Wendy Barker‘s third collection of poems, Way of Whiteness, was released spring 2000 (Wings Press) and recently won the Violet Crown Book Award. Her translations (with Saranindranath Tagore) of Rabindranath Tagore: Final Poems is forthcoming from George Braziller, Inc., this spring. Recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller fellowships, she is currently serving as Fulbright Senior Lecturer at Sofia University in Bulgaria. She is professor of English at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
Mary Beard teaches classics at the University of Cambridge and is a fellow of Newnham College. Her Invention of Jane Harrison was published by Harvard University Press in 2000.
Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) was born in Leningrad and began writing poetry when he was eighteen. Because of his outspokenness and prominence, Brodsky was forced into involuntary exile in 1972. He lived and taught in the United States, where his poetry, known for its powerful formal characteristics and its philosophical courage, was translated into English and generated a worldwide reputation.
Vuyelwa Carlin has had two poetry collections published to date: Midas’ Daughter (1991) and How We Dream of the Dead (1995), both by Seren Books. Her third, Marble Sky, will be released in 2001. She is also widely published in poetry magazines.
Robert Coover has been a fellow of the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Rea Award (short story), and the Lannan Literary Award (fiction). The most recent of his books are Ghost Town (Holt, 1998) and Briar Rose (Grove, 1996). Grove has also recently reissued his first novel, The Origin of the Brunists, which won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for Best First Novel.
T. J. Cribb is director of studies in English at Churchill College, Cambridge, U.K. He recently edited Imagined Commonwealths: Cambridge Essays on Commonwealth & International Literature in English (Macmillan, St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
Sylwester Cygan was born (1971) and brought up in Mragowo, Poland. He came to England in 1997, and now lives in Leeds. He has an English wife and a daughter, works as an electrician, and also does some translating work.
Carl Djerassi, professor of chemistry at Stanford University, has received the National Medal of Science (1973) and the National Medal of Technology (1991). Among his eighteen books are the novel NO (Penguin, 2000) and the play An Immaculate Misconception (Imperial College Press, 2000), which was broadcast by BBC World Service in 2000 as “play of the week.” This Man’s Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill will appear in 2001 (Oxford University Press).
Robert Friedel is a historian of technology who has taught at the University of Maryland since 1984. His books and articles on the processes of invention and discovery include Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty (W. W. Norton, 1944) and Edison’s Electric Light: Biography of an Invention (Rutgers University Press, 1983). In 2000-01, he is a senior fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT.
Amitav Ghosh‘s novel The Glass Palace is to be released in the United States in early 2001 by Random House.
Michael Harper‘s latest books are Songlines in Michaeltree, New and Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 2000) and as coeditor (with Anthony Walton) The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (Random House/Vintage Books, 2000). He has taught at Brown University since 1970.
Dennis Haskell teaches English at the University of Western Australia, where he edits Westerly, one of Australia’s leading literary journals. He has just completed visiting professorships at RWTH-Aachen, Germany, and the University of Cambridge, England. His most recent books are Interactions: Essays on Literature and Culture in the Asia-Pacific (University of Western Australia Press, December 2000) and Samuel Johnson in Marrickville: Selected Poems (Arc Publications, UK, January 2001).
Robert Hass, who served as poet laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997, is author of several books of poetry, including Sun Under Wood (HarperCollins, 1996) and Human Wishes (Ecco Press, 1989), and a book of essays entitled Twentieth Century Pleasures (HarperCollins, 1999). He is also the cotranslator of several books by Czeslaw Milosz, most recently Treatise of Power (HarperCollins, 2001).
Seamus Heaney‘s most recent publications are Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998) and Beowulf, A New Verse Translation (W. W. Norton & Company, 2000). A book of poems, Electric Light, will be published in 2001 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
Marika Hedin was named curator at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm in 1998 when work on the Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize began. She holds an M.A. in history from the University of Notre Dame and will receive her Ph.D. in history from the University of Stockholm this year. She has written and edited several books, including Center on the Periphery (1993) and Nordic Energy Systems (1995). Most recently she was associate editor for Museums of Modern Science, Nobel Symposium 112 (2000).
Antony Hewish is Emeritus Professor of Radio Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Fellow of Churchill College, he won the Nobel Prize for Physics (with Martin Ryle) in 1974. His current research involves pulsar radiation mechanisms and mapping interplanetary space weather patterns using radioastronomy methods. His hobbies include chamber music, sailing, and cliff walking.
Roald Hoffmann (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1981) writes poetry, essays, and nonfiction as well, while making a living as a theoretical chemist at Cornell University. His latest poetry collection is Memory Effects.
Lewis Hyde is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. In addition to Pablo Neruda, Hyde has translated Spain’s 1976 Nobel laureate, Vicente Aleixandre.
François Jacob won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1965. Born in 1920, he served as a medical officer with the Free French Forces in Africa during the Second World War and was severely wounded. He was awarded the Croix de la Libération, the highest French military decoration of this war. The work of François Jacob has dealt mainly with the genetic mechanisms existing in bacteria and bacteriophages and with the biochemical effects of mutations.
Bengt Jangfeldt is a Swedish writer and translator and professor of Russian literature. Author of several books on Vladimir Mayakovski and Russian futurism, in 1998 he was awarded the August [Strindberg] Prize for his book about the historical ties between Sweden and Saint Petersburg. He has translated many Russian poets, including Mayakovski, Osip Mandelstam, and Joseph Brodsky. He is currently working on a biography of Axel Munthe, author of The Story of San Michele.
Charles Lock is Professor of English Literature at the University of Copenhagen.
Naguib Mahfouz in 1988 became the first Arab Nobel Laureate in Literature. His roughly sixty books cover virtually every style and genre of fiction. He lives in the Cairo suburb of Agouza.
Czeslaw Milosz, born in Lithuania in 1911, is a poet, author, and educator. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980. His latest works include Road-Side Dog (1998) and the recently released Milosz’s ABC’s, both from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He lives in Berkeley, California, and Kraków, Poland.
Pablo Neruda‘s early books made him famous enough in his native Chile that the government awarded him a series of diplomatic posts in Ceylon, Burma, Singapore, and Spain (just before the Spanish Civil War). Neruda wrote three books during this period under the collective title Residencia en la Tierra (A Stay on Earth). The selections presented here are taken from the first of these. Born in 1904, Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971. He died in 1973.
Tracy Ryan is a poet and novelist whose most recent volume, The Willing Eye (Fremantle Arts Centre Press and Bloodaxe Books, 1999), won the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for poetry.
Herbert A. Simon is University Professor of Computer Sciences and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. He received the Nobel Award for Economics in 1978 and (with Allen Newell) the Turing Award of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1975. He is author of Administrative Behavior, The Sciences of the Artificial, and many other books and articles.
Wendy Singer, a historian of modern India, is author of Creating Histories: Oral Narratives and the Politics of History-Making, (Oxford, 1997). She is a professor of South Asian history at Kenyon College and is a former fellow of the American Association of University Women.
Raymond Stock, a doctoral student in Arabic literature at the Univerity of Pennsylvania, is writing a biography of Naguib Mahfouz, with his cooperation, for Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Since December 1999 he has been working on a project with the Nobel Library at the Swedish Academy to improve its collections of non-Western literature. He lives in Cairo, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
Wislawa Szymborska was born in 1923. She has published poetry collections sparingly—every seven to ten years. Her first collection was That’s What We Live For (1952), and her most recent is The End and the Beginning (1993). Her poetry is full of wisdom, wit, and a haunting, surreal quality. One of her major themes is differentness, or otherness: the lack of mutual comprehension between different conditions, species, kinds of matter. She asks profound questions about the meaning—or non-meaning—of life—or non-life, often in a deceptively simple, even naive-sounding, way. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. She lives in Kraków.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is acclaimed as the greatest writer in the Bengali language. He wrote brilliantly in every conceivable literary genre, and was also a composer and painter. His songs are the national anthems of two countries: India and Bangladesh. He became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize when his book, Gitanjali, was honored by the Swedish Academy in 1913. Tagore was a multifaceted genius, and he is recognized as the greatest cultural figure of modern India.
Saranindranath Tagore is associate professor in the philosophy department at the National University of Singapore. Apart from philosophical publications, his literary translations (coauthored with Wendy Barker) have appeared in Nimrod, Literary Review, Manoa, and Michigan Quarterly Review. He also writes on art. The Sculptor Speaks, a documentary film for which he wrote the text, was recently produced in India. He was previously associate professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. A prolific writer of poems, plays, and essays, Walcott has lived and taught around the world.
Patrick White (1912-1990) was born in London but was taken to Australia when he was six months old. He suffered terribly from asthma as a child, which he credited to his turn toward books and writing, and indeed the illness plagued him throughout his life. As a teenager he was placed by his parents in an English boarding school where he spent four miserable years before returning to Australia briefly. He then attended King’s College, Cambridge, and spent much time attending London theatre and writing unsuccessful plays. He also began to write novels. After serving as an intelligence officer during the Second World War, White returned to Australia, where he took up farming with his lifelong partner, Manoly Lascaris. Here he began work on novels such as The Aunt’s Story and The Tree of Man, which were well received in Britain and the United States but were harshly criticized in Australia. Finally, with Voss, Riders in the Chariot, and The Solid Mandela, White also began to be celebrated in Australia as that nation’s greatest novelist. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973 “for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.”
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin and educated largely in London. He was part of the fin de siécle literary movement in that city, and returned to Ireland to help advance the Irish literary revival. Although a convinced patriot, Yeats deplored the hatred and the bigotry of the Nationalist movement, and his poetry is full of moving protests against it. Initially better known for his drama, Yeats increasingly turned to lyric poetry and, unusually, wrote much of his greatest and lasting work after receiving the Nobel Prize in 1923.