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, the Prix Femina for Etrangere 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 Ford, in New York and in Boothbay, Maine.
Tom Franklin is the author of Poachers: Stories (1999) winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Short Story. Of his novel Hell at the Breech (2003), Philip Roth wrote “I am amazed by Franklin’s power. I’m reminded, by the evotive strength of the prose and the relentlessness of the imagination of William Faulkner”. His novel Smonk or Widow Town (2006) takes place in Old Texas, Alabama. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010), a New York Times Best Seller and an Edgar Award nominee, won the 2010 Mystery/Thriller Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards for Best Contemporary Mystery, and the United Kingdom’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Ellis Peters Historical Gold Daggar Award. The Tilted World: A Novel (2014) is co-authored with his wife, poet Beth Ann Fennelly; and they are co-editors of the The Alumni Grill: Anthology of Southern Writers. Franklin was the Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1999, and in 2000 moved to Oxford, Mississippi when offered the John and Renee Grisham Chair in Creative Writing. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001. He has been named an ongoing Writer-in-Residence and currently is Associate Professor in the University of Mississippi’s MFA writing program. Franklin’s writings have been included in anthologies such as The New Granta Book of the American Short Story, New Stories from the South; Best American Mystery Stories; and Best Mystery Stories of the Century.
Lee Smith is the author of thirteen novels and four short story collections, Cakewalk (1981); Me and My Baby View the Eclipse (1990); News of the Spirit (1997) and Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger: New and Selected Stories (2010). Her most recent novel Guests on Earth was published in the Fall of 2013. Lee Smith was twice honored in the O. Henry Prize Stories in 1979 and1981. Her novels Oral History (1983), Fair and Tender Ladies (1988) each received Sir Walter Raleigh Awards. Among her numerous award are the North Carolina Award for Literature in1984; the John Dos Passos Award for Literature in 1987; the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction (1991); and the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Award for the years 1995 to1997. Smith was honored in 1999 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Her novel The Last Girls won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award in 2002. In April 2013 she was the first recipient of Mercer University’s Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature. She was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2009 and holds the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the State of Virginia since 2010. The Carolina Wren Press created The Lee Smith Novel Prize given bi-annually in her honor. She co-authored the off-Broadway musical with Jill McCorkle, Good Ol’ Girls, which opened in 2010. Lee Smith is a professor of English at the North Carolina State University and lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with her husband Hal Crowther.