RUSSELL BANKS (“A Dyspeptic View of Nineties Fiction”) is the author of many books of fiction, including Continental Drift (1985), Success Stories (1987), and Affliction (1989). His most recent novel, The Sweet Hereafter, was published last fall.

THOMAS BYRNE EDSALL (“All Fraternity Has Fled”) is a political reporter for The Washington Post. Kdsall is the author of The New Politics of Inequality (1984) and Power and Money: Writing About Politics, 1971-1981 (1988). His most recent book, Chain Reaction, written with Mary D. Edsall, was published last fall.

JAMES FALLOWS (“Hidden Powers”) is The Atlantic's Washington editor and the author of National Defense (1981) and More Like Us (1989). Fallows is writing a book about the future of East Asia.

WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE (“The Border”) is a pilot and writer who lives in California. His article on life in the Sahara, “The World in Its Extreme,” was The Atlantic’s cover story last November.

GEORGE LEONARD (“Notes: The End of School”) is a contributing editor of Esquire, who has won numerous national awards for writing on education. He is the author of Education and Ecstasy (1968) and Mastery (1991).

JAMES MANN (“Deep Throat: An Institutional Analysis”) is a reporter on the Washington bureau of The Los Angeles Tunes and a former Beijing bureau chief for the newspaper. He is the author of Beijing Jeep: How Western Business Stalled in China (1989).

PETER MEINKE (“Scars”) received the Flannery O’Connor prize for short fiction in 1986 for his book The Piano Tuner. I lis most recent book of poems, Liquid Paper, was published last year.

DONNA ROSENTHAL (“Israel: The New Exodus”), a former producer for Israel TV, has also worked as a reporter in Ethiopia. Her articles have appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles limes, and The Washington Post. Rosenthal teaches writing at the University of California at Berkeley.

EDWARD SOREL and NANCY CALDWELL SOREL (First Encounters) live in Manhattan. Edward Sorel won the George Polk Award in 1981 and received a Society of Illustrators gold medal in 1985. He is the illustrator of many books, including Word People (1970), written by his wife. Nancy Caldwell Sorel’s second book, Ever Since Eve, was published in 1984.

JOHN UPDIKE ("The Brown Chest”) is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Is Rich and thirteen other novels. His most recent book, Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism, was published last fall.

ELLEN BRYANT VOIGT (“Song and Story”) teaches at Warren Wilson College, in North Carolina. Her latest collection of poems. Two Trees, will appear this fall.

JOHN WELTER (“One Man’s Meat”) writes a weekly humor column for a North Carolina newspaper. His novel Begin to Exit Here was published this spring.

The May Almanac was compiled with the assistance of Gail Cleere, on behalf of the U.S. Naval Observatory; William Wilson, of the Westlaco Honeybee Research Lab; and Joe Graham, the editor of American Bee Journal.