Dorothy Allison is the author of Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller (a New York Times Notable Book), Two or Three Things I Know for Sure and the forthcoming She Who. She was awarded the 2007 Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction. Allison lives in Northern California among redwood trees and unpredictable rivers—though she is often to be found on various campuses trying to encourage more people to write down their dreams.
Ron Carlson is the director of the MFA Program at UC Irvine. He is the author of ten books of fiction, most recently the novel The Signal. His book on writing, Ron Carlson Writes a Story, was published in 2007. His short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and dozens of other anthologies, as well as journals such as Esquire, Harpers, and Ploughshares.
Pam Houston’s most recent book is Contents May Have Shifted, published in 2012, by W.W. Norton. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, the novel, Sight Hound, and a collection of essays called A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, and The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program, and at writer’s conferences around the country and the world. She lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
Fenton Johnson is the author of the novels Crossing the River and Scissors, Paper, Rock as well as the memoir Geography of the Heart. His most recent book, Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks, received a Kentucky Literary Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Johnson has served as a contributor to Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine and is the recipient of numerous awards, among them a James Michener Fellowship from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for fiction and nonfiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Johnson is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arizona.
Antonya Nelson is the author of nine books of fiction, including Nothing Right and Bound (Bloomsbury, 2010). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook and other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories, The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of the 2003 Rea Award for Short Fiction, as well as NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, and teaches in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.
Carl Phillips is the author of 12 books of poetry, most recently Silverchest (FSG, 2013) and Double Shadow (2011), which won the Los Angeles Times Poetry Prize. He has also written a book of prose, Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry (Graywolf, 2004). Other awards and honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Academy of American Poets. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.