Speakers

Stay tuned for more details about our 2019 speakers

Meet our featured speakers for 2019

Laura Beil Laura Beil
Laura Beil is a freelance health and science writer whose work appears in the New York Times, Men’s Health, Science News, Texas Monthly, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest and other magazines. She was also writer-reporter for the “Thugs” episode of This American Life in 2011. She was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2015, and has received top reporting awards from Association of Health Care Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In 2018, she received the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting.

Most recently, Beil was the author of the popular "Dr. Death" podcast on Wondery. During the first four months of its release, Dr. Death was downloaded more than 25 million times.
Bensinger Ken Bensinger
Ken Bensinger has been a journalist for more than twenty years. He has worked at The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and, since 2014, for BuzzFeed News, as a member of its investigations team, and has written about sports, labor, art, automobiles, and politics, among other topics. He has been a winner of the ASME National Magazine award and the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Finance & Business Reporting, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting. He grew up in Seattle, graduated from Duke University, and lives with his wife, two children, and dog, in Los Angeles. Red Card is his first book.
Susan Berfield Susan Berfield
Susan Berfield is an investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine and Bloomberg News. She’s investigated the biggest and most complex recall in U.S. history, looking at what Takata knew about its deadly, exploding airbags and when the company knew it. She revealed Johnson & Johnson’s decades-long cover up of the potential dangers of baby powder and, using confidential documents, exposed how Walmart spied on its workers. Her writing has won numerous awards and been included in several collections of the year’s best business writing. She’s collaborated with WNYC on a series about the secretive family behind the country’s biggest mall and was featured in an episode about the country’s biggest food fraud for the Netflix series, “Rotten.”

Her first book, “The Hour of Fate: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt, JP Morgan, and the Battle for America’s Future,” will be published in May 2020.
Taylor Branch Taylor Branch - Saturday Keynote
Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand. Some reviewers have compared the King-era trilogy, which required more than twenty-four years of intensive research, with epic histories such as Shelby Foote’s The Civil War and Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson. Branch returned to civil rights history in his latest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013). It presents eighteen key episodes across the full span of the era, selected and knitted together in language from the trilogy, with new introductions for each of the chapters. The result is a compact, 190-page immersion for readers in this transformative period of American history.
Stella Chávez Stella Chávez
Stella Chávez is KERA’s education reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part series for The Dallas Morning News she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas.
Pamela Colloff Pamela Colloff
Pamela Colloff is a senior reporter at ProPublica and a staff writer at the NY Times Magazine. Prior to joining ProPublica and the Times in 2017, she was an executive editor and staff writer at Texas Monthly. Her work has also appeared in The New Yorker and has been anthologized in “Best American Magazine Writing,” “Best American Crime Reporting,” “Best American Non-Required Reading,” and “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” At Texas Monthly, Colloff earned a National Magazine Award in Feature Writing for her 2012 story, “The Innocent Man.” She is a six-time National Magazine Award finalist. Her 2010 story, “Innocence Lost” — about a wrongly convicted death row inmate named Anthony Graves — was credited with helping Graves win his freedom after 18 years behind bars. One month after its publication, all charges against Graves were dropped and he was released from jail, where he had been awaiting retrial.
Ben Fountain Ben Fountain
Ben Fountain was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in the tobacco country of eastern North Carolina. A former practicing attorney, he is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Billy Lynn was adapted into a feature film directed by three-time Oscar winner Ang Lee, and his work has been translated into over twenty languages. His series of essays published in The Guardian on the 2016 U.S. presidential election was subsequently nominated by the editors of The Guardian for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife of 32 years, Sharon Fountain.
Dan Goodgame Dan Goodgame
Dan Goodgame is editor in chief of Texas Monthly magazine. He oversees the three dozen writers, editors, and designers who produce the award-winning magazine, its website, live events, video stories, and podcasts. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and best-selling author, Goodgame has interviewed and profiled leaders in every field, including six U.S. presidents, Saddam Hussein, Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch, Colin Powell, and Tiger Woods. Goodgame joined Texas Monthly in early 2019, after serving as a vice-president at Rackspace, a cloud computing company based in San Antonio.

Before joining Rackspace, Goodgame served as editor in chief of Fortune Small Business magazine and FSB.com, whose subscribers were more than a million owners and partners of small and mid-sized companies. He earlier worked for TIME magazine as White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief, and assistant managing editor. He is co-author of the book “Marching in Place,” about the first President Bush. Goodgame previously worked for the Miami Herald, including as a correspondent in the Middle East and Europe, covering the Israel-Lebanon, Iran-Iraq, and Falklands wars.

A native of Pascagoula, Miss., Goodgame earned a B.A. at Ole Miss and an M.Phil. in international relations at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes scholar. He serves on the boards of the Texas Book Festival and Texas Public Radio.
Nikole Hannah-Jones Nikole Hannah-Jones - Friday Keynote
Nikole Hannah-Jones was named a MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow (one of only 24 people chosen, globally) for “reshaping national conversations around education reform” and for her reporting on racial re-segregation in our schools. This is the latest honor in a growing list: she’s won a Peabody, a Polk, and a National Magazine Award for her story on choosing a school for her daughter in a segregated city.

Nikole Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created—and maintains—racial segregation in housing and schools. Her deeply personal reports on the black experience in America offer a compelling case for greater equity. She has written extensively on the history of racism, school resegregation, and the disarray of hundreds of desegregation orders, as well as the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. She is currently writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With, to be published on the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House.

Her piece “Worlds Apart” in The New York Times Magazine won the National Magazine Award for “journalism that illuminates issues of national importance” as well as the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism. In 2016, she was awarded a Peabody Award and George Polk Award for radio reporting for her This American Life story, “The Problem We All Live With.” She was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, and was also named to The Root 100. Her reporting has also won Deadline Club Awards, Online Journalism Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, the Emerson College President’s Award for Civic Leadership, and was a previous finalist for the National Magazine Award.

Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting with the goal of increasing the number of reporters and editors of color. She holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her BA in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame. For the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, she investigated social changes under Raul Castro and the impact of universal healthcare on Cuba’s educational system. She was also selected by the University of Pennsylvania to report on the impact of the Watts Riots for a study marking the 40th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report, 2007. Along with The New York Times, her reporting has been featured in ProPublica, The Atlantic Magazine, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, The Week Magazine, Grist, Politico Magazine, and on Face the Nation, This American Life, NPR, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Democracy Now, and radio stations across the country.
Brantley Hargrove Brantley Hargrove
Brantley Hargrove is a journalist and author of The Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras, one of Amazon's Best Science Books of the Year and one of The Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Reads of 2018. Writing for magazines like Wired, Popular Mechanics, and Texas Monthly, he has explored the world of South American jewel thieves who terrorize diamond dealers in South Florida. He's gone inside the effort to reverse-engineer supertornadoes using supercomputers. And he has chased everything from Great Plains tornadoes to landfalling Category 4 hurricanes on the Texas coast. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Renee, and their two cats.
Skip Hollandsworth Skip Hollandsworth
Before joining the Texas Monthly staff in 1989, executive editor Skip Hollandsworth worked as a reporter and columnist in Dallas and as a television producer and documentary filmmaker. During
his tenure with the magazine, he has received several journalism awards, including a National Headliners Award, the national John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism, the City and Regional Magazine gold award for feature writing, and the Texas Institute of Letters O. Henry Award for magazine writing.
Patrick Hruby Patrick Hruby
Patrick Hruby is a writer, editor, and journalist. A fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and a former Georgetown University adjunct professor, he has worked for The Washington Times, VICE, and ESPN and his articles have been published in The Atlantic, The Best American Sports Writing anthology, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, and elsewhere. Patrick lives in Washington, D.C. with his lovely wife, Saphira, and the world’s greatest golden retriever.
Tom Huang Tom Huang
Tom Huang is Assistant Managing Editor for Journalism Initiatives at The Dallas Morning News and adjunct faculty member of The Poynter Institute. At The News, he is leading an effort to develop funding for local news and community engagement projects. In 2013, he was a Sulzberger fellow at Columbia University, where he studied executive leadership and journalism innovation. For the past 17 years, he has organized and taught Poynter seminars on reporting, writing, editing, ethics, diversity and leadership. He has worked at The News since 1993 as a reporter, features editor, Sunday & Enterprise editor and Assistant Managing Editor for Features. He is a former president of the Society for Features Journalism and served on the governing board of the Asian American Journalists Association. He has successfully launched two Knight Foundation-funded projects – the Hispanic Families Network and Storytellers Without Borders, and is co-organizer of the Dallas Festival of Books and Ideas. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and engineering.
Walter Kirn Walter Kirn
Walter Kirn, American novelist, literary critic and essayist. Author of eight books, most notably “Up in the Air,” which was made into a film of the same name starring George Clooney.
Michael Lindenberger Michael Lindenberger
Michael Lindenberger is deputy opinion editor at The Houston Chronicle and writes editorials, columns, and blog posts. He is also a contributor to TIME.com and The New Republic.

Lindenberger was nominated by Dallas Morning News editors for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. He also won the Philbin Award for legal writing from the Dallas Bar Association and was the 2011 Dallas Morning News PICA Writer of the Year.

Lindenberger is also a former Washington correspondent for business, and spent 12 of the past 17 years as a journalist at The Dallas Morning News. He is also a 2012-13 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.
Randy Loftis Randy Loftis
Randy Loftis is an award-winning journalist who worked more than 30 years as an environmental and investigative reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The Miami Herald. He has worked as an adjunct professor at UNT for about a decade and taught a variety of classes ranging from Introduction to Media Writing to Science & Environmental Reporting. He has done freelance work for the online journal Texas Climate News, The New York Times and the National Geographic.

Randy earned his master’s degree in journalism from UNT, and his thesis was titled “Environmental journalism curriculum as an imperative of democracy: A philosophical exploration.” Randy is active in the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Investigative Reporters & Editors.

He has earned dozens of awards ranging from the Worth Bingham Prize for investigative reporting from Harvard University to a public service award from the Texas APME. His work also has earned him fellowships in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Spain.
Beth Macy Beth Macy
Journalist Beth Macy is the author of three New York Times-bestselling nonfiction books. She writes about outsiders and underdogs. Her 2014 J. Anthony Lukas Prize-winning “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town,” traced the aftereffects of globalization in America. Her 2016 book, “Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest,” was a Kirkus Prize finalist and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Both books are in development for film/television.

So is her 2018 exploration of the opioid crisis, “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America.” Her latest book—shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in nonfiction, among other honors — was an instant bestseller and was named to more than a dozen best book of the year lists. Macy has also published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and O, the Oprah magazine. Based out of Roanoke, Virginia, for three decades, Macy was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard in 2010.
Jeff Maysh Jeff Maysh
Jeff Maysh’s story about a fast food fraud became one of last year’s most talked about magazine articles. The true crime caper revealed how an ex-cop stole millions in cash and prizes from McDonald’s famous Monopoly promotion. It created a heated bidding war in Hollywood, in which Ben Affleck and Matt Damon purchased the film rights in a record-breaking deal.

The story was typical of Maysh’s oeuvre: Writing for The Atlantic, Los Angeles, Playboy, Smithsonian, and The Daily Beast, he investigates bizarre crimes and unlikely criminals: He has profiled female bank robbers, fake cheerleaders, murderous pornographers, and an Aretha Franklin imposter.

His longform writing has been included in The Atlantic’s “100 Exceptional Works of Journalism,” “Best American Sports Writing 2017,” and on Longform.org’s annual list of ‘Most Read’ stories. He has won five times at the Southern California Journalism Awards, including “Best Crime Reporting” – twice. He is 36, and lives in the canyons above Los Angeles.
Ben Montgomery Ben Montgomery
Ben Montgomery is the author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller Grandma Gatewood's Walk, which won the 2014 National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography. He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2010.
Sonia Nazario Sonia Nazario
Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers. As Isabel Allende writes: “This is a twenty-first-century Odyssey. If you are going to read only one nonfiction book this year, it has to be this one.” Now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview and more, this is a classic of contemporary America.
Naveena Sadasivam Naveena Sadasivam
Naveena Sadasivam is a staff writer covering the environment, energy and climate change at Grist. She previously covered environmental issues at the Texas Observer, InsideClimate News and ProPublica. At ProPublica, she was part of a team that reported on the water woes of the West, a project that was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting. She has a degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in environmental and science reporting from New York University and was a 2017 Ida B. Wells fellow at Type Investigations. You can contact her at nsadasivam@grist.org and follow her work on Twitter @NaveenaSivam.
Albert Samaha Albert Samaha
Albert Samaha is an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News, a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and author of Never Ran, Never Will: Boyhood and Football in a Changing American Inner City, which was a finalist for the 2019 PEN/ESPN Literary Sports Writing Award and winner of the New York Society Library’s 2019 Hornblower Award. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Best American Travel Writing, and the Pop-Up Magazine live storytelling tour, and he was a recipient of the Emerging Writer Award at the 2014 Mayborn Literary Non-Fiction Conference.
Margot Lee Shetterly Margot Lee Shetterly - Saturday Featured Speaker
She is author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow/HarperCollins) that became an Oscar-nominated movie. She is also the founder of The Human Computer Project, an endeavor that is recovering the names and accomplishments of all of the women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists and engineers at the NACA and NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s.
Hampton Sides Hampton Sides - Sunday Keynote
Hampton Sides is best-known for his gripping non-fiction adventure stories set in war or depicting epic expeditions of discovery and exploration. He is an acclaimed journalist and the author of the bestselling histories Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail, In the Kingdom of Ice, and, most recently, On Desperate Ground.
Julia Flynn Siler Julia Flynn Siler
Julia Flynn Siler is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist. Her most recent book is The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown (Knopf, May 2019) which the San Francisco Chronicle called "meticulously researched and inspiring..." Her other books are Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. Her first book, The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, was a finalist for a James Beard Award and a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished reporting. A veteran journalist, Siler is a longtime contributor and former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and has been a guest commentator on the BBC, CNBC, and CNN. She lives in Northern California with her husband and their two sons.
W.K. “Kip” Stratton W.K. “Kip” Stratton
William Kip Stratton – friends call him by his middle name – is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of “The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film” and eight other books. He was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, but has lived much of his life in Texas. Both his mother’s and father’s families had deep roots in the West.

His mother’s family homesteaded outside Guthrie during the Great Land Run of 1889. His father was a rodeo cowboy from Denver’s skid row as well as a runaway dad. He became the subject of Stratton’s book, “Chasing the Rodeo.”