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contributors  
 
barry yourgrau
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  Barry Yourgrau is an author, journalist, performer and actor. He was born in South Africa and currently resides in New York City. His most recent collection of stories, The Sadness of Sex, has been made into a film starring himself and Peta Wilson of television's "La Femme Nikita" and opens on March 6th in New York. Past books include A Man Jumps Out of An Airplane and Wearing Dad's Head, and he is currently working on a new collection titled Haunted Traveller. The author launches his own web site next month at http://www.barryyourgrau.com, and can currently be found online in a past Bold Type issue and in Nerve magazine.  
 
ben anastas
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  "And now, in fact, I'll pose an idle question of my own," the ill-tempered narrator of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground proposes. "Which is better: cheap happiness or sublime suffering? Well, come on, which is better?" The question is unfair, of course (why must happiness be "cheap" and suffering "sublime"?), and An Underachiever's Diary, though slim in numbered pages, is my attempt to re-figure this profound question in a reasonable way and answer it using the terms of the American first-novel (specifically, the exuberance of a protagonist on a conscious search for "experience," like Amory Blaine in Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise), a genre--and cottage industry--of its own. William and Clive are identical twins, genetically the same, yet they are temperamental opposites. Clive's happiness is not "cheap," given the depth of his character, and nor is William's suffering consistently "sublime," despite the fact that he would wish it so. Dostoevsky's original question becomes, then, Who is better off, Clive, the twin brother who entirely fulfills his potential without addressing, in any real way, the set of cultural assumptions he was raised under, or William, the twin who questions everything in life to the point of abject failure? Choosing sides is unbecoming for an author, but I will say that now, with William's book no longer in my daily life, I miss the purity of his refusal to conform.  
 
sheri holman
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  Sheri Holman abandoned her not-so-lucrative career as Shakespearean actress to spend five years working at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency in New York. She quit to write full time after the publication of her first novel, A Stolen Tongue in 1997. Her new novel, The Dress Lodger, about a prostitute and anatomy student stealing bodies during the 1831 cholera epidemics, will be published by Grove/Atlantic in 1999.  
 
alex kotlowitz
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  Alex Kotlowitz is the author of the recently published The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death and America's Dilemma.

He also is the author of the bestselling There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America. The book, which was published in 1991, was the recipient of numerous awards including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award. The New York Public Library selected There Are No Children Here as one of the 150 most important books of the century. In the fall of 1993, it was adapted for television as an ABC Movie-of-the-Week starring Oprah Winfrey.

Mr. Kotlowitz continues to write and speak on issues concerning race and poverty, including appearances on college campuses and articles in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

A graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT., Mr. Kotlowitz grew up in New York City. He currently lives with his family just outside Chicago.
 
 
bernard werber
ants
  Bernard Werber is a scientific journalist who has studied ants for the last fifteen years. Having originally studied law at Toulouse, Werber turned to journalism, and particularly scientific journalism. In 1983 he won a journalistic competition with a proposal for a report on African ants. As a result, he went to the Ivory Coast to study the terrible 'magnan' ants. Despite being the victim of a nearly fatal attack by the ants, he returned home with an obsession: to tell their story and draw people into the complex and strange world of anthills. Living in Paris, he currently works at the Parisian weekly VSD.  
 
myron arms
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  Myron Arms is a teacher, lecturer, writer, and professional small-boat sailor who contributes regularly to Sail, Cruising World, and many other sailing and adventure magazines. As a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed ocean master since 1977, he has voyaged more than 100,000 sea miles an has led seven sail-training expeditions to northern Canada, Greenland, and the Arctic. He lives with his wife Kay, on a farm overlooking the Sassafras River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  
 
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    Photo Credits: Barry Yourgrau: Michael Grecco; Ben Anastas: Marion Ettlinger; Alex Kotlowitz: Fredric Stein; Myron Arms: Kay Arms.