Renew and ReImagine

PNLA Annual Conference 2017

Featured Speakers

Napoli Author Photo_ Credit Preston Wiles.jpg

Lisa Napoli

Thursday, August 3rd

Breakfast Keynote, 8am

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Lisa Napoli moved to southern California in 2004 to work on the public radio show, Marketplace. She was inspired to write this book by a sculpture of a nuclear mushroom cloud made by the late Pulitzer-prize winning editorial illustrator, Paul Conrad. On assignment for the public radio station KCRW, Lisa learned that the 26-foot tall work called Chain Reaction faced demolition if the city of Santa Monica couldn’t raise the funds to restore it. Local activist Jerry Rubin whispered to Lisa that the sculpture had been funded by the late Joan Kroc, known in part for her massive gift to NPR, announced posthumously in 2003. Intrigued, Lisa set about finding out why the heiress to the McDonald’s fortune, about whom so little was known, would fund such a project. Over the next five years, scouring archives, sleuthing out sources all over the country, and traveling to meet them, she unearthed and pieced together the story of this amazing woman. To tell her story, it seemed essential to tell that of Ray and how he made the McDonald’s fortune, too.  

A journalist for over thirty years, she was among the pioneering team of journalists at the New York Times who covered the early days of the dot-com era. A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Lisa leads a group of friends in an award-winning volunteer cooking group at the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  She’s also the founding board chair of the Bhutan Media Service, an all-volunteer news outlet created by Bhutanese refugees in diaspora. Earlier this year, she began producing and hosting a podcast about growing old called Gracefully.


Meghan Sayres

Thursday, August 3rd

Lunch, 12pm

Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a tapestry weaver who lives with her husband, children, sheep and cat in Eastern Washington. She is author of a novel set in 19th century Iran, Anahita’s Woven Riddle, an ALA Top Ten Best Books 2007 and a Book Sense Pick 2007; Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland; and co-author of Daughters of the Desert: Tales of Remarkable Women From the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Traditions. Meghan has visited schools and taught creative writing workshops in schools in the US, Ireland, Turkey, Qatar, Iran and Uzbekistan, where she has also met with scholars, carpet weavers, dye masters and merchants to study the age-old symbolism and Sufi poetry that infuse many rugs woven throughout the Middle East. She is at work on novels set in these countries and an anthology about Iran.


Rob Greenfield

Friday, August 4th

Breakfast, 8am

Rob Greenfield is an adventurer, environmental activist, humanitarian, and dude making a difference. He is dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world. Rob is the creator of The Food Waste Fiasco, a campaign that strives to end food waste and hunger in the U.S. He has dove into more than two thousand dumpsters across America to demonstrate how nearly half of all food in the U.S. is wasted while 50 million (1 in 7) Americans are food insecure. Rob has cycled across the U.S. twice on a bamboo bicycle bringing his message of sustainability and earth-friendly living to America. His first bike ride across the U.S. is also now a book, Dude Making a Difference.  


Kevin Emerson

Friday, August 4th

YRCA Luncheon, 12pm

Kevin Emerson is the author of sixteen novels for children and young adults. His books have been published in ten different countries, and you could say that he's big in the Czech Republic. Formerly a science teacher, Kevin has taught creative writing to children and teens with Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools program, and Richard Hugo House. His is also a drummer and singer, most recently with his bands Northern Allies and Math and Physics Club. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant (probably because he was wearing a suit of armor), and once appeared in a Swedish TV commercial.