Paula Fox was born April 22, 1923 in New York City. When she was eight, she moved to a Cuban plantation and stayed for two years. In Cuba, she went to a one-room school with eight other students who ranged in age from six to fourteen. Fox attended nine schools before she was twelve. She spent 3 years at Columbia University but didn't graduate. Fox didn't start writing until she started a job teaching troubled children. Before that she worked in a wide variety of jobs. At sixteen, she was reading books for Warner Brothers, including Spanish novels. She was also a salesgirl, a model, a worker in a rivet-sorting shop, and lastly a lathe operator at the Bethlehem Steel during World War II. She wrote her first adult novel, Poor George, while she was living in Greece with her family followed by Maurice's Room, her first children's book. Fox is best known for her children's books, such as The Slave Dancer, which earned her a Newbery Medal and a Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1984. Her adult novels include The Widows Children, A Servant's Tale, and The God of Nightmares, and News from the World: Stories and Essays.
Andrea Barrett was born on July 17, 1965. She has taught in the M.F.A. program for writers at Warren Wilson College, and has been a visiting writer at several other colleges and universities, as well as teaching frequently at conferences such as the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Barrett was also a juror for the 1998 O. Henry awards for short stories. Barrett received the Distinguished Story Citation from Best American Short Stories in 1995 for The Littoral Zone and the National Book Award in 1996 for the short story collection Ship Fever and Other Stories. She is a recipient of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Scientific discovery is a theme in several of Barrett's short stories, as well as in her 1998 novel The Voyage of the Narwhal. However, another type of discovery often takes place as her characters struggle to overcome unhappiness by coming to a better understanding of themselves and of life in general. Her other novels include Lucid Stars, Secret Harmonies, The Middle Kingdom, and The Forms of Water. Barrett also contributes short fiction to periodicals such as Mademoiselle and Prairie Schooner. Andrea Barrett resides in Rochester, New York.