Meet our speakers for 2021


Anna Badkhen Anna Badkhen
Anna Badkhen is the author of six published books. Her seventh book, Bright Unbearable Reality, comes out in October 2022. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship, and the Joel R. Seldin Award from Psychologists for Social Responsibility for writing about civilians in war zones. Her short work appears in periodicals and literary magazines such as the New York Review of Books, Granta, The Common, Scalawag, the Paris Review, and the New York Times. Badkhen is a consulting editor at Mānoa and a contributing editor at Nautilus.
Olivia Carville Olivia Carville
Olivia Carville is a reporter on Bloomberg's investigations team. She is based in New York City. Previously, Carville worked on the investigation teams at the Toronto Star and the New Zealand Herald. She has won multiple national reporting awards in New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. Carville has a master's degree in financial journalism from Columbia University and serves on the board of the New York Financial Writers' Association.
Stella Chavez Stella Chávez
Stella M. Chávez is the Immigration and Demographics Reporter at KERA, the NPR member station in Dallas. In 2019, she broke a national story about a large-scale immigration raid on a technology repair company in Allen, Texas. She’s contributed to coverage of the Uvalde school shooting and the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart. She’s also written and produced several multi-part projects, including Generation One about immigrant students in North Texas and The Race to Save Failing Schools about schools trying to meet state academic standards.
Prior to joining public radio, Stella spent nearly 13 years as a daily newspaper reporter for The Dallas Morning News, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. 
She’s won several national and state accolades, including a 2021 Investigative Reporters & Editors award for an audio and digital series collaboratively reported called Hot Days about heat’s mounting death toll and the 2007 Livingston Award for Young Journalists in National Reporting, which honors outstanding reporting by journalists under the age of 35. The award-winning entry was “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part series that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. 
In 2012, Stella’s essay, “Growing up with Silvia,” was published in the literary journal Ten Spurs. In her spare time, Stella enjoys running, hiking, visiting museums and bookstores, and writing about her experience as a caregiver. You can find her personal essays on her blog, “My Parents’ Keeper.”  She’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Zac Crain Zac Crain
Zac Crain is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has appeared in Spin, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and various other national publications. He is the author of Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (Da Capo, 2009), which has been translated into five languages and published around the world, and, most recently, I See You Big German: Dirk Nowitzki and What He Means to Dallas (and Me) (La Reunion, 2021). He also published a collection of his photographs in 2020, A Pedestrian’s Recent History of Dallas (Deep Vellum).
Hannah Dellinger Hannah Dellinger
Hannah Dellinger is a K-12 education reporter for the Houston Chronicle, covering more than 30 school districts in the region. She recently completed an analysis and database of more than 2,000 book reviews, challenges and bans in Texas public schools as an Education Writers Association reporting fellow. In 2020, Hannah received an Investigative Reporters and Editors award for an investigation of childhood sexual abuse tied to Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliates that she published as a Hearst journalism fellow in Connecticut. She spends her free time hiking, camping and traveling with her German Shepherd.
Esmé Deprez Esmé Deprez
Esmé E. Deprez is a California-based senior reporter on the Investigations team at Bloomberg News, specializing in long-form deep-dives into government policy, politics, economics and social issues for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Previously, Esmé was a breaking news and features correspondent for Bloomberg's National Desk and based in New York. Her reported essay on the life and medically assisted death of her father was a finalist for the 2022 National Magazine Awards, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Livingston Awards for her story about the legislative assault on the business of abortion. She joined Bloomberg in 2009 and has since reported from 35 U.S. states and four foreign countries. She has an MS in Journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a BA in English from Boston College and was born and raised in Maine.
Ayala Eve-Marie Eve-Marie Ayala
Eva-Marie Ayala is the Education Lab editor for The Dallas Morning News, where she oversees coverage of how state and local policies impact students, what schools are doing to address inequities in classrooms, and how educators are addressing the great needs brought on by the pandemic. She is a veteran journalist who previously reported for her hometown paper the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Eva-Marie is vice president of journalists for the Education Writers Association, a national organization dedicated toward improving education coverage to better inform the public. As a member of the Dallas area chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, she has served as a vice president and scholarship chair, working to boost diversity in newsrooms and coverage. Eva is a data nerd, clumsy ukulele player and slow cyclist.
Sanderia Faye Sanderia Faye
Dr. Sanderia Faye (Smith) is an Assistant Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Dallas Literary Festival at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She is also a professional speaker, activist and sommelier, where she pairs wine with books. Her novel, Mourner’s Bench, a coming of age story set in the Arkansas Delta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, is the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit for fiction, and Arkansas Library Association, Arkansiana Award. She is the co-leader of Pen America/DFW, co-founder of Kimbilio Center for Fiction and the founder of LitNight Reading Series. She also serves on the faculty at the Antioch University MFA Low Residency Program, and on the board of Deep Vellum Publishing.
Faye’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times, Southwest Review, Rain Taxi, Nat Brut, the Collagist and other literary journals. She received “Best Of” honors at the 2011 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference, Co –Directors Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson, where her winning story was published in SABAL Literary Journal.
She published in the anthology Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas, and moderated the grassroots panel for the Arkansas Civil Rights Symposium during the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary. She coordinated the first AWP African Diaspora Caucus, and has moderated and severed on several panels.
In conjunction with resurrecting and directing the Dallas Literary Festival, a series of events featuring celebrated authors from throughout the US and internationally, she was recently named by D magazine as one of the 78 women who make Dallas, Texas great. She received grants and scholarships offers from Hurston/Wright Writers Conference, Eckerd College Writers’ in Paradise Conference, Callaloo Writers Workshop, and Vermont Writers Studio. She attended The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency. 
She holds a PhD in English from the University of North Texas where she was nominated for the University of North Texas Wingspan Presidential Award For Excellence, an MFA from Arizona State University, an MA from the University of Texas at Dallas, a BS in Accounting from the University of Arkansas.
Sanderia lives in Dallas, Texas where she is at work on her new novel Eleven about the Arkansas Correctional Facility. 
Elizabeth Findell Elizabeth Findell
Elizabeth Findell is a Texas-based national correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She spends most of her time in her car across the Lone Star State, covering its politics, border issues, local communities and personalities, as well as hurricanes, shootings and other breaking news. Elizabeth previously covered local government for the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and, in the Rio Grande Valley, for the Monitor. She is a native of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and a graduate of Colorado College.
Amber Gaudet Amber Gaudet
Amber Gaudet is an award-winning community journalist who covers business and housing as well consumer news and local retail trends. As a versatile storyteller and early-career journalist, I’m always seeking opportunities to elevate my reporting in a newsroom that values thoughtful, community-centered reporting and accountability on any beat.
Marisa Gerber Marisa Gerber
Marisa Gerber is a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times who focuses on narrative storytelling. She previously covered L.A. County’s criminal courts for the Times and, before joining the newspaper in 2012, wrote about life on the border for several publications in Arizona. She was part of a team of Times reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News following the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Gerber grew up in Nogales, Ariz., and graduated from the University of Arizona.
Michael Grandberry Michael Granberry
Michael Granberry was born and grew up in Dallas. He graduated from Samuell High School in Pleasant Grove in 1970 and from Southern Methodist University in 1974. Between his junior and senior years, he interned at The Washington Post during "the Watergate summer" of 1973. He spent 19 years at the Los Angeles Times before returning to Dallas.
Katrice Hardy Katrice Hardy
Katrice Hardy is the Executive Editor of The Dallas Morning News. Before that, she was the executive editor of the IndyStar and Midwest Regional Editor for USA Today Network.  Katrice joined USA Today Network in 2016, where she started as the top editor of the Greenville News and then took on responsibilities as South Regional editor for the Network, overseeing news organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia. Previously, Katrice worked at the Virginian-Pilot for 20 years where she started as an intern and left as the managing editor. Katrice is a board member of the News Leaders Association and the chair of its diversity committee. 
She's also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, where she is a former president of the Hampton Roads, Virginia chapter of that organization. She is also a former executive board member for the South Carolina Press Association. Katrice's newsrooms have won many top honors including a Pulitzer Prize in national reporting while she led the IndyStar and an IRE Top medal for investigative journalism. 
She believes strongly that a news organization’s role is to shine light on the wonderful people and organizations that are making a difference in our local communities as well as it is to uncover the problems, ills, misuses and abuses to help bring about positive change. 
Ali Kominsky Ali Kominsky
Ali Kominsky is a literary agent who loves to help authors develop their book ideas, guiding them through the publishing process, and finding them through the publishing process, and finding them the perfect publishing partner. A West Virginia native and graduate of Vanderbilt University, Ali worked for two Nashville authors learning about the publishing industry from the author’s perspective fore moving into the world of agenting. Her interests include literary fiction, poetry, social justice, environmental activism, fashion, cultural histories, design, multimedia form storytelling, and art. Her favorite pastimes are to read, run, hike, go to yoga, and take her Scotties on walks. 
Brittny Mejia Brittny Mejia
Brittny Mejia is a Metro reporter who joined the Los Angeles Times in 2014. She writes narrative pieces with a strong emphasis on the Latino community and others that make up the diversity of L.A. and California. Mejia was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2021 in local reporting for her investigation with colleague Jack Dolan that exposed failures in Los Angeles County’s safety-net healthcare system that resulted in months-long wait times for patients, including some who died before getting appointments with specialists.
Nancy Preyor-Johnson Nancy Preyor-Johnson
Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson is an award-winning journalist and former teacher. For eight years, she worked as a teacher in San Antonio. Before that, she worked as a news reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and other small-town newspapers. In 2021, her first year back in journalism and her debut as an opinion writer, she was awarded third place Texas APME Star Opinion Writer of the Year.  She also won third place for Best in the West General Interest Column Writing, for which a judge wrote:  “She writes with rare authority born of thoughtful understanding. It is an outstanding body of work.”
Tom Reale Tom Reale
A veteran of the publishing industry, Tom Reale has helped to significantly grow Brown Books since his arrival at the Texas-based publisher in 2014. During his tenure, Publishers Weekly has named BBPG a Top-5 Fast-Growing Independent Publisher three times. Following his highly effective leadership as COO, Tom was promoted to the role of President in 2018. Tom has previously served in various capacities at Random House, HarperCollins, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, among others. He led the pre-merger change initiative Custom Advantage at Harcourt Education, as well as the project management office for product development after Harcourt's merger with Houghton Mifflin.
Cassidy Sachs Cassidy Sachs
Cassidy Sachs is an editor at Dutton and Plume, imprints of Penguin Random House. She publishes empowering and disruptive voices across fiction, narrative nonfiction, and pop-culture. A Louisville, Kentucky native, she lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé. 
Charlie Scudder Charlie Scudder
Charlie Scudder is a freelance writer and editor in Arlington, Texas. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Dallas Morning News, Texas Monthly, SAVEUR magazine, Garden & Gun magazine, the Tampa Bay Times and others. He’s the author of a forthcoming book about the case of a Dallas-area serial killer based on reporting that won an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Michael Brick Storytelling Award. He’s a graduate of Indiana University and Southern Methodist University, and is an adjunct professor in journalism at UNT and SMU. He is also a homebrewer, certified beer judge, and copywriter for North Texas craft breweries. 
Dianne Solis Dianne Solis
Dianne Solis is an award-winning senior writer at the Dallas Morning News and a former foreign correspondent in Mexico for the Wall Street Journal. She specializes in immigration and social justice reporting. Her reporting has looked at immigrant family separations at the border, harsh refugee policies that split Muslim families and the aftermath of racist redlining in Dallas neighborhoods that turned victims into victors. She was in Piedras Negras, reporting an immigration story, when horror unreeled in Uvalde, Texas, an hour north. 
Ernie Suggs Ernie Suggs
Ernie Suggs is a journalist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes about race and culture. He also writes about the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter. He oversees AJC Sepia, the newspaper's Black news curation site and the Unapologetically ATL newsletter. He has been a reporter at the AJC since 1997. He is a veteran of nearly 30 years as a newspaper reporter, he previously reported for newspapers in New York City and Durham, covering stories ranging from politics to civil rights to higher education. Since 2016, he has managed the AJC’s award-winning Black History Month project through AJC Sepia, the paper’s Black news curation site. A 1990 graduate of North Carolina Central University, with a degree in English Literature, Suggs was also a 2009 Harvard University Nieman Fellow. He is currently on the Nieman Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the former national vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Rocky Mount, N.C., his obsession for Prince, Spike Lee movies, Hamilton and the New York Yankees is unmatched.
Mallary Tenore Mallary Tenore
Mallary Tenore is a lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism and Media, where she teaches writing and reporting courses for journalism and public relations students. She's also the Associate Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at UT, where she oversees the Center's staff, programmatic work, events, fundraising, and more. 
Previously, Mallary was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh), a media nonprofit, where she created a reporting fellowship and oversaw event management, partnerships, fundraising, and the organization’s website and social media presence. Prior to ivoh, Mallary was Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s world-renowned media news site,, where she edited and reported stories about the media industry. She also taught in Poynter seminars geared toward helping journalists improve their writing and reporting skills. She remains an adjunct faculty member for The Poynter Institute and has led writing trainings for journalists around the world. 
In 2013, Mallary was named one of the top 50 female innovators in digital journalism. In 2012, she was featured on a list of the top 100 Twitter accounts every journalism student should follow and was named a Mirror Award finalist for outstanding media reporting. Mallary's articles and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Tampa Bay Times, and more. She's currently writing a memoir about eating disorder recovery and enjoys teaching the craft of personal essay and memoir writing.
Mallary holds bachelor's degrees in English and Spanish from Providence College, as well as a master's of fine arts in nonfiction writing from Goucher College. She lives outside of Austin with her husband and two young children.
Ruben Vives Ruben Vives
Ruben Vives is a general assignment reporter for the Los Angeles Times. A native of Guatemala, he got his start in journalism by writing for The Times’ Homicide Report in 2007. He helped uncover the financial corruption in the city of Bell that led to criminal charges against eight city officials. The 2010 investigative series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service and other prestigious awards.
Joe Warner Joe Warner
Joe Warner has been a journalist for more than 30 years. He has been a writer and editor, managing editor and general manager for dozens of weekly and daily newspapers, mostly in Metro Detroit.
Since 2016, he has worked for Community Impact, a Texas-based, family owned group of 35 monthly publications that provide hyperlocal coverage with free, mailed distribution to 2.7 million homes in the Austin, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio metros.
As executive editor, Warner teams with more than 75 writers, editors and managing editors across Texas to provide local news that has an impact on readers and advertisers.
Warner served nine years on the board of the Michigan Press Association—including a year as president—and continues to do volunteer work and serve on boards in areas covered by Community Impact.
Leah Waters Leah Waters
Leah Waters is the equity reporter and former multiplatform editor for The Dallas Morning News. She reports on North Texas’ equity crisis from a human-centered perspective that takes into account the historical contexts, structural barriers and public policy that have contributed to its growth. Topics: Housing, Homelessness, Public Policy, Growth
Elizabeth Williamson Elizabeth Williamson
Elizabeth Williamson is a feature writer in the Washington bureau, and a former member of the New York Times editorial board. She has worked at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, and spent a decade as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Europe. She is the author of “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth,” published by Dutton.
Before joining The Times in 2015, Ms. Williamson was a reporter in the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau. She wrote features about national politics and the culture of Washington, and covered the White House during President Obama's first term.
Before joining Wall Street Journal in 2008, Ms. Williamson worked for the Washington Post from 2003. She has covered the federal government and Congress, lobbying, federal government contracting and the reverberations of Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq.
Ms. Williamson began her journalism career as a foreign correspondent in 1994, and for a decade reported from the Balkans, Russia, the Baltic nations and broader Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune and other outlets. In 2000 she became the Wall Street Journal's Warsaw bureau chief, covering Poland and surrounding countries.
Ms. Williamson was born in Chicago and resides in Washington with her family.
Jane Wolfe Jane Wolfe
Jane Wolfe is the author of two previous biographies, THE MURCHISONS: The Rise and Fall of a Texas Dynasty (St. Martin’s Press, New York) and BLOOD RICH: When Oil Billions, High Fashion, and Royal Intimacies Are Not Enough (Little, Brown & Co., New York), and Royal Intimacies Are Not Enough (Little, Brown & Co,. New York). She is also a freelance writer for several publications, including the New York Times and Town & Country magazine. Although she lived in Dallas from 1980 until 2019, she now resides in the city where she was born, Columbus, Ohio, and where her family for many years owned The Columbus Dispatch.
Andrew Young Andrew Young
Andrew J. Young has earned worldwide recognition as a pioneer in and champion of civil and human rights. Ambassador Young’s lifelong dedication to service is illustrated by his extensive leadership experience of over sixty-five years, serving as a member of Congress, African American U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Mayor of Atlanta, and ordained minister, among other positions. 
During the 1960s, Young was a key strategist and negotiator during civil rights campaigns that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Appointed as an Ambassador to the United Nations in 1977, Young negotiated an end to white-minority rule in Namibia and Zimbabwe and brought President Carter's emphasis on human rights to international diplomacy efforts. As two-term Mayor of Atlanta, Young brought in over 1,100 businesses, over 70 billion in foreign direct investments and generated over a million jobs.
Ambassador Young has received honorary degrees from more than 100 universities and colleges in the U.S. and abroad and has received various awards, including an Emmy Lifetime Achievement award in 2011 and the Dan Sweat Award in 2017.  His portrait also became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Ambassador Young also serves on a number of boards, including, but not limited to, the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Morehouse College, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State and Americas Mart. In 2003, he and his wife Carolyn McClain Young founded the Andrew J. Young Foundation to support and promote education, health, leadership and human rights in the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean.  Young currently serves as the Chairman of the Andrew J. Young Foundation.
In 2012, Young retired from GoodWorks International, LLC, after well over a decade of facilitating sustainable economic development in the business sectors of the Caribbean and Africa. Young was born in 1932 in New Orleans, and he currently lives in Atlanta with his wife, Carolyn McClain. He is also a father of three daughters and one son, a grandfather of nine and a great grandfather of one.
Bill Zeeble Bill Zeeble
Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues. 
He’s won numerous awards over the years, with top honors from the Dallas Press Club, Texas Medical Association, the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations, the American Diabetes Association and a national health reporting grant from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 
Zeeble was born in Philadelphia, Pa. and grew up in the nearby suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ, where he became an accomplished timpanist and drummer. Heading to college near Chicago on a scholarship, he fell in love with public radio, working at the college classical/NPR station, and he has pursued public radio ever since. 
His first real radio gig was with a classical station in Corpus Christi, where the new Texan was dubbed “Billy Ted”; he was also a manager at WNO-FM in New Orleans.
Several stories he covered on television for KERA 13 helped homeowners avoid losing their homes.