Raised in Chinquapin, North Carolina, Randall Kenan is the author of the novel A Visitation of Spirits and the short story collection Let The Dead Bury Their Dead. The latter was nominated for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. After the success of A Visitation of Spirits, Kenan began working on a new book. More than a dozen years ago, he rented a car and set out from New York on a cross-country journey to interview African Americans. The title of the book that resulted, Walking on Water, comes from the story of slaves en route from Africa who commandeered their ship off the coast of Georgia around 1800. Legend has it that they walked off the ship to an unknown fate. In his book, Kenan attempts to learn that fate. When he isn't writing, Kenan teaches writing classes at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He is also a contributor to the New York Times and The Nation and was once an assistant editor at Knopf.