Speakers for 2017 Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire

Gina Barreca is author of the 2016 book If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times, which was an ELLE Reader’s Prize selection and excerpted in Reader’s Digest. Her earlier books include It’s Not That I’m Bitter, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World,  They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League in addition to the six other books she’s written and the sixteen she’s edited.  She’s appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, Dr. Phil, NPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor.  Gina has been called “smart and funny” by People magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry. She was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine and Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.” Gina, whose weekly columns for The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co., is a Professor of English at the University of Connecticut where’s she’s won UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching.


Jenny Bent represents over 25 New York Times best-selling authors. In 2009, she founded The Bent Agency, after serving as VP of Trident Media Group, one of the world’s largest literary agencies.  The Bent Agency represents literary and commercial adult, YA, and middle grade fiction as well as memoir, humor, women’s fiction, crime/suspense, and select narrative non-fiction.  Visit www.thebentagency.com




John Clayton is the executive director of the Manchester Historic Association and Millyard Museum.

He previously spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and he is the author of seven books about Manchester and New Hampshire.

Clayton’s “In the City” column was a fixture on the front page of the Union Leader for more than 20 years and won numerous awards, including best local column from the New England Associated Press News Executives and “Best Local Author” from the readers of “New Hampshire” magazine.

Clayton received an Emmy Award for his work with New Hampshire Public Television where he was the long-time host of “New Hampshire Crossroads” and he was recently honored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council as one of its “40 over 40” cultural icons.

LUCY CLELAND is a Literary Agent and the Dramatic Rights Manager at Kneerim & Williams. She works with a variety of new and established authors and particularly enjoys reading and working on unconventional cultural history, contemporary narrative nonfiction, biographies of women’s lives, literary fiction, and YA with magnetic characters. She’s drawn to the lives of creatives and rebels, questions about identity and inheritance, Southern voices, and anything about food.  Founded in 1990, Kneerim & Williams is a full-service literary and dramatic rights agency based in Boston that represents a wide range of authors, including New York Times best-selling novelists, prize-winning historians, scientists, and journalists.  Visit www.kwlit.com



KJ Dell’Antonia is a writer and contributing editor for the New York Times’ Well Family page (formerly known as Motherlode) and a regular contributor to its SundayReview. Before taking over Motherlode, she was one ofSlate’s XXFactor bloggers and a contributor to Slate, where she covered parenting and a broad range of subjects, from legal issues to pop culture. She is currently at work on a book: How It’s Done: Raising a Family, Having a Life and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. Find out more at kjdellantonia.com.





Steven Goldstein is recognized as a thought leader in audio programming, marketing and management. His track record of success spans virtually every major radio format for some of the nation’s top broadcasting companies.

Steven has created and developed numerous successful radio brands and nurtured and advanced local and national talent.  
After holding on-air positions at several local radio stations, The NBC Radio Network (Affiliate Relations Manager), and The ABC Radio Network (News Anchor), Steven was a co-founding partner in Saga Communications, serving as Executive Vice President and Group Program Director from the company’s formation in 1986 until 2015. Steven’s well-regarded programming acumen and strategies helped to propel Saga, which now trades on the NYSE, to its current position.
Steven was one of the first to recognize the power of geo-targeting on the internet. In 1998, he co-founded Fastblast, LLC, a company that specialized in the development of interactive marketing strategies for clients in local markets which included seven major broadcast companies as well as Amazon.com.

Former Telegraph editor and columnist George Geers. Photo taken March 2002.

George Geers, a 50-year journalist, founded Plaidswede Publishing in Concord, New Hamphire in 2000. Its catalog ranges from biography and novels to a current series of pulp fiction, Murder Ink, with crimes centered around a New England newsroom. Mr. Geers has edited four New England daily newspapers, was editor of the New England Newspaper Association, and is clerk of the Academy of New England Journalists.  Visit http://www.nhbooksellers.com/plaidswede-publishing-company


Sam Hiyate is founder and president of The Rights Factory, Inc, a literary agency in Toronto since 2004.  His industry experience began in 1990 with literary magazines and running a micropublisher, and later he launched the literary division of The Lanvin Agency in 2003.  The Rights Factory represents a large roster of award winning authors in all categories. He loves to discover distinct and compelling voices.  The genres of business, commercial upmarket, crime, literary fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and thriller particularly interest him.  Visit http://therightsfactory.com/about-us/



Rick Horowitz is a nationally known writing coach, an Emmy-winning TV commentator for Milwaukee PBS, and a convert to the instant gratification of crafting political memes. He’s the founder and Wordsmith in Chief of Prime Prose, LLC, providing writing, editing, and dejargonizing services to groups and organizations across the country. A longtime syndicated columnist, Rick is only one industrial-strength stapler short of publishing a book. 

Derrick Z. Jackson is an award-winning columnist for the Op-Ed section of The Boston Globe.  Jackson is a 2001 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary, a two-time winner of opinion awards from the Education Writers Association and a nine-time winner from the National Association of Black Journalists. He also is known for his nature photography. His images of Barack Obama have been exhibited by Boston’s Museum of African American History.




Albert LaFarge, PhD, founded The Albert LaFarge Literary Agency in 2003.  It represents and offers global rights management for nonfiction (biography, history, memoir, essays, and reportage) as well as art and design, business, music, science, sports, travel, and urbanism, with an active interest in poetry and literary criticism, and occasionally, fiction. The LaFarge Agency partners with select agents and attorneys in Hollywood, London, and beyond regarding foreign translation, film/TV, audio and other subsidiary rights, and notably in a recent deal for Brad Pitt’s feature film “Killing Them Softly.”   Visit http://www.thelafargeagency.com



Jill Lawrence is commentary editor and a columnist at USA TODAY, and author of the 2017 book, The Art of the Political Deal: How Congress Beat the Odds and Broke Through Gridlock. A former columnist for Creators Syndicate, U.S. News and World Report and The Associated Press, she has won National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi and National Headliner awards for her writing. Her positions have included managing editor for politics at National Journal; senior correspondent at Politics Daily; national political correspondent at USA TODAY, and national political writer for the AP. Her work has also appeared online in Politico Magazine, The Week, The Daily Beast and The Atlantic. Lawrence has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in music literature from the University of Michigan.


Leighann Lord is one of New York’s 10 Hottest Comics and one of the top 15 comedians in Queens according to It’s Queens Magazine, Leighann Lord has been seen on Lifetime, AspireTV, Comedy Central, HBO’s Def Comedy All-Star Jam and ABC’s The View. She’s performed for U. S. troops stationed in Europe, the South Pacific, and the Middle East. Leighann’s comedy album, I’ve Got Connections, is played heavily on Sirius satellite radio. She has been a radio/TV co-host on the Emmy-nominated Star Talk with Neil de Grasse Tyson.

Leighann is a contributor to the Huffington Post and is the author of Dict Jokes: Alternate Definitions for Words You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget, Leighann Lord’s Big Book of Book Titles: When You Just Don’t Have Time to Read a Whole F**king Book, and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories from the Career of a Very Funny Lady. Follow @LeighannLord at VeryFunnyLady.com

Brian McGrory, who served as a metro columnist, White House correspondent, and metro editor, is the editor of The Boston Globe.

Born in November, 1961, in Boston, he has lived in the city and the wider region almost all of his life. He graduated from Weymouth North High School, then Bates College in 1984. His first newspaper job was as a reporter with the Patriot-Ledger in Quincy, MA. In 1985, he moved to the New Haven Register as a reporter, and later became the newspaper’s first Washington correspondent.

McGrory came to the Globe in 1989 as a suburban reporter covering the South Shore. He covered the Boston mayoral campaign in 1993, Thomas Menino’s first win. He worked as the Globe’s roving national reporter in 1995 and 1996 before moving to the Washington Bureau that year in the job of White House correspondent to cover Bill Clinton’s reelection campaign against Bob Dole, and then Clinton’s second term.

McGrory moved back to Boston as a Metro columnist in 1998. He added the title of associate editor to his portfolio in 2004.

In 2007, McGrory left column writing to become the paper’s Metro editor, formally the deputy managing editor for local news, running the newsroom’s largest department. He served in that position until January 1, 2010, when, by previous design, he returned to his twice-weekly column. He was named editor of the paper in December 2012.

He won the Scripps-Howard award for commentary and the Sigma Delta Chi award for general column writing in 2011. The Globe was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2014 for its coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, and has been a finalist in four other categories over the last two years.

McGrory has authored four published novels and a memoir about his family’s pet rooster.


Joseph W. McQuaid is the third of four generations of a New Hampshire newspapering family. His grandfather worked for the Manchester Union at the beginning of the 20th Century before a career with William Randolph Hearst papers in Boston and New York.

His father was a decorated World War II correspondent for the Chicago Daily News Foreign Service, co-founded the New Hampshire Sunday News after the war, and was editor-in-chief of the Union Leader.

Joe McQuaid began his career at age 15 as a newsroom office boy. He reported sports during high school and later became a news reporter and photographer. He was named editor of the Sunday News in 1971. He has covered local, state, and national politics and has reported from Europe, the Mideast and Afghanistan. He has won numerous writing awards and was honored with the New England Society of Newspaper Editors’ “Yankee Quill” award for significant contribution to the advancement of journalism in New England.

He has served as managing editor, editor-in-chief, and general manager. In June of 1999, he succeeded Nackey S. Loeb as president and publisher of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper.

In addition to the daily and Sunday statewide papers and UnionLeader.com, the corporation owns NewHampshire.com and, through its Neighborhood News, Inc. subsidiary, several community weeklies in southern New Hampshire.

Mr. McQuaid is president of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, Inc. He was a founding member of the For Manchester civic group and is a past director of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Newspaper Group. He served on the Governor’s Old Man of the Mountain Commission and as a judge of the Francis Wayland Parker

Scholarship Program. He attended local schools and the University of New Hampshire, but did not earn a degree. He was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from Notre Dame College, Manchester, NH in 2000.

Mr. McQuaid and his wife, Signe, reside in Manchester.

Amy Newmark is the bestselling author, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soulbook series. Since 2008, she has published 133 new books, most of them national bestsellers in the U.S. and Canada, more than doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today. She is also the author of Simply Happy, a crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul advice and wisdom that is filled with easy-to-implement, practical tips for having a better life.
Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, which has been a publishing industry phenomenon since the first book came out in 1993. By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the twenty-three-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant.
Amy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where she majored in Portuguese and minored in French. She then embarked on a three-decade career as a Wall Street analyst, a hedge fund manager, and a corporate executive in the technology field. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Her return to literary pursuits was inevitable, as her honors thesis in college involved traveling throughout Brazil’s impoverished northeast region, collecting stories from regular people. She is delighted to have come full circle in her writing career—from collecting stories “from the people” in Brazil as a twenty-year-old to, three decades later, collecting stories “from the people” for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
When Amy and her husband Bill, the CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, are not working, they are visiting their four grown children.
Follow Amy on Twitter @amynewmark. Listen to her free daily podcast, The Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast, at www.chickensoup.podbean.com, or find it on iTunes, the Podcasts app on iPhone, or on your favorite podcast app on other devices.

James Pindell is a political reporter at The Boston Globe focused on the 2016 presidential race. The Washington Post called him the “Insider’s Insider” for his coverage of New Hampshire politics and he is the only reporter to cover both the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary as a beat for local outlets.





Literary agent LORIN REES (Rees Literary Agency in Boston), is interested in literary fiction, business books, self-help, science, history, psychology and narrative non-fiction.  Mr. Rees serves on the Board of Directors for Salamander Literary Journal and is on the advisory board of the Southern New Hampshire MFA program. He has brought to fruition a number of critically acclaimed books. The Rees Literary Agency was founded in 1983.  www.reesagency.com




Dorothy Rosby is a syndicated humor columnist whose work appears in publications in ten Western and Midwestern states. She authored two humor collections, I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better, and I Didn’t Know You Could Make Birthday Cake From Scratch, Parenting Blunders from Cradle to Empty Nest. She is the community relations director for a non-profit, and serves as media relations representative and teaches public speaking skills to its employees and other groups. Visit www.dorothyrosby.com  


Scott Spradling is an Emmy award winning former reporter, anchor and political director for WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH. While covering national politics, he worked with and earned the respect of Charlie Gibson, Wolf Blitzer and Ted Koppel. In 2001, Scott was the first local reporter to interview President George W Bush in the Oval Office, soon after his inauguration. And in 2007, Scott was the first New Hampshire reporter to interview then-Senator Barack Obama, on his very first campaign trip to the Granite State.

In 2008, Scott took his rolodex and launched a new venture, The Spradling Group. Over that time, Scott has worked closely on a variety of major projects in New Hampshire, with clients of all sizes and backgrounds.

Whether he is working with New Hampshire Motor Speedway to help with special projects, working with CMC Hospital on various marketing and business plans,leading crisis communications efforts for businesses facing a challenge, or representing clients on major issues of concern at the State House, Scott maintains his relationships with media, political leaders and business leaders of all backgrounds to help his clients meet their goals. In nine years offering his energy and ideas, The Spradling Group has represented dozens of businesses, associations and worthy causes.


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