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Mary Akers is the author of two short story collections: the award-winning Women Up On Blocks (Press 53, 2009) and Bones of an Inland Sea (forthcoming from Press 53, October 2013). She is editor-in-chief of the online journal r.kv.r.y. and has been a VCCA Fellow and a Bread Loaf waiter. She co-founded the Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology, a study abroad marine ecology program originally located in Roseau, Dominica. Akers frequently writes fiction that focuses on the intersections between art and science, including such topics as diverse and timely as the environmental movement and the struggle for human and animal rights. Although raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, which she will always call home, she currently lives in western New York.
Philip Armstrong is the co-director of the New Zealand Center for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch (www.nzchas.canterbury.ac.nz). His most recent scholarly book is What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity (Routledge, 2008). He has published short fiction and poetry in various journals and anthologies in New Zealand and Australia.
Sara Dupree is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Dakota, where she has received the John Little Award for fiction and the Thomas McGrath Award for poetry. She lives in Grand Forks with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, and two horses. Her work has appeared in Conclave and Alligator Juniper.
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Melodie Edwards graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on a Colby Fellowship, where she received two Hopwood Awards in fiction and nonfiction. Glimmer Train published “Si-Si-Gwa-D” in 2002, one of the winners of their New Writers fiction contest. She has published stories in South Dakota Quarterly, North Dakota Review, Michigan Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and others. A nature essay, “A Lament for My Jacobson's Organ,” received first prize in Crazyhorse’s nonfiction contest. In 2005, she received the Doubleday Wyoming Arts Council Award for Women. “The Bird Lady” aired on NPR’s Selected Shorts and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband and twin daughters and co-owns Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse.
Carol Guess is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, including Switch, Tinderbox Lawn, and Doll Studies: Forensics. Forthcoming books include How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (co-written with Daniela Olszewska) and X Marks The Dress: A Registry (co-written with Kristina Marie Darling). She is professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches creative writing and queer studies.
Patrick Hicks is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Finding the Gossamer and This London. He is the editor of A Harvest of Words, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Tar River Poetry, New Ohio Review, Salon, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, and others. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize and was recently a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Competition, and the Gival Press Novel Award. He has won the Glimmer Train Fiction Award and received grants from the Bush Foundation and the South Dakota Arts Council. In 2014, his poetry collection Adoptable will be published by Salmon Poetry, and his first novel, The Commandant of Lubizec, will be published by Steerforth/Random House. In 2015, his short story collection, The Collector of Names, will be published by Schaffner Press. He is the writer-in-residence at Augustana College and a faculty member at the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
Photo credit: Miki Ambrózy
Julian Hoffman lives beside the Prespa Lakes in northern Greece, monitoring birds in upland areas where wind farms have been built or proposed. His book, The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World, was chosen by Terry Tempest Williams as the winner of the 2012 AWP Award Series for creative nonfiction and was published in 2013. Along with winning the 2011 Terrain.org Nonfiction Prize, his work has appeared in Kyoto Journal, Southern Humanities Review, EarthLines, Cold Mountain Review, and Flyway, among others. You can catch up with Julian at www.julian-hoffman.com.
Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) and Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), as well as a short story collection, The Beautiful One Has Come (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2011). She is also the editor of three anthologies. Her essays and short stories have appeared in more than 100 publications, including Real Simple; Brain, Child; The Utne Reader; Crab Orchard Review; and Calyx. She currently serves as fiction editor of Kyoto Journal and fiction co-editor of Literary Mama.
Ray Keifetz wrote his first short story at the age of fifteen in a high school English class. He was asked to write a paragraph on what scared him. He handed in a blank sheet of paper, went home, and stayed up all night writing twelve pages about a snow leopard and what scared it. The teacher praised the story but failed him on the assignment. And that pretty much sums up his writing career ever since. Along the way, his poems and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Bitter Oleander, Other Voices, Kestrel, Sugar House Review, and Burntdistrict, and he has received a Pushcart Prize nomination. To support his writing—and himself—he has pursued various and sundry occupations, at the moment building furniture and peddling wine. “Miriam’s Lantern” was first published by Clackamas Literary Review and is part of a recently completed collection of stories entitled The Hidden Cost of Gifts.
Diane Lefer has been an animal behavior observer for the research department of the Los Angeles Zoo since 1997. “Alas, Falada!” first appeared in Faultline and was included in her collection, California Transit, which received the Mary McCarthy Prize and was published by Sarabande Books. She is grateful to the world of independent publishing and salutes small presses, including Ashland Creek, along with those that embraced three of her novels that went homeless for way too long: Nobody Wakes Up Pretty (Rainstorm Press, 2012), The Fiery Alphabet (Loose Leaves Publishing, 2013), and The Still Point (Aqueous Books, scheduled for fall 2014). She volunteers at the Amanda Foundation, offering affection and playtime to the rescue cats and hopes that these sweet creatures, too, soon find homes.
Photo credit: Winifred Parker
Educated at Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Rosalie Loewen lived and worked in a number of countries before settling in rural Alaska with her husband and their two small daughters. She spends her free time outdoors seeking inspiration from the natural world while keeping a sharp lookout for the neighborhood bears.
Kelly Magee’s first collection of stories, Body Language (University of North Texas Press) won the Katherine Ann Porter Prize for Short Fiction. Her writing has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Tampa Review, Diagram, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, and others. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University.
Charlotte Stephanie Malerich works and writes near the District of Columbia. Her short stories have appeared online in Aphelion and Sorcerous Signals and its print counterpart Mystic Signals. Her current projects include an urban fantasy novel and a graphic novel version of her short story “The 12th Fairy.” She lives with one human and three rescued rabbits. Go vegan, stay vegan.
Midge Raymond’s short-story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and “lights up the poetry-circuits of the brain” (Seattle Times). Originally published by Eastern Washington University Press in 2009, the book was reissued in an expanded edition by Press 53 in 2011. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times magazine, TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Witness, Bellingham Review, and other publications.
Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Napa, California. A horticultural enthusiast and chef of many years, Jean’s writing has always been her favorite pursuit. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including Other Voices, Pleiades, The Summerset Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Blue Lake Review, Damselfly, and Earthspeak. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, she is the author of the short story collection Survival Skills and has also published a novel, Lost Sister.
The daughter of a veterinarian, Jessica Zbeida grew up in the company of animals. During her education, Jessica worked with a variety of writers, including Zulfikar Ghose, Frederick and Steven Barthelme, Mary Robison, John Tait, and Barbara Rodman. She spends her time teaching, writing, reading, and bicycling. She lives in North Texas with her husband and four cats.