Stuart Dybek is the author of three short story collections, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed with Magellan. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets In Their Own Ink. His work is widely anthologized and regularly appears in publications such as The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and The Paris Review. He is the recipient of many literary awards and honors which include the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for “distinguished achievement in the short story”, a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four O’Henry Prizes. In 2007, he was awarded both a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and The Rea Award for the Short Story. He currently teaches at Northwestern University as Distinguished Writer in Residence. Dybek is a permanent faculty member of The Prague Summer Writing Program.

Richard Ford is a novelist and story-writer.  He is author of three volumes of short fiction, among them A Multitude of Sins and Rock Springs. He has won both the Rea Award for the Short Story, and The PEN/Bernard Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction, and has edited The Best America Short Stories, as well as both volumes of the Granta Book of The American Short Story.  His novels, which include Canada, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, The PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Award for Merit in the Novel from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, where he is a Fellow.  He is Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and lives with his wife Kristina, in New York and in Boothbay, Maine.