Anthony Grooms earned a BA in Theatre and Speech from The College of William and Mary and an MFA from George Mason University. Grooms is the author of a collection of poems, Ice Poems (1988) and of a collection of stories, Trouble No More (1995). His stories and poems have been published in Callaloo, African American Review, Short Stories of the Civil Rights Movement (2006), The Civil Rights Reader (2009) and other literary journals and anthologies. His novel, Bombingham (2001), is set against the activism for and resistance against civil rights in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. He is a two-time recipient of the Lillian Smith Prize for Fiction, a finalist for the Legacy Award from Hurston-Wright Foundation, a Sokolov Scholar from the Breadloaf Writing Conference and a Fulbright Fellow to Sweden. Currently, he is finishing a novel about the American deserters in Sweden during the Vietnam War. Since 1995, he has taught creative writing at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Georgia.


Edward P. Jones, the New York Times bestselling author, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World; he also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004. His first collection of stories, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was short listed for the National Book Award. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award. He has been an instructor of fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Elizabeth Nunez, Ph.D. is the author of 10 novels and a memoir. Her 2016 novel Ellen in Paradise is an O, The Oprah Magazine and Essence Selection. Her novel Boundaries was selected as a New York Times Editors' Choice and was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award. Her other novels include Anna In-BetweenProspero’s Daughter, Bruised Hibiscus, Discretion, Grace, Beyond the Limbo Silence and When Rocks Dance. She was co-founder of the National Black Writers Conference, which she directed for 18 years. Her honors include a 2012 Lifetime Literary Award from Trinidad and Tobago and a 2013 Outstanding Trailblazer Award from the National Council on Research on Women. She is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York. 


Francine Prose is the author of more than twenty books. Her most recent novel is Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932. Prose’s thirteen novels include Blue Angel, which was nominated for a 2000 National Book Award, Goldengrove and A Changed Man. She has also written Sicilian OdysseyThe Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They InspiredGluttony and Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles. Other books include Hunters and Gatherers, Bigfoot Dreams and Primitive People, two story collections, and a collection of novellas, Guided Tours of Hell. Prose has also written five children's books, three young adult novels, and co-translated three volumes of fiction. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages. Her stories, reviews and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Observer, Art News, The Yale Review, The New Republic and numerous other publications. From 2007-2009, she was President of PEN American Center, and she is currently a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bard College. She is a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine and Bomb magazine, and writes regularly on art for The Wall Street Journal. Prose has been the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a 1989 Fulbright fellowship to the former Yugoslavia, two NEA grants, a PEN translation prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Edith Wharton Lifetime Achievement Award.



Patricia Towers is the former features director of O, the Oprah Magazine. She is a member of Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, NY, and is the host of Reading and Writing—No Arithmetic which airs on Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in America. She has taught writing at the Columbia University School of the Arts and the Writers' Institute of the City University of New York. Towers began her editorial career at Time Magazine and was an editor at the New York Times Book Review, a founding editor of Vanity Fair and of the weekly magazine Seven Days, and an editor at Mirabella and Elle.