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ian mcewan
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  Ian McEwan has written two collections of short stories. First Love, Last Rites, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets, as well as seven novels: The Cement Garden; The Comfort of Strangers, short-listed for the Booker Prize; The Child in Time, winner of the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; The Innocent; Black Dogs, Enduring Love; and, most recently, Amsterdam. He lives with his wife and four children in Oxford, England.  
colson whitehead
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  Colson Whitehead was born in New York City in 1969. His journalism has appeared in Vibe, SPIN, Newsday and The Village Voice, where he was a television columnist. A graduate of Harvard College, he currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is at work on his next novel.  
neal gabler
neal gabler
  Neal Gabler has been called "one of America's most important public intellectuals." His last book, Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, was named the non-fiction book of the year by Time magazine in 1994 and was nominated for the National Book Critic's Circle Award. His first book, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History and the Theater Library Association Award for the outstanding book on radio, television or film. It was also voted one of the 100 most important books on the motion picture industry by a special panel of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of cinema.

Mr. Gabler was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds graduate degrees in film and American culture. In his first career, as an academic, he taught at the University of Michigan, where he won an outstanding teaching award, and at the Pennsylvania State University. Leaving academe, Mr. Gabler was selected from among more than three hundred candidates as one of the replacements for departing movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on the PBS movie review program "Sneak Previews." During Mr. Gabler's three seasons on the show it was the highest-rated half-hour program on public television.

Mr. Gabler has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Esquire, New York Magazine, Vogue, Playboy, American Heritage, George and US, and he has appeared on numerous television programs including The Today Show, the CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, and Charlie Rose.

In recognition of his work, he has received fellowships from the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center and the Guggenheim Foundation.
giles foden
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  Giles Foden lives in London and has been an editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is a staff writer at The Guardian.  
john updike
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  John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932 and grew up in nearby Shillington. He was educated at Harvard University and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts in Oxford. Mr. Updike joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1955. After two years with the magazine, he moved to Massachusetts to dedicate himself fully to poetry and fiction.

The Poorhouse Fair, Mr. Updike's first novel, was published in 1959. Since that time, Mr. Updike has published over forty volumes. The scope of his body of work is enormous--it includes some seventeen novels, eleven collections of short stories, and six volumes of poetry.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Updike has won all of America's major literary prizes, including two Pulitzer Prizes, the American Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Awards for both fiction and criticism. Critics have lauded the four novels of the Rabbit series-which include Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1990)--as the definitive chronicle of life in middle America over the past forty years.

John Updike lives in rural Massachusetts with his wife, Martha.

alice mcdermott
  Alice McDermott was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1953 and grew up on Long Island. She received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Oswego and an M.A. from the University of New Hampshire.

In 1982, Ms. McDermott's first novel, A Bigamist's Daughter, was published to wide acclaim. That Night, her second novel, published in 1987, was nominated for the National Book Award and for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In his cover review for The New York Times Book Review, David Leavitt called That Night "an original, a work that revels in a rich, discursive prose style that belongs entirely to Alice McDermott." A film version of That Night was produced by Warner Bros. and released in the spring of 1992. At Weddings and Wakes, Ms. McDermott's third novel, was published in 1992 to widespread critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times praised McDermott's "rich, supple prose" and Bruce Bawer called At Weddings and Wakes "a haunting and masterly work of literary art" in his review for The Wall Street Journal. Charming Billy, Ms. McDermott's fourth novel, was published in hardcover in January 1998 and in November it won the 1998 National Book Award. On January 12, 1999, Charming Billy will be published for the first time in trade paperback by Delta, a division of Dell Publishing. In addition, Delta Trade Paperbacks will release McDermott's complete backlist in January 1999 and will publish A Bigamist's Daughter, That Night and At Weddings and Wakes.

Ms. McDermott has taught at the University of California at San Diego, has been a writer-in-residence at Lynchburg and Hollins Colleges in Virginia, and was lecturer in English at the University of New Hampshire. Her short stories have appeared in Ms., Redbook, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen.

The recipient of a Giles Whiting Foundation Award, Ms. McDermott currently teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband, a neuroscientist, and their three children.

edward ball
  Edward Ball was born in Savannah, Georgia, graduated from Brown University, and was a columnist for The Village Voice. Slaves in the Family is his first book.

chinua achebe
photo of chinua achebe
  Chinua Achebe is a world-renowned author. He has published novels, short stories, essays, and children's books. His twentieth-century masterpiece, the novel Things Fall Apart has more than eight million copies in print worldwide, in fifty different languages. He lives in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

robert lyons
  Robert Lyons's photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, and his work is represented in a number of permanent collections, including those of the Polaroid Corporation and the Addison Gallery of American Art. His other books are Gentlemen Photographers: The Work of Loring Underwood and William Wyman Underwood; Out of the Fire: Contemporary Glass Artists and Their Work; and Egyptian Time (with Naguib Mahfouz). He lives in Seattle, Washington.

    Photo Credits: Ian McEwan: Ronald Hoeben; Colson Whitehead: Natasha Sovall; Neal Gabler: David Turner; Giles Foden: Poppy Pix; Chinua Achebe: Stephen Long; John Updike: Martha Updike