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Born in Lvov in 1945, Adam Zagajewski is one of the most well-known and highly regarded contemporary Polish poets. His luminous, searching poems are imbued by a deep engagement with history, art, and life.

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Ballantine Books recently published You Remind Me of Me, Dan Chaon's long awaited debut novel about a pregnant teenager who gives up her child for adoption in 1966. In a review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Sara Mosley wrote that the novel "more than fulfills the promise of his story collection Among the Missing, which was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2001." Chaon is also the author of Fitting Ends, originally published by Triquarterly Books in 1995. A revised edition of the short story collection was published by Ballantine last year. Chaon teaches at Oberlin College and lives with his wife and two sons in Cleveland, Ohio.

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While the literary community tries to gauge the influence of academia on the state of contemporary fiction, Frederick Reiken, whose two critically acclaimed novels have been translated into several languages, is gently riding out the wave of debate. A graduate of Princeton and the University of California at Irvine's MFA program, Reiken teaches writing in the graduate program at Emerson College. His first novel, The Odd Sea (Harcourt, 1998), won the Hackney Literary Award for First Fiction and was selected by both Booklist and Library Journal as one of the best first novels of the year. This was followed by a more ambitious novel, The Lost Legends of New Jersey (Harcourt, 2000), which became a bestseller and is described by Charles Baxter as "a miraculous balancing of tone and theme."

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Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, at the age of five. He has lived in various parts of the country, including Oregon, where he worked as a commercial fisherman, and as a biologist for the National Marine Fish Service. He drove a truck for a living in San Francisco, and worked briefly as a logger before coming to New York City to study with poet Richard Howard in the master's program at Columbia University.

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Poet Susan Atefat-Peckham and her six-year-old son were killed in a car accident in Ghor Safi, Jordan, on February 7, 2004. A professor in the MFA program at Georgia College & State University, Atefat-Peckham was in the Middle East as a Fulbright scholar teaching creative writing at the University of Jordan. She was 33. The following Direct Quote was originally posted on October 12, 2001, following the publication of her book That Kind of Sleep.

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In November, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish August Kleinzahler's eleventh book of poetry, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep. A loner and a traveler himself, Kleinzahler has avoided the cloistered life of academia for stints as a logger in British Columbia, a political commentator in Germany and, most recently, a music columnist for the San Diego Weekly Reader.

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Mark Doty's work has always straddled the line between a sense of belonging and alienation, so it's no surprise to find the crucial question, Where do I live? at the heart of his forthcoming book

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Colum McCann's most recent novel, Dancer, published by Henry Holt in January, reimagines the life and the international milieu surrounding the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who died in 1993.

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In March Harcourt Brace will publish The Pearl of Kuwait, Tom Paine's debut novel about Cody Carmichael and Tommy Trang, two U.S. marines in the 1991 Gulf War. Poets & Writers Magazine asked Paine about his new book, and, given its topical subject matter, how he expects it will be received.

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Less than a year after his third novel, The Corrections, was awarded the National Book Award for fiction, Jonathan Franzen is back with a new collection of nonfiction.

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