Isaac Babel (1894 - 1940) was a translator and writer of short stories, plays, and nonfiction, considered to be one of the preeminent Russian-Jewish writers of his generation. He is best known for his works Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, as well as the play Maria. Babel was targeted and executed during the Great Purge under Stalin. Many of his unpublished works have been lost or were destroyed after his arrest, and complete editions of his published works have only been made available in the last decade.
Hope Davis has appeared in the films About Schmidt; American Splendor; Synecdoche, New York; Captain America: Civil War; and Rebel in the Rye, among others. On television, Davis’s credits include In Treatment, The Newsroom, The Special Relationship, Allegiance, American Crime, Wayward Pines, with recent recurring roles in the series For the People, Strange Angel, and Love Life. Her theater credits include Ivanov, Two Shakespearean Actors, Spinning Into Butter, Food Chain, Measure for Measure, God of Carnage, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award, and The Red Barn. She can currently be seen in the miniseries Your Honor.
Richard Masur is recognized for a variety of roles over his 45-year career on series including The Hot l Baltimore, One Day at a Time, Rhoda, and more recently, Transparent, Girls, Younger, The Good Wife, Orange Is the New Black, and Mr. Robot. Additional TV miniseries and movie credits include Fallen Angel, Adam, The Burning Bed, It, And The Band Played On, and 61*. He has appeared in more than 60 feature films, including The Thing, Heartburn, Risky Business, My Girl, License to Drive,Tumbledown, Lonely Boys, and Don’t Think Twice. Masur’s stage work includes Lucky Guy, Democracy, and The Changing Room on Broadway, and Sarah, Sarah; The Ruby Sunrise; Dust; Fetch Clay, Make Man; and Relevance off-Broadway. He was recently featured in the films Hudson, Before/During/After, and Another Year Together.
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of the short story collections Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry and Thunderstruck, winner of the Story Prize, and the novels The Giant’s House, a National Book Award finalist; Niagara Falls All Over Again, winner of the PEN New England Award; An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination; and Bowlaway. She has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundationand the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. McCracken currently holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and her seventh book, the short story collection The Souvenir Museum was published in 2021.
George Saunders is the author of the short story collections and novellas Fox 8, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, Pastoralia, In Persuasion Nation, Tenth of December, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award, and the children’s book The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip with illustrator Lane Smith. His first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, won the Man Booker Prize. His writing has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and GQ. He is the recipient of the Folio Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, the National Magazine Award, a World Fantasy Award, and the Story Prize, as well as fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. In 2013, he was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine. Saunders teaches in the creative writing program at Syracuse University. His latest work, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, is a curated collection of classic short stories by Russian authors, with essays by Saunders that explore each story, with the aim of exploring the short story form.
Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, Eligible, and the story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, of which she was the 2020 guest editor. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Vanity Fair, and on public radio’s This American Life. Sittenfeld’s latest work, Rodham: A Novel, was published in May 2020.