Grace Paley is the author of the short story collections The Little Disturbances of Man, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Later the Same Day and The Collected Stories, winner of the National Book Award. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire and The Atlantic Monthly, among other publications. A collection of political essays and family memoirs, Just As I Thought, was published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in April 1998. Her awards and honors include the 1997 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the 1994 National Book Award for Fiction, the 1993 Vermont Award for Excellence in the Arts and the 1989 Edith Wharton Award. In 1989, Governor Cuomo declared her the first official New York State Writer. She was the recipient of the 1993 Rea Award for the Short Story.

Tim O'Brien is the author of the novels Northern Lights, Going After Cacciato, winner of the National Book Award, The Nuclear Age, and In the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for best historical novel. If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home is a collection of essays about his Vietnam experience. His collection of short stories. The Things They Carried, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and won him the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the Melcher Book Award, and France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. His short stories have been anthologized in Prize Stories:The O. Henry Awards, Great Esquire Fiction, The Pushcart Prize (vols. 2 and 10) and The Best American Short Stories. In April 1998, he was Rea Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia.

Gina Berriault is the author of four novels, The Descent, A Conference of Victims, The Son, The Lights of Earth and of three collections of stories, The Mistress and Other Stories, The Infinite Passion of Expectation: Twenty-five Stories and Women In Their Beds: New & Selected Stories, for which she received the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award in 1996. Her story. The Stone Boy, was made into a film for which she wrote the script, starring Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. She received the 1997 Rea Award for the Short Story.