Mitzi Rapkin

Host - First Draft

Mitzi Rapkin got her start in radio as a reporter for KBUT in Crested Butte, Colorado.  She was a Washington correspondent for a commercial radio station in Boston, worked as a producer, editor and writer for National Geographic Television and is a former reporter and news director for Aspen Public Radio.  She has written for various national magazines and newspapers and also writes fiction.  She is short for her age, loves dark chocolate and the smell of new books.

Ways to Connect

Nina Subin

Meg Wolitzer's novels include The Interestings; The Uncoupling; The Ten-Year Nap; The Position; and The Wife. She is also the author of a novel for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.  Wolitzer's short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.  www.megwolitzer.com

Andre Dubus III is the author of six books: The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, Bluesman, and the New York Times bestsellers, House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days (soon to be a major motion picture) and his memoir, Townie, a #4 New York Times bestseller and a New York Times "Editors Choice". His work has been included in The Best American Essays of 1994 and The Best Spiritual Writing of 1999, and his novel, House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the National Book Award, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. His new book, Dirty Love, was published in the fall of 2013 and has been listed as a New York Times “Notable Book”, a New York Times Editors’ Choice”, a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post, and a Kirkus “Starred Best Book of 2013”.

Mr. Dubus has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, Two Pushcart Prizes, and he is a 2012 recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children. www.andredubus.com.

Marion Ettlinger

Melissa Bank is the author of the bestseller The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonderspot. She won the 1993 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. She has published stories in the Chicago Tribune, Zoetrope, The North American Review, Other Voices, and Ascent. Her work has also been heard on Selected Shorts” on National Public Radio. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and divides her time between New York City and East Hampton.

Bruce Machart's debut collection of stories, Men in the Making, follows the widely acclaimed first novel, The Wake of Forgiveness, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the fall of 2010. Winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Prize for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Reading the West Prize, the novel was named a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and a New York Times Book Review "Editors' Choice." Chosen as a Top Ten title for 2010 by Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The Wall Street Journal, the novel was a finalist for the American Booksellers Association's Indie's Choice award and the PEN/USA Literary Prize. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Machart graduated from the MFA program at The Ohio State University in 1999. He is currently Assistant Professor of English at Bridgewater State University. He lives in Hamilton, Massachusetts. www.brucemachart.com.

More on First Draft on Aspen Public Radio: aspenpublicradio.org/programs/first-draft

Deborah Treisman

John Freeman is a writer and literary critic. He has written author profiles and book reviews for more than two hundred newspapers worldwide, was the onetime president of the National Book Critics Circle, and was the editor of Granta. His new book called How to Read a Novelist, includes 55 profiles of some of the very best novelists of our time.

Michael Lionstar

Jenny Offill is the author of three children’s books and co-editor of two non-fiction anthologies. Her first novel Last Things (1999) was a New York Times Notable book and a finalist for the L.A Times First Book Award. Her second novel is called Dept. of Speculation. She teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University and Queens University.

Rachel Kushner’s second novel, The Flamethrowers, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize, longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a New York Times bestseller and Top 10 Book of 2013. Her debut novel, Telex From Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Kushner is the only writer ever to be nominated for a National Book Award in Fiction for both a first and second novel. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Believer, Artforum, Bookforum, Fence, Bomb, and Grand Street. She is the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. www.rachelkushner.com

Jane Smiley writes novels, non-fiction and essays. Her novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.   In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2006.  Her most recent novel for adults is Private Life and her most recent young adult fiction is a series called The Horses of Oak Valley Ranch.  She lives in Northern California.

Chilean author Isabel Allende won worldwide acclaim when her bestselling first novel, The House of the Spirits, was published in 1982. In addition to launching Allende’s career as a renowned author, the book, which grew out of a farewell letter to her dying grandfather, also established her as a feminist force in Latin America’s male-dominated literary world.

She has since written nearly 20 more works, including Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Stories of Eva Luna, The Infinite Plan, Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, a trilogy for young readers (City of Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, and Forest of Pygmies), Zorro, Ines of My Soul, Island Beneath the Sea, and Maya’s Notebook. Books of nonfiction include Aphrodite, a humorous collection of recipes and essays, and three memoirs: My Invented Country, Paula (a bestseller that documents Allende’s daughter’s illness and death, as well as her own life), and The Sum of Our Days. Her latest book is Ripper, a crime novel.

www.isabelallende.com

Kristen Brock Hires

Jamie Quatro’s debut collection, I Want To Show You More is a New York Times Notable Book, NPR Best Book of 2013, Indie Next pick, and New York Times Editors’ Choice. It was named a Top 10 Book of 2013 by Dwight Garner in the New York Times and a Favorite Book of 2013 by James Wood in The New Yorker.  Quatro’s work has appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, AGNI, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony, as well as 2013 fellowships from both the Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. Her stories are anthologized in the O.Henry Prize Stories 2013 and in the 9th edition of The Story and Its Writer (ed. Ann Charters, forthcoming). Quatro holds graduate degrees from the College of William & Mary and the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and is a Contributing Editor at Oxford American magazine. She lives with her family in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. www.jamiequatro.com

Nancie Battaglia

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.

Leta Warner

Maria Semple is the author of This One Is Mine and Where’d You Go Bernadette. Before turning to fiction, she wrote for Mad About You, Ellen, and Arrested Development. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker. She lives in Seattle. http://www.mariasemple.com/

Heather Kraft

Ethan Rutherford was born in Seattle, and now lives in the Midwest. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, New York Tyrant, Esopus, Five Chapters, and The Best American Short Stories. His work has received special mention in the 2009, 2010 and 2013 editions of the Pushcart Prize, and received awards from the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. He received his MFA from the University of Minnesota, and has taught creative writing at Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and the Loft Literary Center. He is the guitarist for the band Pennyroyal, which has been assaulting the ears of its listeners with songs of the ocean and long lost love since 2010. He is currently at work on a novel set in the Alaskan wilderness.

Christine Sneed is a graduate of the MFA creative writing program at Indiana University and has published stories in Best American Short Stories, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New England Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Pleiades, Glimmer Train, Massachusetts Review, Meridian, Other Voices, Greensboro Review, River Styx, Phoebe, South Dakota Review, and many other journals. Her first novel is Little Known Facts.  Her short story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry won a Grace Paley Prize in 2009.

Bastian Schweitzer

Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and has been widely anthologized. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, The New School and Wesleyan University, and she is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut. Her new book is called Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life.

Richard Dubois

Kenneth Bonert was born in South Africa and is the grandson of Lithuanian immigrants.  His fiction has appeared in McSweeney's, Grain and the Fiddlehead.  His journalism has appeared in the Globe and Mail and other publications. He lives in Toronto.

Larry D. Moore

Ben Fountain is author of a short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the Pen/Hemmingway Award and most recently Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award, The LA Times Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award.  He is also the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a Barnes and Noble Discover Award.  He has a law degree from Duke University.  He is from North Carolina and lives in Dallas, Texas.

Rebecca Zeller

Elliott Holt was born and raised in Washington, D.C. A former copywriter who worked at advertising agencies in Moscow, London, and New York, Holt attended the MFA program at Brooklyn College (where she won the Himan Brown award) at night while working full time in Manhattan during the day. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Salon, Guernica, Kenyon Review online, The Millions, Bellevue Literary Review, The Pushcart Prize XXXV (2011 anthology) and elsewhere. In addition to winning a Pushcart Prize, she was the runner-up of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award. Her first novel You Are One of Them was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

Jamie and Andrew Shoenberger

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.

Heidi Ross

Ann Patchett is the author of six novels including Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder and The Patron Saint of Liars.  She was the editor of the Best American Short Stories 2006 and has written three books of non-fiction, Truth & Beauty, What now? And This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.  She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and has been the recipient of numerous awards including England’s Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.  Her books have been New York Times bestsellers and New York Times Notable Books.  She is also owns Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.  She lives in Nashville.

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