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contributors  
 
jill ciment
jill ciment
  Jill Ciment is the author of the novels Small Claims and The Law of Falling Babies. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University and Rutgers University and lives in New York City.
 
 
dea birkett
photo of dea birkett
  Dea Birkett grew up in the south of England and was educated in Edinburgh, London, and the United States. She works as a freelance writer, and her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout Britain and America. In addition to Serpent in Paradise, she is the author of Spinsters Abroad: Victorian Lady Explorers and Jella: A Woman at Sea in a Man's World--winner of the Somerset Maugham Award--both of which were published in the UK.  
 
meredith maran
photo of meredith maran
  Meredith Maran was an anti-Vietnam War protester, a New Mexico hippie, a women's healthcare worker, and a labor organizer in Bay Area factories. She now works as a consultant to socially responsible businesses and writes for publications as diverse as Parenting, Utne Reader, New Age Journal, and New Woman. She lives in Oakland with her two teenage sons.  
 
gus van sant
photo of gus van sant
  Gus Van Sant was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1952 and earned a B.A. at the Rhode Island School of Design. After a brief period in Hollywood and a stint at a New York advertising agency, he moved to Portland, Oregon, where he still lives. His first feature, the independently produced Mala Noche, won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Independent/Experimental Feature of 1987. His next film, Drugstore Cowboy, won numerous awards, as did My Own Private Idaho and To Die For. He has also made award-winning short films, including an adaptation of William S. Burroughs' "The Discipline of DE," as well as television commercials and music videos. He has also published a book of photography, 108 Portraits. His new movie, Good Will Hunting, starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon, will be released by Miramax in December.  
 
phillip lopate
photo of phillip lopate
  In addition to having edited The Art of the Personal Essay, Phillip Lopate is the author of Portrait of My Body as well as Against Joie di Vivre, Bachelorhood, The Rug Merchant, Being with Children, and Confessions of Summer. He is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; his works have appeared in Best American Essays, The Paris Review, Pushcart Prize annuals, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is Adams Professor of English at Hofstra University.  
 
margaret talbot
  Margaret Talbot is the senior editor of The New Republic. Prior to this, she served as executive editor of TNR. In 1990, she was a founding editor of Lingua Franca, the lively and irreverent review of academic life. Under her editorship, it won a Naional Magazine Award for General Excellence and was nominated for excellence in the reporting category. She has also written on feminism, education, and cultural politics for a variety of publications, including The Nation, The Village Voice, Vogue, New York magazine and The Washington Post. "I enjoyed writing (this essay) as much as I did because I was very pregnant with my first child at the time and thinking a lot about the perils and pleasures of domesticity."  
 
mitch albom
photo of mitch albom and morrie schwartz
  Mitch Albom writes for the Detroit Free Press and has been voted America's number one sports columnist ten times by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.  
 
natalie goldberg
photo of natalie goldberg
  Natalie Goldberg is the author of Banana Rose, Wild Mind, and Long Quiet Highway. She lives in northern New Mexico and leads workshops on writing and Zen practice nationwide.  
 
jan wong
photo of jan wong
  Jan Wong was the Beijing correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail from 1988 to 1994. She is a graduate of McGill University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is the recipient of the George Polk Award, and other honors for her reporting. Wong has written for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among many other publications in the United States and abroad. She lives in Toronto.  
 
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    Photo Credits: Gus Van Sant: Scott Green; Phillip Lopate: Jill Krementz; Mitch Albom and Morrie Schwartz: Heather Pilar; Natalie Goldberg: Ritch Davidson; Jan Wong: Tibor Kolley.