThe Atlantic Monthly, and The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Jen is the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Nominated for National Book Critics’ Circle Award and featured in a PBS American Masters program on the American Novel, Jen is the author of four novels and a collection of stories.

Ha Jin, born in China in 1956, was a teenager when China entered the Cultural Revolution. He became a member of the People’s Liberation Army at the age of fourteen. His novel Waiting, which won him the National Book Award in 1999, and the PEN/ Faulkner in 2000, was based on his experiences during his five-year service in the Red Army. He was awarded the PEN/ Faulkner again in 2005 for War Trash. In 2005, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, Ha Jin has been a full professor there since 2002.

Wendy Kaminer, a lawyer and social critic, writes about law, liberty, feminism, religion, and popular culture. Her latest book is Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU (Beacon Press, 2009). A former Guggenheim fellow and recipient of the Smith College Medal, she is the author of seven previous books. Her articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications. A former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Kaminer currently serves on the advisory boards of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Secular Coalition for America.

Stephen McCauley is the author of Alternatives to Sex, True Enough, The Man of the House, The Easy Way Out, and The Object of My Affection. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit his website at www.stephenmccauley.com.

Barbara Neely is a novelist, short story writer, and author of the popular Blanche White mystery novels. The first book in this series, Blanche on the Lam, won the Agatha, the Macavity, and the Anthony — three of the four major mystery awards for best first novel — as well as the Go On Girl! Book Club award for a debut novel. Neely’s short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, university texts, and journals. In addition to writing and her extensive activism and public sector work, Barbara Neely hosts Commonwealth Journal, a radio interview program in Massachusetts which can be heard here.

Patricia Powell  is the author of A Small Gathering of Bones, The Pagoda and The Good Life. Her awards include the Bruce Rossley Literary Award, the Ferro-Grumley Award for Fiction, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. Powell has taught creative writing at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Currently she is Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at MIT. Powell lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night.  In 1992, Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.” For many years, he has divided his time between Trinidad, where he has his home as a writer, and Boston University, where he teaches literature and creative writing.