About the Writers

Charles Simic

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Charles Simic was born on May 9, 1938, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where he had a traumatic childhood during World War II. In 1954 he emigrated from Yugoslavia with his mother and brother to join his father in the United States. They lived in and around Chicago until 1958.

His first full-length collection of poems, What the Grass Says, was published the following year. Since then he has published more than sixty books in the U.S. and abroad, twenty titles of his own poetry among them, including New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012 (Harcourt, 2013); Master of Disguises (2010); That Little Something (2008); My Noiseless Entourage (2005); Selected Poems: 1963-2003 (Faber and Faber, 2004), for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize; The Voice at 3:00 AM: Selected Late and New Poems (2003); Night Picnic (2001); Jackstraws (1999), which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times; and The Book of Gods and Devils (1990).
His other books of poetry include Walking the Black Cat (1996), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; A Wedding in Hell (1994); Hotel Insomnia (1992); The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems (1989), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990; Selected Poems: 1963-1983 (1990); and Unending Blues (1986).

Simic elected a chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000 and was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 2007.

He has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995. Most recently, he was the recipient of the 2011 Frost Medal, presented annually for "lifetime achievement in poetry." In 2007, he received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Simic is Emeritus Professor of the University of New Hampshire where he has taught since 1973.

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Justin Cronin

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Best-selling author Justin Cronin has written four novels, the first two literary fiction and the next two genre fiction: Mary and O'Neil (2001), which won the Pen/Hemingway Award and the Stephen Crane Prize, The Summer Guest (2004), The Passage (2010), and The Twelve (2012). The City of Mirrors , the third in the apocalyptic vampire trilogy, is scheduled for publication in 2014. Having earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, Cronin has taught at La Salle University and at Rice.

The Passage debuted at #3 on the New York Times hardcover fiction best seller list 2010 and in 2012, the sequel debuted at #2.

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Laura Van Den Berg

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A graduate of Holt with an MFA from Emerson, Laura van den Berg has published stories in Glimmer Train, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, Best New American Voices 2010 and The Pushcart Prize XXIV. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009) was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and was short listed for the Frank O’Connor International Award. Her second short story collection The Isle of Youth is being forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in November 2013. She is the recipient of the Emerging Writer :Lectureship at Gettysburg College and the Tickner Fellowship at the Gilman School. She teaches creative writing at George Washington University.

 

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Alan Michael Parker

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Alan Michael Parker is the author of three novels, Cry Uncle, Whale Man, and The Committee on Town Happiness (Dzanc Books, forthcoming in 2014); and seven collections of poems, including Long Division (Tupelo Press, 2012) winner of the 2012 North Carolina Book Award for the best collection of poetry; and editor of three other volumes, including Who's Who in 20th Century World Poetry, for which he served as Editor for North America. He has been awarded three Pushcart Prizes, the Fineline Prize from the Mid-American Review, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, among other honors; he has published over 200 poems and stories in journals including American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Paris Review, and Best American Poetry. He has published essays and reviews in journals such as The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Yorker, and been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Corporation of Yaddo. At Davidson he is the Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English & Director of Creative Writing.

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Madison Smartt Bell

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Madison Smartt Bell is the author of fourteen novels, most recently The Color of Night (2011). He has also published two collections of short stories: Zero db (1987) and Barking Man (1990). In 2002, the novel Doctor Sleep was adapted as a film, Close Your Eyes, starring Goran Visnjic, Paddy Considine, and Shirley Henderson. Forty Words For Fear, an album of songs co-written with Wyn Cooper, was released by Gaff Music in 2003.

Bell's fifth novel, Soldier's Joy received the Lillian Smith Award in 1989. His eighth, All Soul's Rising, was a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race. All Souls Rising", is the first novel in his "Haitian Revolutionary" trilogy, which includes Master of the Crossroads and The Stone That The Builder Refused. Toussaint Louverture: A Biography appeared in 2007. Devil's Dream, a novel based on the career of Nathan Bedford Forrest, was published by Pantheon in 2009.

Born and raised in Tennessee, he has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Princeton University (A.B 1979) and Hollins College (M.A. 1981), he has taught in various creative writing programs, including the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. Since 1984 he has taught at Goucher College, along with his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires. He has been a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers since 2003, and was awarded a Strauss Living by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. 

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Winter With the Writers, A Festival of the Literary Arts is sponsored by The Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Artist Fund, Winter With the Writers Patrons, and the Rollins College Department of English.