Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California on September 26, 1949. She received a B. A. at Vassar College in 1971 and an M. F. A. and a Ph.D from the University of Iowa. From 1981 to 1996, she taught undergrad and graduate creative writing workshops at Iowa State University. Her first critically acclaimed novel, The Greenlanders (1988), was preceded by three other novels and a highly regarded short story collection, The Age of Grief (1987). In 1985, she won an O. Henry Award for her short story Lily, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her novel A Thousand Acres (1991) received both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Moo; Horse Heaven; and Ordinary Love and Good Will. In 2014 her title, Some Luck, made The New York Times Best Seller List.
Robert Scholes is Research Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Professor Emeritus of English, Comparative Literature, and MCM, and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Brown University. The author of many works of literary theory and pedagogy, he was President of the Modern Language Association in 2004. The late Robert Kellogg was a professor of English from 1957 until 1967, chairman of the English department from 1974 to 1978, and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 1978 to 1985 at the University of Virginia. He was the first principal of Brown College at Monroe Hill from 1985 to 1999. James Phelan is an internationally recognized expert in narrative theory. He is Humanities Distinguished Professor in the department of English at Ohio State University. He is the editor of the journal Narrative, and author of five books of narrative theory, including Living to Tell About It, and the forthcoming Experiencing Fiction.