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Gwen Florio

Gwen Florio grew up in 250-year-old brick farmhouse on a wildlife refuge in Delaware, with a sweeping view across a mile of tidemarsh to the waters of the Delaware Bay. In addition to ponies, dogs and chickens, her childhood also included raising and releasing a number of wild critters, from raccoons and fawns to owls and hawks, and a skunk whose personality was even worse than his smell. Her parents banned television and instead filled the house with books.

She majored in English at the University of Delaware, largely as an excuse to continue reading as many books as possible, until her father urged her, in the interest of being able to someday support herself, to take a journalism course. With her first byline, she was hooked. A thirty-plus year career followed, taking her around the country and to more than a dozen countries, including several conflict zones, toting books to each place.