About the Writers 2007 Season

2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007

Tobias Wolff

Tobias Wolff

Born in Alabama in 1945, Tobias Wolff traveled the country with his mother, finally settling in Washington State, where he grew up. He attended the Hill School in Pennsylvania until he was expelled for repeated failures in mathematics in his final year, whereupon he joined the Army. He spent four years as a paratrooper, including a tour in Vietnam. Following his discharge he attended Oxford University in England, where he received a First Class Honours degree in English in 1972. Returning to the United States , he worked variously as a reporter, a high school teacher, a night watchman and a waiter before receiving a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University in 1975. He is currently the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford, where he lives with his wife Catherine. They have three children.

Wolff's books include the memoirs This Boy's Life and In Pharaoh's Army; the short novel The Barracks Thief; three collections of stories, In The Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, and The Night in Question; and, most recently, the novel Old School. He has also edited several anthologies, among them Best American Short Stories, A Doctor's Visit: The Short Stories Of Anton Chekhov, and The Vintage Book Of Contemporary American Stories. His work is translated widely and has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Rea Award for Excellence in the Short Story, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


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Nathan Englander

Nathan Englander

Nathan Englander was born in 1970. Of his upbringing he said, "I grew up in an Orthodox home in New York, where I had a right-wing, xenophobic, anti-intellectual, fire-and-brimstone, free-thought free, shtetl-mentality, substandard education. And so I began to look elsewhere; I began to read literature. Simple as that.”

His highly acclaimed fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Story, American Short Fiction, and The Atlantic Monthly and he was included in the “20 Writers for the 21 st Century” issue of The New Yorker (June ‘99). Englander was selected by the Voice Literary Supplement as a “Writer on the Verge,” and he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003.

Englander's story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, was published by Knopf, April 1999, and was an international bestseller. He has almost completed work on his first novel, entitled The Ministry of Special Cases, also to be published by Knopf. His stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories in the 1999 and 2000 editions and in the O. Henry Prize Anthology in 2000. His work has been widely translated and has received numerous awards including The Pushcart Prize, The American Academy of Arts & Letters Sue Kauffman Prize for First Fiction, French Prix WIZO, and the Bard College Prize for Fiction.


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Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni, Jr., born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1943, is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past thirty years, Nikki's outspokenness, in her writing and in person, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the Black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others.

Nikki Giovanni has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children's books, and three collections of essays. Her book Racism 101 includes bold, controversial essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of various race issues. She has received 21 honorary doctorates and a host of other awards, including "Woman of the Year" awards from three different magazines as well as Governors' Awards in the Arts from both Tennessee and Virginia. Her three most recent volumes of poetry, Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, were winners of the NAACP Image Award, in 1998, 2000, and 2003. Since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. As a devoted and passionate writer, teacher, and speaker, she inspires not only her students, but also readers and audiences nationwide. The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, a spoken-word CD, was a finalist for the 2003 Grammy Award in the category of spoken word.

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Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison has felt herself an expatriate since she was thirteen and her family sneaked out of Greenville, South Carolina dragging a U-Haul trailer and all their worldly possessions. Through half a dozen books and shifts from Greenville to Florida to Washington, D.C., New York, and finally Northern California, she has clung to the country of her imagination--a southern landscape peopled by stubborn-faced women who take whatever work they can find, desperate adolescent girls prone to lying as an act of defiance, and men whose craggy features hide more wounded gentleness than is safe to acknowledge.

Allison is the author of Bastard Out of Carolina, a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award, and Cavedweller, a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, as well as the memoir Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. Her poetry The Women Who Hate M, short fiction Trash, and essays Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature were published in small press editions by Long Haul and Firebrand Books.

Bastard Out of Carolina was made into a highly acclaimed film, directed by Anjelica Huston. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure was translated into a short documentary that took prizes at the Aspen and Toronto film festivals, and was an Emmy-nominated feature on PBS's POV. Cavedweller was presented off Broadway by the New York Theater company in the spring of 2003. The playwright was Kate Ryan. In 2004 Cavedweller was made into a film directed by Lisa Cholendenko, and featured Kyra Sedgwick.

A new and expanded version of Trash was published by Penguin Plume in 2002. “Compassion,” a new short story from that collection appeared in Best American Short Stories: 2003 and was selected for Best of The South: 2003. A novel, She Who, is forthcoming from Riverhead in 2006.


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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.