Jamie Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. His debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into 34 languages.
DAVE EGGERS is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centers around the country and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization that connects students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.
JEANNETTE WALLS graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. It has sold over 2.7 million copies and has been translated into 22 languages. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.
MARK SALZMAN is an award-winning novelist and nonfiction author who has written on a variety of subjects, from a graceful novel about a Carmelite nun’s ecstatic visions and crisis of faith to a compelling memoir about growing up a misfit in a Connecticut suburb – clearly displaying a range that transcends genre. As a boy, all Salzman ever wanted was to be a Kung Fu master, but it was his proficiency on the cello that facilitated his acceptance to Yale at the age of 16. He soon changed his major to Chinese language and philosophy, which took him to mainland China where he taught English for two years and studied martial arts. He never gave up music, though, and Salzman’s cello playing appears on the soundtrack to several films, including the Academy Award-winning documentary Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien.
MARKUS ZUSAK is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out. His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry, released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honors in his native Australia, and the USA. The Messenger, published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honor in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur prize in Germany.
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Palestine, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her BA in English and world religions from Trinity University. Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including Transfer (BOA Editions, 2011); You and Yours(BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award; 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow Books, 2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East; Fuel (BOA Editions, 1998); Red Suitcase (BOA Editions, 1994); and Hugging the Jukebox (Far Corner Books, 1982). She is also the author of several books of poetry and fiction for children, including Habibi (Simon Pulse, 1997), for which she received the Jane Addams Children’s Book award in 1998.
2011: Doug Wright
2010: Tobias Wolf
2009: Billy Collins
2007: Scott Simon
2006: Anchee Min
2006: Kaye Gibbons
2005: Michael Chabon
2004: Russell Banks
2003: George Plimpton
2002: Tim O’Brien
2001: Don Graham
2000: Marion Winik
1999: James Kelman
1998: Doug Wright – HPHS graduate
1997: Carol Higins Clark