2019 Nonfiction Author Series

T. J. English



Monday, January 21, 2019

T.J. English has been crowned “America’s top chronicler of organized crime” (Christian Science Monitor) and with THE CORPORATION  he expands upon the atmospheric, rich topic of the mafia’s reign in Cuba that he explored in the New York Times bestseller Havana Nocturne, now revealing how political revolution led to the birth of a powerful Cuban exile crime organization in the U.S.  The book has already been subject of a hot auction in Hollywood with Paramount snapping up the film rights in the first deal for Appian Way Productions, with Leonardo DiCaprio producing and Benicio Del Toro attached to play Jose’ Miguel Battle Sr. -the “godfather” of THE CORPORATION.

An epic story of gangsters, drugs, violence, sex, and murder rooted in the streets, THE CORPORATION reveals how an entire generation of political exiles, refugees, rackateers, corrupt cops, hitmen, and their wives and girlfriends became caught up in an American saga of desperation and empire building.  T.J. English interweaves the voices of insiders speaking openly for the first time with a trove of investigative material he has gathered over many decades to tell the story of this successful criminal enterprise, setting it against the larger backdrop of revolution, exile, and ethnicity that makes it one of the great American gangster stories that has been overlooked–until now.

Jade Wu



Monday, February 11, 2019

From the hot savannah of Malawi to the cold, damp gray of Kosovo and into the volatile war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and other donors have invested enormous financial and human resources in major peacekeeping and development efforts.  Why then is the world no closer to being a “better and safer” place?  Both a salient critique of US foreign assistance and a thought-provoking memoir, Flash Points describes the issues with personnel, language, and gender dynamics, as well as the cross-cultural challenges that often undermine and betray the best intentions of policy makers comfortably situated in Washington.  Revealed in illuminating flashbacks, Jade Wu recalls her experiences in each of these four countries highlighting how, all too often, Americans in the field and the US government were unable to learn the lessons that ought to have been learned when dealing with host countries and their people.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Los Angeles, Jade Wu has worked on U.S. foreign assistance in Malawi, Kosovo, Germany, Philippines, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Her foreign affairs essays have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, The Hill, and Foreign Policy Journal.  She has spoken on Voice of America, World Affairs Today, and at the World Affairs Council of Washington DC.  Her book Flash Points was shortlisted for the 2017 Foreward Nonfiction Book Prize in Political Science.

Les Standiford



Monday, March 25, 2019

LES STANDIFORD is the author of twenty-three books, including the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean–a History Channel Top Ten Pick & the One Read choice of more than a dozen public library systems, as well as Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America, and Washington Burning: How a Frenchman’s Vision for Our Nation’s Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army —both publisher’s nominees for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards; also, The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived our Holiday Spirits (a New York Times Editors Choice) made into a 2017 feature film starring Christopher Plummer and Dan Stevens; Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America (a New York Times best-seller); and Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct & the Rise of Los Angeles, a featured alternate of the History Book Club.  His most recent book is Center of Dreams: Building a World Class Performing Arts Center in Miami (Univ of FL Press, Spring 2018).  He is also the author of numerous short stories, poems, essays, and pieces of memoir, along with ten novels, including the acclaimed John Deal mystery series, as well as the stand-alone thrillers Black Mountain and Spill (adapted as a feature film, from his screenplay).  He has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He is Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami and was appointed holder of the Peter Meinke Chair in Creative Writing at Eckerd College for the Spring of 2016.

Mohammed Al Samawi


Monday, April 8, 2019

Since coming to America in May 2015, Mohammed Al Samawi has been involved with various NGOs and interfaith groups.  He is a fellow at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) in Washington D. C., where he focuses on combatting extremism in Yemen and the MENA region by engaging Imams who are outspoken critics of the West (Jews, generally, but also westernized Christians and Muslims).

Mohammed is the Global Ambassador for Interfaith Youth and Leadership for The African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL), a Washington DC – based nonprofit that empowers Millennial activists from the Middle East and Africa to build more inclusive societies, and advocates for policies in Washington in support of this goal.

Mohammed also serves on the board of the Yemen Peace Project, which advocates for peaceful US policies towards Yemen, particularly in relation to the U.S. government’s current role in the ongoing civil war.  He sits on the board of the Muslim Jewish Solidarity Committee, a NY-based nonprofit that focuses on grassroots social action to build relationships between Jews and Muslims.

To compliment these efforts, Mohammed has been sharing the story of his personal transformation with religious groups and academic institutions around the country.

Mohammed Al Samawi’s memoir, THE FOX HUNT (William Morrow, April 10, 2018), is in development at Fox 2000 Pictures, with Marc Platt Productions (La La Land, Bridge of Spies) producing, and Josh Singer (Oscar-winning screenwriter of Spotlight) adapting for the screen.


Moorings Country Club

2500 Crayton Road

Naples, Florida

Breakfast at 9 am, featuring the Chef’s Breakfast Buffet with warm choices, i.e. eggs, meats, etc.

Lecture to begin at 9:30 am

Book Signing to follow