Sheila Kohler’s first published story “The Mountain” appeared in The O’Henry Prize Stories in 1987,and became the opening chapter in her first novel The Perfect Place. Her collections of short stories include Miracles in America;One Girl ,which won The Willa Cather Prize; and Stories from Another World. Her short stories “Africans” and “Casualty” were anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. Her story “The Transitional Object” was included in The O’Henry Prize Stories 2008. Kohler’s novels include The House on R Street, Cracks, The Children of Pithiviers, and Crossways. Cracks was chosen as one of the best books of 1999 by Newsday and Library Journal and is currently being made into a movie directed by Ridley and Jordan Scott. Her most recent novel, Bluebird or the Invention of Happiness published in 2007, was recently released in paperback. A new novel about the lives of the Bronte’s will soon be published by Viking Penguin Inc. Kohler was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She currently lives in New York and Amagansett and is teaching at Princeton University.

Margot Livesey grew up in the Scottish Highlands and received a B.A.in English and philosophy at the University of York in England. Her first book was a collection of stories called Learning by Heart, published in 1986. Since then she has published six novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona and, most recently, The House on Fortune Street, published by Harper Collins in May 2008. She is the co-editor of Writing About Literature: An Anthology For Reading and Writing. Her stories and essays have appeared in Story, North American Review, The New Yorker and Vogue, among others. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation,the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts .Ms. Livesey currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is a distinguished writer in residence at Emerson College and the John F. and Dorothy H. Magee writer in residence at Bowdoin College.

Jim Shepard’s short story collection, Like You’d Understand Anyway,was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award For Fiction and won The Story Prize. His previous two collections are Batting Against Castro and Love and Hydrogen. He is also the author of six novels, Flights, Paper Doll ,Lights Out in the Reptile House, Kiss of the Wolf, Nosferatu and Project X. He has edited three anthologies, You’ve Got to Read This (with Ron Hansen), Unleashed:Poems by Writers’Dogs and Writers at the Movies:26 Contemporary Writers Celebrate 26 Contemporary Movies .His short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, among other magazines. Shepard was born in Stratford, Connecticut and attended Trinity College and Brown University. He has been teaching at Williams College since 1983, and lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.