Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Bio: Joanne 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, along with stories and essays in collections and anthologies, including Short Stories of the Civil Rights Movement and Remembering Arthur Miller. Her nonfiction book PEN Journeys: Memoir of Literature on the Line was recently published, and she is senior editor for The Journey of Liu Xiaobo: From Dark Horse to Nobel Laureate. Former International Secretary of PEN International, she is a Vice President emeritus of PEN International and former Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. She is past President of PEN Center USA West and has served on the board and as Vice President of PEN American Center and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She also serves on the boards of the American Writers Museum, Words Without Borders, the International Center for Journalists, and Refugees International and is an emeritus board member of Poets and Writers and Human Rights Watch, where she served as chair of the Asia Advisory Committee and is a former board member of the International Crisis Group, and Save the Children. She is also an emeritus trustee of Brown University and Johns Hopkins University. A former award-winning reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Leedom-Ackerman has taught writing at New York University, City University of New York, Occidental College and in the Writers’ Program at the University of California at Los Angeles extension. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Texas Institute of Letters and is a member of American and English PEN.

Events: Azar Nafisi and Joanne Leedom-Ackerman with Matthew Davis


María Teresa León

Bio: María Teresa León was born in Madrid (Spain). There they acquired the interest in art and literature by spending the Sundays of his childhood in tireless visits to the Prado Museum and the National Library. They studied Teaching, English Philology and Literature, in Spain and the United States, and later completed a master's degree in Literature and English, also in the United States. María Teresa has traveled and lived in many countries while teaching writing and literature classes at the university level. These experiences grant the author a totally diverse and culturally enriched creative point of view. Currently, they teach English writing and rhetoric at Northern Virginia University in the United States.

Events: Literatura española


Christopher Leonard

Bio: Christopher Leonard is a business reporter whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the author of The Lords of Easy Money, The Meat Racket and Kochland, which won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

Events: Kochland: A Conversation


Judy Leserman

Bio: Judy Leserman is a candidate in Poetry Writing and holds a BA from Yeshiva University and an MA from CUNY Lehman College. Currently, she works as an editorial intern for Poetry Daily and as a speech therapist for children with hearing loss using listening and spoken language. As a 2023 Cheuse Fellow Leserman traveled to Antananarivo, Madagascar and surrounding areas to investigate the history and culture of a small community in Madagascar's capital that converted to Judaism despite linguistic, cultural, and geographic barriers. In her writing, she explores topics of identity, otherness, and the joy this community has expressed in their found identity and lifestyle. She is grateful for the opportunity to spend time with this gracious community, document their personal accounts, and share her experiences with them through poetry.  

Events: Into the Hothouse: Mason Exhibitions Presents A CHEUSE SALON


Alana Marie Levinson-LaBarosse

Bio: Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse is a poet, translator, and assistant professor at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). She earned her PhD in Kurdish studies at the University of Exeter, specializing in 19th-century poetry, and holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College as well as an MEd from the University of Virginia. Her writing has appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation, World Literature Today, In Other Words, Plume, Epiphany, Sewanee Review, the Iowa Review, and Words Without Borders. Her book-length works include Kajal Ahmed's Handful of Salt (2016), Abdulla Pashew's Dictionary of Midnight (2019), Nali’s My Moon Is the Only Moon (2021), and Farhad Pirbal’s The Potato Eaters (2023). She serves as the director of Kashkul and was the founding director of the Slemani UNESCO City of Literature.

Events: What Translation Sparks


Johannes Lichtman

Bio: Johannes Lichtman’s debut novel, Such Good Work, was chosen as a 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation. His second novel, Calling Ukraine, will be published in April 2023. His work has appeared in Tin House, The Sun, Travel + Leisure, Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American, and elsewhere. The New York Times has called Lichtman a “remarkable thinker,” and novelist and critic, Garth Greenwell notes, "Johannes Lichtman’s great subject is morally compromised idealism, and he brings to it an electric intelligence and an allergy to ready-made judgements.” He lives in Washington, DC, and is currently the Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at The George Washington University.

Events: Novelist Johannes Lichtman in Conversation with Lisa Page


Jacki Lyden

Bio: Jacki Lyden regards herself first and foremost as a writer and looks for the distinctive human voice everywhere: in decades of making radio pieces, live public interviews, podcasts and print. She is the founder of the writing workshops   “Love Comes in at the Eye”  (Ireland) and  the “Colton House Writers Retreat” . (Arizona). She is the author of the national bestseller,  Daughter of the Queen of Sheba,  which the New York Times called “a memoir classic," adapted for film and stage. Her journalism has taken her to dozens of countries including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Northern Ireland. She won The Gracie Award for Best Foreign Documentary (Loss and Its Aftermath: Palestinian and Israeli Children, 2001, NPR) and also, with NPR teams, the DuPont-Columbia, the Polk, and George Foster Peabody Awards for coverage of the First Gulf War, Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War.  She also covered America:  The Florida Highwaymen, The Rust Belt, American farms, prisons, and other topics.

Events: Ten Years After The Arab Spring Talk