Pinckney Benedict, a West Virginia native, has published two collections of short fiction and a novel. His stories have appeared in Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, Ontario Review, The O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, The Pushcart Prize, and The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. He is a professor of English at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.
Kim Edwards is the author of The Secrets of a Fire King, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway award. Her stories have been performed at Symphony Space and have won many awards, including the National Magazine Award for fiction and the Nelson Algren Award, and have been published in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Story collections. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. After several years of working and traveling in Southeast Asia, she currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ben Fountain’s 2012 novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Three of the stories in his collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Award, were first published in Zoetrope: All-Story. He has lived in Dallas since 1983.
Friedrich Gerstäcker was born in 1816 in Hamburg and died in 1872. He spent nearly a quarter of his life traveling throughout North and South America, Abyssinia, Australia, and Egypt. In between journeys, he chronicled his experiences in numerous travelogues and novels. Often anthologized in German-language textbooks, "Germelshausen" is also known as the inspiration behind Lerner and Loewe's 1954 musical, Brigadoon.
Andrea Lee was born in Philadelphia, and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Harvard University. She is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, and her fiction and nonfiction writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Time, and The Oxford American. She is the author of the novels Sarah Phillips and Russian Journal, which was nominated for a National Book Award and won the Jean Stein Award from the National Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives with her husband and two children in Torino, Italy.
Martha McPhee's first novel, Bright Angel Time, was published in 1997. Her second novel, Gorgeous Lies, is forthcoming next fall by Harcourt Brace. Her short fiction has also appeared in The New Yorker, Redbook, and Open City. Her nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Interview, and Real Simple. She is the recipient of a 1998 National Endowment for the Arts Grant for work on Gorgeous Lies.
Cynthia Ozick's most recent collection of essays, Quarrel & Quandary (Vintage, 2001), won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. A recipient of a Lannan Award for fiction, she is currently at work on a novel.
Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and also attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Koons’ work has been exhibited internationally and is in many well-known museum collections. His public sculptures include Puppy, a forty-one-foot floral sculpture that was shown at Rockefeller Center; Ballon Flower, a 6.5-metric-ton mirror-polished steel sculpture in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin; and Split-Rocker, a thirty-six-foot floral sculpture exhibited at the Papal Palace in Avignon, France. Among other honors, Koons has received the BZ Cultural Award 2000 from the city of Berlin, and he was given the title of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor by President Jacques Chirac. Koons lives and works in New York City.