New York-based Magda Bogin is the founder and director of Under the Volcano. Novelist, translator, poet and librettist, she has taught in the writing programs of Columbia, Princeton and City College, CUNY. Bogin is a former Kellogg National Fellow and recipient of fellowships from the NEA, NYFA, NYSCA, the Russian writers’ colony at Peredelkino and, most recently, from Chateau Lavigny, in Switzerland. She is the author of the novel Natalya, God’s Messenger (Scribner) and has published numerous translations from both French and Spanish, including Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits. She is currently at work on a Spanish-language opera based on the Mexican Day of the Dead.
U.S. writer Jonathan Levi is the author of the 1992 novel A Guide for the Perplexed, and many plays and opera libretti that have been performed in Italy, the Netherlands, Georgia, the U.K. and the United States. A founding editor of Granta magazine and fiction reviewer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, he has written political and cultural journalism for The New York Times, The Nation, Conde Nast Traveler and others. As a theatrical producer he has worked with Elvis Costello, Carly Simon and many great European artists as founding director of the SummerScape Festival at Bard College. He currently lives in Rome and is artistic advisor to the Zaubersee Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, and co-director of the Gabriel García Márquez Fellowship in Cultural Journalism in Cartagena, Colombia. His new novel, Septimania, will be published by Overlook Press in early 2016.
Alison Wearing is a Canadian memoirist/performer. In addition to numerous award-winning articles, short stories and plays, she is the author of the internationally-acclaimed travel memoir Honeymoon in Purdah: an Iranian Journey. Her most recent project, Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad, began as a one-woman show. After performing the material for a year, she expanded the story into a memoir with the same title, which was published by Alfred A. Knopf. The book and its creator toured theater and literary festivals across North America in 2013 to rave reviews and many honors. After eight (glorious) years in Mexico, Wearing now lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
Valeria Luiselli is a Mexican-born novelist and non-fiction writer. Raised in South Africa and fluent in English, she is the author of Sidewalks, a collection of essays, and the internationally acclaimed novel Faces in the Crowd, which won the 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction. Her work has been translated into many languages and has appeared in publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Granta, and McSweeney’s. Her second novel, The Story of My Teeth, will be available from Coffee House Press in fall 2015.
Owen Sheers juggles poetry, fiction, stage work and opera while managing to show up on television as a host and on various rostrums to present and collect a never-ending stream of prizes. His published work includes two poetry collections, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill, The Dust Diaries, a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, and the novel Resistance. His verse drama Pink Mist, commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and published by Faber, won the 2012 Hay Festival Medal for Poetry. Two new works will appear in 2015: his novel I Saw a Man and the libretto for Mark Bowden’s new Creation oratorio, slated to debut at the BBC Proms. He is also writing an original screenplay, scheduled for production in 2015. Welsh-born, Sheers lives in London with his wife and newborn daughter.