Born in Montreal, Mavis Gallant grew up in Canada and the United States. In 1950 she settled in France, but she still retains ties to Canada. Although bilingual from childhood and thoroughly involved in French culture, Gallant writes fiction only in English. Her first stories appeared in, The New Yorker, where she continues to publish. She has written two novels, Green Water, Green Sky (1959) and A Fairly Good Time (1970), both of them character studies about alienation. The short story and novella, however, are the vehicles that best display her talent. Her short fiction has been collected over the years since 1956 in a number of volumes. Overhead in a Balloon (1985) contains stories about France, Home Truths (1981) stories about Canada, and The Pegnitz Junction (1973) stories about German fascism. Urbane in tone, elegantly chiseled in style, Gallant's stories focus primarily on character. Whether Canadians or French, at home or abroad, or world wanderers of all nationalities, the people she writes about suffer from alienation in an uncaring society, exile within their own experience. Gallant's finely tuned dialogue reflects the inability to overcome the loss these characters face, for they find it impossible to express fully or directly what they feel so strongly. Yet, in spite of separation from their physical and spiritual homeland as well as from other humans in the same predicament, the characters manage to survive.
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London, England on July 11, 1967. She received a B.A. in English literature from Barnard College in 1989, and later received a M.A. in English, a M.A. in Creative Writing, a M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies from Boston University. Lahiri taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her debut work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000. She has also won the PEN/Hemmingway Award, an O. Henry Award, The New Yorker's best debut of the year award, and an Addison Metcalf award. Her other works include The Namesake, which was made into a movie in 2007, and Unaccustomed Earth. Lahiri primarily writes about Indian immigrants in America who must navigate between the cultural values of their birthplace and their adopted home.