Writer, poet, and playwright Gertrude Stein was born in 1874 to a Jewish family of German origin in Pennsylvania. In the 1920s, she moved to Paris, France, where she established a literary salon which became a house to renowned authors such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and artists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In her literary writings, Stein developed the stream of consciousness technique and made significant use of the concept of the subconscious. Stein died in Paris in 1946 and was buried there.
Born in 1871 in Newark, New Jersey, author and poet Stephen Crane is considered to have influenced American literature, among others the writing of Ernest Hemingway. Crane grew up in a Methodist family and began writing at the age of four. As a journalist, he was sent to Cuba as a military correspondent, when the ship sank off the coast of Florida, an incident he has later depicted in his short story, “The Open Boat.” Later, he served as a military correspondent in Greece and then moved to England. Crane died in 1900 from tuberculosis, at the age of 28, at a sanatorium in Germany.
Idra Novey is an American novelist, poet, and translator. the author of the novel Ways to Disappear, winner of the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize, the 2016 Brooklyn Library Literary Prize, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into ten languages. She’s written for The New York Times, the LA Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s also translated four books from Spanish and Portuguese, most recently Clarice Lispector’s novel The Passion According to G.H. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.
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.
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.
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.
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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 Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The 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.
Breece D’J Pancake was an American author. He was born in 1952 in West Virginia. Pancake died in the age of 26, apparently of suicide, publishing only six short stories, mostly in Atlantic magazine. His first and only collected stories were published after his death in 1983, and won great acclaim. Pancake’s style and power have been compared to such twentieth-century literary giants as William Faulkner, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, and Samuel Beckett, and it is considered today a masterpiece of American short fiction. Pancake grew up in Milton, a small town in Cabell County. He completed a B.A. in English in Marshall University in 1974 and spent the next two years as an English instructor at a Military Academy. He left teaching in 1976 to enroll in the MA program at the University of Virginia. There Pancake began to write fiction. His first published story, Trilobites, appeared in The Atlantic in 1977. This event would bestow on him the unusual middle initials D’J, a miss-punctuation by the Atlantic editors of the initials for “Dexter” (his middle name), and “John” (the name he adopted after his conversion to Catholicism in his mid-twenties). Pancake chose to adopt the misprint and used it afterwards on all his published works. Breece D’J Pancake died on the night of April 8, 1979, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His death was officially judged a suicide, though some family members and childhood friends believe his death was a tragic accident. All those who read his work believed he was on the cusp of a brilliant career, full of promise and potential. His collected stories were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and named an American Library Association Notable Book for 1983. In a letter to author John Casey, who was Pancake’s friend and professor in university, Kurt Vonnegut wrote: “I give you my word of honor that he is merely the best writer, the most sincere writer I’ve ever read. What I suspect is that it hurt too much, was no fun at all to be that good. You and I will never know.”
Herman Melville (1819-1891) is considered one of the greatest American authors of all time. Melville was Born in New York City to a family of merchants of English and Dutch descent. The family business flourished at first, but later went bankrupt. Melville’s father died soon after, and the young son was sent to work to support the family financially. He worked as a bank clerk at 13, and later became a common sailor on merchant ships. These experiences left their mark on young Melville, and he incorporated them in his writings. After getting married and settling down in a farm in Massachusetts, he was acquainted with author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the two became friends. Melville was deeply influenced by Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which had just been published then, and dedicated his own work-in-progress, Moby-Dick, to his friend. Melville’s writings, which are partially based on his experience at sea, have produced many critical interpretations and wide literary debates. His widey known works are the monumental novel, Moby-Dick, considered by many as perhaps the great American novel; Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street; and Billy Budd, Sailor, which was published posthumously.
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