Meet Our Speakers
Our keynote speaker for this year's Literary Life Online Conference is Dr. Jason M. Baxter.
Dr. Baxter is associate visiting professor in Notre Dame’s Great Books program and a curricular consultant for St. Thomas More Academy in South Bend, Indiana. He is a speaker and author of several books, including The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis, An Introduction to Christian Mysticism, The Infinite Beauty of the World: Dante's Encyclopedia and the Names of God, and A Beginner’s Guide to Dante's Divine Comedy.
In addition to these books, he writes popular articles on travel and literature, technology in the humanities, and what it’s like to read the great books in a digital culture. You can find those writings linked on his website, www.JasonMBaxter.com, where you can order signed copies of his books, which he will personally mail to you wrapped up in old lecture notes or used scholarly articles.
Angelina Stanford has an Honors Baccalaureate Degree and a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Louisiana, graduating Phi Kappa Phi. For over twenty-five years, she has shared her passion and enthusiasm for literature with students in a variety of settings—everywhere from university classrooms to homeschool co-ops to homeschooling her own three children. In 2012, she entered the world of online teaching, creating a unique online community and mentor relationship with her students. And in 2020 she founded with her husband, Thomas Banks, the House of Humane Letters, providing online classes, conference, and other resources for a more humane education. Angelina maintains a high commitment to teaching teachers and students the skill and art of reading well--and in recapturing the tradition of literary scholarship needed to fully engage with the Great Books.
Known for her ability to make academic scholarship both accessible and entertaining, Angelina has presented papers at the College English Association Conference, the Conference on Christianity and Literature and is a respected speaker at numerous conferences around the world. She has also written for numerous publications--including The Old Schoolhouse magazine and a column for Home Educating Family magazine.
A popular guest on a variety of podcasts, Angelina launched her own podcast, The Literary Life Podcast, with her husband Thomas Banks, long-time friend Cindy Rollins in 2019. Flagged by Itunes as a New and Noteworthy Podcast, each episode explores some aspect of cultivating a literary life--from slow, thoughtful readings of novels and short stories to literary topics like the importance of the detective novel or getting over a reading slump. She is a great believer that Stories Will Save the World!
Thomas Banks has taught great books with an emphasis on Greek and Roman literature, Latin grammar and ancient history for more than ten years both as a private tutor and as a junior high and high school teacher in his native Idaho and Montana. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English Literature and Classical Studies from the University of Idaho, from which he graduated in 2008. In the summer of 2019, he moved to North Carolina to marry the illustrious Ms. Angelina Stanford, who said yes for some reason. And in 2020 he founded with his wife, Angelina Stanford, the House of Humane Letters, providing online classes, conference, and other resources for a more humane education.
Poetry is a particular love of his, and he has published original verse and translations in First Things, the St. Austin Review and various other periodicals. His personal list of favorite writers never really stops growing, but will always include Homer, Euripides, Virgil, Ovid, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Byron, Keats, Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy. Of these and so many others one cannot have enough.
Mr. Banks is also the host of the popular podcast The Well Read Poem, as well as a co-host of The Literary Life Podcast.
Kelly Cumbee is a veteran homeschool mom of seven, and the wife of a retired military veteran. She has a lifelong love of music, nature, stories, and tradition, and believes they are all intimately connected. She is a co-founder of the House of Humane Letters Fellowship and has taught literature and Medieval and Renaissance cosmology to teens and adults in local co-ops and online classes since 2015.
Her webinars and online classes, including a year-long class on Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene and a semester-long class on The Chronicles of Narnia, can be found at houseofhumaneletters.com. She blogs at badgermum.blogspot.com.
Jenn Rogers is a lover of all things medieval, philological, and Inklings. She earned her M.A. in Language and Literature at Signum University and continues to teach in the University’s SPACE program. Jenn also teaches middle school Grammar and Literature at Tara Learning Center. She happily resides at the northern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband Timothy, a growing family, 40-odd head of cattle, and any number of courses with House of Humane Letters.