Charles Baxter was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College, in Saint Paul. After completing graduate work in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught for several years at Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1989, he moved to the Department of English at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and its MFA program. Baxter is the author of 5 novels, 6 collections of short stories (most recently There’s Something I Want You To Do), 3 collections of poems, 2 collections of essays on fiction and is the editor of other works. He now teaches at the University of Minnesota.
Robin Black’s short story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize and an O. Magazine Summer Reading Pick. Black’s stories and essays have been widely published including in The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Southern Review and One Story. Winner of the 2005 Pirates Alley Faulkner/Wisdom Prize for a Short Story, she was the 2012–13 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bryn Mawr College and has taught most recently in the Brooklyn College MFA Program. Black, who holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, lives with her family in Philadelphia. Her latest book is Crash Course: 52 Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide (Engine Books, 2016).
Robert Boswell has published seven novels, three story collections, and two books of nonfiction. His play The Long Shrift was produced off-Broadway in 2014. His work has earned Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, Iowa Prize, PEN-West Award, and John Gassner Prize. The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards was a finalist for the PEN USA Award. Virtual Death was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. His stories have appeared in Harpers, The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize 2000. He holds the Cullen Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.
Todd James Pierce is the author of The Australia Stories (MacAdam/Cage, 2003) and Newsworld (U of Pittsburgh, 2006), which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was a finalist for the John Gardner Book Award and the Paterson Prize. His creative work has been published in Fiction, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, The Sun, and Willow Springs and has been honored in the “Distinguished Stories” selections for Best American Short Stories. His most recent book Three Years in Wonderland, a history of the studio art directors who built the first wave of American theme parks in the 1950s, is available from University of Mississippi Press.
Steven Schwartz is the author of six books, including most recently Madagascar: New and Selected Stories. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Colorado State University and the fiction editor of Colorado Review.
Joan Silber is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently Fools, longlisted for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Other works include The Size of the World, finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize, and Household Words, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her short stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and Pushcart Prize collections. She’s also the author of The Art of Time in Fiction (Graywolf Press). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and she lives in Manhattan.
Debra Spark is the author of five books of fiction, including Unknown Caller, The Pretty Girl, and Good for the Jews. Other books include Curious Attractions: Essays on Fiction Writing, the anthology Twenty Under Thirty, and the recently reissued novel, Coconuts for the Saint. Her short work has appeared in Agni, the Boston Globe, the Cincinnati Review, Epoch, Ploughshares, and the Washington Post. She has been the recipient of several awards including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Bunting Institute fellowship, Wisconsin Institute Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, Michigan Literary Fiction Award, and John Zacharis/Ploughshares award for best first book. A graduate of Yale University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is a professor at Colby College and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College
Grant Tracey, author of the story collection Final Stanzas, is fiction editor of the North American Review and an English professor at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches film and creative writing. Thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he has published nearly fifty short stories, and three other collections: Lovers & Strangers, Parallel Lines and the Hockey Universe, and Playing Mac: A Novella in Two Acts, and Other Stories and a crime noir, Cheap Amusements, set in 1965, Toronto. In addition, he has acted in nearly thirty community theater productions (including recent roles as Gordon in Dead Man’s Cell Phone and Peter in Zoo Story), and has published critical work on Samuel Fuller and James Cagney.