2021 Annual Benefit

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 

6:30pm – 7:00pm EST | VIP Reception
7:00pm – 8:30pm EST | Benefit


photo credit-Elena-Seibert

Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. Her 29 titles include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, the five-book series about the irrepressible Fudge, and Forever. She’s dared to address the taboos of puberty and nascent sexuality and has been a funny and knowing voice for children and adolescents for five decades. Together, her books have sold more than 90 million copies in 32 languages, and have been a touchstone for countless young readers, many of whom have been inspired, as grownups, to write their own books. Five years ago, Blume and her husband, George Cooper, longing for a bookstore in Key West where they live, founded the independent, non-profit Books & Books @ The Studios. Blume will receive a Free Speech Lifetime Achievement Award from NCAC at this year’s benefit.

Larry Charles is the director of Borat, Bruno, The Dictator, and Religulous, among others. He directed Bob Dylan and an all-star cast in Masked and Anonymous, which they co-wrote together. He has also directed numerous episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm for which he has been nominated for multiple Emmys. He has won two Emmys as one of the original writers and producers of Seinfeld. He most recently created, directed, and wrote a four-part limited series for Netflix, Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy.

Chris Colfer is a Golden Globe-winning, Emmy and SAG Award-nominated actor, screenwriter, producer and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Colfer has received a Golden Globe, two consecutive Emmy nominations, three People’s Choice Awards, a SAG nomination, and two Teen Choice Awards for his work as Kurt Hummel on the worldwide television phenomenon GLEE. Colfer has also been named to the TIME 100, Time magazine’s distinguished annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Colfer is the author of 18 books, many of which were instant #1 New York Times bestsellers, including The Land of Stories series, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide and has been published in 35 countries. Colfer wrote, produced and starred in the feature film Struck by Lightning, directed by Brian Dannelly and released by TriBeCa Film. Colfer is currently appearing in the Netflix series Ridley Jones, and will next star in the Jennifer Clary-directed animated musical feature The Potters. Colfer’s latest book, A Tale of Sorcery…, was published in September 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson is a strong and passionate advocate for public libraries, who is keenly focused on ensuring that they remain highly visible and vibrant organizations that proactively contribute to the quality of life in their communities. She has served as the executive director of the Houston Public Library (HPL) since 2005. The Houston Public Library is the largest public library in the state of Texas, serving over 2.2 million people through a network of 42 locations. It ranks seventh among the largest public library systems in the nation according to population served. Under Dr. Lawson’s leadership, HPL has earned over 40 prestigious local, state, and national awards for services, programs, innovation and building projects. Active on the local, state, and national levels, Dr. Lawson serves on a number of professional and civic committees and boards. She holds a BA from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, an MLS from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Lawson will receive the Judith Krug Outstanding Librarian Award from NCAC at this year’s benefit. 

Brenda Randolph is the president of Africa Access and Outreach Director at the Title VI Center for African Studies, Howard University. She holds a B.A. degree in History from North Carolina Central University, a Master’s in African Studies from Howard University, and a Master’s in Library and Information Services from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked as a school librarian in Virginia, Massachusetts, and Maryland. In the late 1960s, she co-founded the Southern Africa Relief Fund to assist the victims of apartheid and Portuguese colonialism. In 1989 she founded Africa Access to combat stereotypes about Africa and help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their K-12 collections on Africa. In 1991 Africa Access, in collaboration with the African Studies Association, founded the Children’s Africana Book Award that honors the authors and illustrators of outstanding K-12 books on Africa. In 2015, Ms. Randolph created the Discover Africa in the Americas website and in 2020 The Gold Road website in collaboration with the African Studies Centers at Howard University and Boston University.

Honor one of the awardees or place a message supporting free expression in our virtual journal! The journal will reach an audience of 3,000 free speech supporters and be shared during the benefit.


Alonzo Bodden

Judy Gold

Maz Jobrani


Randy Rainbow is an American comedian, actor, singer, writer and satirist best known for his popular series of musical parodies and political spoofs, which have garnered him international acclaim. Currently touring the U.S. to sold-out shows, the influencer and Internet sensation’s viral comedy videos receive millions of views across all social media and digital platforms.


Megan Tingley, EVP & Publisher, Little Brown Books for Young Readers


Jon Anderson
Jonathan Bloom
Eric Freedman
Emily Knox
Judy Norsigian
Oren Teicher
Emily Whitfield


Title Sponsors

Hachette Book Group Logo

Partner Sponsors

Generous Sponsors

Weissman Family Foundation

For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Joshua Corday at [email protected] or 570-269-3475

For media and press inquiries, please contact Nora Pelizzari at [email protected]

For other inquiries, please email [email protected]