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See our authors for the 2015 Collingswood Book Festival.

Collingswood Town Book Featured Author

   Lev Golinkin


Lev Golinkin is the author of the memoir A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka. He shares his story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past. Golinkin came to the United States as a child refugee from the former Soviet Union. He is a graduate of Boston College (2004) who currently resides in New Jersey. This is his first book. It has been chosen as the Collingswood Town Read.














   George Anastasia
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Born in South Philadelphia and raised in southern New Jersey, George Anastasia is a graduate of Dartmouth College (1969) with a B.A. in French Literature. He is an adjunct professor/lecturer at Rowan University and has also taught at Drexel University and Temple University. The veteran journalist worked for 38 years as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He has reported on organized and disorganized crime for decades. The recipient of numerous journalism awards, Anastasia is the author of seven books and two anthologies, including Blood and Honor, which Jimmy Breslin called "the best gangster book ever written." His other books include The Summer Wind about the Thomas Capano-Anne Marie Fahey murder case, and his latest book, Gotti’s Rules.



   Ann Atkins
Click here for her site | Guest speaker at SAGES OF AGES.

Ann Atkins is the author of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Life of Soul Searching and Self-Discovery. Ann’s journey has included; college instructor, counselor and director of a family support center, while living in Korea, England and Germany. Her master’s degree from Boston University encompassed studies at the University of Cambridge. As a speaker and author, she gives her audience relevant information to enlighten their own journey. Ann’s Flash History biography series also includes; Golda Meir ~ True Grit. She lives in the Philadelphia area enjoying her family, hiking, reading and a cup of good coffee.



   James Hannaham
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James Hannaham is the author of the novel Delicious Foods, an incisive look at race relations in America and an unflinching portrait of the pathos and absurdity of addiction. His previous book, the critically acclaimed God Says No, was honored by the American Library Association. He holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin and lives in Brooklyn, where he teaches creative writing at Pratt Institute.



   Dave Hart and John Calu
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Hart and Calu have enjoyed a productive collaboration as novelists since 2003. Their published work includes Trenton: A Novel, a work of historical fiction and a contemporary mystery series entitled Adventures Along the Jersey Shore. An award-winning songwriter, researcher and historian, Dave Hart is a descendant of a New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence. He is a Trustee for the Trenton Historical Society and a member of the Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society. He resides in West Trenton. John Calu conducted songwriting workshops and served as a playwright in residence for various arts councils and organizations in California and New Jersey. He is also the author of a collection of humorous essays entitled A Yankee Jazz Singer in Cuzco.



   Elise Juska
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Elise Juska's new novel, The Blessings, was selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers series, featured on Entertainment Weekly's "Must List," and named one of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2014. Her short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Hudson Review, Good Housekeeping and numerous other publications. She is recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited as distinguished by The Best American Short Stories. She directs the undergraduate Creative Writing Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she was the recipient of the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching..



   Julia MacDonnell
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Julia MacDonnell is a novelist, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. Her second novel, Mimi Malloy At Last, was published by Picador in April 2014 to rave reviews in the national press, including three out of four stars in People Magazine. It was chosen as an “Indie Next” selection in April ’14 and, in the summer, Bookpage named Mimi one of the top 20 books published so far in 2014. The paperback edition of Mimi Malloy At Last was published in March and a German edition came out in April. BookBrowse named it their #1 choice for Mother’s Day this year. In the process of retiring after many years as a tenured professor at Rowan University, teaching graduate and undergraduate creative writing, she is also the nonfiction editor of Philadelphia Stories, a quarterly magazine of literature and art in both print and online formats.



   Susannah Marren
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Susannah Marren is the author of Between the Tides. Told against the backdrop of the Selkie legend – enchanted seals who shed their skins to live on land as women – Marren’s unique style peels back the layers of a ‘ perfect world’ to reveal the shifting tides of marriage, family, career and friendships. Originally from Long Beach Island, New Jersey, Susannah currently lives in Manhattan with her family and still spends her summers on the Jersey Shore. Between the Tides is her first novel.



   Matthew Quick
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Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film; The Good Luck of Right Now; Love May Fail; and three young adult novels. Every Exquisite Thing will be published in 2016. All of his books have been optioned for film. Quick grew up in Oaklyn, NJ. He graduated from Collingswood High School (class of 1992) and La Salle University (class of 1996), where he double-majored in English and secondary education. He taught high school literature and film for several years, before embarking on his career as a successful novelist.



   Robert A. Shinn and Kevin Cook
Click here for their site | Guest speaker at SAGES OF AGES.

Historic preservation advocates Robert A. Shinn, a Camden County Historical Society board member, and Kevin Cook, compiled Along the Cooper River: Camden to Haddonfield using images from local historical societies and other collections to chronicle the rivers heritage. Shinn, a retired corporate executive, was raised in South Jersey and has lived in Camden County since 1988. Cook, a lifelong resident of Cherry Hill, NJ, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design with an emphasis in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado at Boulder and gathered experiences in diverse careers from architecture to various real estate roles spanning almost ten years before sitting down to co-write Along the Cooper River.



   Joe Samuel Starnes
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Red Dirt, the new novel by Joe Samuel Starnes, can be described as the rural Rocky of tennis fiction. Starnes has published two previous novels, Calling (2005), which was re-issued last year as an ebook by MysteriousPress.com/Open Road, and Fall Line (2011), selected to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Best of the South” list. A native of Georgia, he lives in Haddon Township.



   Chris Avery
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Chris Avery is the author of Angst: Overcoming Freshman Year in High School. The novel chronicles the personal stories of three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life. Chris grew up in tough neighborhoods with his mother and survived the threats and temptations of urban life. Surrounded by solid role models and positive influences, Avery excelled in school and pursued a career in education. He served as an administrator and consultant for schools around the world for the past decade. He also oversees educational research initiatives and provides training and consultation for TURNING STONEchoice, a non-profit organization. He is the recipient of the Teaching Tolerance: Teacher of the Year Award. Avery has been published in the NAIS Diversity Handbook for best practices in diversity and inclusion for independent schools.



   Charlotte Bennardo
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Charlotte Bennardo is the co-author of three books for young adults. Blonde OPS (St. Martin's) is a hacker-spy thriller, and the Sirenz series (Flux), Sirenz and Sirenz Back In Fashion features two frenemies dealing with the ancient Greek gods in modern day NYC. She is also featured in Beware the Little White Rabbit anthology, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland with short stories in numerous genres. She writes new adult science fiction, young adult fantasy, and middle grade adventure and historical novels — when her children and pets and the crazy squirrel in the backyard don't need her.



   Matthew Cody
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Matthew Cody is the award-winning author of five novels for young readers, including the popular Supers of Noble’s Green superhero mysteries – Powerless, Super and Villainous. His Robin Hood retelling Will in Scarlet was an Indie Next Pick, and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, the children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College and the New York Public Library. His new series, The Secrets of the Pied Piper, launches this fall from Knopf Books for Young Readers. Matthew is a faculty member at Gotham Writer’s Workshop where he teaches fiction and writing for children. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.



   Elisa Ludwig
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Elisa Ludwig is the author of the teen mystery/adventure Pretty Crooked trilogy (HarperCollins), the last installment of which, Pretty Wanted, was released in March 2015. She's also the author of Coin Heist, a teen caper set in Philadelphia (Adaptive, 2014). When she's not writing for teens she writes about food for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her family.



   Kate MacHugh
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Kate MacHugh is 26 years old and has authored three books; Ugly, Tormented and Barefoot Johnny. Kate holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Stockton University and a Bachelors in Social Work from Alvernia University. Kate first began speaking about her experiences as a victim of bullying before writing her memoir; Ugly. Tormented and Barefoot Johnny followed as Kate discovered her love of writing. Kate travels all over the country telling her story of being a victim of bullying in middle school and high school. Kate enjoys being able to impact young people with her words and her story. She lives with her fiancé, CJ and two dogs; Declan and Lily.



   Randy Ribay
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Randy Ribay is a Filipino-American YA author, high school English teacher, and reviewer for The Horn Book. He can be found in Camden, NJ walking his dog-children, gaming, or making lightsaber sound effects with his mouth. His debut An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is out October 2015 from Merit Press/F+W Media.



   Dianne K. Salerni
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Dianne K. Salerni is the author of the popular children's Eighth Day fantasy series about a secret day of the week. Published by HarperCollins, the series so far includes The Eighth Day (a 2015 Sunshine State Young Readers selection) and The Inquisitor’s Mark, described by Kirkus as “an exciting blend of Arthurian legend and organized crime.” She has also published two YA historical novels. The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH) is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a finalist for the CLAU Beehive Book Award, the Green Mountain Book Award, and the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award. Her debut novel, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks), was the inspiration for a short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Dianne is a former elementary school teacher who retired from teaching to spend more time hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2,000-year-old pyramids in the name of book research.



   Tiffany Schmidt
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Tiffany Schmidt is the author of several young adult novels: Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family book 1), as well as the picture book The Adventures of Black Dog. She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. Her new books since last year are Hold Me Like a Breath (Indie Next Summer pick!)and The Adventures of Black Dog. Tiffany’s previous two novels were Bright Before Sunrise and Send Me a Sign.



   Yvonne Ventresca
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Yvonne Ventresca is the author of Pandemic (Sky Pony Press, 2014), winner of the 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Atlantic region). Pandemic is a young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a deadly bird flu outbreak. School Library Journal called Pandemic "an engrossing apocalyptic story” and Kirkus Reviews said “this realistic page-turner will keep most readers enthralled." Yvonne’s other writing credits include a short story in Prep for Doom (2015), a dystopian YA anthology, and two nonfiction books for teens, Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field). Yvonne lives with her family in New Jersey.





   Robert Agnello
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Both of Robert Agnello’s books, Eli the Snazzleraffer and The Glimmers Starring Ruby Shroo, have won Moms Choice awards. He will be bringing both of them and his new Glimmer book introducing Ignate Knorr. Also Mr. Agnello is an Emmy award-winning artist who has written music for Carmen Sandiego, Pete and Pete and Out of The Box.



   Daryl Cobb
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Seventeen children’s books and counting, Daryl Cobb is an author/singer/songwriter and premier educational performer. In 2013 he released his second children’s novel. This award winning book has been called a must read-- Kirkus Reviews said " [Baseball, Bullies & Angels delivers] characters and twists that positively outstrip stories merely about athletic glory. Always sincere, occasionally shocking, this tale is required reading for kids and parents." Daryl also added Mr. Moon to his list of published picture books, which include Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You, Every Day, the Bill the Bat series, Henry Hare's Floppy Socks, Greta's Magical Mistake and Daniel Dinosaur, which are also all Kirkus Reviews recommended reads. Daryl lives in Hunterdon County New Jersey with his family and when he is not writing, singing, strumming a guitar or playing with his kids, he is visiting schools across the country. His educational programs "A Writer's Journey" and "Music & Storytime" for elementary and middle school students consistently receive BOCES (New York State Arts In Education) rating of EXCELLENT and have been receiving high praise from educators across the country for years. Daryl’s newest picture book The FROGS: A Happy Life and children's chapter book Pirate: Monkey Troubles were released in January of 2015.



   Matthew Cody
Click here for his site

Matthew Cody is the award-winning author of five novels for young readers, including the popular Supers of Noble’s Green superhero mysteries – Powerless, Super and Villainous. His Robin Hood retelling Will in Scarlet was an Indie Next Pick, and was named one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, the children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College and the New York Public Library. His new series, The Secrets of the Pied Piper, launches this fall from Knopf Books for Young Readers. Matthew is a faculty member at Gotham Writer’s Workshop where he teaches fiction and writing for children. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.



   Traci Dunham


Traci Dunham resides in Haddonfield, NJ with her husband Sandy and two daughters, Caroline and Paige. She spends her summers at the Jersey Shore in Wildwood Crest. Growing up at the shore gave her the inspiration for her current #1 best selling book The Oyster’s Secret. Traci enjoys writing children’s books that have a clear message. Her second book, My Sister Lulu and Me “For all children who are uniquely special”, carries with it the message of acceptance of those with disabilities. She is currently working on her third book and has recently established her own publishing company, Tad Books.



   Allison Gutknecht
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Allison Gutknecht is the author of Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants (and Other Lessons I've Learned). She grew up in Voorhees, NJ, with three fewer siblings than her main character, Mandy Berr. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her master's degree in Children's Media and Literature from NYU. Allison lives in New York City with her rambunctious toy poodle, Gypsy, and her literate cat, Folly. She is a massive fan of polka dots. As of October 2015, her other books are: A Cast Is the Perfect Accessory (and Other Lessons I've Learned), Never Wear Red Lipstick on Picture Day (and Other Lessons I've Learned), and Pizza Is the Best Breakfast (and Other Lessons I've Learned).



   Lee Harper
Click here for his site

Lee Harper is an award winning author/illustrator of many well-known picture books. Lee’s most recent creation is Turkey Trick or Treat, his third collaboration with author Wendi Silvano. Lee loves all the creatures of the animal kingdom except stinkbugs. And monkeys. He doesn't HATE monkeys — he loves drawing them — it's just that he doesn’t really trust them.



   Darlene Beck Jacobson


Darlene Beck Jacobson has loved writing since she was a girl. Her stories have appeared in CICADA, CRICKET, and other magazines. Darlene is a former teacher with Glassboro Public Schools, and the author of Wheels of Change, an Award winning MG Historical with Creston Books (2014). Her blog features recipes, activities, and crafts for children, as well as interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators. Darlene loves to visit classrooms and talk to students of all ages about reading, writing, and how she became a published author. She has workshops for students from Pre-K through grade seven.



   Kathleen D. Lindsey


Kathleen D. Lindsey is an African American Historian, who uniquely combines her talents of quilting and storytelling in theatrical appearances throughout the East coast, bringing awareness and understanding to all nationalities. “Miss Kat," as she prefers to be called, merged the two skills, using them as visual aids and learning tools for both children and adults. She is the author of Sweet Potato Pie, Miss Mattie’s Aprons, and Run, Faredy, Run. She lives in Clayton, NJ.



   Lauren Magaziner
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Lauren Magaziner is originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, and recently graduated Hamilton College. Her debut novel, a middle grade humorous fantasy called The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, was an Indie Next List Pick. The paperback version is releasing on August 4, 2015. Lauren currently lives in Brooklyn, where she continues to write humorous children's books.



   Donna McDine
Click here for her site

Donna McDine’s creative side had lain dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. With several early reader children’s picture books to her credit, A Sandy Grave (Purple Dragonfly 2014 Award First Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014), Powder Monkey (Story Monster Approved 2014), Hockey Agony (New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014 and Story Monster Approved 2014), The Golden Pathway ( Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader 2011 and Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention) and Dee and Deb, Off They Go - Kindergarten First Day Jitters (August 2015) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. McDine’s adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading while she writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, New York State Reading Association and Family Reading Partnership.



   Robin Newman
Click here for her site

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the City University of New York School of Law. She's been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She received a 2010 and 2012 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant Letter of Commendation. She is a member of the National Writing Project Writers Council. Robin is the author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Spring 2015), Kirkus Reviews, starred review; Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston Books, Spring 2016); and The Case of the Poached Egg, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Fall 2016). She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and English Cocker Spaniel, who happens to have been born on the Fourth of July. Check out this book trailer for The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: https://youtu.be/wrDGOcVg_NE



   Laura Scott Schaefer
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Laura Scott Schaefer has had three picture books published along with the new hit chapter book series The Crumbles Chronicles: Tails of a Nervous Dog. She is passionate about her writing, the messages of her books and helping kids tap into their imagination. Laura teaches enrichment classes, conducts specialty workshops and provides animated author visits, both in person and via Skype. Her books have received excellent reviews from Midwest Book Review, ForeWord Book Review and lots of parents. The Crumbles Chronicles series has won both a Purple Dragonfly Award and Mom’s Choice Award. Laura is already working on more books in the comical series written from the viewpoint of a rescue dog that’s scared of just about everything, yet ends up a hapless hero. She offers a free fan club for readers and a portion of all purchases goes to help animal rescue shelters. Visit Crumbles the Dog’s website: www.crumblesthedog.com



   Nancy Viau
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Nancy Viau’s picture books, City Street Beat, Storm Song, and Look What I Can Do! (nominated for the Keystone to Reading Book Award), celebrate rhyme and rhythm. Her middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, has been part of the curriculum in Collingswood schools since 2009.



   Yosi
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From schools and library events to various stages, Yosi’s shows are whimsical and imaginative, featuring an enthusiasm that is both magical and infectious. Yosi has five multi-award-winning CDs and his music can be heard nationally on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, and WXPN - Kids Corner. He performs at concert stages throughout the Northeast.