Lesley Nneka Arimah is the author of What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, a collection of short stories from Riverhead Books. Her collection was named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, LitHub, and more. Her stories have been honored with a National Magazine Award, the Caine Prize, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and an O. Henry Award. Arimah’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and GRANTA among other publications, and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation, MacDowell, Breadloaf and others. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and won the 2017 Kirkus Prize, the 2018 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and was selected for the New York Times/PBS book club among other honors. Arimah is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing. She lives in the Midwest and is working on a novel about you.
Rita Banerjee is the author of the poetry collections Echo in Four Beats, which was named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018,” and Cracklers at Night. She is also editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, and author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and has taught creative writing, pedagogy, publishing, foreign language, and literature courses at Harvard, UC Berkeley, LMU Munich, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and elsewhere. She received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center at Harvard University and is a recipient of the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, South Asia Initiative Grants, and Tata Grants among other awards. She serves as Editor-at-Large of the South Asian Avant-Garde and Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her work appears in Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, PANK, Nat. Brut., Hunger Mountain, Tupelo Quarterly, Isele Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, VIDA, Vermont Public Radio, and elsewhere. She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre, a forthcoming documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto Merchants of Cool: How Female Cool Could Not Be Sold, and one of the opening chapters of this memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Robert Boswell is the author of six novels, three story collections, a play, a cyberpunk novel, and two books of nonfiction. He has received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Iowa School of Letters Award for Fiction, the PEN West Award for Fiction, the John Gassner Prize for Playwriting, and the Evil Companions Award. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, Esquire, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harpers, and many other magazines. He is married to Antonya Nelson. They share the Cullen Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.
Christopher Castellani’s fourth novel, Leading Men — for which he received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony — was published by Viking in February 2019. His collection of essays on point of view in fiction, The Art of Perspective, was published by Graywolf in 2016. His three previous novels, a trilogy that follows an immigrant Italian family, were published by Algonquin. Castellani is on the fiction faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and he has been a fiction supervisor and frequent member of the academic board at Warren Wilson since 2008. He lives in Provincetown and Boston, where he is currently the Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University.
Jonathan Escoffery is the author of the linked story collection, If I Survive You, a New York Times and Booklist Editor’s Choice, an IndieNext Pick, and an International Bestseller. If I Survive You was longlisted for the National Book Award, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize For Debut Short Story Collection, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the Story Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Southern Book Prize, and the California Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Golden Poppy Award. Jonathan is the recipient of American Short Fiction‘s 2023 Constellation Award for a Story Collection, The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction from the American Society of Magazine Editors, and a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Oprah Daily, Electric Literature, Zyzzyva, American Short Fiction, AGNI, and elsewhere. He has received support and honors from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Aspen Words, Kimbilio Fiction, the Anderson Center, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA Program and was a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
David Haynes is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is an emeritus professor of English at Southern Methodist University, where he directed the creative writing program for ten years. Since 1996 he has taught regularly in MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and has also taught writing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Hamline University, at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and at the Writers’ Garret in Dallas. He has received a fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and several of his short stories have been read and recorded for the National Public Radio series “Selected Shorts.” His seventh and most recently novel is A STAR IN THE FACE OF THE SKY. He is also the author of a series for children called “The West Seventh Wildcats.” His upcoming book is a collection, MARTHA’S DAUGHTER: A NOVELLA AND STORIES.
David spent fifteen years as a K-12 teacher in urban schools, mostly teaching middle grades in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He worked on numerous school reform efforts, including developing the influential Saturn School of Tomorrow, where he served as Associate Teacher for Humanities. He has been involved in the work of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, coordinating efforts of the nation’s finest educators to develop standards in the fields of social studies, vocational education, early childhood education and for teachers of students whose first language is not English.
David Haynes co-founded and serves as the Board Chair for Kimbilio, a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories.
Vanessa Hua is the author of the national bestsellers A River of Stars and Forbidden City, as well as Deceit and Other Possibilities, a New York Times Editors Pick. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, she has also received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, and a de Groot Foundation Writer of Note grant, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. A former longtime columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. A Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s College of California, she teaches at the Sewanee Writers Conference and elsewhere. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
Akil Kumarasamy is the author of the interlinked story collection Half Gods, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize, and was awarded the Bard Fiction Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, American Short Fiction, BOMB, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the University of East Anglia, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Yaddo, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She is an assistant professor at the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. Her debut novel, Meet Us by the Roaring Sea, was published by FSG in August 2022.
Nina McConigley was born in Singapore and raised in Wyoming. She earned her MA from the University of Wyoming, and her MFA at the University of Houston. Her short-story collection Cowboys and East Indians was the winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, High Country News, O, Oprah Magazine, Parents, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, and The Asian American Literary Review among others. She teaches at Colorado State University. In 2019-2020, she was the Walter Jackson Bate fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and is a 2022 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Writing Fellowship. Her play, based on Cowboys and East Indians has been commissioned by the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and will be premiering in 2024.
Alix Ohlin is the author of six books, most recently We Want What We Want: Stories (2021). Her 2019 novel Dual Citizens, like her novel Inside, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other places. She lives in Vancouver, where she is the Director of the UBC School of Creative Writing.