David Shields was born in Los Angeles, California on July 22, 1956. He received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Brown University in 1978 and an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1980. He writes both fiction and nonfiction books. His first novel, Heroes, was published in 1984. His other works include Black Planet: Facing Race during an NBA Season, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, and How Literature Saved My Life. Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity won the PEN/Revson Award and Dead Languages won the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington.
Matthew Vollmer is the author of Future Missionaries of America and Inscriptions for Headstones. He is a professor at Virginia Tech.