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Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2018

Denise M. Acevedo is the first President of the Greater Lansing Chapter of the WNBA and a full-time Assistant Professor of first-year writing at Michigan State University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Education and Graduate Studies at Spring Arbor University where she teaches literacy-based classes to current K-12 teachers. Denise experiences pure joy in teaching and scholarly learning, so she designed and leads a faculty professional development project at MSU that supports participants’ identifying and bonding with their authentic personal and professional selves through the framework of collaboration, reflection, and writing. Denise holds an Ed.D. in Higher Educational Leadership with a dual minor in adult education and faculty retention and loves all things books.

Leslie Adams is a past-president of the 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 Scholar, Poet, and Cultural Worker. Her areas of scholarship are Transnational Ethnic Women’s and American Multicultural Literatures, Contemporary Avant Garde Poetry and Poetics, and Creative Writing Studies. Her poetry explores the experiences of women from the African Diaspora. Sonia is currently working on a critical study of Australian Aboriginal, African, and Caribbean women’s writings as well as a poetry manuscript. She aspires to travel abroad and form partnerships with other writers and cultural workers.

Kibkabe Araya is the vice president of the WNBA Los Angeles chapter. She's currently querying a new adult novel and a young adult novel while working on two other novels. She blogs about becoming a novelist at During the day, she works as an associate editor at a daily legal newspaper. She earned her master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and bachelor's degree from Spelman College. She also sits on the board of the National Association of Black Journalists LA and volunteers as a mentor with WriteGirl.

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. Sally also sits also on the board of SINC (Sisters-In-Crime).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 Branch of the WNBA.

Sarah Hahn Denham is the Vice President of the Atlanta Chapter of the WNBA. 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 currently working on the novel version of this and hopes to have it ready to submit in 2018. Sarah is also busy with her blog, Sarah Drinks All the Water, 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. Sarah hopes that 2018 will be a great year for writing and for WNBA-Atlanta!

Joyce d'Mot resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and three children. She serves as president of Women's National Book Association, 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 release her first romance novel, Risking It All. Joyce writes with passion and believes that life put to words is nothing short of magic.

Eileen T. 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, and Massachusetts, she now calls Connecticut her home. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The Historical Novel Society, and Women’s National Book Assoc. Her historical fiction, Promises, for middle grade readers based on the plight of two children seavacuees in 1940 is scheduled for release in 2019. She is currently working on another historical novel based on the lives of two Irish immigrant families in 1885.

Beth Frerking is a high school librarian in Clarksville, Tennessee. Prior to that she was a librarian in rural Alaska, serving schools in Iñupiat communities along the Arctic Ocean. She has master’s degrees in Library and Information Science and Secondary Education and has taught in Tennessee, Alaska, Arizona, and Tanzania. She is the past-president of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians and a member of the WNBA Nashville Chapter.

Lynn Henriksen is a past president of WNBA-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 WNBA San Francisco chapter, has been a long-time publishing professional, holding various marketing roles at Macmillan, Penguin, Chronicle Books, and currently Callisto Media. She is a member of several local book clubs and 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 WNBA-LA, 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

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 WNBA-Charlotte Chapter and the Great Group Reads Selection Committee Manager.

Marla Koenigsknecht's love of reading and books led her to graduate with a degree in English and Professional Writing and now work as a book publicist at the American Psychological Association. She is a recent addition to WNBA-DC. While she lives in Washington, DC, she is originally from Michigan where she attended Michigan State University. Go Green!

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.

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.

Mary Levering is a lawyer, librarian, and teacher. After working for the Library of Congress (LC) for 45 years, rising from an entry-level junior professional to the senior government executive level, she retired from LC in 2011. She joined LC’s staff in 1966 after earning her Master’s Degree (MLS) from the Univ of Washington. Later, while working in LC’s Congressional Research Service, she attended Georgetown Univ Law Center and received her JD degree in 1977, with a specialty in copyright law. She is a member of the DC Bar and the Supreme Court Bar. Prior to working at LC, she taught elementary and middle school for 6 years. Mary is a long-time WNBA member. She was one of the founding members of WNBA’s Washington Chapter in 1978 and served as chapter president for 4 years. She’s a voracious reader and an avid world traveler. She has visited 163 foreign countries to date, and hopes to complete her goal of visiting every country in the world.

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 Seattle Chapter and is in two reading groups.

Mary McCarthy has spent her entire life in the book business; as a bookseller at Kroch & Brentano's, the Library, LTD, the Schwartz Bookshops and Joseph-Beth. She has worked at wholesalers Booksource and Ingram. She was a sales rep for Random House for 5 years and a commissioned book sales rep for another 5. Currently she oversees all the buying for Cokesbury-both book and non-book.

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, where she currently co-teaches a mid-week class that includes reading and discussing books on a variety of spiritual topics.

Pamela Milam, a New York member of the WNBA and Great Group Reads Coordinator, is a reader, author, and former therapist. She has a BA in English and Psychology as well as an MA in Counseling. She is the author of a book which takes a closer look at what happens inside the therapy office. Pamela writes articles for Rewire Me and 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. She currently writes middle grade and young adult fiction as well as screenplays, and is represented by Liza Fleissig at LRA (Liza Royce Agency). 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 WBNA-Boston’s board of directors, she's thrilled to be part of Great Group Reads for the fifth 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 of WNBA.

Elizabeth Mosteller is the founder and immediate Past president of WNBA’s Greater Philadelphia chapter. She teaches elementary gifted support students, English Learners, and is a college professor for undergraduate students who are studying education. A lover of books, aspiring author, and literacy advocate, Elizabeth is thrilled to be part of Great Group Reads as a contributing reader.

Susan Phillips is a member of the WNBA 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.

Elissa Pugh is a Montessori teacher, mother, and lover of words who resides in Nashville, TN. She is returning to the Great Group Reads selection committee after a brief break.

Linda Rosen is one of the Selection Committee Coordinators of Great Group Reads. She is a fitness professional and budding novelist, 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 Linda is a member of the New York City chapter and is the selection chair of her community's book club in Florida.

Rachel Slaiman is a reader, writer, and editor with a MS in Publishing from Pace University. She is an active member of the NYC 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 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.

Amy Lyles Wilson is a writer, editor, and community-based teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. She has co-authored or contributed to nine books, and had an essay on National Public Radio. A trained affiliate of Amherst Writers and Artists, she believes it is the sharing of our stories that saves us, and nothing gives her more joy than helping people tell the stories they need to tell. A native of Mississippi, she has called Tennessee home for twenty-five years. Three of her favorite writers are Raymond Carver, Richard Russo, and May Sarton. She serves on the board of the WNBA Nashville chapter. Website:

Great Group Reads Selection Committee — Current
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2018
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2017
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2016
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2015
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2014
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2013
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2012
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2011
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2010
Great Group Reads Selection Committee — 2009

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