Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2019
Leslie Adams is a past-president of the former Seattle Chapter. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Environment and Design and is retired from her retail career as a buyer, district and divisional manager. As an active community volunteer, Leslie has worked to support education for women and children through the Junior League of Seattle, P.E.O., PTA, Dollars for Scholars, and as president of Assistance League of the Eastside. She organized her first book group 25 years ago, and is currently a member of two thought-provoking groups.
Sonia Adams is an Educator, Literary Researcher, and Writer. Her areas of scholarship are Contemporary Global Literature, American Multicultural Literature, and English Studies Instructional Design. Sonia is currently working on a critical study of women writers of color as well as a poetry manuscript. She aspires to travel abroad and form partnerships with other writers and cultural workers.
Stephanie Braunstein recently retired as the head of Government Documents and Microforms at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Middleton Library. She continues to teach Government Information as an adjunct at LSU’s School of Library Science via their online program. Along with her Masters in Library and Information Science Degree (MLIS), she has a second Masters in English (MA) and taught Composition and Literature at the college level for several years. In addition to her professional writings in scholarly journals and monographs, she has published book reviews for the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper. In order to keep herself grounded in “writing for writing’s sake,” she is a life-long poet; and her poetry has been published in several anthologies.
Sally Brewster is the owner of the bookstore Park Road Books in Charlotte, N.C., past president of SIBA (Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance), and a former Random House sales rep. As a bookseller, she works with the 60 book groups registered at her bookstore. She is a current member and the former treasurer of the Charlotte Chapter.
Sheila Cork is the Librarian at the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA. 20 years of years of reference work and book purchasing in public libraries has made her familiar with many different styles and genres of writing. Cork belongs to the following book clubs and literary organizations: The Ladies of the Club, Slidell, LA; Les Amies Du Livre, The Greater New Orleans Area; The NOMA Book Club at the New Orleans Museum of Art (Founder and organizer), and the Jane Austen Society of North America, Louisiana. She is currently the chair of the New Orleans Chapter.
Sarah Hahn Denham is the President of the Atlanta Chapter. When she is not busy being a high school teacher, hanging out with her husband and pets, planning author events, reading as many books as she can, or setting up writers’ groups, she is working two personal projects. In 2016, Sarah’s first short story, “My Co-Pilot, Jessica Tandy,” was published in the online magazine, Storgy. She is trying to write her first novel and hopes to finish by the end of the year. Sarah is also busy with her blog, Older Than I Thought, which focuses on her life dealing with PCOS, fertility problems, and the journey to becoming a mother. She hopes that the blog helps other women facing similar obstacles and opens up more dialogue on the different fertility issues that affect 1 in 8 women. Finally, she writes Sarah By the Book, a blog about books she loves and books she has yet to read. Sarah hopes that 2019 will be a great year for writing and for WNBA- Atlanta!
Nancy Dickinson is a retired elementary school librarian whose favorite pastime has been reading, especially fiction, for longer than she can remember. She’s currently serving as Membership Chair of the Nashville Chapter and is on the Primary Grades Committee for the Volunteer State Book Award. She’s a past president of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and has also served on the board of the American Association of School Librarians. A member of three book groups, Nancy can’t wait to share these books with her friends!
Patricia D’Innocenzo is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She is semi-retired after more than thirty-five years in the investment business as an equity trader. She holds an MBA in Finance from St. Joseph’s University. She currently creates retirement plans and assembles investment reviews for clients. She is a judge for the SIFMA Foundation InvestWrite essay contest teaching school children the ins-and-outs of investing.
Joyce d’Mot resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and three children. She served as president of Atlanta Chapter. Joyce was born in the United States Virgin Islands and is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University. An avid reader and writer, Joyce recently released her first romance novel, Risking It All. Joyce writes with passion and believes that life put to words is nothing short of magic.
Eileen Donovan’s personal background is quite varied. She has worked in magazine publishing, advertising, and education. She’s also owned two pubs. Although she has lived in New York City, upstate New York, Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, her home is now back in New York. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Association. Her historical fiction, Promises, based on the plight of two children seavacuees in 1940 was released in July 2019. She is currently working on another historical novel based on the lives of three Irish-American sisters in New York City’s Gilded Age of 1906.
Lynn Henriksen is a past president of San Francisco Chapter and a member of the California Writers Club–Marin. She is the founder of “TellTale Souls,” an enterprise promoting writing memoir creatively through workshops, classes, and her award-winning guidebook, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit. As an intuitive leader, Lynn discovered a profound way to keep spirits alive after witnessing Alzheimer’s disease ravage her mother’s mind. By leading people to the writing path, she has helped hundreds capture the memories and feelings they never thought they could record.
Sally Kim, co-chair of the WNBA Pannell Award and member of the San Francisco Chapter, has been a long-time publishing professional, with experience working at Macmillan, Penguin, Chronicle Books, Callisto Media, and currently Twirl Books. She holds a special place in her heart for literary fiction, page-turning non-fiction, and modern picture books classics.
Suzanne Kleinbub is a former high school math teacher who has spent much of her life working as a professional volunteer. She has volunteered in school and public libraries and helped set up libraries at her church and Thrift Shop. She has also been an active member of several book clubs. She is a member of Los Angeles Chapter, serving as treasurer and membership co-chair. She has also worked with the Judy Lopez Memorial Award committee which gives a yearly award to a children’s book author. She writes a travel blog at kleinbubd.blogspot.com.
Kristen Knox has a Masters degree in English Literature and is a former editor and bookseller and member of many book clubs, both virtual and online. She maintains the blog BookNAround and is the owner of a Yahoo group called Readers Journal which allows readers to record what they read and discuss their reading with others. Kristen is the immediate past president of the Charlotte Chapter and the Great Group Reads Selection Committee Manager.
Susan Larson is the host of The Reading Life, a weekly show on WWNO-FM, New Orleans’ NPR affiliate; she interviews writers, readers, book artists, literary activists, anyone who loves books. From 1988-2009, she was the books editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune; now, she frequently writes about books for The New Orleans Advocate. She is the author of The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, published in two editions by LSU Press. She has served on the boards of the New Orleans Public Library and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, and chaired the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2009 and 2012. She was a founder and past president of the New Orleans Chapter.
Rita Leggett was an English teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools for 27 years and sponsored two literary magazines during a decade of her years there. Since retiring in 2002, she has tutored students on the middle and high school level, helping some prepare for the SAT and others with reading and writing issues. She enjoys participating in book clubs, especially those who read quality literature.
Carolyn Martin spent years as a volunteer parent and paid assistant in the Lake Washington School District with emphasis on reading and Explore Art programs. She now spends her time volunteering with nonprofits, such as P.E.O. and Assistance League of the Eastside, in an effort to improve conditions for women and children. She is a member of the San Francisco Chapter and is in two reading groups.
Sue McDanel, a network member of WNBA, is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where she majored in English. After teaching high school English, she returned to the University of North Texas as a teaching fellow in the English Masters Degree program. A life-long reader, she shares books and discussions about books with a circle of friends and family. She retired after 15 years as an administrative assistant at an Episcopal church.
Pamela Milam is a member of the New York City Chapter, contributing as a Great Group Reads Selection Committee Member and first-round reader. She reads and reviews submissions for Creative Nonfiction Magazine, has worked as a writer, served on nonprofit boards, and is a former therapist. She has a BA in English and Psychology as well as an MA in Counseling. Pamela writes articles for Rewire Me and Spirituality & Health Magazine. She enjoys supporting theatre and the arts.
Naomi Milliner has reviewed hundreds of screenplays and novels, and been part of Great Group Reads since 2009. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Masters in Film and Screenwriting from USC Film School. Her debut middle grade novel, SUPER JAKE & THE KING OF CHAOS (Running Press Kids) is was released in May, 2019. Naomi looks forward to finding more “great” books this year!
Deborah Milstein is a writer at Harvard University. Her personal essays have been published in Harvard Review, The Drum, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and she holds an MFA in creative nonfiction. A member-at-large of the WNBA, she’s thrilled to be part of Great Group Reads for the sixth year running.
Shelley Mitchell has been a voracious reader since the second grade. She writes grants for nonprofits throughout California and reviews grants for several organizations. Shelley has a Master’s degree in literature from Humboldt State. In 2016, after 46 years on the rural northcoast of California, Shelley retired from teaching and moved to the southern CA desert, where she has become an active volunteer and pickleball player. When she has spare time, she writes fiction, which gives her the opportunity to use adjectives. She is a member of three book groups and the Los Angeles Chapter.
Peggy O’Neal Peden grew up in Middle Tennessee and has lived in and around Nashville most of her life. She has taught English and writing at the high school levels, has owned a travel agency and written award-winning advertising copy. Your Killin’ Heart (Minotaur, 2017), winner of the 2016 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery award, is Peden’s first published novel and was an education in the publishing industry. Your Killin’ Heart is a traditional mystery dealing with murder and Nashville’s traditional and modern music industry.
Rebecca Oppenheimer is a brand-new member of the Washington, DC Chapter and could not be more excited to be part of Great Group Reads! Rebecca is a former buyer at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore (2012-2017) and Kramerbooks in DC (2017-2019), and has been a freelance book reviewer for over a decade. One of her proudest professional achievements is getting her favorite quarter-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012 all the way to the top spot. In addition to WNBA, Rebecca volunteers with National History Day at the University of Maryland.
Susan Phillips is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She possesses an Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from University of Delaware. In addition to working full-time as a transportation planner, she works at the Towne Book Center and can often be found helping out NAIBA at their annual conference. In addition to being an avid reader, she enjoys working with a local elementary school to encourage and empower young girls to embrace careers in STEM fields. She is committed to a life of learning and sharing the gift of literacy.
Linda Rosen is one of the Selection Committee Coordinators of Great Group Reads. She is a fitness professional and budding novelist whose stories have been published in on-line magazines and in print, blogs as The Literary Leotard, weaving her professional expertise with her love of literature. She is the founding member of her book club, ongoing for over 25 years. In addition to her blog, she has a website for her fiction http://www.linda-rosen.com. Linda is a member of the South Florida Chapter and is the selection chair of her community’s book club.
Rachel Slaiman is a reader, writer, and editor with a MS in Publishing from Pace University. She is an active member of the New York City Chapter since 2010 and serves as a Co-recording Secretary, Co-chair of the Brooklyn Book Festival Committee and the Great Groups Reads Selection Committee since 2013. She is also a member of her chapter’s reading group and a writing group. She enjoys a wide variety of genres and is an aspiring author.
Lois Van Stipdonk is a past president of the former Detroit Chapter of WNBA and past National Secretary of the WNBA. She is the retired director of the Wayne (MI) Public Library and presently serves as a trustee of The Library Network, the library cooperative serving most of southeast Michigan. She enjoys reading many types of books and belongs to two reading groups.
Dorothy Vaughn is a retired career State of Tennessee Information Systems Analyst. She worked for the following agencies: Mental Health, Correction, and Finance and Administration. Dorothy has a Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University and a Masters from Lipscomb University. Dorothy volunteers weekly at her local branch library; and also assists at the Main Library’s Salon 615 events for visiting wonderful authors on their book tours to Nashville. She is a member of Nashville Chapter and enjoys attending a book discussions group at another branch library in the city