Dan (Daniel Marcus) Davin, 1913-1990

Dan Davin was born in Invercargill, New Zealand. Although he is often identified as a New Zealand writer, he spent most of his life in England. He attended Balliol College at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and after distinguished military service with both the British and New Zealand armed forces, he joined the Clarendon Press, Oxford. He has published many poems and novels, as well as works of criticism and memoirs. Some of his books are: The Gorse Blooms Pale (short stories); No Remittance; Not Here, Not Now; Breathing Spaces (short stories); The Salamander and the Fire: Collected War Stories.

Eric McCormack, 1939-

In 1966 Eric McCormack left his homeland of Scotland to attend the University of Manitoba. He decided to teach English, and in 1970 he joined the staff of St. Jerome’s College in Waterloo, Ontario, where he still teaches, specializing in seventeenth century and contemporary literature. He has contributed stories to various literary magazines; among them Malahat Review, New quarterly, Prism International, and West Coast Review. His first collection of stories, Inspecting the Vaults, was published 1987 by Penguin Books. His first novel, The Paradise Motel, was published two years later.

Franz Kafka, 1883 – 1924

The writings of the Czech-born German writer Franz Kafka are dominated by portrayals of man’s alienation from modern society. Although Kafka himself was comfortable in his chosen society-the distinguished circles of intellectuals and literati of early twentieth-century Prague-he chafed under the demands of bourgeois society, represented by his domineering father. Was one, Kafka asked rhetorically “to earn one’s living, or to live one’s life?” As if foreseeing his early death, he felt that the hours he spent as a lawyer for an insurance firm were stolen from his “life”-that is, his writing. His father, a merchant, who considered Kafka’s visionary prose “unprofitable,” became the model-in several guises-for the central antagonists in many of Kafka’s works. These stories often portray a protagonist, “K.,” struggling against an overwhelming, oppressive power, or trying ineffectively to gain its approval. While many of Kafka’s short stories and short novels, such as the now famous The Metamorphosis (1915), were published in his lifetime, his three novels The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926), and Amerika (1927), all considered masterpieces of German expressionism, were published after his early death from tuberculosis in 1924.

Marghanita Laski, 1915 – 1988

In her home country of England, Marghanita Laski was well known as a journalist, broadcaster, critic, and author.  She wrote in many genres, and received praise both for her fiction and for her works of biographical criticism:  the latter including Jane Austen and Her World, George Eliot and Her World,  and more recently, From Palm to Pine:  Rudyard Kipling Abroad and At Home.  Her novels show her equally at home with fantasy and science fiction in Love on the Supertax;  social satire in Toasted English;  terror in The Victorian Chaise-Longue; and humour in The Village.  Her most critically acclaimed work, Little Boy Lost, set in France after World War II, was adapted to film by Paramount in 1953, and starred Bing Crosby as the father searching for his missing son.

Arthur Gordon, 1912—

Arthur Gordon has a reputation for excellence in many pursuits.  He attended Yale University where he earned a B.A. in 1934, and then travelled to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.  He graduated in 1936.  When the United States joined World War II, he entered the U.S. Army Air Forces as a lieutenant; when the war was over, he was a lieutenant colonel who had earned an Air Medal and Legion of Merit.  His writing career was equally meritorious.  He was managing editor of Good Housekeeping  from 1938-41(post interrupted by Pearl Harbour), and editor of Cosmopolitan from 1946-48.  He has written both novels and non-fiction and has contributed over 200 stories and articles to major magazines.  He makes his home in the city of his birth, Savannah, Georgia.

Nadine Gordimer, 1923-

A list of Nadine Gordimer‘s numerous international awards reveals her to be one of the most celebrated of the world’s writers in English: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 1973, for A Guest of Honour; the Booker Prize for Fiction, 1974, for The Conservationist; the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, 1981; the Modern Language Association of America award, 1982; the Premio Malparte, 1985; her naming as an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1986; and her receipt of honorary degrees from both Harvard and Yale universities.

Gordimer received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, “through her magnificent epic writing has—in the words of Alfred Nobel—been of very great benefit to humanity.”

Gordimer published her first story at the age of fifteen, and since then she has written more than six novels and a dozen story collections. She has also contributed stories to anthologies worldwide. Born in Springs, South Africa, to Jewish emigrants from London, Gordimer has said she attained political awareness slowly, eventually condemning the country’s race laws she had been raised to accept. She is now widely considered to be one of the strongest voices of social conscience in South Africa.

According to New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani, Gordimer’s “enduring subject” is “the consequences of apartheid on the daily lives of men and women, the distortions it produces in relationships among both blacks and whites.”

Nadine Gordimer, 1923—

A list of Nadine Gordimer’s numerous international awards reveals her to be one of the most celebrated of the world’s writers in English:  the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 1973, for A Guest of Honour;   the Booker Prize for Fiction, 1974, for The Conservationist;  the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, 1981; the Modern Language Association of America award, 1982; the Premio Malparte, 1985; her naming as an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1986; and her receipt of honorary degrees from both Harvard and Yale universities.  Gordimer published her first story at the age of fifteen, and since then she has written more than six novels and a dozen story collections.  She has also contributed stories to anthologies worldwide.  Born in Springs, South Africa, to Jewish emigrants from London, Gordimer has said she attained political awareness slowly, eventually condemning the country’s race laws she had been raised to accept.  She is now widely considered to be one of the strongest voices of social conscience in South Africa.  According to New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani, Gordimer’s “enduring subject” is “the consequences of apartheid on the daily lives of men and women, the distortions it produces in relationships among both blacks and whites.

Erika Ritter, 1948—

Although Ritter’s education and much of her writing is as a playwright, she is becoming increasingly known as a humorist.  Her recent collection of short writings “Ritter in Residence” was a commercial success and her short stories have earned her a reputation as one of Canada’s funniest women writers.  Born in Regina, Ritter attended McGill University for her degree in English literature and then attended the University of Toronto’s Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama.  Starting in 1970 she taught drama at Loyola College in Montreal but turned her attention to writing in 1973.  Her first play, A Visitor from Charleston,  received poor reviews, but two of her later efforts, The Splits and Automatic Pilot,  were commended for their witty dialogue and vibrant characters:  the latter play won the Chalmers Award in 1980.  Ritter has also written for television and radio, and has published many short stories in magazines.

Janice Elliott, 1931—

Janice Elliott was born in Derby, England, and was educated at Oxford.  She has written over twenty novels for adults and four for children, and has contributed stories to many anthologies and magazines.  She is also well known as a critic, spending seventeen years as a regular book reviewer for the Sunday Telegraph,  and as a journalist on the editorial staff of House and Garden, House Beautiful, Harper’s Bazaar,  and the Sunday Times.  Her most famous work is probably the novel Secret Places  which earned her the Southern Arts Award for Literature in 1981, was adapted to film in 1984, and re-released by Twentieth Century—Fox/TLC Films in 1985.  She is admired for her talent at creating mood and atmosphere, and her crisp but revealing dialogue.  Her other novels include the post-World War II trilogy A State of Peace, Private Life,  and Heaven on Earth; Summer People,  a futuristic work of social criticism; and the impressionistic Magic.