Writers

David Ritz

Feb 1, 2015

From David Ritz’s website:

As a professional writer for the past 40 years, my main focus has been the collaborative autobiography. I've written thirty-six such books and am currently working with Willie Nelson on his life story.

I've written three independent biographies of which Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin is the most recent.

As a novelist, my books include Search for Happiness, Sanctified Blues, The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn and Blue Notes Under a Green Felt Hat.

As a lyricist, my songs include "Sexual Healing," co-written with Marvin Gaye. In addition, I've collaborated on songs with Janet Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Narada Michael Walden.

My articles have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Essence, People, US, Art Connoisseur and TV Guide.

As an essayist, I've written some seventy sets of liner notes for albums and discs, ranging from Sammy Davis, Jr. to Donny Hathaway to Michael Jackson.

I've been honored with a Grammy (Best Liner Notes) and, on four occasions, the Ralph Gleason Music Book Award (for collaborations with BB King, Etta James, the Neville Brothers and producer Jerry Wexler). I received the 2013 ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding musical biography for When I Left Home, the story of Buddy Guy.

I live in Los Angeles with Roberta, my wife of 47 years.

More about David Ritz: http://www.ritzwrites.com/home.html

Merritt Tierce was born and raised in Texas. She worked in various secretarial and retail positions until 2009, when she moved to Iowa City to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as the Meta Rosenberg Fellow.  After graduating in 2011 with her MFA from Iowa, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and she is a 2013 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Author. Merritt’s first published story, Suck It, was selected by ZZ Packer to be anthologized in the 2008 edition of New Stories from the South, and her first book, Love Me Back, was published by Doubleday in 2014, to wide acclaim.

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.

Jayne Anne Phillips is a short story writer and novelist.  She was born and raised in West Virginia. Her first book of stories, Black Tickets, published in 1979 when she was 26, won the prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  Her novels include Machine Dreams, Shelter, MotherKind, Lark and Termite and Quiet Dell.  She is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the Rutgers Newark MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. http://jayneannephillips.com/

Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which was the winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and winner of a High Plains Book Award. She was born in Singapore and grew up in Wyoming. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, where she was an Inprint Brown Foundation Fellow.

Richard Phibbs

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown. His newest novel is, The Snow Queen. He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University. www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com

Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

Neil Giordano

Heidi Pitlor is the author of the novel The Birthdays of which Fred Leebron wrote "Undeniably gratifying...subtly riveting...This isn't just a terrific family novel; it's a terrific novel through and through." Heidi was formerly a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin and is presently the annual series editor for The Best American Short Stories. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, The Huffington Post, and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers.

This week on CrossCurrents, part 2 of The Great Book Series at the Aspen Institute. Senior moderators Pete Thigpen and Todd Breyfogle are guests.

Also Walter Isaacson, CEO and President of the Aspen Institute, on his new book, The Innovators.

About the Great Book Series from the Aspen Institute website:

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including The Beautiful Ruins and The Zero, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 30 languages, and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper's, Esquire, McSweeney's, Byliner, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine, Details and many others. www.jesswalter.com.

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