First Draft

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.

Phyllis Rose

Robert Stone is the author of two short story collections, one memoir and eight novels. Stone won the National Book Award for his novel Dog Soldiers in 1975. It was adapted into the film Who’ll Stop the Rain. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice. He has received Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. His memoir Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties chronicles his live in the navy, work as a Vietnam correspondent, and his time spent with Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in San Francisco. His new novel is Death of the Black-Haired Girl.

Peter Yoon

Laura van den Berg was raised in Florida and earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us(Dzanc Books, 2009), was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. van den Berg's latest story collection is called The Isle of Youth. Her stories have appeared in Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, One Story, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and the Pushcart Prize XXIV. www.lauravandenberg.com

Mark Helprin was published in The New Yorker for almost a quarter of a century.  His stories and essays on politics and aesthetics appear in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The New York Times, The National Review, American Heritage, Forbes ASAP, and more. Helprin has published three short story collections: A Dove of the East and Other Stories, Ellis Island and Other Stories, and The Pacific and Other Stories. He is also the author of six novels: Refiner's Fire, Winter's Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir From Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka and, In Sunlight and In Shadows. Helprin has also penned three children's books: Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows, all illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. Helprin has been awarded the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix de Rome, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, 2006, and the 2010 Salvatori Prize in the American Founding, among other prizes. www.markhelprin.com

Emma Norman

Howard Norman is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, and Devotion. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

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