2019 LitFest Gala Television Excellence Honoree: “Unbelievable”

The writing and creative team behind Netflix’s series “Unbelievable” –Showrunner/Writer/Director/Executive Producer Susannah Grant, Writer/Executive Producer Michael Chabon, Writer/Executive Producer Ayelet Waldman, and Executive Producer Sarah Timberman (on behalf of Timberman-Beverly Productions) – will receive the Award for Television Excellence.


Susannah Grant, 2019 Litfest Television Excellence HonoreeSusannah Grant is an Academy Award®-nominated writer, producer and director whose resume includes film, television and streaming platforms. In features, Grant is perhaps best known for writing the screenplay for the award-winning drama “Erin Brockovich,” which earned her an Academy Award® nomination, a BAFTA nomination and a WGA nomination. Additional feature credits include screenplays for “The Soloist,” “In Her Shoes,” “28 Days,” “Ever After,” “Pocahontas,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The 5th Wave.” Additionally in 2007, Grant wrote and directed “Catch and Release.”

Her television credits include writing and executive producing HBO’s “Confirmation,” starring Kerry Washington, which earned Grant an Emmy nomination, a WGA award, and the WGA’s Paul Selvin Award. Prior to that, Grant created and executive produced the CBS series “A Gifted Man” and worked as a producer and writer of the Fox series “Party of Five,” which earned a Golden Globe Award and a Humanitas Prize. Grant is an alumna of Amherst College and the American Film Institute, and received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. In 2011, Grant received the Valentine Davies Award from the Writers Guild of America. She is married to Christopher Henrikson and has two children. Grant serves as executive producer, showrunner, writer and director for Netflix’s 8-episode limited series, “Unbelievable.”

"Unbelievable" Receives the Television Excellence AwardInspired by the real events in the Marshall Project and ProPublica Pulitzer-winning 2015 article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” and the This American Life episode “Anatomy of Doubt,” the show revolves around Marie Adler, who files a police report claiming she’s been sexually assaulted by an intruder in her home. The investigating detectives, as well as the people closest to her, come to doubt the truth of her story. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall meet while investigating an eerily similar pair of intruder rapes and partner to catch a potential serial rapist. Grant serves as showrunner, executive producer and director for the 8-episode limited series, which premiered on the streamer on September 13.

Michael Chabon is the author of numerous novels, among them Moonglow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is the co-editor of Kingdom of Olives & and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation and of the forthcoming Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of novels including Love and Treasure, works of nonfiction including A Really Good Day, and the co-editor of Kingdom of Olives & and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons and the forthcoming Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases.

Sarah Timberman, 2019 Litfest Gala HonoreeSarah Timberman and her Timberman/Beverly Productions partner, Carl Beverly, recently finished production on the Netflix limited series, “Unbelievable” (based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Marshall Project/ProPublica  article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”), as well as the the seventh season of their long-running CBS series, “Elementary,” the fourth season of the critically acclaimed Showtime series, “Masters of Sex” (based on Tom Maier’s biography of noted sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson), and the sixth and final season of the award-winning FX series, “Justified” (based on Elmore Leonard’s “Fire in the Hole”).  Timberman-Beverly’s other credits include CBS’ “SEAL Team,” “The Code,” “Unforgettable,” “The Odd Couple, “A Gifted Man,” and “Doubt,” as well as the NBC series, “Kidnapped.” Timberman/Beverly are also currently in pre-production on “The Man Who Fell to Earth” for CBS All Access, based on the Walter Tevis novel and the Nicolas Roeg/David Bowie film. 

Prior to starting the company, Timberman served as President, Universal Network Television. She oversaw all comedy, drama, long-form, and reality programming for the company, including the “Law and Order” franchise and the series, “American Dreams,” and played a key role in acquiring the rights to the British series, “The Office” for NBC.  Timberman joined Universal from Columbia TriStar Television, where she served as Executive Vice President, Drama Development. Some of the series she oversaw included “Dawson’s Creek” and “Party of Five.”

Prior to working in television, Timberman was an assistant editor at Random House in New York.

Timberman serves on the board of directors of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society, the board of directors of Death Penalty Focus, the advisory board of LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for A New Economy), the NRDC’s Los Angeles Leadership Council, and the board of trustees of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Los Angeles.

Timberman grew up in Greenwich Village, New York, and is a graduate of Brown University, with a B.A. in History.  She is married to writer/producer Ed Redlich and they have two children.