Our 2020 Board of Directors

Dolen Perkins-ValdezDolen Perkins-Valdez (Chair) is the author of Balm and Wench, which was a New York Times best-seller. In 2011, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and she received a DC Commission on the Arts Grant for her second novel. A graduate of Harvard University and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, she teaches writing in the Stonecoast MFA program. She lives in Washington, DC with her family.

Susan Keselenko Coll (President) is the author of five novels, most recently The Stager, a New York Times and Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, Moment Magazine, NPR.org, Atlantic.com, and The Millions. She is currently teaching an intensive, year-long novel writing class at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and previously worked at Politics & Prose bookstore, where she oversaw events and programs for five years.

Bethanne PatrickBethanne Patrick (First Vice President) is a regular reviewer for The Washington Post’s Book World, where her monthly column on Hot Books also appears. A writer, author, and critic, Patrick’s work appears on NPR Books, Lit Hub (where she is a contributing editor), and Virtuoso Life; her author profiles and interviews have appeared in Poets & Writers, TIME, The Writer, and many other publications. Her Twitter feed @TheBookMaven has 213,000 followers, many of whom contribute to her #FridayReads meme. Her past positions include Books Editor at AOL, Contributing Editor at Publishers Weekly, and Books Editor at Washingtonian, among others. Patrick has written two books for National Geographic: “An Uncommon History of Common Things” (2009) and “An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy” (2011), as well as edited an anthology for Regan Arts/Phaidon titled “The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections from 100 Authors, Artists, Musicians, and Other Remarkable People.” She is currently under contract for a memoir with Counterpoint Press. A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Smith College Libraries, Patrick lives in Northern Virginia with her family.

Mary Haft (Vice President) is a writer, producer, and founder of Haft Productions, LLC, specializing in documentaries for nonprofits. She is the author of Nantucket: Portrait of an American Town and one of the founding partners of the Nantucket Book Festival. Recently, she brought PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program to Nantucket’s public school system, and inaugurated an annual Young Writer Award to encourage the act of writing. A part of the PEN/Faulkner team for many years, she has also co-chaired the annual PEN/Faulkner Gala in Washington for the past seven years.

Willee Headshot_floralWillee Lewis (Vice President) studied English literature and education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and has taught English, writing, and drama in a number of settings, including ten years as an instructor at the Washington International School. She has served two terms as PEN/Faulkner’s president, and in 2005-2006 was part of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of the DC Library System. She is editor of Snakes: An Anthology of Serpent Tales and is active in several Washington-based charities and arts organizations.

Thomas LloydThomas Lloyd (Treasurer) is a Wealth Advisor at Hemington Wealth Management, providing first-hand guidance and family governance to both families and institutions. He is also the grandson of late Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and serves as the President of the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation, a nonprofit entity engendered to support charitable and educational organizations seeking to improve well-being through horticulture, conservation, sustainability, and the arts. Thomas currently serves on the Trustees Council Board of the National Gallery of Art as well as the Boards of The Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. He has two children, Fiona and Teddy, and lives in Washington, DC.

Katherine Field Stephen photoKatherine Field Stephen (Secretary) is a journalist who is currently a contributor to The Christian Science Monitor. She edited a memoir about her mother called Kay Fanning’s Alaska Story, which was published in 2006 by Epicenter Press. She has also contributed author profiles and other articles for The International Herald-Tribune, The Independent, and The Los Angeles Times. She has served on the board of the National Cathedral School and the Washington Ballet. She is married to journalist Andrew Stephen and has two children.

Marie Arana is the Literary Director of the Library of Congress. She was born in Peru, moved to the United States at the age of 9, and began her career in book publishing, where she became Vice President and Senior Editor at Harcourt Brace as well as Simon & Schuster publishers. In 1993, she joined The Washington Post as Deputy Editor of “Book World” and became Editor in Chief a few years later—a position she held for ten years. From 2010 to 2019, she was a Writer at Large for The Washington Post and a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Librarian of Congress. Arana is the author of six books, among them her memoir “American Chica,” which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award and winner of Books for a Better Life; “The Writing Life,” a collection of essays about how writers live and work; and two highly acclaimed novels “Cellophane” and “Lima Nights.” Her biography of Simón Bolívar (“Bolívar: American Liberator) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2014. Her history of Latin America, “Silver, Sword, and Stone,” was named best nonfiction book of the year by the American Library Association. Arana has been the director of the National Book Festival and director of John F. Kennedy Center’s literary programs for many years and has chaired juries for the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award. Her commentary has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, USA Today, Washington Post, El País, El Comercio, El Tiempo, and many other publications throughout the Americas and Europe.

Louis BayardLouis Bayard is the author of nine novels, including Mr. Timothy, The Pale Blue Eye, Lucky Strikes and Courting Mr. Lincoln. A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards, and his story “Banana Triangle Six” was chosen for The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. His reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Salon. An instructor at George Washington University, he was also the author of the popular Downton Abbey recaps in the New York Times.

Jackson Bryer headshotJackson R. Bryer is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Maryland, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses for 41 years. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of books on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O’Neill, Ernest Hemingway, August Wilson, Lillian Hellman, Thornton Wilder, Lanford Wilson, Carson McCullers, William Styron, Louis Auchincloss, Samuel Beckett, Wallace Stevens, and Hamlin Garland. A member of the PEN/Faulkner Board since 1991, he lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his wife, Mary C. Hartig.

PF LogoMolly Elkin is a partner in the law firm Woodley & McGillivary in Washington, DC, where she represents unions and employees in class actions, civil rights cases, First Amendment cases, and multi-plaintiff wage and hour litigation. She is a 1990 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin and earned her JD at The George Washington University in 1993. She was introduced to PEN/Faulkner in 1994 when her father, novelist Stanley Elkin (a three-time finalist for the National Book Award and two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award) was a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. She lives in DC with her husband Ivan Wasserman and their three daughters.

Tope Folarin is a Nigerian-American writer based in Washington DC. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and was shortlisted once again in 2016. He serves as Vice President of Content and Storytelling at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Policy Studies and as a trustee for the Avalon Theater in Washington DC. He was educated at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Masters degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. His debut novel, A Particular Kind of Black Man, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2019.

Lauren Francis-Sharma is the author of Book of the Little Axe, the 2020 American Library Association’s “Libraries Transform Book Pick,” and ‘Til the Well Runs Dry, awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School, Lauren’s more recent work can be found at Barrelhouse, ElectricLit, The Lily, as well as the anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s. Lauren is a book reviewer for The San Francisco Chronicle, a MacDowell Fellow, and the Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College.

Renée K. Gardner is the Principal and Co-Founder of the Gardner/Mills Group. Gardner specializes in planning and directing events, from seminars and conferences to major benefits and premieres, and developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to raise funds and build new and substantial financial support for a diverse array of public institutions and non-profit organizations. As Director of External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in the 1980s, she directed all fundraising, special events, and public relations efforts, managing numerous events from intimate dinners to receptions for 5,000 guests. Prior to the Smithsonian, she served as Director of Special Events for Washington, Inc. She also held the positions of Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Centennial; Vice President of Italian Aircraft Corporation, a European aviation firm; and, Assistant to the Italian Ambassador of the European Community.

Susan GinsburgSusan Ginsburg is the co-founder and CEO of the start-up Criticality Sciences, Inc. providing catastrophic risk analytics. Her Washington-centered professional life has included positions on Capitol Hill, for Ralph Nader, as a TV news producer, at the State Department, and at the Treasury Department where she was recognized for her leadership on firearms policy. As a lawyer she clerked for a federal appeals court judge and practiced civil litigation. Following service as senior counsel at the National Commissioner of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9-11 Commission), she served on the first DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Advisory Committee, the Rice-Chertoff Secure Borders Open Doors Advisory Committee, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, and as a founding editor of the Journal on Migration and Human Security. She is the author of a series of policy books on 21 st century security. She lives in Old Town, Alexandria with her fiancé Mario Velasquez.

ginnyGinny Grenham has spent more than 25 years in Washington, DC working in government and public relations, with a special focus on women’s health, wellness, technology, and Hispanic media. Currently, Ginny runs a consulting practice, where she helps clients develop creative and innovative strategic partnerships with non-profits, government, and community leaders. In addition to a range of corporate clients, Ginny works with non-profits in the areas of childhood obesity, mental health and addiction, and literacy and the arts in under-served populations. Ginny helped to establish a number of undergraduate scholarships for Hispanic students, as well as The Latino Leadership Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School. Ginny serves on the board of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, as well as other local community organizations.

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman author photoJoanne Leedom-Ackerman is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist. Her works of fiction include The Dark Path to the River and No Marble Angels. A former reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, Joanne is a Vice President and former International Secretary of PEN International. She serves on the boards of PEN American Center, Poets and Writers, International Center for Journalists and Johns Hopkins University as well as International Crisis Group and Refugees International. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Joanne lives in Washington, DC.

Tony Lewis Jr. is an author, community leader, workforce development specialist, re-entry expert, and champion for children with incarcerated parents. Mr. Lewis has fought relentlessly for 19 years to uplift and empower men, women, and children impacted by mass incarceration. His advocacy has been featured on CNN, BET, Elite Daily, and in the Washington Post. He is the winner of many awards, including the Steve Harvey/Ford Motor Company “Best Community Leader” award and the Presidential Call to Service award.

Richard McCann author photo by Dave SingletonRichard McCann holds an MA in Creative Writing and Modern Literature from Hollins University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa. The author of the story collection Mother of Sorrows and the poetry collection Ghost Letters, McCann’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Esquire, Tin House and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, on whose Board of Trustees he served from 2000-2008. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at American University.

Malcolm O'HaganDr. Malcolm O’Hagan is the founder of the American Writers Museum. He served as CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. He is a past President of the Washington Industrial Roundtable and Chairman of the Council of Manufacturing Associations. He served in the Carter and Reagan administrations as Executive Director of the U.S. Metric Board. Dr. O’Hagan, a naturalized US citizen, was born and raised in Ireland and holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The National University of Ireland. He obtained his D.Sc. from The George Washington University and is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from GWU.

Lisa Page headshotLisa Page is Director of Creative Writing at The George Washington University and a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post Book World, Playboy, The Crisis, Washingtonian, Emerge, Savoy, Phoebe, the Chicago Tribune and other publications. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the anthologies Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write About Race, Gravity Dancers, and Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing Up in America. She is a regular guest on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Reader’s Review. She is a former President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Deborah Tannen author photoDeborah Tannen is professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Best known of these is You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the list for nearly four years, including eight months at number one, and has been translated into 31 languages. Her most recent book is You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendships. Her play “An Act of Devotion” is included in The Best American Short Plays 1993-1994 and was produced by Horizons Theater in Arlington, VA.


Mary Lee Settle, Founder

Conrad Cafritz
Thomas Caplan
H.G. Carrillo
Stephen Goodwin
Nick Kotz
Beverly Lowry
Tracy McGillivary
E. Ethelbert Miller
Azar Nafisi
Frazier O’Leary
George Pelecanos
Diane Rehm
Susan Shreve
Susan Stamberg
Lou Stovall
Mary Kay Zuravleff