Mira Jacob is a novelist, memoirist, illustrator, and cultural critic. Her graphic memoir Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award, nominated for three Eisner Awards, and named a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a best book of the year by Time, Esquire, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal. Her novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing was named one of the best books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the MFA Creative Writing Program at The New School and a founding faculty member of the MFA Writing Program at Randolph College.
Jim Shepard is the author of seven novels, including The Book of Aron, and five story collections, including most recently The World to Come and Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won The Story Prize. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, One Story, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Tin House, the New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope: All Story, and Playboy, and five of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches at Williams College.
Hannah Tinti is the author of the bestselling novel The Good Thief, which won The Center for Fiction’s first novel prize, and the story collection Animal Crackers, a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her latest novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, is a national bestseller and is in development with Netflix. She teaches creative writing at New York University’s MFA program and co-founded the Sirenland Writers Conference. Tinti is also the co-founder and executive editor of One Story magazine, which won the AWP Small Press Publisher Award, CLMP’s Firecracker Award, and the PEN/Magid Award for Excellence in Editing.
Richard Russo is the author of ten novels, most recently Somebody’s Fool; two collections of stories; and the memoir Elsewhere. In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, which like Nobody’s Fool was adapted to film, in a multiple-award-winning HBO miniseries; in 2016 he was given the Indie Champion Award by the American Booksellers Association; and in 2017 he received France’s Grand Prix de Littérature Américaine.
Along with director Robert Benton he co-wrote the 1998 film Twilight, starring Paul Newman. He also wrote the screenplays for the 2005 film Ice Harvest and for the 2005 film Keeping Mum.
Dani Shapiro is the author of eleven books, and the host and creator of the hit podcast Family Secrets. Her most recent novel, Signal Fires, was named a best book of 2022 by Time Magazine, Washington Post, Amazon, and others, and is a national bestseller. Her most recent memoir, Inheritance, was an instant New York Times Bestseller, and named a best book of 2019 by Elle, Vanity Fair, Wired, and Real Simple. Dani’s work has been published in fourteen languages and she’s currently developing Signal Fires for its television adaptation. Dani’s book on the process and craft of writing, Still Writing, is being reissued on the occasion of its tenth anniversary in 2023. She occasionally teaches workshops and retreats, and is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy
Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City. She is the author of four novels, An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, Don’t I Know You?, The Celestials, and the collection of stories, Kiss Me Someone. Her short fiction has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, and Ploughshares, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in More, Self, USA Today, and the Boston Globe, among others. She teaches writing and literature at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she lives with her husband, novelist Jim Shepard, and their three children.
Michael Maren is a former journalist and current filmmaker. He has worked for The Village Voice, and New York Magazine and contributed to The New York Times, Newsweek, The Nation, and The New Republic among other publications. He is the author of The Road to Hell, which The New Yorker has labeled “the seminal critique of foreign aid.” As a filmmaker he has written scripts for HBO, Sony Pictures and Killer Films. He wrote and directed A Short History of Decay and his most recent film, Shriver, stars Michael Shannon, Kate Hudson, Don Johnson, Zach Braff, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph. It was released in March 2023.