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Nam Le was born in Vietnam and raised in Australia. His first book, The Boat, received over a dozen major prizes, including the PEN/Malamud Award, the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Melbourne Prize, and a US National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection, and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor's Choice, the best debut of 2008 by New York Magazine and the Australian Book Review, the #1 fiction title of 2008 by The Oregonian, and a Book of the Year by numerous venues around the world. The Boat has been translated into thirteen languages and its stories widely anthologised. Le is the fiction editor of the Harvard Review. He divides his time between Australia and abroad.

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer and an electric new voice in fiction. Her first book, the short story collection An Elegy for Easterly, was awarded The Guardian First Book Award and has recently been shortlisted for the highly prestigious Orwell Prize. It will be published in more than ten languages. In her stories, Gappah looks beyond the headlines to convey the warmth and humanity that characterise the lives of Zimbabweans, and sees her challenge as being to 'write about what it is to be a human being living in a particular space'. Petina Gappah has law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. She lives in Geneva with her son and is currently completing her first novel, The Book of Memory.

Erica Wagner is Literary Editor of The Times. She writes a weekly column in the Saturday Review section of the paper, and has interviewed many of the world's leading writers, including Philip Roth, Doris Lessing, Donna Tartt, Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and Peter Ackroyd. Erica is also an accomplished author in her own right – her books include Gravity, a collection of short stories, and Ariel's Gift, a biographical gloss on Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters. Her novel, Seizure, was published in Britain and the US in 2007; it is about to appear in France as Saisissements, from Editions au-delà du raisonnable. She has judged many literary prizes; the Man Booker in 2002 (when the winner was Yann Martel's Life of Pi), the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Forward Prize. She lives in London with her husband and son.