Richard Russo Image
Richard Russo

Richard Russo is the author of Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Straight Man, Nobody's Fool, Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs, That Old Cape Magic, and a collection of stories, The Whore's Child. He and his wife live in coastal Maine and Boston. In 1994, Nobody's Fool was made into a movie starring Paul Newman and Bruce Willis. Newman also starred in the 1998 movie Twilight, for which Russo wrote the screenplay. Russo now divides his time between writing fiction and writing for the movies.

Russo was born in Johnstown, New York and raised in Gloversville. He is viewed by many as one of the best writers about blue-collar life in small-town America. "He doesn't over-sentimentalize [small towns]," said Maureen Corrigan, a book critic for NPR. "I come from a blue-collar family myself and I think he gets the class interactions; he just really nails class in his novels."

In 2001, Russo received the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls, a "rich, humorous, elegantly constructed" (New York Times) novel depicting a web of relationships in a once-thriving Maine town.

Russo has said that he wants that which "is hilarious and that which is heartbreaking to occupy the same territory in the books because he thinks they very often occupy the same territory in life, much as we try to separate them."

Annie Proulx once said, "After the last sentence is read, the reader continues to see Russo's tender, messed-up people coming out of doorways, lurching through life. And keeps on seeing them because they are as real as we are."

Heidi Pitlor image
Heidi Pitlor

Heidi Pitlor was raised in Concord, Massachusetts. She received her BA in political science from McGill University in Montreal, and her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College.

She is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and was the in-house editor of The Best American Short Stories for nine years before becoming the series editor. She is the author of the novel The Birthdays, published in 2006 by W. W. Norton and is currently at work on her second novel. She lives outside Boston with her husband, and twin son and daughter.