Fiction writers Deborah Eisenberg, Mary Gordon, Allan Gurganus, Jim Harrison, Harper Lee, and Annie Proulx were recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The 250-member organization was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts."
Eisenberg is the author of five story collections, including Twilight of the Superheroes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). Gordon, the winner of this year's $20,000 Story Prize, teaches at Barnard College. Gurganus is currently working on "The Erotic History of a Southern Baptist Church," the second part of a trilogy that commenced with Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Knopf, 1989). Harrison, who was a finalist for the Story Prize, has published more than twenty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including the story collection The Summer He Didn't Die (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005). Lee, born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for To Kill a Mockingbird (Lippincott, 1960). Two of Proulx's fictional works have been adapted into movies—Brokeback Mountain from Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Scribner, 1999) and The Shipping News from the novel of the same name published by Scribner in1993.