IV. Biographies of Candidates
Slate of PEN America Officers and Term Trustees
to be elected to the Board of Trustees of PEN America
Markus Dohle as Executive Vice President
CEO of Penguin Random House
As CEO of Penguin Random House since July 2013, Markus Dohle leads the world’s largest trade book publisher, with operations in 20 countries and sales in more than 100. He oversees Penguin Random House’s worldwide publishing divisions, which have up to 270 editorially independent imprints publishing 15,000 new adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction titles annually in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Each year, Penguin Random House sells more than 700 million print, audio, and e-books globally, and its roster of fiction and nonfiction writers includes many of the world’s most widely read and beloved authors, more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates, and over 100 Pulitzer Prize winners. During his tenure, Penguin Random House US was rated #1 on Forbes’ “List of America’s Best Midsize Employers in 2018.” As a member of the Bertelsmann Executive Board, Dohle and his Board colleagues are responsible for setting the strategic direction for one of the world’s foremost media companies. Additionally, he is Vice Chairman of the Association of American Publishers, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation and on the International Advisory Committee of the Atlantic Council. He joined the PEN America Board in 2016.
Masha Gessen as Vice President
Writer and Activist
Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of 10 books of nonfiction, most recently The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, which won the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Gessen is also the author of the national best seller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin (2012). Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a national fellow with New America Foundation. Gessen joined the PEN America Board in 2014.
Tracy Higgins as Vice President
Tracy Higgins is a professor of law at Fordham Law School and the founder and codirector of the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, the human rights center at Fordham. Higgins received her B.A. in economics at Princeton and her J.D. at Harvard Law School. She was previously the visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Higgins’s work has been published in numerous journals, including Fordham International Law Journal, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, and Harvard Law Review, among others. In 2011, Higgins coedited The Future of African Customary Law with Jeanmarie Fenrich and Paolo Galizzi. Since 1994 she has conducted human rights fieldwork in Afghanistan, Turkey, Hong Kong, Burma, Mexico, Ghana, Bolivia, Kenya, Romania, South Africa, and Malawi. Higgins is on the Board of Advisors at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Trial Observation Delegation to Turkey, and a Women’s Studies Delegation to South Africa. Higgins is currently working on Regulatory Feminism: A Critique of State Power in Feminist Legal Theory and African Customary Law and Women’s Access to Property: A Case Study of Tanzania. She joined the PEN America Board in 2013.
Yvonne Marsh as Treasurer
Yvonne Marsh has spent her career in private equity, corporate finance, restructuring and mergers, and acquisitions. She has completed more than 60 transactions and served on over 20 for profit and not-for-profit boards. She has been a partner at Liberty Partners and Joseph, Littlejohn and Levy; a managing director at Chase Manhattan; and an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and Merrill Lynch. Marsh graduated with honors from Williams College and Harvard Business School. Marsh has been a PEN President’s Circle Member since 2014 and a PEN Authors’ Evening supporter beginning in 2007. She currently serves on the Board of the Fay School. She joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
TERM TRUSTEE (third 3-year term)
Writer and Activist
Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture, and psychology and a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is the author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change, an anthology of his international reporting, and Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction as well as more than 25 other national awards. Far From the Tree was recently adapted into documentary film by award-winning director and producer Rachel Dretzin that premiered at DOC NYC in November 2017 and is distributed by IFC Films/Sundance Selects. His previous book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the National Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and has been published in 24 languages. He is also the author of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost, and the novel, A Stone Boat. His writing appears frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and on National Public Radio. His TED Talks have been viewed over 20 million times. Solomon is an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, education, and the arts. He is founder of the Solomon Research Fellowships in LGBT Studies at Yale University and a member of the Board of the National LGBTQ Task Force and Trans Youth Family Allies. Additionally, Solomon serves on the Boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yaddo, and The Alex Fund. He joined the PEN America Board in 2012, and completed a three-year term as President in 2018.
TERM TRUSTEES (second 3-year term)
Ayad Akhtar as Secretary
Ayad Akhtar is a playwright, screenwriter, and author whose play Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. His work American Dervish was named a 2012 Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, Toronto Globe and Mail, Shelf Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine and has been published in more than 20 languages worldwide. His latest play is Junk: The Golden Age of Debt, which premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in August 2016 and opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater of The Lincoln Center in late 2017. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was the featured author for a PEN President’s Circle Authors’ Evening in fall 2014. He was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
Gabriella De Ferrari
Art Historian and Writer
Born in Peru to Italian parents, Gabriella De Ferrari has held administrative and curatorial positions at major museums and art organizations. At the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, she was curator of exhibitions before becoming the director of the Institute in 1975. She was assistant director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs at the Fogg Museum and the Busch-Reisinger Museum. Her novel A Cloud on Sand received a Barnes and Noble Discover Award. Gringa Latina, her memoir about her experience living in two cultures, was published in 1994. She is the author of many short stories and is currently working on a novel about New York. She is a contributing editor for Travel and Leisure, and also writes for BOMB, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair. She has served on the Boards of Trustees and on the advisory committees of many leading institutions, including Colby College, City University Graduate Center Foundation, Harvard University Museum, The New School, and the Wadsworth Atheneum. She was the philanthropic advisor to the Chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corporation. De Ferrari was awarded The New School Medal for Distinguished Service, and has received an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from Colby College. She joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
Playwright, Screenwriter, and Film Producer
Elizabeth Hemmerdinger is the producer of the independent documentary Capturing The Flag, which premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in June 2018 and had its NYC premiere at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in October 2018. Hemmerdinger’s other new documentary, Perfectly Normal For Me, recipient of Latino Public Television’s 2016 Public Media Content Fund, was also at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in October 2018. She is the producer of Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was named one of the five essential documentaries of 2013 by the Tribeca Institute. She is also associate producer on The Homestretch (Emmy Award, Independent Lens, 2015) and the executive producer of The Real Rosie The Riveter Project (NYU Bobst Libraries). Hemmerdinger is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter; she wrote and produced the short narrative film, Good Sister, starring Jessica Hecht and Grant Shaud. Additional projects in film include The Girl With The Rivet Gun (producer and writer) and, in musical theater, We Can Do It! (librettist). Her published plays include Squall, Road Rage, and Pissed Sister (Playscripts, Inc.). Hemmerdinger is a Trustee of the Hunter College Foundation. She joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
Sean Kelly is the owner of Sean Kelly Gallery in the Chelsea gallery district. He got his start in the British museum world by curating special shows by sculptors such as Richard Deacon and Anthony Gormley. In 1995, he opened his gallery in SoHo, where he earned a reputation for hands-on work with artists. In 2012, the gallery moved to its current home, a 22,000-square-foot space designed by Toshiko Mori in the Hudson Yards neighborhood. Artists he represents or has represented include Marina Abramović, Joseph Kosuth, Julião Sarmento, James Casebere, Callum Innes, Idris Khan, the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe, Anthony McCall, Alec Soth, Frank Thiel, Kehinde Wiley, the estate of Poul Kjærholm, David Claerbout, José Dávila, Candida Höfer, Mariko Mori, and Sun Xun. The gallery’s artists have consistently been included in major international exhibitions and recognized with esteemed awards worldwide. Most recently, Kelly launched Collect Wisely, an initiative that challenges the status quo around collecting and places renewed emphasis on the primacy of art, artists, and connoisseurship. In 2018, Sean and Mary Kelly donated their extraordinary collection of the works of James Joyce to the Morgan Library. Kelly was instrumental in connecting PEN America to visual artists for the First Edition/Second Thoughts Auction in 2014. He joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
See OFFICER TRUSTEES
Curator and Advisor
Alexandra Munroe, Ph.D. is an award-winning curator, Asia scholar, and author focusing on art, culture, and institutional global strategy. She is the Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art and Senior Advisor, Global Arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation where she has led the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Initiative since its founding in 2006. She has worked on over 40 exhibitions and is recognized for establishing international critical acclaim for the artists Cai Guo Qiang, Daido Moriyama, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan, Mu Xin, and Yoko Ono, among others, and for bringing such historic avant-garde movements as Gutai, Mono-ha, Japanese otaku culture, and Korean Tanseakwa to international attention. Her project Japanese Art after 1945: Scream Against the Sky (1994) is recognized for initiating the field of postwar Japanese art history in North America. From 1998-2005, Munroe was Vice President of Japan Society, New York, and director of its museum where she presented innovative shows of pre-modern art. Munroe was lead curator of the Guggenheim’s exhibition, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, which The New York Times named as a Top 10 exhibition of 2017.
Raised in Japan, Munroe received the 2017 Japan Foundation Award from the government of Japan in recognition of her contributions to promoting international friendship and understanding. She serves on the advisory Boards of Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; and UCCA, Beijing. She is a Trustee of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; the Aspen Music Festival and School; and Intelligence Squared US, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is cofounder with her husband Robert Rosenkranz of Intelligence Squared US, a debate forum dedicated to raising the level of civic discourse in America. She joined the PEN America Board in 2015.
TERM TRUSTEES (first 3-year term)
Activist and Philanthropist
Bridget Colman graduated with an M.A. in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies from the joint program at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Parsons School of Design, NY. As an undergrad, she studied at The University of Western Ontario with a concentration in Western Literature and Civilization. Her focus on design and social history led to projects at the Sir John Soane Museum, National Portrait Gallery of London, The Attingham Trust, and Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.
Colman sits on the Boards of The American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery of London and The Branksome Hall Foundation, Toronto. Currently she also sits on the Harvard Graduate School of Design Dean’s Leadership Council. Her charitable foundation, established in Canada, initiates and supports projects based on exploring beyond the constrictions of geographical, cultural, and societal tethers. PEN America has figured prominently in this intention. The support of education has become the conduit of this work: in Canada with committed relationships at McGill, The University of Western Ontario, and Branksome Hall, and in the United States with work done to forge programs across international borders at Harvard, The Brearley School, Brooklyn Friends Academy, and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She is Canadian born with dual UK citizenship and has spent years living in France, Japan, and the UK. She is currently settled with her husband and two daughters in New York City.
Patricia Fili-Krushel is a senior media executive. As Executive Vice President and later Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, she worked to integrate operations with Comcast. Prior to joining NBCUniversal, she held positions as the Executive Vice President of administration at Time Warner Inc. and as the CEO of WebMD Health. She also served as President of the ABC Television Network, improving its ratings ranking from third to first during her tenure. Previously, she was President of ABC Daytime, where in addition to introducing the daytime talk show and cultural phenomenon The View, she conceived and launched Soap Net, a 24-hour soap opera cable network and a billion-dollar asset. Fili-Krushel has appeared multiple times on Fortune’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women” and received numerous awards, including New York Women in Communications’ prestigious Matrix Awards. Currently, she is Vice Chair of The Public Theater of New York and Chair of the Berkshire Film Festival. She also serves on the Boards of The Estée Lauder Foundation, The Center for Talent Innovation where she is also interim CEO, and the Dollar General Corporation. Past Board service includes: Lifetime Television, Oxygen Media, Now This News, and Revere Media, as well as the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is past President of New York Women in Film and TV. She holds a B.S. degree from St. John’s University and an M.B.A. degree from Fordham University.
Min Jin Lee
Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fellowships in fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-2019). Her novel Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and a New York Times “10 Best Books of 2017.” A New York Times best seller, Pachinko was also a Top 10 Book of the Year for BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the New York Public Library. Pachinko was a selection for Now Read This, the joint book club of PBS NewsHour and The New York Times. It was on over 75 best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS, and CNN. Pachinko will be translated into 27 languages. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was a Top 10 Book of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, USA Today, and a national best seller. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveler, The Times of London, and Wall Street Journal. She served three consecutive seasons as a “Morning Forum” columnist of the Chosun Ilbo of South Korea. In 2018, Lee was named as an Adweek Creative 100 for being one of the “10 Writers and Editors Who are Changing the National Conversation” and a Frederick Douglass 200. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College. She will be a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College from 2019-2022.
Franklin Leonard is the founder of The Black List, a yearly survey highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays, and the company created to continue its mission. More than 400 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films, earning more than 275 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins. He served as a trustee of PEN Center USA in Los Angeles until its unification with PEN America in 2018. Leonard has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Goldwyn. He has been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, and Guanajuato Film Festivals and for the PEN Center USA Literary Awards. He serves on the advisory boards of the Young Storytellers Foundation and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation. He has been named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Under 35,” Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” The Root’s “100 Most Influential African-Americans,” and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He was awarded the 2015 African-American Film Critics Association’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, and Sciences in 2016.
Marvin S. Putnam
Marvin S. Putnam, a First Amendment and entertainment lawyer, is a partner at Latham & Watkins, LLP. He served as President and Chair of PEN Center USA in Los Angeles until its unification with PEN America in 2018. He was formerly a partner at the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, where he chaired the firm’s First Amendment Group and was a member of the Entertainment Litigation and Trial Practice Groups. A principal focus of his work is the representation of the media in defense of First Amendment rights. Putnam provides prepublication review for national news, variety, and talk show programs, as well as publications and film and television studios. He has represented film and television concerns requiring a First Amendment defense, journalists in numerous reporters’ privilege subpoena actions, and media entities seeking both court and legislative access. He has been named a “Power Lawyer” by the Hollywood Reporter and a “Super Lawyer” in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media, Inc., as published in Los Angeles magazine. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Georgetown Law School.
Media Strategy Consultant
Alix Ritchie is an independent media strategy consultant, activist, and self-described agitator. She is a political leader in the women’s and LGBTQ equality movements. She was the founder and publisher of the Provincetown Banner, a community newspaper covering the outer arm of Cape Cod, which was recipient of the New England Press Association Newspaper of the Year Award. She has long been a feminist activist and is on the boards of LPAC, the Feminist Majority PAC, and the advisory board of Ms. Magazine. She is a member of the Board of the Center for Coastal Studies and has been a leader in regional and national efforts to create consensus between economic and environmental interests. She has been involved with and a supporter of numerous arts organizations and is currently a producer of several Broadway shows and two films.
Ritchie has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the New England Press Association Award for Serious Columnist, Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Appreciation Award from the Educational Facilities Center for outstanding contribution to the advancement of education in America, Environmental Recognition Award from the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs, and the Person of the Year and Regional Leadership Award from the Planning Commissions and Councils of New England. She was selected as one of the 25 most influential people on Cape Cod and was chosen by the U.S. Presidential Commission on Executive Interchange to serve as consultant to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, U.S. Treasury Department.
Jamie Wolf is a journalist, editor, photographer, and film producer. She served as vice President of the Board of PEN Center USA, as well as Chair of the center’s annual Literary Awards Festival, until the center’s unification with PEN America in 2018. One of the original group of editors at Washington Monthly, she has written about politics and other subjects for that magazine, as well as Harper’s; The New Yorker; New West; American Film; Los Angeles Times Magazine; Los Angeles magazine, for which she was a contributing writer; LA Weekly, for which she covered the Howard Dean campaign; MotherJones.com; and the Los Angeles Review of Books, for which she was a founding Board member. Her essay on parenthood and grown children, “The Shoes in the Hall,” appeared in the anthology The Empty Nest, published in 2007. Wolf’s photographs of urban landscapes have been published in DoubleTake magazine and exhibited in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College.