Russell Banks is the author of more than a dozen works, which include poetry, short stories, novels and essays. His novels Cloudsplitter and Continental Drift were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction were made into feature films. His latest work is a short story collection called A Permanent Member of the Family. Banks is the recipient of numerous literary awards, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Keene, New York and Miami, Florida.
Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours(winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown. His newest novel is, The Snow Queen. He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University.
Anthony Doerr is the author of The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome, Memory Wall, and the new novel All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr’s fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, three Pushcart Prizes, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, three Ohioana Book Awards, the 2010 Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story. His books have twice been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, and made lots of other year end “Best Of” lists. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.
Elizabeth Gilbert was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1969, and grew up on a small family Christmas tree farm. She attended New York University, where she studied political science by day and worked on her short stories by night. After college, she spent several years traveling around the country, working in bars, diners and ranches, collecting experiences to transform into fiction. Her books include Eat, Pray, Love, Pilgrims, Committed, The Last American Man and most recently The Signature of All Things. Elizabeth Gilbert lives in the small river town of Frenchtown, New Jersey, where she and her husband run a large and delightful imports store called Two Buttons.
Alice McDermott is the author of seven novels including National Book Award Winner Charming Billy and three Pulitzer Prize finalists: After This, That Night and At Weddings and Wakes. She is Johns Hopkins University's Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities. She has a BA from SUNY Oswego and an MA from University of New Hampshire. Her new novel is Someone.