Ilana Panich-Lisman

Jennifer duBois is the recipient of a 2013 Whiting Writer’s Award and a 2012 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 award. Her debut novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was the winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. Her second novel, Cartwheel, has been nominated for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. Jennifer earned a B.A. in political science and philosophy from Tufts University and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop before completing a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Missouri Review, Salon, The Kenyon Review, Cosmopolitan, Narrative, and ZYZZYVA. A native of western Massachusetts, Jennifer currently teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.

Debbi Cooper

Molly Antopol’s debut story collection, The UnAmericans (W.W. Norton), was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award, named a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the National Jewish Book Award and the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. It was chosen as a “Best Book of 2014” by over a dozen venues and will be published in seven countries. She teaches at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow, and lives in San Francisco.

Matthew Thomas was born and raised in New York City. He has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and longlisted for both the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize.

Caitlin Saunders

George Saunders is the author of four collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year, and Tenth of December. Pastoralia, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and Tenth of December were all New York Times Notable Books. Tenth of December was nominated for the 2013 National Book Award in Fiction. The Boston Globe lauds Saunders’ ability to “construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity." In 2014, Saunders' graduation speech at Syracuse University will be published as the book Congratulations, by the Way.

Shannon Taggart

CJ 's fiction has appeared in Tin House, TriQuarterly, Third Coast, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Review, The Laurel Review, SLICE, The Kenyon Review, and Esquire. She is the 2010 recipient of McSweeney's Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, the winner of the 2012 Jaimy Gordon Prize in Fiction and the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize for Sudden Fiction. She was also a finalist in Esquire's Short Short Fiction Competition and shortlisted for the UK's Bridport Prize.

Isabelle Selby

Anthony Doerr is the author of The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome, Memory Wall, and the new novel All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr’s fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, three Pushcart Prizes, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, three Ohioana Book Awards, the 2010 Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story.  His books have twice been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, and made lots of other year end “Best Of” lists. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.

Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the novel Remember Me Like This, which is a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and the award-winning Corpus Christi: Stories, which was named a Best Book of the Year by The Independent (London) and The Irish Times. He is also the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer. His work appears in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Paris Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere.

His awards include the Pushcart Prize, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Stephen Turner Award, the Cohen Prize, a James Michener Fellowship, and the Kay Cattarulla Prize for short fiction. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Tin House, The Best American Sports Writing, and on NPR’s All Things Considered.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he’s the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation. He wrote the documentary film Waiting for Lightning, which was released in theaters around the world by Samuel Goldwyn Films. He teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University, where he is the Director of Creative Writing.

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.