* Julia Alvarez is the author of five books of fiction, including "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" and "In the Time of the Butterflies," as well as a book of essays, five collections of poetry and work for younger readers, including "Return to Sender" and the Tia Lola stories. Her honors include being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, winning the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, and being named Latina Magazine's "Woman of the Year." She is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.
* Mira Bartók is a Chicago-born artist and the author of the 2011 New York Times best-selling illustrated memoir, "The Memory Palace," as well as 28 arts and culture books for children. Her writing has also been noted in The Best American Essays series. She lives in Western Massachusetts where she runs Mira's List, a blog that helps artists find funding and residencies all over the world, and North of Radio, a multi-media collaborative.
* Richard Bausch is the author of 11 novels and eight collections of stories, including his most recent, "Something is Out There." A past Chancellor of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, he is currently The Moss Chair of Excellence in the Writing Program at the University of Memphis. A master of the short story form, his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, Harper's, and The Best American Short Stories.
* Jeanne Marie Beaumont is author of "Burning of the Three Fires," "Curious Conduct" and "Placebo Effects," winner of the National Poetry Series. She co-edited "The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales." Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Good Poems for Hard Times, The Manhattan Review, The Nation, Poetry Daily, The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror 2007, and World Literature Today. She won the 2009 Dana Award for Poetry. She lives in Manhattan and teaches at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd St. Y and in the Stonecoast MFA program.
* Janis Bellow teaches literature at Tufts University. She was married to Saul Bellow from 1989 until his death in 2005. She spends as much time as possible in Vermont, where she lives for several months each year with her daughter Rosie.
* David Blistein has been writing professionally for many years, while simultaneously immersing himself in a wide range of spiritual traditions. His work presents intriguing new perspectives on history, nature, psychology and spirituality. In "Real Time," he encounters people from throughout history -- sinners and saints, kings and queens, artists and philosophers, warriors and peacemakers. While each character has his or her own revelations and insights to offer, they share a common message: until we understand, accept, and complete our old stories, we cannot begin writing new ones.
* Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years, producing and directing some of the most celebrated documentaries ever made, including "The Civil War," "Baseball," "Jazz," "Brooklyn Bridge," "Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery," "Mark Twain," "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," "The War," "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" and just last week, "Prohibition." Burns; films have won 12 Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations. He was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
* Roy Blount, Jr. is the author of 20 books, including "Alphabet Juice," "Hail, Hail Euphoria," and his new book, "Alphabetter Juice." A former president of the Authors Guild, Blount is a humorist, novelist, journalist, dramatist, lyricist, lecturer, reviewer, screenwriter, anthologist and columnist. He is a member of the most literary band in America, The Rock Bottom Remainders, who perform to raise money for charity, and is a panelist on the NPR news quiz show, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!"
* Tom Bodett is an author and a radio anomaly. He lived in Alaska for 25 years, where he left a promising career building houses to become a writer, and subsequently, a commentator on All Things Considered. The author of seven books, he has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Redbook. His voice has been heard on Saturday Night Live, National Geographic Explorer and Steven Spielberg's "Animaniacs." Bodett is a panelist on the NPR news quiz show, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!", and he will leave the light on for you.
* Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon are close friends and the co-authors of "Zora and Me," winner of the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award and an Edgar Award nominee. A fictionalized yet revelatory account of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood experiences with her best friend Carrie, this is the first book not written by Hurston to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust. Simon has a master's in anthropology, and Bond holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. They both live in New York City.
* Teju Cole was born to Nigerian parents and grew up in Lagos. At 15, he published cartoons regularly in Prime People, Nigeria's version of Vanity Fair, and two years later he moved to the United States. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: "Every Day is for the Thief," a novella illustrated with his photographs; and the novel "Open City," which was published in February. In 2010, he was named by The New Yorker as one of the "20 Under 40" writers to watch this decade.
* Melissa Coleman is the author of "This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone." A New York Times bestseller and an Indie Next Pick for May 2011, it was excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine, and was a People's Pick in People Magazine. Coleman serves on the board of the Telling Room, a Portland, Maine, writing center for children.
* Susan Conley is the author of "Foremost Good Fortune," a critically acclaimed book about living in Beijing with her family for over two years. She is the cofounder of the Telling Room, a Portland, Maine, writing center. She has also worked as an associate editor at Ploughshares, and she has led creative writing and literature seminars at Emerson College in Boston. Her work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares and other literary magazines.
Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Michigan, where he also directs the prestigious Hopwood Awards Program. For 20 years he taught at Bennington College, where he co-founded (with the late John Gardner) the Bennington Writing Workshops. He is the author of 25 books; his most recent work of non-fiction is "Lastingness: The Art of Old Age," and his most recent work of fiction is "Sherbrookes," a reconceived version of his Vermont trilogy which appeared in the late 1970s.
* Stephen Dobyns is the author of 15 books of poetry, including "Concurring Beasts," a National Poetry Series award winner; "Cemetery Nights," a Mellville Cane Award winner; and most recently, "Winter's Journey." He is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry titled "Next Word, Better Word," and 21 novels, many of which are thrillers or mysteries. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dobyns is on the faculty at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.
* Anthony Doerr was born in Cleveland and has lived in Africa, New Zealand, and Italy. He is the author of the short story collections "The Shell Collector" and "Memory Wall," the novel "About Grace" and the memoir "Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World." He has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Discover Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, two O. Henry Prizes and the 2010 Story Prize. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American Novelists.
* Mark Doty's "Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems" won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His eight books of poems also include "School of the Arts," "Source" and "My Alexandria." He has published four
volumes of nonfiction prose as well. His numerous awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Doty is the only American poet to have received the T.S. Eliot Prize in the U.K.
* Martín Espada has published 17 books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. "The Republic of Poetry" received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent collection, "The Trouble Ball," was just released this spring. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
* Dana Hand is the pen name under which Will Howarth and Anne Matthews have written "Deep Creek," a compelling work of historical fiction about the unsolved 1887 murders of more than 30 Chinese gold miners on a branch of Idaho's Snake River. Under their own names, they have published a total of 18 books on American history, literature and public issues. Howarth, a Princeton historian, first learned of the events at Deep Creek while on a freelance writing assignment for National Geographic. Matthews writes about American places that face sudden change, and her book "Where the Buffalo Roam," on the depopulating of the Great Plains, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in nonfiction.
* Kevin Hawkes has illustrated and/or written more than 45 picture books and novels for children, including New York Times bestsellers "Library Lion," "Weslandia" and "My Little Sister Ate One Hare" and, most recently, "A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea." Hawkes lives in Gorham, Maine, where his wife and children keep him focused on the important things in life: gardening, tree forts and chocolate chip cookies.
* Sara J. Henry is the author of "Learning to Swim," a critically acclaimed psychological thriller set in Vermont's Champlain Valley and in Quebec. A former editor at Rodale Books and at Women's Sports & Fitness magazine, Henry has a master's degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Writers Conference. She lives in Newfane.
* David Klass has published 17 award-winning young adult novels, including "California Blue," "You Don't Know Me" and "Firestorm," an environmental thriller and the first novel endorsed by Greenpeace. His most recent book, "Stuck on Earth," features a snail-like alien who inhabits the brain of a 14-year-old boy. Klass has also written more than 30 screenplays, including "Kiss the Girls," "In the Time of the Butterflies" and "Walking Tall," and in 2010, he was a writer-producer for television's "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." He lives in Manhattan.
* Caroline Leavitt is the author of nine novels, including "Girls In Trouble," "Coming Back To Me," "Living Other Lives," "Into Thin Air," "Family," "Jealousies," "Lifelines" and "Meeting Rozzy Halfway." Her most recent, "Pictures of You," is a New York Times bestseller and a San Francisco Chronicle Editor's Choice "Lit Pick." Leavitt is a book critic for The Boston Globe and for People magazine, and she has appeared on The Today Show and NPR's The Diane Rehm Show.
* Michael Levy is the author of "Kosher Chinese," an irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China. While in the United States, he keeps strictly kosher; in China he eats anything with four legs except the table. He can be found writing at coffee shops all over the U.S., and at tea houses in China. He currently teaches in Brooklyn, N.Y. at Saint Ann's School.
* David Macaulay is the internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of 25 books, many of which explore and explain architectural and engineering feats, the hows and whys of a variety of technologies, and the amazing inner workings of the human body. His newest book, "Built to Last," brings together perennial favorites "Cathedral," "Castle" and "Mosque" with new full color illustrations. He is the recipient of a Macarthur Fellowship, a Caldecott Medal, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and numerous other
awards. He lives in Vermont.
* Kate Messner writes for children of all ages, and this year she has three new books coming out: "Marty McGuire," a chapter book about a spunky girl who would rather catch frogs than play dress-up; "Sea Monster's First Day," a picture book inspired in part by Vermont's legendary lake monster, Champ; and "Over and Under the Snow," which reveals the hidden worlds of animals in the winter. Messner is a middle-school English teacher. She and her family live in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
* Lenelle Moïse, the 2010-2012 Poet Laureate of Northampton, Mass., and the 2011 Performance Artist in Residence at Northwestern University, is a spoken word poet, a playwright, a musician and a performance artist. Her jazz-infused and hip-hop bred poetry explores Haitian-American identity, creative resistance, and the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and spirit. Moise has released several CDs featuring her performance poetry and polyrhythmic music.
* Thomas Powers is the author of eight books, including nonfiction titles "The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA," "Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb," "Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda," and "The Killing of Crazy Horse." Powers won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1971, and he has contributed to The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, The Nation, The Atlantic and Rolling Stone. He lives in Vermont.
* Monique Proulx is one of Quebec's most popular authors. A novelist, story writer and screenwriter, she has published five previous works of fiction, including "The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle," which was a finalist for the 2002 Governor General's Award for fiction (French language) and a selection for the 2004 CBC Canada Reads competition. Her newest book, "Wildlives," was nominated for a 2009 Governor Generals' Literary Award for Translation and the Quebec Writers Federation Translation Prize. She lives in Montreal. She appears courtesy of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival in Montreal.
* Lawrence Raab is the author of seven collections of poems, most recently "The History of Forgetting." In addition, with Stephen Dunn he has published a chapbook of collaborative poems, "Winter at the Caspian Sea." Raab was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1993, and a National Poetry Series winner for "What We Don't Know About Each Other." His poems have appeared in several editions of Best American Poetry and in Garrison Keillor's "Good Poems." He is the Morris Professor of Rhetoric at Williams College.
* Benjamin Taylor is the author of a book of essays, "Into the Open," and two novels, "Tales out of School" and "The Book of Getting Even." He is the editor of "Saul Bellow: Letters," and his travel memoir, "Naples Declared," is scheduled for publication in 2012. A longtime member of the Graduate Writing Program faculty at The New School, Taylor has also taught at Washington University in St. Louis, the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, Bennington College and the Graduate Writing Division of the School of the Arts at Columbia.
* Luis Alberto Urrea was born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an American mother. He is the author of "The Hummingbird's Daughter," "Across the Wire," "By the Lake of Sleeping Children," "Into the Beautiful North" and the graphic novel "Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush." "The Devil's Highway," a true story about a group of illegal immigrants, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction. His fiction, poetry and journalism have also been recognized with a Lannan Literary Award, a Christopher Award, the Kiriyama Prize, an American Book Award and a Western States Book Award. He is a professor at the University of Illinois.
* Ellen Doré Watson's fourth and most recent full-length collection of poems is "Dogged Hearts." Her honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for "The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado." She serves as Director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review, and teaches on the faculty of the Drew University Low-Residency MFA program in poetry and translation.
* Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of seven novels for young readers, the most recent of which is "One Crazy Summer," winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award and the 2011 Scott O'Dell Prize for Historical Fiction, a 2011 Newbery Honor Book and a 2010 National Book Award finalist. Known for her realistic portrayal of teens of color and her sensitive exploration of contemporary issues, in this newest book she turns her attention to the Black Panthers and the 1960s. Williams-Garcia is a faculty member of the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young People at Vermont College, and she lives in New York City.
* Kathleen Winter has written scripts for "Sesame Street" and CBC Television. Her collection of short stories, "boYs," won the Metcalf-Rooke award and the 2008 Winterset Award. Her novel "Annabel" became a #1 bestseller in Canada and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Award and the 2011 Orange Prize. She was born in the industrial northeast of England and lives in Montreal. Winter appears courtesy of the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival in Montreal.
* Monica Youn is the author of two books of poetry: "Ignatz," which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2010, and "Barter." She has been awarded fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Stanford University, where she was a Stegner fellow. She is currently the Brennan Center Fellow in Constitutional Law at NYU Law School. Her work there has been recognized by the New Leaders Council, which named her one of their 40 Under 40 nationwide leaders for 2010.
* Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently "Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebellion," which has been featured on NPR. His "Jelly Roll: A Blues," was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His book "The Grey Album: Music, Shadows, Lies" won the 2010 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. He is the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English, as well as Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.
* Alexi Zentner's fiction has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Glimmer Train, The Walrus and Slice Magazine. His short story "Trapline" was awarded the 2008 Narrative Prize and was selected for the Best American Short Stories 2009 list of "100 Other Distinguished Stories of 2008." "Touch," Zentner's first novel, was selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and a Knopf Canada New Face of Fiction pick. Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, he lives in Ithaca, N.Y.