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The mission of the Saratoga Book Festival is to celebrate reading and writing, and the power of books to inform, challenge, inspire, and delight.
Founder & President
Ellen Beal is a former international book editor and publishing executive at National Geographic Books, Berlitz Travel and Language Publishing, and Running Press where she managed editorial development and multilingual publishing projects. While serving as a volunteer reading coach, she became deeply interested in promoting literacy and encouraging a love of reading.
Co-Chair of the Volunteer Committee Development Research and Grants
Dung-Lan is acquisitions librarian at the Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College where she manages the Bibliographic Services Department Acquisitions unit’s workflow and oversees the Library’s acquisitions activities for library purchases as well as subscriptions. She has an MLS from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, an M.ED in Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. and a B.A., Library Science (minor in Chinese Literature), National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C
Co-chair of the Volunteer Committee
Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Skidmore College, Kim has been at Skidmore since January 2014 where she created a comprehensive four-year career development program, What’s NEXT, with signature programming focused on early career engagement, experiential learning, networking and job search, with a new focus on Career Communities. An experienced career development professional, Kim has worked at large public institutions, as well as small liberal arts colleges. Kim graduated summa cum laude from the College of Staten Island with a B.A. in Psychology and holds a Masters of Counseling from St. John’s University. Kim is an avid reader and is a ten-year member of to a Book Club on Staten Island (where she used to live) for over ten years. She is a graduate of Leadership Saratoga. Her role on the committee is to recruit, train, and oversee volunteers.
Chair of the Program Committee
Jordana is Professor of History at Skidmore College, where she has taught since receiving her PhD from New York University. Her research and teaching interests include Latin America, the history of cartography, book history and public history. She directs the Latin American and Latinx Studies minor program, and was the inaugural director of the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCS) (2014-2018). Current projects include a website and edited volume about the role of maps in books and a book about maps and travel writing. She recently partnered with Skidmore art professor Kate Leavitt to offer students studying travel writing in Latin America an opportunity to create hand-made books. In Spring 2020, her Archival Storytelling class helped organize the SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) archive materials.
Founder & Program Committee Member
Co-owner of Northshire Books, one of the nation’s most respected independent book stores, Chris is deeply connected to publishers and authors and has been instrumental in building the June 2020 Festival program. Says Chris, “Growing up in the bookstore was a treat. Books have literally been in my blood since I was young. Now I mostly read books about the state of the world or the various possible futures we might face. I hope books, learning, communication, dialog, and the chance to ponder possibilities beyond our everyday lives will contribute to a world which thrives culturally, economically and environmentally.”
Erik J. A. Morrison
Author Relations Manager
Erik is a Personnel Development and Improvement Generalist at WSWHE BOCES, where he oversees staff recruitment for all BOCES sites, staff on and off boarding, as well as employer branding initiatives. An MBA, Erik is the CEO of the newly-created consulting firm, Morrison Consultancy Group, where he facilitates change for his clients with a focus on Organizational Strategy, Talent Development,and& Marketing services.
In addition to these two roles, Erik is an active member of the community as a volunteer at Skidmore College, Universal Preservation Hall, Tri-County United Way, a volunteer tax preparer with VITA, and an Instructor for WSWHE BOCES’s Employment Training for Adults division, where he teaches courses on Administrative Office Technology and How to Start a Business in NYS. Erik is a graduate of Notre Dame de Namur University with his MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management and Skidmore College with a BA in History and a minor in Arts Administration.
Rachel is the event manager for Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs. She spent six years curating and producing literary programming at Symphony Space in New York City. During those years she served as Associate Director of the series Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story, heard nationwide on public radio. In Saratoga Springs, Rachel worked in the Community Relations Office at Skidmore College. A graduate of Albany High School and Princeton University, she now lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband, writer Steve Sheinkin, and their two children. She has served on the boards of directors of The Adirondack Center for Writing and Saratoga Reads.
Founder & Program Committee Member
Director of the Saratoga Springs Public Library System, Issac is a founding member of The Saratoga Springs Book Festival. He brings decades of expertise overseeing public libraries and first-hand knowledge of creating programming and services that promote reading, literacy, and community engagement to the Festival Leadership team. Issac serves as the Festival liaison with libraries in our region and reviews Festival programming to ensure we remain true to our mission of serving diverse interests and reading abilities.
Purdy is now a freelance publicist recently returned to upstate New York after a twenty-eight year career in NYC promoting serious nonfiction authors and their works/research for such distinguished publishers as Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Basic Books, WH Freeman, et al. In his spare time he writes short stories and tells his great nieces outrageous fibs.
Steve is an experienced event and meeting planner, having organized and managed the Learning conferences in Orlando for the past 7 years (Learning 2013 – Learning 2019) initially as an employee of The MASIE Center, and most recently working with CloserStill Media. Prior to joining MASIE, Steve was an executive at John Hancock/Manulife, holding various positions in Information Technology and Human Resources. Steve is a Trustee of Opera Saratoga (Board Secretary) and a member of the Saratoga Pride leadership committee, and was a founding member and Treasurer of Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs. Steve chairs the annual Opera Gala, “Opera on the Lake”. He lives in downtown Saratoga Springs with his husband, Home Made Theater General Manager Eric Rudy, and has a grown daughter in NYC.
Dolores “Dee” Sarno
Community Outreach and Fundraising
Dee served as Executive Director of the Saratoga County Arts Council, where she and a dedicated Board of Directors established the Community Arts Center in downtown Saratoga Springs. She received the NYS Organizational Award for Advancing Cultural Development in New York State on behalf of the Arts Council before retiring in 2007. Dee has served on numerous arts and community boards and consulted with many local and state arts and cultural groups, including the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, SPAC, Caffé Lena, Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Program, the NYS State Partners for Arts Education, and the Alliance of NYS Arts Organizations. Dee is the ex-officio of SaratogaArsFest Board, now Radial Arts. Dee remains an active member of Soroptimist International, a professional women’s philanthropic organization. She serves on the Planning Committee for Skidmore College’s Annual Scholarship event, and recently joined the League of Women Voters.