Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A general internist with a primary care practice in Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Charon took a Ph.D. in English when she realized how central is storytelling and listening to stories to the work of doctors and patients. She directs the Narrative Medicine curriculum for P&S and teaches literature, narrative ethics, and medical interviewing. She is Principal Investigator on research projects that study patient-physician communication and the outcomes of narrative training for medical students and health professionals. Her work in narrative medicine has been recognized by many medical and literary societies. She is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residence and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She has published and lectured extensively on the ways in which narrative training helps to increase empathy and reflection in health professionals and students. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness and co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine.

Shadd Maruna, Ph.D., is Professor of Justice Studies and Human Development and the Director of the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice for Queen’s Law. Previously he taught at the State University of New York and the University of Cambridge, and he has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. His book Making Good was named the “Outstanding Contribution to Criminology” by the American Society of Criminology in 2001. In 2011, he received the inaugural Research Medal from the Howard League for Penal Reform. He has been a Soros Justice Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and an H. F. Guggenheim Fellow.With his mentor Dan McAdams of Northwestern University, he has written widely about narrative in the process of personal redemption.

Arthur Frank, Ph.D., is a professor in the sociology department at University of Calgary, where he has taught since 1975. He is the author of a memoir of critical illness, At the Will of the Body (1991; new edition 2002). Other works include The Wounded Storyteller (1995), The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine and How to Live (2004); and most recently Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-narratology (2010). He is an elected Fellow of The Hastings Center and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was the 2008 recipient of the Abbyann Lynch Medal for Bioethics, awarded by the Royal Society of Canada. The Wounded Storyteller has recently been issued in a second edition (University of Chicago, 2013).

Tom Barber, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine.  He is a primary care physician and educator, and teaches clinical medicine to students and post graduate trainees.  He has a particular interest in teaching communication skills and diagnostic reasoning techniques.   Dr. Barber has published poems about the practice of medicine in The Journal of the American Medical Association and several other medical journals.

Michael Rowe, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Connecticut Mental Health Center, Co-director of the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health, and Principal Investigator of the CMHC Citizenship Project. A medical sociologist with training in ethnographic and qualitative methods, Dr. Rowe has conducted research in the areas of homelessness and mental illness, community integration for persons with psychiatric disabilities, and has written in the areas of medical humanities, narrative medicine, and bioethics.  He has written two books: Crossing the Border: Encounters between Homeless People and Outreach Workers (1999) and The Book of Jesse: A Story of Youth, Illness, and Medicine (2002).

Michele Klimczak, MA, MSW, is the Director of The Connection’s Connecting Children and Families therapeutic foster care program, where she has worked for more than 15 years. She is a long-time affiliate of the Non-Violence Alliance in Middletown, providing assessment and treatment for men convicted of family violence offenses.  Michele has over 20 years of experience working with families impacted by trauma.  She received her degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Yale University, where she pursued joint studies in ethics and social work.

Lisa Weinert has spent the past decade spearheading national publicity, editorial and digital marketing campaigns for bestselling and award-winning authors at The Nation Magazine, The Knopf/Doubleday Group, Random House, Inc. and most recently at publishing icon Jane Friedman’s innovative ebook company Open Road Integrated Media. She founded LWC, llc because she’s inspired by uncovering the most compelling contemporary literary voices and bringing their stories to the largest possible audience. Weinert has deep connections throughout the publishing world including close relationships with agents, writers, editors, reviewers, producers and sits on the Membership Committee Board at the PEN American Center.

Guy Story is CTO & Chief Scientist at,’s Audio book outfit.  Guy joined Audible in 1996 as VP Technology and led the architecture and development of Audible’s innovative mobile audio and Internet commerce technologies. Prior to joining Audible, Guy worked in research and development for over 10 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies, where his areas of focus included networked delivery of multimedia documents and interactive television. Today at Audible Guy is focused on opportunities in wireless, automotive, in-home entertainment, content discovery, and social media.

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica, as well as the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To, and Don’t Cry.  Her story “Secretary” was the basis for the feature film of the same name.  Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.  In 2002 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction; in 2010 she received a New York Public Library Cullman Center research grant.  Her novel Veronica was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005; it was also nominated for the National Critic’s Circle Award and the L.A. Times Book Award.  She has taught at UC Berkeley, the University of Houston, New York University, The New School, Brown, and Syracuse University; last year she was the Writer-In-Residence at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  She is presently teaching at NYU.

Cami Delavigne started writing Blue Valentine in 2002 with director Derek Cianfrance — a process that took eight years and 67 drafts. In the meantime, she worked as a nanny, coat check, waitress, art director and video editor. In 2010, the Weinstein Company released Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film garnered much critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Williams. In 2012, Delavigne wrote the Sundance short Famous Person Talent Agency. Currently, she is working on Boy Toy, a film for Focus Features about a young man in a complicated relationship with a wealthy older woman. She also is developing a TV pilot called Arm Candy about a female undercover arms dealer. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches screenwriting at NYU. 

Judi Hannan is the author of Motherhood Exaggerated (CavanKerry Press, 2012), her memoir of discovery and transformation during her daughter’s cancer treatment and her transition into survival.  Ms. Hannan’s essays have appeared in such publications as Woman’s Day, Opera News, The Huffington Post, The Healing Muse, ZYZZYVA, Twins Magazine, and The Martha’s Vineyard Gazette.  She teaches writing about personal experience to homeless mothers and at-risk adolescents and is a judge of the annual essay contest sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism-in-Medicine.  Ms. Hannan has a long history of involvement in children’s education, health and welfare.    Ms. Hannan has addressed medical professionals and students on the topic of parenting an ill child.  She teaches writing to homeless mothers and at-risk teens and will be conducting a workshop this fall at Brown University for medical school students.

Jennifer Gonnerman has been writing about “how the other half lives” for the past 15 years. A contributing editor at New York magazine, she has written about juvenile delinquents, panhandlers, foreclosure victims, West African teens, Chinese deliverymen, subway track workers, and taxi drivers. She is also a contributing writer for Mother Jones. From 1997 to 2006, she was a staff writer for The Village Voice, where she covered the criminal justice system. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vibe, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Baffler. Jennifer’s first book, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett, which chronicles the homecoming of a woman who spent 16 years in prison for a first-time offense under New York’s Rockefeller drug laws, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2004.

Molly Barton started her career in editorial before moving to digital publishing and business development. She joined Penguin Group in 2004. Today she is Global Digital Director and leads Penguin’s digital business relationships with Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo and others. She also leads Penguin’s efforts to publish digital-first books, apps, enhanced eBooks and eSpecials (digital essays and short stories). Molly is President of new publishing venture Book Country that features an online community where fiction writers can refine their work, as well as a self-publishing platform for print books and ebooks. She previously held editorial and marketing roles at Viking Books and Oxford University Press.

Jimmie Briggs is a journalist, educator, and social entrepreneur who has used vital connections and unwavering resolve to address some of the most pervasive social ills and global injustices over the past two decades. Following an award-winning journalistic career and the publication of a seminal book on war-affected children and child soldiers entitled Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War, he founded the initiative known as the “Man Up Campaign.” Launched in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the “Man Up Campaign” has since mobilized young people in 25 countries to stop violence against the women and girls in their communities.  Briggs was selected as GQ Magazine’s “Better Men, Better World” winner in 2010, is a Women’s eNews Leader for the 21st Century, and most recently was awarded a Medal of Distinction from Barnard College. His next book project, Blood Work, is a personal memoir and exploration of manhood in the 21st century. Briggs is a featured visionary in Hearts on Fire.

Uzoamaka Maduka is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The American Reader.  Ms. Maduka is the former online managing editor of Interview Magazine. She has also held positions with Verso, the London based publishing house and affiliate of The New Left Review, Slate, and All Day Everyday, a boutique creative agency. At the latter, she worked closely with the former digital director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. As an independent brand analyst and consultant, Ms. Maduka has worked with Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy, among others. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she earned a BA in Religion and a certificate in Visual Arts.

John McElwee is the Fiction Coordinator of The New Yorker, and a former literary agent for the London and New York based Aitken Alexander Associates. He is the nonfiction curator for the KGB reading series and sits on the nonfiction committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival. His work has appeared in the Oxford American magazine.

Noah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Narratively, an online magazine devoted to original, in-depth and untold stories, that was named one of TIME’s “50 Best Websites of 2013.” Previously, Rosenberg was a full-time freelancer for The New York Times in print, photography, and video, and he has also worked for CBS News’ documentary production unit; reported on-camera for Channel One News; served as The Wall Street Journal’s video correspondent and a writer/photographer from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; and was Digital Director for The Queens Courier newspaper group, where he pioneered the company’s use of video and multimedia and was founding editor-in-chief of L.I.C. Courier Magazine. Rosenberg’s work has also been featured by GQ, Salon and New York magazine, among other outlets, and he has worked on projects for Univision Interactive Media. Rosenberg was a 2012 fellow at the City University of New York’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.

Charles Barber, conference organizer, was educated at Harvard and Columbia and worked for ten years in New York City shelters for the homeless mentally ill. The title essay in his first book, SONGS FROM THE BLACK CHAIR, won a 2006 Pushcart Prize. His second book COMFORTABLY NUMB: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation, was released in 2008 to national media attention, including appearances on The Early Show and Fresh Air. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Nation and Scientific American Mind. He is currently a Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University, Director of The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice, and a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. He lives in Connecticut with his family and is completing a novel about a depressed detective.