Mavis Gallant was born in Montreal, Canada on August 11, 1922. Her parents sent her to live at a French convent when she was 4. When she was 10, her father died from kidney disease. Her mother quickly remarried and moved to New York - leaving her daughter behind. During World War II, Gallant worked in the cutting room at the National Film Board of Canada and as a reporter for the Montreal Standard. She eventually became a columnist and feature writer. Two of her short stories appeared in the December, 1944, issue of Preview. She published more than 100 stories in The New Yorker beginning in 1951. During her lifetime, she wrote two novels and several short story collections. Her works include Green Water, Green Sky; A Fairly Good Time; Overhead in a Balloon; Across the Bridge; The Pegnitz Junction; Paris Stories; and The Cost of Living. She received several awards including the Governor-General's Award for Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories, the Pen Nabokov Award for career achievement, the Matt Cohen Prize in 2000, and the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2002. In 1981, she was made Officer of the Order of Canada for her contribution to literature that year. She died on February 18, 2014 at the age 91.
The oldest of four children, Russell Banks spent his childhood and adolescence in New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts. His blue collar, working class background is strongly reflected in his writing. The first in his family to attend college, Banks studied at Colgate University and later graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill. While he was establishing himself as a writer, Banks spent time as a plumber, shoe salesman, and a window dresser. Banks's titles include Searching for Survivors, Family Life, Hamilton Stark, The New World, The Book of Jamaica, Trailerpark, The Relation of My Imprisonment, Continental Drift, Success Stories, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter and Dreaming Up America. Banks has also written numerous poems, stories, and essays. Banks is the recipient of several awards and prizes. Among his accolades are the St. Lawrence Award for Short Fiction, the John Dos Passos Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1986, Continental Drift was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.