Roy Blount Jr. has written books about everything from the first female president of the United States to what barnyard animals think about. His latest book is Alphabetter Juice: The Joy of Text (2011). He is a regular panelist on NPR's Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me! and is a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel.
James Lee Burke is the author of more than 30 novels and short story collections, including such bestsellers as Creole Belle (2012), Feast Day of Fools (2011), The Glass Rainbow (2010), and Swan Peak (2008). His most recent book is Light of the World (2013).
Composer Carter Burwell has created music for more than 80 feature films, including the Coen brothers' True Grit and the television mini-series Mildred Pierce, for which he received an Emmy Award for outstanding music composition.
Amanda Coplin is the author of the novel The Orchardist (2012). Born in Wenatchee, Washington, she received her BA from the University of Oregon and her MFA from the University of Minnesota.
Tope Folarin studied at Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two master's degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. His fiction has appeared in Transition magazine, a publication of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. He is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC and the literary journal Callaloo.
Jay Jennings is a freelance writer whose journalism, book reviews, and humor have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. He is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City (2010). Most recently, Jennings edited and wrote the introduction to Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany (2012), a collection of Charles Portis's work.
Katherine A. Powers is a literary columnist who worked at the Boston Sunday Globe for 20 years and currently writes for the Barnes & Noble Review. She is the editor of Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J. F. Powers, 1942–1963 (2013).
Josephine Reed is the media producer for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). She produces and hosts the NEA's weekly podcast Art Works, a program that features interviews with artists and creative thinkers. Before coming to the NEA, she directed XM Satellite Radio's book and contemporary theater channel and hosted the program Writers on Writing. In partnership with the NEA, she also created the series The Big Read on XM.
Donna Tartt is the author of the novels The Secret History (1992), The Little Friend (2002), and The Goldfinch (2013). She was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College.