Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892–1927) was the preeminent writer of Japanese short fiction, recasting traditional themes in modernist psychological terms. Established in 1935 and named in his honor, the Akutagawa Prize is the most prestigious literary award in Japan.
Woody Allen’s prolific career as a comic, writer, and filmmaker spans more than five decades. He writes frequently for the New Yorker and is the author of Without Feathers, Getting Even, Side Effects, and Mere Anarchy.
Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003) was born in Santiago, Chile. A writer of novels, short stories, essays, and poetry, he won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1999 for his novel Los detectives salvajes (The Savage Detectives) and was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2008 for his novel 2666. In August, New Directions will publish the English translation of his story collection The Insufferable Gaucho.
Peter LaSalle is the author of a novel, Strange Sunlight, and three story collections—The Graves of Famous Writers, Hockey Sur Glace, and Tell Borges If You See Him: Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism. His fiction has appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Fantasy, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.
Ann Packer is the author of two novels, Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, and a story collection, Mendocino and Other Stories. Her fourth book of fiction will be published in spring 2011. She lives near San Francisco.
Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Achievement in Jewish Literature from the American Library Association and the PEN New England Award for fiction, and four story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Story Prize. He teaches at Williams College.
PJ Harvey is a renowned international recording artist and performer. Harvey, who lives in England, has also acted in several independent films and scored music for theater and film productions.