Meet the Reviewers


Vicky Albritton earned a BA from Northwestern in poetry writing, an MA from Johns Hopkins in poetry writing, and a PhD from the University of Chicago, The Committee on Social Thought. Her work has appeared in a variety of media, including  The Eighth Lamp: Ruskin Studies Today and Kritik. She has taught at The University of Chicago, Colorado State University, and Hopkins.

Meredith Boe is a writer living in Chicago. She moved from Oklahoma to earn an MA from DePaul’s Writing and Publishing program, and has worked in book publishing since graduating. She regularly writes book and theater reviews, fiction, and nonfiction, and her work has appeared in World Literature TodayFrom the Depths, and Midwestern Gothic, among others.

Amy Brady is the managing editor of The Indiana Review. Her writing has appeared in Village Voice, The Awl, LA Weekly, Literary Hub, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She holds a BA from the University of Kansas, an MA from the University of Missouri, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Karri E. Christiansen is an award-winning journalist with more than twenty years experience writing for community and daily newspapers, including the Beacon News, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Daily Herald. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Aurora University, specializing in mental illness.

Kelli Christiansen has spent more than twenty years writing articles and working with books. As a journalist and writer, she has covered high school sports, village boards, and breaking news. Her work has appeared in such media as Book Business Magazine, Carol Stream Press, Chicago Life, Collections & Credit Risk Magazine, Glendale Heights Press, Midwest Book Review, Sacramento Book Review, and San Francisco Book Review. As a publishing professional, she has worked as a bookseller, editor, and consultant. Over the years, she has acquired, developed, and edited more than 200 books, working with such publishers as ABA Publishing, ALA Editions, Amacom, Bloomberg Press, Consumer Guide, Kaplan Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Osprey Publishing, and Sourcebooks. She launched bibliobibuli professional editorial services in 2007, and she founded Chicago Publishing Network, a LinkedIn group with more than 1,750 members, in 2008.

Sara Cutaia was born and raised in Texas, where she worked at an independent bookstore and increased her already-exuberant love of literature. She earned her BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin, where she worked on multiple literary journals as a fiction editor. She currently lives in Chicago, where she is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago in the Fiction Creative Writing program and also teaches Writing and Rhetoric. Her reviews and interviews have appeared in Chicago Book Review, Chicago Review of Books, and BookPeople’s Monthly Newsletter, and her fiction is forthcoming in 805 Lit.

Mark Eleveld is the editor of The Spoken Word Revolution. He also writes for ALA’s Booklist and Newcity magazine in Chicago, and he is a board member of the Society of Midland Authors.

Ola Faleti is a city child who graduated from the rural, Midwestern school known as St. Olaf College. After working with for less than a year, she currently develops training modules for big-name companies. She doesn’t feel like she’s sold her soul yet, luckily. This North Side native reads prose poems and eats ice cream (sometimes at the same time) when she isn’t writing.

Lynda Fitzgerald has worked as a bookseller, author events coordinator, and buyer at various Chicago-area bookstores for more than twenty years. For the past five years, she has been the marketing manager and editor for Crimson Books, Inc.

Paige Fumo Fox is a freelance writer, with recent contributions to TribLocal and Community Health Magazine. Her background includes more than a dozen years in newspapers, including The Pantagraph, Daily Southtown, and a handful of Chicago-area community newspapers.

Julie M. Hentz is an avid home baker and lover of cookbooks. A graphic designer by trade, she spends her free time in culinary school, studying Baking and Pastry Arts.

Stephen Isaacs has been in book publishing for more than thirty years. Over the years, he has worked as a bookseller, copy editor, project editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director. As acquisitions editor, he acquired several titles that were New York Times bestsellers. He has edited such topics as history, military, law, medicine, nature, and finance/investing. Currently editor-at-large for Bloomberg Press, he previously worked at Callaghan & Company, Encyclopedia Britannica, Publications International, and McGraw-Hill. He has an MA in English from Northwestern University and an MBA from Loyola-Chicago.

Mindy M. Jones earned a BA from Webster University, St. Louis, in creative writing while minoring in psychology. Before moving to Chicagoland, Jones worked for a community newspaper, The Missourian, in advertising and contributed book news and reviews for five years while completing her undergraduate work. Her reviews and works of creative nonfiction have appeared in The Missourian, The Green Fuse, The Mercury, and Chicago Book Review. The Jane Austen Society of North America recognized Mindy’s academic work with an honorable mention in their 2013 international essay contest. While exploring her new home on the shore of Lake Michigan, she writes full time and maintains a travel blog at There you’ll find her with her mostly Polish husband and her slobbery Great Dane binging on Chicago Dogs, hiking over the sand dunes, catfishing in sunsets, and taste-testing local craft brews, her favorite thus far being creamy oatmeal stouts.

Lyndsie Manusos earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has published journalism, creative writing, fiction, poetry, and theater reviews, and her work has appeared The Chicago Arts Journal, The Columbia College Literary Review, The Cortland Review, and Eunoia Review. In addition, she has been a contributor to The Bread Loaf Writers Conference and Tin House Summer Writers Workshop. Lyndsie works as an editorial assistant for World Book, Inc., and lives in Chicago.

Betty Nicholas experienced her first professional involvement with books as cohost of a book review program at radio station KGBX, Sprngfield, Missouri, directly after college. She moved to Chicago to work in advertising, and has been published in North Shore Magazine, Pioneer Press, World Tennis Magazine,and CrossCourt News, a regional tennis newspaper. While active with the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, she produced their yearly writers’ conference for several years and edited the national newsletter, The Third Degree, for four years. She published a lifestyle magazine, M.D. News, for the medical community in Chicago’s North Shore and Northwest Suburbs for six years. Nicholas began her Chicago advertising career as a media buyer with the major agency for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Arthur Meyerhoff, now BBDO), moved into research there and with other agencies including Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations (before he became Worldwide), and then into her own business, which operates under the banner of Specialized Media Services.

Michael Pementel is a soon-to-be graduate of Columbia College of Chicago’s Creative Writing program. He has published essays in Chicago Literati, The Curator, and Columbia’s Water Cooler Journal. He also works as a freelance event planner, putting together open mic events within the literary community.

Nathan Prince has studied writing all over Illinois. He lives and works near Chicago. His creative work has most recently appeared in Burning Word, Subtle Fiction, Permafrost, and Folly and Euphony, and he was the featured poet in Contemporary American Voices in July 2012. He is currently working on a novel.

A former radio news director and submarine sailor, Patrick Quinn is a writer and editor in Lawrence, Kansas, whose work has appeared in Creem, Sport, Kansas City Magazine, USA Today Green Living, SI for Kids, Urban Desires, Boston Book Review, Music Independent, The Pitch, the Kansas City Star, and a variety of trade publications. Author of Thick as Thieves (Crown, 1995), later adapted for the screen, the film premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. His interview credits include Hunter Thompson, James Ellroy, former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, William Burroughs, P.J. O’Rourke, Frank Zappa, Melissa Etheridge, and B.B. King.

Karyn Saemann is an independent writer, book editor, and book reviewer. Her book reviews have appeared in The Capital Times, US Review of Books, Midwest Book Review, Madison Magazine, and Chicago Book Review, as well as on her independent website, As an editor, she specializes in manuscript development. Spring 2014 will mark her debut as an author, with a children’s chapter book due out from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. She is currently working on an adult book for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Karyn has been an active member of Chicago’s Midwest Writers Association since 2009. In 2012 and 2013, she conducted writers’ workshops on reviewing and editing at the Southwest Wisconsin Book Festival in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In April 2014, she will speak on book reviewing at the Writers’ Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She formerly worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor in Madison, Wisconsin, and has a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Karyn lives in Deerfield, Wisconsin, with her husband and children.

Dmitry Samarov was born in Moscow, USSR in 1970. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1978. He got in trouble in first grade for doodling on his Lenin Red Star pin and hasn’t stopped doodling since. After a false start at Parsons School of Design in New York, he graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993. Upon graduation he promptly began driving a cab—first in Boston, then after a time, in Chicago—which eventually led to the publication of his illustrated work memoir Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He has exhibited his work in all manner of bars, coffee shops, libraries, and even the odd gallery (when he’s really hard up ). He paints and writes in Chicago. He no longer drives a cab.

Sarah Weber is pursuing an MA in publishing from Boston’s Emerson College and, while she’s taking quite well to New England, she left her heart in Chicago with her undergraduate school, Northwestern University. Her professional experience in publishing has been primarily editorial, and she’s been blessed with the opportunity to work with a vast range of genres, from gluten-free cooking to military history to paranormal romance to religious fiction. Her long-term goal is to open an independent press whose mission is to empower young girls and women through fiction. Sarah blogs at

Melissa Wiley is a freelance writer whose narrative nonfiction has appeared in literary magazines including [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Gravel, Eclectica Magazine, Superstition Review, Gone Lawn, Tin House Open Bar, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Split Lip Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Beetroot Journal, and Specter. She also volunteers with Open Books and writes about food for Chicagoist. She earned an MA in writing from DePaul University.

William Wright was born in Leeds, England. He earned his BA in English from Governors State University. His fiction has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Bangalore ReviewRathalla Review, The Delmarva Review, and Printers Row. He lives with his family in Chicago.


2 responses to “Meet the Reviewers

  1. Mary Landreth

    Congratulations Kelli, I will be a fan!


  2. Pingback: CBR’s Top 10 Posts of 2015 | Chicago Book Review

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