Michael Cunningham was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1952 and grew up in La Canada, California. He received his B.A. in English literature from Stanford University and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. His novel A Home at the End of the World was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1990 to wide acclaim. Flesh and Blood, another novel, followed in 1995. He received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The Hours . He has written one nonfiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown . He is also the author of Specimen Days (June 2005).
A film version of The Hours was directed by Stephen Daldry and featured Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, and Meryl Streep. A film version of A Home at the End of the World was directed by Michael Mayer, and featured Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts, and Sissy Spacek. Cunningham and Susan Minot co-wrote the screenplay for her novel Evening; the film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Toni Colette, Patrick Wilson, and Meryl Streep.
Cunningham’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications. His story “White Angel” was chosen for Best American Short Stories 1989, and another story, “Mister Brother,” appeared in the 2000 Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards.
Michael Cunningham is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award (1995), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1993), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1988), and a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa (1982).
A Home at the End of the World, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1990
Mark Jarman was born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and grew up in California and Scotland. He received his B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1974) and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa (1976). He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. His new poetry is collected in his new book Epistles, just out from Sarabande Books. He is the author of eight additional books of poetry: North Sea (1978), The Rote Walker (1981), Far and Away (1985), The Black Riviera (1990), Iris (1992), Questions for Ecclesiastes (1997), Unholy Sonnets (2000), To the Green Man (2004).
Jarman’s awards include a Joseph Henry Jackson Award for his poetry in 1974, three NEA grants in poetry (1977, 1984, 1992), and a fellowship in poetry from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for 1991-1992. His book The Black Riviera won the 1991 Poets’ Prize. Questions for Ecclesiastes was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry and won the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and The Nation magazine. He is also the author of two collections of essays on poetry, The Secret of Poetry (2000) and Body and Soul (2002).
North Sea, Cleveland State University Press, 1978
Claire Keegan was raised on a farm in County Wicklow, on the southeast coast of Ireland. The youngest of a large Catholic family, she left home at the age of seventeen to study English literature and political science at Loyola University, New Orleans. She has also earned an M.A. in the teaching and practice of creative writing at the University of Wales at Cardiff, and an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Dublin.
Keegan’s stories have won numerous awards: the William Trevor Prize (judged by William Trevor), the Kilkenny Prize, the Olive Cook Award, the Tom-Gallon Award, the Martin Healy Prize, the Macaulay Fellowship, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. She was twice awarded the Francis MacManus Award and was also a Wingate Scholar. Her first collection of stories, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, won critical acclaim, and was translated into Chinese, Italian, and German. Her latest collection, Walk the Blue Fields, was published by Faber & Faber in 2007 and will be published by Grove/Atlantic in the U.S.
Keegan also has a great reputation as a teacher. She was writer-in-residence at University College, Dublin; University College, Cork; and Dublin City University; in 2008 she will serve as Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University. She has read from her work in more than twenty countries. Her stories are often compared to the stories of such masters as Trevor, MacLeod, Carver, McGahern, and Chekhov. They have been published in numerous journals and anthologies including The Faber Book of Best New Irish Stories, Granta, and The Paris Review. She ordinarily lives a quiet life in rural Ireland.
Antarctica, Faber & Faber (UK) / Grove/Atlantic (US), 1999
Jamaica Kincaid was born in 1949 in St. John’s, Antigua. As an only child, Kincaid maintained a close relationship with her mother until the age of nine, when the first of her three brothers were born. At the age of 16, with a growing ambivalence for her family and a rising contempt for the subservience of the Antiguans to British colonialist rule, Kincaid left Antigua, bound for New York. After working for three years and taking night classes at a community college, Kincaid won a full scholarship to Franconia College in New Hampshire. However, after a year of feeling “too old to be a student,” Kincaid dropped out of school, returned to New York, and secured a job writing interviews for a teenage girls’ magazine.
It was at this time that Kincaid drew the attention of the legendary editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn. She became a staff writer for the magazine in 1976 and a featured columnist for the highly visible “Talk of the Town” section of the magazine for the next nine years. In 1978, Kincaid’s first piece of fiction was published in The New Yorker, and it later became part of her first book, At the Bottom of the River (1983). This short story collection, composed of a series of lyrical vignettes or “prose poems,” focuses on the growing consciousness of a young girl in the Caribbean.
At the Bottom of the River was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Morton Darwen Zabel Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Two years later, in 1985, Kincaid published her first novel, Annie John, a story that many critics consider an expansion and refinement of the ideas originally presented in At the Bottom of the River.
For her work on Annie John, Kincaid was selected as one of three finalists for the 1985 international Ritz Paris Hemingway Award. In addition, Kincaid is a recipient of the Anifield-Wolf Book Award and The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. In 1997 she received a nomination for the National Book Award for My Brother, a chronicle of her relationship with her youngest brother. In 2004, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Kincaid’s other major works include A Small Place (1988), Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam and Tulip (1989), Lucy (1990), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), My Brother (1997), My Garden (Book) (1999), Talk Stories (2001), and Mr. Potter (2002). Her latest book is Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya. A visiting professor at Harvard University, where she teaches creative writing, Kincaid is at work on a new novel, See Now Then, about a family in the small village of North Bennington, Vermont, where she lives with her husband, Allen Shawn, a composer and son of the former editor of The New Yorker, and their two children.
At The Bottom of the River, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983
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.