Masha Hamilton is the author of four novels, most recently 31 Hours (2009), a Washington Post selection for one of the best novels of the year and an Indie Choice pick by independent booksellers. Her previous novels include Staircase of a Thousand Steps, The Distance Between Us, and The Camel Bookmobile. A former foreign correspondent, Hamilton is the founder of two world literacy programs: the Camel Book Drive, begun in 2007, and the Afghan Women's Writing Project, begin in 2009 to foster creative and intellectual exchange between Afghan women writers and American women authors and teachers. She teaches for Gotham Writers' Workshop and has taught at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and at other writers' workshops around the country.
Thrity Umrigar's most recent novel is The Weight of Heaven, published in 2009. She is the author of three other novels -- The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time -- and the memoir First Darling of the Morning. A journalist for 17 years, Umrigar is the winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University and a 2006 finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. She is an associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.