Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999), and two works of fiction, the widely celebrated and influential novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the story collection Holding Pattern (Graywolf Press 2008). His essays, reviews, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Triquarterly, Ploughshares, Bomb, Hambone, The Antioch Review, StoryQuarterly, African Voices, African American Review, Callaloo, Arkansas Review, Other Voices, Black Renaissance Noire, and XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. Among other projects, Allen is presently at work on Talking Talk, a book of interviews and conversations with fiction writers of African descent from around the world, Africa Calling Africa: A 21st Century Anthology of New and Emerging Writers from the Continent, and the novel Song of the Shank, based on the life of Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who performed under the stage name Blind Tom. Graywolf Press will publish the novel in 2010. Allen lives in Far Rockaway, Queens with his wife and two children.