Charles Baxter ("Poor Devil," page 48) is the author of four novels, including Saul and Patsy (2003) and The Feast of Love (2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent short-story collection is Believers (1997). His fiction has also appeared in The New Yorker and Harper's, and has been widely anthologized. Baxter is currently the Edelstein-Keller Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota.
Nathan Englander ("How We Avenged the Blums," page 24) is the author of the short-story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (1999), which won the PEN/Malamud Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters's Sue Kaufman Prize. His fiction has also appeared in The New Yorker and numerous anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories. He is currently a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Mary Gordon ("Moral Fiction," page 93) is the McIntosh Professor of English at Barnard College and the author of several best-selling novels, including Spending (1998) and The Other Side (1989). She has won the O. Henry Award three times—once for her story "The Deacon," which appeared in the May 1999 Atlantic. Her most recent novel, Pearl, was published in January.
Adam Haslett ("City Visit," page 72) is the author of the short-story collection You Are Not a Stranger Here (2002), which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award and won the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Yale Review, and Zoetrope: All-Story, and has been heard on National Public Radio's Selected Shorts. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Yale Law School, he was recently awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in fiction.
Mark Jacobs ("Weightlifting for Catholics," page 63) is a former foreign-service officer who served as cultural attaché and information officer in Spain, Turkey, and Latin America. He is the author of the novels A Handful of Kings (2004) and Stone Cowboy (1997) and the short-story collections The Liberation of Little Heaven (1998) and A Cast of Spaniards (1994). His fiction has also appeared in The Iowa Review, The Southwest Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.
Rick Moody ("Writers and Mentors," page 9) is the author of several novels and short-story collections, including Demonology (2000), Purple America (1997), and The Ice Storm (1994). His memoir and family history, The Black Veil (2002), won a PEN/Martha Albrand Award. Moody's work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper's, and elsewhere. His novel The Diviners will be published in September.
Shira Nayman ("The House on Kronenstrasse," page 32) is a clinical psychologist. Her work has also appeared in New England Review, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose, and Confrontation. "The House on Kronenstrasse" is part of a collection of stories exploring the psychological legacy of the Nazis, titled Dark Urgings of the Blood.
Joyce Carol Oates ("*BD* 11 1 86," page 15) is an essayist, a critic, and the author of numerous short stories and novels, including The Falls (2004), Blonde (2000), and We Were the Mulvaneys (1996). A recipient of a National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award, Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. "*BD* 11 1 86" will be included in her forthcoming short-story collection, High Lonesome: New Selected Stories 1966—2006.
Maximilian Schlaks ("Tell Them, Please Tell Them," page 80) is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His fiction has also appeared in The Missouri Review, Mânoa, The Sun, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. He has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and Allegheny College, and currently teaches at California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo. He lives under the name Maximilian DeLaure.
George Singleton ("Director's Cut," page 56) teaches fiction writing at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. He is the author of three collections of short stories: Why Dogs Chase Cars (2004), The Half-Mammals of Dixie (2002), and These People Are Us (2001). His fiction has also appeared in Harper's, The Georgia Review, Playboy, and elsewhere. His first novel, Novel, was published in June.
Curtis Sittenfeld ("The Perils of Literary Success," page 99) is the author of the novel Prep, which was published in January and spent nine weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Allure, and Real Simple, and has been heard on National Public Radio's This American Life. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Atlantic intern, Sittenfeld won Seventeen magazine's fiction contest at age sixteen.