The American Writers Museum Board of Trustees is committed to creating a Board that is representative of our country’s diverse population and the audience that the museum serves. Click here to see the AWM Board Diversity Statement.


Jane Irwin

Jane Irwin | Chair

Winnetka, IL
Favorite American Author: Jon Krakauer

John W. Estey

John W. Estey | Immediate Past Chair

Naples, FL
Favorite American Author: Frederick Douglass

Ellen Boates Clark

Ellen Boates Clark | Treasurer

Glenview, IL
Favorite American Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Edith Falk

Edith Falk | Corporate Secretary

Chicago, IL

Joan Clifford

Joan E. Clifford | Vice Chair

Chicago, IL

Jay Hammer

Jay Hammer | Vice Chair

Palm Beach, FL
Favorite American Author: Wallace Stevens

Grove Mower

Grove Mower | Vice Chair

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: Elmore Leonard

Carey Cranston is the President of the American Writers Museum

Carey Cranston | President

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: James Baldwin


Marie Arana

Olivia Bedi

Olivia Bedi

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: David Sedaris

Ann Bradley

Allan E. Bulley, III

Marion Cameron

Marion Cameron-Gray

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: Willa Cather

Romi Crawford

Carolyn Curiel

Carolyn Curiel

Hammond, IN
Favorite American Author: Mark Twain

Elissa Hamid Efroymson is a member of the Board of Trustees at the American Writers Museum.

Elissa Hamid Efroymson

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: Kurt Vonnegut

M. Hill Hammock

M. Hill Hammock

Chicago, IL
Favorite American Author: Mark Twain

Werner Hein

Werner Hein

Washington, DC
Favorite American Author: George Saunders

Ivan P. Kane

Ivan P. Kane

Wheaton, IL
Favorite American Author: Mark Twain

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Washington, DC
Favorite American Author: Toni Morrison

Katy Mickelson

Catherine Mouly

Richard Murphy

Patrick O'Hagan

Patrick O’Hagan

Dominique Raccah

Dominique Raccah

Naperville, IL
Favorite American Author: Mary Oliver

Roberta Rubin

Roberta Rubin

Evanston, IL
Favorite American Author: David McCullough

Amanda Rutledge

Michael Scodro

Michael Scodro

Western Springs, IL
Favorite American Author: Shirley Jackson

Larry Shulman

Ivy Wilson

Sally Wood

Sally Wood

New York, NY
Favorite American Author: Patti Smith

Trustees EmeritI


Roger Baskes

S. Leigh Pierson Conant

Malcolm O’Hagan

Jerre Stead

Importance of diversity for the AWM Board of Trustees

The American Writers Museum’s exhibits, public programs, and youth education program present the diversity of American writers, including many writers from historically underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ writers. The AWM’s leadership is inspired by these writers, and their profound influence, to create a Board that is also representative of our country’s diverse population and the audience that the museum serves.

As the decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership, the Board of Trustees plays a critical role in creating a museum that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and equity. 
As the nation’s only museum dedicated to American writers and their influence on our history, our culture, and our daily lives, we embrace and celebrate our common humanity, and the inherent worth of all people. In celebrating all voices, we must also acknowledge that a climate of intolerance and inequity is a challenge to our values and ideals. The complex issues and dynamics at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, national origin, and religion call for proactive thinking within a museum that uses its platform to celebrate all writers and the relevance of their work.
We believe that the AWM is better able to do this work effectively and with authenticity when it is led by a Board of Trustees that is:


The individual leaders who compose the AWM Board are a reflection of our values and beliefs about who should be empowered and entrusted with the most important decisions. We believe that we can better fulfill our mission by drawing on the skills, talents, and perspectives of a broader and more diverse range of leaders, and that the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences and cultural backgrounds strengthens board deliberations and decision-making.


By cultivating an inclusive culture, we aim to ensure that all board members are encouraged to bring their perspectives, identity, and life experience to their board service. To create an inclusive board culture, we welcome and celebrate differences and ensure that all board members are equally engaged and invested, sharing power and responsibility for the museum’s mission and the Board’s work.


The Board plays a critical role in prioritizing resources and strategies to ensure that the AWM is accessible and relevant to everyone. With an understanding of current cultural inequities, the Board has a powerful opportunity to strengthen the museum’s impact, relevance, and platform for dialogue.

The AWM Board of Trustees commits to filling vacant Board seats with Trustees who better represent the diversity of the American population, and to have a Board that is significantly more diverse by 2025.