First Draft

Stuart Dybek is the author of five books of fiction: I Sailed With Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. Most recently published include Paper Lantern: Love Stories and Ecstatic Cahoots: Short Stories.  Both I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago were New York Times Notable Books, and The Coast of Chicago was a One Book One Chicago selection. Dybek has also published two collections of poetry: Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles.  His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Poetry, Tin House, and many other magazines, and have been widely anthologized, including work in both Best American Fiction and Best American Poetry.  Among Dybek’s numerous awards are a PEN/Malamud Prize “for distinguished achievement in the short story,” a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, an Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, several O.Henry Prizes, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2007 Dybek was awarded the  John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Hannah Tinti is a writer, editor, and teacher.  Her short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her best-selling novel, The Good Thief, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, winner of the The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. She is now finishing a new novel.

Hannah has worked at bookstores, magazines, publishing houses, and literary agencies. In 2002 she co-founded the award-winning magazine One Story and for the past 12 years has been its Editor in Chief. In 2009 she received the PEN/Nora Magid award for excellence in editing and in 2014 One Story won the AWP Prize for Best Small Press. In 2011, she joined the Public Radio program, Selected Shorts, as their Literary Commentator, interviewing authors and actors about the importance of literature and reading.

Olivia Smith

Kevin Barry is the author of City of Bohane and two story collections, his newest, Dark Lies the Island, is being published in America in September 2013. He has won the European Union Prize for Literature and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Dark Lies the Island is a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Fiction Book of Fall 2013. He lives in County Sligo, Ireland.

Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1958. His father was a geologist who passed on his passion to his son. Bass received a B.S. in petroleum geology at Utah State University in 1979, and then worked as a gas and oil geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. He started writing short stories during his lunch breaks.

He is the author of over twenty books. His first short story collection, The Watch, set in Texas, won the PEN/Nelson Algren Award, and his 2002 collection, The Hermit’s Story, was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Bass’s stories have also been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the O. Henry Award and have been collected in The Best American Short Stories. His newest novel is called All The Land To Hold Us.

Bader Howar

Edan Lepucki is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her short fiction has been published in Narrative Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Meridian,  FiveChapters, and McSweeney’s, among others. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and teaches creative writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and for Writing Workshops Los Angeles, which she founded.   Her novel is called California.


Jennifer Schatten

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. More at

First Draft - Jack Driscoll

Jun 23, 2014

Jack Driscoll is the author of four books of poems, two collections of short stories, and four novels. In addition, he is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, the NEH Independent Study Grant, two Pushcart Prizes and Best American Short Story citations, the PEN/Nelson Algren Fiction Award, the Associated Writing Programs Short Fiction Award, and seven PEN Syndicated Project Short Fiction Awards.

His stories have been read frequently over NPR’s “The Sound of Writing,” and his work has appeared nationally in magazines, literary journals, and newspapers such as Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, Civilization, Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, and Ploughshares.

His novel Lucky Man, Lucky Woman received the 1998 Pushcart Editors’ Book Award, the Barnes and Noble Discovery of Great New Writers Award, and the 1999 Independent Book Publishers Award for Fiction. Stardog, his third novel, appeared in 2000, and How Like an Angel, a University of Michigan Press Sweetwater release, appeared in May, 2005. His newest short story collection, The World of a Few Minutes Ago, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2012

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.

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.

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,, 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.