The Honorary Board was established in 2010 to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to American letters and have an affinity with The Writer’s Center.

Kate Blackwell, short story writer

Kate is from Winston-Salem, NC. She worked as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh and as editorial writer for the Greensboro Daily News. Kate has taught at The Writer’s Center for 14 years and served on the Board from 1995 to 2007. Her short story collection, you won’t remember this (2007), has been widely praised, and she is working on a second collection of stories.

Timothy Crawford, playwright, director

Tim is from Chicago. After relocating to the DC area, he soon connected with the Writer’s Center, signing up for the very first creative-writing workshop offered (by Allan B. Lefcowitz) and later serving as both an instructor and Board chairman. He directed acclaimed Baltimore-area premieres of Fences by August Wilson and All in the Timing by David Ives. Tim’s one-act play The Consultant from Hell was performed as part of the 2007 Capital Fringe Festival. He currently lives in Springfield, IL, where he is in charge of IT and conferences for the Illinois Education Association.

Dana Gioia, poet, critic, arts administrator

Dana is from Hawthorne, CA. He left business to write poetry. His collection Interrogations at Noon won the 2002 American Book Award. In 2005, Dana received the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry. Dana served as chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009 and is currently director of the Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts at the Aspen Institute.

Jim Lehrer, novelist, news anchor, PBS

Jim grew up in Texas and began his career in journalism at The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times. He began working with PBS in 1973 and in 1975 he developed and co-anchored The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, which later became the PBS NewsHour. Jim has written 20 novels, two memoirs, two screenplays, and three plays. His most recent novels are Oh, Johnny (2009) and Super (2010).

Kate Lehrer, novelist

Kate is from Texas and has written four novels: Best Intentions (1987), When They Took Away the Man in the Moon (1993), Out of Eden (1996), and most recently, Confessions of a Bigamist (2004). She has also written short stories, essays, and book reviews, and she participates in the Diane Rehm Book Club on National Public Radio. She and her husband, Jim Lehrer, have given two notable joint talks at The Writer’s Center.

Alice McDermott, novelist, short story writer

Alice is from New York. Her first novel was A Bigamist’s Daughter (1982). Her second novel, That Night (1987), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. At Weddings and Wakes (1992) followed and her fourth novel, Charming Billy (1998), won the National Book Award. Child of My Heart(2002) followed, and then her most recent novel, After This (2006). Alice has taught at The Writer’s Center where she has given several fine lectures on writing and has also served on the Board.

Ellen McLaughlin, playwright, actor

Ellen grew up in Chevy Chase and lives in Nyack, NY. Her plays include adaptations from the classics: Iphigenia and Other Daughters, The Trojan Women, Helen, The Persians, Oedipus, and Penelope. Her book, The Greek Plays, was published in 2005. Ellen originated the part of the Angel in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and appeared in every production from its earliest workshops through its Broadway run. Among her other favorite roles are the Homebody in Homebody Kabul and Hedda in Hedda Gabler.

E. Ethelbert Miller

Ethelbert received his B.A. from Howard University. He is the author of several poetry collections, including How We Sleep On the Nights We Don’t Make Love (Curbstone Press, 2004). He also is editor of many anthologies and author of the memoir Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer (2000). His awards include the Columbia Merit Award and the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. In 1979, the Mayor of Washington, D.C., proclaimed September 28, 1979 as “E. Ethelbert Miller Day.” Miller is the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, one of the oldest literary series in the Washington area, and is former director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, a position he held for forty years. With Jody Bolz, Ethelbert has been co-executive editor of Poet Lore, published by The Writer’s Center, since 2002.

Howard Norman, novelist

Howard was born in Toledo and lives in Washington. He is a prolific writer in a variety of styles. How the Glooskap Outwits the Ice Giants and several others are for juvenile audiences. He has written books on Canadian folklore, including books about Cree, Inuit, and Eskimo cultures. Howard received the Lannan Literary Award for The Bird Artist in 1994, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, along with Northern Lights. His latest novel is What Is Left the Daughter.