PEN Center USA Proposed 2012 Officers and Directors

Voting for the 2012-14 Board of Directors and Executive Officers is now closed. Read about the new Board Members below!

You may review the election procedures, outlined in the bylaws, here.


Marvin S. Putnam is a partner at the international law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, where he chairs the firm's First Amendment Group and is 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 their First Amendment rights. Marvin provides prepublication review for national news, variety, and talk show programs, as well as national 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. For each of the past five years, 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.

Jamie Wolf is a journalist, editor, and photographer. She’s been actively involved with PEN Center USA for many years, initially as a member of the Board and then as the vice president of the Center, for whom she’s chaired the last five or six Literary Awards Festivals. One of the original group of editors at The Washington Monthly, she has written about politics and other subjects for that magazine as well as for Harper’s; The New Yorker; New West; American Film; Los Angeles Times Magazine; Los Angeles magazine, for whom she was a contributing writer; and LA Weekly, for whom she covered the Howard Dean campaign; and also for Her essay dealing with parenthood and grown children, “The Shoes in the Hall,” appeared in the anthology The Empty Nest, which was published by Hyperion in the spring of 2007.

Wolf’s photographs of urban landscapes have been published in DoubleTake magazine and exhibited in Washington, D.C., and in Los Angeles. A graduate of Radcliffe College in the final year it gave out separate degrees (1968), she’s married to David Wolf, a screenwriter and native Californian, whom she met when she was a freshman in college and he was a graduate student in the Harvard government department, complaining endlessly about the Cambridge climate compared to the paradise of UC Berkeley, where he’d been an undergraduate. They live in Beverly Hills and have one daughter, Kate Wolf, a writer, who lives in Highland Park. Jamie is a devoted gardener whose garden has been featured on a number of tours and in various publications; not long ago a feature she wrote on roses (her specialty) was published in House Beautiful. Increasingly these days she’s involved in the production of documentary film.

For her stint in doing politics rather than simply writing about them, Wolf was part of a group that persuaded the City of West Hollywood to embark on its award-winning Specific Plan, which somewhat rationalized growth on Sunset Boulevard. She was also a founding member of the Brentwood Village Tree Foundation, which has managed so far to preserve the ficus trees in the cul-de-sacs on Barrington Ave, just south of Sunset Boulevard. Additionally, she’s on the board of the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

Robert B. Wallace is a principal partner in LeMac Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company that finances and produces content for all media platforms. The former executive editor and vice president of Rolling Stone for more than a decade, he also has served as editor-in-chief of Men's Journal and Rocky Mountain Magazine and editorial director of Talk. In television, he was a senior producer and story editor for Diane Sawyer at ABC News and vice president of content development for ESPN, where he created the award-winning sports newsmagazine show E:60 and helped launch the documentary series 30 for 30. In books, he was the editor-in-chief of St. Martin's Press and Wenner Books. He has won three Emmys in news and sports and has served on the board of the American Society of Magazine Editors. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Holly Palance.

Nancy Hardin has worked as an editor, writer, researcher, reporter, and, in the film business, as an agent, studio executive, and producer. Winner of the John Masefield Prize for Prose Writing at Wellesley College, she was published while still an undergraduate in the book A D. H. Lawrence Miscellany. After working as a researcher at Time-Life Books, writing for Grolier Encyclopedia, and reporting for Television Age magazine, she served as a senior editor at New American Library, Pocket Books at Simon & Schuster, and Bantam Books. Moving from New York to Los Angeles, she was a literary agent, then production vice president at Paramount Pictures and CBS Theatrical Films, before going out on her own. Her producer credits include Frida, Noriega, and the miniseries Texas Justice. Currently, she is a freelance editor and writer.


Reza Aslan is founder of, an online portal for news and information about the Middle East. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age and the editor of two volumes, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East and Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, Complexities. Aslan is associate professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside.

Cari Beauchamp is an award-winning author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. She has written five nonfiction books, including Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood and Joseph P. Kennedy Presents. She writes for Vanity Fair, has twice been named an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences film scholar, and has been an active PEN member for more than a decade.

Laura Bickford is the Academy-Award-nominated producer of the critically acclaimed film Traffic, which earned four out of the five Oscars for which it was nominated. Bickford collaborated with Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro, producing the two-part epic, Che, which garnered award acclaim internationally including the Palme d'Or for Best Actor at Cannes.

One of the film industry’s leading independent producers with numerous studio and independent projects in development, Bickford recently wrapped Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Laetitia Costa, and Brit Marling.

Bickford and Del Toro have numerous projects currently in development, including an untitled Cameron Diaz comedy at Fox being written by Jeremy Garelick (The Hangover). In addition, 7 Days in Havana, in which seven different directors take on a night in Havana, will premiere in December 2011 at the Havana Film festival, which includes Del Toro’s directorial debut, produced by Bickford and starring Josh Hutcherson (Hunger Games).

Laura Bickford Productions was based at Universal Studios for two years following Traffic where, among other projects, she developed and produced Duplicity, written and directed by Tony Gilroy and starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.

Laura Bickford Productions merged with River Road Entertainment for two years, during which time they financed several movies, including the award-winning film Brokeback Mountain and Robert Altman’s last film, A Prairie Home Companion, with Meryl Streep. They also financed and produced Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. Bickford served as executive producer on Chicago 10, a documentary by Brett Morgen and Graydon Carter.

After studying filmmaking and various liberal arts subjects, Bickford earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College. Shortly thereafter, she moved to London where she lived for five years. While there, Bickford produced music videos (more than fifty in the United States and Europe) and developed feature films for Jeremy Thomas and Luc Roeg’s Vivid Productions.

Bickford made her feature-producing debut in 1995 with the Emmy award-winning Citizen X for HBO Pictures and later produced Playing God with Beacon Pictures, released by Touchstone Pictures in 1997.

Also in 1997, Bickford produced Bongwater, starring Luke Wilson and Jack Black.

Henry Bromell has written and produced the TV dramas Northern Exposure, I’ll Fly Away, Homicide: Life on the Street, Chicago Hope, Carnivale, Brotherhood, and Rubicon. He has received three Peabody Awards, a Writers Guild Award, and two Humanitas Awards. He has also written and directed two movies: Panic, starring William H. Macy, Neve Campbell, and Donald Sutherland; and Last Call, starring Jeremy Irons, Neve Campbell, and Sissy Spacek. He is the author of two novels, Little America and The Follower, and two collections of short stories, The Slightest Distance and I Know Your Heart, Marco Polo. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Rolling Stone. He is currently working on Showtime’s new drama Homeland.

Kathryn Ann Busby, vice president of comedy development at TBS, works with writers and producers to develop and produce original scripted programming. Upcoming comedies from the team include Men At Work starring Danny Masterson, The Wedding Band starring Brian Austin Green, and Sullivan & Son, produced by Vince Vaughn.

Busby also heads up the network’s newly revamped Unscripted Department where she acquires and develops reality projects that compliment the TBS brand.

Before landing at TBS, Busby was senior vice president of production at New Line Cinema, where she served as executive producer on the movie Sex and the City. While senior vice president and head of development at Carsey Werner, Busby oversaw the development of Grounded for Life and was part of the team that produced 3rd Rock from the Sun and That '70s Show. Busby began her television career as director of comedy development at Universal Television.

As a filmmaker, Busby directed, produced, and cowrote the short film Max and Josh, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. Her original screenplay, Her Gal Friday, cowritten with Neena Beber, was optioned at ABC Family.

Charles Day is the director of marketing for BOMB magazine in New York. In previous lives he managed Book Soup bookstore, was director of marketing at Melville House publishing, and founded a few of his own publishing companies, most recently Seven Spheres, a press devoted to new fiction and literature in translation.

David Francis, originally from Australia, is a novelist and lawyer based in Los Angeles. His first novel, Agapanthis Tango, was published internationally in seven languages, and then in the United States as The Great Inland Sea. He received the Australian Literature Fund Fellowship to the Keesing Studio in Paris to write his second novel, Stray Dog Winter, which was named Book of the Year in The Advocate, Novel of the Year in the Australian Literature Review, and won the 2010 American Library Association Stonewall Prize for Literature. His short fiction has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories 2010 and The Harvard Review. Film rights to The Great Inland Sea and Stray Dog Winter have been optioned in France and Australia, respectively. For more information, visit

Miranda Cowley Heller grew up in New York City and Sherman, CT. After graduating from Harvard with degrees in history and literature, she worked at the Italian art magazine FMR and went on to become the youngest-ever fiction and books editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. She left Cosmo to move to Italy, where she wrote travel and art pieces. In 1997, Miranda moved to Los Angeles to help run the new drama series department at HBO. As senior vice president of original programming, she developed and oversaw such series as The Sopranos, Oz, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Carnivale, and Big Love, among others. Miranda has happily retired from the entertainment industry and is currently working toward a graduate degree in art history, specifically Northern Renaissance painting and the Spanish Netherlands.

Lauren Levy Neustadter is a vice president of production at Twentieth Century Fox where she oversees a slate of family films, comedies, and romantic comedies, including the 2012 releases This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy; and Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Marisa Tomei. Before joining Fox, Lauren was vice president of Offspring Entertainment where she associate-produced The Last Song starring Miley Cyrus for Touchstone Pictures. Prior to that, Lauren was a creative executive at Miramax where she oversaw the development and production of a slate of films, including The Switch starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, and Last Night starring Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes.

Lauren began her film career as an assistant at CAA before working at HBO Films. She was born and raised in New Orleans and has attended the British American Drama Academy, the California Institute of the Arts, and Loyola Marymount University. She was recently recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “35 under 35,” which highlights up-and-coming executives in the entertainment industry.

Albert Litewka is chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is also chairman of the Board of SoliDDD Corp., a groundbreaking 3D technology company, and chairman of the Board of Winning Entertainment, the successor company to Creative Domain, an award-winning entertainment marketing and production company. In addition, Albert is a managing member of AngelVision Investors, which invests in entertainment, marketing, and new media ventures. Prior to an entrepreneurial career launched in Los Angeles, Albert enjoyed a successful career in New York, where he held positions in senior capacities for several well-known corporations, including president of Macmillan General Publishing, senior vice president of Macmillan Publishing, Inc., and president of Warner Software. Albert has also served as chairman of the Board of a well-known independent school. Albert graduated from UCLA with highest honors and was a Woodrow Wilson National Graduate Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Warsaw: A Novel of Resistance.

Tom Lutz is the author of Doing Nothing, Cosmopolitan Vistas, Crying, American Nervousness 1903, and other works. He is currently professor of creative writing and media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside, and editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Brighde Mullins is the director of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. She is a playwright with extensive experience in arts administration and teaching. Her plays include The Bourgeois Pig, or This Earth Our Hospital; Monkey in the Middle; TEACH; Those Who Can, Do; Fire Eater; Topographical Eden; Pathological Venus; Meatless Friday; and Baby Hades. Her work has been performed in New York (Ensemble Studio Theatre, LaMaMa, New York Stage and Film, Mabou Mines, and others); San Francisco (The Magic, Thick Description); Los Angeles, and London. Her telephone play Click was commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville and appears in the Humana Festival Anthology (TCG Publishers). Current theatre projects include two commissions for Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a site-specific piece at Ann Hamilton’s Tower at Steve Oliver’s Ranch in Santa Rosa, CA. Her plays are published by Playscripts, Inc., and are available from Playscripts, Inc., and in the anthology Lucky Thirteen.

Brighde’s chapbook of poems, Water Stories, was published in 2003 and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her essay on playwriting appears in The Handbook of Creative Writing (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). She adapted the opening monologue and the epilogue of John VanBrugh’s restoration classic The Provok’d Wife for director Mark Wing-Davey’s production at A.R.T. (2005). Her play Monkey in the Middle was developed at Tisch School of the Arts and was directed by Mark Wing-Davey (2000).

Awards include: a Whiting Foundation Fellowship; the Will Glickman Award; an NEA Fellowship; the Jane Chambers Award, as well as a Gold Medal from The Pinter Review for Fire Eater. She has held residencies at Lincoln Center, New York Stage and Film, Mabou Mines, and the Institute for Art and Civic Dialogue (with Anna Deavere Smith). She has been awarded writing residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. She is a usual suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, and is a core member of the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She studied English and Theatre at the University of Nevada, and she holds an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught at Brown University (with Paula Vogel), and was the director of creative writing at Harvard University (where she was also a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Playwriting).

She has also received awards for her teaching at Harvard University (three Teaching Effectiveness Awards) and at San Francisco State University (Outstanding Teacher in Creative Expression). Her teaching career began at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as a Teaching-Writing Fellow, and she has taught in retirement homes; inner-city schools in the Bronx, Harlem and Queens; Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in upstate New York; and at Brown University, Harvard University, and the California Institute of the Arts. She served as a dramaturge for the Young Playwrights Festival (NY) for three years. She served for fifteen years as the director of the reading series in contemporary poetry at Dia Art Foundation in New York and also initiated a writer’s residency and designed and implemented an ongoing arts and education program for Dia Art Foundation. She lives in downtown LA.

Bonnie Nadell is president of the Hill Nadell Literary Agency based in Los Angeles. She represents more than 75 writers, including Sonia Nazario, Antonya Nelson, Sebastian Rotella, Rebecca Solnit, Eric Schmitt, Thom Shanker, and the late David Foster Wallace. She has been an agent since 1985 and has spoken or taught at various writing programs, including UCLA, University of Southern California, UC Riverside, and Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Before becoming an agent, Bonnie worked in New York at Simon & Schuster and New American Library.

Steven Salardino is the manager of Skylight Books, an independent bookstore serving literary Los Angeles for fifteen years. He helped open the store in 1996 while working on his MFA at the California Institute for the Arts. Through Skylight Books he has hosted and programmed numerous author readings and events. His stories and artwork have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Penny Ante, Bedwetter, and the anthology Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person. His articles, reviews, and interviews have also been published by the Los Angeles New Times, Soma Magazine, Helio Magazine, and others. In 1993 he started Sticks/Bricks, a DIY publishing pursuit that continues to put out zines, chapbooks, and other media. Since 1994 he has been a founding member of Ukefink, a musical project that incorporates forgotten, neglected, and broken instruments and ideas.

Rita Watnick, a native Angeleno, has owned Lily et Cie, a boutique that sells high-end, museum-quality vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories, for thirty years. After an early career at the jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, and at the fashion houses Yves St. Laurent and Valentino, she opened Lily et Cie in 1979 on something of a whim. Next to a dance studio on 3rd St and Cresent Heights, Rita bought a space to store her collection of vintage fashions, but so many people stared longingly into the windows that she decided to develop the concept of selling the kind of merchandise that was historically relegated to museum archive displays. Thus, Lily et Cie was born. In 1995 she moved the shop to its current location on Burton Way in Beverly Hills.

Lily et Cie has a long history of dressing celebrities for major events such as the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmy’s, Grammy’s, BAFTA awards, Cannes Film Festival, and the Met Ball. Demi Moore was the first to wear a vintage gown from Lily et Cie to the Oscars in 1992, starting a trend that’s still current. Because of the connection that fashion has to every corner of culture, and the extent that commerce underlies them both, Rita is an ardent, knowledgeable reader and cinephile; she has interests in theater, photography, politics, and architecture.

Elias Wondimu, an exiled journalist from Ethiopia, is a free press activist, knowledge broker, social entrepreneur, and cultural ambassador whose mission is to bridge people and continents through information that matters.

Founder of the Tsehai Publishers, one of the two African academic presses in the US, Wondimu is also the founder of Loyola Marymount University’s first press, the Marymount Institute Press.

Before founding the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies and the African Tribune, which are the leading sources of information on North-East African affairs, Wondimu was the managing editor of the Ethiopian Review Magazine and producer of African Connection, a public access television program.

A prominent voice in the pursuit of peace, Wondimu founded the Ethiopian Institute for Nonviolence Education and Peace Studies in the aftermath of the 2005 Ethiopian election. As a freedom of expression activist, he currently serves as a board member of PEN Center USA and has served on the board of the Black Journalist Association of Southern California and worked with the Committee to Protect Journalists.