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“A very small child, and very untreated.” This is how Charles Dickens described himself as a child. Dickens was born in Victorian England in 1812 to a large, wealthy family. At the age of twelve, the family was imprisoned in a prison for families in debt. Young Dickens was sent to work in a factory to help and free his family. This childhood experience had a great influence on his future writings. As an adult, he became a journalist and continued to do so while writing and publishing his books. His debut novel, The Pickwick Papers, which was published in 1836 upon his marriage to Catherine Hogarth, excelled in unusual wit. Dickens and his wife had ten children, and while taking care of their young, Dickens’ most famous books were written and published, such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, which were known for their realistic, sensitive and humoristic style. Dickens is one of the most famous authors in the history of literature, and his writings have won dozens of adaptations for theater, film and television. In 1865 Dickens and his then partner, actress Ellen Ternan, were involved in a train accident, however were not harmed. Dickens died in 1870 and was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Ringgold Wilmer Lardner was born in 1885 in a small town in Michigan. Shortly before World War I, after working in several small newspapers as a sports reporter, he began writing for the Chicago Tribune. Lardner continued to write on sports, but also served as political correspondent in the war front in France. Lardner also wrote satire, describing life in the United States and the European front of World War I, as well as skits, songs, and short plays. Friend to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the day-to-day themes in his writing, as well as its simple style, influenced the young Ernst Hemingway, who used the pen name “Ring Lardner” for his earliest publications. Lardner died in New York in 1933 from tuberculosis.

Montague Rhodes James, (1862-1936) was an English writer and scholar. He used the publication name M.R. James, and was a noted mediaeval scholar & provost of King’s College, Cambridge and of Eton College. He’s best remembered for his ghost stories which are widely regarded as among the finest in English literature. One of James’ most important achievements was to redefine the ghost story for the new century by dispensing with many of the formal Gothic trappings of his predecessors, replacing them with more realistic contemporary settings. Throughout the years, his stories were widely adapted to the stage, radio television and film.

Rob Doyle is an Irish writer. He was born in Dublin and holds a first-class honours degree in Philosophy and an MPhil in Psychoanalysis from Trinity College Dublin. His first novel, Here Are the Young Men, was published in 2014 and was chosen as a book of the year by the Irish Times, Independent, Sunday Times and Sunday Business Post, and was shortlisted in the Best Newcomer category for the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards. Doyle’s second book, This Is the Ritual, was published in January 2016 and was a book of the year in the New StatesmanSunday Times and Irish Times. His fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in The Guardian, Observer, Vice, Dublin Review, Irish Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Business Post, Stinging Fly, Gorse, Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2016 and elsewhere. Rob Doyle is editor of the Dalkey Archive’s Anthology of Irish Literature, due for publication in 2017. He played the lead role in Hit the North, a feature film due for release in 2017. He currently lives in Paris.

Todd Hasak-Lowy is an American writer and Professor of creative writing and literature at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. He was formerly an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Literature at the University of Florida and has a PHD from Berkeley. His first book, The Task of this Translator,a short story collection, was published in 2005. His first novel, Captives, appeared in fall 2008. His latest work is a narrative memoir for young adults, Somewhere There is Still a Sun, co-written with Holocaust survivor Michael Gruenbaum, and published in 2015. 33 Minutes, his first middle-grade novel, was published in 2013, and Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You, his first young adult novel was published in 2015. Todd lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife two daughters.

David Constantine is a British writer, poet and translator. He was born in Salford in 1944, and worked for thirty years as a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry, most recently, Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet. In 2003 his translation of Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s Lighter than Air won the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation. David Constantine has published four short story collections, The Shieling (2009) was shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Constantine’s story ‘Tea at the Midland’ won the BBC National Short Story Award 2010, and the collection, Tea at the Midland (2012), as a whole, won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2013. Constantine lives in Oxford where, for ten years, he edited Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen (until 2011). David’s short story ‘In Another Country’ has been adapted into ’45 Years’ – a major film, directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Courtenay & Charlotte Rampling. This film won two silver bear awards at the Berlin Film Festival, the Michael Powell Best British Film at Edinburgh, and the WFTV award for Best Performance (for Rampling). It has also been nominated for nine international others. He is also author of Fields of Fire: A Life of Sir William Hamilton, Davies, and a novel, The Life-Writer, which was published in 2015 alongside In Another Country: Selected Stories, to mark the release of ’45 Years’, the film, in the UK. The Life Writer was named one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016.

Benjamin Rosenbaum bounces between Basel, Switzerland and Washington, DC. His stories have been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, World Fantasy, Locus, and Sturgeon Awards, and translated into 25 languages. One of them was animated and won Best Animated Short at SXSW in 2010. He has two children, and while they are not quite the children in this story, some of the mixture of love, fierce protectiveness, and sibling resentment is drawn from life.

Photo: © 2017 Portrait Playtime

Michael Cunningham is an American writer, winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1952 and grew up in La Canada, California. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Stanford University and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.  His novel A Home at the End of the World was published in 1990 to wide acclaim.  Flesh and Blood, another novel, followed in 1995.  He received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel, The Hours.  He has written one nonfiction book,  Land’s End: A Walk Through Provincetown.  He is the author of Specimen Days, which has been optioned for the movies, and By Nightfall. His latest novel is The Snow Queen and a story collection, A Wild Swan and Other Tales, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, was released in 2015. A film version of The Hours was directed by Stephen Daldry and featured Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. The film was released to general critical acclaim and received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and a win for Nicole Kidman as Best Actress. A film version of A Home at the End of the World was directed by Michael Mayer, and featured Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts and Sissy Spacek. Cunningham and Susan Minot co-wrote the screenplay for her novel Evening; the film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Colette, Patrick Wilson, and Meryl Streep. Cunningham’s work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Atlantic MonthlyThe Paris Review, and other publications. His story “White Angel” was chosen for Best American Short Stories 1989, and another story, “Mister Brother,” appeared in the 2000 O. Henry Collection. Michael Cunningham is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award (1995), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1993), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1988), and a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa (1982). He is currently a senior lecturer in the English department at Yale University.

Maxim Loskutoff is an American writer. He was raised in western Montana. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Fiction, Narrative, and The Chicago Tribune. A graduate of NYU’s MFA program, he was the recipient of a Global Writing Fellowship in Abu Dhabi and the M Literary Fellowship in Bangalore. Other honors include the Nelson Algren Award and an arts grant from The Elizabeth George Foundation. He has worked as a carpenter, field organizer, and writing teacher, among many other things. His collection Come West and See is forthcoming in 2018.

Edith Nesbit was born in London in 1858. The death of her father when she was four and the continuing ill health of her sister meant that Nesbit had a transitory childhood, her family moving across Europe in search of healthy climates only to return to England for financial reasons. At 17 her family finally settled in London and aged 19, Nesbit met Hubert Bland, a political activist and writer. Seven months pregnant, she married Bland, though she did not immediately live with him, as Bland initially continued to live with his mother. Their marriage was a stormy one. Early on Nesbit discovered that another woman believed she was Hubert’s fiancee and had also borne him a child. A more serious blow came later when she discovered that her good friend, Alice Hoatson, was pregnant with Hubert’s child. She had previously agreed to adopt Hoatson’s child and allow Hoatson to live with her as their housekeeper. After she discovered the truth, they quarrelled violently, but her husband threatened to leave Edith if she disowned the baby and its mother. Hoatson remained with them as a housekeeper and secretary and became pregnant by Bland again 13 years later. Edith again adopted Hoatson’s child. In 1899 she had published The Adventures of the Treasure Seekers to great acclaim. It would become hugely influential on children’s literature as it moved the genre away from fantastical other worlds and contrived problems to issues in the real world, showing children as they are, not as they ought to be. In 1900 her son Fabian died suddenly from tonsillitis – the loss would have a deep emotional impact and numerous subsequent Edith Nesbit books were dedicated to his memory. She is often thought to be the first modern writer of children stories, though she continued to write for adults. She also continued her political involvement, lecturing at the newly founded London School of Economics. In 1914, having been going blind for many years and being supported entirely by Edith, Bland died. Three years later she married Thomas “the Skipper” Tucker, the ship’s engineer on the Woolwich Ferry. They would be together for the remainder of her life. Suffering from lung cancer Nesbit moved to New Romney, Kent. She died in 1924. Her husband carved her headstone, which remains in the churchyard of St Mary in the Marsh, where she is buried. She had continued to write until her death, publishing over forty-four novels in her lifetime.

The Short Story Project C | The Short Story Project INC 2018

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