Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong, a poet and essayist, is the author of the best-selling Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and Thom Gunn Award, a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Lamda Literary Prize, and a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016. Vuong's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he immigrated to the US at the age of two as a refugee. He lives in New York City and is currently at work on his first novel.

 
Karen Russell

Karen Russell, a native of Miami, won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2012 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship. Russell is the author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, and Sleep Donation: A Novella. She currently serves as the Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University.

 
Philipp Meyer

Philipp Meyer is the author of the critically lauded novel American Rust, winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2010 he was named one of the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” fiction writers to watch. His novel The Son was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was recently adapted into an AMC television series. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James Michener Fellow. A native of Baltimore, he now lives mostly in Texas.

 
Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s first book, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. Her second collection, Apocalyptic Swing, was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship, a Jones Lectureship at Stanford University, and a Rona Jaffe Women Writers’ Award. Her poem “Circus Fire, 1944” received The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Connors Prize. She teaches at the MFA programs at California College of Arts in San Francisco and at Warren Wilson College. She also runs the sports desk for the Best American Poetry Blog.

 
Junot Diaz

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

 
Martin Espada

Martín Espada has published nearly twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems is Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), and A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000). His honors include the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

 

 
Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff is the author of the novel The Monsters of Templeton, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories, and Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her third novel, Fates and Furies, was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kirkus Award. It was a New York Times Notable book and Bestseller, and Amazon.com’s #1 book of 2015. Her work has appeared in four editions of the Best American Short Stories. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons.