Conference Speakers

Featured Speaker Friday

Each week the Hank Center highlights a speaker at the 2019 Catholic Imagination Conference. This week we are featuring writer Richard Rodriguez.


Richard Rodriguez was born on July 31, 1944 in San Francisco, California to Mexican immigrants Leopoldo and Victoria Moran Rodriguez, the third of their four children. When Rodriguez was still a young child, the family moved to a small house in a comfortable white neighborhood in Sacramento, California. In his autobiography, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Rodriguez writes of his childhood home: "Optimism and ambition led” the family “to a house (our home) many blocks from the Mexican side of town...It never occurred to my parents that they couldn't live wherever they chose." This autobiography, Rodriguez’s first published book, was critically acclaimed and it placed him in the national spotlight, which brought with it controversy, including scorn from affirmative action and bilingual education supporters.

Rodriguez's family was not well-to-do. Although he dreamed of a career in engineering, Rodriguez’s father had only a third-grade-level education and worked as a dental technician. Despite this, Rodriquez’s parents found a way to afford to send their children to Catholic primary and secondary schools. Ultimately Rodriguez, who could barely speak English when he started elementary school, finished his academic efforts as a Fulbright scholar in Renaissance literature with degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University.

Perched on the edge of a brilliant career in academia, but uncomfortable with what he viewed as the unwarranted advantage given him by affirmative action, Rodriguez refused a number of teaching jobs at prestigious universities. He felt that receiving preference and assistance based on his classification as a minority was unfair to others. This dramatic decision, along with a number of anti-affirmative action essays published in the early to mid-1970s, made Rodriguez a controversial national figure.

After leaving academia, Rodriguez spent the next six years writing the essays that comprise Hunger of Memory, aided for part of that time by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Before being compiled into book form, many of these essays appeared in several other publications such as Columbia Forum, American Scholar, and College English. Hunger of Memory was a hugely successful book, garnering reviews in approximately fifty publications after its release. Critics generally praised the book for its clear and concise prose and for Rodriguez's honesty in revealing his conflicted feelings about being a "scholarship boy," as he refers to himself in the book. In 1983, the book won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Christopher Award.

Since 1981, Rodriguez has continued his writing career, occasionally serving as an essayist for the PBS series MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour and also working as an editor with the Pacific News Service in California. In 1992, he published Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, another collection of previously issued autobiographical essays. The book, which did not receive the same acclaim and admiration as his first book, covers such topics as Rodriguez's Mexican and Indian heritage, his homosexuality, and the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco.

Rodriguez's most recent book, Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography (2013), explores the important symbolism of the desert in Judaism, Islam and Christianity.


Speaker Biographies


Angela Alaimo O'Donnell is the Associate Director of Fordham University’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and teaches courses in English and in American Catholic Studies. She is also a former columnist and regular contributor to America magazine. O’Donnell has published five collections of poems: Still Pilgrim (2017), Lovers’ Almanac (2015), Waking My Mother (2013), Saint Sinatra (2011), Moving House (2009), and two chapbooks MINE (2007) and Waiting for Ecstasy (2009). Other titles include The Province of Joy (2012), a book of hours based on the prayer life of Flannery O’Connor; Mortal Blessings (2014), a memoir and meditation on everyday sacraments; and Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (2015), a critical biography and introduction to O’Connor’s work. In addition to writing poems, O’Donnell writes essays on contemporary writers and that engage literature and art in the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Her essays and reviews have appeared in journals such as America, Commonweal, Mezzo Cammin, Studies in Philology, Spiritus, and Christianity & Literature and have been included in a variety of collections and anthologies, including The Catholic Studies Reader (Fordham UP, 2011) and Teaching the Tradition (Oxford UP, 2012). O’Donnell’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Web award, the Christianity and Literature Best of the Year Award, and the Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Imaginative Writing; her memoir and biography of O’Connor won best book awards from the Catholic Press Association, and she received the New York Encounter poetry prize in 2019. Two new books are forthcoming in spring 2020: a critical study of Flannery O’Connor and race, and Andalusian Hours, a collection of 101 sonnets that channel the voice of Flannery O’Connor (Paraclete 2020).


Tim Bete is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room at and a former editor at While at the University of Dayton, he served as director of the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, which he grew from a local event to a national one that sells out in 10 hours with more than 400 attendees. Tim is a former magazine editor and newspaper columnist, and his writing has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Writer’s Digest, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry and Tenkara Angler. His latest poetry collection, Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim, quickly became a #1 Amazon best seller. Tim holds the distinction of creating the World’s Longest Mad Lib, based on the novel Moby Dick.  He is a Secular Carmelite and particularly interested in the connection between contemplative prayer and poetry. You can learn more about him at





Randy Boyagoda is the author of three novels. His latest, Original Prin, was named a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2018 and is the first in a planned trilogy. He is Principal and Vice-President of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, where he is also Professor of English and holds the Basilian Chair in Christianity, Arts, and Letters. He contributes essays, reviews, and opinions to publications including The New York Times, Guardian, Commonweal, and America. A former President of PEN Canada, he is Chair of 2019 ScotiaBank Giller Prize jury and lives in Toronto with his wife and their four daughters. 





Mark Bosco, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University, and holds an appointment in the Department of English. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Fr. Bosco joined Georgetown after fourteen years at Loyola University Chicago, where he was a tenured faculty member with a joint appointment in the Departments of Theology and English. From 2012-2017, he also served as Director of The Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola. As a scholar, Fr. Bosco has focused much of his work on the intersection of theology and art—specifically, the British and American Catholic literary tradition. He has published on a number of authors, including the writers Graham Greene and Flannery O’Connor, and the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. He is also co-producer and co-director, along with his colleague Elizabeth Coffman, of the film Flannery, which was awarded an NEH Grant.


Joseph A. Brown, S. J., Ph.D.  Degrees from St. Louis University (B.A., Philosophy & Letters); Johns Hopkins University (M. A., The Writing Seminars); and Yale University (M.A., Afro-American Studies; Ph. D., American Studies. Has taught at Creighton University, the University of Virginia, Xavier University of New Orleans. Professor of Africana Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of: Accidental Grace (poetry; 1986); A Retreat with Thea Bowman and Bede Abram: Leaning on the Lord (1997); To Stand on the Rock: Meditations on Black Catholic Identity (1996); Sweet, Sweet Spirit: Prayer Services in the Black Catholic Tradition (with the assistance of Bishop Fernand Cheri, OFM/2006); and The Sun Whispers, Wait: New and Collected Poems (2009). He is also founding Chair of the 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative, which is charged with presenting events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the “1917 East St. Louis ‘Race Riots’”.



Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize and was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017. A collection of essays and a collaborative collection of poems titled In The Field Between Us, co-authored with Susannah Nevison, are both forthcoming from Persea Books in 2020. Brown has been the recipient of fellowships from United States Artists, The Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Oxford American. Her poems and essays have appeared in Tin House, The New York Times, Crazyhorse, Pleiades, Blackbird, and elsewhere. The recipient of the 2018-2019 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, she teaches at Kenyon College where she is a Kenyon Review Fellow.


Kevin F. Burke, S.J., one of ten children in a sheep-and-cattle ranching family in Central Wyoming, entered the Society of Jesus in 1976. Ordained a priest in 1986, he finished a doctorate in theology in 1998 and taught for nine years at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, MA (1997-2006)) and for eleven years at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA (2006-17), where he also served as Dean and Acting President (2006-12). Author or editor of seven books, including The Ground beneath the Cross: The Theology of Ignacio Ellacuría (2000) and A Grammar of Justice: The Legacy of Ignacio Ellacuría (2014), he also edited Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings (2004) and, with his sister, Dr. Eileen Burke-Sullivan, authored The Ignatian Tradition (2009). He currently serves as Vice-President for University Mission at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and is writing a book on the theological vision of Denise Levertov.
Liam Callanan, a novelist, teacher and journalist, was the 2017 winner (in fiction) of The George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters. Liam is the author of four books, including the story collection Listen;the novel All Saints; the novel The Cloud Atlas, an Edgar Award finalist; and Paris by the Book, a national bestseller whichwas translated into multiple languages and was the 2019 winner of the Edna Ferber Prize. Liam’s work has also appeared in Commonweal, America, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and he's recorded numerous essays for public radio.  Executive producer and creator of the Poetry Foundation-sponsored animated poetry series, Poetry Everywhere, Liam has also taught for the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and chaired the English department at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Katy Carl is the editor in chief of Dappled Things—a magazine of ideas, art, and Catholic faith—and a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. 










Anne M. Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Theology at Saint Mary’s College of California. She has written and published essays on the Trinity, Maurice Blondel, Charles Péguy, Thomistic metaphysics, and Benedictine monasticism. Her book Theo-Poetics: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Risk of Art and Being (University of Notre Dame Press) discusses the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar’s use of poetic and metaphysical modes of argumentation together, and its implications for his theology. Her recent work has focused on theologies of tradition, especially on key figures who influenced the theological Ressourcement of the early 20th century, and on the interaction or collision between theological aesthetics and decolonial thought.



Kimberly Rae Connor holds a Ph.D. in religion and literature from the University of Virginia. She is author of Conversions and Visions in the Writings of African American Women (Tennessee 1994) and Imagining Grace: Liberating Theologies in the Slave Narrative Tradition (Illinois 2000), as well as edited volumes and articles related to African American religious life and cultural production and multicultural and Ignatian pedagogy. Connor is the Secretary of the Board for the American Academy of Religion. She teaches at the University of San Francisco where she directs a program for MBA students based on the Spiritual Exercises.


Paul J. Contino has taught in the Great Books Colloquium at Pepperdine University since 2002.  Before that, he taught at Christ College, the honors college of Valparaiso University. For eleven years, he and his wife Maire served as co-editors of Christianity and Literature. He wrote the introduction to Burton Raffel’s translation of The Divine Comedy, and his essay on Dante and theology is forthcoming in the MLA Guide to Teaching The Divine Comedy. He has published essays on an array of writers -- Zhuangzi, Jane Austen, Mikhail Bakhtin, Arthur Miller, Czeslaw Milosz, Geoffrey Hill, Andre Dubus, and Alice McDermott. His Commonweal profile of Tobias Wolff won a Catholic Press Association award. His reviews have appeared in America, First Things, and The Christian Century, and his essay on “Roman Catholicism” is included in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Religion.  Currently, he is completing a book on the “incarnational realism” of Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

timone davis was a Catholic “pewster” until she discovered that the uselessness of the Church was because she wasn’t giving herself. Her first ministry was with the RCIA, where she not only welcomed others into the Church, but also revitalized her own spirituality. After working for the Archdiocese of Chicago as the coordinator of ReCiL – Reclaiming Christ in Life Young Adult Ministry, timone launched PEACE centered WHOLENESS with her husband, where they are blending clinical counseling and spiritual companioning. timone is an assistant professor in the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She serves as the treasurer of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium. timone's dynamic energy and deep spirituality enhance her brand of teaching that engages one’s spirit through the use of storytelling. Her mission is to help others open their hearts and minds to the soul-saving power of God's Grace, Love and Mercy.


John F. Deane was born on Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland. He is founder of Poetry Ireland, Ireland’s national poetry society, and its journal The Poetry Ireland Review. He is also founder and first editor of The Dedalus Press. He has published many collections of poetry, including “Snow Falling on Chestnut Hill”: New & Selected poems, Carcanet 2012; most recently “Semibreve”, Carcanet 2015, and a ‘poetry and faith memoir’, “Give Dust a Tongue”, Columba Press 2015. A new collection “Dear Pilgrims” appeared from Carcanet in 2018 and a collection of poems set on Achill Island with paintings by John Behan, “Achill: The Island” published by Currach Press also appeared in 2018. In 2016 Deane was the Teilhard de Chardin Fellow in Catholic Studies in Loyola University, Chicago and taught a course in poetry. He is a Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres from the French Government.




Colby Dickinson is Associate Professor of Theology at Loyola University, Chicago.  He is the author of Agamben and Theology (T&T Clark, 2011), Between the Canon and the Messiah: The Structure of Faith in Contemporary Continental Thought (Bloomsbury, 2013), The Spiritual and Creative Failures of Representation: On Poetry, Theology and the Potential of the Human Being (Fordham University Press, 2015), Agamben’s Coming Philosophy: Finding a New Use for Theology, with Adam Kotsko (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), Continental Philosophy and Theology (Brill, 2018) and An Introduction to Theology and Contemporary Continental Philosophy: The Centrality of Negative Dialectics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).  He is the editor of The Postmodern ‘Saints’ of France: Refiguring ‘the Holy’ in Contemporary French Philosophy (T&T Clark, 2013), The Shaping of Tradition: Context and Normativity (Peeters, 2013), and co-editor, with Stéphane Symons, of Walter Benjamin and Theology (Fordham University Press, 2015).  



Abigail Rine Favale directs the William Penn Honors Program, a great books program at George Fox University in Oregon. Her acclaimed memoir, Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion, was published in 2018 by Cascade Books. Her numerous essays have appeared in publications such as The Atlantic and First Things, and her writing has won several awards, including the Feminist and Women's Studies Association Book Prize in 2014, and the J.F. Powers Prize for short fiction in 2017. Abigail is currently a Life and Dignity Writing Fellow for the University of Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal, where she writes "think pieces" on pro-life and feminist topics. 


Dorothy Fortenberry is a playwright and screenwriter. Most recently, she has spent three seasons as a writer and producer on Hulu’s award-winning adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Her plays include Species Native to California, Partners, and Good Egg. Dorothy is also an essayist, whose work has appeared in publications such as Real Simple, Commonweal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives in Burbank with her husband and children. 


Ken Garcia is Associate Director of the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Pilgrim River: A Spiritual Memoir (Angelico, 2018), and Academic Freedom and the Telos of the Catholic University (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), which won the award for “Best Book Published in Theology in 2012” from the College Theology Society. His literary essays have been published in The Gettysburg Review, St. Katherine Review, The Southwest Review, Notre Dame Magazine, and Hunger Mountain. Two of his essays were selected as “Notable Essays” in the Best American Essays (2015 and 2016). He has also published in scholarly journals such as The Journal of Academic Freedom, Theological Studies, Marginalia, and Horizons: the Journal of the College Theology Society. He received a PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2008.


Albert Gelpi is the William Roberson Coe Professor of American Literature, emeritus, at Stanford University. He has written widely about American poets and edited and coedited a number of collections, including The Letters of Robert and Denise Levertov, Dark God of Eros: A William Everson Reader, and Adrienne Rich: Poetry and Prose in the Norton Critical Editions Series. His critical/ historical account of American poets and the development of the American poetic tradition comprise the trilogy of books: The Tenth Muse, A Coherent Splendor, and American Poetry after Modernism: The Power of the Word.


Artur Grabowski - poet, playwright, prose and essay author, dramaturge and scholar. He studied Polish and comparative literature, theory of literature, and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow (PhD) where he is currently associate professor, teaching modern Polish and comparative literature, theatre and creative writing. As a Kosciuszko Foundation visiting professor he taught at the University of Illinois in Chicago and SUNY in Buffalo, then as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Washington, Seattle. In 2015/16 Prof. Grabowski spend four months at JNU, New Delhi, as a European Commission scholar doing research on Indian theatre, and in 2016 lectured at the University of Delhi. 


Dana Greene is a historian by training and a biographer by craft.  After working  as a Peace Corps volunteer and completing a Ph.D.,  she  served on the faculty of St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public honors college.  Subsequently she became Dean of Oxford College of Emory University and  then  was executive director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory.  She is editor or author of eight volumes, including biographies of Evelyn Underhill, Maisie Ward, Denise Levertov and Elizabeth Jennings and a contributing writer for National Catholic Reporter.  She lectures on topics of biography and spirituality. 



Cynthia L. Haven is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar. Her newest book, Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard, has been reviewed in the New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Wall Street Journal, Tablet, San Francisco Chronicle, and Philadelphia Inquirer. It was named one of the top books of 2018 by San Francisco Chronicle. She has also written for Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, Nation, Wall Street Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, World Literature, and many others. She has been a Milena Jesenská Journalism Fellow with the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna, a visiting scholar at Stanford and a Voegelin Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. She is currently working on The Spirit of the Place: Czesław Miłosz in America for Heyday. She is the author of several previous volumes.



Dr. Joshua Hren, Co-Founder and Assistant Director of the Honors College at Belmont Abbey College, teaches and writes at the intersections of philosophy and literature and Christianity and culture. He serves as editor-in-chief of Wiseblood Books, which he founded in 2013. Joshua has published scholarly articles in such journals as LOGOS, Religion and the Arts, New Blackfriars, and Contagion: a Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture; magazines as America and Touchstone; poems, in such publications as First Things; and short stories in a number of literary magazines. His first academic book, Middle-earth and the Return of the Common Good: J.R.R. Tolkien and Political Philosophy, was published in 2018, and his first collection of short stories, This Our Exile, received an Honorable Mention in Christianity and Literature’s 2018 Book of the Year Award.


The grandson of Lebanese Maronite and Syrian Melkite Catholic immigrants, Lawrence Joseph was born and raised in Detroit. He attended Catholic grade school and the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, then the University of Michigan, University of Cambridge, and University of Michigan Law School. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently So Where Are We?, published in 2017 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. A Certain Clarity: Selected Poems is forthcoming with FSG in March 2020. He is also the author of two books of prose, Lawyerland, a non-fiction novel published by FSG, and The Game Changed: Essays and Other Prose, in the University of Michigan Press’s Poets on Poetry Series. Among his awards are two National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowships, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. His poetry and prose have been widely anthologized and translated into several languages. He is Tinnelly Professor of Law at St. John’s University School of Law and lives in New York City.  



Eamon Maher is Director of the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in TU Dublin - Tallaght Campus. He did his PhD on the theme of marginality in the life and works of the French priest-writer Jean Sulivan (1913-1980), and published a monograph in French based around his findings. Eamon has written several newspaper and journal articles on representations of Catholicism in 20th-century fiction and is preparing a book-length study on that topic currently. He has a particular interest in the French writers Georges Bernanos, Albert Camus, François Mauriac and in their Irish counterparts John Broderick, Kate O’Brien, Brian Moore and John McGahern.





Matt Malone, S.J., is the Editor in Chief of America magazine and President of America Media. Fr. Malone began his tenure on October 1, 2012. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest editor in chief in America’s history. He served for two years as an associate editor, from 2007-2009, when he covered foreign policy and domestic politics. He was the recipient of the 2006 first-place Catholic Press Association award for essay writing. His writing has appeared in numerous national and international publications and his work and ideas have been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post among others. He is the author of Catholiques Sans Etiquette, a book concerning the church and the political, which was published in 2014 by Salvator Press in Paris.



Jennifer Newsome Martin is an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a systematic theologian with areas of research interest in 19th and 20th century Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox thought, trinitarian theology, theological aesthetics, religion and literature, French feminism, ressourcement theology, and the nature of religious tradition. Her first book, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Critical Appropriation of Russian Religious Thought (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015) engages the religious character of modern philosophical thought, particularly in the German Idealist and Romantic traditions, as well as pre- and early Soviet era Russian religious philosophy; it was one of 10 winners internationally of the 2017 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise (formerly the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise). She is also the co-editor of An Apocalypse of Love:  Essays in Honor of Cyril O’ Regan (Herder & Herder, 2018). Other work has appeared in Modern TheologyCommunio: International Catholic Review, and in a number of edited volumes and collections of essays. She is currently working on a second book project that treats repetition, poetics, and theologies of history in ressourcement theology, tentatively titled “‘Recollecting Forwardly’: The Poetics of Tradition.” She serves on the administrative team for the Hans Urs von Balthasar Consultation in the Catholic Theological Society of America as well as steering committees for Christian Systematic Theology and Eastern Orthodox Studies in the American Academy of Religion, and is on the editorial board of the journal Religion & Literature.


B.D. McClay is senior editor of The Hedgehog Review and a contributing writer for Commonweal, where she writes about Catholicism, art, politics, and saints. She has written for The Baffler, The Outline, LitHub, and several other publications.


John McCourt is Professor of English literature at the University of Macerata. His most recent book is Writing the Frontier. Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has edited many volumes including Roll Away the Reel World: James Joyce and Cinema (Cork University Press), and James Joyce in Context (Cambridge University Press). He co-edited Problems with Authority. New Essays on Flann O’Brien,with Ruben Borg and Paul Fagan (Cork University Press, 2017). An edited collection entitled Reading Brendan Behan was published by Cork University Press in 2019. He is currently working on a study of the reception of Joyce's Ulysses in Ireland as the centenary of its publication approaches. John is co-director of the Trieste Joyce School.


Andrew McKenna (PhD Johns Hopkins University) is Emeritus Professor of French at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Deconstruction, as well as numerous articles on European and American authors, art history, film criticism, and French critical theory. A former editor of Contagion: Journal of violence, Mimesis, and Culture, his is also a founding member of the Raven Foundation and of Imitatio, and a member of the Anthropoetics editorial board. A frequent lecturer on theater in Chicago, he now teaches writing-intensive literature courses to inmates currently incarcerated in the Illinois prison system and has published articles on criminal justice. His most recent article is on the apocalyptic vision informing the films of Luis Buñuel.


Mary Ann Buddenberg Miller is professor of English at Caldwell University in Caldwell, New Jersey, a small liberal arts and pre-professional institution in the Dominican tradition.  She is the editor of St. Peter's B-list: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints (Ave Maria Press, 2014), a collection of over 100 poems, written by 70 poets from across the USA.  The voices of these poems are not the saints themselves speaking from distant places and times, but contemporary American voices who think of a saint in the midst of wide variety of hardships.  Miller is the founding editor-in-chief of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, which is dedicated to publishing poems informed by the Catholic faith in a wide variety of ways. Presence also includes interviews with poets, reviews of individual collections of poems, and essays on the life's work of significant poets.  See
Michael P. Murphy directs Catholic Studies and Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University Chicago. His research interests are in Theology and Literature, Critical Theory, and Christian Spirituality, but he also writes and engages public media on issues in eco-theology, ethics, and the literary/political cultures of Catholicism. Mike is a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and his first book, A Theology of Criticism (Oxford), was named a "Distinguished Publication" in 2008 by the American Academy of Religion. He has published occasional pieces on topics ranging from spiritualities of citizenship to dating in digital culture. His most recent scholarly pieces are the theological introduction to Robert Hugh Benson’s 1907 dystopian classic Lord of the World (Ave Maria, 2016), “Breaking Bodies: O’Connor and the Aesthetics of Consecration” in Revelation & Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and Her Catholic Heritage (CUA Press, 2017), and an edited volume, this need to dance/this need to kneel: Denise Levertov and the Poetics of Faith, (Wipf and Stock, coming in fall, 2019). He is currently at work on a monograph entitled The Dirty Realists: Catholic Fiction, Poetry, and Film 1965-2015.


Farrell O'Gorman is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Belmont Abbey College, and a former associate professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University. He is the author of two scholarly books: Catholicism and American Borders in the Gothic Literary Imagination (U. of Notre Dame Press, 2017) and Peculiar Crossroads: Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and Catholic Vision in Postwar Southern Fiction (Louisiana State U. Press, 2004).  His short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Image, Shenandoah, South Carolina Review, and Best Catholic Writing 2007 (Loyola Press). His novel Awaiting Orders was published by Idylls Press in 2006.


Brigid Pasulka’s first novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), alternates between Nazi-occupied and post-Communist Poland. It won the 2010 PEN/Hemingway Award, the Polish American Historical Society Creative Arts Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and it has been translated into six languages, including Polish. Her second novel, The Sun and Other Stars (Simon & Schuster, 2014), is set on the Italian Riviera and involves butchering, soccer and Dante. It was a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice and an Indie Next Pick. Pasulka’s linked short stories set in post-Communist Russia have won awards and been published in various literary journals, and her upcoming novel is set in 1980s East Berlin. Pasulka lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she runs the writing center at a public high school.


Dominic Preziosi joined the staff of Commonweal in 2012, serving as digital editor and executive editor before being named editor in July 2018. He has written extensively for Commonweal's website and print editions and is host of the Commonweal podcast. He has held senior editorial positions at McGraw-Hill and Forbes, and his articles, essays, and fiction have been published in The Brooklyn Review, The Common, ItalianAmericana, Nautilus, and elsewhere. Dominic was educated at Fordham University, Brooklyn College, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and two children.


Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, which won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association. Kirstin is the recipient of the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Best American Short StoriesThe O. Henry Prize Stories, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor at Princeton.


Jon M. Sweeney is an award-winning author, book publisher, and critic. He’s been called “one of my favorite contemporary spiritual writers” by James Martin, S.J., and interviewed in print by a range of publications from the Dallas Morning News to The Irish Catholic, and on television for CBS Saturday Morning, Fox News, CBS-TV Chicago, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and public television’s “Chicago Tonight.” His 2012 history, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, was optioned by HBO. He’s also the author of thirty other books including The Complete Francis of Assisi; Inventing Hell; The Enthusiast: How the Best Friend of Francis of Assisi Almost Destroyed What He Started; and The Pope’s Cat series for children. Jon has recently edited and presented two new collections of the lectures of Thomas Merton: A Course in Christian Mysticism, foreword by Michael McGregor; and A Course in Desert Spirituality, foreword by Paul Quenon, OCSO. Jon speaks regularly at literary and religious conferences. He is a Catholic, married to a rabbi, and their interfaith marriage has been profiled in national media. He writes regularly for America: The Jesuit Review in the U.S., The Tablet in the UK, and occasionally for The Christian Century. He is active on social media (Twitter @jonmsweeney; Facebook jonmsweeney), the publisher at Paraclete Press in Massachusetts, and lives in Milwaukee with his wife and daughters.



James Matthew Wilson is the author of eight books, including The Hanging God (Angelico, 2018), The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition (Catholic University of America Press, 2017), The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (Wiseblood, 2015), Some Permanent Things (Wiseblood, 2014; Second Edition, 2018), The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (Wiseblood, 2014), The Violent and the Fallen (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Timothy Steele: A Critical Introduction (Story Line Press, 2012), and Four Verse Letters (Steubenville, 2010).  His poetry appears regularly in many magazines and was included in Best American Poetry 2018.  The 2017 winner of the Hiett Prize from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, he is Associate Professor of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University, poetry editor of Modern Age magazine, series editor of Colosseum Books, and director of the Colosseum Summer Institute.


Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson is an associate professor of humanities at John Brown University in Arkansas, where she also founded and serves as Chair of the Board for Sager Classical Academy. The author of three books, Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov which received Christianity Today’s book of the year award in Arts and Culture, Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence, and Reading Walker Percy’s Novels, Hooten-Wilson has also edited a collection of essays on Solzhenitsyn to come out with the University of Notre Dame Press next year. Currently, she is preparing Flannery O’Connor’s unfinished novel for publication.


Ryan Wilson is Editor-in-Chief of Literary Matters ( and the author of The Stranger World (Measure Press, 2017), winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His has published nearly 100 poems, essays, reviews, and translations from the Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian,  and German in the last decade, and his work appears in periodicals such as: Best American Poetry, First Things, Five Points, The Hopkins Review, The New Criterion, Quarterly West, The Sewanee Review, and The Yale Review. Born in Griffin, GA, in 1982, and raised in nearby Macon, he holds degrees from The University of Georgia, The Johns Hopkins University, and Boston University. Currently, he teaches at The Catholic University of America and in the graduate program at Western State Colorado University, and he is the Office Administrator and C.F.O. of The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW). He lives with his wife north of Baltimore. 



Gregory Wolfe is a writer, teacher, editor, and publisher. In 1989 he founded Image—one of America’s leading literary journals, which he edited for thirty years. He was also the founding director of the Seattle Pacific University MFA in Creative Writing program, which he led for twelve years. He currently edits a literary imprint, Slant Books, through Wipf & Stock Publishers. Wolfe’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, First Things, Commonweal, and America. He has served as a judge for the National Book Awards. His books include Beauty Will Save the World, Intruding Upon the Timeless, and The Operation of Grace. He is married to the novelist, Suzanne M. Wolfe. They are the parents of four grown children and live in Richmond Beach, Washington.



Catherine Wolff graduated from UC Berkeley in 1973. She received an M.A. in art history from the University of Michigan and taught high school before earning her M.S.W. from Syracuse University. She worked for many years as a therapist before returning to California, where she served as Director of the Arrupe Center for Community-Based Learning at Santa Clara University from 1999 to 2005. From 2006 to 2009, she was Director of Faith Formation at the Catholic Community at Stanford, during which time she earned her M.A. in Pastoral Ministries at Santa Clara University. She is the editor of Not Less Than Everything: Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience from Joan of Arc to Oscar Romero (HarperCollins, 2013) and has recently completed a book on the afterlife, Great Expectations, to be published by Riverhead Books. She lives in Northern California with her husband Tobias Wolff, close to their three children and three grandchildren.
Tobias Wolff’s books include the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War;  the short novel The Barracks Thief; the novel Old School, and four collections of short stories, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, The Night in Question, and, most recently, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. He has also edited several anthologies, among them Best American Short Stories 1994, A Doctor’s Visit: The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov, and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories. His work is translated widely and has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, both the PEN/Malamud and the Rea Award for Excellence in the Short Story, the Story Prize, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor of English, Emeritus,  at Stanford. In 2015 he received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Kenneth Woodward served as Religion Editor of Newsweek for 38 years, reporting on a variety of subjects from seven continents. He is the author of more than 750 articles for Newsweek, including nearly 100 cover stories. His numerous other articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall street Journal, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Woodward’s more scholarly articles have been published in The Encyclopedia of Protestantism and  The New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. He is the author of four books, including most recently Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to Ascent of Trump. Mr. Woodward has been a Fellow of the National Humanities Center and a Regents Lecturer in Religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among his sixteen awards are the National Magazine Award, the Pulitzer Prize of the magazine industry, and the Robert E. Griffin Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Art of Writing from the University of Notre Dame. He holds five honorary degrees.