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Ocean Vuong is a poet and essayist. He is the author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds, which was a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Whiting Award, and the Thom Gunn Award, and finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, Vuong has received honors from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. His writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he immigrated to the US at the age of two as a child refugee. He lives Western Massachusetts and teaches at UMass Amherst's MFA for Poets & Writers program.
Master Lecture 10/25 on Eduardo C. Corral’s poetry collection, Slow Lightning
Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), the 2017 Gregory Pardlo Fellow of The Frost Place, and a graduate of Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers. A Cave Canem fellow, his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Callaloo, Ploughshares, Broadsided, The Southeast Review, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at Drew University.
Master Lecture 11/7 on Ellen Bryant Voigt’s Headwaters
Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction, including, most recently, the highly-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel, LOVERS AT THE CHAMELEON CLUB: PARIS, 1932.
Her novel A CHANGED MAN won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and BLUE ANGEL was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed ANNE FRANK: THE BOOK, THE LIFE, THE AFTERLIFE, and the New York Times bestseller READING LIKE A WRITER.
The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Francine Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.
Master Lecture 11/29 on Muriel Spark's novel, Loitering with Intent
Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels “Two Girls, Fat and Thin,” “Veronica” and “The Mare” as well as the story collections “Bad Behavior,” “Because They Wanted To” and “Don't Cry.” Her story “Secretary” was the basis for the feature film of the same name. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 2002 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction; in 2010 she received a New York Public Library Cullman Center research grant. Her novel “Veronica” was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005. She has taught at the University of Houston, New York University, The New School, Brown, Syracuse and Claremont McKenna College. She has been Writer-In-Residence at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Sidney Harmon Chair at Baruch College. Gaitskill has most recently published a collection of essays titled “Somebody With A Little Hammer.”
Master Lecture 12/5 on The Journals of John Cheever
Christopher Castellani's fourth novel, Leading Men, for which he received a Guggenheim fellowship, will be published by Viking in February 2019. He is also the author of the novels All This Talk of Love, The Saint of Lost Things, and A Kiss from Maddalena, winner of 2004 Massachusetts Book Award. His essays on point of view in fiction, The Art of Perspective, was published by Graywolf in 2016. He is currently on the faculty of the MFA Program at Warren Wilson and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and he has taught at Swarthmore College and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He lives in Boston, where he is artistic director of GrubStreet.
Master Lecture 1/30 on HHhH by Laurent Binet.
Nick Flynn is the author of three memoirs, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which has been made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano. He is the author of five books of poetry, I Will Destroy You (forthcoming September 2019), My Feelings, The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. In January 2019, Ze Books will publish Stay, a collection of threads (ideas, images & thoughts) gathered together from all of Nick Flynn’s twelve published books, along with excerpts of essays & interviews, presented alongside the collaborations that led to—or came out of—these writings. Flynn has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His poems, essays, and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review. Since 2016, he has been performing with his band Killdeer, a collaboration with Simi Stone, Philip Marshall, and Guy Barash. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.
Master Lecture: 2/28 on Eric Fair's memoir, Consequence.
Alice Mattison is a widely acclaimed author and longtime writing teacher. Conscience is her seventh novel. The Kite and the String: How to Write with Spontaneity and Control—and Live to Tell the Tale appeared in 2016. Her earlier novels include The Book Borrower, Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn, and When We Argued All Night, and she is also the author of four books of stories and a collection of poems. Twelve of her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, and other work has been published in The New York Times, Ploughshares, and Ecotone and has been anthologized in The Pushcart Prize, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and Best American Short Stories. She has held residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and has taught at Brooklyn College, Yale University, and, for more than twenty years, in the Bennington Writing Seminars, the MFA program at Bennington College.
Master Lecture 4/4 on To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.
Chloe Honum grew up in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Her first book, The Tulip-Flame (2014), was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and won a Foreword INDIE Book of the Year Award and a Texas Institute of Letters Award. She is also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017). The recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, Honum has been a guest poetry editor for the Pushcart Prize anthology. Her work has appeared in venues including The Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, The Southern Review, and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre.
Master Lecture TBD, text forthcoming
Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry: Roll Deep (2015, Norton); Holding Company (2010, Norton); Hoops (2006, Norton); and Leaving Saturn (2002, University of Georgia Press). Holding Company and Hoops were both selected as finalists for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry; and Leaving Saturn, awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He has published poems and essays in American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and in Best American Poetry. A recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, and a Whiting Writers’ Award, he has been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.
Jackson has served as a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Adelphi University, a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence. He is a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. Major Jackson lives in South Burlington, Vermont, where he is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review.
Master Lecture TBD, text forthcoming
Amy Hempel is the author of The Dog of the Marriage, Tumble Home, Reasons to Live, and At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, and the coeditor of Unleashed. Her stories have appeared in Elle, GQ, Harper’s, Playboy, The Quarterly, and Vanity Fair. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College and at Stony Brook University’s Southampton MFA program.
Master Lecture on Mary Robison's novel, Why Did I Ever
Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets, and a member of the experimental performance group: Heroes Are Gang Leaders. TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press in the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Hook: A Memoir is published by Augury Books. Randall is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven.
Master Lecture on Carlene Hatcher Polite's novel, The Flagellants
Paul La Farge is the author of four novels: The Night Ocean (The Penguin Press, 2017); The Artist of the Missing (FSG, 1999), Haussmann, or the Distinction (FSG, 2001), and Luminous Airplanes (FSG, 2011); and a book of imaginary dreams, The Facts of Winter (McSweeney's Books, 2005). He is the grateful recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library in 2013-14. He lives in a subterranean ‘annex’ in upstate New York, where he is almost certainly up to no good.
Master Lecture on Rachel Ingalls’s novel, Mrs. Caliban
Gregory Pardlo's collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf.
Master Lecture on Patrick Rosal's poetry collection, Brooklyn Antediluvian
Taylor Plimpton is the author of Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark (Crown) and the co-editor of The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays (Abrams). A former editor at Men’s Journal, Manhattan and Beach magazines, he’s had his writing published there, as well as in Sports Illustrated, Town & Country, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, newyorker.com, TheRumpus.net, and in many other places. He’s been teaching at the Writer’s Foundry since 2013.
Master Lecture on James Salter's novel, A Sport and a Pasttime
Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), winner of a Whiting Writer's Award, the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry, the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Poetry, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and selected as one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year.” Cannibal was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Sinclair's other honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, fellowships from Yaddo, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, as well as the Amy Clampitt Residency Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Granta, The Nation, New England Review, Boston Review, Oxford American, the 2018 Forward Book of Poetry, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia, and is currently a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.
Master Lecture on Shara McCallum’s poetry collection, Madwoman
William Wall is the 2017 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for his short story collection, The Islands: Six Fictions, chosen by David Gates. Wall has also won the Doolin Prize for poetry, Virginia Faulkner Award, the Sean O’Faoláin Prize, several Writer’s Week prizes, and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. Wall was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Manchester Fiction Prize. He was shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award, the Irish Book Awards, the Raymond Carver Award, the Hennessy Award and several others.
He is the author of two additional short story collections; four novels, with two forthcoming in 2018 and 2019; and four poetry collections.
Wall has received Irish Arts Council Bursaries, travel grants from Culture Ireland and translations of his books have been funded by Ireland Literature Exchange. He has received public commissions. His work has been translated into many languages, including Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Latvian, Serbian and Catalan.
He has a particular interest in Italy and has read at several festivals there, including the Tratti Festival at Faenza, the Festival Internationale di Poesia di Genova, and at the Pordenone Legge festival near Venice. Wall translates from Italian. He has co-presented workshops in translation. In 2014, Wall was part of the Italo-Irish Literature Exchange, which gave readings at various places in Italy, including Sant Agata de Got, Rome, Lugo di Romagna and Bologna.
A native of Cork, Ireland, where he now resides with his wife, Liz Kirwan, Wall grew up in the coastal village of Whitegate. He received degrees in philosophy and English from University College Cork.
Master Lecture on Frank O’Connor’s first story collection, Guests of a Nation
Rebecca Wolff is the author of four collections of poetry, one novel, and numerous pieces of occasional prose. Her first book, Manderley, was selected for the National Poetry Series by Robert Pinsky. Her second, Figment, was selected for the Barnard Women Poets Prize. Her third, The King, was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. Her novel The Beginners was published by Riverhead in 2011. Her latest collection, One Morning—, was published by Wave Books in 2015. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Wolff founded the influential literary journal Fence, the imprint Fence Books and The Constant Critic website. She lives in Hudson, New York, and is currently a fellow at the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.
Master Lecture on Octavia Butler’s novel, Parable of the Sower
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program and splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
Natalie Diaz is a current Hodder Fellow at Princeton. She also lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
Sophie McManus is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates, which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble 2015 Great Writers Discover Award, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a notable book by The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Paste, and Time Out (New York) among others. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Memorious, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. She was born and raised in New York City and teaches writing in Brooklyn, New York.
LB Thompson has won awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Art in America, and Stonecutter among other print and online journals. She also collaborates with visual artist Ellen Wiener, with whom she exhibited a poem sequence at Vanderbilt University in September. She has taught at The New School, NYU, Rutgers, SUNY Purchase, and Suffolk County Community College. Please visit lbthompson.com for more on Thompson’s poems and collaborations.
Lee Briccetti is a poet and the long-time executive director of Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center, which documents the wealth and diversity of modern poetry and stimulates dialogue about poetry in culture. The author of Day Mark, from Four Way Books, she has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Award for Poetry and has been a poetry fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her articles and essays have appeared widely, including a recent introduction to The Poetic Species, A Conversation with E.O. Wilson and Robert Hass, published by Bellevue Literary Press.
Ethan Shaskan Bumas is a writer (The Price of Tea in China, U Mass), Editor (4:56, Dalkey Archive), and co-translator (of the last three Carlos Fuentes novels, Dalkey Archive). He's had grants from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Fulbright Commission and won awards from the Associated Writers and Writing Programs, Pushcart Press, Southwest Review (fiction), Newman's Own (play writing), and Early American Literature (criticism). He's published fiction, essays, and hybrids in venues that include American Literature, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Latin American Literary Review, The Daily Beast, Boulevard, Gettysburg Review, El Espíritu del Valle, Fugue, and Crab Orchard Review. He has taught at Hangzhou University and been visiting writer in residence at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the currently notorious University of Missouri—Columbia. He teaches at New Jersey City University.
Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security. Her work has been published in Vice News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50.
Matthea Harvey is the author of five books of poetry—If the Tabloids are True What Are You?, Of Lamb (an illustrated erasure with images by Amy Jean Porter), Modern Life (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book), Sad Little Breathing Machine and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. She has also published two children’s books, Cecil the Pet Glacier, illustrated by Giselle Potter and The Little General and the Giant Snowflake, illustrated by Elizabeth Zechel. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.
Born in London, Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), My Revolutions (2007) and Gods Without Men (2011) as well as a short story collection, Noise (2006) and a novella, Memory Palace (2013). In 2003, Granta named him one of its twenty best young British novelists. His short stories and essays have appeared in diverse publications including The New York Times, New Yorker, Guardian, London Review of Books, Granta, Book Forum and Frieze. He was a 2008 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library and a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in New York City.
Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award. She lives in New York City with her husband.
George Dawes Green is the founder to the not-for-profit storytelling organization The Moth. He is the author of the novels The Caveman's Valentine, The Juror and Ravens.
Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx. She now lives in Manhattan.
Ayana Mathis received an M.F.A from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is the recipient of the 2011-2012 Michener Copernicus Fellowship and the Iowa Writers' Workshop's Teaching Writing Fellowship. Her novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was named to Oprah's Book Club 2.0 in December 2012. She lives in Brooklyn.
Rahul Mehta’s debut short story collection, Quarantine (Harper Perennial, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His short stories have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Epoch, The Sun, Noon and New Stories from the South, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, and Marie Claire India. An Out magazine “Out 100” honoree for 2011, Mehta is currently finishing a novel, which is forthcoming from HarperCollins. He teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Flaminia O'Campo has published six books including three works of fiction and two works of nonfiction in Spanish, and a collection of stories in English, Other People’s Phobias in 2013. She has also worked as a screenwriter and journalist.
Sheri Holman is the author of four novels: A Stolen Tongue, The Mammoth Cheese, Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger, which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000. She is also the author of the young adult book Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars. Before publishing her first novel in 1997, she received a degree in theater from The College of William and Mary and worked in the publishing industry. Holman is a founding member of the storytelling collective The Moth. She lives in Brooklyn.
Marie Howe is a poet whose collections include The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, What the Living Do and The Good Thief, which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni,Ploughshares and Harvard Review. Howe is also the co-editor of the anthology In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. In 2012, she was named the State Poet of New York. Before receiving her MFA from Columbia in 1983, she worked as a newspaper reporter and a high school English teacher. Howe currently teaches writing at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and New York University.
Brighde Mullins’ plays have been produced in New York, London, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Among them are Monkey in the Middle;Topographical Eden; Pathological Venus; CLICK; Increase; Meatless Friday; Baby Hades; Where Dante Would Put the Bush; Dear Utopia; Rare Bird; Those Who Can, Do; and Fire Eater. The recipient of numerous playwriting honors — including a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts — Mullins is also a poet. Her collection Water Stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. She currently teaches at the University of Southern California, where she also directs the school’s Master of Professional Writing Program.
Taylor Plimpton is the author of Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark and the co-editor of The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays. He is currently the literary editor of Manhattan Magazine. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, Town & Country, Dan’s Papers, newyorker.com, TheRumpus.net and elsewhere. He graduated with a degree in English from Reed College and has taught at The Writer’s Foundry.
Donald Ray Pollock is the author of Knockemstiff, a short story collection, and The Devil All the Time, a novel. Both books were published after Pollock’s long career as a laborer and truck driver for the Mead Paper Mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he lives. Knockemstiff was the winner of the 2009 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and The Devil All the Time was named one of Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten Books of the Year in 2012. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, his work has also appeared in a number of literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester,Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard and PEN America.
Peter Trachtenberg is the author of the 7 Tattoos: A Memoir in the Flesh, The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning, and Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons. The recipient of a NYFA artist’s fellowship and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, among other awards, his essays, journalism, and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, BOMB,TriQuarterly, O, The New York Times Travel Magazine and A Public Space. Trachtenberg has taught creative writing at numerous colleges and is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
David Gates is a journalist and novelist. His first novel Jernigan, about a dysfunctional one-parent family, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1992. He went on to publish the novel Preston Falls and the short story collection The Wonders of the Invisible World. His stories have also appeared in Esquire, Ploughshares, GQ, Grand Street and TriQuarterly. He is a former senior writer in the arts section at Newsweek, where he specialized in articles on books and music. Gates teaches in the graduate writing program at The University of Montana.
Paul Harding is the author of the novel Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and the 2010 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, among other awards. His short fiction has appeared in Shakepainter and the Harvard Review. He received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2000 and was a 2000-2001 Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. He currently teaches writing at Harvard University.
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, which received a PEN Open Book Award and the key to Jamaica, Queens. He has also written the novels The Ecstatic and Big Machine and has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. LaValle was raised in Queens. His essays and book reviews have appeared in GQ, Essence Magazine, The Fader and The Washington Post, among others. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor and the acting fiction director of the university’s School of the Arts. He lives in New York.
Elizabeth Nunez is the author of eight novels. Boundaries, her most recent novel, was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her novel Anna In-Between, which was also selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, won the 2010 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence. Her other novels include Prospero’s Daughter,Bruised Hibiscus, Discretion, Grace, Beyond the Limbo Silence and When Rocks Dance. Nunez has also written several monographs of literary criticism published in scholarly journals and is co-editor of the anthology, "Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Woman Writers at Home and Abroad." She was also the executive producer for the 2004 Emmy-nominated CUNY TV series Black Writers in America and was awarded the 2011 Barnes and Noble Poets and Writers, Writers for Writers Award. In 2012, Nunez was among twelve writers selected by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the PEN Faulkner Foundation, whose essays will appear in a chapbook celebrating the exhibition in Washington, D.C. on “Shakespeare's Sisters.” Nunez immigrated to the United States from Trinidad after completing high school there. She received her Ph.D. in English from New York University and is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York.
Danyel Smith is the author of the novels More Like Wrestling and Bliss. She is the former editor of Billboard, former chief content officer of VIBE Media Group, and former editor-in-chief of Vibe and vibe.com. Smith is also a former Time Inc. editor-at-large, and has written for NPR, CNN, MySpace, Elle, Time, Essence, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Media Group, and The New York Times. A 2013-14 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, she often comments on music and culture for NPR, CNN, VH1, and ABC, and is currently working on a history of black women in pop music.
Justin Torres grew up in upstate New York and is the author of the novel We the Animals. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Glimmer Train and other publications. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature, and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher and a bookseller.