Board of Directors

The Savannah Book Festival is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. It is through the direction and guidance of this group of individuals that the Savannah Book Festival has grown to one of the country’s finest invitation-only literary festivals. If you cross paths with one of these generous individuals in our community, please take a moment to thank them for their time and support.

Beau Anders

Beau Anders

Board of Directors - Past President

Beau has been involved with SBF for the past 7 years and has served in various roles as Treasurer, Chair of the Author Selection Committee and President from 2018-2021. He is now in his second year as Past President and serves on the Executive Committee. He helped to focus SBF’s efforts before and during the pandemic. His professional background was in finance where he led efforts in three medical startups and finished his career at KPMG, a major accounting and consulting firm, as managing partner in Silicon Valley. Beau’s reading is extensive and covers a wide variety of authors, many of whom were first introduced at SBF. Over the past several years, over and above his normal reading, he has read upwards of 15 different SBF authors each year in preparation for the Festival.

Jeffrey Capshew

Jeffrey Capshew

Board of Directors

Jeff’s long career has been entirely in bookselling and publishing. After graduating from Miami University (Ohio), he was a manager for five B. Dalton Bookseller stores including their flagship in Manhattan. He has held senior management positions at Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan for 24 years, and is currently at Other Press. Jack Romanos invited Jeff to join the SBF Author Selection Committee in 2019. Jeff lives in Manhattan. His family lived in Savannah for many years at The Landings, and he spent lots of time finding gems at one of his favorite bookstores, E. Shaver Booksellers.

Ivy Council

Ivy Council

Board of Directors

Ivy D. Council joined the SBF Board in 2017 and has served as a member of the Executive Committee.  She has been Chief Compliance Officer and Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Citi Trends, Inc. since March 2012. Ms. Council served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Citi Trends since January 8, 2007. From February 2006 to November 2006, she served as Vice President of Human Resources for Baja Fresh Restaurants, a division of Wendy’s, Inc. From September 2003 to January 2006, Ms. Council served as Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Pasta Pomodoro Restaurants.

Ariel Felton

Ariel Felton

Board of Directors

Ariel Felton is an established writer with work appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Atlanta Magazine, The Bitter Southerner, and more. She also serves as Director of Youth Programs at Deep Center, a local nonprofit with a mission to empower Savannah’s young people to thrive as learners, community leaders, and agents of change through creative writing, cultural production, and art. Ariel joined the board of Savannah Book Festival in 2021. Choosing one favorite author is an impossible task, but she consistently returns to classic memoir and essays by Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Joan Didion.

Rachel Young Fields

Rachel Young Fields

Board of Directors - President

Rachel Young Fields is the Chairperson and President of the SBF Board of Directors and has been a member of the Board since 2016. Fields is a partner at the HunterMaclean law firm where she focuses her practice on intellectual property law and complex commercial litigation.  Like many attorneys, she was inspired in her youth by Harper Lee’s masterful portrayal of Atticus Finch in the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  Fields volunteers her time to SBF because she believes in the power of books to help people challenge their beliefs, learn something new, and, as Atticus Finch said, walk around in someone else’s skin so that you can understand their point of view.

Matt Graham

Matt Graham

Board of Directors

Matt is the General Manager at Thompson Savannah, located in the new Eastern Wharf neighborhood. He lives in Ardsley Park with his wife Sarah and their sons Henry and Jack, Matt’s daughter is a school teacher in Rochester, NY. He is originally from the NYC area, and his career has brought him up and down the Eastern seaboard, as far north as Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and as far south as Miami, Florida. Matt grew up in a family of journalist and editors  has always had an appreciation for the written word. Matt studied literature at the University of Washington. Some of his favorite authors are T.C. Boyle, Pynchon, Gaddis, Wolfe, Garcia-Marquez, Greene, Hesse and Eco.

Jaqueline Mason

Jaqueline Mason

Board of Directors

Jaqueline is a real estate agent in the downtown Savannah area who loves Savannah as much as she loves her clients. After visiting Savannah for the first time in the spring of 2001, she realized that Savannah was home to her future. Jaqueline received a B.S. in Interior Design from Western Michigan University.

Kristin Prentiss Ott

Kristin Prentiss Ott

Board of Directors

Kristin Prentiss Ott is a lifelong bibliophile who has become a devoted audiobook listener. Whilst driving, cleaning, or doing almost anything, novels are her soundtrack. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature from The University of Michigan and later earned an MD from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She completed her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a practicing, board-certified, emergency medicine physician in Savannah, Georgia. She is the founder of Women Physician Writers which boasts over 2,500 members. Some of Kristin’s essays can be found online and she is beginning work on her second novel. She lives in Vernonburg with her husband and their two children.

Bruce Pendleton

Bruce Pendleton

Board of Directors

Raised in Anchorage, Kentucky, Bruce developed his life-long love of reading at the local library. He graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio with a B.A. in English Literature and spent most of his professional life running a precision valves and fittings distributorship. Now retired, Bruce and his wife Liz split their time between Mission Hills, Kansas and Richmond Hills, Georgia. Most of their four children and twelve grandchildren are voracious readers, and Bruce has encouraged all to spend as much time as possible lost to a good book.

Brooke Phillips

Brooke Phillips

Board of Directors

Brooke Phillips has always had an immense love for books. From the time she was a child to now, she can be found hiding away and escaping to the land of fiction. This is her second year on the SBF Board, and she looks forward to expanding the festival experience beyond the main festival weekend and into other events throughout the year. When she’s not reading, Brooke is the Executive Director of the Savannah Downtown Business Association.

Caroline Cay Powell

Caroline Cay Powell

Board of Directors

Caroline “Caro” is a retired realtor who lived in Jacksonville for most of her adult life. She is originally from Savannah and is a graduate of Savannah Country Day School and Hollins University. Caro resides in downtown Savannah and is well-connected among the downtown residents. Caro is a fan of SBF and E. Shaver.

Jonathan Rabb

Jonathan Rabb

Board of Directors

Jonathan Rabb is the author of the novels Among the Living (a finalist for the 2018 Townsend Prize for Fiction), The Second Son, Shadow and Light, Rosa (winner of the Director’s Prize at Semana Negra, 2006), The Book of Q and The Overseer. He has published short fiction and non-fiction in a number of magazines and journals, including The Oxford American, The Strand, Lit Hub, Opera News and the Journal for Interdisciplinary History. He originated the role of Fermat in the Off-Broadway production of Fermat’s Last Tango, and has soloed with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the Albany Symphony, and the Harrisburg Symphony, among others. He has taught at NYU, Columbia and is currently a Professor of Writing at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He has a BA in political science from Yale and an MA and MPhil in political theory from Columbia.

Jack Romanos

Jack Romanos

Board of Directors - Chairman Emeritus

Jack Romanos, retired CEO of Simon & Schuster, joined the Board of the Savannah Book Festival in 2009. He has remained involved for over 13 years, both as a Board member, president and currently as Chairman Emeritus. Jack served as head of the Author Selection Committee until 2020. His favorite book is The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Board of Directors

Matt Smith is an Audit Supervisor at Hancock Askew’s Savannah office. Prior to his career in accounting, Matt served six years in the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the “Night Stalkers,” as a Helicopter Crewmember Supervisor. Matt received a B.B.A Summa Cum Laude in Accounting from Georgia Southern University.

Carri Stoltz

Carri Stoltz

Board of Directors

After a career in Alexandria, VA working primarily with young children as a speech-language pathologist and early childhood special educator, it was only natural for Carri so seek opportunities to volunteer for child-related organizations when she and her husband Gerry moved to Savannah in 2014. She became a board member, Vice-President and then President of The One Hundred Children’s Foundation where she helped the organization become a 501(c)3, sought benefactors and reviewed and wrote grants. As an avid reader (she’s on her stationary bike reading every morning,) she looks forward to working with the Savannah Book Festival to reach new heights and continue the great tradition of providing the most interesting, entertaining and friendliest book festival in the country.

Dan Suwyn

Dan Suwyn

Board of Directors

Partner at Energage and EBS Brain, is a former journalist, with a history of working in the research industry. He is at his best when connecting the dots between behaviors and outcomes. He is pursuing advanced degrees in cognitive neuroscience. Dan received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware.

Deb Werner

Deb Werner

Board of Directors

Deb served as the Chair of the 2022 SBF Volunteer Committee and participated with the committee and as an usher since 2017. Professionally, she was Director of Member Programs and Services for the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, an association of grant-makers committed to promoting and supporting effective philanthropy for the public good. Prior to transitioning to the non-profit sector, she worked for 25+ years with graphic design and communications firms serving as a designer, creative director and manager. She currently serves on the board of Landings Landlovers and is active in two book groups.
“The reward and fulfillment of volunteering with SBF is exemplified in the readily-expressed appreciation of those who come from near and far to attend the Festival and offer thanks and appreciation about the authors, venues and Savannah.”

Lisa Yount

Lisa Yount

Board of Directors - Vice President

Lisa moved to Savannah in 2007 and has held many leadership positions at Savannah State University. She served on Deep Center’s Board of Directors from 2011-17, including a two-year term as Board Chair. Lisa began her tenure on the Savannah Book Festival Board in 2018. Her roles at Savannah State University have been instrumental in supporting the missions of both the Savannah State University campus and the Festival. As a philosophy professor, Lisa is drawn to fiction that attempts to express philosophical ideas through characters in action.

 
Bob Zerbe

Bob Zerbe

Board of Directors - Treasurer

Dr. Robert Zerbe is an enthusiastic supporter of the Savannah Book Festival and has served on its Board since 2018 and as its Treasurer since 2020. He enjoys reading most anything, but has a particular interest in science, medicine, history and philosophy.  Dr. Zerbe is a retired physician who retired to Richmond Hill after a career as a pharmaceutical Research and Development executive. He and his wife Linda spend the winters in Georgia and the summers in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Staff

Tara Setter

Tara Setter

Executive Director

Tara has been a key member of the Savannah Book Festival team since 2018, she was named Executive Directory in June of 2022. In addition to her extensive experience with SBF, Tara has 18 years of nonprofit management and event planning experience, having spent 12 years as the Assistant Director of the BP Amoco Marketers Association, a national trade association representing BP Oil Distributors. Before moving to Savannah, Tara was located in Los Angeles, working as an Advertising Executive on image advertising for Acura Automobiles. Tara is a native of Virginia, was raised outside of Boston and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Tara settled in Savannah in 1995 and is proud to call Savannah home.

Contact: [email protected]

Mickie McNamara

Mickie McNamara

Assistant Director

Seeking opportunities to network with other booklovers, Mickie volunteered as part of the SBF Volunteer Logistics team in 2018. A chance meeting with Festival Saturday presenting author Douglas Preston, one of her favorite authors, kept SBF on her radar. She spent the next four years attending SBF virtual and in-person events. Originally from New York City, Mickie spent ten years working on Wall Street before she served as a Department of Defense civilian employee for U.S. Army Africa in Vicenza, Italy. Mickie is delighted to call Savannah home after seven years living in in northern Italy. She has an M.A. from St. John’s University, Rome Campus and a B.A. from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Contact: [email protected]

Joice Barnard

Joice Barnard

Program Coordinator

Joice is originally from Asheville, NC, but now resides in Savannah’s Historic District. After earning a degree in Biology from Georgia State University with her sights on becoming a nurse, Joice’s career shifted toward a more creative path. Before SBF, she worked as a PR Coordinator at the Seattle Art Museum and a Content Producer at Brooks Running. In May of this year, Joice relocated to Savannah to retire in a warmer climate and be closer to family located along the east coast. In her free time, Joice enjoys the three Rs: Reading, Running, and Reality TV.

Contact: [email protected]

Founder

Matt Pricket

Matt Pricket

Founder of the Savannah Book Festival

Matt Prickett founded the Savannah Book Festival in 2008.  His vision, dedication and leadership was the foundation upon which one of the nation’s leading invitation-only book festivals was built.  The book loving community of Savannah along with the Savannah Book Festival are eternally grateful for his creation of this outstanding event.

Thank You to Our SBF Sponsors